Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
Letter to the Editor: Campus Crusade for Christ “Gospel Message” Includes Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality
I am a semi-retired pastor who has been growing more and more troubled by the trend in evangelical churches toward new age, emergent, and eastern mysticism. We were looking for some sound material to give to a Korean lady who is showing interest in Christianity. We went to Power to Change, __________ (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) to secure something useful for this purpose. We were sold a booklet titled “Knowing Jesus Personally.” It was looking good as we studied the content, until we came to the chapter on being empowered by the Holy Spirit. On page 53 of the booklet, we read:
If you find that you have retaken control of your life through sin – any definite act of disobedience – simply breathe spiritually (exhale the impure and inhale the pure). This important exercise will enable you to continue to experience Christ’s loving control in your life throughout each day.
a)Exhale-Confess your sin. (I John 1:9) . . . b) Inhale–Claim by faith the fullness of the Spirit in your life. (from Lesson Four: Power for Living, point 4 on Power to Change website)
We cannot conscientiously give this booklet to this lady. I don’t know if you have reported on the Spiritual Formation tendencies in Power to Change, so I thought I would apprise you of what we found. Our local Christian bookstore has nothing suitable for evangelism, nothing that simply presents the pure gospel of Christ. But we were told they could supply us with plenty of Spiritual Formation materials. Understandably we found this to be most upsetting.
Thanks for your faithfulness in true spiritual discernment, and you courage to post the faulty findings on your website.
In His grace,
DB ( B.C. Canada)
After receiving this letter to the editor from this Canadian pastor, we discovered that the same instructions on breath prayer are on the U.S. CRU (Campus Crusade’s new U.S. name) website in an article attributed to Dr. Bill Bright (CCC founder) (using virtually the same wordage).
In 2008, Lighthouse Trails had reported that Campus Crusade for Christ was promoting contemplative spirituality. On their main website at that time, we learned that the following concepts and/or practices were frequently referred to:
Spiritual Formation 126 Times
Lectio Divina 12 Times
Richard Foster 28 Times
Henri Nouwen 41 Times
Thomas Merton 45 Times
Contemplative 96 Times
Brian McLaren 5 Times
Brother Lawrence 28 Times
Desert Fathers 13 Times
Labyrinth Multiple Times
We stated back then: “On the current CCCI website, there are still indications that they are promoting contemplative/emerging spirituality. For instance, an audio they use for Campus Crusade Staff Training (CSU) and Big Break at Easter includes contemplative/emerging proponents: Rick Warren, John Eldredge, and Larry Crabb.” That resource is still sold on the CRU/CCCI webstore.
From every indication, CCCI (CRU) is continuing on the path of Spiritual Formation/contemplative spirituality. We’ll provide one compelling example: In October 2013, an article was posted on the CRU/CCCI website titled, “Sometimes You Just Need to Stop.” It tells the story of a young missionary couple, who upon returning from the mission field to the U.S., found themselves tired and worn out. During this time, the wife was reading a book titled Soul Custody (by Stephen Smith), and they attended a retreat center in Colorado, and from the time at that retreat center, they developed a list of things they could do in their lives, one of which is practicing lectio divina and another is to read Soul Custody, a book that is loaded with references to and teachings by contemplative mystics such as Henri Nouwen, Annie Dillard, Philip Yancey, Adele Calhoun, Dallas Willard, Richard Rohr, Eugene Peterson, Thomas Merton, and a number of others. One of the Merton books that is quoted from in Smith’s book is Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. As Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing, in that book, Merton made the quintessential panentheistic statement:
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are.… If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.… At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth.… This little point … is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 157-158)
The article on CCCI’s website about the two burnt out missionaries turning to a highly contemplative book and the practice of lectio divina is just one example that Campus Crusade is remaining on the contemplative prayer path. The breath-the-good-in/breath-the-bad-out exercise that our reader brought to our attention in his letter to us is another example.
If CCCI continues promoting contemplative spirituality, in time (if they haven’t already), they will absorb the panentheistic spirituality of Thomas Merton. We say that with confidence because panentheism and interspirituality are the “fruit” of contemplative prayer, which as Ray Yungen has often pointed out, is proof enough that contemplative prayer brings practitioners under the influence of familiar spirits and doctrines of devils.
