Pt 4 entering the silence

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Pt.4  Silence, Entering into the library of the soul

Transcendental Meditation (TM): “One starts by silencing the mind--for many, this is not easy, but when the mind has become silent and still, it is then possible for the Divine Force to descend and enter into the receptive individual. First it trickles in, and later, it comes in waves. It is both transforming and cleansing; and it is through this force that divine transformation will be achieved.” (from Holistic Health magazine, Winter 1986)

 This is the silence that has to do with Richard Foster’s meditation techniques.

“if we invite him with attention, opening the inner spaces, with silence, he will speak to our souls, not in words or concepts, but in the mysterious way that Love expresses itself—by presence.”

This “silence,” what he and others call the sacred place is supposedly where God is. Foster’s not teaching one to pray silently, in our minds. He means what the meditators of eastern ways mean, having no words or thought. In meditative prayer he teaches to center down becoming quiet, passive, to concentrate on one's breath, which is also a common Eastern technique.

His use of terms to describe his exercises are likewise not found in Scripture, but are consistent with New Age terminology. At the beginning of the chapter “Preparing to Meditate,” Foster makes this statement “It is impossible to learn how to meditate from a book” (p.25 20th anniversary issue).  Yet they do from his book.

Foster encourages his readers to go deep into their inner world of silence and explore it. Biblical words and phrases are used as mantras, (called "lectio divina") reciting the Word of God over and over which is Spirit and life makes it flatline. We are told not to do this (Mt.6:7)

Learning to "center down," to become still, to enter into the recreating silence. Breath prayer -repetitious breathing is used to enter "the silence," this is not found in the Bible. In other words when you purposely become passive you open yourself up, and what Foster and these others think is God, is not.

“Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition (Matt. 6:7). Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession. Søren Kierkegaard once observed: “A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized that prayer is listening.” (Celebration of Discipline, p.39 20th Anniversary ed.)

Praying is not listening. That is called hearing instructions. Jesus never said listen to pray. To pray means to speak, inside oneself or outward with words.

The Bible teaches us to speak in prayer:

Matt 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; Mt.18:19, 21:22; Mk.11:24 “ask.”

Luke 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: …

Luke 11:9-10 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Act 10:31 Cornelius’ prayer was heard (Philipp 1:4). Prayer asks, petitions God’s for our needs.

The library of the soul- the spiritual realm

Foster states "In the Middle Ages not even the greatest saints attempted the depths of the inward journey without the help of a spiritual director" (Foster: 159).

Foster encourages his readers to go deep into their inner world of silence and explore it, with a director of course.

"[W]e must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. In their writings, all of the masters of meditation strive to awaken us to the fact that the universe is much larger than we know, that there are vast unexplored inner regions that are just as real as the physical world we know so well. They tell us of exciting possibilities for new life and freedom. They call us to the adventure, to be pioneers in this frontier of the Spirit." (Celebration of Discipline, 1980, p. 13.)

This is Peter Pan - ology. Here is the pure presentation of Mysticism. When Foster admonishes that we should explore the inner regions of spiritual dimensions. This is what is done through Yoga and its accompanying eastern methods of meditations.

“Of the Spiritual Disciplines’ functioning in our lives. God brings about the transformation of our lives through the Disciplines, and we will not know genuine joy until there is a transforming work within us” (p.193 20th anniversary ed.)

Foster’s exclusive claim to have joy is by his disciplines, but the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 13:52) without it. It accompanies being filled with Spirit (being under God’s control.) Gal. 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. … If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ”living in the Spirit is not spiritual disciplines do not be deceived by this man’s spin on words.

When Jesus spoke of joy it was from what He said, it is about substance.

John 15:11"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 17:13 "these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Foster claims the realm of the Spirit is within man, which is Quakerism (Foster is a Quaker). What Foster has done is Christianize these foreign meditative methods to the church. And the church being ill equipped and unknowledgeable on these practices has accepted it under the enlarged Christian umbrella that now includes Romanism.

“Contemplative Prayer is a prayer of silence, an experience of God’s presence as the ground in which our being is rooted, the Source from whom our life emerges at every moment …. Contemplative Prayer is the opening of mind and heart – our whole being – to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. We open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing – closer than consciousness itself. (Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society.)

Foster calls it the divine Center where you can go in hear his voice. But the Bible tells us His voice is Scripture, that is first and foremost. If you are unfamiliar with Scripture or do not correctly understand it you can be led astray by other voices. Listening for God in silence instead of listening to God by reading His actual word He gave for us to be instructed from is not taught. This silence is what the gurus teach as some take a vow of silence and go off to a cave and meditate.

