Spiritual Formation, Richard Foster, and Renovare
Renovare Analyzed for Biblical Soundness and Found Wanting


by James Sundquist
Part VII

 

Dear Friends and Fellow Contenders for the Faith, I invite you to consider the following documentary on Richard Foster's teachings, comparing them to Scripture. See below! Lynda Graybeal is Richard Foster's colleague and spokesperson for him at Renovare. Kindest regards in Christ, James Sundquist President President Rock Salt Publishing

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October 4, 2003
Dear Lynda,

As I promised, I have studied and prepared a response to both of your last emails. I have also reviewed any statements in my correspondence to you as to what I did or did not say. My responses are in blue below your statements (except for the links which are already in blue). I will also send this as a file attachment in the event that there are formatting problems.

In some cases I formatted your statements in bold to better help identify what statement upon which I am focusing. I will respond separately to your email of September 23rd in a day or two. Since your emails contain all of my emails to you, I can search and verify if I have stated what you say I state.

The thing I found most notable in your September 15 email was not so much what you said or responded to, but what you did not respond to. I devoted a great deal of the initial part of my letter attempting to determine whether or not you are a Christian, according to the Scriptures which I supplied to you. I already know that Richard Foster calls himself a brother in Christ.

You did make some references to Christ's teachings. But in your September 15 letter, I did not get the impression that you are claiming to be a born again Christian, again according to the Scriptures I submitted. Now you very well could be. Would you kindly respond: Are you a Christian....redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb?

The answer is important, because there are a number of Scriptures that deal with how we are to respond to people who call themselves a brother or sister in Christ vs. how we are to deal with a person who is an unbeliever. Just because you have an association with Richard Foster, who claims to be a Christian, does not necessarily mean that you are one....though you could be. But because by your own declaration you are identified with him, I would be properly grounded to exercise the appropriate Scriptures in responding to you.

Sincerely,

James Sundquist
President
Rock Salt Publishing
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15 September 2003
Dear James,
Thank you for answering my question about your motivation for making the comments and asking the questions that you do about Richard Foster. Taking your statement that "Only a fool makes up his mind without hearing both sides of a story" (Letter from James Sundquist to Mary Fairchild posted at http://www.cephas-library.com/discernment/discernment_2_false_accusations_fairchild.html) at face value, here are my answers, first to the factual errors that you repeat, errors in logic that you and web sites like Lighthouse Trails make, a theological issue, and exegetical issues.

RESPONSE:

I am not sure why you are quoting me here. So I would like to clarify that I had already heard Richard Foster's side of the story by virtue of all of his published materials and website and his own quotes. Now it is possible that someone could simply make up a quote and say he said it. But this is a question of fact, and can easily be verified by going right to the source, such as his book Celebration of Discipline. You even quote from this book, so it is not as though Richard Foster's story is not known. So I never made up my mind before hearing (reading) his side of the story.

FACTUAL ERRORS

Your statement: Vaswig is co-founder of RENOVARE. The facts: Richard Foster founded RENOVARE in 1988, and the incorporation papers are signed by himself and his wife with myself and a friend as witnesses. Vaswig was not involved in founding RENOVARE and has been involved in RENOVARE only because he has been on our Board of Trustees since 1989.
RESPONSE:

If Lighthouse or other links I supplied made this statement and it is not correct, I am glad to know this. So, who originally did make it? You should confront this person. However, the fact remains that William L. Vaswig is still very much identified with Richard Foster, given that he has been on the Board of Trustees since 1989? If William L. Vaswig's teachings do not line up with the Scriptures wouldn't you disavow him and remove him from your Board of Trustees? Your letter to me conveys the idea you are trying to distance yourself from William L. Vaswig. If that is so, why do you offer and recommend his books on your Renovare website? You may be "technically" correct about Vaswig's title, but it still creates the appearance of evil to the multitudes of outsiders who are attempting to discern Renovare's position(s), before they import its teachings or one of its teachers.

Later in your September 15, 2003 letter to me you state that simply quoting a person does not mean you agree with everything else they say or publish. That is true enough, and it would certainly be even rare where one agreed 100% with another authors' quoted sources, unless they quote accurately and directly from the Bible. But if you are going to claim this priviledge regarding Richard Foster quoting Merton or Jung, then you must accord to me the same priviledge when I quote someone who has either misquoted or incorrectly quoted another author or link. If we were accountable for every single quote or misquote, there would be no end in sight because...one way or the other....virtually every book ever written that quotes another author eventually ends up having quoted a large percentage of every book ever written. Same applies to links. If you kept clinking links on someone's site, eventually you would land on every website there is....that is if you have a million years.

