God in Everything? The Premise of Contemplative Prayer

by Ray Yungen

It was Alice Bailey (the famous occult prophetess who coined the term New Age), who made this startling assertion:

It is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the Christian Knower with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to the same efficacy of method.

What did she mean by the term “Christian Knower”? The answer is unmistakable! … [O]ccultism is awakening the mystical faculties to see God in everything. In Hinduism, this is called reaching samadhi or enlightenment. It is the final objective of yoga meditation: God in everything – a force or power flowing through all that exists. William Johnston believes such an experience exists within the context of Christianity. He explains:

What I can safely say, however, is that there is a Christian samadhi that has always occupied an honored place in the spirituality of the West. This, I believe, is the thing that is nearest to Zen. It is this that I have called Christian Zen.

The famous psychologist Carl Jung predicted this system would be the yoga of the west. Christian Zen? Christian yoga? These seem to be oxymorons, like military pacifism or alcoholic sobriety. Christians, conservative ones at least, have always viewed these concepts as heretical and anti-biblical. The word most commonly used for it is pantheism – all is God. But when one looks at the Christian Zen movement one discovers a similar term, which for all practical purposes, means the same thing. This term is called panentheism?God is in all things….

[Does] panentheism have a legitimate place in orthodox Christianity? This is a vital question because panentheism is the foundational worldview among those who engage in mystical prayer. Ken Kaisch, a Episcopal priest and a teacher of mystical prayer, made this very clear in his book, Finding God, where he noted:

Meditation is a process through which we quiet the mind and the emotions and enter directly into the experience of the Divine…. there is a deep connection between us … God is in each of us.

Here lies the core of panentheism: God is in everything and everything is in God. The only difference between pantheism and panentheism is how God is in everything. This position of the panentheist is challenging to understand: Your outer personality is not God, but God is still in you as your true identity. This explains why mystics say, all is one. At the mystical level, they experience this God-force that seems to flow through everything and everybody. All creation has God in it as a living, vital presence. It is just hidden.

The theological implications of this worldview put it at direct odds with biblical Christianity for obvious reasons. Only one true God exists, and His identity is not in everyone. The fullness of God?s identity, in bodily form, rests in Jesus Christ and Him only!

Click here to read this entire excerpt from A Time of Departing.

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