Posts Tagged ‘mantra meditation’

Letter to the Editor: First Responders in a Biblical Emergency

Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:

It seems that a new phrase might be in order to describe what’s going on in the church.  When we see or hear someone endorse a practice that goes contrary to the Word within the church especially, I guess we could call that “a biblical emergency” for lack of a better term.  We could call those who are out on the front lines warning us about these practices “first responders” in a certain sense, similar to the terminology that applies to those responding to a fire, a robbery, etc.

With contemplative prayer, mantra meditation, and other unbiblical practices having entered into the church, I would say the church has that kind of emergency situation.  It’s a very unusual way to describe that.


Ron D.

Fortune Magazine: “Meditation Has Become A Billion-Dollar Business”

photo from; used with permission.

photo from; used with permission.

The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time.—Ray Yungen

By Jen Wieczner

In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).

This year 22% of employers will offer mindfulness training—typically priced between $500 and $10,000 for large-group sessions—a percentage that could double in 2017, according to a forthcoming survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. The non-profit Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a mindfulness training program incubated at Google, grew revenue more than 50% last year by offering two-day workshops (up to $35,000 for 50 people) to dozens of other Fortune 500 companies, including Ford F -1.06% and American Express AXP -1.36% . Click here to continue reading.

A Related Article by Ray Yungen Showing the Implications of New Age in Business:

If there was one single group to whom the promise of creating one’s own reality would have specific appeal, it would be business people. The competition in the corporate world is so keen that anything, no matter how unusual, may be eagerly embraced if it offers results. As they say in the business world, the bottom line is success.

The way New Age thought has crept into corporations is simple to understand. Management trainers and human resource developers hold positions where they can incorporate metaphysics into business under titles such as Intuition Development, Right Brain Creativity, and Superlearning. The New Age nature of these seminars may be introduced by employers either intentionally or unwittingly. The New Age Journal states:

An unconventional new breed of consultant has surfaced on the corporate lecture circuit. They speak of meditation, energy flow and tapping into the unused potential of the mind. What’s more, they are spreading their Arcane curriculum not only among the alternative entrepreneurs who populate the capitalist fringe, but within the heart of corporate America as well. General Electric, IBM, Shell, Polaroid, and the Chase Manhattan Bank are sending their fast-trackers to crash courses in, strange as it may sound, intuition.1

Once, while attending a New Age convention, I was told by one of these new breeds that resistance to New Age concepts in business was being replaced by a new openness. “How you focus it is all important,” he began, and then added:

If you barge in with occult lingo it turns them off right away. You have to tell them how you can make their employees happier and get more productivity out of them—then they will listen. You are really teaching metaphysics, but you present it as human development.

The Quiet Revolution

This approach has tremendous appeal because companies naturally want to get the most out of their people. New Agers know this approach works to their advantage. One trainer defines her role the following way:

There is something new in the fact that businesses are taking an active interest in the potential of these techniques to bring about transformational change within large groups of people for organizational ends. You have to deal with the whole person—body, mind and spirit—if real change is to happen.2

In one interview, New Age writer Marilyn Ferguson echoes the same theme:

Business leaders have, by and large, exhausted materialistic values and are often open to spiritual values… What’s more, top-level business people are not afraid of the transformative process, and typically, after I speak to them, they say, “I didn’t know that such things were possible. I don’t understand everything you’re saying, but I’m going to find out about it.” Whereas most people who don’t understand new concepts automatically reject them, business people, who by nature are trained in risk taking, go after them.3

Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., founder and director of the Learning for Health Clinic in Los Angeles, had this to say:

Many progressive companies are incorporating some of the inner-directed exercises I mentioned [in meditation and visualization] into their “manual of procedures” . . . These changes point to a quiet, inner-directed revolution that is reshaping many companies into being agents of self-realization. . . . Many social thinkers, such as Marilyn Ferguson, believe that because of its openness to change, business has the greatest potential for spiritualizing the world. (emphasis mine)4

