Pt.2 Mans wisdom or God’s
Proverbs 2:1-13 speaks “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness”
Wisdom is described as one who seeks treasure in the word, by mining it. This means we must spend time in it as we get understanding in our heart wisdom is produced at our soul is at rest.
Barton may understand the struggles of everyday life but her solution is not from God, it is not focused on the word and letting the Holy Spirit teach and apply it to your life, it is going to a method outside the word, into what is not spoken to try and hear God’s voice.
The dichotomy is clear, Christianity teaches the word became flesh, Barton and others teach we enter silence. One way (God’s way) is God communicating to us by the way He made us to learn, through language, to have understanding by using the mind. The other (man’s way) is to enter silence, as is taught in eastern religions.
What Barton is doing is elevating a subjective experience as a source of revealed truth. She is teaching this method to be a normative practice of our learning to hear God’s voice. God’s voice is His Word, it is heard by His word; read or preached. When we seek other means to learn of Him we are abandoning His word. God contacted man it was by his speaking, revealing himself first by His glory and then gave a message.
Nanett sawyers experience, “Never the less I was always looking for ways to encounter God… I am a Christian today because of a Hindu meditation master. She taught me some things that Christians had not. She taught me to meditate, to sit in silence and openness in the presence of God.... I believe that all people are children of God" ("Emergent Manifesto of Hope," Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, ed., Emersion, 2007, p.45.) boldness and underline mine
How is this different from Haley Barton’s journey? “I had a spiritual director that pointed me to the disciplines of solitude and silence. “
Sawyer is rejecting that we only come through Christ as the way. A Hindu taught about Jesus? Which Jesus? The undefined Jesus that everyone enjoys. How could she know of the presence of God and knowledge of Jesus not found in the Bible? Notice that meditation is the bridge to the synthesis. The paradigm which leads people into a New Spirituality, a view the God Indwells all Mankind, we are all his children; Universalism. This is often accompanied by the view God dwells in all of nature- pantheism.
In Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Barton admits that panentheist Catholic priest Thomas Keating helped her to understand the contemplative idea of “the true self” (man’s divinity):
“The concept of the true self and the false self is a consistent theme not only in Scripture but also in the writings of the church fathers and mothers. Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen (particularly Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart) and Father Thomas Keating are contemporary authors who have shaped my understanding of this aspect of the spiritual life. (Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence (Downer Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2004), p. 160.
Let’s look at Thomas Merton to understand what she is actually saying.
"By grace we are Christ."… "I see no contradiction
between Buddhism and Christianity.”
Thomas Merton's Ways of the Christian Mystics is Published by Shambala, a major producer of occult literature.
'And I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have." (Lost Christianity by Jacob Needleman, p.112.)
Let’s look at Henri Nouwen.In his book In the Name of Jesus, Nouwen said that Christians must move “from the moral to the mystical.” Nouwen claimed that contemplative meditation is necessary for an intimacy with God. He taught that the use of a mantra could take the practitioner into God’s presence.
“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God’s active presence” (Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 81).
The key is Contemplative Prayer - emptiness in solitude:
“In solitude, we leave behind our many activities, concerns, plans, and projects, opinions, and convictions to enter into the presence of Love, naked, vulnerable, open and receptive. Here we encounter a Father/Mother God who is all love, all care, all forgiveness. In solitude we are led to a personal and intimate relationship with Love itself.”
This is Buddhism combined with Christianity.
Furthermore, Nouwen said, “The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being” (Here and Now, p. 22).
So these are whom Barton point to that has shaped my understanding of this aspect of the spiritual life. She claims the Scripture teaches the concept of true and false self; no, it does not! It teaches to deny oneself to serve others not the eastern concept of who we are inside; God indwelling every person. The Bible speaks of the necessity of a spiritual birth for God to indwell a person as they follow Jesus ONLY. And to do this they must adhere to his word. In fact we show we do not love him if we do not. John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Where does she find her concepts in scripture?
