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DcnScott

What a stupid thing this is. Reveals a complete failure to understand something, coupled with the hubris to criticize it.

Lauren Malthaner

wow! amazing truth right there

Akira Kurosawa

Okay, I have never prayed the Lectio Divina, so I looked it up on wiki.
Reading a scripture passage, studying it, praying about it and then thinking about it to increase your understanding and relationship with God seems okay to me.

I mean we are not talking meditation or naval gazing, we are talking about focusing on God, His Word and Prayer for an hour.

Or am I missing something here...

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Akira,

You need to listen to the sermon review I did on this episode of Fighting for the Faith.

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2010/01/the-fatally-incorrect-assumption-of-the-emergent-church.html

Lectio Divina IS NOT in depth Bible Study. It using god's word in order to have a subjective mystical experience.

Mike Baker

I am beginning to think that there is a reason why scholars from the Renaissance on through the 1900s referred to the time period that spawned this practice as the "Dark Ages".

...after all, wasn't this around the same time when Thomas Aquinas was talking about how the monastic vow was a "second baptism"?

Come to think of it, this was also about the time period when Catharism (a sect that embraced dualistic gnosticism known for its extreme aceticism and eastern mysticism) was heavily influencing religion and culture in France... which brought about the eventual supression of the heresy and the Albigensian Crusade.

Some notable features of Catharism? Belief that man contained a divine spark within them. The goal of finding liberation from the realm of limitation and corruption identified with material existence. Belief in the transmigration of the soul. Noticing some common themes?

This historical record is pretty clear. If you are looking for the good, pure Christian practice of the Apostles, the novel ideas coming out of France from 1000 - 1300 are probably suspect at best.

Rev. Z. Bartels

But if "It's Not in the Bible" is sufficient reason to condemn a religious practice, then we need to lose the liturgy, Ash Wednesday, Sunday School, and a whole slew of other perfectly beneficial practices...

Mike Baker

Rev. Bartels,

That's not the sum total of the arguement against Lectio Divina. The fundamental problem with Lectio Divina is not that it is "Not in the Bible" but that it is "Contrary to the Bible".

Things that are neither commanded nor forbidden in Holy Scripture are a matter of Christian liberty. The examples you cited fall into this catagory (but can be abused and have been in the past.) Lectio Divina does not fall into the grounds of Christian Liberty because the presuppositions that create it are directly contrary to the clear word of Scripture.

Sufficient study into the writings of the Christian Mystics of this period and region of Europe reveal the underlying thoughts, beliefs, and concepts that gave birth to these spiritual practices of which Lectio Divina is an example.

At the heart of these teachings is the antibiblical idea that the human soul carries a spark of the divine light and wisdom that can be found through meditation and invoked through contemplative prayer and ascetic pactices. The entire system falls under the false impression that fallen man, still in his sinful state, can ascend to heaven through ritualistic practices.

Where Theresa of Avila says that there is light inside the human soul in the inner courts of our "Interior Castle", Scripture clearly disagrees by saying, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Where the Carthusian monks claim that you can reach God by ascending a ladder through the four rungs of Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio and Contemplatio, Christ says that no man comes to the Father except through Him.

Such an idea is contrary to the Bibilical understanding of original sin and the Pauline instructions regarding Christian sanctification. That's a far cry from what color we should decorate the sanctuary during particular seasons of the church year.

Rev. Z. Bartels

I'm not making an argument for Lectio Divina--I've got zero use for that sort of hippy nonsense. However, the above graphic does make selective use of the "it's not in the Bible" argument, which we reject when Anabaptists and Arminians use it against the Reformed tradition and even (on the far extremes) against the Reformation itself.

Where Theresa of Avila says that there is light inside the human soul in the inner courts of our "Interior Castle", Scripture clearly disagrees by saying, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

While it's true that in himself and as such, man's heart is deceitful and desparately wicked... for your sake, Mike, I hope that your heart is being renewed and conformed to Christ. If that's the case, you're going to remain aware of your battle with sin, but I ureg you to stop identifying yourself with the old man and the fall. Sure, "wretched man that I am!" may break forth in repentance, but who you are in Christ is tied to the new creation you're becoming and the redemption you have in Christ. If you're born again, there is a light inside of you--the light of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Only of the reprobate can we say that there is "nothing but darkness" within! (Matt 6:23)

jonesy

Last year the church I attended started an 8-week series based on Pete Scazzero's book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" (EHS). One of the chapters discusses the Lectio Divina, another is on the Rule of Life. The picture above aptly captures these two chapters.

If I may add to Chris' comment to Akira: it's not just that Lectio Divina is about having a subjective mystical experience (hence denying sola scriptura), but it's also that the experience becomes a substitute for God - you are taught to need the experience rather than God in order to become good, hence denying Christ’s offer of the Holy Spirit to empower you and thereby denying God’s grace, mercy, wisdom and power as well as the power to raise Christ from the dead. (That seems like a lot to deny but that’s what is happening.)

If you read Scazzero's book, his very purpose in writing this book was to combine what he calls Contemplative Spirituality and Emotional Health into a system of activities and experiences by which you would be able to have a "spiritual revolution transforming the hidden places deep beneath the surface." He goes on to say that this will be the "means to decisively conquer the beast within us . . . ." (p. 44 for both quotes). (N.B. The beast is defined on p. 42 as “the culture of their generation” and on p. 43 as “the chaotic blur of energies, the seemingly uncontrollable forces of sinful nature.”)

Not only does lectio divina deny the authority of scripture but the whole idea behind the contemplative spirituality movement, and EHS by implication, is to replace our dependence on God and his promises as the means by which we become holy (cf. 2Pet. 1:3-4). The idea is that we become good by depending on our good feelings, brought about by various experiences, either about our selves or the experiences themselves.

I won't recount the number of times I used the wonderful quiet moments I've had with God as a god and afterwards found that the experiences or the feelings I’ve had in and of themelves had no power to enable me to fight against sin.

It was only when I began trusting in God's promises that Satan's promises lost their foothold in my life. (Yes, I still sin, but that happens when I don't trust God and his promises and try to solve problems using my own wisdom, power, knowledge or experiences cf. Prov. 3:5-6.)

Akira and DcnScott, if you research what lectio divina and contemplative spirituality is all about, you will find that there is a complete denial of what Paul says in Colossians 2:22ff: These (mystical experiences and ascetic practices) are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. (You won’t find lectio divina or contemplative spirituality promoted in God’s word.) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, BUT THEY LACK ANY VALUE IN RESTRAINING SENSUAL INDULGENCE. Consequently, they end up having a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof (2Tim 3:5)

That last part of the Colossians quote shows us the real problem with contemplative spirituality - in all of its manifestations! It is completely unable to conquer the beast within!

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