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Evangelicals rediscovering "tradition"?
Christianity Today ^ | 2/08/2008 10:01AM | Chris Armstrong

Posted on 02/08/2008 1:32:50 PM PST by fgoodwin

The Future Lies in the Past -- Why evangelicals are connecting with the early church as they move into the 21st century.

Many 20- and 30-something evangelicals are uneasy and alienated in mall-like church environments; high-energy, entertainment-oriented worship; and boomer-era ministry strategies and structures modeled on the business world. Increasingly, they are asking just how these culturally camouflaged churches can help them rise above the values of the consumerist world around them.

For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on words and propositions. And pragmatic churches are compromising authentic Christianity by tailoring their ministries to the marketplace and pop culture. The younger evangelicals seek a renewed encounter with a God beyond both doctrinal definitions and super-successful ministry programs.

So what to do? Easy, says this youth movement: Stop endlessly debating and advertising Christianity, and just embody it. Live it faithfully in community with others--especially others beyond the white suburban world of many megachurch ministries. Embrace symbols and sacraments. Dialogue with the "other two" historic confessions: Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Recognize that "the road to the church's future is through its past." And break out the candles and incense. Pray using the lectio divina. Tap all the riches of Christian tradition you can find.

This is the road to maturity. That more and more evangelicals have set out upon it is reason for hope for the future of gospel Christianity. That they are receiving good guidance on this road from wise teachers is reason to believe that Christ is guiding the process. And that they are meeting and learning from fellow Christians in the other two great confessions, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, is reason to rejoice in the power of love.

(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; History; Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholics; churchfathers; contemplative; earlychurch; easternorthodox; emergentchurch; emergingchurch; evangelicals; modernism; mysticism; orthodox; patristics; postmodernism; protestants; romancatholic; tradition
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Chris Armstrong is associate professor of church history at Bethel Seminary, and former managing editor of CT sister publication Christian History & Biography.
1 posted on 02/08/2008 1:32:53 PM PST by fgoodwin
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To: fgoodwin

“For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on words and propositions.”

For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on God’s word and living within its bounds”. There fixed it.


2 posted on 02/08/2008 1:49:19 PM PST by Resolute Conservative
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: fgoodwin
He's good at punching my buttons. So much to comment on. Let's see...
For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on words and propositions.

Sorry, those are the tools of thought. Can't do without them. The word is what we've been given.

Live it faithfully in community with others

I"m a grumpy loner. All this chatter about "community" grates on me.

especially others beyond the white suburban world of many megachurch ministries

Y'all might try actually moving out here past the lily white suburbs. There is a world outside Chicagometropolitanarea.

Embrace symbols and sacraments.

The preached word and right administration of baptism and the Lord's supper will do fine for me, thank you.

Dialogue with the "other two" historic confessions: Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Maybe. Only once you are thoroughly grounded in your own. We're talking the nature of the gospel here.

Recognize that "the road to the church's future is through its past."

Why?

And break out the candles and incense. Pray using the lectio divina.

"On every high hill and under every spreading tree.." Do we dance naked in the woods? What's the limit?

4 posted on 02/08/2008 2:12:27 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("your dispensational hermeneutic has driven you mad!")
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To: sandyeggo
I suspect the young evangelicals in question would love immersing themselves by lectio divina
6 posted on 02/08/2008 2:27:21 PM PST by elpadre
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

Google Emergent Church and Lectio Divina. Lighthouse Trails has a good website that deals a lot with this too.


8 posted on 02/08/2008 2:55:42 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: sandyeggo

Ah, or maybe I really mean AWE, the Holy Spirit is working in their lives.


9 posted on 02/08/2008 3:29:13 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: fgoodwin; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
This is the road to maturity.

Along this road, Evangelicals will discover the great theologians and monastics who have pondered, reflected, prayed and breathed the living Word of God for 2000 years, as evidenced by this story posted earlier in the week.

The unexpected monks (Some Evangelicals turning to monasticism)

10 posted on 02/08/2008 4:25:31 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: sandyeggo

Its about “experience” replacing teaching from the word and ritual verses freedom. The Emergents adapt this and that from other religious traditions more because it “feels” like they think church should feel (except sometimes instead of an altar they will have an old tire encircling candles because it’s more ‘cool’).

