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Author Topic: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?  (Read 10863 times)

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Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2012, 04:08:30 PM »

Did he talk about some of the different forms of praying such as Contemplative Prayers, Breath Prayers, etc. ? ? ?

Dr. Jon Dybdahl is a former president of WWU.

I saw him last year at Loma Linda...have to say that the subject of Spiritual Formation didn't come up.

Artiste

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2012, 04:11:16 PM »

Did he talk about some of the different forms of praying such as Contemplative Prayers, Breath Prayers, etc. ? ? ?

Dr. Jon Dybdahl is a former president of WWU.

I saw him last year at Loma Linda...have to say that the subject of Spiritual Formation didn't come up.

Not in personal conversation (more of a social function).
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Dedication

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2012, 07:45:46 PM »

Last night, Thursday Aug. 9, there was an interesting panel discussion on this topic on 3ABN.  I was quite pleased with what I heard.
They carefully discussed the dangers of spiritual formation, compared it with true spiritual living, and gave many good points on how to tell the difference. 

http://3abn.org/news/3abn-night-light-to-address-spiritual-formation-and-contemplative-prayer/
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Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2012, 04:00:47 AM »

Yes, I watched that and also video-taped it.

Johann

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2012, 01:44:12 PM »

I know there are some church members who feel that some of the books published by our publishing house on the dynamics of prayer have certain unhealthy elements in them. I  have not read any such books. Have any of you?
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Dedication

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2012, 04:09:46 PM »

I have Jon Dybdahl's book "Hunger" and it definitely has the unhealthy "spiritual formation" stuff in it, slightly adapted, yes, but still questionable.

In his "meditation" section he recommends books like
DeMello's "A way to God--Christian Exercises in Eastern Form"
Keating -- "Finding Grace at the Center"
Capps -- "Invitation to Western Mysticism"

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Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2012, 05:58:01 PM »

Wow!!!!  I never noticed that in the meditation section.   Will take a look for myself.

I have Jon Dybdahl's book "Hunger" and it definitely has the unhealthy "spiritual formation" stuff in it, slightly adapted, yes, but still questionable.

In his "meditation" section he recommends books like
DeMello's "A way to God--Christian Exercises in Eastern Form"
Keating -- "Finding Grace at the Center"
Capps -- "Invitation to Western Mysticism"


Dedication

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2012, 07:32:28 PM »

See page 142
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Johann

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2012, 08:52:03 PM »

This article appeared a year ago. Do you feel it is fair?

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2011-1522&page=18
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Dedication

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2012, 10:42:58 PM »

This article appeared a year ago. Do you feel it is fair?

http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2011-1522&page=18

I was skeptical when I first read the  article.
Firstly it gives the impression that Adventists originated the word "spiritual formation" and then some strange people "co-opted the terminology to teach practices that are clearly dangerous"

No, the terminology was already in place sweeping through the Protestant Churches.   A lot of books were already written based on the eastern mystic ideas.  Ignatius Loyola had already authored the spiritual exercises for the Jesuits several hundred years earlier.  Seminars were being conducted by Catholic religious to guide people in the principles of Ignatius Loyola now called "spiritual formation".  When we looked in the list of books that Andrews University recommended for students taking the spiritual formation classes, there were a lot of books that came from these sources.

There were also practices being taught from these books.  I still remember when they had a group of us at a minister's wives meeting in one of the conferences, lay on mats, close our eyes, systematically relax all our muscles, and do some deep breathing, and then the woman who was our "guide" told us to start imagining this beautiful garden guiding us through a description of it till finally we were to imagine meeting Jesus, what would He say to us -etc.   

I was very uncomfortable with the whole process! This was about 25 years ago. 

Spiritual Formation came to the church as SPIRITUAL FORMATION in the raw form.   It was NOT some innocent thing that church already had and that was "hi jacked" by the New Age.   It was Jesuit originated spiritual exercises.  Which was gleaned from eastern mysticism.
Derrick Morris now seems to have rejected his early training, but the fact is he placed himself under Jesuit mentorship to learn these things and brought them into the church.  He probably  wasn't  the only one.
 

So my first reaction to the article was  -- no, I didn't like the article as it sounded like denial to me.  Were they just changing the language without changing the methods?

