Archive for the ‘The Ancient Mystics’ Category
By Ray Yungen
Catholic priest William Shannon in his book, Seeds of Peace, explained the human dilemma as being the following:
This forgetfulness, of our oneness with God, is not just a personal experience, it is the corporate experience of humanity. Indeed, this is one way to understanding original sin. We are in God, but we don’t seem to know it. We are in paradise, but we don’t realize it.1
Shannon’s viewpoint defines the basic underlying worldview of the contemplative prayer movement as a whole. One can find similar quotations in practically every book written by contemplative authors. A Hindu guru or a Zen Buddhist master would offer the same explanation. This conclusion becomes completely logical when tracing the roots of contemplative prayer. Let us look at the beginnings of this practice.
In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They are known to history as the Desert Fathers. They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks who promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. One meditation scholar made this connection when he said:
The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East … the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.2
Many of the Desert Fathers, in their zeal, were simply seeking God through trial and error. A leading contemplative prayer teacher candidly acknowledged the haphazard way the Desert Fathers acquired their practices:
It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.3
Attempting to reach God through occult mystical practices will guarantee disaster. The Desert Fathers of Egypt were located in a particularly dangerous locale at that time to be groping around for innovative approaches to God, because as one theologian pointed out:
[D]evelopment of Christian meditative disciplines should have begun in Egypt because much of the intellectual, philosophical, and theological basis of the practice of meditation in Christianity also comes out of the theology of Hellenic and Roman Egypt. This is significant because it was in Alexandria that Christian theology had the most contact with the various Gnostic speculations which, according to many scholars, have their roots in the East, possibly in India.4
Consequently, the Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere–anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus. A current practitioner and promoter of the Desert Fathers’ mystical prayer still echoes the logical formulations of his mystical ancestors:
In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions … What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent … this is important to remember in the face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly defining them. If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising … selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.5
Do you catch the reasoning here? Non-Christian sources, as avenues to spiritual growth, are perfectly legitimate in the Christian life, and if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will actually impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the Desert Fathers. So as a result, we now have contemplative prayer. Jesus addressed this when he warned His disciples: “And when you pray, do not
use vain repetitions, as the heathen do.” (Matthew 6:7)
It should be apparent that mantra meditation or sacred word prayer qualifies as “vain repetition” and clearly fits an accurate description of the point Jesus was making. Yet in spite of this, trusted evangelical Christians have often pronounced that Christian mysticism is different from other forms of mysticism (such as Eastern or occult) because it is focused on Jesus Christ.
This logic may sound credible on the surface, but Christians must ask themselves a very simple and fundamental question: What really makes a practice Christian? The answer is obvious–does the New Testament sanction it? Hasn’t Christ taught us, through His Word, to pray in faith in His name and according to His will? Did He leave something out? Would Jesus hold out on His true followers? Never!
Understanding this truth, God has declared in His Word that He does not leave it up to earnest, yet sinful people, to reinvent their own Christianity. When Christians ignore God’s instructions in following Him they end up learning the way of the heathen. Israel did this countless times. It is just human nature.
The account of Cain and Abel is a classic biblical example of spiritual infidelity. Both of Adam’s sons wanted to please God, but Cain decided he would experiment with his own method of being devout. Cain must have reasoned to himself: “Perhaps God would like fruit or grain better than a dead animal. It’s not as gross. It’s less smelly. Hey, I think I will try it!”
As you know, God was not the least bit impressed by Cain’s attempt to create his own approach to pleasing God. The Lord made it clear to Cain that God’s favor would be upon him if he did what is right, not just what was intended for God or God-focused.
In many ways, the Desert Fathers were like Cain—eager to please but not willing to listen to the instruction of the Lord and do what was right. One cannot fault them for their devotion, but one certainly can fault them for their lack of discernment.
1. William Shannon, Seeds of Peace, p. 66.
2. Daniel Goleman, The Meditative Mind 1988, p.53.
3. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, p.191.
4. Father William Teska, Meditation in Christianity , p.65.
5. Tilden Edwards, Living in the Presence , Acknowledgement page.
A list of ancient mystics (taken from Chris Lawson’s A Directory of Authors: Three NOT Recommended Lists booklet)
Mystics from the past oftentimes favorably endorsed by “Christian” authors today
Middle Ages (Medieval Times) and Renaissance
Angela of Foligno (1248–1309)
Anthony of Padua (1195–1231)
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)
Catherine of Siena (1347–1380)
Desert Fathers, The
Hadewijch of Antwerp (13th century)
Henry Suso (1295–1366)
Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)
Hugh of Saint Victor (1096–1141)
Jacopone da Todi (1230–1306)
Johannes Tauler (d.1361)
John of Ruysbroeck (1293–1381)
John Scotus Eriugena (810–877)
Julian of Norwich (1342–1416)
Mechthild of Magdeburg (1212–1297)
Meister Eckhart (1260–1327)
Richard of Saint Victor (d.1173)
Richard Rolle (1300–1341)
The Cloud of the Unknowing (anonymous, instruction in mysticism, 1375)
Theologia Germanica (anonymous, mystical treatise, late 14th century)
Thomas a’ Kempis (1380–1471)
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Walter Hilton (1340–1396)
Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter–Reformation
Brother Lawrence (1614–1691)
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1822)
George Fox (1624–1691)
Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556)
Jakob Böhme (1575–1624)
Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803)
John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542–1591)
Joseph of Cupertino (1603–1663)
Madame Guyon (1647–1717)
Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582)
Theophan the Recluse (1815–1894)
William Law (1686–1761)
Modern Era (19th—20th Century)
Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904–1955)
Bernadette Roberts (1931–)
Berthe Petit (1870–1943)
Carmela Carabelli (1910–1978)
Domenico da Cese (1905–1978)
Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941)
Flower A. Newhouse (1909–1994)
Frank Laubach (1884–1970)
Frederick Buechner (1926–)
Karl Rahner (1904–1984)
Lúcia Santos (1907–2005)
Maria Pierina de Micheli (1890–1945)
Maria Valtorta (1898–1963)
Marie Lataste (1822–1899)
Marie Martha Chambon (1841–1907)
Martin Buber (1868–1965)
Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)
Mary of Saint Peter (1816–1848)
Mary of the Divine Heart (1863–1899)
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968)
Pierina Gilli (1911–1991)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881– 1955)
Simone Weil (1909–1943)
Soren Kierkegaard (1813–1855)
Thomas Merton (1915–1968)
Thomas Raymond Kelly (1893–1941)
In life, we come across certain people who are extraordinary in character. Ray Yungen was just such a person.
