My Internet research on today's popular 'Christian' writers, speakers and ministers is leading me to places I didn't know existed. Before I get into individuals, you need to read the following article so you can begin to understand what's happening in today's so-called 'church'. I'm shocked at what I'm finding and I'm concerned about what is being accepted as truth. We live in a time of deep deception and error and we need to be people who search the Word of God and use it daily as our standard for living and ministering to others. The following article is but an excerpt, and I encourage you to go to the web site I've given and read it in its entirety. Please, if you have concerns about what I'm posting .. if you think I may be wrong, please let me know. I'm open to discussion about these issues and only want the best for each of us who know Christ as our Savior.
"When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term "Spiritual Formation" was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction."1 Richard Foster
What is spiritual formation and what is its premise? According to Roger Oakland, spiritual formation came upon the church like an unsuspecting avalanche:
A move away from the truth of God's Word to a mystical form of Christianity has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, most do not realize it has even happened. The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the forbidden book. Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common people, the great masses were in darkness. When the light of God's Word became available, the Gospel was once again understood. I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to emulate him. Thus the idea that if you do certain practices, you can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite.
In a DVD called Be Still, which promotes contemplative prayer, Richard Foster said that contemplative prayer is for anyone and that by practicing it, one becomes "a portable sanctuary" for "the presence of God." Rather than having the indwelling of the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines supposedly transforms the seeker by entering an altered realm of consciousness.
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