2. Your statement: Foster and Vaswig have "held many conferences". The facts: The only RENOVARE conferences that Vaswig has spoken at were held in Wichita, Kansas, in 1989; in Pasadena, California, in 1991; and in Houston, Texas, in 1999. In my opinion, three does not constitute "many". You probably learned about the "National Conference on Spiritual Renewal" held in Pasadena from other web sites who have picked up their information from MEDIA SPOTLIGHT written by Al Dager, a distorted and skewed account of what happened.

RESPONSE:

If as you claim and can prove that Al Dagers statements are incorrect, distorted, or skewed, have you confronted him directly? If you have the concern you have expressed in your September 15 letter, wouldn't you need to exercise Matthew 18 that you told me I should do? If you are so concerned that I talked to Lighthouse Trails about your statements, then why are you talking about Al Dager to me? And after all, you had no problem discussing the people at Lighthouse Trails Publishing with me. So turnaround is not fair play? You have accused them of bearing false witness, yet you indicated that you don't think I should tell them.

Your statement: Karen Mains . . . who sits on your RENOVARE Board. The facts: Karen Mains is not nor ever has been a member of our governing body, the Board of Trustees. She was on a Board of Reference along with many other Christian leaders who agreed to say a good word for RENOVARE if asked. At no time did the Board of Reference have any governance duties or responsibilities. This is another factual error promulgated by Al Dager in MEDIA SPOTLIGHT.
RESPONSE:

I never stated that Karen Mains sat on your Board of Trustees. I simply said "Board." But, as in the case of my response above about William L. Vaswig, regardless of which type of Board Karen Mains sits on at Renovare, this nevertheless gives a clear unimpeachable impression that she is identified with Renovare; likewise Renovare with Karen Mains. In both cases (Karen Mains and William L. Vaswig) you are now giving the distinct impression of trying to distance yourselves from each of them. Why would you do that? But it did not surprise me at all to see Karen Mains name on your board, as her own teaching is replete with ideas drawn in parallel to Richard Foster's teachings.

Once again you are using ad hominem adjectives to describe Al Dager while you simultaneously proclaim Matthew 18 and it is OK for you to talk about Lighthouse Trails. There is a word for this in Scripture. I will let you say it.

Other factual errors that have proliferated on numerous web sites:

RESPONSE:

If as you state to me, there are particularly substantial errors.... versus splitting hairs...wherein the claimed teachings of Richard Foster, are, not in fact, I am very glad to know this!

Richard Foster is a psychologist. The fact: He holds a doctorate of pastoral theology.
RESPONSE:

If a person with a Doctorate in Pastoral Theology invokes unbiblical psychology to counsel a Christian, this is a worse indictment. Richard Foster praises psychology. Are you trying to distance yourself from psychology? If so, then why do you promote Dr. Siang-Yang Tan, Professor of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary as a speaker for Renovare, as well as his books on your website? If you are not praising psychology then why does the Renovare website promote the occultic pagan rooted Enneagram Personality Profile* on Renovare website? One can get a degree in Science to learn what the Theory of Evolution teaches, but it is quite another thing to go out and then recruit adherants to Evolution. True believers should be using the knowledge they've acquired to expose Darwin and Jung, not promote them.

"It would be better that a millstone were tied around his neck and he be tossed into the deepest ocean" than to stumble the least one of these my children..." e.g., with occultic and antichrist teachers such as Carl Jung. The guilt remains whether or not Richard Foster is technically a licensed psychologist**, or merely uses psychology while pastoring or counseling people with psychology, as these counselees have put their trust in a man (Richard Foster) whom they think to be a pastor. A pastor quoting Carl Jung in his counseling? That is even more frightening, to say nothing of being an abomination to the Lord Himself!! For truly, what fellowship does light have with darkness, or the cup of the Lord with Belial? And if there was every a person who walked in darkness and was demon-possessed, it was Carl Jung!

*ENNEAGRAM PERSONALITY PROFILE:

SOURCE: Robert Innes, Personality Indicators and The Spiritual Life, Grove Books Ltd., Cambridge, 1996, p.3; The Ennegram is significantly occultic in nature and origin, coming from Sufi, numerology, and Africa New-Age sources. George Gurideff, Oscar Ichazo of Esalen Institute, and Claudio Naranjo are the prominent New Agers who have popularized it, and then introduced it, through Fr. Bob Oschs SJ, into the Christian Church. For more information, I recommend Robert Innes' booklet and Mitchell Pacwa SJ article's "Tell Me Who I Am, O Ennegram" Christian Research Journal, Fall 1991, pp. 14ff.