It was Ray who first made us aware of the Catholic contemplative mysticism and certain New Age practices becoming popular and entering the church. He did more than point them out, he explained what they were and why a Christian should not participate in this kind of spirituality. As he explained about centering prayer, also: contemplative prayer was a means for all to find the God within by attaining oneness with self. This is the basis for Eastern religions from which mystical traditions originate.
Ray did not parse the truth, but he was considerate in the way he presented it to those caught in deceptions. A ministry is validated by a person’s example of being a servant, willing to help others, and not just by what they know. His knowledge did not surpass his caring, and his passion was genuine in helping others who were deceived by contemplative and New Age practices. Ray was always pleasant to speak with and be with.
I remember several years ago when we got together to film an Emerging Church DVD. We were sitting at the dinner table waiting for the food when Ray pulled out the book, The Shack, and read some quotes, asking us what we thought. He wanted our input before he voiced what his own concerns.
Another night, we decided to visit the local secular bookstore in town, and he immediately grabbed a few books off the shelves showing us the very same practices that the church was contending with. Ray was always animated about his ministry work.
I spoke with Ray a year ago on the phone as he was concerned about his health, especially his immune system. We discussed what could and could not be used to boost his immune system, which was very low at the time, avoiding any type of New Age medicine or techniques. Neither of us had any idea that this could later become cancer.
Being in this camp of apologetics, Ray was on the front line as a watchman who spoke on the changes of the church from inside influences of what we call the New Age teachings.
It is those who realize what is at stake who speak out. There is no doubt that Ray had his share of enemies, those who were willing to fight against him, not understanding what he was saying—they were just reacting to the things he said were wrong and dangerous. But he also had many friends who benefited from his friendship, his research, and his writings. Ray will be dearly missed. He leaves a legacy of research and writing that will be referred to by many in the years to come.
Ray is now, by the grace of God, able to rest and enjoy his rewards.
LTRJ Note: The following is a video of Ray Yungen and Mike Oppenheimer having a discussion about the things Mike was referring to in this tribute:
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing
I find it rather interesting how God has orchestrated things in life, which demonstrate His great love and ongoing mercy to ordinary people like myself. But, more specifically, I am thinking right now about how years ago I happened to come across a copy of a nearly forgotten book at the university library while working on a project. I still find it amazing that this secular humanistic library even had a copy of Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires – a book written by a missionary to the Canadian Native peoples of the 1800s sharing not only his life among them but the amazing stories they would tell him as they would warm themselves before a fire. This book is a treasure of the long-forgotten heritage of the Cree and Saulteaux tribes and how their lives were wonderfully transformed through the proclamation of the Gospel.
Though I first read that book over thirty years ago as a young university student, in 2010 God put it in our hearts here at Lighthouse Trails to publish this nearly forgotten book; then, when we were preparing to release it for publication, Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Canadian Cree, contacted us about a book she had written titled Muddy Waters. The great surprise was that Nanci, whom we then sent a review copy of the Wigwam manuscript, recognized in it the name Mask-e-pe-toon as being the name of the best friend of her great, great grandfather. Nanci agreed to write the forward to that book. We also agreed to publish Muddy Waters. Later we added a DVD (not our own) titled I’ll Never Go Back!: The Testimony of Chief Shoefoot. In this film, Chief Shoefoot shares his own story of what life has been like for him both before and after he received the Gospel, hence his words “I’ll never go back” became the title of the video. Chief Shoefoot is a member of the native people known as the Yanomamo. The Yanomamo reside in a northern region of South America bordering Venezuela and Brazil. Hearing that Chief Shoefoot is part of a Yanomamo tribe especially caught my interest because I remembered studying these people in an anthropology class back in 1972.
Anthropologists have been studying the Yanomamo for many years now, and the typical reaction by many anthropologists to missionary outreaches to these people is that they would have been better off if they had been left alone. Granted various missionary efforts were probably not conducted as they should have been, the fact remains that Jesus commissioned the Gospel to be shared with the whole world. What makes this video unique is that it is the testimony of an actual member of the Yanomamo tribe sharing his viewpoint and his side of the story, and his conclusion is an emphatic yes to having received the Gospel. Contrary to what these anthropologists are saying, Chief Shoefoot makes it clear that his life has been forever changed for the better.
Today, even much of the mission field has been marred by the mentality that we should be less intrusive about sharing the Gospel (see New Missiology). Now don’t get me wrong; it’s true that there may be many non-spiritual aspects of a culture that don’t need to be changed, but the Gospel is very intrusive in calling all people everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came as Savior to the whole world, and people from all tribes and nations are offered one way to God. But today organizations, like YWAM, have been taking a more politically correct approach in assuming that every culture already has within their religious traditions an acceptable pathway to God, and our only duty is to encourage them in what they already believe and are already doing with little more than perhaps an occasional reference to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. The sad truth and reality is that, although many peoples and cultures may believe in some type of supreme being and do have a sense of right and wrong, the Gospel is unique in that it is God’s revealed Word and offer of salvation based on grace through faith alone as opposed to a gospel of good works based on a belief in the innate goodness of mankind and God’s willingness to accept any and all man-made plans of salvation.
The truth is that God has declared in his Word that all are sinners and in need of a Savior. So while it may be true that God has not called us to impose European customs on the indigenous peoples of the world, the Gospel is God’s “culture” for all mankind in that it calls all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. All I can say is that I personally am so glad that God “imposed” Himself on me when I received Christ as my Savior; and in both Muddy Waters and in the I’ll Never Go Back video, you will witness the powerful and convincing testimony of two people – a medicine man’s daughter (in the book) and a former shaman or witchdoctor (in the film). Their stories are evidence that knowing Jesus Christ as Savior is more precious than anything the world has to offer and does require us to forsake those things that are displeasing to Him.
