It makes a big difference who we believe God is.
And how we approach Him.
This should go without saying; especially when speaking with Christians. Because those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior possess clear instructions on who He is and how they must come to Him.
The Christian understands that the Bible is the instruction guide for both those questions. 66 books from Genesis to Revelation. No more; no less.
Veer away from that written collection and you introduce problems. Grave problems.
Establishing the certainty of truth and authority is answered simply. Truth is known by those who find it.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31,32)
God promises to manifest Himself to those who believe His words. As the sheep know the shepherd’s voice, those in whom the Spirit dwells, know His voice from all others.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
When We Move Away from Written Truth
God is not the author of confusion. He is not found by following other religions. Nor has He provided different scriptures to follow. Nor has He established some secret or hidden techniques through which men may commune with Him.
If this were not so, there would be no way to distinguish one god from another. One angel from another. One being of light dispensing truth from another. Every man would be left with his own preferences, theories, experiences and feelings.
Which is why the Apostle Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)
Because Paul was serious about truth.
And that is exactly the problem we have with the Contemplative Movement. All voices pretending to be from the same source. All voices claiming to lead men and women to the light. But lacking clear authority. Everyone relying upon the power of his own religious experience as the basis of truth.
There is simply no way to leap frog over doctrine and biblical truth to come to God. But this is the appeal of the Contemplative Movement.
The Spiritual Disciplines have the appeal of sounding deep and devotional while claiming a higher caliber of spirituality than the bland, garden-variety of mainline or popular Evangelical Christianity.
These disciplines promote a way to reach God outside of the guidance of the word of God. By bringing different religious groups together via a technique. Where no judgments are made about differing traditions or teaching. Where all come together based on the power of a mystical encounter in prayer.
By going directly to God with these Contemplative techniques, one is no longer hampered by written truth. God may now be accessed and known without regard for biblical authority. And men do not need to concern themselves with the pesky issues of sin and unbelief.
The Contemplative way allows men to enter the Holy of Holies without the blood of Christ. To approach God without the cleansing of the Holy Spirit of God. To approach God by themselves; ignoring the only Mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:” (Isaiah 30:1)
An Old Lie in a New Package
This concept is not new. It is part of a larger movement based on a unity of experience. An ecumenical unity based on powerful, mystical and sensory experiences. Where all may become one through contact with a higher consciousness. Even with the cosmic Christ himself.
This modern spiritual movement seeking to replace the fundamental truths of biblical Christianity is simply the latest strategy in the ancient war against God. A war that false religions and evil spiritual entities have waged from the beginning of Creation.
Yet the Contemplative Movement brings a new dynamic to the modern era. It covers occult deception with a traditional Christian veneer. Just as the Emergent Church movement denies biblical authority while steeping itself in the outward trappings of Christian traditions. With whatever bells, smoke, music, cathedrals, stained-glass windows, candles, rituals and pageantry satisfy the senses.
The strange bedfellows in this movement include Catholic mystics, Charismatics, Emergent Church leaders, New-Evangelical leaders, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and New Agers — to name only a few. All drawn together by an experience that goes back to the beginning of man’s history.
Involving the same character that we saw in Eden. Offering up the exact same lie that he used back them.
That man can reach God in his own way. That man may become like God. That man is God.
A Unity of Experience or a Unity of Faith?
Satan does not care how we are led astray. Whether he uses religious devotions, spiritual disciplines, labyrinths, Christian mantras, chanting, or whatever is of little consequence.
The result is what he is after.
Satan’s goal is to lead men away from the word of God. And to offer them another Christ.
Any old Christ will do. Any Christ except the God of the Bible.
Wrapped in spiritual, Christian-sounding words, Satan draws men into powerful religious experiences. Not to Christ but to an experience.
But, according to the Bible, men do not approach God based on the sincerity or strength of their own devotion. Nor out of the power of self-denial or self-discipline.
The fact is that self is the issue.
The application of our own self effort to some idea of religious discipline is not the way to know God. Neither is it the way of Salvation nor is it a way for a Christian seeking a closer relationship to God.
The way to God is by our focus on the Lord Himself. On His holiness, His majesty, His love and all the glorious things about Him. We come to Him by reading and focusing on the truths of His words. Not by repeating them over and over in a mantra-like way. Nor by shutting down our mind to reach some void or altered state.
We come to Christ by believing He has already opened the way by the blood of His Cross. And by accepting the cleansing and forgiveness He offers freely to all who confess their sins to Him alone, by faith alone.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from and evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)