The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer

One of the continuing snares Christians often encounter in their churches (of almost every denomination) is contemplative prayer. Is it biblical? Why are so many discernment ministries sounding the alarm? After all, doesn’t the Bible say we are to meditate on God’s Word? The answer to that last question is YES! We are to fill our minds with Scripture and think on those verses night and day–or as often as possible.

The problem with contemplative prayer is its mystical/Eastern (non-Christian) roots and its mind-emptying techniques (entering the “silence,” breath prayers, chanting mantras, etc.).

Today on her Sola Sister’s BlogChristine Pack shared some excellent resources along with “red flag” terms you can look for as well as insights from her own experience in the New Age:

The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer

By Christine Pack  (Article reprinted in full)

An excellent article by Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel explains why Contemplative Prayer practices (which are now in every Christian denomination that I know of) are unbiblical. Contemplative Prayer often enters into churches under the following guises:

– Spiritual Formation
– Spiritual Disciplines
– Ancient Future
– Contemplative Spirituality
– Taize
– Centering Prayer
– Lectio Divina
– Jesus Prayer
– Labyrinth
– Walk To Emmaus

Writes Gilley:

“Spiritual formation seeks to lure evangelicals into ancient Catholic and Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as sola fide and sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized. And complete heretics such as Thomas Merton are seen as reliable spiritual guides to spirituality. The contemplatives have sold out to Catholic mysticism and abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture. Sadly, in the process many undiscerning evangelicals will follow suit.”

I grew up in a very liberal church (i.e., a church devoid of the true gospel), in which Contemplative Prayer practices were recommended routinely for those who came seeking help with “a stale prayer life.” After I left the church as a young woman and went into the New Age, these mystical practices were also an enormous part of my newfound spirituality.

When God saved me at 35, I repented of these practices and recognized them for what they were: a Satanic counterfeit designed to tricks non-believers through whipped up mystical experiences into thinking they were experiencing God. But sadly, it wasn’t long before these practices began flowing into what had once been solid, evangelical churches (including my own precious church, where I was saved).

So in a way, I feel I have been surrounded by these wicked mystical practices all of my life. I know them from the inside out, and I know how deceptive they are. They can deceive unregenerated people into thinking for years – in many cases, a lifetime – that they have a real, active, ongoing relationship with the God of the universe.

Many of these people will think they are Christian when in fact they are not. They will have aligned themselves with other professing Christians, they will attend weekly services in a church, they will be doing all of the things that they think they are supposed to be doing in order to be reconciled to God (tithing, attending church, serving the community, sending teams to foreign countries to dig wells, build infrastructure, etc.), and a great many of them will be lost, lost, lost. These are the people God is talking about in Matthew 7:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Do you understand what I’m saying here? These are not self-professed atheists or Hindu’s or Muslims or witches. They aren’t down at the local mosque or temple or witch’s coven…..they are in churches. These are people who are deceived. Perhaps they are people you know and are close to: spouses, children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, parents, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. If you know anyone who has become ensnared in the deceptive mystical practices of Contemplative Prayer, please share Pastor Gilley’s article with them, or any of the other many, many articles/programs about Contemplative Prayer that can be found on this site, as well as a number of other excellent sites, including:


Twin City Fellowship

Stand Up For The Truth

Biblical Christianity 

Christian Answers For The New Age (CANA) 


Worldview Weekend 

Fighting For The Faith

 Additional Resources 

The 101 of Contemplative Prayer 

Testimony of a Former Mystic

A Time of Departing(an excellent primer on how mysticism is entering today’s churches)

Contemplating Contemplative Prayer: Is It Really Prayer?

Lectio Divina and “Hearing God’s Voice”

John Piper Encouraging Lectio Divina

John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church Endorsing Books by Contemplative Spirituality Mystics Dallas Willard and Richard Foster

Beth Moore and John Piper Lead “Lectio Divina Lite” Prayer at Passion 2012 Conference

Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.  – by Kevin DeYoung

Just Do Something – by Kevin DeYoung (audio)

On John Piper and Lectio Divina

Biblical Silence vs. Mystical Silence

What Is Mysticism?

What Is Mysticism? (5-Part Series by Dr. Gary Gilley) – Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 and Part 5

Mystical Youth Ministry

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60 Responses to The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer

  1. Mr Davis says:

    Sober in the King James is used to describe a state of mind, which, we are to continue in. Yet it these very things we set aside when you practice going into yourself which is what eastern mystisism is all about.

    To be sober is to be vigilant.
    To be sober is to be present.
    To be sober is to be aware.

    Fill your mind with Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Fill your mind with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is The salvation of sinners by the Blood of Jesus Christ from the coming wrath of a Just and Holy God.

    Even know the souls under the alter in heaven cry out: And they cried with a loud voice, saying , How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. Revelation 6:10

    The Lord is coming so watch

    Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

    According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. Isaiah 59:15-20

    Our redeemer is coming!


  2. jeff says:

    With all due respect and Christian love, I think this is incorrect thinking. If meditating on the Word brings you closer to God, I fail to see what is wrong with that. If sola
    Scriptura is your concern, I suggest you read the Bible more carefully. Jesus challeneges us many times to live our faith and that if we don't, he won't recongnize us, even though he gave his all for us.


    • gerry says:

      Meditating on the Word is Biblical. More than that it is commanded by the Word. Contemplative Meditation tends to require you to center yourself (on yourself and to clear your mind, not fill it with the Word.


