"The Great, Subtle Lie" of Contemplative Spirituality<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
(An Open Letter - <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />July 30, 2004)
The Testimony of Cassandrah Batya
As God is my eternal Father, Creator, Judge, and Witness, the following testimony is true. I have accurately recorded the following events which occurred in my life to warn others contemporary Christianity is dangerous and based on false doctrines and teachers. May this testimony bring honor and glory to God, His kingdom, and accomplish His will.
- Cassandrah Batya, November 6, 2004
Seven months ago I had a profound, life-changing spiritual experience which set off a passion in me to learn everything humanly possible about God. What started out as a sincere, genuine desire to devote my heart and life to the Lord blindly turned into something spiritually dangerous and forbidden. I realize the enemy is clever and there will be people who will dismiss this testimony as Christian fanaticism. But my prayer to God is He will open some people's eyes so they may see His Truth and speak His Truth as well. Please just don't ever take the word of one person, I implore you in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ to do your own research and compare EVERYTHING to the Holy Scriptures (the Holy Bible). God is faithful to those who sincerely want to follow and worship Him in Truth. The enemy (Satan and his demons) truly can appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Please read my testimony! May God richly bless you and keep you safe in His arms and the Truth.
A little more than thirty years ago, I accepted Christ in the third grade and was baptized, along with my younger brother, by a Lutheran minister in my parents' Midwest home. During my Christian lifetime, I have lived within the comfortable zone of my Protestant beliefs. In all honesty, there have been a few good days when I felt like a Christian soldier. Then, there were twice as many days when I was a disgrace to the Name of the Lord. Based on what I observed from most "Sunday Morning" Christians, myself included, common behavior is to leave the sermon at the church's door after the service and return to your "real life" routines.
Whenever I hear someone say, "I had a spiritual awakening," my red flag goes up and I mentally scrutinize everything the person says about God. Nevertheless, there are no other words to describe my undeniable encounter with God which occurred last December. I have never experienced anything as clear and as defining like that before. From that moment on, God became more than a Sunday morning event to me. God is a passion that consumes me morning, afternoon, and night. Do I believe the experience was from God? Yes, I do. I believe God called me that day.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you..."
- John 15:16 (KJV)
I believe the enemy purposely tries to confuse and mislead not only the world, but also God's children. What was a beautiful moment with God, the enemy tried to turn into a dark, sinister lie. It was only by the grace and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Light of the World (John 8:12) that my eyes and heart were opened to His Truth and the real Way to God and Life (John 14:6 and Romans 10:8-10).
After my spiritual experience, the first question I had for myself was how does one become intimately acquainted with God? The second question was what set the saints apart from the average person? I began by reading and studying the scriptures, the saints, and ancient, historical, medieval, and modern biblical texts. I researched and read spiritual books written by famous scientists, mathematicians, Christian writers, religious professors, monks, rabbis, renown Christian and Jewish scholars, and mystics. For awhile my head went spinning as I read theories about the literal, metaphysical, meditative, and mystical interpretations of the bible, especially the first five books in which the Jewish community refers to as the Torah. The complexity and depth of the bible amazes me. I especially began to embrace mysticism and contemplative spirituality. I bought many books on Christian and Judaic mysticism, mystics, inner/esoteric spirituality, and contemplative prayer. I research these topics in-depth and search the Internet for even more information and kindred spirits who loved these topics as well.
I realized the connecting thread is more than just acknowledging the Divinity of Jesus Christ, but daily setting a period of solitude time for open and honest prayer, mediation, spiritual books, and not just reading the bible, but also studying, memorizing, and reflecting upon it. Searching for God is just like looking for human companionship, there is no relationship without respect, trust, communication, participation, and loyalty. When I began to treat God as my intimate friend, I was better able to see Him moving in my life and recognize His signature. It was at this point my spiritual life began to bloom.
