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Roman Catholic Asceticism
Dec 26, 2013

December 26, 2013 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)

The following is from the book CONTEMPLATIVE MYSTICISM: A POWERFUL ECUMENICAL BOND. Contemplative mysticism, which originated with Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox monasticism, is permeating every branch of Christianity today, including the Southern Baptist Convention. In this book we document the fact that Catholic mysticism leads inevitably to a broadminded ecumenical philosophy and to the adoption of heresies. For many, this path has led to interfaith dialogue, Buddhism, Hinduism, universalism, pantheism, panentheism, even goddess theology. One chapter is dedicated to exposing the heresies of Richard Foster: “Evangelicalism’s Mystical Sparkplug.” We describe the major contemplative practices, such as centering prayer, visualizing prayer, Jesus Prayer, Lectio Divina, and the Labyrinth. We look at the history of Roman Catholic Monasticism, beginning with the Desert Fathers and the Church Fathers, and document the heresies associated with it, such as its sacramental gospel, rejection of the Bible as sole authority, veneration of Mary, purgatory, celibacy, asceticism, allegoricalism, and moral corruption. We examine the errors of contemplative mysticism, such as downplaying the centrality of the Bible, ignoring the fact that multitudes of professing Christians are not born again, exchanging the God of the Bible for a blind idol, ignoring the Bible’s warnings against associating with heresy and paganism, and downplaying the danger of spiritual delusion. In the Biographical Catalog of Contemplative Mystics we look at the lives and beliefs of 60 of the major figures in the contemplative movement, including Benedict of Nursia, Bernard of Clairvaux, Brother Lawrence, Catherine of Genoa, Catherine of Siena, Dominic, Meister Eckhart, Francis of Assisi, Madame Guyon, Hildegard of Bingen, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Keating, Thomas a Kempis, Brennan Manning, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Basil Pennington, John Michael Talbot, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Lisieux, and Dallas Willard. The book contains an extensive index. 482 pages. Contemplative Mysticism is available in print and eBook formats, http://www.wayoflife.orgRoman Catholic Asceticism

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Rome’s Desert Fathers and mystic “saints” practiced extreme asceticism. Many doubtless put themselves into an early grave. Hildegard’s “strict practices of fasting and self-punishment, resulted in a lifetime of health problems and migraine headaches” (Talbot, The Way of the Mystics, p. 55). John of the Cross so abused his body that, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “twice he was saved from certain death by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin.”

After a study of the desert monastics, we tend to agree with Edward Gibbon, the famous historian of the Roman Empire. He described the typical desert monk as a “distorted and emaciated maniac … spending his life in a long routine of useless and atrocious self-torture, and quailing before the ghastly phantoms of his delirious brain.” Gibbon said, “They were sunk under the painful weight of crosses and chains; and their emaciated limbs were confined by collars, bracelets, gauntlets, and greaves of massy and rigid iron” (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).

The ascetic practices have many purposes, but none of them are scriptural.

They were thought to be necessary for salvation and sanctification. Pio of Pietrelcina said: “Let us now consider what we must do to ensure that the Holy Spirit may dwell in our souls. … The mortification must be constant and steady, not intermittent, and it must last for one’s whole life. Moreover, the perfect Christian must not be satisfied with a kind of mortification which merely appears to be severe. He must make sure that it hurts” (“Mortification of the Flesh,” Wikipedia).

Ascetic practices are also thought to be necessary as part of the path to ecstatic union with God. We have seen that self-denial and self-injury composed the first step in the three-step path to mystical union.

Ascetic practices are also thought to be necessary as penance for sin. In his Spiritual Exercises Ignatius of Loyola taught that penance requires “chastising the body by inflicting sensible pain on it” through “wearing hairshirts, cords, or iron chains on the body, or by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerities” (The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, First Week, Vintage Spiritual Classics, p. 31). Pope John XXIII wrote: “But the faithful must be encouraged to do outward acts of penance, both to keep their bodies under the strict control of reason and faith, and to make amends for their own and other people’s sins” (Paenitentiam Agere, July 1, 1962). Yet we know that the believer’s sin is forgiven through the blood of Christ and not through his own self-effort and sacrifice (1 John 1:9).

Ascetic practices are further thought to be necessary because the body and its physical pleasures are evil. John of the Cross, one of the most acclaimed of the Catholic mystical theologians, considered physical existence, with all its attendant needs and desires, as inherently sinful (Talbot, The Way of the Mystics, p. 148). Francis of Assisi called his own body “Brother Ass.” This error goes back to the Platonic and gnostic philosophy that was imbibed by the Desert Fathers and Church Fathers.

Some of the common ascetic practices of the monastic mystics were as follows:

Extreme fasting

For part of her life Catherine of Siena lived exclusively on the wine and wafer of the Mass. Peter of Alcantara, who was Teresa of Avila’s spiritual director, ate only once in three days at the most. The diet in many monasteries is meager. Consider the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. The monks subsist on a small amount of food for part of the year and are never allowed to eat meat, fish, or eggs.

Self-flagellation 

Dominic Loricatus (995-1060), a Benedictine monk, lashed himself 300,000 times with a whip in one six-day period (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. V). He did this while reciting the Psalms, 100 lashes for each psalm. Catherine of Siena scourged herself three times a day with an iron chain. Theresa of the Child Jesus “scourged herself with all the strength and speed of which she was capable, smiling at the crucifix through her tears.” Hildegard of Bingen recommended “maceration of the flesh, and heavy beatings” to ward off lascivious lusts.

Hairshirts

A hairshirt was something uncomfortable worn next to the skin. Commonly it was made of some uncomfortable fabric such as horsehair, but some were made of metal. Henry Suso’s loins were covered with scars from his horsehair shirt. He also devised an undergarment studded with 150 sharp brass nails that pierced his skin. Dominic Loricatus and Ignatius of Loyola wore hairshirts of chain mail.

