by Mike Ratliff
And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14 ESV)
On September 21st, I posted “Is Contemplative Prayer Christian?”. The rest of the discernment team at CRN have been researching and posting on CSM and Contemplative/Centering Prayer or CCP as well. I was listening to an interview on The White Horse Inn the other day done by Michael Horton with Mark Galli who is the senior managing editor of Christianity Today. Most of the interview went well, but right at the end he started talking about Spiritual Formation as if it was something positive. Of course, as he used examples, it was obvious that his understanding of it was nothing like that of someone like Tim Keller whose version is total CSM. I was a bit nonplused I must say because he was so right on with his decrying moral therapeutic deism and the spiritual monstrosities that mega-churches become. Of course, as I thought through that, I think he may have been using the term with a genuine Christian meaning rather than a pseudo-christian meaning like those wolves in sheep’s clothing who are peddling CSM using Christian terminology within it so the gullible will buy into it. Of course, we shall see won’t we?
Today I got an email from Ken Silva with a link to a post he had just put up titled “Rick Warren Ministry Recommends Mantra Centering Prayer.” You need to read the whole thing and especially watch the video at the end.
Another friend and member of our discernment team at CRN, Cathy Matthews, commented on Pastors.com in regard to Rick Warren’s tweet and his leading into using that mantra/Centering Prayer technique. Here is her comment:
“I used to do this kind of meditation when I was a pagan in the New Age- I felt close to “god” then- but I was dead in my sins. Why are you deceiving people and putting them under bondage by teaching them pagan prayer techniques cloaked in Christian terminology? Any one who is reading this- I urge you to weigh this against scripture. The only way we come into the presence of God is through the blood of Jesus Christ- the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus- by repenting of our own ideas of who God is and how to know Him- and putting your faith in God’s revealed way to know Him. Mystics have to try to use all kinds of techniques because they are blind, they are lost- they either do not know or have rejected the “Way” – the only way to God- which is through Jesus. Look at the way Jesus Himself taught the disciples to pray- he even warned them specifically not to babble (speak words repetitively) like the pagans. Please look into this.”
I asked Cathy for permission to post her comment and when she gave it she told me that her comment had had still not been posted by whoever moderates their comments. None of us are surprised about that are we?
My brethren, CSM is divination. Our dear brother Bob DeWaay, when he was still pastor at Twin City Fellowship, wrote a great article on this titled The Dangers of Divination. Please take the time to read it. He closed that article, which was written in 2004, with the following:
Divination is forbidden not because it does not work, but because it does. It works to put people in touch with spiritual forces and secret knowledge. The spiritual beings thus accessed have factual information at their disposal that could not be gained through the means God gave us to know spiritual or secret things. This information could make someone very wealthy, or it could destroy them. The evil spirits who dispense this information intend to keep people from coming to God through Messiah. They also seek to deceive Christians into thinking that what has been provided through Christ is insufficient. They are very good at what they do.
Fifteen years ago I was hosting a pastor’s meeting, hoping to appeal to pastors to preach and teach the Bible accurately. A pastor came to the meeting who had recently been to see the Kansas City prophets. I asked him what happened there. His reply was that a prophet had been able to correctly identify his ministry though he had no natural source of this information. I asked how he did so. The answer was that the prophet had the man hold up his hand with his fingers spread. The prophet saw colors emanating from the hand that revealed which of the “five-fold” ministries he had. I said to him, “That is aura reading which is from the occult.” He answered, “God can use anything and besides he was right.”
What was so very wrong about that was that the secret information did nothing other than convince the pastor that Christian aura reading was allowed and that he had met a true prophet. The pastor knew he was a pastor before he went to the prophet, he did not need secret knowledge to show what was known by ordinary means. This is the same sort of procedure that many practitioners of divination use to convince their victims that they have legitimate powers. There are dozens of “Christian” versions of divination being practiced in the church today. The next issue will expose several of them.
What we must do is forsake the lust for secret knowledge and put ourselves under God’s ordained means of grace. God will use His ordained means to give us all the healing and help we are going to get in this life. By submitting to the gospel through faith we are assured of the future resurrection unto eternal life.
We have some very good discussions here at Possessing the Treasure and I have some in my email box as well with other friends about these things and aren’t we often amazed at what is going on? What we are witnessing is supernatural. However, we must not despair. We are in Christ and have the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ, we can do the Father’s will. Romans 12:1,2 tells that as we mature in Christ being living sacrifices, being transformed through the renewing of our minds, we will know the will of God and that means we can know what to do. There is no reason to fear. God is Sovereign. It may look like evil is taking over, but I assure you, God has everything totally under control.
Soli Deo Gloria!