I hope it's true that they've thrown out all the mystical spiritual formation books that were required reading, and base their teachings simply on scripture with input from EGW.

The panel discussion on 3ABN the other night was much better -- it was open and practical and exposing the dangers as well as telling people the difference between true worship and the counterfeit.  It also touched on the fact that people want more spiritual experiences and are easily deceived by spiritual formation because it does claim to deliver just that.

There's another you tube were prominent ministers talk about spiritual formation
http://youtu.be/YKeQ0i3fxw4

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Bob Pickle

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2012, 05:46:47 AM »

Let us remember that spiritual formation is not the only spiritualistic practice that has tried to make inroads into the church. The Breathe Free program to stop smoking similarly quotes questionable sources, and uses self-hypnosis (or something extremely close to it) as one of its primary tools to quit smoking. It flat out teaches that people can quit smoking on their own (without God's help) by programming the subconscious mind within us (which guides our life) through visualization.
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reddogs

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2014, 05:58:04 AM »

As I couldn't find a previous thread on this in the General Discussion area, I am wondering if anybody here is aware of the fact that Spiritual Formation is creeping into the SDA Church?
I came across an article in the Review and Herald, by Ellen White which really hit home of what is happening today in the ideas and changes coming into our churches in the last few months. When I read it, the events and issues I have seen or come across came into focus, especially as at the Conference level they are fully aware of the Spiritual Formation and other non Biblical concepts and processes being let into and openly done and applied in many Adventist schools andchurches. Those who try to oppose it are being held up and described as the Conference told us as a few 'more conservative members' while some have used the words 'fanatics' and 'extreme' for holding on to Adventist views on proper worship and church oversight, with even harsher words from others once considered friends or even worse from family members.

The excerpt below is from the R&H and goes into how many true followers of God must suffer at the end as "False accusers," and "despisers of those that are good," will attack those who are faithful:

The apostle Paul warns us that "some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." This is what we may expect. Our greatest trials will come because of that class who have once advocated the truth, but who turn from it to the world, and trample it under their feet in hate and derision. God has a work for his faithful servants to do. The attacks of the enemy must be met with the truth of his word. Falsehood must be unmasked, its true character must be revealed, and the light of the law of Jehovah must shine forth into the moral darkness of the world. We are to present the claims of his word. We shall not be held guiltless if we neglect this solemn duty. But while we stand in defense of the truth, let us not stand in defense of self, and make a great ado because we are called to bear reproach and misrepresentation. Let us not pity ourselves, but be very jealous for the law of the Most High.

 Says the apostle, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." On every side we see men easily led captive by the delusive imaginations of those who make void the word of God; but when the truth is brought before them, they are filled with impatience and anger. But the exhortation of the apostle to the servant of God is, "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." In his day some left the cause of the Lord. He writes, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world;" and again, he says, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words."

 Prophets and apostles experienced similar trials of opposition and reproach, and even the spotless Lamb of God was tempted in all points like as we are. He bore the contradiction of sinners against himself.

 Every warning for this time must be faithfully delivered; but "the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." We must cherish carefully the words of our God lest we be contaminated by the deceptive workings of those who have left the faith. We are to resist their spirit and influence with the same weapon our Master used when assailed by the prince of darkness,--"It is written." We should learn to use the word of God skillfully. The exhortation is, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." There must be diligent work and earnest prayer and faith to meet the winding error of false teachers and seducers; for "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." These words portray the character of the men the servants of God will have to meet. "False accusers," "despisers of those that are good," will attack those who are faithful to their God in this degenerate age. But the embassador of Heaven must manifest the spirit that was displayed in the Master. In humility and love he must labor for the salvation of men.

 Paul continues concerning those who oppose the work of God, comparing them to the men who made war against the faithful in the time of ancient Israel. He says: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was." We know that the time is coming when the folly of warring against God will be revealed. We can afford to wait in calm patience and trust, no matter how much maligned and despised; for "nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest," and those who honor God shall be honored by him in the presence of men and angels. We are to share in the sufferings of the reformers. It is written, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." Christ understands our grief. Not one of us is called to bear the cross alone. The suffering Man of Calvary is touched with the feeling of our woes, and as he has suffered being tempted, he is able also to succor them that are in sorrow and trial for his sake. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned."