Bindings

Ignatius had the habit of binding a cord below the knee. The seers of Fatima wore tight cords around their waists. Catherine of Siena wrapped a chain with crosses around her body so tightly that it caused her to bleed; it is described as an “iron spiked girdle.” “Her self-punishment left her body covered with gaping wounds, which she blithely referred to as her ‘flowers’” (Talbot, The Way of the Mystics, p. 81).

Foregoing hygiene 

Anthony never bathed his body nor even washed his feet. Henry Suso didn’t take a bath in 25 years. For a while Ignatius of Loyola didn’t bathe, wore rags, and let his hair and nails grow “wildly out of control.” In the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance, Thomas Merton’s order, monks are allowed to wash their robes only once a month and they can take showers only by permission of the abbot. It should be called the order of stinky.

Sleep depravation

Catherine of Siena allowed herself only one-half hour of sleep every other day on a hard board. No wonder she had strange visions! Peter of Alcantara slept only one and a half hours a day for 40 years. Catherine of Genoa slept as little as possible and then on a bed covered with briars and thistles.

Silence and solitude

Silence and solitude is a big part of Catholic monastic asceticism. The hermit Theon, one of the “desert fathers,” kept silent for thirty years. Abbot Moses told a young man who asked for guidance, “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything” (The Way of the Mystics, p. 24). Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese order, says the hermit must “sit in his cell like a chick, and destroy himself completely” (Talbot, Come to the Quiet, p. 22). Cistercian monks take vows of silence and communicate among themselves only by sign language. Teresa of Avila demanded that the nuns in her order not talk to each other or be together except when eating and worshiping. She said, “Each one should be alone in her cell” (The Way of Perfection, chap. 4, p. 29).

Separation from relatives 

Many of the monasteries and convents disallowed the monks and nuns to associate with their relatives. Teresa of Lisieux and her four sisters were nuns in Carmelite convents, and when their father had a series of strokes that left him severely handicapped, they were not allowed to visit him. This is contrary to God’s command to honor and care for one’s own near relations (1 Tim. 5:8).

Paul warned that some would turn from the faith and teach the doctrines of demons, and he identified two of these doctrines as “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats…” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

A plainer description of Catholic monastic asceticism has never been written!

Paul warned about asceticism in Colossians 2:20-23.

The ascetics find biblical support for their practices in Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 9:27 — “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

But nowhere does Paul say that he performed the type of asceticism that is practiced by the Catholic monastics. He listed many things that he suffered, but for the most part they were things that he was subjected to by outside forces and by dint of the performance of his preaching ministry (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Paul was not punishing his body and ruining his health through mindless asceticism.

In the New Testament, fasting is not a way of punishing oneself; it is a matter of spiritual warfare (Matthew 17:19-21).

Further, Paul was not talking about his salvation or his sanctification but about his ministry. Paul was concerned that he would be a castaway in the sense that he would be put on a shelf in this life so that he could no longer exercise his ministry and/or that his service would be rejected, disapproved at the judgment seat of Christ. The same Greek word is translated “rejected.” Paul was not afraid that he would be lost. In the same epistle he taught that Christ preserves the believer (1 Cor. 1:7-9). What Paul feared was falling short of God’s high calling for his life. The context makes this plain. He is talking about running a race and winning a prize.

To confuse 1 Corinthians 9:27 with salvation is to misunderstand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is not a reward for faithful service. The Bible plainly states that salvation is by grace, and grace is the free, unmerited mercy of God (Eph. 2:8-9). Anything that is merited or earned, is not grace (Romans 11:6). On the other hand, after we are saved by the marvelous grace of God, we are called to serve Jesus Christ. We are created in Christ Jesus “unto good works” (Eph. 2:10). If a believer is lazy and carnal, he will be chastened by the Lord (Heb. 12:6-8), and if he does not respond, God will take him home (Rom. 8:13; 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16).

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There is an alarming promotion of the mystic contemplatives from Christian ministries lately. One would be wise to avoid Henry Blackaby, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Keating, Brennan Manning, Thomas Merton, etc.  I would recommend reading “A Time of Departing” by Ray Yungen to protect your spiritual life from deception. On the surface these teachings from these men may sound lovely but they are misleading you.

Source for “A Time of Departing” HERE 

50 Questionable Teachings From Experiencing God

By Reese Currie, Compass Distributors

Courses are admitted into evangelical churches, oftentimes without any sort of objective theological review. For Experiencing God, I have reviewed the materials from a Biblical viewpoint and noted any teachings that conflict with Scripture, as well as any teaching techniques that are questionable. I found 50 such teachings or techniques in Experiencing God that fall into one of the following categories:

      1. Debatable: There are subtle Biblical arguments against a point, but I am not adamant that Blackaby’s point is incorrect; I am simply saying the point is debatable.
      2. Fallacious: Using an argumentative logical fallacy to support a view.
      3. Inaccurate: The usage of Scripture is not completely accurate.
      4. Inarticulate: A carelessly applied word that can be interpreted very badly.
      5. Inconsistent: A teachers’s life choices are inconsistent with what he teaches.
      6. Misapplication: A misapplication of Scripture to a situation.
      7. Misinterpretation: A false impression of the Scripture is given due to poor exegesis.
      8. Self-contradictory: One teaching conflicts with another.
      9. Unbiblical: Directly contradicts Bible teaching.

These teachings have to be addressed in the order they appear in the book because Blackaby builds upon false premises throughout Experiencing God. You will find that some of the early teachings that I document seem quite minor, but they build into major doctrinal faults as they grow on the potter’s wheel of Henry Blackaby.