  3. Nate says:

    What's wrong with Taize? Hmm, sing a line or two of the psalms while thinking about it. Yeah that sound too New Agey…


    • Sam says:

      Yeah…"Jesus Christ….Jesus Christ…Yesterday, Today and Forever!" Keep repeating.

      Sounds really bad, eh? What's with this site?


  4. Nate says:

    Just saw you're attacking Lectio Divina too…. I read the articles that claim to describe it…. very twisted perspective. There should have been a real Catholic perspective on Lectio Divina… Not some anti-Catholic's warped interpretation of it.

    Just to point out one flaw… Lectio Divina dates to the 12th century… in comparison to Lectio Divina, Lutheranism is a "New Age" religion…..


    • Paula says:

      Depends what Lutherans you're talking about. The ELCA (the largest "Lutheran" body) is Lutheran In Name Only. The rest are fairly conservative.


  5. Symphony says:

    To answer your question ("Do you understand what I am saying here?")…NO! I came to this page because I heard the term contemplative prayer this morning and googled it to see what the heck it is and reading your story, I still don't have a clue.


  6. Derek says:

    Where did the scriptures come from in the first place? Were not these men divinely and supernaturally inspired? Are they the exception? Does the written Word of God replace the presence and voice of the Spirit in us? That, my friend, is heresy.


  7. Andrew says:

    It makes perfect sense for you to feel ill at ease with contemplative prayer, especially considering what you've been through. However, I would encourage you to be accepting of your brother's and sisters who say they hear from God. This kind of listening is Scriptural as evidenced by the book of Acts, specifically in chapter 13: 1-12 and in 21:11. I don't believe that contemplative prayer is for you because you truly have experienced heresy and terrible wounds from spiritualism. However for others it may be simply meditating on God: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."(Philippians 4:8 NIV)


    • christine says:

      Contemplative prayer is based on pantheism where as Biblical meditation/prayer is based on monotheism. There's a world of difference. Pantheism = false gods & deception. Monotheism = the God of the Bible & truth. 1John 4 instructs us to test the spirits. And in Mat. 24 Jesus warns us to not be deceived. There will be many counterfeits.


  8. Maria quay says:

    This website has contemplative prayer all mixed up. Christian contemplative prayer is resting quietly in God's presence. The Lord in the Scriptures invates us "be still and know that I am God" to come to him in his presence with all humility and complete openes to his Spirit. We don't need any techniques of whatever from other religions to quier our souls as God provides his peace. Christian contemplative prayer is ALL God's work in the soul as with his help try to center in his presence. He knows all our need so we don't need to verbalize them to him. This form of prayer only brings the soul closer to the Lord. The great saints of the church all practice it. If you don't have God as the center of your life and your mind is busy with worldly concerns, forget contemplative prayer.


    • Stephen says:

      Maria, you are so far off track that it is scary. You've been fooled. Please get some help from a true born-again Christian. Soon.


    • rosinavoz says:

      The verse you quoted, 'Be still and know that I am God', has nothing whatever to do with quieting your mind and going in to His presence in a contemplative state. Look at it in its context. Psalm 46 is a psalm that can be of great comfort to Christians in these Last Days as we see the signs of the soon return of Christ with all the distresses that are taking place worldwide at an accelerated rate. READ THE WHOLE PSALM! It is about disastrous times coming upon the world…calamity on every side…the heathen raging, great earthquakes and natural disasters, wars, persecution of Christians occurring. But…in the midst of it all, God says to us, 'be still and know that I am God'. This is not a call to contemplative prayer. It is a call to faith…to keep believing that, no matter what happens or how bad things get, God is in control of it all. His purposes are being accomplished and He will be faithful to those who are called by His name. People take this verse out of context and make it mean something that was never intended. We don't read scripture to impose our meaning on it. We read it in its entire context to get the true meaning…let the text interpret itself.

      Nowhere in the bible are we taught to pray the contemplative way. Give me chapter and verse. Not there! True prayer is hard work! It is! Just because God knows our needs does not mean He doesn't want us to verbalize them to Him. The Lord gave us an example of how to pray in the Lord's Prayer. He did not say, 'sit quietly, empty your mind of everything except thoughts of me, now center yourself in my presence, say nothing just bask in Me'. Jesus DID give a formula for praying…praising God, confession of sin, thanksgiving, petition…all of that is in the Lord's Prayer which is our model of how to pray.

      Contemplative prayer comes from the Catholic Church, the mystical 'so-called 'Church Fathers'. They got it from the Buddhists and just Christianized it. It can be dangerous… can lead you into communication with a false Jesus. You feel such a loving presence… like you are communing with Jesus, but Satan can come as an angel of light and disguise himself to fool even the best of Christians and that is why we need discernment. The Word of God keeps us safe is we follow what it teaches and not get off on these manmade tangents. That is all contemplative prayer is, truly.

      Please reconsider you thinking on these things. You are being deceived. The bible
      warns us that the Last Days will be a time of great deception…so great that even believers can get off tract and be deceived. Test everything you hear by the Word of God. Too many people today are reading books by this author and that author (Foster, Willard, Williamson, etc). Just read the Word. It has all need and will never steer you wrong.


      • godsfingers says:

        " People take this verse out of context and make it mean something that was never intended. " Pot/kettle?