Foster’s language tells us exactly what he means. "What an inviting picture of movement and work in harmony with the divine Center of the universe." "Can we live in virtually constant communion with the divine Center of the universe?” (Richard Foster, Inward Simplicity: The Divine Center.)

Divine center is not a term one will find in the Bible but will find it among the mystics, occultists and yoga teachers.

Here are some of Foster practices of silence that explain how we can hear the voice of the Lord:

“One way to nurture simplicity is through the discipline of silence. Society is dominated by the inane notion that action is the only reality. Please, for God’s sake and your own, don’t just do something, stand there! Come in and enjoy his presence. Sink down into the light of Christ and become comfortable in that posture. Open the subterranean sanctuary of your soul and listen for the Kol Yahweh, the voice of the Lord. To do so gives us focus, unity, purpose. We discover serenity, unshakableness, firmness of life orientation.” (p.113 Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World)

Foster’s centering oneself begins by concentrating on breathing. Inhale deeply, slowly tilting your head back as far as it will go. Then exhale, allowing your head slowly to come forward until your chin nearly rests on your chest. Do this for several moments, praying inwardly something like this: "Lord, I exhale my fear over my geometry exam, I inhale Your peace. I exhale my spiritual apathy, I inhale Your light and life. Then, as before, become silent outwardly and inwardly. Be attentive to the inward living Christ."

Does the Bible teach to inhale peace? This clearly is combining eastern pantheism with Christ, it has a Christian veneer but is decidedly unbiblical. So now Christ is not only within all but the air we breathe! In goes the good air out goes the bad?

It is easy to see how the Quaker philosophy paved the way for Foster to accept Catholic mysticism. It did this by its emphasis on an “inner light” and not allowing the Bible to be ones guide to spirituality.

Has God said or has God not said

Faith comes by hearing the word of God. The Bible is clear and concise on this.

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Correction - epanorthoosin . .... Restoring to an upright state orthos (erect); "setting right."

Instruction - paideian Better, "chastisement or discipline." ....sometimes "admonition." Specially of God's chastisement by means of sorrow and evil (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Complete, Perfect -artios "complete;" but the idea is rather that of mutual, symmetrical adjustment of all that goes to make the man: harmonious combination of different qualities and powers. Compare katartisis (NT:2637) "perfecting," 2 Cor 13:9: katartismos (NT:2638) "perfecting" (as accomplished), Eph 4:12: katartisai (NT:2636) "make perfect or bring into complete adjustment," Heb. 13:21.(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Equipped -exartizo-to complete, to finish a) to furnish perfectly b) to finish, to accomplish.

Scripture is OUR discipline. So Foster is challenging the very word of God by saying his disciplines, which are not found in Scripture, must be practiced to help us grow and know God. We do not need to pay attention to bad arguments to justify non- biblical practices. If one teaches to go beyond Scripture the apostle Paul tells us not to accept it (2 Corinthians 4:6).

The Renovaré Bible

After seeing how Foster conducts his spirituality exercises we should not be startled that Foster does not hold to a literal view of Genesis.

The Renovaré Bible includes the Apocrypha and states that “Most of the Church throughout much of history has accepted the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture….” Renovaré asserts, “The Deuterocanonicals do not affect any central doctrine of the Christian faith.”

This is completely untrue as everyone knows it was not until the council of Trent that the Apocrypha was included in Romanism. And there are numerous doctrines and stories that contradict the scripture i.e. purgatory.

In a large ad featured in Christianity Today (July 2005), the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible, publicized “THE BIBLE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE.”

Genesis began as an oral tradition of narrative stories passed down from generation to generation….These stories [gradually] took on theological meaning….Over time [they] were written down and collected together (Gen 12-50), and a prologue (Gen 1-11) was added….Borrowing from other creation accounts…stories with parallels to ancient Near Eastern religious narrative and mythology were reshaped with monotheistic intent….These strands of varied materials were gathered and edited into the written text…. (Richard J. Foster, ed., The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (Harper San Francisco, 2005), p.13-14)

Eugene Peterson is “Consulting Editor, New Testament” of the Renovaré Bible. He reduces much of Paul's vital treatment of the gospel in Romans to metaphor” (p. 2045). The Berean call-The Bible is God's Word! Dave Hunt: 8/1/2005) Editors include Foster, Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann,

So to Foster and others position who worked on Genesis is that it is not the word of God, not spoken of God but are stories of man, the account of the beginning but was put together piece by piece by man. Like those in the higher criticism camp, they take a non-literal historical approach. Is that How THE BIBLE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE?