A couple years ago Campus Crusade for Christ changed their 60-year-long name to CRU in order, they said, to reach more people for Christ. What they don’t realize is that the “Christ” of contemplative prayer is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. The “Christ” of contemplative prayer will introduce adherents to Henri Nouwen, who stated near the end of his life after years of practicing contemplative mysticism:
Today 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. (Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p.51, 1998 Hardcover Edition)
To Lighthouse Trails:
I’m a new student at __________College in ___________ Canada. The President of the College himself teaches the Spiritual Formation classes.
The Lord delivered me out of 30 years of spiritual seeking last year (where I tasted of and practiced just about every spirituality and philosophy and practice on the planet) and brought me to salvation. You can imagine my surprise, if not shock, when in class the spiritual exercises the prof was teaching seemed like nothing so much as repackaged New Age stuff. I bought Ray [Yungen's] PDF A Time of Departing a few days ago from you. It completely confirms my impressions. My professor, also the president of the university, is such a gracious caring man . . . who knows his Bible cold – what a deception!
Could you send me Ray’s other book For Many Shall Come in My Name, the e-book version? [I] am right in the middle of a paper for this prof. I’m trying to line my ducks up in a row and state my case, as far as I can as a new Christian. I’m going to call for him to repent and need to be clear on what I’m saying. No idea how this will affect my academics, and will leave that in the Lord’s hands.
You might want to add ______________College to your [Contemplative Colleges] list.
Part of my testimony is that I was adopted into the family of the chief medicine man of the Lakota nation (my own natural father abandoned when I was 5) and intensively practiced aboriginal ceremony for 13 years. When the Lord saved me from the Pit, all hell broke loose – literally- as Satan clearly did not want to let me go. As I battled my way through each day for those first couple of months – this was back in early 2012 – one day I landed on your site and ordered Nanci [Des Gerlaise's] book [Muddy Waters] from you. That book was a great comfort and really helped me get through.
Praise the Lord God! The victory is His! Amen!
I was raised Anglican in ________,[Canada] and was an altar boy in my youth for a number of years. I stayed at the rectory a lot and the priest was something like a father to me. He was a homosexual. The utter hypocrisy of everything I saw as a kid is what drove me from everything Christian when I left home at age 16. That’s the reason why I tried just about everything else on the planet – looking for God.
It’s amazing to see those spirits from the Anglican church of my youth now insinuated into what was once a Bible-believing ________ college. I think that’s why the Lord made it possible for me to go there, to see first hand what is happening.
No question about it in my mind – this is the great falling away happening before our eyes. I was also once a member of the Anthroposophical Society – an offshoot of the Theosophical society. The mystical Christ being preached more and more is the same as the anthroposophical Christ taught by Rudolf Steiner, a gnostic version of Christ.
Paul was serious when he said that those who teach and follow this other gospel, this other Christ, will be accursed.
What are the chances that the American headquarters for the Theosophical Society and Ruth Barton’s transforming center are located within a couple of miles from each other in Wheaton, Illinois?
Stephen (not real name)
Not only are there political quests being achieved through the indoctrination of these young people, but these young followers are becoming convinced that a socialistic religion-killing society is the only solution for man.
Jeff Bethke, the 24-year-old man who did the anti-religion YouTube video in 2012, is back in the news again. This time, he has a book about his subject matter. His video, Why I Hate Religion, went viral and to date over 26 million people have viewed it. That video is partially responsible for our writing the Booklet Tract They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus – How Conservative Christians Are Being Manipulated and Ridiculed, Especially During Election Years (yes, Bethke’s video came out not too long before the nation voted for Obama). You can read our full booklet tract by clicking here, and we hope you do. It may give you a different perspective than what seems to meet the eye. Kind of like when George Barna and Frank Viola came out with their book Pagan Christianity, and untold numbers thought their book was fantastic, when in reality, it was more of a smoke screen to what was REALLY happening in Christianity today (see our article, “Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna – A Perfect Example of ‘Missing the Point.’” They said a big pagan problem with Christians was that they sat in pews, went to Sunday School, and listened to sermons. But sadly, no mention of the REAL problems happening in the church today (contemplative spirituality, for example).