        Actually the Hebrew for "be still" means "to do nothing". In other words, don't set out to actions , don't cause effects. Though it may feel counter intuitive, do nothing. For example, in 2012 it was better to not vote than to vote for the lesser of two evils (mind you I'm a prolific voter). You are right, the world is crashing all around us, but it is in God's design, His control and often when we "just have to do something" we actually get in His way.

        I bank on Ps 40:1-3.

        "I waited patiently for the Lord;
        he turned to me and heard my cry.
        He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
        out of the mud and mire;
        he set my feet on a rock
        and gave me a firm place to stand.
        He put a new song in my mouth,
        a hymn of praise to our God.
        Many will see and fear the Lord
        and put their trust in him."


  9. davidbrainerd2 says:

    I've been reading one of Merton's books, called The Life of the Vows, to see what modern Catholic monasticism is like. (He could have used a better editor and the introduction of some chapter divisions…) Anyway, he talks a lot of about contemplative prayer, but I can't figure out what it is. I went to wikipedia, wasn't clear. This post isn't too clear either. But from this post I get the impression that its the idea that you don't pray to God, you sit around meditating and waiting for God to pray to you. Does that about sum it up? If not, then I still have no clue what it is.


    • davidbrainerd2 says:

      Check out this definition: "Contemplative spirituality can be defined as a life of faith in interior submission to God and pervading all one's motivations and behavior; a life of prayer and action prompted by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; a disposition not limited to devotional practices, rituals, liturgy, or other particular acts of piety or service to others, but rather the catalyst that integrates, unifies and directs all one's activities." (from

      It just sounds like gobbly-gook to me. Its the same kind of thing Merton says. Doesn't anyone have a real definition….in English?

      Then on their answer to "What is a centering prayer?" they say:

      "Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship."

      Again gobbly-gook. One type of ill-defined prayer which prepares you for another type of ill-defined prayer? Really, dude, really?

      And on Lectio Divina:

      "Like Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina cultivates contemplative prayer. Unlike Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina is a participatory, active practice that uses thoughts, images and insights to enter into a conversation with God. Lectio Divina also is distinguished from reading the Bible for edification or encouragement, Bible study, and praying the Scriptures in common, which are all useful but different practices."

      I don't understand that at all. Like Paul says, "I would rather speak five words in a language people can actually understand than 5000 in an unknown tongue." I mean seriously, can I get an English translation please?


      • Gene says:

        As a former New-Ager and a former Wiccan, as well as a former practitioner of Eastern meditation, I do understand what they are saying, sadly. Their idea of "contemplative prayer" is completely emptying your mind, sometimes achieved by counting breaths, and being centered on "nothing." According to these people, then God will step in. I agree, that practice is NOT Biblical. However, it is also not Biblical to teach that the Holy Spirit will ONLY speak to you through Scripture. There is a place in the Old Testament where Elijah was led to a cave. A huge storm passed by, but God was not in the storm. A raging inferno came by, but God was not in the fire. Then there was a "still, small voice." That could be rendered "a whispering voice." There is a vast difference between "contemplative prayer" and "being quiet before God." If you are carrying on a dialogue with someone, the only way to hear what he or she is saying is, quite bluntly, to shut up. Quit babbling memorized prayers and actually TALK to God. You'll find He will actually talk back to you, too. You will develop that intimacy with Him. And when you feel He is telling you something, DO ask Him for Scripture to back it up. He will honor that. And above all, never, never, NEVER take anyone else's word for what you are supposed to do or believe, without having Scripture again to back it up. I don't care if it is your priest, your Sunday School teacher, your pastor, or me. Request Scripture to back it up, and do not follow what that person says until they give that Scripture. And then ask for wisdom, as it says in James, and God will give it to you to help you know if that Scripture is being applied correctly. Jesus said in John that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. Trust Him. After all, He wrote it. I would think no one else would know better how to apply it than the Author.

        And please forgive my soap-box. I get so tired of seeing groups discuss religious practice without any focus on the relationship our Father so desires to have with His children. Religious practice without that relationship is no different than the Pharisees. If what we do doesn't have love backing it up, it's worthless (See 1 Cor. 13 for that one).


      • Douglas says:

        Hey Gene, I agree. If Contemplative Payer is emptying our mind, then that is wrong. I meditate on God , and their are times when I'm silent before him, just thinking about how good he is, and what he has done for me. I fill up my mind with God's word (Psalms 01… "and in his Law does he meditate day and night), and believe it or not God speaks back to me


    • Stephen says:

      David, please remember that with these "emergent and contemplative" folks, YOU are the great I AM. So, yes, you are right, and now that you know it . . . RUN as Joseph did when Potiphar's wife tried to put the moves on him, and don't look back. Ever.


    • Davidwp says:

      I hope that you believe in God's strength and love of your soul enough to learn to listen. Christianity isn't complicated. Just love others as your self and listen. God will provide. Nobody is saying God prays to you although if you are in love as he is with you it isn't hard to think its possible. But just listen and love – God for giving you life, and your neighbors for being here to share it with you.


  10. Diane says:

    I have just started reading about centering prayer or contemplative prayer… scares me to death. I don't like the fact that we are told to "empty ourselves out." Where does the Bible say we are to do that? And who is going to come in and fellowship with me…..the enemy under the disguise as God? I give labyrinth prayer walks to boot too.


