Christian Meditation


 New Age Christianity Part Two

 Start at the beginning. Read Part One 

   Contemplative prayer is widely decried as eastern spirituality.[1] Christian proponents of the practice do not deny this but rather boast about it. Contemplative prayer is the cornerstone of all spiritual formation programs and is not prayer at all, but rather a “Christianized” form of Transcendental Meditation also known as TM.

   It is associated with Hinduism and New Age Spirituality.  

   “Eastern” spirituality is becoming highly acclaimed in the Christian world.

   Along with praising eastern spirituality, those who embrace eastern meditative practices often derogate what they call “western” Christianity and display extreme intolerance towards Christians who search the scriptures to test all doctrine and spirituality.[2]

   Webster’s dictionary defines a contemplative as one who practices contemplation.

   To contemplate means to ponder, to meditate upon, to think on. That agrees with the biblical definition as recorded in the Psalms. In the first chapter of the Psalms, we are instructed to meditate upon the Word of God, and to do it often, day and night.[3]

   So, how does the biblical definition of contemplate or meditate compare with contemplative prayer as taught and practiced in spiritual formation programs?

   The answer is that it does not. Biblical meditation and the type of eastern meditation (TM) used in the practice of contemplative prayer can only be contrasted as they are incompatible with one another.

   The Eastern form of contemplative prayer used in spiritual formation involves emptying the mind by means of repeating mindless mantras. Jesus called these vain repetitions. Biblical prayer is communicating meaningfully with our Creator. Christians are instructed in the scriptures to meditate on the word of God. Christian meditation means to fill our minds with the word of God. We are instructed to do this day and night. Most certainly Christians will communicate with their creator concerning his word. That is where the prayer comes in.

   Contrast that to the contemplative’s eastern practice of clearing the mind of all thought, and we have a glaring contradiction with the biblical command to meditate upon the word of God which involves filling our minds with scripture (and thinking on and praying about them).

  Using the biblical definition of the word, how does one meditate upon something with a blank mind?

   It cannot be done.

   Eastern meditation and contemplative prayer both mandate clearing all thoughts from the mind.

   As stated, this is usually accomplished using some form of mantra, thereby opening the spirit to receive the thoughts of someone or something else.

   Many Christians today, are familiar with the terms “The Silence” and associate being “quiet” before the Lord with clearing their minds of all thought with the goal of going into a meditative (trance-like) state.

   This is because they have been exposed to eastern thought and practice through church teachings, Christian bookstores, Christian radio, etc.

   Non-Christians openly admit that when they are in that thoughtless state, they are at the mercy of any number of spirit beings. They do not know if they are benevolent beings or not. Even some honest Christian Spiritual Directors warn protégés that while in the meditative state, they are vulnerable to non-benevolent spiritual entities and advise that prayers of protection be offered prior to meditation.

   The meditative goal for contemplatives, Christians and non-Christians alike, is reaching a place of no thought whatsoever. That state is called, among other things, entering into the silence or “The Secret Place.”  

   Not everyone who practices contemplative prayer uses these terms to describe it or has even heard of it. Some are familiar with the terms but know that it is controversial and therefore will not use it—so simply advise being “quiet.”

   This is not to be confused with the traditional Christian “quiet time” that most are familiar with. In the past, (to the Christian) this consisted of setting aside time on a daily basis to read scripture and communicate with God through prayer. Clearing the mind of all thought while engaging in mantra meditation played no part in the practice of traditional Christian quiet time. Neither, prior to the advent of the contemplative movement, has it ever been known as a “spiritual discipline.”

[1] Isaiah 2:6 Because of this you have forsaken your people the house of Jacob because they be replenished from the east (filled with, and dedicated to, eastern thought and ways) and are soothsayers like the Philistines and they please themselves in the children of strangers

[2] Acts 17:11…they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.

[3] Psalm 1: Blessed is the one that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of the scornful 2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in his law (WORD OF GOD) does he meditate day and night

Read Part Three HERE

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The New Age Coming to a Church Near You: Andersen, Jocelyn: 9798768047900: Books

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