Here is a portion of our They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus that gives some background information on Jeff Bethke:
In January of 2012, another election year, a young man, Jefferson (Jeff) Bethke, who attends contemplative advocate Mark Driscoll’s church, Mars Hill in Washington state, posted a video on YouTube called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” Within hours, the video had over 100,000 hits. Soon it reached over 14 million hits, according to the Washington Post, one of the major media that has spotlighted the Bethke video (hits as of May 2013 are over 25 million).
The Bethke video is a poem Bethke wrote and recites in a rap-like fashion his thoughts and beliefs about the pitfalls of what he calls “religion” but what is indicated to be Christianity. While we are not saying at this time that Bethke is an emerging figure, and while some of the lyrics in his poem are true statements, it is interesting that emerging spirituality figures seem to be resonating with Bethke’s message. They are looking for anything that will give them ammunition against traditional biblical Christianity. They have found some in Bethke’s poem. Like so many in the emerging camp say, Bethke’s poem suggests that Christians don’t take care of the poor and needy. While believers in Christ have been caring for the needy for centuries, emerging figures use this ploy to win conservative Christians (through guilt) over to a liberal social justice “gospel.” Emerging church journalist Jim Wallis (founder of Sojourners) is one who picked up on Bethke’s video. In an article on Wallis’ blog, it states:
“Bethke’s work challenges his listeners to second guess their preconceived notions about what it means to be a Christian. He challenges us to turn away from the superficial trappings of “religion,” and instead lead a missional life in Christ.”
Back when we wrote that article, we went pretty easy on Bethke, almost giving him the benefit of the doubt. But Bethke’s new book, Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough (Thomas Nelson, 2013) presents Bethke’s views more clearly. For one, he has a recommended reading list at the back of the book that contains a number of contemplative and emerging advocates such as Mark Driscoll, Brennan Manning, John Piper, Timothy Keller, Brother Lawrence, and John Ortberg. Also on the list are emerging “progressives” like Andy Stanley and N.T. Wright (a figure touted by the emerging church extensively). On a website, Bethke is quoted as saying that Wright is one of his ”heroes.”
Interestingly, one of the books Bethke recommends is Beth Moore’s When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. That book is Moore’s declarative statement promoting Brennan Manning, saying that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” (p. 72) and that his book Ragamuffin Gospel is “one of the most remarkable books” (p. 290) she has ever read (Bethke obviously thinks so too - Ragamuffin Gospel is one of his recommended books too). But in the back of Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning makes reference to panentheist mystic Basil Pennington saying that Pennington’s methods will provide us with “a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God.” However, Pennington’s methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions as you can see by this statement by Pennington:
We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices. (from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p.64)
Manning also cites Carl Jung in Ragamuffin Gospel as well as interspiritualists and contemplatives, Anthony De Mello, Marcus Borg (who denies the virgin birth and deity of Christ), Morton Kelsey, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Alan Jones (who calls the atonement vile), Eugene Peterson, and Sue Monk Kidd (who says God is in everything, even human waste and believes in the goddess who offers us the “holiness of everything”). All of these names in Ragamuffin Gospel. It is more than safe to assume that both Moore and Bethke have read (and resonate with) Ragamuffin Gospel. And we know from years of research that Manning was trying to set up the church to become what Karl Rahner “prophesied”: “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he or she will not exist at all.”
We were surprised to see the name Bede Griffith in Bethke’s new book in the endnote section (p. 208). He didn’t necessarily reference him favorably (or unfavorably, for that matter) but the fact that someone like Griffith would be benignly mentioned in a “Jesus” loving book is hard to ignore. The Catholic monk and mystic Bede Griffith, like Thomas Merton, “explored ways in which Eastern religions could deepen his prayer.” (Credence Cassettes, Winter/Lent 1985 Catalog, p. 14, cited in ATOD) Griffith also saw the “growing importance of Eastern religions . . . bringing the church to a new vitality.”(Ibid.) Griffith’s autobiography, The Golden String, expresses his belief that God (the golden string) flows through all things.