    • ted says:

      " I don't like the fact that we are told to "empty ourselves out." Where does the Bible say we are to do that?"

      Jesus said, "Deny yourself" He also said that we are to pick up our crosses and follow him who also "emptied himself of all his divinity". He emptied himself completely on the cross. What does the gospel of Mark end with? Ans. the empty tomb. Look inside, there's nobody there.


  11. Jewelie Dee says:

    Contemplative prayer that introduces true elements of pagan mysticism is problematic, but spending time with God and listening for His voice and meditating on Jesus and the word of God in deep meditative sessions cannot be wrong. We are so busy we scarcely give room for opening ourselves up to God in this way. God knows our heart and whether we are truly seeking Him and His truth or some pseudo religious experience. I have received significant spiritual breakthroughs in my life through this form of worship.


    • passerby says:

      Listening for God's voice is through the Scriptures and that is the only true voice of God you should be listening to. Your adversary goes around as an angel of light with spiritual sounding words and eventually you will be looking to that mystical experience and rely on it for your truth. God is not giving new revelation. You have already admitted that you are growing more spiritually so you are now exchanging the truth of scripture for experience. Don't be fooled, if you are Christ's and the Holy Spirit is in you then you are already as close to Him as you will get in this life.


      • Gene says:

        I am sorry, but I must disagree with you here. God will, in fact, speak to us within our spirits. He longs for intimacy with us. Absolutely, everything should be judged in light of Scripture. God will NEVER contradict His Word. But following your logic, once I am married, I do not have to spend any more time developing my relationship with my wife, as positionally, we are then as close as we can get in this life. Do that, and see just how long before you get hit with something! lol. No, religion is solely based on positional relationship. But true intimacy with God is based on you developing your faith and your trust in Him, learning to know Him more, learning to let Him into those hidden areas of your life that no one else sees, growing in Him and through Him and by Him. Do that, and you'll even more quickly hear the Holy Spirit tell you when you step out of line, not in a condemning way, but in a gentle, loving, correcting way. The Psalms are riddled with descriptions of this, and that was BEFORE the Holy Spirit came to live within us. Just goes to show how incredible our God is, that He would describe something way before it actually happened…oh, wait, that's what prophecy is…

        My point is simply this….God doesn't want to be disconnected from us. He's the one who said, "Seek Me, and you shall find Me, if you seek Me with your whole heart." Where do I see this sort of thing modeled in Scripture? The life of Jesus. Read the Gospels. Jesus often rose early to spend time with the Father. And then He said things like, "I do nothing on My own, but only what I see My Father doing." And other similar things. That spoke of relationship, intimacy, on-going guidance. "Well," some will say, "that was Jesus. Of course HE would do that." He not only came to die for our sins but to also model what a man, completely submitted to and led by God, looks like. Yes, He was fully God. But He was also fully man. And look at the Book of Revelation. During the letters to the churches, Jesus said that if someone would open the door, He would come in and "sup" (or dine) with him. That again speaks of relationship and intimacy.

        At least consider it.


      • Mark says:

        Well said Gene. It is sad that some think their path to an intimate relationship with Christ is the blue print for everyone else. God made us all unique and our paths are all very different. If centering prayer and contemplative prayer work for some, that is great. Life is full of mystery and spirituality is still a mystery to us all. I do not believe anyone should be "scared to death" of quiet reflective time to see how God is at work in their life and how they can expand on that work.

        In all the noise and distractions of modern day life, centering prayer and contemplative prayer are very necessary to our relationship with God.


  12. infjmusings says:

    Seriously? It sounds like you haven't studied this adequately or spent time with reputable sources.


  13. Bunu says:

    You guys are just babbling about something you don't fully understand. Go to the nearest catholic church during a priest's office hours and ask him all about contemplative prayer and he'll glady explain it to you, especially you guys using tactics and pointing invisible hands at the catholic church. I know the Bible is God's words in its totallity, in its pure form written by Him through His saints and godly, holy people. But that does not mean that we are limited to the Bible. The Bible says forgive 77*7 time, now that's 539 times. Tell me does that mean once it's more than 539, we are allowed to not forgive? God in His perfection gave us brains to think, although He knows it's nothing compared to his own, but at least it's something. So, being in the presence of God does not mean I have to say orient or eastern chants before going into contemplative prayer. I sit, take a deep breath, forget about the troubles of the day and life (that's the emptying of the mind) and focus on your God and Saviour in the unity of the Holy spirit that came on you since your baptism. And to those talking about the devil coming as an angel of light, there's no where the devil took form of something holy and pure just for him to deceive. You can prove me wrong if you can, I'm open to constructive and corrective criticisms. The Bible in the book of John 1:5 said, ' The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.' The devil cannot come and promise you holy things in the open. He gives people according to the desires of the flesh; material thing, things that are not of the Light. Please y'all should try and 'comprehend' it.


  14. rosinavoz says:

    Amen, Lyn on both of your responses to Bunu. So clear!


