LTRP Note: The following comment was sent to Lighthouse Trails from a man in Holland regarding our recent article, Mark Driscoll IS a Contemplative Proponent. We have posted it to help people see how contemplative proponents have taken Scripture out of context to erroneously defend mystical-type spirituality. To see another example of this misuse of Scripture regarding contemplative, see Ray Yungen’s comments at bottom of this post.
I read the article ‘How to Practice Meditative Prayer’ by Winfield Bevins on the website you mentioned in your newsletter. A few things struck me as I read it:
• The Scripture verse that he is referring to in Phil.4:8 has nothing to do with meditative prayer but is a command to think of these things. That means I must make a decision in my heart not to think on wrong things, but to think on the things that are pleasing to God and that is not a matter of meditation, but a decision of the will.
• The illustration of Martha and Mary is an incorrect illustration out of context, as Mary was literally sitting at Jesus’ feet and literally hearing His voice. That is quite different than a Christian sitting and reading the Word of God and rejoicing in his heart (by the inner working of and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit) because of what he is reading and realizing the promises and goodness of God.
• The example of Samuel who supposedly ‘opened his heart to hear the Lord’s voice’ and said “Speak, for your servant hears” is incorrect and totally out of context. Samuel was asleep when God called him and was not at all meditating and waiting for the ‘silent voice of the Lord’. God intruded in his life, woke Him up and spoke to him in a very clear, loud and unmistakable way! There was not a question of doubt with Samuel. The voice was so clear, that he thought Eli had called him. It was only after that the Lord called him three times that he knew it had to God’s voice and answered in these words.
It is this mystical approach to prayer and to supposedly ‘silently hearing the voice of God’ that is so confusing to many people. That is, unfortunately, what I find here in Holland.–W.E. Bible school teacher and Christ follower in Holland
(from A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen): Question: Isn’t I Kings 19:12 an example of when contemplative prayer is condoned in Scripture? Elijah heard a “still, small voice.” Isn’t that referring to the silence?
Answer: This passage in no way indicates that Elijah was practicing a mantra exercise. On the contrary, it was the prophets of Baal who “called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!” (I Kings 18:26). Now Elijah was in a cave, not to practice contemplative prayer, but to hide from Jezebel’s threat to take his life. Also, his encounter with God was something he did not initiate but God initiated Himself, thereby emphasizing that Elijah was not practicing a mantra. If anything, from his conversation with God, we might conclude that he was also hiding from his ministry and God Himself, as he was feeling hopeless.