In reading Bethke’s book, one can see that Mark Driscoll may have rubbed off on him. And one of Bethke’s recommended books is Driscoll’s Vintage Jesus. We wrote a little about that book a number of years ago; we even contacted the late Chuck Smith (founder of Calvary Chapel) and warned him about Driscoll’s book because some Calvary Chapel pastors were trying to bring it in to CC; in Vintage Jesus, Driscoll calls homeschooling “dumb,” mocks the rapture and Armageddon, and says Christians are “little Christs.” Bethke echoes Driscoll’s distain, like in his chapter titled ”Religion Points to a Dim Future/Jesus Points to a Bright Future.” He puts down the kind of believers who see a dismal future for earth (according to Scripture) and says things like:
“God actually cares about the earth, but we seem to think it’s going to burn. God actually cares about creating good art, but we seem to think it’s reserved for salvation messages.” (Kindle Locations 2107-2109, Thomas Nelson).
And just to prove that when Bethke says “religion,” he means biblical Christianity, what other religion is there that “points to a dim future” for planet earth and its inhabitants? Biblical Christianity is the only one that says that the world is heading for judgement because of man’s rebellion against God and because of God’s plan to destroy the devil and his minions. Jesus does point to a “bright future,” but the Bible is very clear that this will not come before He returns; rather He promises a blessed eternal life to “whosoever” believeth on Him. The Jesus Christ of the Bible did not promise a bright future for those who reject Him (and even says that the road to destruction is broad – Matthew 7:13); in fact, Scripture says Jesus Himself was a man of sorrows rejected and despised (Isaiah 53:3). He knew what awaited Him, and He knew what was in the heart of man. But across the board, emergents reject such a message of doom, and teach that the kingdom of God will be established as humanity realizes its oneness and its divinity. And they will accomplish this through meditation. In Brennan Manning’s book The Signature of Jesus, he said that “the first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer” (p. 212). Then the next step, he says, is to choose a sacred word and ”repeat the sacred word [or phrase] inwardly, slowly, and often” (p. 218).
Bethke’s book goes after the usual suspects. For instance, he belittles street preachers sharing the Gospel in his chapter called “Fundies, Fakes, and Other So-Called Christians.” He says:
Whenever I walk by the street preachers, I laugh under my breath, picturing just how uncomfortable they are going to be in heaven when everyone else is partying it up. (p. 43)
Many of those street preachers are the ones responsible for untold numbers ending up in heaven and “partying it up.” It is faithful preachers and evangelists of the Gospel who have tirelessly cried out repent and be saved that will be the reason why some make it to heaven. But it is very typical for emergents to mock and condemn such evangelistic efforts. And if they are reading Ragamuffin Gospel, it’s no wonder they have a strong aversion to evangelism and a call to repentance. For example, in Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning says that God understands a woman having to become a prostitute in order to support her two- year old son, and He will not condemn her. So, in other words, it really doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we have a good reason for doing it. A relaxed view of sin and a harsh view of evangelism go hand in hand in the emerging church.
And like just about every other emergent-type book, Bethke’s gives a good scolding to Christians who reject our present society’s embracing of homosexuality. He says he believes homosexuality is not God’s perfect plan for man, but can’t we all just have meaningful conversations and get along with each other and stop talking about homosexuality? (pp. 63-69) He actually compares the apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” to being “gay” (p. 69)!
Bethke’s book reminds us somewhat of Mike Erre’s book Death by Church or Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church in the scorning way it portrays conservative Bible-believing Christians and in the way it twists and manipulates Scriptures and biblical ideas, equating them with sinister and evil actions. Like this quote from Bethke:
When people come to us in the midst of their pain, how dare we flippantly quote some Bible verses as if that alone would help? How dare we think we can just send them some balloons? How dare we overspiritualize or be like the mom who told her daughter the rape was her fault? (p. 125)
What he just did there was equate sharing Bible verses with a hurting person to a mom telling her daughter it was her fault she got raped. This constant barrage of attack against biblical Christianity never seems to relent. Remember when Brennan Manning and J.P. Moreland1 used the term “bibliolatry” to say that Christians who put too much focus on the Bible are committing idolatry. And remember when Rick Warren twisted Scripture to tell his readers (in The Purpose Driven Life) that those who think too much about Bible prophecy and the Lord’s return were “not fit for the kingdom of God.”2 We could give example after example of this attack on believers in Christian faith by those who profess to be Christian from one side of their mouth but seek to destroy it from the other side. Erwin McManus is another example: He said that it was his “goal to destroy Christianity”:
My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ. . . . Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.3
And on and on it goes. Christians who adhere to biblical beliefs are being beat down and made to look like there is something really wrong with them and they better get with the program.