    • Gene says:

      I completely agree with you here, lyn. The Bible should be the final authority concerning everything. And Bunu, in response to you saying, "go to your local priest's office…", my dear friend, why should I go to a priest and ask about spiritual matters when my High Priest (see the Book of Hebrews for that one) tells me to come to Him and ask? That is one thing, though, I've not heard many here say. There has been this point and that point discussed and rehashed, but I can't think of once that I've read someone say, "Well, has anyone asked God what He thinks of this?" He promises to give us wisdom if we will ask. He also promises to guide us into all truth. (James for one, John for the other). We can discuss philosophy and points of translation all day and get nowhere. However, the crux of the matter is, "Is this or isn't this pleasing to God?" Why not simply ask the One we are talking about? And then, when He answers, ask for a Scripture to back the answer up. If you let go of all preconceived ideas and preformulated opinions and be open to what He has to say, He'll show you. And He'll prove it by His Word. NEVER accept anything without Scripture to back it up. Let me clarify that….never accept anything without rightly-applied Scripture to back it up!


  15. Thaddeus says:

    Scripture is what it is and is believed to be true because of the Catholic Church. The Bible is part of Tradition. Sola Scriptura is not Biblical, if you can take the irony.


    • Gene says:

      Forgive me, my friend, but Scripture is what it is because of God and the inspiration of God. If I may draw a parallel….the Apostles used Scripture, period. The Pharisees used the Torah plus all of the commentaries and such of the Torah, and thus Jesus called them "blind guides". Jesus Himself said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth, reminding us of the things He commanded. The point is this….if you go with Scripture alone, you have God-breathed words. If you add other things, even the teachings and commentaries of the Catholic Church, and set them up on the same level of Scripture, you are diluting God's Word with man's opinion. The ministries of the Body of Christ are laid out in Scripture—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. But all of them, in fulfilling their ministries, come back to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit teaching us. As He teaches us, we teach others. But those others are NOT to just blindly accept any leader's word. They are themselves to search the Scriptures and see if what is being taught is true. The Bereans did that with Paul, and Paul highly commended them for it.


  16. Rune says:

    I no longer support the view I made here, and it would be great if you could remove my comment from your blog.


  17. Riley Kinney says:

    Sola Scriptura is a creation of Luther and Calvin. Not one of the verses you cite proves anything about it, and there is not one word of Scripture which CAN prove it, since it doesn't exist.

    In fact, there was NO Bible until the fifth century. What did the common folk have? Church Tradition, that's what, provided by the One Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church. So thank the Catholic Church for the Bible. By the way, cast aside your prejudices about the Church and learn what it is all about.


    • The early Christians had collected the bible before the 'catholic' church came about. Revelation was the last book. Then, thanks to the catholic church we got the dark ages, where NO bible was in distribution. It wasn't until the Reformation that the bible was made available to the masses. So no, thank the Protestant Reformers and the Reformation for the bible. WE are the one and only true church, not the catholic church, WE are the body of born again believers, we are holy. The catholic church doesn't even follow what the bible says. Church tradition that contradicts the bible is what they had, which is why we need the bible. Thank the catholic church for the dark ages. We don't have prejudices, we have educated knowledge and information, we've done our research. Maybe it is you who needs to cast aside your prejudices. Sola scriptura means we go by the bible and not all the other nonbiblical stuff. Not adding or taking away from the word of God.


    • Gene says:

      Riley, I'm afraid you are mistaken. There WAS a Bible before the 5th century. It was the Torah and the Talmud. And yes, the common folk had only tradition and church teaching to go by. That led to Indulgences and other such things.

      As for your opposition to the philosophy of "sola scriptura", I'm not sure I understand. You are saying that it is unBiblical because it tells us to only rely on the Bible, recognized by both Protestants and Catholics as the Word of God, as the final authority on matters of faith, life, everything? The verse from the Bible itself says, "All SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, ….." It does NOT say, "All Scripture plus whatever else is deemed by the Cardinals to be on the same level….." The simple fact of the matter is this….those who vehemently deny "Sola Scriptura" are denying that the Bible is enough. God goofed. He left the Bible incomplete, so He had to give us these other things, too. Ummmm, no?

      And before someone pounces on it, the giftings of the Holy Spirit are NOT other things that add to the Bible. If anything I "hear" from a supposed gifting contradicts the Bible, I will immediately rebuke that gifting and command it to leave, as I am given authority to do in Mark 16. ALL things concerning faith (well, actually, all things, period!) MUST line up with God's Word. And I have a promise that the Holy Spirit will guide me into all truth. (See John for that one).


  18. godsfingers says:

    "There are warnings for those who dare add to or take from His word, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deut. 4:2 "

    Interesting how, for convenience, you can go and quote from the law ( which we are no longer under) to make your claim. In context, it warns about adding to or taking way from the law, something the rulers of Jesus time were guilty of.

    Using Proverbs for such a claim begs caution. To whit, do you speak to a fool according to his folly or not?

    You are a cessationist you can not have the gift of discernment


  19. Karen says:

    No Riley Kinney. No thank-you.

    The ekklesia, mistranslated church in the Bible, is founded upon the Rock, Jesus the Christ, not any man made institution that desires to receive glory and praise above the One Who shed His Blood for thee.

    There is much blood that was shed to silence those who put their faith in Christ alone for eternal salvation. Buildings, icons, institutional church hierarchy-leadership, and all of the things we spend vast amounts of money on to make our churches and ourselves appear more holy and righteous in the eyes of men and women can never and will never save one human soul. There is only one ekklesia, only one Israel of God (and it is not geopolitical) and only One Savior, and we must bow down and worship Him, Jesus.