      1. Class: Unbiblical. Introduction to Unit 1, page 7. Henry Blackaby teaches that we should “operate our budgets on prayer,” budget for more than we have and hope the money will come in. This is counter to Luke 14:28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” The question is not whether he can get the money. The question is whether he has it now. Jesus’ words apply to counting the cost of discipleship, not church funding; however, it is plain that Jesus thought that the logic of having the resources at hand before building a tower was a given.
      2. Class: Misapplication. Unit 1, page 11. Jesus’ statement, “I am the Way” from John 14:6 is applied to ministry decisions. A quotation is given in the margin that only refers to the statement, ” I am the way, the truth, and the life:”, and the inaccurate translation quoted substitutes an unwarranted period instead of the colon from this KJV quotation. No indication is given that this is a partial quotation or a sentence fragment. John 14:6 actually reads, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The text has nothing to do with “daily guidance” or ministry decisions, but Blackaby uproots the words from their context to make an application never intended by Christ or the Bible writers.
      3. Class: Unbiblical/inarticulate. Unit 1, page 17. “With God working through that servant, he or she can do anything God can do. Wow! Unlimited potential!” This is the first dangerous false teaching in Experiencing God. It is not true; for instance, I know of no Christian who can create a baby in the womb. Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” This is also the first teaching of Satan to Eve, that she could be just like God.
      4. Class: Fallacious. Unit 1, page 18. King (the man who writes the exercises in Experiencing God) poses the question, “When we finish a task and feel frustrated that lasting spiritual fruit is not visible, could the reason be that we are attempting very little that only God can do?” This is what is called a complex question. To answer the question, we have to first agree that Blackaby’s principle that “we can do anything God can do” (from point #3) is correct. The question is worded so that you have to accept Blackaby’s principle in order to answer either positive or negative. This is a cultic teaching technique used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      5. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 1, page 18. Blackaby’s statement “you come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you” is inarticulate in the extreme and suggests a works salvation. At the most, the text should say, “You come to know God better by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.” The initial coming to know God is only by repentance and faith. This teaching itself is the first sign of mysticism in Experiencing God.
      6. Class: Self-contradictory. Unit 1, page 24. “Whenever God gets ready to do something, He always reveals to a person or His people what He is going to do” is self-contradictory with “Many times, as with Abram, God called people just to follow Him… He is more likely to call you to follow one day at a time than He is to spell out all the details before you begin to obey Him.” (Unit 1, page 11.) The teaching also implies that God is not in something if what is happening has not been previously revealed to anyone, which is patently ridiculous.
      7. Class: Debatable. Unit 2, page 28. “You never find God asking persons to dream up what they want to do for Him.” This point is debatable Scripturally. For example, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Surely, thinking about what service you could offer God would be included in that definition.
      8. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 2, page 31. “Suppose He wants to do it through you. He comes to you and talks to you. But you are so self-centered, and you respond, ‘I don’t think I am trained. I don’t think I am able to do it. And I …’ Do you see what happens? The focus is on self.”I disagree with Blackaby’s point. Jesus’ teaching on discipleship requires self-evaluation. Quoting again from Luke 14:26-30, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”In Isaiah 6:5-7 we read, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Isaiah’s concern was not invalid. In His case one of the seraphims dealt with Isaiah’s problem. In our modern times, it could be a person who feels they aren’t trained should go get some training. 
      9. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 2, page 37. “They may ask, ‘Can’t I get a word from God from the Bible?’ Yes you can! But only the Holy Spirit of God can reveal to you which truth of Scripture is a word from God in a particular circumstance.” This view of Scripture conflicts with 2Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” All Scripture is always profitable. There is no point at time at which any word of Scripture becomes untrue or unprofitable.
      10. Class: Inconsistent. Unit 2, page 37. “You also need to be very careful about claiming you have a word from God. Claiming to have a word from God is serious business.” I agree with Blackaby here, yet Blackaby is a member of Promise Keepers which is inconsistent with his stated position. Promise Keepers’ leader, Bill McCartney, constantly claims he has a word from God in his speeches, such as his statement that “God told him” that every church should send Promise Keepers $1000, reported by the Denver Post.
      11. Class: Unbiblical/self-contradictory. Unit 2, page 38. “He speaks to His servant when He is ready to move. Otherwise He wouldn’t speak to you.” Blackaby makes it sound as if God only speaks to give high-pressure assignments and never speaks to simply address the concern of one of His children. Blackaby elsewhere claims that God speaks to us through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church. Answered prayer, therefore, is God speaking to us. John 14:14 says, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Therefore God does speak to us for things that are our concerns, not necessarily His work.
      12. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 3, page 48. “You, too, can so order your life under God’s direction that you come to know Him, love Him only, and become like Christ.” It is not at all God’s desire that we love Him only. “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (1 John 3:14). “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