A number of courses, books, and individuals are having a great impact on the business world. Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers have written a book titled Creativity in Business. The book is based on a Stanford University course that they claim has “revolutionized the art of success.”5 Two people who enthusiastically endorse this book are Spencer Johnson, MD., coauthor of The One Minute Manager, and Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence. Silicon Valley Bank Chairman, N.W. Medearis, says the book is “an experience which will leave one significantly changed.”6

Ray and Myers acknowledge that the book takes much of its inspiration from “Eastern philosophies, mysticism, and meditation techniques” and that “dozens of America’s brightest and most successful business practitioners and entrepreneurs have contributed to the course and to this book.”7

It is absolutely amazing how unabashed Creativity in Business is in recommending its source of creativity. In one section we find the heading, “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Guide.” It reads:

In this exercise you meet your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide—an inner person who can be with you in life, someone to whom you can turn for guidance.8

These beings are contacted either through meditative breathing exercises or with mantra meditation. If there is any doubt the book is talking about New Age meditation, it is resolved upon reading:

As meditation master Swami Muktananda says: “We do not meditate just to relax a little and experience some peace. We meditate to unfold our inner being.”9

Tarot cards are even presented as a source of creativity. As with other New Age categories, it begins with breathing exercises (or as the book says, go into silence). The person then picks the cards, which are supposed to give “some important insights.”10

A new generation of New Age business gurus is starting to emerge on the scene. One of the more prominent is T. Harv Eker, who leads “Millionaire Mind Seminars” through his company Peak Potentials Training. This is one of the fastest growing corporate training companies in the country today, with 250,000 trainees to date. What these eager folks learn is apparent by Eker’s statement that his “Mission is to educate and inspire people to live in their Higher Self.”11

This is a typical approach. You will recall an earlier quote, “businessmen eat this stuff up, the experience sells itself.” That is why it is making such headway, it works. If these methods work for people in business today the way they worked for Madame Blavatsky in finding the woman’s lost brooch related in chapter two, then it’s easy to see the implications of metaphysics in the business world.

Quite often I will hear people from a certain age group and social outlook dismiss what I am researching with terms such as “weirdo hippie religion.” When I hear this, I think of articles appearing in such well respected magazines as U.S. News & World Report which paint a far different picture. One article in particular dealt specifically with New Age spirituality in the corporate world. It was called “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating.” The article disclosed that such consultants had become “the darlings of business circles”12 and not just any business circles:

[W]hen 2,000 global powerbrokers gathered for the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the agenda included confabs on “spiritual anchors for the new millennium” and “the future of meditation in a networked economy.” Indeed, 30 MBA programs now offer courses on the issue. It’s also the focus of the . . . Harvard Business School Bulletin. (emphasis mine)13

What this shows is that the dismissal of New Age spirituality as hippy/dippy is very much outdated and unsound. As one corporate trainer proudly proclaimed, “What’s new is that it’s just entered the mainstream.”

Corporate “Wellness”
Creativity is not the only New Age avenue into the corporate scene. Health and fitness programs presented in the context of corporate wellness are becoming increasingly popular. Executives give a willing ear to ways of keeping productivity up and absenteeism down.

Many of these programs have metaphysical motives within them. One such wellness expert promoting total health explained how she was able to teach mantra meditation to a group of businessmen:

Just yesterday I met with a whole room of executives for breakfast—top executives in a huge multinational company. . . . Here were these executives closing their eyes and breathing deeply into their abdomens, and quieting their mind by repeating just one word—“relax, relax.”14

Earlier in the interview this woman related how she had “studied metaphysics” and “meditated three or four times a day for direction.”15

In her joy at being able to subtly introduce meditation to those who would have rejected it as being too “far out” otherwise, she commented: “Ten years ago in an American company I would have been thrown out in the street, I’m sure.”16

Business—The Most Logical Candidate
The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time. When asked in an interview about where he thought the vanguard of transformation was in the country today, New Ager James Fadiman replied:

What’s fascinating to me is that when I met recently with some of the old-timers in the movement, I discovered that all of us had expanded from working in growth centers to working in American business. What the business community needs, wants, and appreciates at this time are insights from the human potential movement. . . . I’m finding executives who, twenty years ago, considered the human potential movement a kind of joke and who are now recruiting specialists into the most conservative industries.17

