Spiritual Research Network

Monday, February 13, 2006

Spiritual Fusion - East Comes West

Spiritual fusion - East Comes West
by Mike Oppenheimer at Let Us Reason

Where does the church go to get the answers? There is a host of new speakers and books today that are trying to feed the spiritual hunger of seekers of a spiritual life. But they are not leading them to Jesus Christ (and His Word- the way it was written) but to a convergence, a synthesis of religious practices. We need to know what the people’s books we read are about and listen carefully to what they are teaching, and watch how they practice their spiritual life to know what they to actually believe. A synthesis of other spiritual practices borrowed from other religions was unacceptable by the apostles and the early church. This Emerging movement is not a return to renew our pure devotion to Christ or apostolic teaching but a “smoothie Christianity,” where they are taking the ingredients of other religions and putting it into a blender to invent a new drink-which some believe is refreshing, drinking it to quench their thirst.

Consider these new statistics “A strange god indeed, as it turns out. In his book, Third Millennium Teens, Barna revealed this stunning fact: 63 percent of church-going, supposedly Christian teens said they believed "Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and all other people pray to the same God, even though they use different names for their god... ...However, the sad fact is that very few of the nation's youth appear to be Bible-believing Christians... Barna found that only 4 percent of U.S. teens can be considered evangelicals. More distressingly, that number is actually trending in the wrong direction. That 4 percent figure "is a far cry from the 10 percent measured in 1995," he said. How could teenagers who go to church so often know so little -- or at least believe so little -- of the historic Christian faith? And whose fault is it?” (A Strange Faith -- Are Church-Going Kids Christian? http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/152005a.asp)

We should not be second guessing where these ideas are being generated, from the leadership that is soliciting the youth.

Brian McClaren wants us to learn more about “ meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 255.) Can Zen Buddhism have something to offer that would improve a Christian’s spiritual life when the Bible teaches us that we are already partakers of Christ Jesus’ divine nature? (2 Peter 1:3-11) McLaren cites contemplative meditation promoter Richard Foster as one of the key mentors for the Emergent movement.

Contemplative Prayer that has become an accepted practice of the emergent movement it also has a direct link to Buddhism and other eastern religious practices. Richard Foster considered Thomas Merton’s book Contemplative Prayer “a must book” . . . and credits his [Merton’s] books as being “priceless wisdom for all Christians who long to go deeper in the spiritual life.” Merton wrote “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen (published by Lighthouse Trails Publishing), p. 75.) Thomas Merton commended Hindu - Buddhist, and other mystics as those who had experienced "' union with the God of truth and love.”
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