Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I was given a subscription to Guideposts magazine. In the February issue, there is an article titled “Summoned” written by Anne Simpkinson – Online Managing Editor. The first paragraph reads as follows:
I start my day with prayer. Centering prayer, in which, rather than saying prayers aloud, you sit in silence, letting go of thoughts and distractions and resting in God. The point isn’t to talk to God, or even to listen to him, but to simply be with him.
Further down, the article reads:
I close my eyes and try to open to God’s presence. The sixteenth-century mystic Saint John of the Cross wrote that God’s first language is silence, and I’ve chosen centering prayer as a way to connect with God-beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond emotions.
I would have to write the whole article to give you all she relates in it. She brings her cat in to it, also.
I did not realize Guideposts was going down this path.
The article referred to above was in the print Guideposts for February. While we do not have access to the printed issue, we found a similar article written by Anne Simpkinson, managing editor of Guideposts titled “Praying with Mimi.” Added to what was stated above, Simpkinson said:
First I read a devotion from one of the books I keep beside the chair. Then I put the book down and hit the start button on the meditation timer app I downloaded onto my phone. A soft bell chimes, signaling the beginning of my 20 minutes of prayer.
I close my eyes, repeat a sacred word two or three times then sit in silence.
It makes sense that Simpkinson would be practicing silent meditation. She lists Thomas Merton, Esther DeWaal, and Julie Cameron (all contemplative mystics) as three of her favorite authors.1 In an interview, when Simpkinson was asked about her spiritual practices, she stated:
In the mid-90s, I found a practice called Centering Prayer, which was developed by three Trappist monks—Father Thomas Keating, Father M. Basil Pennington and Father William Menninger. The practice is based on a method described in the 14th-century text, The Cloud of Unknowing, and which has been refined over the years. Instead of focusing on one’s breath or repeating a mantra, one uses a sacred word to renew one’s intention to be with God, to be with God as God is. This of course requires us to disengage from our thoughts.2
Lighthouse Trails does not find it surprising that Guideposts (which markets itself as a Christian/faith-based magazine) would be promoting contemplative prayer. The publication was founded by Norman Vincent Peale in 1945. Peale was a proponent of New Age type thinking. Both Ray Yungen and Warren B. Smith discuss Peale’s proclivities in their books. You can type in his name in our search engines and come up with several references.
What is troubling is knowing how many Christians read Guideposts and find nothing wrong with it. And yet, the magazine is filled with examples of New Age/New Spirituality beliefs and practices. One thing that especially stands out in the magazine is stories of spirit beings, angels, spiritual guides, etc. that communicate with people. Consider this statement made by religious author Charles Braden regarding Norman Vincent Peale:
The man through whose ministry essentially New Thought [New Age] ideas and techniques have been made known most widely in America is Norman Vincent Peale . . . He is reaching more people than any other single minister in America and perhaps the world (Braden, Spirits in Rebellion, p. 186)
There’s a mystical revolution going on (as the recent Time magazine cover story proclaims), and more and more people are falling under its influence, which is coming as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11: 14-15). Christians need to put down those copies of Guideposts (like our reader above did), The Shack, Jesus Calling, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and return to the true Jesus Christ.
And he [Jesus] said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)