Larry Wilson, coauthor of The One Minute Sales Person, clearly stated in an interview that metaphysics is the core of what is being taught:

The heart of our new management training represents a return to the ancient spiritual wisdom about the true identity and power of the individual. In our courses, we aim to empower people so they can get in touch with their creative Source and then apply the potential to every part of their lives, including their work life. (emphasis mine)18

Wilson also revealed in the interview that it is the higher self that is at the heart of this “ancient spiritual wisdom.” He explained:

Once a sufficient number of employees get in touch with their true potential, the organization changes . . . it helps to have top management in tune with it.19

In another interview, the late futurist and New Age leader Willis Harman acknowledged that:

Some of the most creative and successful people in business are really part of this new paradigm movement. You can find this sort of talk going on in business. In fact, a group of business executives and myself got together and created something we call the World Business Academy, which is a network of business executives who have already gone through their own personal transformations to a considerable extent and are asking: “What’s the new role of business? What’s the new corporation?”20

International Management magazine revealed that many of the major European corporations are also eagerly embracing New Age spirituality. Included in the list were the Bank of England and the UK’s Ministry of Defense and Cabinet Office.21

The previously mentioned individuals, and numerous others like them, are working diligently within the corporate world to bring about a paradigm shift of potentially staggering proportions. Larry Wilson acknowledged this by saying, “This new approach is changing the corporation, and that change will affect other institutions of our Society.”22

This is not an understatement. In the 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a New Age think tank), it reveals:

Since 1994 more than 100,000 executives from 56 countries have taken the Self-Management and Leadership Course (SML). SML is a two-day residential retreat inspired by the principles of raja yoga, which advocates inner stillness through breathwork, movement, meditation, and self-inquiry as a path to wisdom and inner balance.23

New Agers know that if they can transform business, they will have transformed the world. The reason for this is that business and government feed into each other, so to speak. Many politicians are also business people, or lawyers with strong ties to business. Also, many politicians go back into the corporate world when they leave office. The two cultures are profoundly intertwined. If the corporate world goes New Age (as we see it doing) the world of government isn’t far behind. (For more information on how the New Age has come into our North American society, read For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen.)

1. E. Armstrong, “Bottom-Line Intuition” (New Age Journal, December 1985), p. 32.
2. “What’s New in the New Age?” (Training Magazine, September 1987), p. 25.
3. Interview with Marilyn Ferguson (Science of Mind magazine, May 1983), pp. 11-12.
4. “From Burnout to Balance,” Interview with Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., (Science of Mind magazine, June 1985), pp. 88-89.
5. Michael Ray and Rochelle Meyers, Creativity in Business (Garden City, New York, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1986), front cover.
6. Ibid., back cover.
7. Ibid., back flap.
8. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
9. Ibid., p. 142.
10. Ibid., p. 154.
11. T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind; quote taken from Eker’s Peak Potentials Training website,, accessed 11/2011.
12. Marci McDonald, “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating: Spirituality is the latest corporate buzzword” (U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999), p. 46.
13. Ibid.
14. Kathy Juline, “Wellness Works: A New Lifestyle for a New World,” Interview with Elaine Willis, Ph.D. (Science of Mind magazine, June 1990), p. 25.
15. Ibid., pp. 19-20.
16. Ibid.
17. Interview with James Fadiman (Science of Mind magazine, June 1988), p. 77.
18. “Changing the Game in Business,” Interview with Larry Wilson (Science of Mind magazine, February 1987), p. 10.
19. Ibid., p. 14.
20. Willis Harman, “The New Age of Consciousness” (Guide to New Age Living, 1989), pp. 18, 20.
21. “Disciples of the New Age,” (International Management magazine, March, 1991), p. 45.
22. Larry Wilson interview, op. cit., p. 31.
23. 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming Journal (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences, March-May 2007, No. 14, 2007), p. 55.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words – Newsweek Cover – Further Proof That Meditation Has Gone Mainstream