      13. Class: Self-contradictory. Unit 3, page 53. “They seem to think that God is far off and unconcerned about their day to day living. That is not the God we see in the Scriptures.” This is a true statement. It contradicts his statement “He speaks to His servant when He is ready to move. Otherwise He wouldn’t speak to you.” On the one hand, he says God wouldn’t even speak to us if He didn’t want us to do something, and on the other hand, he says God is concerned about our day to day living.
      14. Class: Inarticulate. Unit 3, page 55. “He invites you to relate to Him, so He can accomplish His work through you.” Is this really God’s motive? That would be like getting married so that the wife could do the housework or so that the husband could be the breadwinner. God’s reason for relating to us is simply that we personally will not perish; working with Him is a gift He gives some people. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (1Peter 3:9).
      15. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 3, page 55. “His whole plan for the advance of the Kingdom depends His working in real and practical ways through His relationship to His people.” No, it doesn’t. God is pretty powerless if He needs people to accomplish His tasks. For instance, in Revelation we read, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). God is in no way dependent upon man.
      16. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 4, page 57. “You will find that the call to relationship is also a call to be on mission with Him.” False. A good example is the woman caught in adultery. In parting, Jesus says to her, “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:10-11). There are people that were in relationship to Jesus but were called to no kind of ministry at all. Jesus asked nothing of them but simply to keep holy lives themselves. In John 5:14, the man that Jesus cured at the well was simply told, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” There is more than one example of this being the case, where Jesus made no call to mission of certain people for reasons known only to Him.
      17. Class: Misinterpretation. Unit 4, page 65. Blackaby insists, “Jesus watched to see where the Father was at work.” The verses that Blackaby derives this teaching from have absolutely nothing to say about “watching” and had nothing whatsoever to do with “where.” John 5:19 says, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Not a word about “watching.” “Seeing,” yes. But “watching” makes Jesus someone less than God and smacks of Arian heresy. “Where” has nothing whatsoever to do with what Jesus said and is simply an unbiblical addition to what was actually said. I will not make additional examples everywhere that Blackaby applies this particular misinterpretation of the Bible (there are a great number), but only say that while it may be true of us, it is blasphemous to say of Jesus. In reality, though, Blackaby’s interpretation is not even true of us. I may see God working anywhere in the world, but that does not make it necessarily God’s will that I go there and “join Him.”
      18. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 5, page 73. “Could Moses logically prove to someone else that he had heard from God? No, all Moses could do was testify to his encounter with God.” This is utterly unbiblical, and it is designed to give Blackaby authority for claiming that God “speaks to him” all the time without any evidence.In Exodus 4:1-8, God gives Moses a few means to prove that God had spoken to him. It says, “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.”
      19. Class: Debatable. Unit 5, page 75. “If you start ‘doing’ before you have a direction from God, more than likely you will be wrong.” The apostles operated full-time on only one direction: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46b-47). We already have that direction from God. What Blackaby is talking about here is an old Pietist teaching that John Wesley called “quietism.” John Wesley did not live by that principle, taking the divine commission at face value, and won a lot more converts than the Pietists ever did. There is a “general” thing to be doing all the time, in addition to the specific things that God gives more leading on.
      20. Class: Self-contradictory. Unit 5, page 75. “God is more interested in a love relationship with you than He is in what you can do for Him.” I agree with this point. It contradicts Blackaby’s other point, “You will find that the call to relationship is also a call to be on mission with Him.”
      21. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 6, page 96. “Jesus always was looking for where the Father was at work, and joined Him.” We have already demonstrated that the concepts of “looking” and “where” are not part of the Scripture passage that Blackaby bases this teaching on; the Scriptures simply say that what Jesus does what He sees God doing, in other words, He does the same things God is doing. Doing the same things God is doing have nothing to do with watching to see where God is working and joining Him; it is simply a way of life wherever you are. The trouble is, sometimes an erroneous principle is established in Blackaby’s courses and then accepted as a given forever after.
      22. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 6, page 100. “You never know the truth of a situation until you have heard from Jesus.” This would seem to contradict Paul’s teaching from 1Corinthians 5:12-13, “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” That means that, based on the knowledge we have already received from Christ through the Bible, we are already qualified to judge matters within the church; and it is those who are outside the church that God judges. This is another example of Blackaby trying to twist Jesus’ statement “I am the Way”, meaning, the way to God and salvation, to specific situations within a church.
      23. Class: Inconsistent. Unit 6, page 104. “Way back in my teen years I began to sense a deep burden for communities all across Canada that did not have an evangelical church.” I agree with Blackaby here that it the witness of non-evangelical churches is terrible, they don’t even preach the gospel. But Blackaby in real life is an ecumenist (see points #45 and #46), which is to view all types of churches as being equal; so it should not matter to him whether they were evangelical, liberal or Catholic. If it does matter, he certainly should not be an ecumenist.
      24. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 7, page 108. In the introduction, Blackaby reiterates his teaching that budgets should be set far higher than you can manage and God will pull through. He gives his example, that the church budget was normally $74,000, they budgeted for $164,000, and they actually received $172,000. Blackaby closes by saying, “God taught our church a lesson in faith that radically changed us all.” But my question is, does God teach a lesson about faith that causes one to disregard the principle underlying the plainly stated word of Jesus in Luke 14:27-33? That sounds more like a departure from the faith to me.