So, while it may be true that people from all over the world have a sense of right and wrong, the spirituality of all tribes and nations must give way to the truth of the Gospel rather than trying to reshape the Gospel to make it more palatable to any culture. After all, what part of the Gospel would we change? The fact of the matter is that the “preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Thus, it remains that the Gospel will always be offensive and politically incorrect to the unbeliever regardless of cultural setting. The Gospel is offensive not because it is the “white man’s religion” (which it never was) but because it is the way God chose to redeem mankind – which appears foolish to the carnal mind. But as Scripture declares, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Now, let me share something that caught my attention as I was watching the I’ll Never Go Back video. I was listening to Chief Shoefoot share how he became a shaman or witchdoctor and about the spirituality that ensued, and I was amazed by the realization that as he was describing his spirituality as a shaman, he was describing the spirituality that is being promoted in the church today as “cutting-edge Christianity.” In fact, Chief Shoefoot’s spirituality was far ahead of contemplative spirituality and the New Age of today. Furthermore, they were already incorporating spiritual disciplines into their meditative practices. When I realized this, I listened to Chief Shoefoot very attentively and with much interest because I understood then that they had been practicing “contemplative spirituality” and the “spiritual disciplines” probably for many centuries – perhaps even longer than the Desert Fathers. In listening to him describe his spirituality as a shaman, I also realized that he was at the same time describing where the spirituality of contemplative prayer, the New Age, and the spiritual disciplines will be in the future.
So, while the meditative practices and disciplines of the Desert Fathers phased out to near extinction after the Middle Ages and is being resurrected today, the Yanomamo have preserved and developed these practices and brought them to full fruition. In other words, as the church and the New Age movement are in unison developing these practices, they will in time become like the Yanomamo.
In the film, Chief Shoefoot describes how he was introduced to shamanism at an early age because he was far advanced for his age in spiritual acuteness. Like contemplative prayer and New Age meditation, connection with “God” is accomplished by going into an altered state of consciousness (i.e., the silence). A drug is used for this purpose along with chanting (mantra), rhythm, and dancing. Spiritual disciplines – to include the withholding of food and sleep (i.e., fasting) – were also used to make the spiritual senses more acute. Chief Shoefoot, as I listened to him describe his story, was much more advanced than the mystics and contemplative prayer leaders of today. He literally saw into the spirit world and beheld various spirits which the Yanomamo even had names for.
The Yanomamo shaman recognizes the spirit world as a reality, not a superstition. According to Chief Shoefoot, spirits of various sorts are seen as desirable and are invited to “get inside your chest” while others are avoided as being evil. I am reminded how contemplative leader Richard Foster warns his students to beware of dangerous spirits when they practice contemplative prayer. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland talks about this:
Proponents of contemplative prayer say the purpose of contemplative prayer is to tune in with God and hear His voice. However, Richard Foster claims that practitioners must use caution. He admits that in contemplative prayer “we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm” and that sometimes it is not the realm of God even though it is “supernatural.” He admits there are spiritual beings and that a prayer of protection should be said beforehand something to the effect of “All dark and evil spirits must now leave.”1
What Chief Shoefoot realized too late is that none of these spirits are good and those considered to be evil cannot be avoided either. He learned that once a person enters into the occultic or contemplative realm, he becomes subject to the spirits that inhabit that realm. Christian mystics who engage in contemplative prayer think they are encountering the Holy Spirit, but Chief Shoefoot literally saw that this realm is inhabited by nothing more than demons who in time also made their habitation in him (and in other members of the tribe).
Understandably, much of the activity of the tribe was marked by immorality and violence. Even anthropologists who are unsympathetic to the Christianizing of these tribes recognize that there is a problem in their social and domestic interactions. Consider, for example, the following quote from an anthropological source regarding the role and treatment of wives in Yanomamo culture:
It is interesting to watch the behavior of women when their husbands return from a hunting trip or a visit. The men march slowly across the village and retire silently into their hammocks. The woman, no matter what she is doing, hurries home and quietly but rapidly prepares a meal for her husband. Should the wife be slow at doing this, the husband is within his rights to beat her. Most reprimands meted out by irate husbands take the form of blows with the hand or with a piece of firewood, but a good many husbands are even more severe. Some of them chop their wives with the sharp edge of a machete or ax, or shoot them with a barbed arrow in some nonvital area, such as in the buttocks or leg. Many men are given to punishing their wives by holding the hot end of a glowing stick against them, resulting in serious burns. . . . It is not uncommon for a man to injure his errant wife seriously; and some men have even killed wives. Women expect this kind of treatment. Those who are not too severely treated might even measure their husband’s concern in terms of the frequency of minor beatings they sustain. I overheard two young women discussing each other’s scalp scars. One of them commented that the other’s husband must really care for her since he has beaten her on the head so frequently! . . . Some men . . . seem to think that it is reasonable to beat their wife once in a while “just to keep them on their toes.”2
For lack of space, let me just say that the interactions of men with each other both within and between tribes is often not peaceable either. But, in any case, Native Spirituality plays a highly significant role in the happenings of these tribes.
Now, I imagine my statement made earlier that those who practice contemplative prayer or New Age mysticism will eventually become like the Yanomamo must now sound too extreme or at least a tongue-in-cheek statement. Actually, it would bring me much comfort if I were to know that I am completely wrong in this assertion. But I am deeply concerned about people, many of whom are Christians, delving into contemplative prayer, eastern meditative practices, and New Age mysticism thinking that they will better themselves by doing so. All of these are occult practices that will tie the user in with the demonic realm though he may think he is connecting with “good” spirits or the Holy Spirit.
It is not unusual for people to join the New Age movement or engage in Yoga or meditative practices like contemplative prayer to reap health benefits to include higher levels of relaxation or to live a more victorious life, but, all the while, they are being introduced to something demonic both in origin and operation. The Bible makes a clear statement about occult or mystical practices in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 by sounding the alarm that these practices are “an abomination unto the Lord.” Then, too, Jesus warned against praying as the heathen do by using “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7), which is a clear indictment against chanting or the mantra-like words and phrases used in contemplative or meditative prayer.