If there is any doubt that Enneagram Personality Profile, or Meyers-Briggs Temperament Sorter (Carl Jung) is unbiblical and pagan-based, I invite you to read the following documents:

http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/st_simons/arm03.htm
&
http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/temper.htm
**PSYCHOLOGY VS. THE BIBLE:

Psychology counsels no fear of the Lord at anytime in any of its therapies, let alone at the beginning. So there is no wisdom in it. The Bible teaches that there is body, soul, and spirit; psychology says there is only the body and the soul. The Bible teaches us that it is Holy Spirit that will lead us in all truth and that it is sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing even the soul from spirit. Psychology doesn't even believe in the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us about our eternal destiny. Psychology offers no hope for eternity. The Bible teaches us to lay up for our selves treasures in heaven. Psychology offers no concept of heaven to lay up your treasures for. The Bible says seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things (our needs) will be added unto us. Psychology doesn't seek first the Kingdom of God, in fact it never seeks the Kingdom of God. The Bible teaches that our help comes from the Lord. Psychology tells us our help comes from one or more of unproven theories and tens of thousands of psychotherapists whose ideas were drawn from paganism, divination, astrology, humanism, and evolution. The Bible teaches that being lovers of selves is mankind's problem. Psychology teaches that being lovers of selves is the solution. Bible teaches that we can come freely to drink the waters of life. Psychology charges for it. The Bible offers the opportunity of becoming a new man in Christ. Psychology offers an improved or even damaged version of the old man. The Bible teaches that our strength is perfected in weakness and that in suffering, sin loses its power. Psychology teaches us how to balance our strengths and weaknesses with personality profiles derived from paganism and divination. The Bible esteems the contrite and broken spirit. Psychology esteems self-esteem. The Bible teaches us to rejoice in the suffering or being persecuted with Christ to produce character and overcome the world. Psychology has no interest in Christ's suffering, our suffering with Christ, or sees any redemptive value in his shed blood. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ believed in demon possession and delivered those possessed. Psychology teaches that there is no such thing as demon possession...so there is nothing to be delivered from. Psychology does not believe we are in a spiritual war, because it does not believe there is any such thing as Satan or his demons. The Bible tells us that we war against principalities in heavenly places. The Bible tells us how to be blessed in the Beatitudes. Psychology doesn't even comprehend blessing, so it can not offer anyone a blessing because it omits the person required to administer these blessings, that is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us we can't produce the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control without abiding in the vine which is Jesus Christ himself. Psychology attempts to bear this fruit by abiding in the teaching of such founders as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud who opposed Christianity!

He is a disciple of Thomas Merton (Lighthouse Trails). First, to be a disciple of a person, one has to be with that person while they are alive and learn from them. Historically, numerous people have had disciples--Socrates, Jesus, Calvin, Freud--but always during their lifetime while they were able to teach their disciples face-to-face. Merton died when Foster was a teenager. This is the first time I have ever heard of one person being described as a disciple of another when all they do is quote from a book.
RESPONSE:

First of all you don't have the definition of "disciple" right in English. Check Webster's Dictionary. But equally important is what the word disciple is in Greek (that is the context of disciples of Jesus), from which the word was translated.

The teacher does NOT have to be alive and the student does not need to have known the teacher in person. In fact, Jesus had died already (though he rose again in a glorified body) when he gave the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19:

 

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
NASB copyright 1995 Lockman Foundation

The Greek word for "disciple" used is:

matheteuo {math-ayt-yoo'-o} The KJV uses the word teach, but that is an understated word in English, though one certainly does teach one's disciples. And note further the Disciples are not making the whole world disciples of themselves (the Disciples), but rather they are making the world disciples of Jesus Christ, a third party.

If Lynda Graybeal's definition is correct, and a true disciple must have have met Jesus in person and known him while he was still alive, then no one in most of Israel and everywhere outside of Judea, Galilee or Samaria could truly be called a disciple of Jesus Christ even during the Apostolic Age, let alone everyone who calls themselves a Christian today or the last 2,000 years. I am most curious where you found your definition.