 God has provided abundant means for successful warfare with principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places; for "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." The Bible is the armory where we may equip for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth. Our breastplate must be righteousness. The shield of faith must be in our hands, the helmet of salvation shine on our brows, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, be wielded to cut our way through the ranks of our bitter foes. We must be ready, at the command of our Captain to follow where he may lead. We must be doers of his word, not deceiving our own selves.

 If we look to self, and trust in self, we shall surely fall from our steadfastness. The terrible tempest that is gathering will sweep away our sandy foundation, and leave our house a wreck on the shores of time; but the house that is built upon the rock shall stand forever. We must be "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." The apostle spoke some plain words to his Hebrew brethren, that meet the condition of many of those who profess the truth for this time. "We have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [They were not quick to discern the things of the Spirit of God.] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." It is positively necessary for those who believe the truth, to be making continual advancement, growing up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. There is no time for backsliding and indifference. Each one must have a living experience in the things of God. Have root in yourselves. Become grounded in the faith, so that having done all you may stand, with unwavering confidence in God, through the time that will try every man's work and character. Exercise your powers in spiritual things, till you can appreciate the deep things of God's word, and go on from strength to strength.

 There are thousands who claim to have the light of truth who take no steps in advance. They have no living experience, notwithstanding they have had every advantage. They do not know what consecration means. Their devotions are formal and hollow, and there is no depth to their piety. The word of God offers spiritual liberty and enlightenment to those who seek for it earnestly. Those who accept the promises of God, and act on them with living faith, will have the light of heaven in their lives. They will drink of the fountain of life, and lead others to the waters that have refreshed their own souls. We must have that faith in God that takes him at his word. We can have no victory without cloudless confidence; for "without faith it is impossible to please" God. It is faith that connects us with the power of Heaven, and that brings us the strength for coping with the powers of darkness. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." In order to exercise intelligent faith we should study the word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, communicates a correct knowledge of the character of God and his will concerning us. The duty and the destiny of man are defined in its pages. The conditions on which we may hope for eternal life are explicitly stated, and the doom of those who neglect so great a salvation is foretold in the most forcible language.

 Had the Bible been received as the voice of God to man, as the book of books, as the one infallible rule of faith and practice, we would not have seen the law of Heaven made void, and the swelling tide of iniquity devouring our land.

 As men wander away from the truth into skepticism, everything becomes uncertain and unreal, No thorough conviction takes hold of the soul. No faith is exercised in the Scripture as the revelation of God to men. There is nothing authoritative in its commands, nothing terrifying in its warnings, nothing inspiring in its promises. To the skeptic it is meaningless and contradictory.

 There are many among us who are not cultivating faith. They have a vacillating experience. They are "like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." Sometimes they seem strong in faith, then a blast of unbelief sweeps over them, and they are filled with gloom and doubt. They make no decided efforts to recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, but are taken captive by him at his will. There are others who, when assailed by temptations of unbelief, flee to the word of God and to earnest prayer, and they are not left to the power of the enemy. The day is coming that will reveal whether we are building on the solid rock or the sliding sand.

 If men could realize the blighting influence of doubt upon their minds, if they could but see into the future, they would realize the imperative need of cultivating firm trust in God and implicit confidence in his promises. They would not sow one grain of unbelief; for every single grain blossoms into fruit. Satan is a living, active agent. It is his business to encourage skepticism, and every word of doubt is carefully nourished by the adversary of souls. While men sleep in indifference, suggestions that weaken faith are insinuated into the heart. Influences that confuse the perception of truth are brought to bear upon the life. In every way possible, Satan strives to turn souls from the narrow path that leads to heaven; and because men love darkness they follow the voice of strangers, and reject the call of the Good Shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. The plain, authoritative "Thus saith the Lord," is refused for some winding sophistry of error. Infidelity has increased in proportion as men have questioned the word and requirements of their Maker. They have taken up the work of cheapening character, and lessening faith in the inspiration of the Bible. Men claiming great wisdom have presumed to criticise and cut and cull the words of the living God, and have started questions to make shipwreck of the happiness of their fellowmen and to ruin their hopes of heaven. This is a work that is pleasing to the enemy of all righteousness. The arguments that men bring against the Bible are the result of the counsels of the evil one. The door of their minds was opened to his suggestions, and the more they drifted into error, the greater grew their desire to draw other souls into the same channel of darkness.