I guess you might say, "What is the problem?" The problem is my meditation took on the darker qualities of contemplation, emptying the mind so that God may bond with me closer. I contemplated 20 minutes just about every day. I embraced the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.) as my mantra. It's ironic because the more I repeated this, the less I focused on Jesus as my personal Savior. I would have spiritual, mystical highs (altered consciousness episodes). One late, influential monk (an advocate of contemplative spirituality), in so many words, compared the feelings as being similar to LSD. I started to crave more intense experiences with God, I begged Him for them. If I didn't have feelings of weightlessness, lightheadedness, floating, and being enraptured while contemplating, I felt dead and empty inside. All the contemplative literature I read encouraged being lost in inner spirituality and to ignore the dead feeling. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis became a second bible to me. From my research what I was experiencing was common among "Christians" who practiced contemplative prayer. There are priests, nuns, monks, saints, ministers, religious leaders, historical figures, celebrities, and people from all walks of life and faiths who practice this form of inner/esoteric spirituality. I thought this must be right since so many self-professing Christian leaders and figures were actively participating (Romans 3:4) and universities, including Christian, were offering degrees in Spiritual Formation.
When I started to intensely research the backgrounds of many of these contemplative spiritual leaders, there were commonalties with at least one or more of the following:
1. Proclamation that Jesus Christ is not the "only" Way to God (John 14:6).
2. The bible is not the standard in which to judge all things (2 Tim. 3:16). One minister said that we as Christians take the bible too seriously and literally.
3. Denial of the Trinity by saying that Jesus wasn't "the only begotten Son of God" (Matt. 3:16-17) and that all men are equal to Jesus, since man also has the ability to become Christlike. Jesus is "a" Son of God, rather than "The" Son of God.
4. Comparing Jesus to being on the same level as Buddha (a man) and other eastern /western mystics (men and women), for fear of offending someone with the Gospel of Christ (1 Peter 4:14 and Mark 8:38).
5. Proclaiming that s/he is God, since everything (universe and nature) and everyone (mankind) is interconnected to God.
6. Each man /woman is in complete control of his /her own destiny through thinking, visualizing, and speaking.
7. Belief in reincarnation, which the scriptures do not teach.
8. Advocating the practices of visualization, dream divination, palm reading, numerology, astrology, acupuncture, aromatherapy (incense and scented candles), and chromatherapy (colors and light) in order to heal, succeed in life, and control circumstances and people.
9. Encouragement of prayer to saints, mystics, dead loved ones, false gods/goddesses, nature, spirits, and angels (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
10. Insisting that homosexuality is fine (Romans 1:26-32). One eastern mystic advocated for spiritual advancement having sex with children (mainly boys).
11. All religions (including atheism, paganism, and Satanism) will get a person into heaven if s/he accept and respect others' beliefs in the name of brotherly /sisterly love (Romans 10:8-10 and John 14:6).
12. Belief in one universal faith which includes everyone. These are called ecumenical /universal churches or groups. Three monks decided that the world needed a universal method of prayer that embraced all religions, including those of eastern origins. They gathered a group of other cross-faith religious leaders /figures and decided to mix eastern and western mysticism beliefs with mainstream Christianity. This method is known as "contemplative spirituality /prayer."
13. Belief in spirit guides, corporeal and non-corporeal. There are ministers who acknowledge having guides from the spirit world advising them.
14. Encouraging people to practice chakras, kundalini yoga, and similar techniques which opens one up spiritually to powerful demonic forces and possession, such as witnessed in the Toronto Blessing gathering.
These are only to name a few things I found during my research of contemplative spirituality.
Here is when things started getting scary for me personally,
1. The more I emptied my mind to become closer to God, the greater my fear became of the spiritual world. I literally became afraid to be alone to pray to God. One contemplative thought is to pray at 12:00 midnight because there is less spiritual activity going on while most people are sleeping.
2. When I began contemplating, I would listen to quiet Kabalistic music in the background. One night the CD player kept stopping for no mechanical reason whatsoever. It was if something was telling me that listening to music while contemplating was interfering with having an empty mind. I then stopped listening to music during contemplation so that I could be in complete silence without any distractions.