Walk to Emmaus and Tres Dias – A Walk to Deception

The Walk to Emmaus is a program put on by Upper Room Ministries. Upper Room promotes Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality), and if you want to understand the dynamics of Walk to Emmaus, then understanding the spirituality of Upper Room will help you:

“The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949.” from the Walk to Emmaus website

Walk to Emmaus is widely spread. It is estimated that over half a million persons have experienced a Walk to Emmaus weekend and today the Movement counts more than 300 communities distributed all over the United States as well as all over the world.1

Mantra Meditation is promoted at Upper Room Ministries also:

“Mantra — The word comes from Sanskrit. Its two-syllabus mean: man or mind and tra or deliverance. A mantra is sound vibration that is intended to deliver the mind from distractions and a focus on the material world. A mantra is repeated like a chant and has a spiritual effect associated with the physical vibration. A mantra can be as simple as one syllable ‘OM’ or as more complicated such as, ‘OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM’.” From the Upper Room website (now removed)

“The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949.”2

Tres Dias is an offshoot of the Cursillo Movement and should be avoided as well.

List of places that do Walk to Emmaus

The Walk to Emmaus (The Upper Room) website

Chrysalis Walk to Emmaus

Book Alert: Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson

Rick Warren’s New Book, The Daniel Plan, Receives Media Blitz—But Book Does Double-Speak on Eastern-Style Meditation

On Sunday, December 1st, 32 million homes (and 63 million readers)in America received the following issue of Parade newspaper-insert magazine:



The subtitle on the cover of this issue of the “most widely read magazine in America”2 reads: Rick Warren—One of America’s most influential pastors delivers a life-changing message on the connection between getting healthy and doing good. You’ll find Rick Warren showing up in quite a few other places of late as his new book, The Daniel Plan (based on his Daniel Plan diet plan), hit the streets on December 3rd.

The Parade article boasts of the “collectively dropped 250,000 pounds” the Saddleback congregation has lost since it began The Daniel Plan. The article also says that they did this with the help of three doctors: Dr. Amen, Dr. Hyman, and Dr. Oz. The article doesn’t, however, talk about what else the Saddleback dieters have lost—which would be any semblance of spiritual discernment that they might have previously had. That might sound like an overly-strong and critical statement to those who don’t have all the facts, but as we have reported on for nearly three years now, Rick Warren, unfortunately, compromised the spiritual well-being of his congregation when he teamed up with Amen, Hyman, and Oz, all of whom are eastern-style meditation advocates.

If you have read any of our coverage on The Daniel Plan, you will understand exactly what we mean. Here is a list of some of the stories we’ve done on Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan:

Podcast by Chris Lawson and Ray Yungen: Warning About New Age Influences in Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan

Understanding the Occultic Nature of Tantric Sex (The Practice Promoted by Dr. Amen – Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Doctor)

Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation

Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan – The New Age/Eastern Meditation Doctors Behind the Saddleback Health Plan 

Another Reason Why the Daniel Plan is Dangerous – Rick Warren’s Dr. Mark Hyman Points Followers to the Dalai Lama

Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” currently recommends hypnosis, Eastern/new age meditation

Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” Doctor Oz Will Lead Mass Hypnosis on TV

Saddleback’s Response to Criticism Over Daniel Plan – An Unscriptural Paradox!

Rick Warren Speaks Out Against Those Warning the Church of Meditation

Rick Warren’s New Health and Wellness Initiative Could Have Profound Repercussions on Many

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailNow what about Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan released by the publisher of Warren’s other books, Zondervan (the book is co-authored by Warren, Dr. Amen, and Dr. Hyman? For untold reasons, Dr. Oz is not one of the authors of the book, although he is mentioned in the book. There’s no doubt that Oz is the strongest public adherent for New Age practices, and perhaps Warren decided he was too much of a high profile New Ager to include in the book. But keep in mind that Amen and Hymen are not too far behind. Amen promotes tantric sex, and Hyman is connected to a shamanic organization called FourWinds (“where modern science meets ancient wisdom“).  So excluding Oz from Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan book isn’t very impressive.

