To Lighthouse Trails:
The relationship Dallas Theological Seminary has with contemplative spirituality has been debated on Lighthouse Trails, and defended by DTS. As a current student, I can confirm some departments and professors do advocate explicitly for the contemplative brand of spirituality.
The school requires four semesters of spiritual formation. Students must engage with the curriculum as prescribed, but additional work is optional for those wishing to receive academic credit.
The first semester spiritual formation material encourages students to study Adele Calhoun, Marcia Ford, Richard Foster, Donald Whitney, Dallas Willard, PT Forsyth, Paul Pettit, James K.A. Smith, Gary Thomas, and others. “Silence” is listed as a discipline in the curriculum itself, and the workbook asks students to rate their own engagement with this and other practices.
Required readings in the “Practical Theology” course include Alexander Schmemann, James K.A. Smith, Dallas Willard, Gary Thomas, and Simon Chan. After reading Willard, Thomas, and Chan, students practice three of the spiritual disciplines for at least three weeks before reporting on their progress. Sacramentalism is a major focus, and an Episcopal priest was brought in to celebrate the Eucharist with the class and answer our questions on sacramentalism.
The DTS website states, “We do not promote or endorse any form of eastern mysticism, higher consciousness, divinity within the self, or any practice that promotes entering into an altered or transcendent state of consciousness. These dangerous and heterodox teachings often masquerade as Christian spirituality. We categorically reject these practices and their claims.”
I can confirm that at no point have I been personally guided in meditation, lectio divina, etc. Unfortunately, some at DTS are undeniably informed by eastern mysticism, and the school actively recommends further study in that direction.
Jacob (not real name)