[Because I removed several of my old blogs a few months ago, many of the articles from those blogs were also removed. One very popular article was one I had written in May 2007 titled, “Lectio Divina.” Because I was asked recently concerning lectio divina, I wanted to repost this article. There are a few changes in the article, noted in [brackets] for removed links, changes of status, THIS ARTICLE IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF LECTIO DIVINA, BUT RATHER A WARNING AGAINST AN UNBIBLICAL, PAGAN PRACTICE.]
Although the heading for a recent ZENIT article was titled, “Scripture Is Central to Ecumenism, Says Pope,” it would have been more accurate to give it this title:
Lectio Divina is Central to Ecumenism, Says Pope
Two paragraphs later, Zenit News Service explains in the Pope’s own words what he means by “listening to the word of God.”
The Holy Father suggested that to proceed on the path to Christian unity it is necessary to “listen together to the word of God; to practice ‘lectio divina’ of the Bible,” and to “allow oneself to be surprised by the novelty, which never grows old and is never exhausted, of the word of God.
The article is a very short one and you can read it for yourself by CLICKING HERE.
So? What’s the big deal? Well, to answer that we have to define two things. First we have to define ecumenism. Second, we have to define lectio divina.
Wikipedia defines ecumenism in this way:
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice. Within this particular context, the term ecumenism refers to the idea of a Christian unity in the literal meaning: that there should be a single Christian Church.
Further reading in Wikipedia, under “Contemporary developments,” and “Issues within Protestantism” section under that, and you will read this in the second to the last paragraph of that subheading:
Organizations such as the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches USA, Churches Uniting in Christ, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship and Christian Churches Together continue to encourage ecumenical cooperation among Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and, at times, Roman Catholics.
With regard to Christian Churches Together (CCT), check out this link to Christian Research Net to read what Bishop Blaire has to say about the ultimate goal of the Roman Catholic Church and the role of CCT as an “interim process” to reach that goal. You can also read all about it on the CCT website by CLICKING HERE. The quote from the CCT news article said:
Bishop Blaire emphasized that for the Catholic Church the ultimate goal of ecumenism is the full, visible unity of all Christian churches in the one apostolic faith.
In an article entitled, “The Alignment of New Evangelicals with Apostasy“, Richard Bennet, president and founder ofBerean Beacon, and a former Catholic Priest himself, provides excellent insights into this ecumenical apostasy that has invaded the church in these last days.
Now, how is lectio divina used to perpetuate this ecumenism?
Once again, Wikipedia is informative enough to tell us all about lectio divina:
Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading, spiritual reading, or “holy reading,” and represents a traditional Catholic practice of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase in the knowledge of God’s Word. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray and even sing and rejoice from God’s Word, within the soul.
Although Wikipedia goes on to explain the method of lectio divina, allow me to give you a sample of the method that comes right from the website of the very Protestant denomination I am presently serving in, the Evangelical Covenant Church of America (ECC) [As this article is a reposting of the original article written in May 2007, I am no longer serving as a licensed minister with the Evangelical Covenant Church of America]. What is most shocking about this is that the ECC is promoting this form of prayer as “spiritual discipline” within their “Spiritual Formation” Department.
READING: lectio (read)
Gently read the Scriptures aloud to yourself slowly savoring and repeating the part of the text that speaks to the depths of your heart. Listen to the Word ‘with the ear of your heart,’ and be willing to linger on portions of the text that seem to speak to you in a special way.
Through repetition, gently allow the text to percolate into your memory. Be willing to set the printed text aside to listen quietly to the Word which you have taken into your heart.
MEDITATION: meditatio (reflect)
Lovingly and slowly repeat the text you have internalized….
I can go on but that gives you the general idea. [The links previously found on the Evangelical Covenant Church website, which promoted Lectio Divina under their Spiritual Formation ministry, and presented lectio divina in a pdf document called “Habits of the Heart,” has been removed and does not appear searchable on their search engine at the time of this reposting].
One can easily see that this method of prayer makes no bones about repeating text, directly violating the Lord’s will as Jesus condemns this sort of tom foolery as pagan:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7).
That our Lord tells us that vain repetition is particularly pagan should be good enough for us to shun this method. Nevertheless, if you would like further insights regarding how contemplative prayer, such as lectio divina, is used in New Age mysticism, check out this article by Brian Flynn, author of Running Against the Wind and director and founder of One Truth Ministries.
Lectio Divina is heavily promoted by several leaders within the Emergent Church Movement, and endorsed by Rick Warren, founder and pastor of the Purpose Driven Movement.
What’s the danger in lectio divina and how could it possibly tie us into a movement that unites us with the Romish church under the pope in Vatican City?
When we practice such methods of prayer, vainly repeating Scripture, lighting votive candles, wearing prayer shawls, or taking certain prayerful steps in order to get into the “presence” of God, we have actually denied the grace of God…
…and blasphemed the Cross of Jesus Christ.