  20. Part 1
    Also on another note, I find it interesting that there are two camps on this. We have:
    1. Those who adhere to all sorts of extra things that come from 'anywhere'.
    2. Those who stick to the bible but don't believe in any sort of divine revelation at all.
    I am in neither camp. The bible is what we test things by. But here are some examples of hearing from God from the bible: people who prayed and heard an answer from God such as OT prophets, NT apostles, regular Christians (God spoke to Ananias about Saul, etc.). Christians have the gifts of the Spirit, which include: prophesy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discernment, revelations, tongues & interpretations, which involve hearing from God. Then there are visions and dreams which are also for the end times as the bible says.


  21. Part 2
    Around this time we have the camp that thinks the gifts have ceased just because they didn't get any. They try to use the bible to justify that position. The only verse they use is the one below:
    1 Cor. 13; 8-12
    "…but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. "
    Continued below…


  22. Yes the gifts will cease, but not when the bible was completed. It is not talking about the bible, but the kingdom of God (being with the Lord, the return of Jesus…). "but then face to face" is what says it all. We need the gifts until we are in the kingdom, and that makes sense. Also I have and have seen the gifts in operation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit IS for today, I have had it. It is NOT of beelzebub, it is in the bible. I'm not talking about all the weirdness that goes on under that 'label' either. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11; 13 and see also: Matthew 3; 11, 1 Cor. 12; 13, John 3; 5, Acts 11; 16, 18; 24-28, 19; 1-6, Luke 3; 16, Mark 1; 8, John 1; 33, and many more… about the baptism of the Holy Spirit for every believer both then and now. ( :


  23. And yes contemplative prayer IS dangerous, it is all about eastern religious practices. That sort of thing is found nowhere in the bible. No one ever meditates on nothing, or repeats phrases repetitively (in fact we are told NOT to pray repetitiously) and by the way yoga is hinduism and all about 'unleashing the "god" within' and other abominations. If you want to divorce the spirituality, you can't. If you want the physical part only, just exercise and stretch, no need to go any further than that. Our source of spirituality is the Lord and meditating on HIS word and praying to Him in a non repetitious way. Just don't be shocked if you hear His voice in response, that is sort of the point of praying to Him. He speaks to your heart.


    • Gene says:

      How absolutely refreshing to find a like-minded person, Evangelina!! I agree with you totally. I, too, am of neither camp! Everything you've said here, I have also found to be true, and I, like you, have been led to Scripture to prove it.


  24. KnowYourBible says:

    Any claim that God is only accessible though scripture is patently wrong, scripture itself time and time again warns it's readership to go out and practice it's message and be discerning not just sit on top of the book (be it Torah, Tanak, Septuigint or whatever). David, the prophets, the apostles, and the Church are all shown in the text as being subject to more than the text. They are expected by God to practice common sense and spiritual discernment in the contexts of the family of Patriarchs, tabernacle community, the elders, the temple community, and the Church.

    The non-sense about the Bible saying not to pray repetitive prayers is referring to a specific Greek/roman practice of repetitive chant where the common belief was that the words themselves hold power. Consider this, David wrote the Psalms and prayed them again and again — the issue is not repetition — the issue is where the power is held, Hence "they think they will be heard by their many words". The Psalms, Hymnals, books of common prayer and contemplative guides all use repetition to help the reader/singer of the text understand God's power and love better. Repetition for the sake of understanding is good. It is wiser to understand the historic context of the text before denouncing perfectly sound discipleship techniques.

    Now concerning the author and others' claim that there is no Biblical contemplation, there is. Biblical contemplation is real and is practiced by Christians of all sects (yes, even Baptists), here's how it works. Eastern religions suggests one empties themselves, Christianity suggests that one fills themselves with the love of Christ. No one in any majority of Catholic, Orthodox, Monastic or Protestant tradition is telling anyone to empty themselves and embrace nothingness. We contemplate on God's love for us and on our love of God. What's more, we put aside our thoughts and worries and strictly consider God's love for us and our love for Him. That is contemplative prayer in a nutshell. All of this fear-mongering is not only dangerous to Christians longing to love God, but it is patently unBiblical and exposes the ignorance.

    Perhaps you are asking where this form of prayer is in the Bible. If so, you ought to begin with the Patriarchs (that is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and observe how they prayed. Likewise pull out your bible and read about the Nazarite vows, read about Elijah and Elisha, or even Jesus, Read the minor prophets and see how they pray. Long periods of acetic practice follow nearly all of these major characters, and that is exactly what contemplation does. It distances a person from the rest of their world to allow them to be near to God for a time, to rest in him while paradoxically, being labored by doing nothing.

    Understand, the Bible is demanding that you not follow the letter of the law (like the Pharisees) but rather that you follow the Spirit of the law. No where else is this better highlighted than in this discussion of the Biblical nature of Contemplation. Before preaching that this Christian or that Christian is wrong about discipleship practices, take time to research and critically think through the texts.


    • rosinavoz says:

      May I suggest you listen to May 18, 2015 SUFTT broadcast entitled, The Altered States of Contemplative Prayer located here:…. Perhaps you will reconsider your comment above after listening to that program.


