What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is It Dangerous?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The following article, though written quite a few years ago, is still one of the best we have seen on contemplative. If you haven’t read it this before, or if it has been a while since you read it, we encourage you to do so. It answers so many questions as to why contemplative spirituality is so dangerous and so much against Scripture and the gospel.

What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is It Dangerous?
A Review of Brennan Manning’s
The Signature of Jesus

John Caddock
Winchester, OR

The Never-Ending Review
Little did I know when I began to read The Signature of Jesus the time and effort that would be involved in understanding it. I am not a theologian by training. My background is in technical management in electronic component manufacturing. However, I stumbled onto something that I became convinced was very dangerous and little understood.

One reading was not enough for me to understand The Signature of Jesus. I found that it was like reading a book in a foreign language. I read many new expressions like contemplative prayer, centering prayer, centering down, paschal spirituality, the discipline of the secret, contemplative spirituality, celebrating the darkness, mineralization, the Mineral Man, practicing the presence, the interior life, intimacy with Abba, the uncloistered contemplative life, inner integration, yielding to the Center, the bridge of faith, notional knowledge, contemporary spiritual masters, masters of the interior life, shadow self, false self, mysterium tremendum, existential experience, and the Abba experience.1

I also encountered many writers I have never read before, including Kasemann, Burghardt, Merton, Van Breeman, Brueggemann, Moltmann, Nouwen, Küng, Steindl-Rast, Rahner, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and Camus.

I had to read the book three separate times before I was confident that I understood what Manningwas saying. I even read it a fourth time for good measure.

Reading this book led me to read a number of other books and articles by and about leading mystics/contemplatives. I learned about the heart of Manning’s message, centering prayer. Read rest of article.