Yet, more and more Christians are joining in contemplative or mystical prayer, thinking it will make them stronger spiritually when the opposite is the case. In fact, what Christians are being drawn into is very antichrist in nature. Our research shows that those who engage in contemplative prayer in time see less and less relevance to the Cross (the atonement) to where it becomes unnecessary. The reason for this is quite simple: contemplative prayer makes a person feel one with and a part of God to where a sacrifice for sin no longer makes any sense.
Contemplative prayer is one and the same thing as New Age or mystical prayer; both are occultic practices in that they bring the practitioner into the demonic realm though he believes all the while that he is connecting with God. Then when I heard Chief Shoefoot’s testimony, I realized that shamanism is one and the same thing as contemplative or New Age mystical prayer as well. As one adherent of mysticism explains, “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics.”3 Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, who helped pioneer the modern-day contemplative prayer movement identified with Buddhism (saying he “intend[ed] to become as good a Buddhist as [he] can”)4 because he realized that the prayer of the Buddhist monks was the same as his. Alice Bailey, whom I consider the mother of the New Age movement, predicted that New Age (or occultic) spirituality would not go around the Christian church but rather through it. She called it the “the regeneration of the churches.” In explaining this, Ray Yungen says:
[I]nstead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!5
In other words, occultic prayer all over the world is coming to a head and bringing about the great falling away that the Bible predicts will happen. Modern day proponents refer to it as quantum spirituality; and through borrowing terms used in physics, they tell us that if enough people meditate at the same time, we will achieve a critical mass, and we will then witness the dawning of the age of Aquarius where peace will guide our planet. However, Alice Bailey and New Age leaders who have followed her see Christians who do not practice New Age style meditation as in the way because they are not being “vibrationally sympathetic.” Such people, they maintain, will have to be eliminated! Having come from the New Age movement, Warren Smith has been warning Christians about this for some time. New Age leaders speak of love, but those who have birthed and perpetuated the movement have something much more sinister in their hearts.
We at Lighthouse Trails, as do other ministries like ours, have a sense of urgency to call all Christians to return to their true roots – namely the Gospel. Our loyalty needs to be with our Savior and not with the traditions of men. Whether we are Native American or of any other descent, Jesus Christ needs to be more precious than any of the things that would make us appear politically correct or gain the favor of men.
1. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing), p. 99.
2. Napolean A. Chagnon, Yanomamo: The Fierce People (New York, NY: Holt, Reinhart adn Winston, 3rd edition), pp.112-113.
3. Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism (London, UK: SPCK, 1979), p. 7; as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 32.
4. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969), as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 78.
5. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd edition), p. 124.
Note: To access information about the books and DVDs we mention in this article, click here.
NEW BOOKLET: Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age Movement And Her Plans to “Revitalize” Christianity
NEW BOOKLET: Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age Movement And Her Plans to “Revitalize” Christianity by Ray Yungen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age Movement And Her Plans to “Revitalize” Christianity, click here.
By Ray Yungen
The Mystery Schools
Many people have a kind of bemused contempt for those involved with mysticism, and thus, they believe that the New Age movement is a frivolous frolic into the absurd.
In answer to this, I would like to emphasize two points. First, millions of people are having real experiences. Second, these experiences are as old as human civilization.
It is important to understand that the foundation upon which the New Age movement is based transcends the mere intellectual acceptance of ideas. It cannot be seen as separate from the mystical experience from which it springs.
The Mystery Schools are the most easily documented of the ancient adherents of occultism. They were the caretakers of this esoteric (hidden) knowledge.
These schools formed the nucleus of the religious practices of ancient nations and empires such as Egypt, China, Chaldea, Persia, Greece, and Rome, as well as the Aztec and Inca civilizations.
The Mystery religions were so labeled because their teachings were kept hidden from the common people. In fact, the term occult (meaning hidden or concealed) originated from the Mystery religions because the majority of people were ignorant of their true meanings. Only the priests and adepts (who were initiated through various grades or levels) gained insight into these hidden “truths” of the universe.
What was kept hidden or secret? It can best be summed up as the knowledge of the laws and forces that underlie the universe but are not evident to the five senses of man’s normal perception. Basically, they taught an awareness of the invisible worlds for wisdom and guidance and the development of psychic abilities and spiritual healing techniques.
New Age writers often refer to the core teachings of occultism as the Ancient Wisdom. They also refer to it as the Secret Wisdom, Ageless Wisdom, and the Perennial Wisdom. Many believe this Ancient Wisdom can be traced back to the fabled civilization of Atlantis.
Despite enormous geographical distances and cultural differences, the Mysteries all taught the same message: “Happy and blessed one, you have become divine instead of mortal.”1
The Theosophical Society
If we were to mark any particular beginning of the modern New Age movement, it would have to be the founding of the Theosophical Society. Theos is the Greek word for God, and sophos is the word for wisdom. The Theosophical Society became the society for the study of the wisdom of the Divine.
The Society was started in 1875 in New York City by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (a Russian noblewoman) and Col. Henry Olcott, an American occultist.
The main purpose of Theosophy, as it was called, was to open the door for occult teachings to spread throughout Western society. It concentrated on the development of occult powers within the individual rather than concerning itself simply with contacting the dead, as did the spiritualist movement. The following statement can best explain the core of Theosophy:
Theosophical teachers have all repeated the old, old doctrine as the fundamental on which to build—the doctrine that the real human being is not the poor weak creature he too often thinks he is, and exhibits to others, but a wondrous spiritual being in the innermost recesses of his nature, a divine mystery, and that it is within his power to find himself, and indeed it is his destiny, to realize this and eventually become it.2
Although the Theosophical Society’s influence has greatly waned, Theosophical lodges can still be found around the world. The Theosophical Society was instrumental in beginning what is now known as the New Age movement in the western world.
Alice Bailey and the Coming One
In the early twentieth century, a figure who would have a major impact on the Western esoteric movement came out of the occultic Theosophical Society. The actual coining of the very term New Age has been attributed to her writings. Her name was Alice Ann Bailey.
Born Alice LaTrobe-Bateman, in Manchester, England on June 16, 1880, she grew up as a society girl and enjoyed all the privileges of the British upper class. Being very religious, Alice met and married a man who later became an Episcopal minister. In time, they moved to the United States. When Alice’s husband became physically abusive toward her, she fled from him and settled with her three children in Pacific Grove, California.