One has several buying options that Zondervan has provided: The Daniel Plan book (Kindle and hardcover), The Daniel Plan Journal (Kindle and hardcover), The Daniel Plan Study Guide (Kindle and Paperback), The Daniel Plan DVD Study, The Daniel Plan Cookbook (due out in April 2014, written by Warren, Hyman, and Amen), The Daniel Plan Study Guide with DVD, The Daniel Plan Church Campaign Kit (due out 12/23/13), an mp3 and CD Daniel Plan, and the Spanish edition El Plan Daniel: 40 Dias Hacia Una Vida Mas Saludable.

There are a number of things we could say about The Daniel Plan book (such as Warren’s use of The Message “Bible“), and perhaps we will at another juncture in time. But what we want to point to presently, we find is extremely important. As is so often the case with Rick Warren (and other Christian leaders in today’s world), he has spoken out of both sides of his mouth in The Daniel Plan with regard to meditation. First, early in the book, Warren makes a strong statement against mantra-style meditation. He says:

In many ways, biblical meditation is the exact opposite of eastern or New Age meditation, which is about emptying your mind and repeating a single word or mantra. In contrast, biblical meditation means taking a verse of the Bible, such as a promise or a command or a story, and seriously pondering its meaning. You think through the implications for and application of God’s truth to your life. This is the kind of meditation that David referred to when he repeatedly said, “I meditate on your Word day and night” (see Psalm 1: 2; 119: 148, etc.). (Kindle Locations 842-850)

Anyone reading that would think the author of this paragraph was clearly against eastern-style meditation and contemplative prayer (which is the repeating of a word or phrase to enter a “silent” state of mind). When we read this paragraph from the book, we grew very suspicious because Rick Warren has been promoting eastern-style meditation authors for years (such as his endorsement and promotion of Gary Thomas and his book Sacred Pathways, in which Thomas says the following:

It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing.(p. 185)

Repeating a word or phrase for twenty minutes is classic transcendental meditation. Sacred Pathways is currently on the Saddleback website listed as a recommended book by Kay Warren (a multitude of other  books by contemplatives (e.g., Nouwen, Manning, Foster, Willard, Calhoun, Yancey, Ortberg) are in that same resource section of the website).

And, as we pointed out above, Warren’s very own three Daniel Plan doctors are teachers of meditation, and in fact, the Saddleback Daniel Plan website has, on different occasions, promoted New Age type meditation. See our article that gives one example: “Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation.”

This is why it is very strange that Warren gives a warning about meditation in his Daniel Plan book. A little later in The Daniel Plan, the confusion begins. Warren says:

Decades of research have shown that prayer calms stress and enhances brain function. Dr. Andrew Newberg at Thomas Jefferson University used brain SPECT imaging to study the neurobiology of prayer and meditation in those that dedicated time to those disciplines regularly. He found distinctive changes in brain activity as the mind went into a prayerful or meditative state.2837).

When one hears talk of how prayer and meditation help to calm stress, this is almost always referring to the practice of meditation wherein the participant either repeats a word or a phrase or focuses on an object or the breath. In this particular case in The Daniel Plan, the paragraph above is footnoted to the following:

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “Prayer May Reshape Your Brain … And Your Reality,” NPR, 20 May 2009. http:// D. S. Khalsa, D. G. Amen, A. Newberg, et al., “Kirtan kriya meditation and high resolution brain SPECT imaging,” accepted by Nuclear Medicine Communications, June 2010. Andrew Newberg, “The Effect of Meditation on the Brain Activity,”, http:// research.asp (Kindle Locations 5240-5244).

One of the things this footnote material references is “kirtan kriya meditation” (i.e., sa-ta-na-ma meditation). An article titled “WARNING:  Kundalini Yoga’s ‘Highest Mantra Meditation’” states that “one [ meditation practice] coming onto the scene is being touted as the greatest Kundalini Yoga Meditation, called Kirtan Kriya.” The article explains the various steps in kirtan kriya meditation, which are the typical steps in any form of eastern meditation.