In regards to this article, they are speaking largely of “evangelicals.” Right now, evangelical churches are being torn apart by seeker sensitivity and Emergent. They bring about new “traditions” by trashing old ones. Doctrine doesn’t matter. Not even the atonement. It ain’t pretty.


12 posted on 02/08/2008 4:35:09 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: sandyeggo; Blogger

Here’s one such article from LightHouse Trials. If, as sandyeggo says, all one is doing is reading portions of the Bible, no foul. But as sandyeggo points out, far too many protestant churches have embrace occultism and are leading many to destruction.

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

Experience being given authority over the Word of God is always wrong and dangerous. Life and experience must be interpreted in light of Scripture, not the other way around.

Let us warn our friend against the apostasy promoted by Christianity Today.


14 posted on 02/08/2008 6:24:51 PM PST by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: Lee N. Field
Live it faithfully in community with others I"m a grumpy loner. All this chatter about "community" grates on me.

So much to comment on. Fortunately, the average real catholic is far more intelligent than I am, and well able to vaporize spurious arguments with but a mite of that unearthly and delicious common sense that the minds of good men are made to delight in.

As to the comment and response cited, however, I can respond, poetically, with this: "Divide and conquer."

The devil is no slouch.

15 posted on 02/08/2008 6:33:14 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (beaurocracy harbors malice)
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To: Lee N. Field
I agree with you on the bristling over 'For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on words and propositions.'

Hey, if somebody doesn't have to have that to have the mind of Christ, great, more power to them, but like yourself, I have this big problem with something spelled,..S--I--N.

Damnedest thing, is that it is so incredibly sinful, that it has scarred my thinking in just so many ways. I find out that if I happen lapse into S--I--N,..even in my thinking while reading the Bible, that if i don't get back into fellowship with God by rethinking through faith in Him and confessing my sin to Him, even my Bible studies will get my thinking screwed up, on the wrong track, leading me either into a form of legalism or the other extreme of lasciviousness when I apply those lessons to life.

I even find myself quoting Scripture, but missing the meaning that Christ provided, if I'm not in fellowship when I'm studying Scripture.

So in effect, without remianing on the right path with Him, no matter what I do, I end up scarring my thinking, such that when I'm facd with similar situations in the future, instead of thinking through faith in Him, I tend to slip back into those past thinking trends I had while I wasn't in fellowship with Him.

A lot of those times are seemingly very responsible, independent of Him, very worldly, lots of solutions for problems, lots of common sense advise, but an interesting thing happens. They always tend to drift away from Him and miss the mark.

I've found that sometimes, in order to really understand just what the heck Scripture is conveying to me, I simply have to go back to individual syntax, and semantics of words and expressions, sometimes in the original language, and I discover I never comprehended even the notion of what the Word had originally said, simply because I had been allowing my thinking to read into the verses what I thought they meant on my own, instead of allowing God to show me what He simply had inspired the writers to state when they wrote the Scripture in context.

Amazingly, some dedicated men with what has to be a spiritual gift, have not only communicated some of those words and propositions in technical jargon, but they intuitively know how to just hit the nail on the head with specific phrases, at the right time, at the right place, with diverse, sparse audiences, where amazingly His Word gets communicated, when I might not have understood His meaning had they not preached it.

Experiences are one thing, but its also a pretty incredible experience to study the Word from a gifted pastor-teacher who is equipping his audience with a supernatural spiritual gift of communication to their explicit mental needs to grasp the actual Word being conveyed.

Seems as though some who are preoccupied with others just studying 'words and prepositions' don't fully appreciate the ability of explicit words and phrases to express some things, and why other words or phrases were explicitly not used in also communicating His very Word, from Millennia ago, for our grasp at this very moment.

16 posted on 02/08/2008 7:22:37 PM PST by Cvengr (Fear sees the problem emotion never solves. Faith sees & accepts the solution, problem solved.)
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To: fgoodwin
Evangelicals rediscovering "tradition"?

About 1/3 of Southern Evangelicals discovered bigotry this past Super tuesday as well.