Of course not. Genesis is the foundation to the Bible, if it is just an edited compilation of mythology and folk tales pieced together for a monotheistic view, then Genesis is not literally inspired of God. Yet Jesus quoted Genesis as literal and the word of God he called the Pentateuch “the law of Moses” (Lk 24:44).

There are other portions of the Bible that speak of Genesis are they also wrong. Then we cannot trust any of the Scripture. Do you see the subtle scheming taking place? Paul’s statement that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16) cannot be true. Scriptures teachings finds its context in Genesis. Which is the foundation to the Bibles explanation of man needing redemption.

What I notice is that the majority of Scriptures quoted by Foster are ripped from their context and forced to fit Fosters ways and practices. They, (Renovaré) do not take the Bible literally, but metaphorically. Renovaré renovates the Scripture. Renovaré tells us that the purpose of this study Bible is the “discovery, instruction, and practice of the Spiritual Disciplines.

The Renovaré Bible in their introductory notes to the book of Daniel, “We do not know who wrote it or exactly when it was writtenit was most likely partially written during Antiochus Epiphanes’ persecution of the Jews in Babylon, which began with the desecration of the Temple in 167 B.C.” (introduction to Daniel, p 1245, by James M. Rand.) Dating Daniel’s writing to beginning in 167 B.C. means the author could not be Daniel. It is clear from history there were no prophets for nearly 400 years until John the baptizer who introduced Christ to his people. Daniel (8:15, 27, 9:1-2; 10:2) claims to have been written it “in the first year of Darius” (538 B.C.), if not, we have been lied to.

The book of Isaiah is treated the same way. Renovaré says Isaiah did not really write, there are three authors pp. 982-983, 1068. Isaiah had “poetic imagination.” In fact they say all the prophets of Israel are not to be thought of primarily as…predictors of the future…they were poets” (p. 1079). The Renovaré “scholars” (mystics) say of Isaiah 9:6-7 of the coming Messiah, that “the mighty God, the everlasting Father,” is said to speak of “human agents” ( p. 997). This is like reading interpretations from the Jesus seminar.

Their Bible ignores the prophecies concerning Israel’s future. The prophecy of Jeremiah 31:7-14, plainly says that Israel will be gathered and restored, is interpreted by Renovaré as God’s promise to homeless people everywhere. The “dry bones” prophecy of Ezekiel 37 which specifically refers to “the whole house of Israel” v. 11, refers to the church’s beginning at Pentecost!

The marriage of the Lamb to His bride (Rev. 19) is not a real event in heaven but “symbolic of the many different celebrations that bring joy and jubilation” into our lives (p. 2287) The thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20) is not a real event, and the armies of the world coming against Christ and the saints at Jerusalem after Satan’s release merely symbolize “the armies of darkness [which] surround us” (p. 2288).

Renovaré is “Wisdom” gathered from Catholic, Episcopal, Protestant and mystic, sources so we can expect a non bibl;ical guideline to be followed

Foster’s interpretations do not hold up, neither by the Bible or common sense. He states “…I am speaking of the person who is seeking hard after God and who harbors no known sin in his heart. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant, who walks in darkness and has no light, yet trusts in the name of the LORD and relies upon his God? (Isa. 50:10, [italics added]) Foster says, The point of the biblical passage is that it is quite possible to fear, obey, trust, and rely upon the Lord and still “walk in darkness and have no light.” We are living in obedience but we have entered a dark night of the soul. (Celebration of discipline p.103-104)

No it is not possible, because these are facets of the light. Can walking in the light be darkness (1 Jn.1:5-7)? What he is implying is that there must be more, that something is missing.

Adam Clarke's Commentary on Isa 50:10 puts this in perspective:

I believe this passage has been generally, if not dangerously, misunderstood. It has been quoted, and preached upon, to prove that "a man might conscientiously fear God, and be obedient to the words of the law and the prophets; obey the voice of his servant-of Jesus Christ himself, that is, be sincerely and regularly obedient to the moral law and the commands of our blessed Lord, and yet walk in darkness and have no light, no sense of God's approbation, and no evidence of the safety of his state." This is utterly impossible; for Jesus hath said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." If there be some religious persons who, under the influence of morbid melancholy, are continually writing bitter things against themselves, the word of God should not be bent down to their state. There are other modes of spiritual and Scriptural comfort. But does not the text speak of such a case? And are not the words precise in reference to it? I think not: and Dr. Lowth's translation has set the whole in the clearest light, though he does not appear to have been apprehensive that the bad use I mention had been made of the text as it stands in our common Version. The text contains two questions, to each of which a particular answer is given:

Question 1: "Who is there among you that feareth YAHWEH?

