LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
(used with permission)
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
I’m pasting in below the comments I sent to Dennis Rainey at www.familylifetoday.com, after hearing their radio program today, promoting Gerald Sittser’s new book, “Water From a Deep Well.” Please inform your readers:
Dear Family Life,
Please take seriously my caution on promoting the idea that the teaching of the Desert Fathers is a quest to return to some “lost disciplines” of an assumed “authentic Christianity” from the ancient past. If one does responsible research, tons of documentation shows the “Desert Fathers” were … early Roman Catholics, frustrated with their lack of “experiencing God” within the confines of the sacramental-based way of “salvation” taught in the RCC. They denied the new birth by grace through faith and continue to today. They were not “Christian” by biblical definition from the start. If one studies their writings honestly, he will discover that they sought to combine the mystical experiences of eastern mysticism with the fundamentals of Roman Catholicism to gain “direct revelation and experiences” with spiritual entities they only assumed to be the God of the Bible. The dangers of this serve as clear warnings (1 Tim.4:1, 2; 2 Tim.4:1-5).
We cannot assume that practicing what they preached and promoted as “ways to God” will lead us there just because that is our intent. Employing the advocated practices, techniques and methods of “approaching God” gleaned from religions outside the unique confines of biblical Christianity is a dangerous endeavor. Faith in not blind. Just because they professed to be “seeking God” to achieve “deeper intimacy” with God is no reason to trust their teaching without the scrutiny of Scripture.
To seek God through these and similar Contemplative practices is an atheological exercise in deception. With all due respect, Dr. Sittser is wrong with his entire premise, just as Richard Foster was wrong in his identical premise in his 1978 book, “The Celebration of Discipline.” It is no wonder that Dr. Eugene Peterson has written the forward to Sittser’s book, as he and Richard Foster have headed the “Renovare’ Movement” for “Spiritual Formation” for a number of years. I encourage you to do your homework and have supplied a link to make is easy for you:
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/researchtopics.htm . Just type in “Foster” or Renovare and read till your heart’s content.
Please know also that the premises these men posit are foundational to the Emerging Church thinking ravaging the churches today. You do not want to stand before the Lord one day, having promoted Sittser’s thesis. (See also Roger Oakland’s book: “Faith Undone” and former New Ager Warren Smith’s book, “The Light That Was Dark,” & Ray Yungen’s, “A Time of Departing.”
Because He Lives and I Care