Lectio Divina – Mystic Paganism

 [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 USAChurches Uniting in ChristPentecostal 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.

CLICK HERE to read Brian’s article, “Christians Should Dump Contemplative Prayer,” at 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.


Revised and Expanded!

Two more chapters containing 30 extra pages is the expansion to this book, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, as well as displaying a new, original cover design and interior art. Again, it is not an exhaustive work on the grace of prayer, yet, it does provide us with the framework for a blessed perspective in prayer. Below is an excerpt from the Preface for the revision:

WHEN IT BECAME certain that we must leave Scammon Bay, Alaska, it seemed there was still much to be done; nevertheless, we surely realized that everything that had already been accomplished was done by the grace of God. All things were in His hands; and from His hand He supplied; by His hand He directed; with His hand He protected and comforted.

I compiled this book very quickly from brief devotional messages and regular sermons I had preached in Alaska. They were compiled about three years after I had delivered the messages, and more than a year after having departed Scammon Bay. When I discovered CreateSpace, for some silly reason I thought I needed to put together as quickly as possible this book so that our beloved Yup’ik brethren could have this ready resource. Yes, I do say “silly” because, after all, was it not God’s grace that brought them to where they are? And was it not God’s grace that would sustain them long after I have gone? Certainly, it was. As a result, I threw the book together, and other books, such as A Puritan Family Devotional, a booklet we had only printed from a cumbersome laser printer in the past. It was my desire to get these books to Alaska as quickly as possible. As a result, some revisions and corrections were in order for just about every book.

This particular book initially failed to address, “Thy Kingdom Come,” which is Chapter Five (“God’s Heavenly Kingdom”) in this revised edition of the book. There were a few typos and some other mistakes. Still, at the time it seemed important to get the materials to the bush, warts and all, just so the saints in Christ would have something.

This revision also includes a new chapter, “Earnest, Agonizing Prayer,” which draws truth from Christ’s prayer at Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed.

There is much, much, much more that could possibly have been included in this revised edition; however, the grace of prayer is a topic that we would take us to many aspects, many areas, and many perspectives for various situations and circumstances. Anyone familiar with books written about prayer might eventually speak of E.M. Bounds, having written an incredible amount on prayer contained in several volumes. With as many books as Mr. Bounds had written, most of those who have read his works will tell us that Bounds was far from exhausting the subject.

Christ taught prayer and so must we. Nevertheless, He was not very long about it. Our beloved Savior spent more time in prayer than He did teaching about it.

If this little book helps even one soul to be drawn more intimately to Christ through prayer, then it was certainly worth revising, and most definitely worth writing in the first place.

May we grow in grace and submit to the Spirit of Christ to strengthen us in faith for God’s sake and unto His greatest glory.

Paperback Available Now!

Teach Us to PrayThe paperback book, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, is now available through www.createspace.com as well as through www.amazon.com.

CLICK HERE, on the book title above, on the book cover to the right, or copy the following url and paste it into this browser window above or another open browser window.  The url is, https://www.createspace.com/3402829

When we went to minister to the village of Scammon Bay in Alaska, and as pastor of Scammon Bay Covenant Church, my wife, Lisa, and I had determined that our ministry would be a true ministry of faith. We would seek God first, and seek Him only to see our needs met; and we would seek assistance from no one else except God, unless we were prompted specifically to seek help from another by the Spirit of God while praying.

During our short time (2005-2008) in that Yup’ik village that lay on the coast of the Bering Sea about 500 air miles from Anchorage, we witnessed time after time after time the Lord’s hand of grace upon us, answering prayer, bringing revival, ministering needs, &etc. There was evidence of His divine providence and outright miraculous intervention. Some of these episodes and instances have spread through personal testimony of those who have been to our humble parsonage and our little community church, and because of just a few of the true stories that came forth from that ministry, I have been exhorted to write a book about God’s answers to our prayers.

But rather than write a book about what God did for us, and through us, and among us in Scammon Bay, the Lord really impressed upon my heart that what would be most important, most special, most glorifying to Him, is to write a book that teaches a bit more of how to have a dynamic, effectual, and Biblical prayer life. That seemed good to me to do so because if God’s people are praying intently to seek Him, be with Him, and desire Him according to the Word He has revealed through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, then others don’t need to hear of my testimony, or Lisa and Rachel’s testimonies, but rather, they will have their own testimony of what great and marvelous things our awesome God hath done!

This book is not an exhaustive study on prayer.  Quite the contrary.  Since having written it, I have learned even more about prayer and more about the prayer life that I should have as a Christian, and often fall short of  attaining. Nevertheless, there are some blessed truths in it that will build the prayer life of the newest believer, as well as encourage and strengthen the prayer life of the most mature of saints.

The Printed Paperback

Teach Us to PrayThe printed publication, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, will be available for purchase through CreateSpace.com  online.  CreateSpace is an amazon.com Company.  Lord, Teach Us to Pray is a paperback edition consisting of 96 pages in easy-to-read 12 pt. font.

For more details about the book, use the link “About the Book” in the column on the right.

CLICK HERE, or on the cover to the left if you are interested in purchasing the printed book.