But things like Lectio Divina cannot be made “safe” because they didn’t originate with Protestants; we don’t get to then redefine these practices of apostate Roman Catholicism. Yet this is exactly what is causing such a huge problem in the Body of Christ right now as men like Donald Whitney mean well while they labor to make it appear as if some of these monastic practices were ever part of what Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) so often called “the historic orthodox Christian faith” to begin with. As further illustration of what I mean we take the following from well-respected Reformed blogger Tim Challies.
This comes from Challies’ review of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life:
And so this book is an examination of spiritual disciplines -
disciplines provided by God which are designed to help us grow in godliness,
allowing us to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ. The
disciplines Whitney writes about are:
* Bible intake* Prayer* Worship* Evangelism* Serving*
Stewardship* Fasting* Silence and solitude* Journalling* Learning
The book is prefaced with an examination of the reason for
disciplining ourselves in the spiritual disciplines and Whitney teaches here
that we are to do all things for God’s glory. Because God requires each of these
disciplines of us, there is danger in neglecting any of them. (Online source, emphasis
Can anyone point to a specific list of these spiritual disciplines within the Bible; no. And “God requires” e.g. journaling in Scripture; where? We could now just as easily ask: Who made Donald Whitney a law-giver; we’re not to let any man act as our judge. So suppose I say to Whitney: “Go jump in the lake—I refuse to practice the existential and highly subjective practice of journaling and you have no authority to command me to do so or then suggest that I’m not properly ‘disciplined’ if I don’t.” Can you see how this actually ends up a transgression of Sola Scriptura; and worse, may even take us back to what DeWaay is talking about above.
I read Challies’ full review. My response is to what he publically wrote.
Richard Foster has never been a Christian, before or after coming out with Renovare. Foster is a Quaker, and Quakers deny biblical doctrine such as all men are enemies of God and dead in their sins and trespasses. Instead, Quakerism claims the New Age philosophy that all men have “a spark of divinity” in them and men are neutral toward good and evil. They do not believe in the authority of pastors/elders. Foster was out of Christianity decades ago, but Challies ignores that (he was concerned with references to Foster, so he does know of something of his error). In fact it seems that these men think they can take from what is evil and pick out the “good” and be satisfied. Its rather reminecent of how many Reformers view the RCC: its now apostate, but it once had truth and was a true church, therefore we can use its history and church fathers and councils and confessions as our own. Scripture's test proves the RCC to be a false church from the beginning. An apostate was never HIS (1John 2:19). God calls for doctrinal purity as well as personal purity. Why don't people, particularly Reformers see this? Why are they so willing to compromise?
As time marches on, I continue to see Reformers embrace all kinds of doctrine, including Emergent Church movement junk. I believe it's because they think in terms of philosophy and not biblical truth; they rely on intellect (which some apparently think, was not infested with sin at the Fall, thus they appeal to the fallen mind to reveal Truth to the God-haters), not spiritual wisdom and understanding. They often accept part of Romanism (its infant sprinkling or a variation on the bread and wine or the magisterium, its history, its councils,), thus its far easier for them to accept other error as well.
God calls for separation from error and those in error. We cannot be sanctified with things outside of infallible truth. Error does not bring us truth.
1Jo 2:21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because NO LIE IS OF THE TRUTH.
1Co 13:6 it [agape] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
John 17: 17 SANCTIFY THEM IN THE TRUTH; Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
Tit 1:9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Jud 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Richard Foster has always been heretical. He was never of Christ. The blindness and total tolerance of a little heresy and a little sin by the likes of Challies and Whitney are inexcusable. They both know Foster is in error, but I suppose as long as he serves their purpose and they think they can pull out the poison from the water, they will do so. They will do so, however to their own peril and those who look to them for advice or wisdom.
Titus 2: You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
It seems those who offer poisoned books are violating clear Scripture, and in doing so, are helping to confuse and mislead the sheep of Christ.