The managing editor of Biola University’s magazine has posted a statement, admitting that Biola is indeed introducing students to contemplative spirituality in their chapel services. The following are a few quotes from his statement:
“Last week, a long-running smear campaign against “spiritual formation” at Biola University kicked it up a notch. An organization called Lighthouse Trails [has]unleash[ed] a torrent of criticism and insults about Biola, claiming that Biola is drifting from its strong biblical roots and embracing ‘apostate Roman Catholic mystical spiritual formation'”
“You’ll be shocked when you find out just what it is that these people are up in arms about… Contemplative prayer! That’s right, they are worried about Biola possibly being apostate because in chapel we dare to introduce students to ancient methods of contemplative, meditative prayer. We dare to engage the students in Lectio Divina, an ancient method inherited from the Desert Fathers of deeply reading and meditating upon a scripture. It’s not new-agey or mystical; it’s simple, quiet, and meaningful. The bible takes center stage. What is wrong with that?”
“[To Lighthouse Trails … P]eople like Richard Foster (who they label “neo-Gnostic”), Henri Nouwen, and Dallas Willard (who, for the record, gave a very philosophical and helpful lecture at Biola’s Torrey Conference last Wednesday), represent an unbiblical mysticism that masquerades as ‘spiritual formation.”
“It baffles me that ‘spiritual formation,’ which to me looks like a positive, healthy thing from every angle, is being so aggressively criticized. Even more baffled that Biola is being singled out and smeared for their commitment to it.” Click here to read more.
First, in response to the statment that Lighthouse Trails has released “a torrent of criticism and insults,” against Biola, this simply is not true. We make every attempt to present the facts in a straight-forward and non-vitriolic manner; and while these are difficult things to say, they must be said.
Secondly, it seems very apparent that this young man truly believes there is nothing wrong with contemplative spirituality. This is the failure of Biola’s administration, faculty, and leadership, who have allowed such a belief system to take root in their school.
Finally, we want to assure Biola that we have not “singled” them out. Contemplative spirituality is epidemic throughout a majority of Christian colleges and seminaries today – Biola is certainly not the only one. To see others going in this direction, please see our list.