3. I started having odd dreams in which I had a special purpose. Based on dream interpretation information, I was being encouraged to continue my contemplative practices.
4. Like I stated before my spiritual focus and prayer became less about Jesus, and more about mystical spiritual highs and insights. Contemplative spirituality became my drug.
5. One time after spending time in quiet contemplation, out of my peripheral vision, I saw a dark, smoky male shadow behind me. I told myself I was imagining it.
6. I developed a fear of the dark, sleeping, and being alone. As a mature woman, this seemed childish but I couldn't change this growing morbid and encompassing fear.
7. I started having problems sleeping and would often wake in the middle of the night and stay up for prolonged periods of time.
8. Sometimes, I went days without dreaming and became at times extremely anxious and restless.
9. I became more sensitive to unusual sounds and occurrences that started taking place in my home.
10. During prayer, a voice in the back of my head would tell me I was a witch.
11. One night, my thumb/hand began to shake on its own during prayer.
12. By nature, I am kind and loving person and have been told such, but I started to have hateful and venomous mood swings and became at moments verbally abusive to my loved ones. I was surprised at my own behavior and language.
The turning point came when I took off my esoteric spiritual rose-colored glasses and started to question things. I couldn't understand why:
1. Praying to God brought feelings of fear rather than peace.
2. Some western mystics would mutilated and beat their own bodies.
3. These western mystics believed that God approved and rewarded this kind of self-abusive, destructive behavior.
4. A pastor on his website would say that kundalini is good for Christians and fits into the message of Christ. Kundalini Yoga is an eastern dangerous occult practice that closely resembles contemplative spirituality practices.
5. A pope would encourage contemplative spirituality/prayer.
6. A church would share pictures of white orbs of light floating around the members and ministers on the Internet, and believe this was something to celebrate and be proud about.
7. Some contemplative ministers and spiritual leaders would speak of being guided by beings from the spirit world.
8. Prominent contemplative spiritual advocates left Christianity to embrace and practice paganism, Satanism, metaphysics, New Age, eastern spiritualism and other false religions.
9. People who were having similar mystical experiences like mine were seeking to be release from them through the Lord Jesus Christ.
So I returned to researching contemplative spirituality in even greater depth. During all this time, I kept praying to God to please not let me believe a lie about Him and that Jesus would shine in my heart. Deep inside, my motives were still pure. I truly just wanted a closer relationship with God. I believe that is why God opened my eyes to the Truth.
I then compared Jesus and His apostles' lives to the contemplative lifestyle. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus or His disciples encourage or advocate emptying your mind, self-mutilation, sexual deviancy, mantras, reincarnation, aura readings, burning incense, scented candles, sitting in yoga positions, praying to spirits or angels, or contemplative spirituality. On the Internet, I typed in as research questions, "Is kundalini evil?" and "Is contemplative spirituality wrong?" It was unbelievable how many horror stories involving CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY (AND TECHNIQUES SIMILAR TO IT) LEADING TO KUNDALINI EXPERIENCES came up.
There was a story about a priest who was experiencing kundalini symptoms. One story involved a little girl who had practice the centering prayer and Jesus prayer because a nun at her school taught her to do it before she went to sleep. After two years of practicing the centering prayer, the girl was harassed by a demon, which at one point laughed at her. Many other stories involving people who accepted Christ and were finally freed from kundalini experiences.
After spending much of the day researching how contemplative spirituality leads to kundalini experiences, I cannot find the words to describe the experience I had that very night. I literally felt the evil presence of angry demonic forces surrounding our bed and knew they wanted to devour me. The demonic presence was so strong that I could actually sense where they were positioned in our bedroom and it was definitely more than one demon. To say that I felt panic-stricken and petrified with fear is an understatement. I thought to wake up my husband but something inside told me that would be fruitless. I was almost too terrified to pray. I prayed the Jesus prayer and did the sign of the cross. I still felt surrounded by great evil. Once again I asked Jesus to send His angels to protect my family, home, and me. After a prolonged period of feeling pure terror, eventually I fell asleep mainly out of exhaustion.