“helping you to hear God's call more clearly… Barton offers the prophet Elijah as a biblical guide for your journey” (Invitation to Solitude and Silence Experiencing God's Transforming Presence@ christianaudio.com)
Apparently she is basing much of her justification of this teaching on Elijah who had a unique experience that was not repeated by others.
Elijah is in a cave. 1 Kings 19:9 “What are you doing here, Elijah?" Elijah thought he was alone and in fear. God came to him because He was running for his life, he was depressed and ready to forfeit his office as a prophet. God graciously reached out and restored him. Elijah wasn’t looking for an experience with God. Nowhere in Scripture does anyone try to duplicate Elijah’s example, nor does God do to others that he did with Elijah.
V.11-13 Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (this is the second time)
What was the Lord doing? Teaching Elijah to listen without some sign accompanying His work or voice, which he had become accustom to; God’s tone was gentle. The appearance of God did not come in the whirlwind, the earthquake, and the fire, but gentle, in the same manner the Lord revealed himself to Moses. As a merciful and gracious God, long-suffering (Ex 34:6). And He was anticipating what Elijah would say next.
1 Kings 19:14 “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
God wanted him to continue his ministry and encourages him saying “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, (1 Kings 19:18)
Barton says “Elijah’s experience shows that God doesn’t scream to get our attention. Instead, we learn that our willingness to listen in silence opens up a quiet space in which we can hear His voice, a voice that longs to speak and offer us guidance for our next step. (“Beyond Words”)
No this is not what it is teaching. For if it did it would be throughout the Bible and instruction in the epistles to the church. What of Jonah that had to have “a whale of an experience” to listen and obey God? Job also had a similar experience to Elijah except God spoke from the whirlwind (should we make this the normative?)… Job 38:1-4 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding?”
Who is it that Darkens God’s counsel by words without knowledge?
There is nowhere in the New Testament that instructs silence like this to contact God. It says the opposite; to speak and to pray. So she uses the Old Testament specifically one scripture to justify this for all.
(Ps 46:10). If one looks up the words having to do with silence and quiet in the New Testament you will find nothing taught by these promoters of this new synthesis.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." Not that they began to enter silence…
When a tongue is spoken “if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 1 Cor 14:28)
Mark 1:25 When demons spoke Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!
Luke 9:35-36 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.
1 Tim 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Job 4:14-18 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence; then I heard a voice saying: 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error,
The teaching of being silent is not what Haley is promoting, but entering silence as a requirement to hear God’s voice. stilling the soul, focusing on our breathing to contact what she claims is God “speaking to us all the time” and we are obligated to obey what He says(Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence, p. 123)
Barton promises us “through practice and experience we become familiar with the tone of God’s voice [and] we learn to recognize God’s voice.” (ibid. p. 119.] learning God’s voice will “take experience and practice.”(ibid.p.122) God speaks to us according to Scripture not instructing us to learn his voice separate from the Scripture.
She instructs her readers to “ask for a simple prayer (from God),” such as “Here I am,” or “Come, Lord Jesus.” She writes, “It is best if the prayer is no more than six or eight syllables so that it can be prayed very naturally in the rhythm of your breathing…Pray this prayer several times as an entry into silence and also as a way of dealing with distractions.”[ibid. p.41]. Mantras are found in all types of forms of mysticism, this teaching is not taught in the Word of God anywhere.
This gets even more of a concern with all the side issues she is involved with. Among the many alternative spiritual techniques Barton has been involved she has studied the Enneagram with Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institutehttps://www.enneagraminstitute.com/.
Enneagram is mystical, New Age, gnostic and very unbiblical. Read our article "The Power of Personality":http://www.letusreason.org/Current42.htm.
This video explains the enneagram. Lighthouse trails explains it as occult ancient Sufi typology of nine personality types or primary roles. See:http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2298:
So this silence does not help in discerning what is and is not of God by this clear evidence.
pt.3 The Origins of this teaching