The title of Ken Boa’s book, Conformed to His Image, is taken from the Scripture Romans 8:29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” However, before believers delve into this book with the hope it will show them how to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, an examination of this book is needed.
In Boa’s book, in a section on lectio divina, Boa recommends turning to Richard Foster for further guidance. He suggests readers use Foster’s book Devotional Classics, which is a collection of 52 writers (more than half of them mystics). Boa quotes Foster throughout the book, and he quotes several other contemplative promoting authors too. While Boa gives a limited warning about heavy duty mystics/panentheists like Matthew Fox and Meister Eckhart, his promotion of Richard Foster and other contemplatives makes those warnings rather innocuous. It’s kind of like telling a teen to stay away from heroin but go ahead and use cocaine. And in some ways it is even more dangerous because the one (Eckhart and Fox) is so obvious to many, but the other (Foster) appears to be completely harmless because it is enveloped in Christian veneer.
Boa references mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade’s book Abandonment to Divine Providence, referring to the “sacrament of the present moment”, a concept often used to encourage people to enter the silence.
In addition to referencing Richard Foster several times, Boa also favorably references: Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence, Bill Hull, Larry Crabb, and Ignatius of Loyola. Of the latter, Boa says: “The spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola incorporate these and other meditative techniques.”
The book also favorably refers to and/or quotes Julian of Norwich, Thomas Kelly, Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating, all of which had or have panentheistic views. Of Keating and Merton, Boa says that thanks to them the “ancient practice” of lectio divina has been reintroduced to both Catholics and now Protestants. Merton is referred to several times in the book.
For those who wish to become “conformed to the image” of Jesus Christ, Ken Boa’s book is not a good place in which to turn. By reading and following the advice of his book, one could end up being more conformed to the image and spirituality of Thomas Merton, who said he wanted to become the best Buddhist he could be and said he was impregnated with Sufism (Islamic mysticism).