Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media.This week’s item is from Christianity Today, November 13, 2006, with a headline:“A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation.”The following are excerpts:“The bright evangelical mind, always so active and in pursuit, must leap great hurdles of spiritual and intellectual activity to shut itself down and be still.Theologian Martin Laird offers a roadmap to this practice of silence and God-awareness with warmth and reason.Like many trained in Christian contemplative practice, Laird is a Roman Catholic of the order of Saint Augustine, those charged by Pope John Paul II, to be teachers of the interior life.Laird, an associate professor in theology and religious studies at VillanovaUniversity obeys the charge with grace and clear instruction.In his compact primer he charts the path leading to silent surrender and watchfulness before God.As such, the book’s great contribution might be its reminder that in our noisy, chaotic thinking world, God is not somebody we need to flag down or acquire.God is the ground of our being.Laird’s book defines how to sink back into God’s ground physically with breathing, mentally with prayer words, and spiritually with interior surrender.Through anecdote, Scripture and classic wisdom, Laird illuminates a Christian path into the silent land.An able guide, he makes the trip more than worth the journey.
Dave, from time to time when I bring some news and quotables for you to evaluate you get angry, and all I have to do is sort of lay it out for you.I get angry at this, you—this is a review of a book called, Into the Silent Land, and the review is from Christianity Today.Now we have been tracking their promotion of Roman Catholicism for decades, and here we are.This book, by this Catholic priest, is just one more promotion of Catholic mysticism, whether you call it the emerging church, whether you call it the contemplative approach to Christianity promoted by Christians like Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, I mean, we could go on and on with the names, but this is leading evangelicals into occultism, into mysticism, not just Catholic mysticism, but Eastern mysticism.
Tom, that reminds me of Isaiah:8:20:“To the law and to the testimony:if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.”I don’t find this teaching in the Bible, he has to write a whole book about it, but I would be curious to know what verses of Scripture he bases it upon.Paul didn’t teach it, Jesus didn’t teach it.This is mysticism, as you mentioned it is occultism, empty your mind, get into the silent word.I don’t find that.In his law doth he meditate day and night, Psalm:1:2.Yes, we meditate, but see, they are picking up—as you well know, Tom,—an Eastern interpretation of meditation.Meditation in the West is always meant to think deeply, to ponder, to come to a deeper understanding, and how do you do that?Not by blanking everything out, not by going into this silent world, and then you wait for something to speak to you, which is likely to be a demon.
But Dave, they would say, Well wait a minute!What about the Scripture, Be still and know that I am God.
Yeah, well, where did that occur?By the Red Sea.Well, Tom, you can give us the Scripture where God said, Be still and know that I am God.It doesn’t mean that we are going to adopt some kind of a mystical practice of being still.You don’t have to be still to know that He’s God.It’s like you have here in Exodus chapter 14.They have the Egyptians behind them, they have the Red Sea in front of them, the people have just given up, it’s hopeless, and Moses said unto the people, and of course he’s speaking for the Lord, Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.Now Tom, maybe we ought to do this, be still standing, not on our knees.Now, if when it says, Be still and know that I am God, that means, Look, just calm down, stop your worries and let Me take care of this situation, that's what it means.Well, but—Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord—maybe we should adopt that as a technique also.I’m just trying to show how absurd this is.But the Bible never says that I should quiet my mind, that I should go into some relaxed, alert state.Tom, it’s like Jeremiah:42:7, where the people, they are in rebellion but they say, Oh, go to your God and ask Him what He wants us to do, and then we’ll do it.They don’t have any intention of obeying what God would say.A lot of people are like that, they are praying until they get an answer that they want from theLord.It says, Verse 7:“And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah.”It doesn’t say that he had a technique.Now Jeremiah, you are going to hear from God if you get still.It didn’t say that he put his hand over the third eye in the middle of his forehead, or he went into some meditative state, some occult state like is being taught by this man in this book.But he’s just waiting for the Lord, and after ten days—you can’t make God answer you, you can’t go into some particular state of silence or whatever it is.God’s Word came to him telling these people what to do and they would not do it.So Tom, it’ a tragedy that we are trying to lead people into techniques to hear from God when they have the Word of God right in front of them, and they need to pay attention to it.
And you have Christianity Today promoting this sort of thing and it really makes me angry.