It’s interesting that in Bethke’s new book, he quotes Rob Bell talking about “the cross” (p. 125). Interesting because Rob Bell doesn’t believe in the biblical atonement through the Cross. He believes that everyone is going to be saved regardless of their acceptance or rejection of the Cross. So it seems like a strange choice from Bethke; his book just came out this year – surely he has heard of Rob Bell’s beliefs on hell and salvation.
The “new” Christianity that is being propagated by Bethke, Bell, and countless other voices is not going away. Rather, it is helping to bring about strong delusion and a great falling away. Millions of young people, both Christian and non-Christian, are listening to these voices and following the beat of this drum. They are throwing out the faith of their youth and exchanging it for a “new” spirituality that will produce within them a mindset that rejects the message of the Cross. Not only are there political quests being achieved through the indoctrination of these young people, but these young followers are becoming convinced that a socialistic religion-killing society is the only solution for man. (Remember, Karl Marx said, “religion is the opiate of the masses” and John Lennon of The Beatles said, imagine no religion). And, tragically, the masses will continue to race down a broad road to deception through the multitude of false teachers.
Let us remember that before Jesus departed to heaven He commissioned His followers to proclaim the Gospel. The proclamation of the Cross is God’s hope for mankind.The Word of God has been likened to a blacksmith’s anvil; though many a hammer may be broken over the years pounding on that anvil, the anvil will hold its strength and integrity. It is ironic that emergents find comfort in attacking the Gospel and Bible-believing Christians. They say they love Jesus instead. What makes this so very ironic is that the apostle John is referred to in Scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Perhaps it would do emergents good to listen to some of the things John had to say – as it seems like his first epistle was written especially for them. Addressing the idea of loving Jesus (or God) but hating Christianity, John had this to say:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4: 20-21)
Now, if we look at the context of the chapter from which these verses were taken, it becomes evident that John is writing about solid doctrinal Christianity. And he is saying that when we hate and reject these things, and the people who adhere to them, we are hating and rejecting God. When they say they love Jesus but hate the church (i.e., Christianity), they aren’t talking about hating buildings; they are talking about hating people. As for the teaching of the Cross, John makes it exceptionally clear in this epistle that “he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2):
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
When we talk about love, we should really be talking about the Cross as this was and is God’s ultimate expression of His love toward us that makes it possible to spend eternity with Him when we receive this gift of love, by faith.
As we look into John’s life more carefully, it becomes apparent that he was not like an emergent at all. While the emergent figures of today seek to be hip and popular and mimic what each other has to say, John stood for the truth regardless of what the masses were saying or wanted to hear. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that even though he was the only apostle to escape a violent death, he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. And though he escaped miraculously, he was afterward banished to the Isle of Patmos (p. 27, LT edition).
If you are a young person reading this, remember that popularity in the world’s eyes is not a sign of being in God’s favor but is rather an indicator that something may be wrong (see 1 John 4: 5-6). Nor does partying with friends, even if they call themselves lovers of Jesus, offer assurance of eternal life. No, it is through the Cross alone that the offer of eternal life has been extended. And that is the truth!
Ray Yungen told us today that while he was flying back from a conference in Texas, he saw a couple “cowboys” sitting on the plane. One of them was reading doctor Eben Alexander’s book Proof of Heaven. Upon exiting the plane, Ray decided he needed to speak with the man. He approached then greeted the man in the cowboy hat and handed him a copy of Ray’s DVD The New Face of Mystical Spirituality: The Invisible Denomination. Ray told him that the DVD talked about the very things he was reading in Alexander’s book.
After hearing this story, we decided we better repost this article Larry DeBruyn wrote last year on Eben Alexander’s “proof of Heaven.”
by Pastor Larry DeBruyn
The “Conversion” of a Skeptic?