I would have chalked this up to an overactive imagination, except for my brother, whom I rarely have time to speak to because of our busy lifestyles, called me. He told me that two days earlier around 11:30 at night my image came up before him. He said he felt that I was under great distress and that something was really wrong. Also, he said that he felt that I was very close to the truth about something. He felt led to intercede in prayer for me, which he did (Thank you, Lord Jesus!). My brother said he was so concerned about me that he had intended to call me in the morning to make sure I was all right. I had not said anything to initiate this conversation with my brother, nor had I mentioned my terrifying experience before he told me this. I had just told my husband the night before my brother spoke to me. I was too traumatized to even tell my husband about the experience.
I realized right then and there that contemplative spirituality is wrong and I would dare to go even further and say evil. I had been wrong and bought into "The Great, Subtle Lie" of the enemy like everyone else who practice this form of Christian inner/esoteric spirituality. This lust and addiction for mystical spiritual highs and feeling of being specially connected to the universe in spirit, I believe is going to lead to an universal religion and ecumenical, world church in which the Book of Revelation will be fulfilled. Once a universal religion is established the antichrist will proclaim himself as God, since man is supposed to be God according to contemplative spirituality (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Read the Book of Revelation. I can easily see how some major Christian churches may be the very ones leading the way to hell.
Here are some basic ecumenical /universal beliefs:
1. Since we are spiritually connected to God, we must be God.
2. Jesus Christ is not the true and only Son of God.
3. Jesus Christ isn't the only Way to heaven.
4. The Holy Bible is not completely literal, factual, infallible, nor the standard to compare all things.
5. Accept all beliefs and religions in order not to offend anyone.
6. Man, nature (animate and inanimate), and the universe are one spirit, in control of our own destinies.
7. Man can change personal history and physical reality through self will, thinking, visualizing, and speaking.
8. The practice of inner/esoteric spiritually is the true way to God for everyone and anyone.
9. Mankind is entering into a new Aquarius age of spiritual renewal and insight based on astrological data.
10. In order to get into heaven, we only need to love our fellowman/woman (humanism).
To clean up my act, I repented to God and renounced all contemplative practices, inner/esoteric spirituality, and mysticism. Actually, I wept aloud, fell on my knees, and begged God's forgiveness. I threw out all books and music that dealt with mystics, mysticism, and esoteric/inner/contemplative spiritually and anything else related to it. I immediately felt in my heart that I had done the right thing before God. The atmosphere in my home changed. For first time in a long time, when I pray to God I feel peace and joy in my heart, and not great fear or terror. I enjoy spending time alone in prayer and devotional time with God, especially since I no longer do the ritualistic incense burning, candle lighting, yoga lotus sitting, mantra chanting, and contemplative praying. I really do feel Jesus and His love in my heart now. I feel closer to the Lord Jesus Christ than ever before. I feel safe and blessed to know the Truth, the Way, and the Life (John 14:6).
Do Your Own Biblical Research.
1. Be relentless and deeply research into backgrounds, philosophies, religions, and beliefs using as many references and resources as possible.
2. Never take anything or anyone at face value (1 John 4:1-6, 1 Thess. 5:21, and Matt. 22:29).
Here are some starting points:
~ The Holy Bible (Old & New Testaments)
~ Hard to Believe by John MacArthur
~ The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen
~ A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen
3. Let the Holy Bible be your God-inspired guide and the standard for comparing everything and everyone (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
4. Do not be fooled by the status of or how many people who believe in contemplative spirituality (prayer) and mysticism. Jesus said narrow is the way and few that find it (Matt. 7: 13-14; Romans 3:3- 4).
5. If you don't think that there aren't going to be some religious leaders and figures in hell, you need to read all of 2 Timothy (Mark 13:21-22).