Alice was greatly comforted when she met two other English women living in Pacific Grove. These women introduced her to theosophy, which seemed to provide answers to her questions concerning why such misfortune had befallen her. Alice, then 35, was about to have her life changed forever. Later, in her unfinished autobiography, she wrote:
I discovered, first of all, that there is a great and divine Plan . . . I discovered, for a second thing, that there are Those Who are responsible for the working out of that Plan and Who, step by step and stage by stage, have led mankind on down the centuries.23
In 1917, Alice moved to Los Angeles and began working for that plan at the Theosophical Society headquarters where she met Foster Bailey, a man who had devoted his life to occultism. She divorced her estranged husband and married Bailey in 1920. Alice had her first contact with a voice that claimed to be a master in November of 1919. Calling himself the Tibetan, he wanted Alice to take dictation from him. Concerning this, Alice wrote:
I heard a voice which said, “There are some books, which it is desired, should be written for the public. You can write them. Will you do so?”4
Alice felt reluctant at first to take on such an unusual endeavor, but the voice continued urging her to write the books. At this point in time Alice experienced a brief period of intense anxiety in which she feared for her health and sanity. One of her other spirit “masters” finally reassured her she had nothing to fear and she would be doing a “really valuable piece of work.”5 The “valuable work” Alice was to do ended up lasting thirty years. Between 1919 and 1949, by means of telepathic communication, Alice Bailey wrote nineteen books for her unseen mentor.
To occultists, the significance of the Alice Bailey writings has heralded anticipation of the appearance of a World Healer and Savior in the coming Aquarian Age (the astrological age of enlightenment and peace). This savior would unite all mankind under his guidance. Bailey termed him the “Coming One.” This person was not to be the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Christians await the return, but an entirely different individual who would embody all the great principles of occultism, chiefly the divinity and perfectibility of man. One of Bailey’s followers wrote:
The reappearance of the Avatar [world teacher], by whatever name he may be known, has been prophesied in many religions as well as in the esoteric [occult] tradition. A major manifestation is expected in connection with the Aquarian age.6
The Prophetic Connection
It is important to note that the apostle Paul declared one called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” would also proclaim himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4). I believe this coming Aquarian messiah will be the son of perdition spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians. Furthermore, I am convinced the New Age movement is his spiritual platform. Too many things fit together for this to be just mere coincidence. Therefore, we must examine the restructuring of our world by those who are preparing the way for his arrival.
Daniel 8:23 states this man will be a master of dark sayings. In Hebrew, this translates as one skilled in cunning and ambiguous speech. The world will see him as one who is distinguished and spiritually brilliant. Keep this in mind as you read the following description:
The coming one will not be Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, not an American, Jew, Italian or Russian—his title is not important; he is for all humanity, to unite all religions, philosophies and nations.7
The only one who could bring this about is the one who fits the description mentioned in Daniel. This explains the all-out effort by the New Age, which is saturating our society with meditation right now. When this man comes forward, all those who are in touch with their higher self, those who are awakened, will clearly recognize him as their unifier and give him their allegiance. He will have a ready-made constituency (many in key positions) to help him reconstruct society. This will be the final culmination of the paradigm shift.
The Spirit-Guide Component
A disciple of the Indian guru Rajneesh made this keen observation, illustrating the potential power of this deception and the hypnotic influence of this “Coming One”:
Something had happened to Rajneesh that made him unlike other men. He had undergone some change—enlightenment, the rising of kundalini [serpent power]—and his being had been altered in palpable [noticeable] ways. The change in him in turn affected his sannyasins [disciples] and created a persistent and catalyzing resonance between them.8
What was the nature of the resonance? The Bible predicts the Antichrist and the false prophet will perform lying wonders (Revelation 13:12-15, 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Alice Bailey described the work of her New Age “Christ” very explicitly:
The work of the Christ (two thousand years ago) was to proclaim certain great possibilities and the existence of great powers. His work when He reappears will be to prove the fact of these possibilities and to reveal the true nature and potency of man.9
The following is another powerful example of what this could mean. A Hindu spiritual teacher named Sri Chinmoy has demonstrated an ability to lift 7000 pounds with one arm. He attributed his impressive ability to meditation power and admits that without it he could not lift sixty pounds.10 What had most likely enabled him to do this was the power of familiar spirits giving him (and those observing this) the impression this was done through the power of his higher self. This is what the Bible means by “lying wonders.” The “man of sin” (the “Coming One”) will do this on a vast scale. He will seem to work great miracles to convince humanity we all have this great power, or as Bailey called it, potency, within us.
The Great Apostasy
In light of the many who will be coming in Christ’s name, I also believe the Alice Bailey “prophecies” can provide further insight into what the apostle Paul called in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the falling away. Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed “the regeneration of the churches.”11 Her rationale for this was obvious:
The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.12
In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative spirituality would be drawing in those open to it.
In wide segments of Christianity this has indeed already occurred. One Catholic priest alone taught 31,000 people mystical prayer in one year. People are responding to this in large numbers because it has the external appearance of Christianity but in truth is the diametric opposite. This has all the indications of the falling away of which the apostle Paul speaks.
Note this departure is tied in with the revelation of the “man of sin.” If he is indeed Bailey’s “Coming One,” then both Paul’s prophecy and Bailey’s prophecy fit together perfectly—but indisputably from opposite camps and perspectives.
This is very logical when one sees, as Paul proclaimed, that they will fall away to “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The word mystery in Greek, when used in the context of evil (iniquity), means hidden or occult!
This revitalization of Christianity would fit in with Bailey’s “new and vital world religion”13—a religion that would be the cornerstone of the New Age. Such a religion would be the spiritual platform for the “Coming One.” This unity of spiritual thought would not be a single one-world denomination but would have a unity-in-diversity, multicultural, interfaith, ecumenical agenda. Thomas Merton made a direct reference to this at a spiritual summit conference in Calcutta, India when he told Hindus and Buddhists, “We are already one, but we imagine, we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity.”14
One can easily find numerous such appeals like Merton’s in contemplative writings. Examine the following:
The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others.15 —Vivekananda
It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.16 (emphasis mine)—Basil Pennington
The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian, but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions.17—Tilden Edwards
What is happening to mainstream Christianity is the same thing that is happening to business, health, education, counseling, and other areas of society. Christianity is being cultivated for a role in the New Age. A spirit guide named Raphael explains this in the Starseed Transmissions:
We work with all who are vibrationally sympathetic; simple and sincere people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only within the context of their current belief system.18 (emphasis mine)
He is saying that they “work,” or interact, with people who open their minds to them in a way that fits in with the person’s current beliefs. In the context of Christianity this means that those meditating will think that they have contacted God, when in reality they have connected up with Raphael’s kind (who are more than willing to impersonate whomever they wish to reach so long as these seductive spirits can link with them).
