Update to Leaving church and finding Jesus. Part 1
I wanted to post a two part update because I have some new information which pertains to my leaving First Baptist church in Modesto.
The focus on the update is not so much to warn people about my old church but to warn folks about the Emergent church movement and how they are making their way perhaps into your church.
When I first wrote my letter of concern to the senior pastor of the church I attended my big concern was that the teaching of Lectio Divina could spiritually harm children.
Lectio is being marketed more toward children even though this is not always the case.
Here is my letter.
(I have removed the names because its not relevent)
Tuesday, 01 November, 2005
Dear ###: A couple weeks ago I observed a practice being done with our children in church that deeply disturbed me. Its called Lectio Divina. I am familar with the practice because I was raised Roman Catholic and my mom promoted the practice as well as being a fan of Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating.
Lectio Divina has its roots with the Desert Fathers including St Anthony who eventually went mad hearing voices in the desert. Theresa of Avila also struggled with actual and very real demonic encounters using this practice. St Anthony also had many documented demonic encounters and battles using this style of prayer.
##### is promoting a event titled Sanctum. This targets junior high children and their friends. Lectio Divina is being taught at this event. I observed this for myself and sat through the entire event on 10/21/05.
Lectio Divina is the same thing as contemplative prayer and centering prayer. This is all being promoted in evangelical circles now. And is being promoted to the youth through Zondervan and Youth Specialties. Im not sure who### got his information from through. But he stated to me that Lectio Divina has changed his devotional life.
Lectio Divina is a practice that the Desert Fathers borrowed from the Gnostics in Alexandria. The practice was bought into the church in the 15 century by St Benedict and then revamped by Thomas Merton in the 60's. I would encourage you to research this for yourself.
At Sanctum a DVD called Digital Glass was played in order to quote "Get our minds ready" exact words used by ####..
Here is what Richard Foster ( a person who endoreses Lectio and contemplative prayer) states in his book Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home.
"At the outset I need to give a word of warning, a little like the warning labels on medicine bottles. Contemplative prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer. All are welcome, regardless of proficiency or expertise, to enter freely into adoration and meditation and intercession and a host of other approaches to prayer. But contemplation is different. While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to "Gods speech in His wonderous, terrible, gentle loving, all embracing silence." end of quote
Foster also promotes saying prayers of protection when this practice happens.
Again Lectio Divina is the same as contemplative prayer and centering prayer and this is being promoted to children inspite of cautions made by folks who actually go for this New Age (or Old Age) practice.
The root problem is this. What and who is a unsaved child going to encounter when using this practice? And this practice is being promoted to our youth "Bring your friends" was stated at the end of the last event. This practice being dangerous to a mature Christian is being promoted to unbelieving friends of our children.
The root of this practice is with Hinduism and Buddism TM and mantras.
Any saved Christian does not need to conjure up God by repeating scripture. If a person is saved all a person has to do is speak and listen-God is already there. And how God chooses to answer and when is up to Him. God is not obligated to speak to us because we repeated scripture to Him.When Jesus died on the cross for us the veil was rent from top to bottom. We dont need any ritual disguised as prayer to approach God.
With this letter I have enclosed a book for you to read. I have a book for up to 12 members of the pastoral staff. But I will not give them to pastoral staff unless you give the ok. And then I will simply give the books to you and you choose who gets them.
( I have given books to #### and ### as well as #####)
I have addressed this all with #### now Im bringing this to you.
#####will need to retract from doing this practice anymore. Repent of the practice and renounce this practice. And then he will need to go back and right the wrong by speaking to every parent of every child that was there. And explain to them that he was in error and that the children should not practice Lectio Divina because this puts them in great spiritual danger.
Gods word actually speaks out against this practice in Matt 6:7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.(NLT)" The King James states "vain repetitions" and just because we use scripture doesnt make it any less vain.
I leave this now in your hands but to leave children in real spiritual danger will bring Gods judgement.
I do this out of love for you and the fellowship of believers I love. I have refrained in playing lately because this all needs to be taken care of before I return to playing. I could not in good conscience play music with a body of believers that are promoting a potenially dangerous and occult practice to children.
Again I encourage you to not just take my word for it but tests the spirits, set some time aside and do some deep research of this practice for yourself.
Whatever happens ### I do love you and ### and your family and I actively pray for you everyday. And will continue to do this no matter what comes of this.
Your brother in Christ
After this letter I was called into a meeting with a couple church leaders other than the senior pastor and was assured that the senior pastor had a chat with the youth pastor and Lectio would not be taught or promoted in the church.
I even gave them a out because I realize many have no problem with chanting scripture and mantras in church as well as yoga and other things.
If they wanted to go down this path it was ok with me I was just not going with them.
I was assured they were not going down this path.
I pulled this from the First B junior High website today under the link that states scripture (todays date being Jan 7, 2006)
Lectio Divina-Scripture Reading
This devotional method reading Scripture dates back to ancient Christianity (around 540 a.d.). It has recently gained popularity among protestants of modern day.
The practice is designed to foster a spiritual frame of mind, a discipline that helps us dwell on a biblical passage as a means of seeking an encounter with Jesus. Simply put, it involves focusing on a text in the presence of God for the sake of radical change in our soul. In essence, it is a way of praying the Bible.
Lectio Divina can take 10 minutes or two hours. I recomend taking 30 minutes using the following format.
READ (10 minutes)
Pick a biblical passage that naturally leads to reflective prayer or the person of Jesus (Psalms or one of the Gospels). Choose a short amount to read (5-10 verses) and read it several times with silent pauses in between each reading. Try reading it aloud a couple of times as well. As you read, a word or phrase will sort of stand out to you.
THINK (5 minutes)
Give the opportunity to quietly reflect on the passage and listen for what God has to say to you. Chew on the word or phrase that stood out and think about what it means. Memorize it by slowly repeating it to yourself.
PRAY (10 minutes)
Ask God what He is saying to you through the passage and especially the word or phrase. Ask God, "Why this word? What are you saying to me today?" Dialogue with God and let Him speak to you.
LIVE (5 minutes)
Finally, spend some more time resting in silence, thinking about what God has said to you through His Scriptures. You can also use this time to respond to God through action such as journaling, painting, drawinig or singing your favorite worship song.
Finally here is the link that sends you here
I will be posting another article tonight so stay tuned.