Whether or not Richard Foster fashions himself as a disciple of Thomas Merton, it is not a matter of a single quote but many. Also, Richard Foster recommends several of Thomas Merton's books in his Celebration of Discipline book. Wouldn't this demonstrate that a fair interpretation by any reader would be that Richard Foster is a follower of Thomas Merton? Even if there was only one quote such as, "Well, Thomas Merton tried to awaken God's people," that single quote should be sufficient for us to take warning. Here is another quote in which Richard Foster embraces Thomas Merton's teaching:

On Thomas Merton's writings: "This brief book (What is Contemplation?) is an excellent introduction to contemplative prayer for everyone." (Source: Richard Foster, Spiritual Classics, p. 21)

Why would you be so sensitive about calling Richard Foster a disciple of Thomas Merton? Since Richard Foster raves about Merton with thirteen quotes in his book, why would he not be proud to be identified with Merton? But it is not just Thomas Merton, but all of the people Foster quotes or mimics, including Thomas Keating and Carl Jung, who share the same or similar false teachings, that magnifies Richard Foster's culpability and reasonable perception by the reader or hearer that he is a disciple of Thomas Merton. In and of itself it is not even wrong to quote a false teacher and properly cite them. It is not the use of quotations that is the problem, whether by Richard Foster or others. Rather, the problem lies in the inherent promotion...by using these quotations...of false teaching, ideas and techniques. In fact, one could even quote Hitler or document some good things he did, such as petting his dog, or requesting that a "people's car" be invented! But such quotes would be extremely dangerous and misleading without simultaneously identifying him as the monster he was.

Quote from Susan Anderson regarding Richard Foster quoting Carl Jung:

"Well, hey, Richard Foster quoted Jung, so there must be something to Jung's writings, teachings, etc., that are of value to me, to the church." Off they go, marching straight ahead to their nearest bookstore or library, to read Jung's writings, as their sinful human natures have now had their appetites whetted for Satan's lies. And, of course, he is most obliging and will help them open those doors wide.

THAT'S the danger. Among so many other dangers. I know more Christians (so-called, anyway) who don't know which way is up, than I do Christians who can readily discern truth from error. And I firmly believe that NO person, calling themselves by our Lord's Name, has any right...whatsoever...to use quotes from any unrighteous, ungodly source, in order to bolster God's Word, Christ's teachings, or any part of Scripture.

GOD'S WORD DOESN'T NEED TO BE BOLSTERED BY ANYTHING JUNG HAD TO SAY." SOURCE: Susan Anderson September 25, 2003 Email to James Sundquist

I don't know who the Morrison you quote (op. cit., p 432) is but can guarantee you he has never contacted Richard Foster to see if what he says and/or writes about Richard is accurate.

RESPONSE:

I am happy to supply you with the source:

Alan Morrison is a foremost Biblical Scholar in the United Kingdom. Here is his website and one of his many articles exposing Richard Foster and teachers like him: The Sorcerer's Apprentice Website: http://www.diakrisis.org

Your statement about Alan Morrison not contacting Richard Foster to determine whether what he wrote (published) or said is accurate is nothing short of astonishing to me! Short of plaigerizing, imagine having millions of readers of various books having to contact the writer to see if he wrote what he wrote. This is absurd. You are not supposed to have to contact the author, that is why they published it. How are we to ever know what he really meant? Does Richard Foster know the contents of the emails you are sending to me and other people?

ERRORS IN LOGIC (commonly know as fallacies in logic or logical fallacies).

RESPONSE:

I am not sure how far along I can go with you on this. Aristotle is considered the Father of Logic, and he had a worldview completely antithetical to Biblical Christianity, as did the rest of the Greek philosophers. Scriptures tell us these are those whom the Apostle Paul opposed and tore his clothes over people following after these philosophers/

1. Guilt by association. To say that a person ascribes to everything that the person being quoted believes is guilt by association. A particular quote is used because the writer believes that the point that the person makes is valid in the context of a proposition. And a quote always has to be read in the context of the proposition or argument.

RESPONSE:

You appear to be appealing to a hermeneutic principle rather than a logic principle "a text out of context is a pretext." Of course I agree with this hermeneutic principle.

For example, the entire paragraph that contains one of the Jung quotes you cite reads: "In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied. Psychiatrist C. G. Jung once remarked, 'Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil'" (CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE, 1st edition, p. 13). To say that Richard ascribes to everything that Carl Jung believed or taught just because Foster quotes him is ridiculous.

RESPONSE:

Where did I ever state or imply that Richard Foster ascribes to everything Carl Jung believed or taught? Where did anyone say this? Please cite this for me. One does not need to ascribe to everything a false teacher teaches, only one thing...a little leaven leaveneth the ENTIRE lump, not part of it! Secondly, the quote you supply (where Foster quotes Jung) is in itself Biblically (Doctrinally) unsound. In short, even this quote is a false teaching. Hurry is not the Devil. The Devil is the fallen Archangel Lucifer, who tempted Jesus Christ. Once again, it is astonishing to me once again that you or Richard Foster, who claims to be a Christian would believe this! And because Richard Foster believes this and teaches it by quoting Jung, many more continue to be led astray into unblical teachings.