      25. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 7, page 109. “When God invites you to join Him in His work, He has a God-sized assignment for you. You will realize that you cannot do it on your own. If God doesn’t help you, you will fail.” Wasn’t one of Jesus’ teachings, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not” (Matthew 25:42-43). These are all things we can easily do for people, they are God’s work, and He has commanded us to be involved with Him in these things. There are certainly things that cannot be achieved without God’s help, but to claim that everything that can be done without God’s help are not ministries is wrong to the point of being heretical.
      26. Class: Inconsistent. Unit 7, page 110. “If we looked at all of the circumstances, would we have proceeded? No. But, what you believe about God will determine what you do. When God tells you what He wants to do through you, you will face a crisis of belief. What you do shows what you believe.” This goes directly against Blackaby’s other statement, from Unit 2, page 37, “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.” This statement from Unit 2, page 37 is the entire tenor of the course.
      27. Class: Inconsistent. Unit 7, page 111. The statement “Encounters with God are God-sized” is directly contradictory with this true statement from Unit 5, page 78, “You cannot understand the Word of God unless the Spirit of God teaches you. When you come to the word of God, the Author Himself is present to instruct you. You never discover truth; truth is revealed. When the Holy Spirit reveals truth to you, He is not leading you to an encounter with God. That is an encounter with God.” God encounters us in some small things like understanding small spiritual truths. It does not always have to be a huge production to be an encounter with God.
      28. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 7, page 113. “When God lets you know what He wants to do through you, it will be something only God can do.” To reiterate my earlier point on this, from Matthew 25:42-43 and many other places in Scripture, we learn of things we can easily do for people that God commands us to do. I am sure that getting money together to bail out the church in Jerusalem was not presented by Paul as being something only God could do, for instance. This teaching of Blackaby’s denigrates any good work that God has called us to that isn’t impossible for man.
      29. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 7, page 116. “I have come to the point in my life that, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, I know it is probably not from God.” It makes me wonder if we’re reading the same Bible. When God told Joseph to move his family to Egypt to escape Herod, was God giving Joseph a task that Joseph could not do? It is fortunate that Joseph did not have the same theology as Henry Blackaby or Christ would have died as an infant!
      30. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 7, page 116. “When God’s people and the world see something happen that only God can do, they come to know God.” This is signs and wonders theology straight out of the charismatic movement. Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Not by signs and wonders, but by preaching, the world comes to know God. And no one at all comes to know God unless they repent. The question is given on page 118, “How will the world come to know God?” and the required answer is, “By seeing God work.” False. Everyone who comes to know God comes by repentance and faith. This false teaching of Blackaby’s is reiterated dozens of times throughout Unit 7.
      31. Class: Fallacious. Unit 7, page 119. Henry Blackaby openly proclaims his belief that God manipulated the national economy of Canada on behalf of his single church by forcing the Canadian dollar to hit rock bottom for a time so that funding coming from Texas would yield more Canadian dollars than it would have. This fallacy is called causal reductionism. It seems quite unlikely to me that God Himself manipulated the economy, putting who knows how many families in jeopardy as the parents lost their jobs.
      32. Class: Misapplication. Unit 9, page 146. Blackaby takes a Scripture, 1John 2:3-6, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Then, Blackaby writes, “Each ‘new’ command of Jesus will require a new knowledge and understanding of Him.”But the Scripture cannot possibly be interpreted as discussing “new commands.” We are to walk even as He “walked”, past tense. And as for commandments of Jesus, I know of only two, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40).John speaks of keeping commandments from the Bible as a sign of obedience and love for God. Blackaby extends this out to some “new” commandments he thinks Jesus is giving, which is indicative of a belief in “progressive revelation.” Not much wonder Blackaby so heartily supports Roman Catholicism. 
      33. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 9, page 153. “When God purposes to do something through you, the assignment will have God-sized dimensions. This is because God wants to reveal Himself to you and those around you. If you can do the work in your own strength, people will not come to know God. However, if God works through you to do what only He can do, you and those around you will come to know Him.” This is utterly unbiblical. According to the Bible, “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1Corinthians 1:21b). This notion that people will not be saved unless God moves mountains for them comes from Blackaby’s charismatic influence through Promise Keepers.
      34. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 9, page 160. “Some people go to much trouble studying Satan’s ways so they can identify when something appears to be a deception of Satan. I don’t do that. I have determined not to focus on Satan. He is defeated … The only way Satan can affect God’s work through me is when I believe Satan and disbelieve God.” This is the most unbiblical possible counsel from Blackaby, and it demonstrates why he is so easily deceived by Promise Keepers and the ecumenical movement. He refuses to be on guard against the devil’s work.1Peter 5:8 warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”Ephesians 6:11 warns, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”1Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