This ultimately points to a deluded global religion based on meditation and mystical experience. New Age writer David Spangler explains it the following way:
There will be several religious and spiritual disciplines as there are today, each serving different sensibilities and affinities, each enriched by and enriching the particular cultural soil in which it is rooted. However, there will also be a planetary spirituality that will celebrate the sacredness of the whole humanity in appropriate festivals, rituals, and sacraments. . . . Mysticism has always overflowed the bounds of particular religious traditions, and in the new world this would be even more true.19
The Blood of the Saints
One of the main tenets of New Age thought is peace, goodwill, and the unity of all humanity. Remember, the Age of Aquarius is to be the Age of Oneness. In context with this idea, the term cleansing is quite disturbing. A number of books make reference to those who are laggards when the New Age reaches its maturity. Various New Age writers consider these resisters as eventually the only hindrance in allowing this global spirituality to occur:
Remnants of the Fifth Root Race [untransformed humanity] will continue to survive in the initial stages of the new Cosmic Cycle, but unless they increase their awareness or consciousness to the Higher Mind and the tempo of spirituality, they will be removed from the Life Stream of the Race.20
Unity-motivated souls will respond to His [the New Age Messiah’s] call, their inner drive for spiritual world unity will synchronize with higher energy. People opposing the recognition of the Christ may struggle intensely, but it will not be prolonged. The Christ energy by then will be so strong people will be dealt with according to their own individualized karma and their ability and desire to assimilate this accelerated energy.21 (emphasis mine)
The final appearance of the Christ will be an evolutionary event. It will be the disappearance of egocentric [lower self], subhuman man and the ascension of God-centered Man. A new race, a new species, will inhabit the Earth—people who collectively have the stature of consciousness that Jesus had.22
Even Alice Bailey herself, who personified New Age consciousness, backs what these three quotes imply:
The new era is coming; the new ideals, the new civilization, the new modes of life, of education, of religious presentation and of government are slowly precipitating and naught can stop them. They can, however, be delayed by the reactionary types of people, by the ultra-conservative and closed minds. . . . They are the ones who can and do hold back the hour of liberation. . . . these must all be brought under the power of death.23 (emphasis mine)
If one understands the rationale behind these statements, then it becomes clear what they are talking about. Those who will accept the Christ consciousness can stay—those who won’t—must go. The quote about people’s “ability and desire” to assimilate the “Christ energy” as the determining factor in their fate is very thought provoking.
Barbara Marx Hubbard, a major New Age proponent and a supporter of Marianne Williamson’s Department of Peace efforts in Washington, DC says there must be a “selection process” for those “who refuse to see themselves and others as a part of God [Hubbard’s “God”].”24 She states:
He [God] describes, therefore, the necessity of a “selection process” that will select out resistant individuals who “choose” not to evolve.25
Human must become Divine. That is the law.26
Persecution and death is predicted in the Bible for those who won’t fall into line during the Antichrist’s rule. The parallel between what the Bible says about this period and the statements above are striking. The following prophecies reveal what is in store for those who will preach the real Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the true kingdom during this time. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9:
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (emphasis mine)
Revelation says of this period:
And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:9-10, emphasis added)
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4, emphasis mine)
The following verse lends credence that this will be on an individual spiritual basis:
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (Luke 21:16)
This implies that a family member or a friend may be turned over to be dealt with for their own good. It will be seen as an altruistic act.
The explanation I have just laid out would most likely annoy or even infuriate anyone involved with or attracted to New Age spirituality. After all, nowhere do you find New Agers saying they are going to kill anybody. It is left rather vague about how anyone will be removed. But the following channeled words by Neale Donald Walsch’s “God” explain the rationale for what most people would consider outrageous and impossible. Listen to his “God”:
So the first thing you have to understand—as I’ve already explained to you—is that Hitler didn’t hurt anyone. In a sense, he didn’t inflict suffering, he ended it.27 (emphasis added)
There is no “death.” Life goes on forever and ever. Life is. You simply change form. . . . After you change form, consequences cease to exist. There is just Knowing.28
The real issue is whether Hitler’s actions where [were] “wrong.” Yet I have said over and over again that there is no “right” or “wrong” in the universe. Now your thought that Hitler was a monster is based on the fact that he ordered the killing of millions of people, correct? What if I told you that what you call “death” is the greatest thing that could happen to anyone—what then?. . . Shall we therefore punish Bre’r Fox for throwing Bre’r Rabbit into the briar patch?29 (emphasis mine)
This is a very revealing statement. Traditional morality has been virtually turned on its head here. In other words, according to the higher consciousness that Walsch is in tune with, killing people could actually be doing them a favor! But would Walsch think this is profound higher wisdom if he himself were shivering sick and starving in a cattle car bound for Auschwitz. Would he have a smile on his face if he were stripped naked and herded into a gas chamber to face a gruesome, agonizing death? I think not!
Walsch is no obscure personality. He is highly respected and regarded. In the widely read book and film, The Secret, Walsch is described as a “modern-day spiritual messenger.”30 His Conversations with God books remain highly popular within the western world and are called “groundbreaking.”
