The Carnal Disciplines
The techniques of spiritual discipline are very common among religions. For the most part, one has merely to change the deity of preference into the method used.
Even if that deity is simply the Higher Self !
Christians often fail to properly discern between good and bad religious practices. They make assumptions about the value of these disciplines for managing the flesh. And will casually apply a combination of spiritual techniques that are not biblical.
Believers assume that if they will dedicate themselves fully to do the Lord’s will, He will then change them. And that He will then help them to make changes in their lives.
It is not an error to trust in the Lord’s ability and promise to change us as we trust Him to do so; the error is in the confidence we have in our own will power, our own sincerity, and even our own devotion toward God.
The error is in our self confidence, our self determination and trusting in the value of our own will and devotion.
Or in the level of the pain, the level of sacrifice, or in the level of self denial we are willing to endure in order to please God.
It is right here, and precisely here, where much of the compromise in Evangelicalism takes place — in this worship of our own will and devotion — instead of the Lord Himself.
Our error is in our infatuation with self. Specifically with our devoted self.
When we place any value in our own devotional sincerity and zeal, we move into a dangerous place of compromise. Where we, to be consistent, must also value the sincerity and devotion of other religious groups.
If we are willing to put such confidence in our own will power, why is our will any better than the will of any other religious group? Especially when we are willing to use the same techniques that they do.
The will of man, focused through sacred devotions, has become the common ground of spiritual compromise between Evangelical Christianity, apostate Christianity, and Eastern mysticism.
All because our focus has shifted away from the Lord Jesus Christ toward our own devotional strength.
We have, in truth, made our own devotional practice our God. Our confidence is in the intensity and demonstration of our own will power rather than the sufficiency of Christ Himself.
(Please, Note: This is a discussion that requires a much deeper treatment than we can do right now. Also, this is not a rant against fasting nor against choosing to give up something, nor against denying ourselves something, nor against choosing to suffer for the Lord or for others. This is about understanding a great error regarding religious traditions and devotion.)
Unity Based on Traditions
For example, it has become more frequent to hear of Evangelical leaders attending Catholic Eucharist ceremonies; who then praise the depth and beauty of those celebrations.
Some of these leaders even speak of taking the “sacraments” themselves. Who then encourage unity based on those “celebrations”.
They attempt this by trying to establish a spiritual equivalence between the Catholic Eucharist ceremony and the Evangelical practice of Communion (the Lord’s Table).
It has become vogue in Evangelicalism to promote unity on the basis of traditions. By claiming we all believe the same thing but just have different worship styles. While encouraging us to embrace and celebrate our differences in devotional practice.
But, such teaching is both dangerous and naive. Revealing that our Evangelical leadership is either incredibly ignorant of what the Catholic Eucharist really means or is being deceptive about what it means.
All because of their obsession with creating unity where none can ever exist.
Christ Has Set Us Free
Mixing spiritual and worldly techniques, in a Christian way, is at the heart of compromise.
But we often just don’t see this.
This is because popular teaching today lacks clarity. And because many leaders seek to maintain spiritual fellowship with both Christ and the world. To maintain citizenship in two opposing kingdoms.
This compromise is a mix of a salvation by faith alone and a salvation thru works. These works include salvation thru sacraments, disciplines, and traditions.
This is a mix of Christian faith with Eastern mysticism through contemplative prayer, meditation, chanting, following a labyrinth, mantra-like word repetitions, and many other disciplines.
All of this is a reminder that Catholicism still has a profound influence over the Evangelical church — even after all these centuries. And that many leaders choose to ignore the spiritual dangers in Catholicism as well as in other religious traditions; all to build a false unity with the countless false “Christian” groups that surround us.
We seem to have learned nothing from the Reformation.
We seem to have forgotten about the totally-sufficient and finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
And we seem to have forgotten that the Lord shed His precious blood to set us free from the vain traditions of this world.
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