Remember, the purpose of eastern-style meditation is for one to find his divine true self (the God within). We believe that when one practices meditation and goes into altered states, he or she encounters demonic or familiar spirits in these altered states, which, yes, have the ability to give them “benefits” (at least for a while). After all, Satan is an angel of light and his minions are ministers of righteousness—they can come across as good. But what one eventually gets is a complete spiritual makeover and a new set of spiritual beliefs. These new beliefs are interspiritual and panentheistic—thus the antithesis of what the Bible presents.

Right after this section of The Daniel Plan, where kritan kriya meditation is footnoted, Warren states:

Besides growing your relationship with God and building a foundation for spiritual health, prayer offers many health and stress-relief benefits. Physicians Larry Dossey (Healing Words), Dale Matthews (The Faith Factor), and others have written books outlining the scientific evidence of the medical benefits of prayer and other meditation. Some of these benefits include reduced feelings of stress, lower cholesterol levels, improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, fewer headaches, relaxed muscles, and longer life spans. (Kindle Locations 2853-2858).

Larry Dossey happens to be listed in our new Booklet Tract by Chris Lawson titled A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists) under the New Age Authors section. The names listed under that section are all advocates and/or teachers of mantra style meditation (the earmark of New Age). When Dossey “and others” write about meditation, they are talking about outright New Age meditation (even if they don’t call it “New Age”). So while Rick Warren gives a warning earlier in his book about mantra meditation, he basically mocks his own warning later in the book by pointing readers to someone like Larry Dossey and kritan kriya meditation. He doesn’t only mock his own warning—he dismisses it as well as leaving the reader to think that his warning is not that important but just a side-step opinion (take it or leave it—there’s better stuff to come). One thing we have learned about Rick Warren over the past decade is he is a pastor of confusion. In one venue, he will say one thing, and in another venue, he’ll say the complete opposite. His double-minded speaking has left for many an open door for spiritual deception.

In the Parade magazine article, it has a photo of Rick Warren and six other Saddleback members who have participated in The Daniel Plan diet. Of those seven pictured, it states: “[T]hey’re all believers in the faith-based, holistic wellness program Warren outlines in his new book, The Daniel Plan.” And you can be sure that with the highly successful marketing techniques that Zondervan and Warren have frequently used, millions of others will be believers in The Daniel Plan too.

Dangerous Prayers

by Paul Proctor
(Free-lance writer; used with permission)

Mindless mantras are an abomination to God

I once came across a video clip that was taken from a popular television talk show called The View, where liberal former co-host of the show, Joy Behar and conservative former co-host, Elizabeth Hasselbeck got into a heated on-air argument about prayer that was sure to evoke a rousing response from pulpits and pundits across America while creating lots of bubbly buzz for the alphabet network around the workplace water cooler, which is undoubtedly why ABC News posted it on their website – to get more bang for the gang.

As one might expect, little if any biblical truth emerged from the exchange, even among those on the show who are considered Christians. Whatever faith was present on the set that day was largely expressed with “I think” and “I feel” which reduces Christianity to an experiential expression of one’s own opinion rather than a clear and faithful proclamation of God’s Word – big difference. But then, that’s what today’s “Christianity” has become.

The topic was prayer, but at no time during that segment of the show did I hear Jesus Christ ever mentioned by name, much less quoted by any of the hosts. “God” was, however carefully referred to by co-host, Sherri Shepherd as “some thing that is beyond us.” She did refer to Him later as “He,” though Behar jumped in near the end of the segment to say, “You don’t even know if it’s a female,” shortly after which they cut to commercial.

But, sadly, Shepherd’s witness was more pragmatic than biblical, saying things like: “[F]or a lot of people, faith and prayer works.” There was nothing about God’s love, power, mercy, grace, longsuffering, forgiveness, or any other divine attribute. She didn’t even say “God works” – just “faith and prayer works” – promoting a human act rather than the Lord Himself.

All Hasselbeck could come up with in response was: “That prayer is protected as . . . in our freedoms of this country,” awkwardly leaning more on the Constitution and Bill of Rights than the “Everlasting Arms.”