Could there have been the same spiritual component to Hitler’s persecution of humanity in Europe? Most likely! Consider the following evidence. The swastika, the main symbol of Nazism, is an age-old Hindu symbol that is still found on many temples throughout India. The word is not even German, but Sanskrit—Svastika—meaning “that which is excellent.”31 A New Age book has described its meaning as representing “the final stage in which the chakra is active, developed, opened, and energized by awakened kundalini energy.”32 Thus, the very banner of Nazism stands for the very energy and thrust that underlies the whole New Age movement. New Agers even acknowledge this. David Spangler makes reference in one of his books to “ . . . the Nazi movement, which had many roots in occultism.”33 The swastika symbol was also prominently displayed on Madame Blavatsky’s personal brooch, in exactly the same style as the Nazi one (tilting at an angle to the right) decades before the Nazi Party was even formed. One can also see the parallel between Nazism and the Ancient Wisdom in the Hindu caste system, with its Brahmin (aryan) caste and its lower untouchable caste. The Nazis also took the term Aryan—literally, the worthy race—from Hinduism.34 The word has nothing to do with ancient Germany as many believe, but is a Hindu word meaning noble or superior.
Although the Nazi’s were militarist and racist, and the New Age promotes love and brotherhood, these facts should not be disregarded. Bailey was an idealist, but if her Coming One is the man of sin spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2, then the comparison is not so discordant.
What we are warning about is not some unprovable conspiracy theory. In fact, far from it. In March of 2016, Newsweek magazine put out a special edition called “Spiritual Living.” This glossy publication presented page after page of pure Alice Bailey spirituality. The entire issue was devoted to the mystical perception that man is divine.
The key to positive change—both internal and external—is present in everyone, and it also exists all around us. Whether through meditation, energy healing or a full-on spiritual awakening, you can transcend the physical world to better your mind, body and soul.35
That may sound kind of benign, but numerous articles in the magazine promote the idea of spirits that can indwell people. If this had been put out by the National Enquirer, then this could be dismissed as nothing more than sensationalistic or exaggerated. But Newsweek is one of the oldest and most respected news magazines in the world. When they make this kind of an effort, then we need to sit up and take notice that Alice Bailey’s religion has now come to the forefront of mainstream society. What this means according to those who are sympathetic with this is that if we are to be “spiritual,” we need to partake of Alice Bailey’s “new vital world religion.”
To order copies of Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age Movement And Her Plans to “Revitalize” Christianity, click here.
1. Geoffrey Parrinder, World Religions from Ancient History to the Present (New York, NY: Facts on File Publications, 1983), p. 155.
2. Charles J. Ryan, What is Theosophy? A General View of Occult Doctrine (San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, Inc., revised edition, 1975), p. 16.
3. Harold Balyoz, Three Remarkable Women (Flagstaff, AZ: Atlas Publishers, 1986), p. 207.
4. Ibid., p. 210.
5. Ibid., p. 213.
6. Simons Roof, About the Aquarian Age (The Mountain School of Esoteric Studies), p. 7.
7. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Wyoming, MI: Coptic Press, 1982),, p. 150.
8 . James S. Gordon, The Golden Guru: The Strange Journey of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Lexington, MA: The Stephen Greene Press, 1988), p. 236.
9. Alice A. Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (Albany, NY: Fort Orange Press, fourth printing, 1962), p. 124.
10. “Sri Chinmoy Lifts Over 7,000 lbs. with One Arm” (Life Times magazine, Vol. 1, Number 3), p. 45.
11. Alice Bailey, Problems of Humanity (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1993), p. 152.
12. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1976), p. 510.
13. Alice Bailey, Problems of Humanity, op. cit., p. 152.
14. Joel Beversluis, Project Editor, A Source Book for Earth’s Community of Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: CoNexus Press, 1995, Revised Edition), p. 151.
15. Swami Vivekananda’s “Addresses at the Parliament of Religions” (Chicago, September 27, 1893, http://www.interfaithstudies.org/interfaith/vivekparladdresses.html, accessed 12/2005).
16. M. Basil Pennington, Centered Living (New York, NY: Image Books, 1988), p. 192.
17. Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980), p. 172.
18. Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
19. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York, NY: Dell Publishing Co., New York, NY, 1984), p. 112.
20. Donald Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 58.
21. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming, op. cit., p. 152.
22. John White, “The Second Coming” (New Frontier Magazine, December 1987), p. 45.
23. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, op. cit.
24. Barbara Marx Hubbard, Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1998), pp. 240, 267.
26. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 233.
27. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Road Publishing Company, Inc., 1997), p. 56.
28. Ibid., p. 40.
29. Ibid., p. 36.
30. Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2006), p. 197.
31. Geoffrey A. Barborka, Glossary of Sanskrit Terms (Buena Park, CA: Stockton Trade Press, Point Loma Publications, 1972), p. 64.
32. Zachary E Lansdowne, Ph. D., The Chakras and Esoteric Healing (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., First Indian edition: Delhi, 1993), p. 114.
33. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York, NY: Dell Publishing Company, 1984), p. 159.
34. Geoffrey A. Barborka, op. cit., p. 15.
35. Newsweek magazine, Special Edition: Spiritual Living, March 2016, p. 7.
To order copies of Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age Movement And Her Plans to “Revitalize” Christianity, click here.
To read more material by Ray Yungen, visit his website at www.atimeofdeparting.com.
Castles in the Sand by Carolyn A. Greene is a story based on true facts and addresses the fast growing contemplative prayer movement within the evangelical/Protestant church. The story is about a 21st century Christian college girl who is introduced to the writings of a 15th century mystic girl, Teresa of Avila in her Spiritual Formation class. Teresa of Avila is one of the ancient mystics to whom modern day contemplatives turn. For example, Richard Foster includes her in Devotional Classics, Sanctuary of the Soul, and Longing for God. We think when you read this chapter of Castles in the Sand, you will see how the spiritual practices of Teresa of Avila line up with the occult but not with biblical Christianity. If you didn’t get a chance to read chapter one when we posted it, here it is again: (chapter one). Below is an excerpt to chapter two with a link to the entire chapter.
Castles in the Sand
Spain, circa 1533
The pale, shivering girl was vaguely aware of being lifted onto a clean sheet and covered with a dry blanket. When she opened her eyes, a blurry face hovered above her. The girl’s head was pounding, and nausea swept over her in waves. Slowly, she pulled herself upright on the narrow straw mattress. Suddenly, she cried out with alarm as her big brown eyes continued to stare vacantly.
“Run, Rodrigo! He’s found us! Run!”
“Sister Juana, she’s burning up with the malaria,” Teresa heard a young nun say as she was gently laid back down. Someone was dabbing her forehead with a cool, wet cloth. As if from afar, she recognized the voices of the two nuns who stood at the foot of her bed, praying their rosaries.
