Pagan and Mystical Influence-some background

July 24, 2016 by missionsandmysticism

1 Tim 4:1-“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”

What is Mysticism?

Benjamin B. Warfield states, in his paper, Mysticism and Christianity,

We may be mystics, or we may be Christians. We cannot be both. And the pretension of being both usually merely veils defection from Christianity. Mysticism baptized with the name of Christianity is not thereby made Christianity. A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. But it does not follow that whatever we choose to call a rose will possess the rose’s fragrance.”  

 As an Introduction to the type of Mysticism permeating AIM read this link about Spiritual Formation.   The author says,

“If you know anyone who is being drawn into the deceptive practices of Christian mysticism, Spiritual Formation, and Contemplative Prayer, please warn them. These things look spiritual and sound spiritual, but they are occultic and will lead into a dangerous spiritual realm. We must be diligent to guard our hearts and minds: after all, it is the Lord’s honor and glory which are at stake. When we become just as pagan as the world, how is God revealed, exalted and glorified? And not only must He be rightly exalted, it is mockery to blend worldly pagan practices into our worship of Him. The Lord will not be mocked, and He will discipline those He loves. Those “ecstatic experiences” reported by mystics of other faith traditions? Having once been a mystic myself, I can attest that the mystical experiences may start out this way, but if continued, will lead to a very dark place.”

 Christine Pack has come out of mysticism to salvation. This Fighting for the Faith interview  with Pack (breaks for a long commercial at one point jump back in @32.50) is very helpful and informative.

Christine Pack writes in Mysticism, Counterfeit Holy Spirit, “Let’s think about why mysticism would be at the core of so many false religions. It must serve some purpose, after all. Well, my take on this, having participated in many different “flavors” of mysticism is that mysticism functions as a counterfeit Holy Spirit experience.

What is Contemplative/Listening Prayer?

 Again from Christine Pack,

“Spiritual formation seks to lure evangelicals into ancient Catholic and Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as sola fide and sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized. And complete heretics such as Thomas Merton are seen as reliable spiritual guides to spirituality. The contemplatives have sold out to Catholic mysticism and abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture. Sadly, in the process many undiscerning evangelicals will follow suit.” “So in a way, I feel I have been surrounded by these wicked mystical practices all of my life. I know them from the inside out, and I know how deceptive they are. They can deceive unregenerate people into thinking for years – in many cases, a lifetime – that they have a real, active, ongoing relationship with the God of the universe, when in reality, they do not, and are on their way to hell.

Marcia Montenegro, of Christian Answers for the New Age, writes,

Contemplative Prayer, also called Centering Prayer or Listening Prayer, has been taught by Roman Catholic monks Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, and Basil Pennington, as well as by Quaker Richard Foster, and is being advocated by many others. There is no one authority on this method, nor is there necessarily a consistent teaching on it, though most of the founding teachers quote medieval mystics, Hindu, and Buddhist spiritual teachers.” “The influence of Buddhism and Hinduism on Contemplative Prayer is apparent. Words such as “detachment,” “transformation,” “emptiness,” “enlightenment” and “awakening” (common terms of Seth Barnes) swim in and out of the waters of these books. The use of such terms certainly mandates a closer inspection of what is being taught, despite the fact that contemplative prayer is presented as Christian practice.

On her blog, Pamela Courvrette,  writes,

“Unfortunately, many Christians believe Satan and his minions are only involved with Ouija Boards and spirit mediums;… Yes, of course Satan and his demons have a hand in these things. However, using his subtle deception, it’s inside the church where he does his best work. It’s within the ‘safe’ confines of a church that he deceives through false doctrine and tempts with experiences, personal revelations, and secret knowledge. He doesn’t show up as the visible boogeyman in pew number nine; he shows up as falsehood. Certainly, if he did show up in person, he would sit in the center of the front row, smiling, and clutching a well-worn Bible.

Here is an example of concern raised regarding AIM and this practice, in this letter to the EditorFrom Missionary Couple: Young Missionary Women From AIM (Adventures in Missions) Being Taught Contemplative Prayer”

 

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