Not surprisingly, Behar was clearly the most un-Christian in her comments, saying things like, “Faith is something that you feel – thinking is something that you do with your brain” – and in reference to people praying about the oil spill, she said: “Let’s see, who do I pray to, Tony Hayward of BP or God?”

Guest host, D.L. Hughley expressed his faith through punch lines, suggesting we only pray when we want something, saying, “We pray when we get in trouble . . . Like, to God we must be that kid that calls every time he needs some money. . .  Like, God must hear us and go, ‘What happened now?’” He concluded his Christian witness by saying “Like, you can’t go to Heaven on an American passport . . . you have to have an individual relationship with God,” adding, “The reason that I think we constantly get in trouble, is we don’t pray for the right things . . . Maybe we should pray to learn the lessons of the past.”

I guess that was his gospel presentation.

The Behar/Hasselbeck debate went like this:

Behar: “When prayer takes the place of logical thinking, then I think it’s dangerous . . . then it’s dangerous.”

Hasselbeck: “Prayer’s not illogical.”

Behar: “No, but it takes the place of thinking.”

Hasselbeck: “No, it doesn’t. That’s a completely bigoted statement to say that when I’m praying, I‘m not thinking.”

When it was all said and done, the result was a dialectic disconnect that didn’t glorify God or scripturally edify anyone, but only engaged and enraged participants while leaving listeners to digest a lot of interfaith concepts and spiritual disinformation that muddied the waters of truth via groupthink.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. – Ephesians 5:6-7,11

It may surprise those who were offended by Behar’s comments to learn that, although Hasselbeck was correct in her indignant response, Behar was not all wrong in saying prayer is “dangerous” when it “takes the place of logical thinking.”

You see, there are those in the Church today who practice what is called “Contemplative Prayer” – a New Age-style mantra that is all about emptying one’s mind to allegedly “find God within” by repeating certain words or phrases over and over until the mind is disengaged and no longer thinking – achieving an altered state of consciousness or (alpha state) known as “the Silence” which is indeed “dangerous” considering it opens one up to what the Bible calls “familiar spirits” (demonic influences). It’s rooted in Eastern Mysticism where it is more commonly referred to as “Transcendental Meditation.”

Though Contemplative Prayer is widely practiced in the Emerging Church, it has unfortunately found its way into more traditional churches, especially among young people, thanks in part to a host of “Christian” authors who promote it as “Contemplative Spirituality” or “Spiritual Formation.” There is also “Centering Prayer,” “Breath Prayers,” and “Lectio Divina” – all of which attempt to achieve the same trance-like state.

Lighthouse Trails Research defines the occult practice and movement this way:

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.

Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.

Now, considering Joy Behar’s other absurd views on faith, this probably wasn’t what she had in mind, but the show does illustrate a new spirituality at work, where nefarious notions and New Age nonsense are advanced or accepted wittingly or unwittingly by both sides of the political and ideological spectrum through pride-filled and emotionally charged confrontations that do little more than stir controversy and draw crowds with empty religious rhetoric that in the end always diverts attention away from God’s Word and our dire need of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” – Matthew 6:7

Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice

Lectio Divina – There’s a lot of talk about it today; umpteen books are published and more are on the way about lectio divina; and an increasing number of evangelical/Protestant figures are writing about it, endorsing it, and teaching it. Some people think lectio divina simply means to read a passage of Scripture slowly (or “praying the Scriptures”) then ponder or think on that Scripture. That can be a part of it. But if you ask mystics or contemplatives what it entails (And who would know better than they?), they will tell you that lectio divina (pronounced lex-ee-o di-veen-a) always includes taking a passage of Scripture (or other writings), reading it slowly, then working your way down until you have just a word or small phrase from the passage that you are meditating on (repeating over and over). Basically, you are coming up with a mantra-like word or phrase that has been extracted from a passage of Scripture, which, according to contemplatives, if repeated for several minutes will help you get rid of thoughts and distractions, so then, they say, you can hear the voice of God and feel His presence.

