15 June 2010

Saddleback Promotes "Christianized" Mantra Meditation

But it's not just Rick Warren and Saddleback that are promoting the pagan practice of meditation. It's "Christian" churches across the country that have allowed this deception to creep in unchallenged. From the Sola Sisters blog:

Saddleback Promotes "Christianized" Mantra Meditation

Rick Warren's Saddleback Church website features two books by Quaker and mystic Richard Foster, today's leading proponent of something known as "Spiritual Disciplines" or "Spiritual Formation."  Also promoted areseveral other books focusing on the Spiritual Disciplines, which teach a practice that is nothing more than a "Christianized" version of mantra meditation, a pagan practice borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism.  In this pagan practice, a person will "empty" the mind employing some kind of device: rhythmic music, repeating a word or phrase, focusing on breathing, etc., in an attempt to connect to God.

But in today's undiscerning church, this pagan practice has been flowing into churches because its proponents insist that this is a Christian practice and has been practiced by Christians for centuries. After all, what could be wrong with something called "Spiritual Formation," right? It sounds kind of Christian and churchy, doesn't it? And we know there's something about Christ being formed in us (Gal 4:19), so that has to be what this is talking about, right?

Wrong.  Spiritual Formation is a series of disciplines which supposedly aid in "spiritual development," and which are generally thought to be Christian because these disciplines were formed centuries ago by monks in Roman Catholic monasteries. There's just one problem here, but it's a biggie: these Roman Catholic monks, who were known as the Desert Fathers, cloistered themselves in the Middle East and Egypt; and, because of their close proximity to eastern cultures, ended up being heavily influenced by paganism to the point of grafting pagan practices into their prayers, chiefly, mantra meditation.  So in essence, these "spiritual disciplines" that are part of today's "Spiritual Formation" programs are classic, eastern occultic practices that have simply been "Christianized" with a sprinkling of the magic pixie dust of Christian terminology.  But make no mistake, these practices are occultic.

Jesus himself seems to be addressing this very topic when He says:

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." (Matthew 6:7).
I have often heard this scripture taught by pastors as an admonition not to engage in "mindless" prayer: that is, praying by rote, without thoughtfulness or care.  While it is true that we ought to be mindful that we are entering into the presence of God every time we pray, with the understanding that this is an astounding privilege in and of itself - and we therefore ought not to take this privilege for granted and speak thoughtlessly or carelessly -  that is not what this verse is talking about. This verse is admonishing Christians not to pray in the same manner as pagans.  And how do pagans pray?  Well, outside of Christianity, mysticism has always been the natural default of the human heart.  All world religions that I know of have some kind of mystical tradition through which they attempt to approach God:
"Other methods of meditation involve drumming, dancing, and chanting. This percussion-sound meditation is perhaps the most common form for producing trance states in the African, North/South American Indian, and Brazilian spiritist traditions. In the Islamic world, the Sufi Mystic Brotherhoods have gained a reputation for chanting and ritual dancing. These are known as the Whirling Dervishes. Indian Guru, Rajneesh, developed a form of active meditation called dynamic meditation which combines the percussion sound, jumping, and rhythmic breathing." (Ray Yungen, For Many Shall Come In My Name)
These mystical practices, rather than bringing us into the presence of God, however, work to put the brain into a trance-like state, lowering one's God-given boundaries, and opening its practitioners up to the demonic realm.  This is what Jesus is cautioning against in this passage.

And yet, this pagan practice is exactly what Rick Warren, America's Pastor, is now promoting on his Saddleback website.  And so it has to be asked: How much further away from orthodoxy does Rick Warren have to fall before Christians and Christian  leaders will begin to "mark him out" and separate from him (Romans 16:17) - rather than continuing to give him a platform for teaching and preaching?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.