How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions
Back in 1989, I attended a youth rally where I heard a speech on the subject of the New Age Movement. At the time, I was unfamiliar with this and I thought the whole thing rather bizarre. It certainly didn’t appear to be anywhere near the mainstream.
However, years later this book makes very clear that the New Age movement is alive, well, and flourishing. In fact, if your church has a library, chances are you’ll find authors there who have been influenced by it or who are directly promoting it.
In Christian circles, the New Age movement has taken on the guise of something called contemplative spirituality. It’s also known as spiritual formation or spiritual disciplines. It promotes things like listening prayer, lectio divina, the silence, centering prayer and contemplative meditation. In this book, Ray Yungen exposes the roots both of ancient Christian mysticism (in Gnosticism) and contemporary mysticism (in eastern religions). He works carefully with the Bible to show that these so-called spiritual disciplines are not of God. He demonstrates how authors such as Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Thomas Keating, Sue Monk Kidd, and Henri Nouwen are not orthodox Christians but syncretists. He also concretely shows us how these authors have influenced popular Christian writers and preachers such as Rick Warren, Philip Yancey, Gary Thomas, David Jeremiah, and Chuck Swindoll.
This is an alarming but important book. Not only are there popular authors promoting this false teaching, there are also influential Christian institutions in some of our communities. For instance, several Canadian colleges and universities are known to promote contemplative spirituality. Therefore, it’s important that we know about this movement and how to evaluate it from a Biblical perspective. This book can help in sharpening our discernment. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Rev. W.L. Bredenhof
Author: Ray Yungen
Publishing data: Silverton, Oregon: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Company, Second Edition 2006
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Republished with permission from Clarion 56:7 (30-March-2007)