28 March 2016

Letter to a friend about The Silence


Lighthouse Trails Research is the main source today examining and refuting contemplative prayer, spiritual formation, and mystical rituals. Others are David Cloud, WorldViewWeekend, Roger Oakland, even Calvinists, and many others.

Stan is a promoter of The Silence. Sending information to him will do little good. Still we must be faithful to warn of error.

Teaching The Silence is teaching rebellion against God. God requires an active mind, not a passive mind. In the silence you must do a discipline to reach the silence. The mind must be cleared of our thinking and thoughts. Many in eastern mysticism use Om or “m” sounding words as “I am, etc. Some use Jesus or some other word and repeat it until the silence is achieved. Others teach to concentrate on breathing by listening and controlling the rate of breathing. Listening to the breath go in and go out. Whatever method is used it will result in a mindless state.

Once the mindless state, The Silence, is achieved, then the practitioner is to listen for God’s word, voice, message, presence, etc. It is very real. I have challenged people on how they know this is God’s voice, words, message, etc. They always quote, “My sheep hear my voice. (John 10:27). This doesn’t mean that we have discernment or some voice that guarantees knowing God’s will. It refers to the Gospel. Nevertheless, I challenge, “How do you know this is God speaking? Is it possible that you are wrong? Sometimes they do admit that they can be deceived. Usually they are convinced that they cannot.

Many use passages as Psalm 62:1

  • "TRULY my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.” (Psalms 62:1, NKJV)

  • "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalms 62:1, ESV2011)

  • "I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.” (Psalms 62:1, HCSB)

Practitioners of The Silence love this and then misinterpret it. David is saying that he is going to wait and not jump to his solution, but practitioners and promoters interpret it that we are to go into The Silence and listen to God. They use that verse and their faulty misinterpretation to bully others into their heresy.

Lighthouse Trails Research has 175 pages of articles (some seem to be a duplicate) on The Silence. Many more (including links to books, pamphlets, and articles are here.

In a section of So You Want to Be Like Christ called “Ministry of Silence” (p. 64), Swindoll quotes Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest who had strong affinity and experience with mysticism. Swindoll quotes Nouwen from his book The Way of the Heart, Nouwen’s primer on contemplative prayer. Swindoll wraps up that section by saying, “I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without stillness and silence” (p. 65). Lest you think that Swindoll is referring to going to a quiet place (like sitting beside a stream or turning off the television) when he says silence, he differentiates solitude (outer quietness) and silence (stilling the mind) in his book. He admits that silence is referring to an inner silence of the mind. All contemplatives (and New Age meditators for that matter) know that stilling the mind or putting it in neutral can only be done with some form of mantric-like meditation, breath prayers, or focusing on something to eliminate thought and distractions, thus going into the silence.” [emp—editor]. Link

Teaching others to do the discipline of The Silence is teaching rebellion against the Lord. Jeremiah 28:16.

We are to keep alert, be alert, be aware, not in The Silence.

  • "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; " (1 Peter 1:13, NKJV)

  • "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7, NKJV)

  • "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV)

  • "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; " (Colossians 4:2, NKJV)

  • "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– " (Ephesians 6:18, NKJV)

  • "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NKJV)

  • “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is." (Mark 13:33, NKJV)

The words watch and be sober are different Greek, as you know.

  1. Thayer writes, “ἀγρυπνέω, (ῶ; (ἄγρυπνος eqluiv. to ἄϋπνος); to be sleepless, keep awake, watch (equivalent to γρηγορέω (see below)); (from Theognis down); tropically, to be circumspect, attentive, ready: Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; εἰς τί, to be intent upon a thing, Ephesians 6:18; ὑπέρ τίνος, to exercise constant vigilance over something (an image drawn from shepherds), Hebrews 13:17. (Synonyms: ἀγρύπνειν, γρηγορεῖν, νήφειν: "ἀγρύπνειν may be taken to express simply ... absence of sleep, and, pointedly, the absence of it when due to nature, and thence a wakeful frame of mind as opposed to listlessness; while γρηγορεῖν (the offspring of ἐγρήγορα) represents a waking state as the effect of some arousing effort ... i. e. a more stirring image than the former. The group of synonyms is completed by νήφειν, which signifies a state untouched by any slumberous or beclouding influences, and thence, one that is guarded against advances of drowsiness or bewilderment. Thus it becomes a term for wariness (cf. νᾶφε καί μέμνασ' ἀπίστειν) against spiritual dangers and beguilements, 1 Peter 5:8, etc." Green, Critical Notes on the N. T. (note on Mark 13:33f).)”

  2. γρηγορέω, γρηγόρω; 1 aorist ἐγρηγόρησα; (from ἐγρήγορα, to have been roused from sleep, to be awake, perfect of ἐγείρω; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 118f; Alexander Buttmann (1873) Ausf. Spr. ii., p. 158; (Winers Grammar, 26 (25); 92 (88))); to watch;

    • Properly: Matthew 24:43; Matthew 26:38, 40; Mark 13:34; Mark 14:34, 37; Luke 12:37, 39 R G L Tr text WH text As to sleep is often equivalent to to die, so once, 1 Thessalonians 5:10, γρηγορέω means to live, be alive on earth.

    • Metaphorically, to watch i. e. give strict attention to, be cautious, active: — to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one, Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35,(37); Revelation 16:15; or lest one be led to forsake Christ, Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; or lest one fall into sin, 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2f; or be corrupted by errors, Acts 20:31; ἐν τίνι, to be watchful in, employ the most punctilious care in a thing: Colossians 4:2. (the Sept.; (Baruch 2:9; 1 Macc. 12:27; Aristotle, plant. 1, 2, p. 816b, 29, 37); Josephus, Antiquities 11, 3, 4; Achilles Tatius; others) (Synonym: see ἀγρυπνέω. Compare: διαγρηγορέω.)

  3. νήφω; 1 aorist imperative 2 person plural νήψατε; from Theognis, Sophocles, Xenophon down; to be sober; in the N. T. everywhere tropically, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect: 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 5:8; εἰς τάς προσευχάς, unto (the offering of) prayer, 1 Peter 4:7. (Synonym: see ἀγρυπνέω; and on the word see Ellicott on Timothy, the passage cited Compare: ἀνανήφω, ἐκνήφω.)

The Silence is passive. We are taught by the Apostles writing under inspiration to be alert. We do not get drunk or use drugs recreationally because they cloud the judgment. The devil would like better than for us to be NOT alert and thus deceive us. These words, voice, and/or Jesus will be real and will supplant the authority of Scripture. Been there; done that.


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