02 November 2011

Thomas Merton & The Gospel Coalition Blog (from Apprising Ministries)

The following originally appears here at Apprising Ministries.
By Ken Silva, pastor-teacher 
Apprising Ministries continues documenting the spread of Counter Reformation spirituality and Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) ala gurus Dallas Willard and his spiritual twin Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mysticRichard Foster spreading within largely pretending to be Protestant evangelicalism.
By all accounts apostate Roman Catholic mystic monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is a superstar of CSM, particularly the practice and teaching of its crown jewel, a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).
I’ve told you earlier about Merton’s life-long devotion to spurious CSM, and most particularly CCP, the so-called “Christian” form of transcendental meditation. As I showed you in Thomas Merton And The Buddhas CCP made him far more like the Buddha than anything resembling the Christ.
“O-kay,” you ask, “but what does this have to do with the Gospel Coalition blog?” That’s a good question; let me show you. I point you now to The iPhone as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an October 26, 2011 post by Mike Cosper, “pastor of worship & arts” at Sojourn Community Church.
Cosper also happens to be a regular contributor for TGC:
Cosper begins his TGC post with a lengthy quote from Merton’s book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. This is the same book where the fool Thomas Merton denies the doctrine of original sin and teaches the Gnostic mystic mythology of an alleged “spark of the divine” (God indwells all of mankind):
that expression, le point vierge, (I cannot translate it) comes in here. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will.
This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written is us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven.
It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billion points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely….I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere. [1]
This quasi-universalism is certainly not Christian theology, but it is classic mysticism; much like the Love Winsmythology of apostate Rob Bell. Cosper then tells us:
The point here is that regular TGC contributor Mike Cosper is at a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani, which is an apostate Roman Catholic Cistercian monastery where the monks tell us they are:
Trappist monks who have lived, prayed, and worked in this house of the Lord for over 150 years. As Roman Catholics gathered in community, we follow the call of Jesus to become his disciples. (Online source)
Is the ostensibly Protestant TGC really okay with all of this? After-all, one would think its leaders would be aware that the Protestant Reformation resulted in the Roman Catholic Church anathematizing the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. How then, could this monkery possibly be considered “a house of the Lord?”
No doubt “the stress of ministry” can wear one down who’s ministering in his own power; however, TGC contributor Mike Cosper then needs to turn to apostates—Biblically, enemies of the cross of Christ (cf. Philippians 3:18)—for a retreat? Really; I think it’s well past time for evangelical leaders to ask why?
And a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani does involve the Counter Reformation spirituality of CSM and CCP:
Communing with the Lord requires a measure of solitude, a stillness and an emptiness, a waiting on and attending to the Spirit. Silence fosters and preserves the climate of prayer and is thus a fundamental part of the Gethsemani retreat experience. (Online source)
Silence is CSM-speak for the practice of CCP. So again we ask: Is The Gospel Coalition really ok with this? 
End notes:
[1] Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander [New York: Doubleday, 1966], 158, emphasis mine.
The Gospel Coalition and Mystic Thomas Merton? (Sola Sisters)


  1. I have noticed this anti biblical nonsense taking a hold on so many years ago. There was a time that I picked up Willard's books under the influence of some Willow Creekers. I quickly discarded this rubbish and his books solely thanks to Grace. Most if not all of them did not... No wonder I do not get along with Willow Creekers anymore. Especially, after I was told by one of them point blank at the party a year ago: "I do not believe in the original sin". Q.E.D. Interestingly enough she has every book of Joyce Meyers and was pushing Wilkinson rubbish on me...

  2. My jaw dropped when I read that quote. No Bible believing Christian can agree with what Merton said. It goes to show that there are wolves endorsing such teachings in organizations that were once known for their stand for the gospel. What a tragedy!


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