        Blackaby refuses to consider the possibility of being deceived by the devil in any of his teachings, which is nothing more than spiritual pride.

        (By the way, the simple way of knowing the devil’s work is it is based on perversion, which is the denial of important differences. For instance, sexual perverts deny the differences between genders and generations. The devil used this strategy in the garden of Eden, telling Eve she could be like God, denying the essential difference between God and mankind. Wherever there is a denial of differences, such as in the ecumenical movement, one may be positive that the devil is at work.)

         

      35. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 9, page 160. The question is asked, rhetorically, “Does God plan your life for eternity and then turn you loose to work out His plan?” Blackaby’s answer is no, but let’s be careful about that, Henry! Paul writes, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).
      36. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 10, page 162. In the introduction, Blackaby writes of a salvation experience involving a number of different members of his local church. Unfortunately, the story is spoiled by the last line, “Who won Doug to the Lord? The body did!” Far from it, Henry. John 6:44 says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Who really won Doug to the Lord? God did. He may have used people, but let’s remember to give God the glory.
      37. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 10, page 1. “Church members need to be taught how to walk with God. They need to know how to hear Him speaking. They need to be able to identify things only God can do.” The problem is, nothing in the New Testament supports Blackaby’s assumptions. The human part of the divine commission was not to do something only God could do. It was to preach the message of repentance and remission of sins to all nations (Luke 24:47), to baptize and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). These are things that man can do. God needs to help for the effort to be successful, but man can do everything Christ commanded. (Note that Christ didn’t command anyone to “save people”; that’s God’s part of the work.) What people need is to obey the command already given, not “watch and wait” for new commands that come out of the heads of dreamers.
      38. Class: Inconsistent. Unit 10, page 164. “Individuals often think that a work for God can be done with whatever means are necessary. They don’t hesitate to violate God’s written will in order to accomplish something they think is His will.” I agree with Blackaby’s statement here, but if he were to apply it in his own life, would he be an ecumenist, while many verses forbid even giving a greeting to a person who preaches a different doctrine? Such verses include Galatians 1:8-10; Romans 16:17-18; 1Timothy 1:3; 4:16; 6:3-5; 2Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 13:9; and 2John 8-11.
      39. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 10, page 168. Blackaby is speaking about “corporately” knowing the will of God when he writes, “When God speaks to a person about the church, the person should share with the body what he or she senses God is saying. As each member shares what he senses God is saying, the whole body goes to God in prayer to discern His will for the body. In His timing God confirms to the body what He is saying. Individual opinions are not that important. The will of God is very important. No single method can be given for discerning God’s will as a body.”This is not the truth. If it were actually practiced in the first church, the Corinthian church would never have expelled the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife. Paul was the one who disagreed; his “one opinion” was quite important because it was based on Scriptural teaching. Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 5:1-2, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” The sad fact is, most people in churches reject much of what Scripture teaches. One opinion is much more important than that of the majority, if Scripture backs up that one opinion.
      40. Class: Fallacious/Unbiblical. Unit 10, page 169. Blackaby is discussing how he would not proceed with plans without a major consensus from the church body. Then he writes, “People often ask, ‘Did you always wait until you got a 100 percent vote?’ No, I knew that we might have one or more that were so out of fellowship with the Lord that they could not hear his voice. Another might be purposefully disobedient…. I did not get angry or disappointed with those who did not agree with the rest of the body. Their disagreement indicated that they might have a fellowship problem with the Lord.”This is utter cultism. The argument is first based on an argumentative fallacy called ad hominem. Rather than consider the validity of a minority view, Blackaby prefers to question their fellowship with God. His approach becomes unbiblical in light of 1Corinthians 5 (see point #39). In that situation, Blackaby would have to label Paul either “out of fellowship with the Lord” or “purposefully disobedient” because he disagreed with the majority opinion to have a fornicator in the church. This one paragraph from Experiencing God should put any cult researcher into a state of alert.
      41. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 10, page 170. “If the people walk with God, then I can trust God to guide them… If the people do not walk in right fellowship with God, then I depend on God to guide me in helping them become what He wants them to be.” Both of these statements are false teachings and I will deal with them one at a time. In Galatians 2:11 Paul writes, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” Did Peter not walk with God? Of course Peter did. That does not prevent someone from making mistakes. When Blackaby’s entire phrasing is taken into account, however, it reveals his view that when people agree with Blackaby, they are walking with God, and when they do not agree with Blackaby, they are not walking with God. This is an incredible degree of arrogance, and it strongly suggests that Blackaby desires a “personality cult” to spring up around him.
      42. Class: Misapplication. Unit 11, page 184. “You cannot be in relationship with Jesus and not be on mission. Jesus said, ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’ (John 20:21).” In actual fact, there were many people in Scripture who were saved but were not “on mission.” God does not necessarily call a person into mission. Everyone supports mission, but not everyone is on mission. In Matthew’s account of the deliverance of the Divine Commission, we read in Matthew 28:16, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” Jesus took His eleven disciples to a mountain away from everyone else to give them the commission to reach the world. Not everyone is called to be a missionary, and it does not mean that Jesus doesn’t love them. People who have bought in to Blackaby’s teachings become very judgmental of what they call “pew-sitters,” people without whose heartfelt financial support, ministry would be utterly impossible.
      43. Class: Misinterpretation/inaccurate/misapplication. Unit 11, page 188. On the parable of the wheat and the tares, Blackaby writes, “Using this parable, Jesus teaches that some lost and evil people are mixed with true believers in churches.” Blackaby is blatantly contradicting one key part of Jesus’ own explanation of the parable. Jesus does not say that field is the church. Jesus says, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38). The “true church” is not populated with any unbelievers. Acts 2:47 says, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Man’s “churches” contain all kinds of unbelievers, but the true assembly of God contains absolutely none.
      44. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 11, page 198. “Can God-like Koinonia [fellowship] exist between churches of different denominations as they co-operate to achieve greater Kingdom purposes? Yes! However, humans left to their own ways cannot achieve those kinds of relationships. Only God through His Holy Spirit can create and sustain Koinonia between His people. He wants to be King, Ruler, and Sovereign over all His kingdom. When He is allowed to rule, man-made barriers will fall.”If God is to be allowed to rule, wouldn’t everyone have to be in agreement with the things He teaches? Blackaby co-operates with many different doctrines and versions of the gospel, including the works-salvation of Roman Catholicism, and the baptismal regeneration of the Anglican communion and the Church of Christ, in addition to those churches that preach justification by faith. From a moral standpoint, Blackaby co-operates with denominations that reject the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality and fornication. How can one co-operate with such things if God is ruling over him? If God’s rule is accepted, then those who oppose His teaching must be rejected.I have a lot of verses to support this.Galatians 1:8-10, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”;

        Romans 16:17-18, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple”;

        1Timothy 1:3, “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine”;

        1Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee”;

        1Timothy 6:3-5, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself”;

        2Timothy 4:1-4, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”;

        Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”;

        Hebrews 13:9, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein”;

        2John 8-11, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

        Many denominations allow their traditions to outweigh Scripture. If Jesus really rules our lives, we will avoid working with such denominations.

        Jesus spoke these things about the Pharisees, whose tradition outweighed Scripture:

        Matthew 16:6, 11-12, “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees… How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”;

        Matthew 23:2-3, “Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not”;

        Matthew 23:13-15, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

        I will dispense with quoting parallel accounts from the other gospels. Quite a bit of Scripture that Henry Blackaby teaches you to ignore, isn’t it?

         

