Ragamuffin Gospel: A Distortion of Grace
Brennan Manning, a popular writer and speaker, is considered by many to be a kind of expert on the topic of God's grace. Philip Yancey, editor for Christianity Today magazine, says "Brennan Manning [is] my spiritual director in the school of grace." On the back cover of Manning's book, Ragamuffin Gospel, Max Lucado states: "Brennan does a masterful job of blowing the dust off of shop-worn theology and allowing God's grace to do what only God's grace can do - amaze." Few Christians would argue that we need God's grace, and in fact it is only through that grace that we can even approach God. Scripture is clear about this:
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)Ray Yungen, author and research analyst, says of Manning:
His appeal is easy to understand when one hears Manning in person. His manner is very genuine and down-home. Many admire him for his passionate and dynamic character. When he relates how his mother mistreated him as a young child you cannot help but feel his pain deeply. (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 82)
Yungen adds, "However, despite all his admirable qualities and devotional intensity, he teaches contemplative prayer as a way to God" (p. 82). And here lies the problem. When we understand the premise of contemplative, we realize that it is impossible to promote both grace and contemplative at the same time. Grace and contemplative are on opposite sides of the pole. They completely contradict each other. John Caddock, in his excellent article, "What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is it So Dangerous?" discusses this ragamuffin view of grace: Click here to read the rest of this article.