Saturday, October 27, 2012

Know Your Teachers – Beth Moore, Brennan Manning & Others

In this age of having overwhelming amounts of information available at the click of a mouse, it’s easy to be presented quotes of popular personalities without knowing their underlying context. While sounding great on the surface and accepted easily by most, the reality of unseen origins lurks for only the dedicated seeker of Truth to discern.

This is the case for almost all of the currently popular Christian teachers and ministers of today. Interestingly, they all seem to promote practices using traditional Christian terminology and even Bible verses. A closer look, however, finds these ideas and practices cannot be supported by the totality of Scripture. In fact, Scripture specifically warns against them. Yet, these practices continue to be embraced and promoted.

The main area of concern is found within the teaching regarding Spiritual Transformation and Spiritual Formation and their emphasis on Contemplative Spiritually in the form of  contemplative or meditative prayer. 
Popular Southern Baptist Teacher - Beth Moore

 One of the more popular and widely known of these promoters among women is Beth Moore. In her book from 2002, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, In a section about "Unceasing Prayer" Moore states: "I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence, who called praying unceasingly practicing God's presence. In fact, practicing God's presence has been my number one goal for the last year" (p. 109). In the DVD, Be Still,  Beth Moore states "If we are not still before Him, we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There's got to be a stillness."

While there are many other supporting and related statements that could be provided, we will focus on the origins of these statements and practices, which are openly mentioned in her writings and speeches. Probably the person most promoted by Beth Moore is Brennan Manning. Moore builds her case for contemplative practices in her frequent references to Manning in her book, suggesting that his contribution to "our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel" (p. 72).
Renegade Catholic Priest - Brennan Manning

Regarding prayer, Manning believes, “The first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer. Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as "Abba, I belong to you." ... Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often. When distractions come, ... simply return to listening to your sacred word.... [G]ently return [your mind] to your sacred word. (Brennan Manning)

The Biblically literate student quickly ascertains that this advice flies directly in the face of Jesus’ warning and instruction on prayer in Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetition as the heathen do:”

In Brennan Manning's 2003 book, Above All (foreword written by Michael W. Smith), Manning says the following: “The god whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger ...the god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased, is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.” (p. 58-59) 

In case you didn’t catch that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically, the literal blood atonement by the literal sacrifice of Christ’s literal body for the literal sins of mankind, is specifically denied by Brennan Manning. Unfortunately, he is not alone among the proponents of Contemplative Spirituality in this belief.

Beth Moore also quotes Manning from his book Ragamuffin Gospel calling the book "one of the most remarkable books" (p. 290) she has ever read. But it is this very book that reveals Manning's true affinity with contemplative spirituality. In the back of the book, Manning makes reference to Basil Pennington saying that Pennington's methods will provide us with "a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God." However, Pennington's methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions. In his book, Finding Grace at the Center, Pennington says: “We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and "capture" it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices.” 

In his book, Abba's Child, Manning says that Beatrice Bruteau is a "trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness. Bruteau believes that God lives in all creation, stating: "We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not "I am a this" or "I have that quality." Only unlimited, absolute I AM.”

Do you remember the words of Jesus about the latter days saying that many would come in His name saying "I AM"? We are not to be deceived.

As stated earlier, this only begins to deal with the huge errors of belief and practice being currently taught by most ministers today. Unfortunately, their origin is not with God. It would be worth the time and effort for us to continually undertake the command of the Bible for those professing a genuine relationship with God through the Jesus described in Scripture to “examine yourself, whether you be in the faith.” II Corinthians 13:5
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