      45. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 11, page 198. “I am not suggesting that doctrinal differences ought to be compromised, but we can act like brothers and sisters who love each other.” This is a direct refusal to obey God on Henry Blackaby’s part. 2John 8-11, Romans 16:17-18 and 1Timothy 6:3-5 absolutely forbid any kind of fellowship with purveyors of false doctrine. People are not your “brothers and sisters” if they believe in salvation by anything other than faith in Christ or oppose God’s teachings in the Bible.
      46. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 12, page 203. “You sin against God when you: 1) Miss the mark of His purposes for you, 2) Rebel against Him, refuse to follow Him, 3) Commit acts of evil, wickedness, or immorality.” Point 1) is not Biblical doctrine. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Sin causes the coming short; but coming short is not in itself a sin. Sin defined Biblically is this: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1John 3:4). Without transgression of the Law, there is no sin.
      47. Class: Debatable. Unit 12, page 210. “Agencies of a denomination, for instance, have a place in doing God’s will that indvidual churches cannot accomplish alone.” Blackaby is speaking of agencies such as the SBC’s “North American Mission Board.” The problem with this teaching is that there were no such agencies in the Bible, and yet individual churches accomplished the work. With this teaching, Blackaby denigrates the work of independent churches and nondenominational churches. Were Jesus and the apostles negligent in setting up a first century church that had no denominational agencies? I think not.
      48. Class: Misapplication. Unit 12, page 213. “In Jesus’ commission to His church He said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matt. 28:19-20).” This is a relatively minor fault, but it is a common evangelical teaching that is false. This command was definitely not given to the church but exclusively to the eleven remaining apostles, who were even sent to a mountain away from everyone else to receive this command. Matthew 28:16 records, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” Not everyone is gifted or called to be an evangelist, and it is unbiblical (see 1Corinthians 12) to suggest that they are.
      49. Class: Unbiblical. Unit 12, page 213. “Learning to follow Christ is a life-long process. You do not learn to follow Him all by yourself.” Blackaby here is recommending fellowship with a local church, but he goes overboard on the necessity of a church. He writes, “No one can become the kind of complete believer he ought to be outside the functioning body of a New Testament church.” But what Scripture actually says is, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2Timothy 3:15). I know a person who was too sick to attend a church, ministering through a web site from his home for years. He recently made a new translation of the New Testament from Greek at home. A church is very helpful, and if at all possible we should be “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). But the sort of claims Blackaby is making are unwarranted. A person can be fully functional as a Christian outside of any local assembly, if such a situation presents itself.
      50. Class: Debatable. Unit 12, page 214. “Apart from the body, a gift or ministry is out of context.” Well, the Great Awakening in England was an example of an “out of context” ministry, then. John Wesley was not permitted to speak in his Anglican church so he simply proceeded to minister on his own and through his Methodist societies, which he did not view as a church. Since it was the greatest revival England ever saw, I guess we needn’t worry too greatly about “out-of-context” ministry.

There you have 50 false teachings from Experiencing God. I eliminated six more points that I thought were too minor to bring up in addition to these. Even at 50 points, though, it constitutes one false teaching in every four pages of Experiencing God.

If there is a lesson to be learned or a recommendation to be made, it is this. Do not trust the Southern Baptist Convention’s materials to be doctrinally pure, even if you are a Southern Baptist. Instead, follow the Scriptural advice given in Hebrews 5:14, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” We are to be discerning both of things we think are good and those things we think are evil.

Courses with this sort of content should not be given to people who do not have a great deal of Scripture knowledge with which to discern what teachings are true and which are false. Other LifeWay courses, like T.W. Hunt’s Mind of Christ for instance, contain solid Bible teaching without all the charismatic psychobabble of Blackabyism. I reviewed T.W. Hunt’s Mind of Christ again, to verify what I have said about him here. The teachings are virtually flawless in his excellent course. (Interestingly, Claude V. King wrote the exercises for Mind of Christ, the same man who did Blackaby’s exercises. Yet the course is devoid of mysticism.) The difference between the two courses is night and day, and I can recommend Mind of Christ without any reservations.

But the best and safest antidote for ignorance about God is to simply read the Bible itself without having to be concerned about any of man’s errors. I would recommend keeping away even from study Bibles, as they tend to have false teachings in the notes, and from dynamic equivalency versions that contain man’s interpretations instead of the literal Word of God. Allow God to teach you His Word Himself. God’s Holy Spirit is more than patient enough to be your teacher if you will turn to Him.

 SOURCE 

50 Questionable Teachings from Experiencing God is Copyright © 2000 by Compass Distributors. Copyright is to protect content only. Permission is granted to freely distribute

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Mike Gendron On Wolf,  Brennan Manning  -

source HERE

The Lord Jesus Christ warned His followers, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheepʼs clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). The warning was important because Jesus later said to them: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). The apostle Paul, with tears and a deeply troubled spirit, penned a similar warning: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). Throughout church history these warnings have seldom been taken seriously. Christians continue to be deceived because they can not discern truth from error.

According to Websterʼs Dictionary “deceive” means “to lead astray or to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.” Could it be the church has not only lost its ability to discern truth from error but also to discern wolves from sheep?

Consider Brennan Manning, an inactive Roman Catholic priest, who has some obvious characteristics of a “wolf,” yet goes mostly undetected. In the last ten years, he has become a popular speaker in many “evangelical” churches. Manning was ordained to the Franciscan priesthood after graduating from St. Francis Seminary in 1963. Later he was theology instructor at the University of Steubenville (a Catholic seminary and catalyst for Mary to be named co-redeemer). After being treated for alcoholism and leaving the Franciscan Order in 1982, he married Roslyn Ann Walker. The marriage has since ended in divorce but his popularity as a writer and speaker continues to grow despite his proclamation of “another” gospel.

The teachings of Manning are charming, seductive, cunning and dangerous as he takes advantage of his undiscerning audiences. He teaches that you can overcome fear, guilt and psychological hang-ups, even alcoholism, through meditation. His meditation techniques are drawn from a mixture of eastern mysticism, psychology, the New Age Movement and Catholicism. Manning gives the impression that he has a very intimate relationship with God and reports having many visions, encounters and conversations with Him. He assures his audiences that if they apply his teachings, they too can become more intimate with God.

I first met Manning at the Christian Booksellers Association in New Orleans. As he was signing autographs for his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, I asked him if his “ragamuffin gospel” followed the Catholic plan of salvation or the biblical plan of salvation. He responded, “Read it and find out for yourself.” Still trying to gain insight into his theology, I gave him a tract I had written called Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition and asked for his comments. After looking at it for a couple of minutes he tore it into pieces and threw it in the trash.