Answer: Let him hearken unto the voice of his servant.

Question 2: Who that walketh in darkness and hath no light?

Answer: Let him trust in the name of Yahweh;

And lean himself (prop himself) upon his God."

(Adam Clarke's Commentary)

Another commentary states, Isa 50:10 Messiah exhorts the godly after His example (Isa 49:4-5; 42:4), when in circumstances of trial ("darkness, Isa 47:5), to trust in the arm of Yahweh alone. "Who is among"-i.e., Whosoever (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

Quakers the Society of Friends, founded by George Fox

The Quakers … set aside the doctrines of an organized church and the Bible as the sole and final revelation of God’s will in favor of the doctrine of the Inner Light, by which they meant that the Holy Spirit can give immediate and direct knowledge of God apart from the Bible (Christianity Through The Centuries by Church historian Dr. Earle Cairns 381,( underline mine)

Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette, in A History Of Christianity gives us information about the person through whom the Quakers originated:

Their founder was George Fox (1624-1691). Of humble birth, from boyhood he had heard Puritan preaching and had acquired an intimate familiarity with the text of the English Bible… For four years he suffered severe spiritual depression induced by the spectacle of human suffering,…and by the doctrine of predestination which he heard expounded from Puritan pulpits. By temperament a mystic, he was eager for direct and unhindered access to God…

Eventually (1647) the light broke. He came to feel Christ could speak to “his condition,”… He believed that God is love and truth and that it is possible for all men so to open their lives to Him… [Fox] would follow and have others follow the Inner Light” (Vol. II, p. 822, emphasis mine)

Fox believed that men should be guided by the Inner Light, protested against formalism in religion,”(History of Christianity) he insisted that the ‘light of Christ’ glimmered in all men.” Which means they are universalists.

The inner light teaching is said to be based on John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Which does not teach the divine light of God is in every man. It says that Christ gives light to every man. If we go back a few verses John 1:4-5 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In him was this light, not every man. When men respond to the light that they have been given, they are given more light (Acts 17:26-27).

George Fox saw himself as an apostle restoring the true church." (Quaker FAQ,

He would say to his listeners:

“You will say, Christ saith this and the Apostles say this, but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?”

Fox claimed that he received the doctrine of the inner light without help from the Scriptures (The Journal of George Fox, revised by John Nickalls, 1952, pp. 33-35).

George Fox used the expression “that of God in everyone.” In his journal Fox said, “I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation, and their way to God; even that divine Spirit which would lead them into all Truth, and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any” (Ibid. p. 35).

Foster grew up among the Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends), was trained at George Fox College, has pastored Quaker churches, and has taught theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and at George Fox.

Quakerism believes in a divine presence and guidance in every man. They emphasize being still and silent, by becoming passive you will receive guidance from the inner light. Other terms for it are “light of God,” “light of Christ,” “inward light,” “the light,” “light within,” “Christ within,” and “spirit of Christ.”

Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline quotes many to support this. One example is Evelyn Underhill, “…begin with that first form of contemplation which the old mystics sometimes called ‘the discovery of God in his creatures!’” (Celebration of Discipline p.31)

Clearly this universalism does away with the gospel. We must see it for what it is. Who needs to read the Bible as literal or historical when we can meet Christ in the center of our being, anytime we want!

Martin Meeker writes, “... the early Quakers’ reliance on the Bible as a source of spiritual knowledge and inspiration was secondary to their belief in the Inner Light as the primary path to salvation and communication with God” (The Doctrine of the Inner Light).

Foster writes on p. 22 of Celebration of Discipline “Historically, no group has stressed the need to enter into the listening silences more than the Quakers.”

And no modern Quaker has stressed the need to enter into the listening silences more than FOSTER!

From its inception the Quakers movement exalted personal revelation over the Bible, and Fosters teaching contains Quakerism. Foster is not just a Quaker, he is a Gnostic who is claiming that God gave HIM the way to know Him more deeply, a way the Bible speaks nothing on.

p.5 Foster and friends view and practice of entering the silence, meditation, and the imagination




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