What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Monday, August 1, 2016

What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is It Dangerous?

Reblogged from https://faithalone.org/journal/1997ii/Caddock.html

A Review of Brennan Manning's The Signature of Jesus


John Caddock
Winchester, OR

The Never-Ending Review

   Little did I know when I began to read The Signature of Jesus the time and effort that would be involved in understanding it. I am not a theologian by training. My background is in technical management in electronic component manufacturing. However, I stumbled onto something that I became convinced was very dangerous and little understood.

   One reading was not enough for me to understand The Signature of Jesus. I found that it was like reading a book in a foreign language. I read many new expressions like contemplative prayer, centering prayer, centering down, paschal spirituality, the discipline of the secret, contemplative spirituality, celebrating the darkness, mineralization, the Mineral Man, practicing the presence, the interior life, intimacy with Abba, the uncloistered contemplative life, inner integration, yielding to the Center, the bridge of faith, notional knowledge, contemporary spiritual masters, masters of the interior life, shadow self, false self, mysterium tremendum, existential experience, and the Abba experience.1

   I also encountered many writers I have never read before, including Kasemann, Burghardt, Merton, Van Breeman, Brueggemann, Moltmann, Nouwen, K�ng, Steindl-Rast, Rahner, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and Camus.

   I had to read the book three separate times before I was confident that I understood what Manning was saying. I even read it a fourth time for good measure.
   Reading this book led me to read a number of other books and articles by and about leading mystics/contemplatives. I learned about the heart of Manning's message, centering prayer.

   Ultimately I felt I had to meet the man. I attended one conference he conducted. In addition, I purchased the tapes of another conference he conducted and pored over them.
   Altogether I spent hundreds of hours trying to understand what Manning is saying. Why did I do this? Well, I began this study because three Free Grace Christian leaders whom I know endorsed Brennan Manning in his earlier book, The Ragamuffin Gospel. These men are bright, well educated, experienced in ministry, and heads of major works. Yet I had read a cautionary review of that book,2 and I wanted to read Manning for myself.

   I continued the study because what I found frightened me and because I felt others needed to be warned. The teachings of Manning are very dangerous.

   There is a seductive quality to his writings. He reports grappling with and overcoming fear, guilt, and psychological hang-ups and difficulties, including alcoholism. He gives the impression that he has a very intimate relationship with God and that he has insight to a superspirituality. He regularly meditates and reports having many visions and encounters with God. He is an extremely gifted writer who is able to tug at the emotions of the reader while at the same time introducing ideas that the reader would immediately reject if they were not cloaked under this emotional blanket.

   He promises readers that if they apply his teaching they too will gain this same intimacy with God as well as freedom from fear, guilt, and psychological hang-ups and difficulties. This is very attractive. Manning's prescription to achieve this is not by traditional prayer and by the reading and application of the Bible. Rather, the means to this end is a mixture of Eastern mysticism, psychology, the New Age Movement, liberation theology, Catholicism, and Protestantism.3 This mixture will not deliver intimacy with God. It no doubt will lead to special feelings and experiences. Those practicing Manning's methods will likely feel closer to God. However, in the process they will actually move away from Him as a result of a counterfeit spirituality.

Read further:  https://faithalone.org/journal/1997ii/Caddock.html

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