The next time I saw Manning was January 21st at Hillcrest Church, a congregation of over 5,000 members in north Dallas. Manningʼs message was about our need for a second conversion, a conversion that can only take place when one overcomes self-rejection and gains esteem through self-acceptance. After the service I asked two elders of Hillcrest Church how they could allow a Roman Catholic priest speak to their congregation. Their response—”we welcome everyone who loves God.” This was indeed a fulfillment of Paulʼs prophetic words: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Finish Article HERE

 

This was taken from the International House of Prayer’s website.

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4/18/11 update 

I see that the link below has been broken and that IHOP has pulled this information from their site. If another link can be found I will post it.  Please know that this was copied word for word from their site.

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Contemplative Prayer—–Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you

I. Know He Lives Inside of You
II. Pray the Scripture

The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Method #1

Choose a short phrase in Scripture.

Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.

Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).

Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.

Method #2

Choose a short story in Scripture.

Read through the story several times silently.

Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.

Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.

Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.

Method #3

We call this “Beholding the Spirit Within.”

The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.

Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.

Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.

You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.

In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”

Overcoming Distractions

 

Your mind will have to be trained in practical ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.

Diligence in Prayer

In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.

Keys to Progress

 

Humility-the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)

Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)

Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)

http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?id=1000000385


                                                       The New Age and Christianity


“Occultism has always involved
three techniques for changing and creating reality:
thinking, speaking, and visualizing.”

(Dave Hunt – Occult Invasion)
* * * *

“…imaging and visualization are increasingly appearing as Christian meditation, “mind-stretchers,” or a consciousness-awakening experience in Christian workshops, and you’d better believe that visualization as a cultivated exercise comes with all sorts of metaphysical and spiritual baggage in tow.”
Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott

****

“It’s not difficult to trace the practice of meditative imaging and visualization back to the mystics.” Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott
                                                                 ****
 Jon Trott is correct here. If anyone has started to indulge themselves  into meditative practices, just ask them what books they are reading.  

Christians are being duped into mysticism because a sentence has the word Jesus in it or there is a phrase of scripture.

The well-known catholic mystics are Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and Matthew Fox. If these authors are in your library then you know that you are entering a mystical realm that will only draw you AWAY from Jesus Christ. They want you to focus on a centering prayer which will invite a feeling of divinity within yourself. This is the lie, that you are divine. You may not think that this is where they are leading you, but this is what Eve thought when the serpent suggested, that “You will be like God.”  Watch out for the new charismatic coined term of DNA which actually means “Divine Nature Activated”

Contemplative prayer sounds so biblical, but it is a dangerous occult method of contacting the spirit world, which is off-limits to the Christian. Visualization is a technique that speeds up the process of reaching into another dimension to either experience visions or transport oneself.

Christian beware, the wolves are telling you that you are divine and holy.  What does the Bible say?

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”

So why should we center ourselves on our own heart looking for our divinity? We shouldn’t.

Instead…..we can have righteousness through faith….

Romans 3:21

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known to which the Law, and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

These phrases from the IHOP article bother me.

“Make sure you are searching for the spirit of Jesus.”

Jesus wasn’t and is not a spirit. He came to earth as fully man and fully God, but He never came as a spirit.  But those who meditate using TM methods often contact a spirit guide named “Jesus”. This is deceiving spirit because Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father.

“Play out the story…apply all five senses”

This is an exercise in guided imagery. Read what Dave Hunt says about this:

“Visualization and Guided Imagery have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge and healing. Such methods are neither taught or practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.” (The Seduction of Christianity)

Yet here we see it openly being taught and embraced.

“Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit.”

How can you do these two things simultaneously?  Actually the Scripture becomes meaningless as one focuses on something else entirely.

“The springboard into the spiritual realm.”

What is the springboard?…it is the silence, the quiet. They are trying to fool you into thinking it is the scripture, but this is not the case here. The silence is a void used in eastern meditation to stop you from thinking or concentrating.  So now what spiritual realm have you just entered? You have entered a void. It is this void that allows you to enter a spiritual realm that is forbidden in the Bible. This is the realm where the white light enters, and if you know your Bible, then you know that this is Satan. He comes with joy and peace and fills you with ecstasy. If he came any other way he would be instantly rejected.

“Your surface thoughts are gone”.

The Bible never tell us to quit thinking or to empty our minds. In fact we are told the quite the opposite.

1 Peter 5:8

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.”

“Ask the spirit to show you a vision.”

This is exactly how those involved in TM ask to be shown their demonic spirit guides. Exactly. This is so dangerous……

The section describing how to overcome distractions is the same method chanters use when meditating. If they actually have…a thought…oh no…start the chant again to empty the mind.

Anyone who does not see the eastern mysticism in this occult prayer method…does not want to see. Even a cursory study of meditation easily shows the parallels but people aren’t listening, or they don’t care, or maybe they hate to admit they have been deceived. This pride is fateful. It is eternal. It keeps you in touch with the New-Age Jesus, (who does not exist) and separates you from the true Jesus Christ in the Bible.

“It is not an advanced spiritual state, but one that is primitive and regressive, and consequentially results in bondage to spiritistic powers.” ( Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs) Ankerberg and Weldon  pg. 238

How is it that the church has fallen into such a sad state of affairs? It is simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not being preached anymore. Without repentance, without turning away from sin, without faith, there is no conversion.

The unconverted are hungry for God because they have no way to be sanctified. So in order to hear from God, in order to fill the void, they need to resort to false fire. Gnostic strange fire. This spiritual false fire replaces a true move of God which would cause conviction and make us fall on our faces and weep. We would weep because when the holiness of God shines His light on our sin, magnifying our true nature, it is unbearable. This in turn causes us to hate our sin, and search the Word for how live a holy life pleasing to the Lord.

When the Word of God is not enough, when it is not sufficient, the alternative is deception.

July 2014
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