Mystic Madness: Spiraling Down into the Pit [Excerpts]
In spite of all the warnings being sounded in the church by various discernment ministries concerning the occult connection to centering/contemplative prayer, the practice is gaining, not losing, strength in the Evangelical church. But we’re merely looking at the beginners – the mere babies in this occult practice – those who don’t know where these monastic disciplines can lead. There is a group of "charismatic Catholics" who are battling the advanced contemplatives in their circles. Evangelical contemplative novices should look at their Catholic counterparts to see where this monastic exercise can take them.
The advanced form of contemplative prayer is called "Kything Prayer." Catholic apologist Eddie Russell describes the practice:
"This is a way of calling up another person's spirit to enter you, so that you can use their energy and gifts for yourself. You can also let others "centre" into your spirit to call your spirit to them. You can do this with saints as well as others who are dead and it's all done in the name of Christian Prayer."
In other words, advanced contemplative prayer can lead to spirit possession by so-called dead saints that are really demonic spirits masquerading as those who once lived. But the novices in the contemplative prayer fad in the Emerging Church would never agree to any such a thing, would they? Well, maybe not if it was presented to them in this way – but by going into the so-called spirit realm in their altered states of consciousness, they open themselves up to just such deception and spiritual oppression, if not outright possession. It’s hard to imagine some contemplative prayer defenders such as Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah or Beth Moore putting their seal of approval on kything, yet by endorsing centering prayer they are leading people in that spiritual direction.
There’s a parallel in the church today. Young believers who are experimenting with unbiblical ways to create an atmosphere to connect with God’s presence may start off with the "Jesus prayer" and then move on to the next spiritual exercise such as contemplative, and then try "Christian" yoga, and before long they have crossed over from Christianity into the religion of the Dalai Lama.
The extreme contemplative practice of kything prayer is a return to necromancy: the conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events." And the mind-blanking meditation being popularized in many religious and secular circles is a short-cut to the astral plane, repackaged in Christianized terms such as the spirit realm or being lifted up into God’s glory, etc.
The Emergents, liberal Protestants, and those in the apostolic-prophetic movement are furlongs behind the Catholic monks on their journey away from the God of the Bible. But if they keep holding up Catholic mystics as their inspiration, they will all fall into the pit!