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” Jesus, John 14:1-4, KJV
Recently, Newsweek magazine flaunted a cover title HEAVEN IS REAL, with the subtitle, A Doctor’s Experience of the Afterlife.  The experiencer of Heaven is Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who has taught at, among other academic institutions, Harvard Medical School. In other words, he’s familiar with the intricacies and workings of the human brain. As a scientist, Alexander confesses he did not believe in near-death (NDE) or out-of-the-body (OBE) experiences for he “believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-the-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death,” but when he experienced one, his worldview shifted. 
Consciousness beyond Cortex
Four years ago, Dr. Alexander contracted a rare bacterial infection that penetrated his cerebrospinal fluid and began to eat away his brain, causing “the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion” to shut down.  For seven days he lay comatose with his “higher-order brain function totally offline.”  Just as his attending physicians were weighing options of whether or not to continue treatment, Alexander relates that his “eyes popped open” and he returned to consciousness. During the days when he was physically brain dead, Dr. Alexander testifies that his “conscious, [his] inner self—was alive and well.” He states:
While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility. 
To continue reading this article, click here.
Update – December 27, 2012: A LT reader sent us this audio clip of an interview with Dr. Alexander, where he is talking about the use of centering prayer: (Click here to listen).
Markell/Yungen Interview – 2 Million Reiki Channellers in the US Alone! – Millions of Americans Affected
The following are two recent interviews by Olive Tree Ministries radio host Jan Markell with research analyst Ray Yungen. The two discuss energy healing and the explosion of its use in the U.S. alone. If you know someone who is getting involved or is already involved with energy healing, have them listen to this interview. They need to be warned of this dangerous practice.
Click here to listen:
To learn more about energy healing, read Ray Yungen’s Booklet Tract titled The Truth About Energy Healing.
by Ray Yungen
For many years during my research, I would come across the term contemplative prayer. Immediately I would dismiss any thought that it had a New Age connotation because I thought it meant to ponder while praying–which would be the logical association with that term. But in the New Age disciplines, things are not always what they seem to be to untrained ears. What contemplative prayer actually entails is described very clearly by the following writer:
When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness … the profound mystical silence … an absence of thought.1
To my dismay, I discovered this “mystical silence” is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence–the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:
Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply “sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.2
One of the most well-known writings on the subject is the classic 14th century treatise, The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous author. It is essentially a manual on contemplative prayer inviting a beginner to:
Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . . With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting.3
The premise here is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced–the mind has to be shut down or turned off so that the cloud of unknowing where the presence of God awaits can be experienced.
So the question we as Christians must ask ourselves is, “Why not? Why shouldn’t we incorporate this mystical prayer practice into our lives?” The answer to this is actually found in Scripture.
While certain instances in the Bible describe mystical experiences, I see no evidence anywhere of God sanctioning man-initiated mysticism. Legitimate mystical experiences were always initiated by God to certain individuals for certain revelations and was never based on a method for the altering of consciousness. In Acts 11:5, Peter fell into a trance while in prayer. But it was God, not Peter, who initiated the trance and facilitated it.
By definition, a mystic, on the other hand, is someone who uses rote methods in an attempt to tap into their inner divinity. Those who use these methods put themselves into a trance state outside of God’s sanction or protection and thus engage in an extremely dangerous approach. Besides, nowhere in the Bible are such mystical practices prescribed. For instance, the Lord, for the purpose of teaching people a respect for His holiness and His plans, instated certain ceremonies for His people (especially in the Old Testament). Nonetheless, Scripture contains no reference in which God promoted mystical practices. The gifts of the Spirit spoken of in the New Testament were supernatural in nature but did not fall within the confines of mysticism. God bestowed spiritual gifts without the Christian practicing a method beforehand to get God’s response.
Proponents of contemplative prayer would respond with, What about Psalms 46:10? “Be still and know that I am God.” This verse is often used by those promoting contemplative prayer. On the surface, this argument can seem valid, but once the meaning of “still” is examined, any contemplative connection is expelled. The Hebrew meaning of the word is to slacken, cease, or abate. In other words, the context is to slow down and trust God rather than get in a dither over things. Relax and watch God work. This isn’t talking about going into some altered state of consciousness!
It should also be pointed out that being born again, in and of itself, is mystical. But it is a direct act of God, initiated by Him–the Holy Spirit has regenerated the once-dead spirit of man into a living spirit through Christ. Yet, we notice that even in this most significant of experiences when one is “passed from death into life” (John 5:24), God accomplishes this without placing the individual in an altered state of consciousness.