17 posted on 02/08/2008 7:32:26 PM PST by Invincibly Ignorant
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To: sandyeggo

The Word of God is so powerful, that not only does it bring His faith into the soul and spirit of those in fellowship with Him, it also might harden the hearts of those exposed to it who might not be in fellowship with Him.


18 posted on 02/08/2008 7:44:01 PM PST by Cvengr (Fear sees the problem emotion never solves. Faith sees & accepts the solution, problem solved.)
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To: sandyeggo
Do you know what the lectio divina is? --se

If, as sandyeggo says, all one is doing is reading portions of the Bible, no foul. But as sandyeggo points out, far too many protestant churches have embrace occultism and are leading many to destruction. --Manfred der Wunderhund

My impression of it, as practiced in Protestant circles, is that it is used essentially as a consciousness altering mantra.

19 posted on 02/08/2008 7:49:43 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("your dispensational hermeneutic has driven you mad!")
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To: Blogger
ritual verses freedom

What if someone freely chooses to pray the same prayer each morning?

20 posted on 02/08/2008 7:53:11 PM PST by aposiopetic
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To: sandyeggo

You’re dead on right. Contemplative spirituality is another name for it, and it is new agey, centering, empty the mind kind of meditation rather than actually meditating on God’s word. Things like choose a word, like Jesus, and repeat it over and over and over again until your mind is empty. That is occult.

The Purpose Driven movement has done hideous damage to the church and Rick Warren never met a Bible verse he couldn’t or wouldn’t take out of context. A favorite example was in one of his newsletters to pastors (which I get in my email box just to keep an eye on what the man is doing) is his use of Psalm 2 “God Laughs” in the context that Pastors just need to relax and have a good time because God does. Look up Psalm 2 and see if that is the message of that passage.

The Course in Miracles, I think, was done at Schuellers church once upon a time. And again, you are correct, it is bad news.


21 posted on 02/08/2008 7:55:46 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: sandyeggo

How about the road to apostacy?

Check these out:

http://www.reinventingjesuschrist.com

http://www.understandthetimes.org

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com

And that’s just for starters. :-)


25 posted on 02/08/2008 8:47:24 PM PST by Abigail Adams
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To: sandyeggo

Having no tradition isn’t really much of a tradition, but it’s all that some have.

It’s a wonderful thing that some young people have realized there’s just more to it.


26 posted on 02/09/2008 3:10:08 AM PST by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: Invincibly Ignorant

I am not a Southern Evangelical, I am a Southern Catholic for the record, but I find your statement interesting. In what way did 1/3 of Southern Evangelicals rediscover bigotry on Super Tuesday. Would you care to elaborate?

Regards


27 posted on 02/09/2008 7:20:29 AM PST by CTrent1564
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To: CTrent1564; Invincibly Ignorant

My guess is that II is assuming they (southern Evangelicals) didn’t vote for Obama.

However, the real vote against Obama came from the North East.

Since II was being obscure...I’m only thinking out loud.


28 posted on 02/09/2008 8:38:05 AM PST by norge
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To: fgoodwin
This does not surprise me. I remember as a teen in the late 70's & 80's the church sung traditional hymns and if you wanted to hear contemorary christian music or as they used to call it christian rock then that was relegated to either a sunday night service or the saturday night youth rally.

Then in the 90's more and more churches sang contemporary music. And soon pretty much every church was singing contemporary music (CC music). About the only churches that did not do this were liberal churches that were basically dead churches with lots of empty seats.

This caused the christian who holds conservative interpretations of the Bible a choice between conservative churches that sing CC music and liberal/moderate churches singing traditional music. The pendulum was swung so far in the other direction towards the CC music (and lets face it some of it is bad i.e., Shine Jesus Shine) that it was only a matter of time before there would be some movement back to singing traditional songs. Some CC music services have decided to sing the traditional songs with a slight CC variation which I love. I love some of the CC versions of songs like It Is Well With My Soul.