Consequently, there is a point where you and Richard Foster do become guilty by association.

"Bad company corrupts good morals" I Corinthians 15:33

Was Paul addressing only the Corinthians? Was the intended audience only the First Century, or does this apply to us today too? The Biblical term "morals" refers to both physical and spiritual practices, as the Book of Proverbs and the Whore of Babylon confirms in both the Old and New Testaments.

Quoting from numerous sources to support a position has a long academic history. In The City of God Augustine quotes Cicero, Plato, Marcus Varro Apuleius, and others. John Calvin quotes a wide range of people including Cicero, Homer, Herodotus, Ovid, Plutarch, Pliny, and Seneca in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Even the Apostle Paul quotes a pagan Greek poet to make a point (Acts 17:28)!

RESPONSE:

And what exactly was the Apostle Paul's point in quoting a pagan Greek poet? Was it to applaud them and affirm them to continue in idolotry? Was it to tell them they could integrate their wonderful philosophy with Christ? Or, was it not in order to evangelize his audience and convert them from their pagan Greek philosophies to Christ alone? Obviously, that was Paul's reason. And even a casual reading of the Book of Acts would reveal this to you! None of the men you name above could even contribute one thing to the sanctification of a Christian for the perfecting of the saints. The Word of God is clear when it says only the Word of God can do that!

I understand that you also have been the victim of guilt by association when your music CDs were distributed and sold in New Age bookstores. I quote from one of your letters to Mary Fairchild, "You would not accuse Ken Ham of being in an unholy alliance with the New Age because New Age outlets sell Ken Ham books. I know I certainly would not! So why do you accuse me of being a New Ager for doing precisely the same thing?"

RESPONSE:

None of my lyrics are New Age, but either direct Scripture and/or poems which reflect straight Biblical teachings...not New Age Ideas... and they certainly were not conceived by Eastern Meditation. Richard Foster's are! Paul was not "associating" with the Greeks when preaching in the Forum, HE WAS OPPOSING THEM! (See above my commentary on William L. Vaswig and Karen Mains.)

And Richard Foster's teachings are not merely placed on the shelves next to New Age books, but rather they are contained and promoted within his books.

2. Argument from silence. Your statement that Jesus didn't teach us to appeal to the imagination and senses is a classic example of an argument from silence and is very weak. Let me ask you a few questions about the way Jesus taught. What do you think Jesus is appealing to when he draws word pictures in parables? Our senses? No, Jesus uses the age-old rhetorical device of parables over and over and over in which word pictures dominate. Parables force the hearers to use their imaginations to make sense of the story. For example, who can understand the parable of the sower and the seed if they can't see it in their imaginations? Or the parable of the woman searching for the lost coin? I could cite as many examples of Jesus' appeal to the imagination as there are parables in the New Testament.

RESPONSE:

Your contention that my arguing from Scripture regarding what it says about imagination is very dangerous waters for you to be treading. What Scripture says about imagination is what Scripture says about imagination! This is not an argument from silence if the Scripture is not silent on the matter, because the Scriptures are not silent on the matter. Besides this, if you concede Scripture is silent on the matter of imagination, then why do you give all of the Scriptural examples of the absence of silence regarding imagination? I hope you did not get the impression that I think that ALL imagination is evil....though at the time of Noah's Flood, EVERY imagination of their heart was only evil continually.

If you re-read all of the Scriptures that I sent to you, you will see that I am speaking about vain imaginations or dreams or visions that promote or teach ideas strictly forbidden in the Bible. Example of such are: divination, astrology, sorcery, necromancy, pagan ideas, conjuring up another Jesus, magic arts, imagining evolution. ALL of which Carl Jung promoted, and he himself was demon-possessed! And yet, this is the very man whose ideas, practices and teachings Richard Foster promotes IN OUR CHURCHES. Additionally, Richard Foster promotes Eastern Mysticism Meditation which a host of people Richard Foster quotes, practice, and which Richard Foster practices and promotes. Even if he were not a direct disciple of any one of the men he quotes, he is a desciple of their very same practices!

So, my answer to you is really quite simple. As true believers...as Christian... we are forbidden from even touching these teachings, let alone practicing or promoting them in any form of imagination that invokes any of the practices or techniques that the Bible condemns, whether they be Ouija Boards, crystal balls, palm reading, astrological chart reading, pagan based personality profiling, or Eastern Meditation, etc..

