Meditating On Contemplative/Centering Prayer (2)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
By Ken Silva
 
The Lord's timing is always perfect; let me explain. I had strongly felt led to put my other projects on hold in order that I might begin to counterattack the Devil's penetration of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Church of Jesus Christ through his "reimagined" Gnostic spirituality in new evangelicalism. The next day when I went to Slice Of Laodicea, the website of CWN correspondent Ingrid Schlueter where I am also contributor, and I noticed that she had posted concerning a new DVD promoting contemplative prayer entitled Be Still.
 
Then as I checked my email the very next morning Brannon Howse was also making me aware of this exact same project. Space doesn't allow further discussion on this pending DVD disaster, which includes "noted Christian authors, ministers and educators" such as Max Lucado, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and amazingly enough Dr. Charles Stanley, so I have included the link to Ingrid's post here. You need to know that Be Still is reputed to cross "all denominations," Ecumenical Church Of Deceit speak for "out goes the Reformation." O yes, this contemplative new spirituality is now a very serious infestation within the evangelical camp itself.
 
Contemplating The Mystic Merton
Last time I introduced The Silent Life (TSL), a definitive book by the late Thomas Merton all about the contemplative practices that grew out of the monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism. In TSL Merton instructs us the monastic tradition teaches that the monk "travels to God by the direct path," and that he "withdraws from the world." Merton then tells us the monk does this because "he is essentially and exclusively dedicated to seeking God, rather than seeking souls for God." [1]
 
What should immediately jump out here is that we have just received teaching which is actually diametrically opposed to the mission Jesus has for His Church. While praying to God the Father in John 17 God the Son says undeniably – "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (v.17). And our Lord specifically tells us that He – "came to seek and to save what was lost." [2] The Master would then go on to repeat this mandate for the Christian following His resurrection from the dead – "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." [3] If you think for a moment, most of us have heard the phrase "be in the world, but not of it." You see there's a pretty reliable Source from which it originated.      
 
Now I am aware that I have covered Merton in some depth but I have my reason. This was imperative because the guru most responsible for the arrival of the Trojan Horse which unloaded this new spirituality within our Lord's Church is Richard Foster. That Foster is heavily influenced by Thomas Merton is simply beyond question. For instance in Celebration of Discipline (COD) Foster quotes Merton to open his chapter on "The Discipline of Meditation." In COD Merton informs us "true contemplation [meditation] is not a psychological trick but a theological grace." [4]
 
This is why I have taken such great care to carefully document and expose Merton's heresy. It must be stated plainly, although many in the Church today have little regard for what the Bible actually says, God still takes His Word with the utmost seriousness. And when He was standing on His planet the LORD God Almighty most clearly said – "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." [5] This forever slams the door shut in the face of the foolish argument continually pressed forth by Merton supporters that "we just take the good and ignore the bad in his teaching." But this is what the Lord says – "A bad tree [Thomas Merton] cannot bear good fruit."
 

Last time we clearly established that Merton called the "living spiritual teacher" Thich Nhat Hanh, who just happens to be a Zen Buddhist roshi (master), "a true monk." [6] Then we turned to Merton's TSL where I showed you that this "spiritual director" defined a monk as "a man who has been called by the Holy Spirit" who is to "devote his entire life to seeking God." [7] This can only mean that Nhat Hanh, whom Merton also considered a "brother," would have "been called by the Holy Spirit" in order to "devote his entire life to seeking God" through Zen Buddhism.
 
So you should now be able to see why those of us sounding the alarm regarding contemplative prayer consider it such a grave spiritual danger. Lord willing, as we progress we'll go into more depth regarding the spiritual "enlightenment," also called "transformation," that inevitably happens to those who practice this meditation. But for now, from months of studying transcendental meditation, I can definitively tell you that Ron Comer is dead on target in the Foreword to Ray Yungen's excellent book A Time of Departing when he observes:
 
Through these mystical [contemplative] prayer practices the church today has opened its door to a subtle abandonment of the gospel… Like two rivers merging together, Eastern and Western religious thought are joining together, thus gaining momentum towards a one world religion in which all paths lead to God. [8]
 
And with our case made, now Thomas Merton stands as the quintessential example for Gnostic msyticism, as well as for the absolute truth of the following solemn words of Holy Scripture. Through Merton's example, with his denial of historic orthodox Christian theology, the transcendental meditation of contemplative/centering prayer that he championed is thus revealed to be:
 the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousnes


[1]  Thomas Merton, The Silent Life, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1957), p. viii, emphasis mine.

[2] Luke 19:10.

[3] John 20:21.

[4] Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (HarperCollins, 1998), p. 15.

[5] Matthew 7:18.

[6] Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step, (Bantam, 1992), p. xi.

[7] Merton, op. cit., p. vii, emphasis mine.

[8] Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, (Lighthouse Trails, 2002), p. 15.

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