We can take this a step further by looking at the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts, chapter 2 where those present were “all filled with the Holy Spirit” (vs. 4). Notice that they were “all with one accord in one place” (vs. 1) when the Holy Spirit descended on them. From the context of the chapter, it is safe to assume this was a lively gathering of believers engaged in intelligent conversation. Then, when those present began to speak in other tongues, it was not an episode of mindless babbling or vain repetition as in a mantra. Rather it was an event of coherent speech significant enough to draw a crowd who exclaimed, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God” (vs. 11). Other observers who suspected they were in an altered state of consciousness said, “They are full of new wine” (vs. 13). Notice that Peter was quick to correct this group in asserting that they were all fully conscious. Would it not then stand to reason that their minds were not in any kind of altered state? Next, Peter delivered one of the most carefully articulated speeches recorded in Scripture. This was certainly not a group of men in a trance.
So, through the lens of perhaps the two most meaningful mystical experiences recorded in the New Testament (i.e., being born again and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost), an altered state of consciousness was never sought after nor was it achieved. In fact, a complete search of both Old and New Testaments reveals there were only two types of experiences sanctioned by God where the recipient is not fully awake–namely dreams and visions–and in each case the experience is initiated by God. Conversely, every instance of a self-induced trance recorded in Scripture is adamantly condemned by God as we see summarized in the following verses:
When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:9-11)
An examination of the Hebrew meanings of the terms used in the above verses shows that much of what is being spoken of is the invoking of spells. And a spell, used in this context, refers to a trance. In other words, when God induces a trance it is in the form of a dream or a vision. When man induces a trance, it is in the form of a spell or hypnosis.
And remember, nowhere in the Bible is the silence equated with the “power of God,” but the message of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18) most certainly is!
1.William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, op. cit., p. 13.
2.Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path (Triumph Books, 1994), p. 31.
3.Ken Kaisch, Finding God, cited from The Cloud of Unknowing, p. 223.
LTRP Note: For a number of years now, Lighthouse Trails author Roger Oakland has been warning the body of Christ about the Catholic Church’s “new evangelization” program, which is basically an effort to bring the “lost brethren” (Protestants) into the Catholic church. Roger has been stating all along that to do this the Papacy is using what they call “Eucharistic adoration.” The article below from the Vatican news agency is another current example of the reality of this happening. In Roger’s Booklet Tract The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ, he explains:
The New Evangelization program will use Eucharistic adoration to rekindle Eucharistic amazement, and more and more people will be drawn by experience to the Eucharistic Christ. An experience-based Christianity not supported biblically is one of the most effective ways to lead people astray. If the New Evangelization points people to a Eucharistic Christ associated with profound experiences including healings, miracles, and signs and wonders, it has the potential to bring vast delusion. We are witnessing this today.
In what way does this tie in with what is happening in the church? Well, mainly through the contemplative prayer movement. Ray Yungen talks about this in his article “Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion,” where he says:
I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice [contemplative prayer]? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. (emphasis added)
As we witness most of the major Christian figures today embracing contemplative spirituality, please know that this is moving things quickly toward the Catholic Church’s goal to envelope all non-Catholic Christian-proclaiming peoples to itself. And this always brings to mind the Christian martyrs identified in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs who died painful torturous deaths because they would not embrace the Eucharistic “Christ” of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who think that those days could never happen again are only fooling themselves. The force behind those deaths - Satan - is at work today more than ever before because he knows the day of the Lord’s return as well as His final judgment draws near.
From Zenit news in Rome (the Vatican news agency)
“Vatican Congregation Makes DVD About Eucharistic Adoration”
Cardinal Cañizares: There will be no ‘new evangelization’ without adoration
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments together with HM Television has just published a new DVD that will help the faithful rediscover the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in the life and mission of the Church. It is the second video in a series of four, entitled: “From the Visible to the Invisible.” The video contains testimonies of conversion thanks to Eucharistic Adoration, as well as its history and the biblical foundations.
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has strongly supported and encouraged the production of this video precisely because he believes that, “the New Evangelization will not be possible if there is no Adoration.” Click here to continue reading.