With regard to Parables to mention, are you aware that one of the central themes in Christ's parables is God's Judgment? Does Comtemplative Prayer, as offered in your Spiritual Formation Classes or Tilden Edward's Shalem Institute where William Vaswig that you tout on your website was trained, warn about the Judgment of God coming upon the earth?

About Jesus' appealing to the senses, why do you think Jesus used unleavened bread and wine at The Last Supper? To appeal to our imaginations? No, it was an act rooted in the body's senses--hearing, smell, touch, taste, and sight--as were the many times he laid hands on people to heal them, put mud on the blind man's eyes, etc.. There are many other examples: "salt of the earth" appeals to taste, "light of the world" appeals to sight, "unleavened bread" appeals to taste, Thomas touching Jesus' wounds appeals to touch, and so on. If you deny that Jesus taught by appealing to the imagination and senses, then you discard most of the four Gospels, keeping only his replies to the questions of the Pharisees and the historical narratives. As a musician, how do you teach a person to play the guitar? By describing in words how to strum the guitar and wrap his fingers around the neck and move his fingers up and down the fret while pressing on the strings? Or by having the student feel, see, and hear the instrument as he is learning to play it? Jesus taught, and continues to teach through the biblical accounts and his Spirit, the same way.

RESPONSE:

For you to suggest or imply that Christ's mission or teaching was to appeal to all of the human senses and imagination, so as to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, meet all of the felt needs of the people, is to deny not just the Four Gospels but the entire New Testament, as well the Book of Job, and further denies the Apostle Paul's own words (if you are right) to eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die (assuming you are right that Christ was appealing to and satisfying our senses). God forbid! Jesus Christ's own words regarding seeing does not sound anything like what you have in mind for the senses:

"For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." I John 2:16

Regarding your reference to the Lord healing the man's blindness, would you like to talk about "context" one more time? The main thrust of that passage was to reveal that it was those who think they can see that are the ones who are really blind. But seeing the truth is the opposite of what Eastern mediation will bring you, which is spiritual blindness!

Your version of the Gospel (which is really "another gospel" and "another Jesus") does violence to the Book of James, Hebrews 11:36-38, by insulting every present and past persecuted and martyred saint, of whom this world was not worthy. Your touchy feely gospel is exactly what doubting Thomas required vs. Christ blessing those who had faith who NEVER saw, felt, tasted, smelled, or had their senses appealed to. Yes they did hear, but that is what the Scripture teaches is necessary for conversion (faith cometh by hearing). But your gospel is the tickling of the ears kind of hearing by those with itchy ears, and this all promotes mysticism, gnosticism, and the occult ideas of Carl Jung that Second Timothy warns against.

And by the way, unleavened bread was not used to enhance taste. (If anything it did not taste as good.) The use of unleavened bread was to remind them of the slavery they came out of in Egypt. Even the Manna in the Wilderness did not have the taste the Israelites were accustomed to in Egypt. As you may recall, this was one of the reasons they murmured in the Wilderness, and God judged them for murmuring and complaining.

No, the gospel you are promoting just another spin on the appeal of the Church Growth Movement, which also promotes Richard Foster, as does Rick Warren via his toolbox to pastors.

Appeal to Emotion. This logical fallacy masks many spurious arguments. We appeal to a person's emotions and then statements that do not stand tests of logic, accuracy, and truthfulness slip by unnoticed. This is frequently done when the question being debated is very emotional or elicits strong emotions, such as the debate over abortion or "keeping the faith pure".
RESPONSE:

Where did I appeal to emotion to you? Where did you get that idea? My appeals are all based on reasoning from Scripture. You are not suggesting that abortion is an option for a Christian are you? We test everything with Scripture...not emotion...including spirits such as "Philemon" of which Carl Jung was possessed!

False Disjunction, e.g. the only kind of "centering down" is New Age "centering down". This ignores the rich history of centering down in the Church, and the fact that practices from many religions including centering down have been co-opted by the New Age movement. In conjunction with this, one huge mistake many people make is to take our present knowledge of the New Age movement and read it into books and teachings prior to its inception. In doing this, they can declare that people who lived decades, and sometimes centuries ago, taught New Age beliefs.
RESPONSE:

