In the August 7, 2007 edition of Moody Bible Institute publication Today in the Word, MBI professor Dr. Winfred O. Neely tells readers that “deep and prolonged thinking about the Lord’s word, person, and work is biblical.” While he states that eastern style meditation is wrong and dangerous, he brings terrible confusion to the matter by also stating: “For more in depth reading about the vital practice of biblical meditation, I suggest that you pick up Richard Foster’s book, The Celebration of Discipline.” This is the book Foster said, “We should all without shame enroll in the school of contemplative prayer.” Foster is an advocate of mantra meditation and has promoted both directly and indirectly for decades. (See, http://www.todayintheword.com/GenMoody/default.asp?SectionID=8A64563A39F442418EB47C6F6CB3CD88&date=2007-08&submit=go. See, http://www.todayintheword.org/titw_error.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/GenMoody/default.asp )
Once again, we beseech Moody Bible Institute to read A Time of Departing so professors and students alike will not be drawn into the deception of Richard Foster’s spirituality. Foster has and continues to uplift and emulate the late monk Thomas Merton who said that God dwells in every human being. Merton knew that the silent state one goes into through contemplative would lead the practitioner into a view that God is in all. Is this really what MBI wants to convey to their students when they continue to include Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Larry Crabb, Dallas Willard in the lecture halls and publications of their institution?
LTPC offer and challenge to MBI: Lighthouse Trails is putting forth a challenge to MBI to have every professor there read A Time of Departing and Faith Undone. We believe the research in both books is so solid and well-documented that it will settle this very important case that cannot be refuted. With this challenge we offer to send a free copy of each book to every professor there – no strings attached. This is a serious situation, and Lighthouse Trails would like help in any way possible. We hope when those from MBI read this report, they will ask MBI president Dr. Easley to have someone contact Lighthouse Trails Publishing and request these books for the staff (503/873-9092).
Quotes by Richard Foster:
“The wonderful thing about contemplative prayer is that it can be found everywhere, anywhere, anytime for anyone.”-from the Be Still DVD
“[W]e began experiencing that “sweet sinking into Deity” Madame Guyon speaks of. It, very honestly, had much the same “feel” and “smell” as the experiences I had been reading about in the Devotional Masters” (from Renovare Perspective.01/ 1998)
“What an inviting picture of movement and work in harmony with the divine Center of the universe”(Inward Simplicity: The Divine Center)
“Can we live in virtually constant communion with the divine Center of the universe?”(Inward Simplicity: The Divine Center)
“Simplicity, then, is getting in touch with the divine center” (Simplicity)
“Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood … his interest in contemplation led him to investigate prayer forms in Eastern religion … [he is] a gifted teacher …” (Spiritual Classics – p.17)
“Dom John Main understood well the value of both silence and solitude … Main rediscovered meditation while living in the Far East.” (Spiritual Classics – p.155)
Quotes by Thomas Merton:
“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.” FROM A TIME OF DEPARTING (quoting Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1989 edition, 157-158)
“I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism.” Thomas Merton, from The Springs of Contemplation, p. 266
“And I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have.” Quote from the book, Lost Christianity by Jacob Needleman
“Isn’t it a pity that people are going into LSD to have spiritual experiences, when we have a tradition in the Church [contemplative prayer] which no one knows anything about?” Interview in which Matthew Fox quoted Merton.