Contemplative mysticism pioneer Thomas Keating explains what lectio divina is not. It is not traditional Bible study, not reading the Scriptures for understanding and edification, and not praying the Scriptures (though praying the Scriptures can be a form of lectio divina when a word or phrase is taken from the Scriptures to focus on for the purpose of going into “God’s presence.”).1 Keating says that lectio divina is an introduction into the more intense practices – contemplative prayer and centering prayer.

While some people think lectio divina is just reading Scripture slowly, and what’s wrong with that,  it is the focusing on and repeating a word or small phrase to facilitate going into the “silence” that is the real danger. There is certainly nothing wrong with reading Scripture carefully and thoughtfully. Thoughtfully, we say. In eastern-style meditation (and in contemplative prayer) thoughts are the enemy. Eastern-style mystic Anthony De Mello describes this problem with thoughts in his book Sadhana: A Way to God:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. (p. 28)

Spiritual director Jan Johnson in her book, When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer also believes that thoughts get in the way, and the mind must be stilled:

Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is a prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God’s presence, and it makes you better able to hear God’s voice, correcting, guiding, and directing you. (p. 16)

Ray Yungen explains this silence that contemplative mystics seek:

When [Richard] Foster speaks of the silence, he does not mean external silence. In his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster recommends the practice of breath prayer (p. 122)—picking a single word or short phrase and repeating it in conjunction with the breath. This is classic contemplative mysticism. . . . In Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, he [Foster]  ties in a quote by one mystic who advised, “You must bind the mindwith one thought” . . . I once related Foster’s breath prayer method to a former New Age devotee who is now a Christian. She affirmed this connection when she remarked with astonishment, “That’s what I did when I was into ashtanga yoga!” (A Time of Departing, p. 75)

With lectio divina, the word or phrase one repeats eventuallycan lose its meaning, and this repetitive sound can start to put the practitioner into an altered mind state. Yungen tells us that: “Keeping the mind riveted on only one thought is unnatural and adverse to true reflection and prayer. Simple logic tells us the repeating of words has no rational value. For instance, if someone called you on the phone and just said your name or one phrase over and over, would that be something you found edifying? Of course not; you would hang up on him or her. Why would God feel otherwise? And if God’s presence is lacking, what is this presence that appears as light during meditation and infuses a counterfeit sense of divinity within? (ATOD, p. 76).”

Yungen exhorts believers that “the goal of prayer should not be to bind the mind with a word or phrase in order to induce a mystical trance but rather to use the mind to glory in the grace of God.  This was the apostle Paul’s counsel to the various churches: ‘Study to shew thyself approved’ (II Tim. 2:15) and ‘we pray always’ (II Thessalonians 1:11) as in talking to God with both heart and mind. (ATOD, p. 75)

In order to help those you care about stay clear of contemplative spirituality and spiritual deception, it is important for you to understand how lectio divina plays a significant role in leading people toward full blown meditative practices. And we propose that this “presence” that is reached during the “silent” altered states of consciousness from saying a word or phrase over and over (or focusing on the breath or an object)  is not God’s presence. God has instructed us in the Bible not to perform “special kinds of process[es] or “formula[s], as Thomas Keating calls lectio divina, (source) to induce mystical experiences (Deuteronomy 18:9-11); thus, we believe ample warning about lectio divina is warranted.

Related Information:

Lectio Divina: Leading Sheep to a New Level of Consciousness by Wolf Tracks

When a Young Girl Meets a Mystic

Benedict XVI: Encourages Contemplative Practice Lectio Divina

Some authors read by Christians who promote lectio divina:

David Crowder in Praise Habit

Kyle Strobel at Metamorpha

Richard Foster (in several places)

Professor J. Budziszewski (author of How to Stay Christian in College) – tells students to practice lectio divina on a Focus on the Family website and also talks about it in his book, Ask Me Anything.

Dan Kimball in The Emerging Church

Tony Jones in Divine Intervention

David Benner in  Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer

Eugene Peterson in Eat This Book

Ken Boa in Healthy Spirituality

Eugene Peterson in Message Bible for Kids

Promoted by Mike Bickle

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