Ray Yungen has written a very valuable book exposing the encroachment of New Age mysticism upon the evangelical church. Through the porthole of “contemplative prayer” numerous Christian leaders (e.g. Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, etc.) are calling us back to the desert Catholic mystics of the Middle Ages for a deeper level of spirituality. These leaders seem unaware or unconcerned that the Catholic mystics drew deeply from the well of Eastern Mysticism. As a result, unsuspecting Christians are being served a casserole of Eastern Mysticism, occultism and mystical Christianity all under the guise of deeper spiritual living and prayer.
Contemplative prayer is not biblical prayer, no matter how spiritual it may sound. Contemplative prayer, rather, is turning our minds off—putting it into neutral, in order to experience silence, at which point we somehow encounter God. All New Agers, occultist and Eastern Mystics teach this type of praying, along with certain individuals within Christianity, both in the past and now. But the Scriptures teach no such prayer methodology. Paul said, “I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also” (I Corinthians 14:15). He does not say that he will pray with the spirit or the mind, but with the spirit and the mind. Throwing our minds out of gear, and trusting God to fill it with whatever He desires, not only has no biblical warrant but is an open invitation to spiritual deception.
Yungen has done his homework. He documents and traces the source of this modern movement within evangelicalism to people like Thomas Merton and Alice Bailey, who greatly influenced men such as Foster and Manning, who in turn are influencing ministries such as Youth Specialties and leaders such as Larry Crabb, who in turn are infiltrating the Christian ranks. This New Age form of Christianity is not coming, it is here, and we need to be aware of the dangers.
Every Christian leader should read this book.