 Many claim to believe the Bible, and their names are enrolled on the church records, who are among the most influential agents of Satan. The work they are doing they will not consider an honor to them in the day of Judgment. It will then be seen that every effort that weakened faith was made at a terrible loss. The tremendous price that must be paid will sink them into everlasting shame and ruin. The only safety is in rejecting instantly every suggestion of unbelief. Do not open your mind to entertain doubts, for even an instant; bid them a decided refusal as they come to you for admission. Fasten the mind upon the promises of God. Talk of them, rejoice in them; and the peace of God will rule in your hearts.

The fruits of doubt are not desirable. Oh! look around you and see what havoc has been wrought by the machinations of the evil one. Error and falsehood and heresy have held high carnival in the deceived hearts of men. From century to century the adversary has repeated his experiments with growing success; for in spite of the sad records of lives that have gone out in darkness, as moths fly to the fire, so men rush on into the ruinous deceptions that he has prepared to entrap them. If you desire salvation, I entreat you to shun his insinuations concerning the truth of God's word. Come to the "sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." If that is not authoritative, what is? If the word of the Lord of heaven and earth is not solid rock upon which to build, then it is in vain to look for a sure foundation. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," but "the word of the Lord endureth forever;" and unwavering faith in his word is the only faith that will endure through the perils of the last days.... By Mrs. E. G. White. R&H "The Faith That Will Stand the Test" Vol. 65, #2
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reddogs

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Re: Spiritual Formation Creeping into the SDA Church?
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2014, 05:58:43 AM »

In his keynote sermon, Ted N.C. Wilson, the President of the Seventh-Day Adventist church counseled,
“Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the emerging church movement in which they are promoted.”

Why would Elder Wilson ask us to stay away from spiritual disciplines or formation? But it appears there are whole conferences who are going full force into these dangerous practices. The spiritual formation movement is spreading in our church but it is a move away from the truth of God's Word into a mystical form of Christianity, and it has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all Christian denominations.

Our little group trying to become a company and then full fledge church, had a meeting with the Conference and the Pastor of the church the Conference has selected to sponsor our growing group so that we can go through the process of becoming a church. Well it began with the Pastor of the sponsoring church going from a list he had prepared to go over the steps in the process which we all know as many in our group as retired pastors or elders. But there was a additional step which was in the list which appeared or struck us to be a bit odd. On the list and I will try to put it verbatim as I gave the list to one of the others to compare to what had been sent to our group prior to the meeting, was a requirement for us to have the conference to go through 'training with the leaders (Spiritual Bonding}'.

When we questioned the Pastor from the sponsoring church he told us it was not from his church board, but was requested specifically to be inserted by the Conference. So we asked the Conference leader that had been sent down and he stated 'we were not being singled out' but that some new churches and groups had not been following 'guidelines' and so all of them were being required to go through 'training with the leaders (Spiritual Bonding}'. We asked why as life long or well established members we would have to be 'trained' and why this 'training' had not been shown to church members in the conference so they could see what it was and review its purpose and methods, and the Conference leader told us this 'training' would be sent to all the church's so the members get trained as they wanted all to be 'Spirit Led' not just the new churches and groups.

My question to everyone here is has anyone heard of this 'training with the leaders (Spiritual Bonding}'. Some of our members had been shown 3 books as part of the Spiritual Formation coming into our church and not told what it was or what they contained, but that 'they should read it'. When I went back then to the church board, a special 'training' was being planned for the members as part of the Spiritual Formation and is one of the reasons we formed our group. I cannot say till we see what the Conference uses for materials as the Conference leader says it would go over proper church management and procedures such as from the church manual, so we shall see. But it is worrisome to say the least that 'training' is going to be spread to "every church" in our conference, be vigilant and be aware of what is happening, it seems this 'Spiritual Bonding' is part and parcel of Spiritual Formation being forced upon church members.
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