29 posted on 02/09/2008 10:01:01 AM PST by fkabuckeyesrule (Is it baseball season yet?????)
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To: norge

Well, I thought it was the Mormon Issue you were referring to as most Southern Envangelicals would tend to vote in the Republican primary, as oppose to the Democrat primary. I think it is safe to say that most of the evangelical Protestants went with Huckabee first, then some McCain, and Romney got the least. I would conjecture that Romney’s Mormonism had something to do with him not getting much support in the South. But, it seems he had trouble outside the South as well. Evangelical Protestants will have little to do in the Dems Primary’s in the South. Louisiana, where I am from, votes today, and it will be interesting to see where the White Democratic vote goes with respect to Hillary and Obama. I, as a Catholic, will be voting in the Republican primary, so I can’t influence it all, although some of my “yellow dawg” relatives will do so.

Regards


30 posted on 02/09/2008 10:07:27 AM PST by CTrent1564
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To: CTrent1564

Sure. They joined with Huck composing the anti-mormon vote.


31 posted on 02/09/2008 10:14:16 AM PST by Invincibly Ignorant
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To: Invincibly Ignorant

Well, if you look in California, McCain got 2 out of every 3 Republican primary voters who were Catholic. So, I think it is a little unfair to say that it is only Evangelical Protestants who did not support Romney. I voted for McCain today and would have had a hard time choosing between Huckabee, who at times has been affliliated with some of the more anti-Catholic Protestant types, although he himself has never stated things similar to Bob Jones, Hagee, etc so I would not label Huckabee as someone who is anti-Catholic, and Romney, whose Mormonism does raise concerns for me, and again I am Catholic.


32 posted on 02/09/2008 1:02:59 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: fgoodwin
Another way to study the Word of Elohim is Pardes (Jewish exegesis)

As Yah'shua would have.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua

33 posted on 02/09/2008 2:11:31 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: CTrent1564

It seems like according to exit polls in GA that Romney won with “evangelicals” in Atlanta but Huckabbe won with “evangelicals” outside of Atlanta. I wonder if that might be a common pattern in alot of these primaries where Romney won the evangelical vote in the city or big city suberbs but Huckabee won the evangelical vote once one got outside of the big city.


34 posted on 02/09/2008 4:52:04 PM PST by fkabuckeyesrule (Is it baseball season yet?????)
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To: fkabuckeyesrule

I know that this is not a political thread, but it kind of crossed over into religion. Anyway, thanks for that data. From Georgia at least, it seems the split is between rural evangelicals, perhaps with more of a fundamentalist theological leaning, vs. urban/suburban evangelicals associated more with the mega Church evangelical movement, at least that is my take on it.

Again, I think Catholic Republicans should not have any problem with McCain. He has a 0% rating from NARAL, and has consistently supported constructionist judges, including Bork, and John Roberts and S. Alito, both constructionist judges, with a strong belief in natural law.


35 posted on 02/09/2008 5:06:26 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: CTrent1564

Funny, I hadn’t even thought about the Mormon issue (and I guess I’m the only one). After Fred, Mitt was my man, now he’s gone...but as I have stated before on FR, there is no way I’ll vote for a Southern Baptist...the last two were disasters.

BTW, I’m Evangelical, with a Southern Baptist son-in-law who liked Mitt, and a daughter (Evangelical, but definitely not SBC) who didn’t, specifically because he was Mormon...so you may have half a point!!:>)


36 posted on 02/09/2008 7:02:23 PM PST by norge
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To: NYer
Along this road, Evangelicals will discover the great theologians and monastics who have pondered, reflected, prayed and breathed the living Word of God for 2000 years, as evidenced by this story posted earlier in the week. The unexpected monks (Some Evangelicals turning to monasticism)

Yes, they're called the "emergent church" and 'mysticism' and 'contemplative spirituality' - they are merely exchanging one lie for another. This is the colossian heresy.

37 posted on 02/10/2008 8:33:16 PM PST by Terriergal ("I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace," Shakespeare)
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To: elpadre; sandyeggo
I suspect the young evangelicals in question would love immersing themselves by lectio divina

Yup they probably are. And it's one of the reasons why we left our previous church. The heresy addressed in Colossians.

38 posted on 02/10/2008 8:34:17 PM PST by Terriergal ("I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace," Shakespeare)
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To: sandyeggo; Lee N. Field
Then I'm sorry to say it's being misused.

