Archive for February 6th, 2009

At some point someone at Lighthouse Trails Research should read the articles to which they link. When/If this is done it is quickly apparent that their alleged research fails – and does so miserably.

Lighthouse Trails Research Project warns believers of the dangers of Spiritual Formation and even lists schools, colleges, authors and churches that offer classes in the same. Spiritual Formation is “A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.” As far as I can tell, if a schools offers a class with “Spiritual Formation” in the title – it is guilty of promoting this dangerous trend.

We can only assume that spiritual formation in and of itself is acceptable, for who could deny this as biblical? The offense appears to be the use of “Contemplative Spirituality” which they define as:

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.

And here is where their supposed

Re-search: [ri-surch, ree-surch]  – noun

1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications: Recent research in medicine…

becomes a colossal

Fail: [feyl] –verb (used without object)

1. to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved: “Their research failed.”

On the page that contains the above definition for Contemplative Spirituality (which we would all oppose if it were really as they describe) are links to two articles; one by Dallas Willard and another by Richard Foster. It takes one only a few minutes to read these two articles to see how the “research” of Lighthouse Trails Research Project “fails.” Compare the accusations in the definition above with these two excerpts…

Dallas Willard:

So let me say to you very formally: Christian spiritual formation is the process through which the embodied/reflective will takes on the character of Christ’s will.

Spiritual formation in Christ would, then, ideally result in a person whose reflective will for good, fully informed and possessed by Christ, has settled into their body in its social context to such an extent that their natural responses were always to think and feel and do as Christ himself would.

Richard Foster:

Nothing is more important in Christian Spiritual Formation than our need to continue ever focused upon Jesus. This is not formation-in-general. This is formation into Christlikeness. Everything hangs on this. Everything. Jesus gives skeleton and sinews and muscle to our formation. In Jesus we find definition and shape and form for our formation. Jesus is our Savior to redeem us, our Bishop to shepherd us, our Teacher to instruct us, our Lord to rule us, our Friend to come alongside us. He is alive. He teaches, rules, guides, instructs, rebukes, comforts. Stay close to him in all things and in all ways.

We need to study the Bible with a view to the transformation of our whole person and of our whole life into Christlikeness. We come to the Bible to receive the life “with God” that is portrayed in the Bible. To do this we must not control what comes out of the Bible. We must be prepared to have our dearest and most fundamental assumptions about ourselves and our associations called into question. We must read humbly and in a constant attitude of repentance. Only in this way can we gain a thorough and practical grasp of the spiritual riches that God has made available to all humanity in his written Word.

…if you read the whole articles from which these quotes were excerpted, you will see how neither is remotely an example of the definition created by Lighthouse Trails. Neither promotes altered states of consciousness, the occult, or either pantheism nor panentheism.

When your examples contradict your premise – that is a research fail.

Unfortunately, many do not read the links, they simply drink the Kool-Aide as if it were safe.

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