Is Spiritual Formation For You?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Do you accept new ideas just because it claims to be Christ centered?

    Are traditional views really in need of shelving because a so called post modern age requires it?

    Is Spiritual Formation an actual path to a closer walk with Christ?

    Does a post modern time require a post modern method?

    Here is a critical look at Spritual Formation.

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel17.html

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/richardfosterbestilldvd.htm


    This is an interview with Brian McLaren a key leader in the emerging church movement.
    Pt. 1 http://bleedingpurplepodcast.blogspot.com/2006/01/brian-mclaren-interview-part-i.html

    Pt.2.http://bleedingpurplepodcast.blogspot.com/2006/01/interview-with-brian-mclaren-part-ii.html


    http://www.erwm.com/TheEmergingChurch.htm
    http://www.erwm.com/NewAgeChurch.htm
    A very good outline on prayer.
    http://www.faithissues.ca/OtherReligions/New Age/PrayerCounterfeitorReal.asp

    http://www.letusreason.org/NAM27.htm

    http://www.svchapel.org/Resources/BookReviews/book_reviews.asp?ID=202
     
    #1 Revmitchell, Sep 9, 2006
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  2. Gold Dragon

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    A few things.

    1) Spiritual formation is not a postmodern or emergent phenomenon but started in evangelicals circles well before the emergent church. Many major evangelical seminaries have spiritual formations sections/courses.

    Dallas Theological Seminary - Spiritual Formation

    Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary - Courses Offered - Spiritual Formation for Ministry
    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary - Interdisciplinary Course - Spiritual Formation for Ministry

    And many others I didn't have time to look up.

    2) If your culture is not postmodern, then your culture does not require postmodern changes towards more postmodern methodologies. But you will have trouble relating with and evangelizing to and teaching the growing body of non-Christians and Christians in our North American culture who are postmodern. If noone like that ever crosses your path, you don't need to worry. But that should change as time goes by.

    3) Thanks for the links to McLaren's interviews. I really enjoy his writings and look forward to finding time to hear those interviews.

    4) I personally do not shelve traditional views but have a great appreciation for many of the historical views of Christians in history. Great Christians and theologians like Justin Martyr, Augustine and a host of other early church fathers as well as more recent views like Spurgeon, Rice, Bonhoeffer, etc.
     
    #2 Gold Dragon, Sep 9, 2006
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  3. Marcia

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    Biola has such a program. But I was under the impression these programs were put in place rather recently - last 5 or 6 yrs. or so.

    And just because these schools have them does not mean that they are necessarily okay.

    McLaren and others are ultimately maybe helping the Church recognize the postmodern culture and react to it, which is good. However, McLaren and others have also made very disturbing statements. One (I think Rob Bell, but not sure) said that we don't even know what the gospel is.

    They (pomo leaders) say that Jesus told stories, and we should just tell stories. But Jesus told parables - which is different - and was partly to fulfill prophecy. The pomo leaders also do not like propositional statements (although Jesus often gave statements that are propositional). But we can't reach a pomo culture with the truth of Christ if we say we can't know truth.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    The Spiritual Formation at these schools is not the same thing as what folks like McLaren espouses to. The schools above wouldnt allow this stuff in their ciriculum.

    Satan has worked so well to blurr the lines.
     
  5. Gold Dragon

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    I agree that they are rather recent and just because they have them does not mean they are okay. But Spiritual formation is not a postmodern or emergent phenomenon.

    The reason that they are recent is because they are trying to fill a huge void in theological seminarian training that was only recently made apparent. That of training excellent teachers and theologians who did not develop spiritual disciplines since it was not formally taught. If you browse through the spiritual formations courses, most of them are simply formal platforms for students to develop their prayer and devotional life through personal, small group and mentorship activities.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    If you can agree with McLaren after hearing these interviews with him then you have a serious theological problem. He denies hell and the wrath of God. This cannot be espoused by a born again believer.

    And amonst this "Spiritual Formation" is New Age Transendental Meditation. Something else that is contrary to the bible.
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    I agree that they are not the same thing.

    Please show with evidence from McLaren what you believe is spiritual formation he espouses, what is wrong with it and not simply your own conjecture.

    Actually, I'll speed up the process for you.

    A New Kind of Conversation : Spiritual Formation in a Postmodern Context by Brian McLaren

    What is wrong with these suggestions that are for folks in a postmodern context and probably wouldn't be so good for folks that are not in a postmodern context?
     
  8. Gold Dragon

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    I doubt that.

     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    I don't know about New Age Transendental Meditation and I doubt anyone who teaches spiritual formation would teach that.

    But meditation is found in the bible, mostly in the Psalms and an important part of the spiritual walk of many Christians through history.

    Studylight.org : NASB : meditation
     
  10. PastorSBC1303

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  11. Gold Dragon

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  12. Marcia

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    The biblical word meditation has nothing to do with most forms of meditation as taught today, some of which is part of the Contemplative Prayer movement (whose leaders admit the Eastern influence - see the recent thread on this topic or article on my site).

    And the problem is, a lot of people don't know there is a difference. In the Bible, meditation involves thinking and pondering, sometimes the word means memorizing scripture. It does not mean going beyond thought, repeating a word (which is taught on many Christian sites and contemplative prayer sites and books); it does not mean you have to be sit a certain way, breathe a certain way, get into a state of "pure consciousness," etc., etc. Yet those are the very things being taught by some today and called biblical meditation. But it is not biblical meditation.
     