Once again I do not recall ever saying that all centering down is "New Age" centering down. I can center down to do my homework, center down to practice my guitar. I can say that Christ is the center of my life, so thinking about him and praying to him could be argued to mean that I am centering down. Additionally, what other religions do with regard to centering down (as you stated above), is totally irrelevant to Christianity, regardless of whether or not the New Age Movement has co-opted this practice. As true believers we are do obey the Word of God only and not incorporate the beliefs and practices of all other religions, because they are not of God! Why Richard Foster's version is New Age is not a false disjunction is that he employs and prescribes identical techniques to what the New Age employs such as vain repetitions, Ashtanga Yoga, Kundalini, and Buddhist prayers at Quaker gatherings that I can document. In quote after quote, Richard Foster gives accolades to promoters and practioners of Eastern Mysticism and Meditation which mirror his own views. There is not even anything to mask what he is doing. Secondly, you are not even historically accurate. Though the New Age term itself might be recent, the beliefs and practices the term refers to, go back to the Garden of Eden. All New Age beliefs, each and every religion, have at their very foundations the lies of Satan, which are always, always, always to take away from the Deity of Christ and the Word of God. Their beliefs stem from the Fall of Adam, and later from the Tower of Babel, and Babylon. Even at the time of Christ, Jesus himself commanded us NOT to pray as the heathens do with vain repetitions (such as breath mantras). Here is the direct commandment of our Lord himself:

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matthew 6:7 KJV

So if the Lord does not hear these kind of prayers, who are we really praying to? What possibly God ordained purpose could they have?

And yet what do we find Richard Foster recommending in his book Spiritual Classics? Richard Foster states:

"Practice lectio devina by taking a Bible text that you love, reading it over attentively, then entering into prayer through a single word or phrase." p.35 "Why does this little prayer of one syllable pierce the heavens?" p. 45 (Source: Richard Foster, Spiritual Classics, p. 35, p.45)

Jesus Christ said that if you want to be his disciple, you must obey him. So how is praying with vain repetitions and repeating a single word or phrase over and over obeying Christ, when he gave specific instructions which forbade it?

Your version of centering down and imagination does not even fit the Biblical meaning of meditation, but is, in fact, the opposite. Richard Foster's idea of meditation is to imagine the loins of your mind to be let down and relaxed that anything might enter. Here is the proof:

Richard Foster in his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, speaks of the practice of "breath prayer," in which a Christian-sounding word or phrase is repeated over and over again like a mantra. Foster wrote that "Christian meditation is an attempt to empty the mind in order to fill it" (Ray Yungen, Time of Departing, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2002, pg. 72). But fill it with what? This "breath prayer" idea has gained popularity in charismatic circles that frequently sing of "breathing in Jesus" or variations thereof. (SOURCE: Jacki Alnor, Christian Sentinel, April 2003. Richard Foster quote taken from Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, Harper & Row Pub., San Francisco, CA 1978, p. 15.)

This is precisely the technique that lets demons enter a person. But we are to be circumspect which is what a night watchman is, as this literally means having eyes all around our head to guard against imaginations and seducing spirits that would love to enter us.

The Apostle Paul commands us to "gird up the loins of our minds," not let them down, not empty our minds.

We are to put on the helmet of salvation to protect our minds, as well as the shield of faith that we might ward off the fiery darts of the enemy from penetrating that part of our armor. One girds up the loins of their mind for war, as that is precisely what we are in...a spiritual war. Any good soldier girds up his or her mind when he or she stands guard on a night watch. I know this first hand because I used to stand guard in four-hour shifts at night over missile batteries in the U.S. Army in West Germany. Emptying your mind and/or falling a sleep on guard duty would get you court-marshalled. You had to be vigilant and constantly alert, i.e., we are to have the loins of your mind girded up...not let down! Succinctly, we are to have the mind of Christ....not mindlessness!

This is perfectly consistent with what the Apostle Paul further tells us:

"Be sober and be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" I Peter 5:8

How can a Christian be ever vigilant and sober within his mind, if he is spending a lot of time emptying his mind by practicing any type of meditation which is the direct opposite of Biblical meditation?

For one of the very best Scripture passages on the context and real meaning of what the Bible teaches about "meditation," read the entirety of Psalm 119, where you will find the word "meditate" time and time again.

You want context? The entire passage uses the word "meditate" to describe the author's intent to meditate on the statutes, laws, and decrees of the Lord, that the author might not sin against God. Now traditionally, the "centering down" form of meditation promoted by Richard Foster involves CLOSING the eyes. Well let's see what the writer in Psalm 119 thinks about that. In Psalm 119:148 we read:

