Thursday, June 28, 2007

TONY JONES AND THE EMERGENT SACRED WAY

From Apprising Ministries:

The fact is that Tony Jones openly advocates somewhat obscure “spiritual disciplines” of contemplative mysticism. Some of these originated with apostate eastern “Desert Fathers and Mothers” such as Contemplative Prayer–so-called “Christian” meditation–Lectio Divina, praying to Icons and the Labyrinth, most of which would germinate within the anti-biblical monastic system of the apostate Church of Rome. Jones is not alone in advocating this type of spirituality because these types of mystical practices and others form a core doctrine found in most Emergent Churches.

As such he is in fact one of many spreading New Age type teachings of spirituality which are somewhat comparable to the Gnosticism that spread through much of the early Christian church in the first several centuries. And the seeking of mystical gnosis is a basic staple of the Emergent Church movement as was reported on the PBS Special in July of 2005: “Individual emerging churches may look different, but they share many characteristics; most are casual with a big emphasis on the experiential.”

7 comments:

  1. Just curious... what is it you object to about a contemplative approach to prayer and worship? To "contemplate" means to think deeply on. Isn't that what Christians are supposed to do with Scripture?

    And the writings of the Desert Fathers were, in part, the inspiration for the Reformation -- how are they apostate?

    I'm not a part of the emerging church movement, I'm just amazed at the level of antagonism I'm hearing towards it. Would it be possible to give reasons why? What is it people are afraid of?

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  2. Peg

    Excellent question...one I asked myself before investigating the concept. The next several posts will reveal the roots of the concern.

    Jim

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  3. Oh OK I see where the quotations are going. They're pointing to Eastern mysticism and New Age teachings, the kind popularized by the Beatles back in the 60's, rooted essentially in Hinduism. Agreed that stuff has nothing to do with Christianity. In fact I did some writing in apologetics back in the 1980s to counter that heresy.

    The problem is, there is a quieter, more introspective, and very legitimate form of Christianity that (unfortunately) tends to use many of the same terms as the Eastern religions. Words like "contemplate" and "meditate" (both of which mean "to think deeply on" or "to reflect on") and "kingdom" (which in Christianity is not "within" -- Jesus said "the Kingdom of God is near" and true Christians know this means "close by but outside me"). Christian worship in the contemplative style is no more entering an altered reality than speaking in tongues is (in fact probably less so).

    The thing is, not every Christian in the world is called to worship in the Reformed traditions. How can we stand for Gospel truth and at the same time be sure we're not condemning people who truly do know and worship the living God?

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  4. Peg

    Thank you for your time and comments.

    The meditation I find demonstrated in the Bible is a contemplation that involves being very awake. The Lord's supper, for example, in 1Corinthians, paints the picture of Biblical contemplation. It consists of deliberate, intentional self-examination, the discerning of the Body of Christ and the atoning work of Calvary, and our obedience to the Scriptures.

    If we use Scripture as the standard to define contemplation and prayer, those who teach Biblically sound practices will be evident, and those who don't will be revealed as well.

    I will be sharing evidence from former "New Agers" and Roman Catholic priests who speak from personal experience regarding the differences and the dangers of contemplative prayer.

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  5. No disagreement from me on your comments re: the Lords Supper. On "contemplation" though... the act of writing a sermon based on I Corinthians 11:17-34 would be a good example of contemplation because it requires prayer and an effort of thought to accomplish. That's all contemplation really is... thinking deeply in a prayerful attitude... nothing more. It doesn't require candles or incense or any other such trappings. ;-)

    Every church and Christian movement throughout history has had within it both true believers and those who are out to use the church for their own gain. I'd rather see your resources used to attack far more serious and deliberate heretics like this one: http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/jsspong/reform.html He's doing a lot more to damage the church worldwide...

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  6. Peg,

    If today's Christian church used your example of "contemplation" I would have the time to devote to other very critical issues, such as Spong ;)

    jim

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