  13. Marcia

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    But the term "spiritual formation" is from Catholicism, is it not? And don't these programs use Spiritual Directors and train Spiritual Directors? This also comes from Catholicism.

    I'd like to see good biblical support for it, because what I've read of Spiritual Directors does not sound biblical to me. It's more than being a mentor or teacher; it's almost guru sounding in that the Director helps "guide" your walk with the Lord. I find that disturbing. I don't mind asking my pastor or some elder for guidance, but a Spiritual Director, from what I understand, is more than that because they are sort of "assigned" to you.
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    Maybe. I don't consider meditation to be a methodology.

    I agree that there is eastern influence in some of the initial teachers of contemplative prayer and we should be cautious.

    I agree

    I don't claim to know what meditation is not. But repetition is something that is commonly done in many contexts, not just meditation or eastern meditation. It has come in handy when studying for my exams. I don't see why repetition can't be used for my spiritual studies.

    Good breathing has obvious biological benefits for providing oxygen to our brains and most guides on devotionals recommend we do devotions when our bodies are awake and hopefully breathing well.

    I'm not sure what "Pure Consciousness" is but it seems to mean something to you. But there are moments of spiritual clarity that sometimes requires a change in our environment, which is often why people take spiritual retreats to places they are not familiar with.

    I don't see why repetition, good breathing and seeking moments of spiritual clarity from God cannot part of what the Psalmist meant in biblical meditation. Yes, they remind you of eastern meditation but what others associate with an activity does not determine what it is or its value.
     
  15. Gold Dragon

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    I think it is good that protestants are learning some good things from Catholicism.

    The terms Communion, Trinity and a host of many other Christians terms also come from Catholic influence.
     
  16. Gold Dragon

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    The position of spiritual director is not a from the bible but neither is youth pastor, usher or sunday school teacher.

    I see spiritual directors as mentors, specifically for spiritual formation. I'm not sure what else you see but you probably associate it with something in eastern mysticism.
     
  17. Marcia

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    Repeating a word over and over in order to get into a certain state is not studying anything. The repetition you speak of is not what I'm talking about and not what the CP people are teaching. They teach that you choose a "sacred word" or "love word" like peace, Jesus, love, etc. and then repeat it over and over. Or you use the word to "come back to" if you find your mind wandering (i.e., thinking). This is actually a tool of hypnosis and it can bring on self-induced hypnosis. It's used in some forms of eastern meditation. It does not matter what the word is. It could be "cracker" or "cougar."

    Again, GD, you are assuming that by breathing it is something it isn't. This has nothing to do with good breathing! It's a certain kind of breathing, depending on how it's taught, and this again is a form of self-induced hypnosis (though they do not call it that, of course). Easteern breathing techniques are meant to take you to a place of no-thinking. This can be done in several ways - I learned at least 3 of them.

    Pure Consciousnes means you have gone beyond your thinking mind and ibeyond your false identity as a separate being from the One. It can also mean that you are in a state beyond thinking where spiritual insights can come in or where you merge with God. These are 2 of the more common meanings. It's actually what is called an altered state though often pure consciousness is said to linger beyond that. Such a state is not normal nor should it be desired. It's contrived, conjured, and artificial.


    Because this is not taught in the Bible at all. Not the repetition, breathing and clarity that you mean above. In fact, I don't see any kind of special breathing taught in the Bible at all. And repetition is used to memorize. Clarity is not a state of mind you achieve by certain techniques from eastern meditation.


    No, they don't remind me of eastern meditation - they are derived from eastern meditation. Don't you think that after doing these forms of meditation for over 15 yrs. that I can recognize them when I see them taught? As I said, even the CP leaders admit to the eastern origins of much of what they teach.

    And don't you think that I would not make such assertions in such a public forum and ministry if I did not know what I was talking about and could not back it up? I have to be very careful of any assertions I make in public. I've been on radio shows on this topic. Please read my article.
     
    #17 Marcia, Sep 9, 2006
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  18. Gold Dragon

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    I know you are well versed in this field and I have actually read your article on CP way back in another thread a while back. I found it very informative and presented some good information with attempts to be balanced.

    But I also think I have a good grasp of where your underlying biases towards seeing associations with eastern mysticism have coloured your view of certain practices.

    I don't disagree with you that repetition, breathing and seeking "altered states" can be problematic in our devotion to God. Not necessarily because of any apparent associations with eastern mysticism or lack of "thinking". But like many methodologies in the past, people are easily falsely reliant on methodologies that have limitations whether they are contemplative prayer, the sinner's prayer or even the historical-grammatical hermeneutic.

    Anyway, I don't want to sound like I don't respect your knowledge in this field which I do, but I think we've spent a little too much time on CP and not enough on spiritual formation and Brian McLaren which is the focus of the OP.
     
  19. Marcia

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    Thanks for your words on the article.

    To try to critique my article by saying I'm biased from my past is an ad hominem and not dealing with the merits of what is said. Also, you have biases as well, just as I do. We all do. So let's just deal with the content and merits of the case or lack thereof. Many others without a past like mine see the same problems.

    .

    I think the historical-grammatical hermeneutic cannot be put in this category. It is just a reasonable way of interpreting anything, not just the bible, and it is used for all historical documents. The other things I was speaking of are pagan methods based on pagan concepts and pagan worldviews and are beyond a methodology because they are based in false spirituality.

    I agree! :thumbs:

    So what is your response to my post about Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Directors coming from Catholicism? How are these biblical?
     
  20. Gold Dragon

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    It is further up in the thread. You must have missed it while typing one of your responses.
     

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