Redefinition of terms is the classic liberal method for confusing an issue, and eventual redefinition of doctrine.

It eventually ends in God being created in man's image.

i believe that it was the Protestant counter cult apologist, the Late Dr. Walter Martin who once said "Similar does not mean 'same'".

Just because these groups have borrowed traditional Catholic terms don't assume that they have retained Catholic meaning, or any meaning within Christendom.

We Protestants have been fighting the cultists on this ground for decades. While i'm certainly not one for ecumenism, (and i believe that the Present Pope shares such disdain for ecumenism, thankfully), this is probably an area where Catholics can learn how to fight this fight by studying what the Protestants have done...including and especially where we've made mistakes.

39 posted on 02/10/2008 9:30:02 PM PST by Calvinist_Dark_Lord ((I have come here to kick @$$ and chew bubblegum...and I'm all outta bubblegum! ~Roddy Piper))
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To: fgoodwin

One local church was actively advertising a “Traditional” service on Sunday mornings, to attract the many who have been ignored in recent years. When it started drawing larger congregations than the Contemporary service, it was discontinued and the pastor declared “We cannot define Traditional”.


40 posted on 02/11/2008 5:30:17 AM PST by TommyDale (Never forget the Republicans who voted for illegal immigrant amnesty in 2007!)
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To: TommyDale

the rector taking over a vibrant church in this town made one of the 11AM services a month contemporary. The contemporary service attendance was probably down 20-25%, each time. The traditional ones remained well attended. That rector is no longer there - for other reasons. All services now are traditional.


41 posted on 02/11/2008 6:42:52 AM PST by elpadre
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To: elpadre

Yes, we had an older couple visiting. They were forced to go all the way down near the front to get a seat. (Rude to not save seats in the back for visitors). As soon as the contemporary music started, they immediately stood and left, never to return.


42 posted on 02/11/2008 6:50:53 AM PST by TommyDale (Never forget the Republicans who voted for illegal immigrant amnesty in 2007!)
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To: Lee N. Field

So are you implying that Catholics (or perhaps Eastern religions) practice differently than protestants? Help me understand your point.


44 posted on 02/11/2008 9:17:21 AM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: fgoodwin
“For younger evangelicals, traditional churches are too centered on words and propositions.”

So they'd prefer a Catholic or Orthodox church? Not likely.

45 posted on 02/11/2008 9:40:40 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Terriergal
they're called the "emergent church" and 'mysticism' and 'contemplative spirituality' - they are merely exchanging one lie for another. This is the colossian heresy.

No. They are called monks and hermits and devote their lives to prayer and fast. Many of them have been proclaimed saints.

46 posted on 02/11/2008 10:02:39 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: sandyeggo

Yes, appalling isn’t it? that people are so willing to fall for this and unable to see the error.


47 posted on 02/11/2008 11:15:25 AM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: sandyeggo

The point is that lectio divina is a ritual and rituals really don’t give you more ‘spirituality.’ Rituals are fine if they give you structure and organization to your life but the way lectio divina has been promoted in our ex church (the Evangelical Covenant denomination) which you can read about here:
Habits of the Heart:
http://www.covchurch.org/cge/departmental-ministries/evangelism—prayer/habits-of-the-heart

it quotes from THE ANCIENT TRADITION OF LECTIO DIVINA by Diogenes Allen

An ordained Episcopal.

Another thing they’ve been doing is promoting labyrinth prayer walking and other meaningless rituals. Centering prayer, etc. These are useless and only give people an illusion of ‘spiritual maturity’ and a ‘feeling’ at best.

They also promote ‘entering the silence’ which is a great way to introduce yourself to demonic influence. (even the practicioners/promoters admit this).

This kind of mysticism all flows from the same source/attitude — that the Word of God is not sufficient to sanctify us and preserve us in the one true faith. We have to have MORE — we think we have to have rituals and ‘tradition’ (nothing wrong with them if kept in perspective) or something we DO to make us more ‘spiritual.’


48 posted on 02/11/2008 11:16:20 AM PST by Terriergal ("I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace," Shakespeare)
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