Even before it became MRA, the Oxford Group emphasized a daily “Quiet Time with the Holy Spirit” during which a pencil and notebook would always be at hand to record “every God-given thought and idea.” Why should God be giving any thoughts apart from His Word—and how would one distinguish such thoughts from one’s own? This is a dangerous procedure and one which is widely practiced (under the label of “journaling”) even by evangelicals today. Members were cautioned to check their subjective “guidance” against the Bible and “with others who are also receiving guidance in quiet times.” Such safeguards, however, only encourage such error since such “guidance” itself is unbiblical. Nowhere does Scripture even hint that this kind of extrabiblical “guidance” is to be expected from God.
Buchman and his teachings were warmly received by various churches and groups of Christians. Some, however, had the discernment to recognize the occultism which was developing. The Christians at Cambridge University accepted Buchman’s challenge to live more “Christlike lives.” Eventually, the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) cooled to his “guidance” and Buchman turned to Oxford, the university which gave his movement its name. Dr. Oliver Barclay, a former CICCU president, wrote:
“Buchman was at first received warmly by CICCU…. As time went on, however, disturbing features emerged. He spoke of the Quiet Time, but it was less and less a time of Bible study and prayer and increasingly a time of ‘listening to God.’ This members did with their minds blank and with pencil and paper in hand, writing down the thoughts that came to them. In this way men received entirely irrational guidance…regarded as authoritative…. They tended to loser their concern for doctrine and to end up less definite about the gospel….”
The influence of this concept of a quiet time in which one receives direct communication from the spirit realm (kept alive in the church today through Richard Foster and others) can be seen in Step 11 in AA, which calls for “meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him….” Dick B, one of the biographers of the movement, writes:
“The [AA] Big Book’s Eleventh Step discussion at pages 85-88…references to ‘meditation,’ ‘prayer,’ asking ‘God to direct our thinking,’ asking ‘God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision’…and ‘morning meditation,’ hearken back to the Akron days when Bill and Dr. Bob and Anne had Quiet Time with scripture reading and prayer [and also séances].”
The emphasis in AA is purely upon the “experience” of recovery. In contrast, Christ offered deliverance through truth as revealed in His Word: “If ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John:8:31,32). Satan hates the truth and uses mystical experiences for persuading men to believe his lies. Tragically, as we shall see in more depth later, the occult has managed to invade a large segment of the church through the growing reliance upon experiences rather than upon the Word of God.
Alan Morrison reminds us:
“Former Quaker and rock guitarist John Wimber, founder of the…Vineyard ministries…openly advocates a ‘paradigm shift’ away from thinking with Western logic into the exclusively experiential way of oriental thinking…. He also claims that ‘first century Semites did not argue from a premise to a conclusion; they were not controlled by rationalism.’
“This is a highly erroneous and mischievous statement. Not only is it historically inaccurate but it…denigrates logic…[and] it epitomizes the considerable confusion in the Charismatic Movement in its failure to identify the difference between (unhealthy) rationalism, whereby the miraculous is denied and the supernatural work of the Spirit is blasphemed, and (wholesome) rationality, whereby the Christian exercises necessary discernment….
“The ultimate first century Semite was surely the Lord Jesus Christ; yet He continually used the most devastating logic to demolish His opponents…. Never before [today] has a ‘sound mind’ been so necessary in the life of the Church.”