    • KnowYourBible says:

      To Rosin, I would suggest that you spend your time reading primary sources on this rather than simply listening to secondary sources (podcasts). Excellent sources would be "The Cloud of Unknowing", "The Practice of the presence of God" and perhaps "Thoughts in Solitude". All of these predate all of Father Keating's work and are considered seminal to understanding contemplation. The podcast also presupposes things that I believe I have already addressed. Such as how contemplative prayer is NOT the eastern practice of emptying, but rather an act of filling with love.

      to lyn it doesn't seem that you read my arguements, you merely parroted back the same ideas from above. Your proof texting is bad and I disagree with your hermenutic. As I stated above, contemplative prayer is not the same as zen meditation (zen empties, Christianity fills). Jesus taught the disciples to pray the Lord's prayer and yet we have tons of evidence that many of them (see the epistles) prayed to God using other formats. Such as direct, specific petitions, prayers of thanksgiving and even communal prayer. Clearly the Lord's prayer is not the only approved method.

      Again I stand by my original thesis, contemplative prayer is Biblical. A Study of the narrative in scripture along with a study of contemplative prayer will show this to be true.


      • rosinavoz says:

        Though SUFTT is a secondary source, it is a reliable one because the hosts of the program rely on the Word of God as their sole source of truth, and constantly admonish their listeners to test everything they or their guests say against what the Bible says.

        Why on earth would I want to read books like those you suggest? They teach unbiblical things. 'The Cloud Of Unknowing' was written by a monk who wanted to remain nameless because he was afraid he would be charged with heresy…a very telling statement. That and the other books teach mysticism… experiencing God beyond the boundaries of Scripture which is a dangerous thing to do.

        This kind of teaching does not lead to light but to the darkness that has characterized Roman Catholicism throughout its history and will lead many into paganism which is where this mystical practice originated. Basil Pennington said: “In a meditation like Centering Prayer, you leave the rational mind and emotions behind, open yourself to rest in the Divine. St. Thomas Aquinas says, ‘Where the mind leaves off, the heart goes beyond’. Yet the bible says: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 We are not to trust our feelings, our hearts, our good intentions. We are to trust in and obey the Word of God. It contains all we need for a godly life and for communion with God in the way He has prescribed it…through the redemptive work of His Son and through prayer as taught in Scripture, an active process of talking with God, confessing our sins daily, and meditating on His Word so we can conform our lives to Christ.

        Deepak Chopra, a New Age Hindu who believes in the divinity of man, recommends 'The Cloud of Unknowing' and considers centering prayer techniques of the Catholic mystics to be the exact same things as Hindu yoga. Chopra is using practices that can allegedly bring him into contact with his “higher self” or divinity..and what his guide book? 'The Cloud of Unknowing' and other books on Catholic mysticism. His endorsement of those books should be a loud warning to you.


        "What Catholic mysticism does is reject the Bible as the sole and sufficient and perfect revelation of God and tries to delve beyond the Bible, even beyond thought of any kind, and find God through mystical “intuition.” In other words, it is a rejection of the God of the Bible. It says that God cannot be known by doctrine and cannot be described in words. He can only be experienced through mysticism. This is a blatant denial of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God.

        This opens the practitioner to demonic delusion. He is left with no perfect objective revelation of God, no divinely-revealed authority by which he can test his mystical experiences and intuitions. He is left with an idol of his own vain imagination (Jeremiah 17:9) and a doctrine of devils."

        All I can do is warn you. The Catholic Church rejects the true gospel of salvation through Christ alone by teaching a works based salvation and from there it has fallen into many errors. I am so thankful to have been saved out of that apostate religion many years ago.


      • rosinavoz says:


        The story of Sue Monk Kidd is loud warning of the dangers of flirting with contemplative mysticism and highlights the evil of those who who are promoting this type of thing to the unwary.

        Kidd is a very popular writer. Her first two novels, The Secret Life of Bees (2002) and The Mermaid Chair (2005), have sold more than 6 million copies and the first one is being produced as a movie. She has also written two popular books on contemplative spirituality:God’s Joyful Surprise (1988) and When the Heart Waits (1990).

        She was introduced to contemplative spirituality by a book written by Thomas Merton. Kidd began to practice Catholic forms of contemplative spirituality and visit Catholic retreat centers and monasteries. She determined to stop testing things and follow her heart, rejecting the Bible’s admonition to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

        “I would go through the gate with what Zen Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind,’ the attitude of approaching something with a mind empty and free, ready for anything, open to everything. … I would give myself permission to go wherever my quest took me” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 140).

        She rejected the doctrine that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice.
        She came to believe in the divinity of man.

        “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul that’s ‘only God’ … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us” (When the Heart Waits, 1990, pp. 47, 48).

        “When we encounter another person … we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there” (God’s Joyful Surprise, p. 233).

        She began to delve into the worship of ancient goddesses. She traveled with a group of women to Crete where they met in a cave and sang prayers to “the Goddess Skoteini, Goddess of the Dark.” She says, “… something inside me was calling on the Goddess of the Dark, even though I didn’t know her name” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 93).

        Soon she was praying to God as Mother.

        “I ran my finger around the rim of the circle on the page and prayed my first prayer to a Divine Feminine presence. I said, ‘Mothergod, I have nothing to hold me. No place to be, inside or out. I need to find a container of support, a space where my journey can unfold’” (p. 94).

        She finally came to the place where she believed that she herself is a goddess.
        “I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess” (p. 163).

        “When I woke, my thought was that I was finally being reunited with the snake in myself–that lost and defiled symbol of feminine instinct” (p. 107).