Her pulse faint, her breath shallow, the feverish girl closed her eyes, as her memory drifted back to her past, beginning with when she was just seven years old . . .
Holding her little brother’s hand, she ran with him as fast as their little legs could carry them, and they made it past the city gate. Suddenly, she felt a large, strong hand grabbing her by the shoulder, abruptly ending their flight. Her uncle had caught up with them.
“Come now, little Teresa, it’s time to go home. Your mother is anxious!” he said gently, as he dragged her and Rodrigo back home to their worried parents.
Safely home and tucked into her bed later that evening, she overheard the family members and servants talk late into the night.
“Whoever heard of a noble family having to send a search party into the streets for two precocious children–because of their vivid imaginations!”
“Who would put these foolish ideas into Teresa’s head?”
“What could possibly have inspired a seven-year-old girl to run away with her little brother, and to Morocco of all places?!”
“And to face certain martyrdom by beheading at the hands of the Moors!” blustered her irate uncle loudly.
“That is what she desired,” sighed another family member. “What do you expect of a child who reads too much?”
As Teresa grew older, only her father understood her love for books and the effect they had on her active imagination. She had inherited her passion for literature from her mother, who had spent many hours of the day in bed reading romance stories. She is so like her mother, her father frequently thought, smiling to himself. He often found Teresa alone on the roof of the villa, reading books rather than watching over her younger sisters and brothers in the courtyard below. How she loved those fascinating stories of saints and martyrs.
Twelve-year-old Teresa was profoundly impacted by her mother’s tragic death. Her passing had left the young girl feeling emotionally raw and empty. Finally, in quiet desperation one evening, Teresa threw herself on the floor before an image of the Virgin Mary and pleaded with her, “Be my new mother.”
Her father kept a watchful eye on his daughter as her extreme devotion to the Mother Mary and her good intentions to live a devoted life eventually gave way to an interest in fashion, perfumes, and hairstyles. Before long, her passion for reading and writing romances was rekindled as her imagination and beauty blossomed. Concerned that Teresa had no mother to guard her virtue, Father sent her away to boarding school at the Augustinian convent. After all, his lovely daughter was attracting the attention of far too many young men.
The first week at the convent was most dreadful for a girl accustomed to the fineries of life. But she soon decided that the harsh conditions served some practical use. At least she was being provided with an education, which was certainly preferable to looking after siblings, she reasoned. Click here to read the rest of chapter 2.
First published in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has had a massive influence on today’s Christianity. Unfortunately, the influence has helped to saturate the church with mystical contemplative prayer and the New Age. Most likely, your pastor has a copy of this book sitting on his library shelves. He may even have it sitting on his desk for easy reach and reference. Richard Foster, a Quaker and the founder of an organization called Renovare (meaning renewal), wrote the book and even he may have had no idea the impact this book would have. But 38 years later, it is still being read, and in fact, Christian leaders and organizations continue promoting the book.
Foster said in the book, that we “should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer” (p. 13, 1978 ed.). In other books and writings of Foster’s, he makes it very clear that this “contemplative prayer” is the eastern style mantra meditation to which mystic monk Thomas Merton adhered. In fact, Richard Foster once told Ray Yungen (author of A Time of Departing) that “Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people” (at a conference in Salem, OR).
Thomas Merton, who said he was “impregnated with Sufism” (Merton and Sufism, p. 69) and wanted to “become as good a Buddhist” as he could be (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West”), believed that “God’s people” lacked one thing . . . mysticism and this is to what they needed “awakening.” Of Merton, Foster says: “Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.” (Spiritual Classics, p. 17) And yet, Thomas Merton once told New Age Episcopal priest Matthew Fox that he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who were dropping LSD because all they had to do was practice the mystical (contemplative) stream to achieve the same results. (Interview) We couldn’t agree with him more. Both altered states are the same, and neither lead to God.
Listed under “excellent books on spirituality,” in some editions of Celebration of Discipline, Foster says of Tilden Edwards’ book, Spiritual Friend that it helps “clear away the confusion and invites us to see that we do not have to live the spiritual life in isolation.” And yet, Tilden Edwards, founder of the Christian/Buddhist Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, said that contemplative spirituality was the “Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality”(Spiritual Friend, p. 18). On the Shalem Institute website you can find numerous quotes, references, articles, and recommendations to panentheism, universalism, interspirituality, New Age, and Eastern thought.
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells us “we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation” (COD, p.13.) He goes on to say that the “masters of meditation beckon us.” Just prior to that remark, he quotes Carl Jung and Thomas Merton.
Celebration of Discipline has helped to pave the way for Thomas Merton’s panentheistic belief system. It has opened the door for other Christian authors, speakers, and pastors to bring contemplative spirituality into the lives of millions of people. The late Henri Nouwen, a popular contemplative who also followed the teachings of Thomas Merton, made a telling statement towards the end of his life:
I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God (emphasis added – Sabbatical Journey, p. 51).
Today, countless ministers and ministries are promoting and endorsing Celebration of Discipline. If they really knew what Foster’s “celebration” was all about, we think many of them would race away from the teachings of Thomas Merton and Richard Foster and back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Note: If your pastor or someone you know has a copy of Celebration of Discipline or quotes Richard Foster, be sure and give him a copy of Ray Yungen’s new booklet A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer. Also, want to know what Spiritual Formation is (and its dangers), read this: Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t
First ever Catholic speaker at IHOP-KC Onething conference was asked to speak on wisdom of Teresa of Avila, contemplative prayer
By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
“I recently had the extraordinary privilege of being the first ever Catholic speaker at a very large Evangelical conference. [IHOP-KC Onething 2015] You might be surprised to know that they asked me to speak on the wisdom of St. Teresa of Avila regarding the progress of prayer from those just beginning to pray to those who know the sublime reality of contemplative prayer.”  –Dan Burke, President of the Avila Foundation
The “sublime reality of contemplative prayer”?
Mike Bickle, Director of International House of Prayer has been practicing and promoting contemplative prayer for a long time. This is the primary reason IHOP-KC is defying the Bible about Catholicism. Theology has been altered and addled via the sweet deceptions of this practice. Click here to continue reading.