"My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises." Psalm 119:148 NIV

When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, he rebuked his Disciples for NOT keeping their eyes open, for he wanted them to WATCH and PRAY (Mark 14:38) WITH HIM. Let's take an even closer look at what Jesus had in mind in terms of how he prayed (the highest form of meditation which is to "watch" and "pray") in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus Christ's idea of how to pray was to resist temptation to the sweating of drops of blood. No human besides Christ has ever accomplished this feat. Nevertheless, Christ our Lord does set an example of what should be taking place during our praying. This kind of praying has nothing in common with techniques or purpose of praying for Eastern Meditation or any other religion. Christ's method of praying has nothing in common with Richard Foster's revised definition of meditation or "centering down." Jesus Christ gave even more instructions when his disciples asked him how to pray. The Lord gives them (and us) instructions on how to pray when he gives us the Lords' Prayer. Once again, he gives us no instructions which resemble "centering down" meditation. This prayer is a petition and requires the mind to be fully engaged, not unplugged. Finally, it tells us to appeal to the Lord to protect us from the Evil One (i.e., Satan). Eastern Meditation REMOVES the protection to let the Evil One IN to our minds.

Just prior to this, Jesus had lifted up his OPEN eyes to the Heavens to pray...not close them when he raised Lazarus.

"Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." John 11:41 KJV

So we don't even see Jesus praying or instructing us how to pray or meditate like anything even resembling Eastern Meditation or Richard Foster's version of meditation.

Again the Apostle Paul says:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8 KVJ

With the mind of Christ, this is the kind of thinking or meditation we should be practicing. What is pure or commendable about Carl Jung's practice of divination or the complete balance of his theory of the subconscious, which he believed came from what we possessed in our subconscious as animals before we became human (thus totally denying the creation of man directly from the dust by a Sovereign Creator) ?

What is of good report of Carl Jung?

What is noble about his personality theory, which he also drew from paganism and a spirit-guide that possessed him? Are not these things clearly abhorred by both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul? We are to flee these things, not embrace, promote them and feed them to God's children.

You want to call your kind of meditation Biblical. But I challenge you to go through the entire Old and New Testaments and do a word search for the word "meditate" or "meditation", and look it up in the Hebrew and the Greek (as you did with the word "you" in the New Testament). You will not find one instance or precedent for the word meaning anything close to your revisionist definition. You will not find a precedent for it. You will not find an example of Jesus Christ or any of the Apostles practicing it or recommending it. But you will find it practiced and promoted in Eastern Meditation and the New Age Movement.

Finally, the New Age Movement did not borrow or hijack centering down from Christianity. Though not under the same name, the practice is as ancient as Babylon and the Tower of Babel. And the Tower of Babel was constructed because of the same lie Satan used in the Garden of Eden, "You shall be as God."

When you say "church" you mean Roman Catholicism and the Carmelite Order traditions. But Roman Catholicism is both pagan and apostate. Indeed, your version of centering down indeed matastesized into the Church and spread spiritual death into the Church, just as various forms of cancer metastasize in the organs of the human body, eventually causing physical death. Your form of "centering down" is also rooted in the Church's first and tragically on-going heresy, Gnosticism.

Despite what you believe and stated above, centering down has no rich history or even existence in the TRUE CHURCH. For you to claim that New Age beliefs are only recent, reveals a tragic lack of knowledge of both history and Scripture. As the prophet Hosea declares:

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:6 KJV

General Assumption. To say that Richard Foster admires Thomas Merton because he quotes him is an assumption you have drawn, not a verifiable fact.
RESPONSE:

It is absolutely astounding to me that you would make this statement with all of the Merton quotes Richard Foster has in his book. One does not have to assume what a person clearly states and publishes. Here is a quote from Richard Foster, quoting Thomas Merton:

"...offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing ever found in books or heard in sermons"

Richard Foster further says of Thomas Merton:

"Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood." Foster considers Merton's book, Contemplative Prayer, "a must book". He also states, "Merton continues to inspired countless men and women," and credits his books as being filled with priceless wisdom for all Christian who long to go deeper in the spiritual life." SOURCE: A TIME OF DEPARTING, Ray Yungen, Trailhouse Trails Publishing Company, 2002. These quotes were drawn from Richard Foster's books: Devotional Classics and Meditative Prayer.

And this is not admiring Thomas Merton? If note, I would surely be curious to know what a good example would be, by your own definition! If this is not enough, Richard Foster lavishes praise on a host of other authors and teachers who share very similar views to Thomas Merton. Even if Richard Foster does not technically use the word "admire" then proceeds to lace his commentary with one complement after another, what reader could come away with any other conclusion? What your comment clearly shows me is that you are doing nothing more than parsing at words and straining at gnats, while you swallow the camel of ideas that clearly oppose Biblical Christianity. Richard Foster clearly shows support for Thomas Merton, William L. Vaswig and Karen Mains, in spite of your trying to distance yourself from them.

 
 
 
       
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
       

 
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