6. Ask God to reveal His Truth to you and to NEVER let you believe a lie concerning Him (Matt 24:24). God is so faithful to His own. He will honor your request like He honored mine.
7. Don't be fooled, we are in a REAL spiritual war between good and evil, the seen and unseen (Eph.6:10-18). Thank goodness it has been won by Our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross, arose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
8. The only way to God is through the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son (Gal. 2:19-20).
9. Mankind, animals, nature, and the universe are not God. We are His creation (Isaiah 29:16;
10. Compare everything to the biblical Jesus and His disciples (1 Peter 2:19-25).
In the Holy Bible:
Does Jesus or His disciples practice contemplative spirituality?
Does any man/woman of God practice contemplative spirituality in the Scripture?
DO YOUR OWN BIBLICAL RESEARCH.
I challenge anyone to show me in the Holy Bible where people of God, especially the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples, emptied their minds and repetitiously said mantras to be closer to God.
In closing, I wanted to know how and why I , a mature Christian who accepted Christ more than thirty years ago, found myself so easily believing in such spiritual deceit and why so many in the world are spiritually blind to the dangers of contemplative spirituality and are flocking to it in droves. Contemplative spirituality is a method for communing with the spiritual realm. Many people are misled by being told or thinking they are dealing with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and/or His angels, while in fact they are more than likely dealing with a demonic force that is appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14 and 1 Tim. 4:1-2). I believe that is why God condemns people who practice spiritualism because it is so easy to be lied to and used by demonic beings (Deut. 18:9-14 and 1Tim. 4:1). Demonic beings are not fools, they are extremely intelligent, ancient and deviant manipulators of God's truth, though not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent like God (Jude 1:8-10 and James 2:19).
After spending time in prayer and soul searching, I believe that God rescued me from this spiritual darkness so that I may help warn others who may be involved with or thinking about practicing contemplative (inner/esoteric) spirituality and mysticism. My testimony is not just based on my in-depth research, but also on my personal experience. I believe I have been given this Christian mission to help reveal contemplative spirituality and mysticism as "The Great, Subtle Lie." I know that if this happened to me, an ordinary person whose intent was just to love and know God more intimately, there must be others who have had or are having similar experiences.
The Christian Apologist
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
- 2 Corinthians 10:35 (KJV)
Don't just believe contemplative spirituality is wrong simply because of my testimony or anyone else's, pray and ask God to reveal His Truth to you about this matter. If you have a personal testimony about contemplative spirituality, mysticism, and other false religions being "The Great, Subtle Lie" of the enemy, please share it on The Mission of Truth website so that God may use it to help others as well. Continuously pray for our Christian brethren and sisters everywhere and that God will announce liberty to the captives and open the eyes of the blind to His Truth. Don't be spiritually blind, we are in a real, on-going spiritual war whether we want to be or not. Be vigilant!
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
- I Peter 5:811 (KJV)
Thank you for your time and patience in reading my testimony. May God richly bless you and keep you safe in His arms and the Truth!
Stay close to Christ,
Cassandrah Batya <><
- Romans 10:14-15
Epilogue (December 29, 2004):
As a new year starts, it is hard to believe it has been almost six months since I put my testimony to pen. My relationship with God is still to me one of amazement, undeserved grace, and endless gratitude. When I look at the number of daily hits the website continues to receive, I realize this is only by God's hand and has nothing to do with me. As the saying goes, "It's not about us, it's all about Jesus." I hope people who are led to this testimony will at least leave with a desire to "do something" to help spread the word about contemplative spirituality. I truly believe contemplative spirituality is the most dangerous false doctrine in existence because it is deceptively wrapped in Christianity and brotherly love. It is a shame to know the truth and not share it with at least one other person in need of direction. When it comes to spreading the truth about the great, subtle lie of contemplative spirituality, my motto is, "I am my brother's keeper."
"Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across the truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on about their business AS IF NOTHING HAD HAPPENED."
Please "Do Something."
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