        She built an altar in her study and populated it with statues of goddesses, Jesus, a Black Madonna — and a mirror to reflect her own image. (Resource :

        This woman, once a Baptist Sunday School teacher, crossed a very dangerous line when she decided to stop trusting in the Word of God as her sole guide of truth and began dabbling in Catholic mysticism. She ended up where this practice leads… in pagan worship, believing herself to be divine. She lost complete touch with who Jesus is, why He came to die, why she needs a Savior. Sadly, she is hopelessly lost.


  25. Rohit Chacko says:

    So are we Christians following only those things written in the bible? What about the doctrine of Trinity? Can you find the word 'Trinity' or the definition for it, anywhere in the bible? Yet our foundation of faith is on this. Why?


    • rosinavoz says:

      The doctrine of the Trinity IS taught in the Scriptures. Just because the word 'Trinity' is not used does not mean the doctrine is not taught. It is! Read this article at gotquestions which lists all the Scriptures verses that do teach the concept of a Triune God:

      What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?

      And, yes, we Christians are to follow only what is written in the Bible…sola scriptura. If you get away from God's Word, you will lose your way. How do you know whether something is of God, of man or of the devil? The Word…that is where we always go to test what we hear and read to make sure we are not being deceived and led away from the true faith. The Bible warns us that in the Last Days many will be led astray into false religion and follow a false Christ. We see it happening today because people are abandoning the Word of God as their only guide and source of wisdom and turning to the wisdom of men and the doctrines of demons in all things mystical.


  26. tonibrown64 says:

    The clear concept of the Trinity is all through scripture when Christ tells us that He and the Father are one(John 10:30) and the He can do nothing outside the will of the Father (John 5:19) because they are one mind. There are NO such verses that support any form dead praying and emptying of the mind- only condemnation in the Old Testament and in the New.


  27. Carol says:

    If you spend the day with your spouse or a friend are you not aware of the other's presence? Do you not face whatever comes your way together? Or is there a need to stop doing what you're doing, turn to the one who is with you, and say, "Let me empty my mind of all things and just sit here and listen to you for a while? How can you draw closer to the One you've spent the day with, sharing the one mind and purpose you both possess?

    It seems to me that contemplative prayer takes what should be a relationship and transforms it into a religious exercise.


    • KnowYourBible says:

      I think contemplative prayer is more like sitting and having a conversation with someone while there is a basketball game going on in the room above you. The crowd cheers, the ball bounces, the players' shoes are squeaking and it never ends. You naturally get distracted (Bounce, bounce, squeak, squeak, cheer) and return your attention to that person over and over again. All of the extra thoughts about the dog, the car, the job and the family are the bouncing and squeaking of life. You never empty your mind, rather you simply focus on that person. You have to ignore the thoughts that drift through. Now, if you are disciplined enough to consult with God and have a running dialogue with Him throughout the day, you are unwittingly practicing what Contemplation is intended to teach you.

      The core of centering prayer is to spend time simply with God, not an ethereal emptying into nothingness.


  28. Emmanuel says:

    At times i wished words like 'mysticism' and 'contemplative' were not used in most excellent writings i have come across.

    I am a simple and a wretched human who craves for a union with my loving christ jesus and that i mean, perfection. I am not here to judge or make any label as such, but that's not to say i won't pinpoint anything wrong or unscriptural.

    Well, to dive into my reason of writing here. I urge you all to do all things with all soberness and most of all serve only christ jesus (and not images or imaginations). I define meditative prayer or contemplation in my own terms as a deep yearning for God. And this is only possible through the working of the holy spirit.

    Books like imitation of christ(thomas kemplis) , cloud of unknowing (author unknown) and a plain account of christian perfection(john wesley) and ofcourse the holy bible has greatly influenced my person to be closer to my compassionate creator.

    I sum up by letting you all know i rather not tag a name to my prayer because i pray when i'm lead by the spirit, so it is not methodical. And recently my heart is so heavy that i can't utter words, tears streaming down my eyes because of my unworthy nature and undeserving love the father as clothed me with.

    "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 kjv"


  29. Beth says:

    It would seem to me that one point has been lacking is some of these comments and this article that I can tell. God is God. He is big enough and strong enough and smart enough to see what I am doing and the intention of my actions. He can protect me from the thoughts that enter my mind, he even puts thoughts in my mind. Now for me to sit here in 2015 and pass judgment on people of faith that lived hundreds of years ago or debate whether eastern practices are evil I think goes against the very thing we are all trying to support. Our gracious and glorious God can handle this. If practicing some form of prayer doesn't feel right to you seek God for wisdom. Yes this world is filled with evil and deception lurks at every corner waiting to devour us, but this world is also filled with God and I am filled with God so I can trust him that if I fall into something I should not be he will guide me back to the truth. On comment made the statement that with God in us we are as close to him as we will ever get in this life. Well God is always there! I however forget to pay attention. God is the authority here not me, not you. And if a couple of hundred years from now Christian's are still waiting for Christ's return, I wonder what they will be saying about the practices of "the church" in 2015. God is big enough to handle this and in now and forever in control.


  30. St. Bruno says:

    This is basically and anti-Catholic site. Contemplation is a time honored practice and it is hardly some mystic scam. Whoever this person really is, he/she should be ashamed.


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