What is Spiritual Formation?


Spiritual Formation or "pure spiritualism" aka "demon worship" aka LECTIO DIVINA = for a few examples of Spiritual Formation that is in direct opositation to the Word of God found in: 
  1. 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."; Spiritual Formation, pure spiritualism or "Lectio divina" per Wikipedia says "It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied" AND "is not a theological analysis of biblical passages."
  2. God says in James 2:16, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also". Spiritual Formation aka Lectio divina says "We must stand on "faith alone".
  3. God and Ellen G. White on Ecumenism--Association, Counsel, Partnership, and Confederacy With Unbelievers. "Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work. E.G. White, FE 482. The apostle Paul sends down the note of warning along the line to this time. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18) {LYL 83.4} 1 Corinthians 10:14 "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry."  (click link to view source) "We join many of our sister Protestant denominations"  Spiritual Directors International, founded in 1990, has grown from a predominantly Roman Catholic membership into an ecumenical and interreligious organization of more than 6000 members, dedicated to the practice of spiritual direction as a unique way to assist one another in discernment, personal prayer practices, and life decisions." http://sdiworld.org/find_a_spiritual_director.html or in other words, visit the Spiritual Directors International (sdiworlds.org) to find a medium, witch or warlock. What is wrong with liaisons with Satanic forces?  The instruction is in the question!  Would Christ co-labor with Satan?  Try to imagine Christ joining Satan’s Associations, Councils, Girdings and Confederacies. 
    1. No Alliance with Unbelievers 

      Those employed in any department of the work whereby the world may be transformed, must not enter into alliance with those who know not the truth. The world know not the Father or the Son, and they have no spiritual discernment as to the character of our work, as to what we shall do or shall not do. We must obey the orders that come from above. We are not to hear the counsel or follow the plans suggested by unbelievers. Suggestions made by those who know not the work that God is doing for this time will be such as to weaken the power of the instrumentalities of God. By accepting such suggestions, the counsel of Christ is set at nought. . . . {TM 463.2}

      Implications of Ecumenical Involvement

      A commonly heard refrain by us reformers is:  “Well, so what if the church is ecumenically involved.  We have to come close to others in order to win them to the truth.” 

      You know something friends?  That statement is not all untrue.  For it is true that we have to come close to others in order to win them.  Jesus came close to sinners in order to win them.  The question is:  Would Jesus join Satan’s Synagogue in order to win ANYONE?  The answer to that question is an emphatic no! if we believe the admonitions of the Word. There are good reasons God warned us three times that we would be broken in pieces if we Associated, Counsel, Gird and/or Confederate with my enemies and I will break you in pieces, to wit:

      9 Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. 11 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. Isaiah 8:9-13.

God’s Caution Sign – Spiritual Formation, pure Spiritualism aka Lectio Divina  -- The four movements of Lectio divina: read, meditate, pray, contemplate. 

Lectio divina: Allowing Scripture to read you.

Some call "Spiritual Formation" - "Lectio divina" = "healthy spirituality" is described as "Sacred listening transforms lives through the art of spiritual direction, spiritual guidance, spiritual accompaniment, anam cara in Gaelic, and mashpiah in Hebrew." "SDI" "Spiritual Directors"  International "offers resources for spirituality, contemplative prayer, contemplative practice, compassionate listening, mindfulness, discernment, education, and retreats." Or a way to find Spiritual Formation aka Lectio divina "mediums" like Saul consulted of in the witch of Endor. Saul and the Witch of Endor, See 1 Samuel chapter 28.  When Saul went to the witch of Endor, God rent the kingdom out of his hand and gave it to David.  

Lectio divina, which means sacred reading, is an ancient contemplative practice of listening deeply to the voice of God in sacred texts. My friend Gregg Churchill introduced me to the practice, which I have found to be a good way to generate a diversity of very personal responses and discussion without getting lost in dogma and differences.

When I first arrived at the seminary, my spiritual director told me he wanted me to do something called Lectio Divina everyday. “OK," I said. "What’s Lectio Divina?”

He explained… Lectio Divina is Latin for “sacred reading” and it’s a method of prayer with Sacred Scripture. It was begun by Benedictine monks centuries ago. The monks would spend hours in prayer with the bible. However, books like the bible were extremely expensive. So, in order to pray with the Scriptures effectively, they would meditate on a very brief passage of Scripture, then pass the Bible on to the next monk, while they continued to meditate on what they had just read.

I really like this post about Lectio Divina from This Catholic Life.
Remember our profound ignorance of God as you read. Pretend that you have never read or heard of the verses you are reading and see it as if for the first time. Read slowly and out loud if you can.
Take note of what jumps out of you.
Read it again slowly.
Listen for Gods voice as you read.

The above description is an example of Spiritual Formation PURE SPIRITUALISM or Lectio Divina = A practicing "medium" warlock or witch. 

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Deuteronomy 4:9   We can never become complacent about our walk with Christ. We can slip up at any time."  Deuteronomy 4:9 is a great reminder to hold on to God. 

Here is a brief description of Spiritual Formation from those who teach it:

It has come to the point where Adventism is preparing witches and warlocks to be our future pastors, evangelists, and teachers. When Saul went to the witch of Endor, God rent the kingdom out of his hand and gave it to David. 

This is for the 2011-2012 school year and from their web site:

Admission of New Students
The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program is designed for individuals who already have
some familiarity with the religious and theological thought of the Christian Church and who have already been exposed to the challenges and responsibilities of contemporary church leadership, but who would like to expand their knowledge and skills to meet the spiritual and moral needs of today's church and society.

Entrance Requirements include:
1. A baccalaureate degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or a graduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or an international equivalent, from an accredited institution [official transcript required].
2. Three (3) credit hours in Christian Theology
3. Two (2) credit hours in Spiritual Formation or Dynamics of Christian Living
Please read this following statement from the lecture of Dwight H. Judy, Ph.D.,
Professor of Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

"So, the first thing that a professor of spiritual formation should be able to teach are ways of prayer and the interior life, so that we are inspired with God’s vision and sustained for meaningful service in the world. We now have access to such distinctively Christian prayer practices. These include the practice of lectio divina, as a particular mode of scripture reflection, not neglecting the tasks of contextual biblical interpretation, but also listening for the Word of God spoken through the scripture into our own heart; the Jesus Prayer from Eastern Orthodoxy; Centering Prayer, growing out of medieval Europe; Ignatian use of imagery with scripture; as well as the active prayer forms of intercession, petition, confession, and thanksgiving. In the seminary curriculum, we should enable all graduates to be conversant with this rich tradition of prayer that leads us to a direct encounter with God."

lectio divina word cloud
The four movements of Lectio divina: read,meditate, pray, contemplate

Lectio divina: Allowing Scripture to read you

LECTIO DIVINA (from Wikipedia):
In Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Catholic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.Traditionally Lectio Divina has 4 separate steps: read, meditate, pray and contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ as the key to their meaning. For example, given Jesus' statement in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you" an analytical approach would focus on the reason for the statement during the Last Supper, the biblical context, etc. But in Lectio Divina rather than "dissecting peace", the practitioner "enters peace" and shares in the peace of Christ. In Christian teachings, this form of meditative prayer leads to an increased knowledge of Christ.

The roots of Scriptural reflection and interpretation go back to Origen in the 3rd century, after whom St. Ambrose taught them to St. Augustine. The monastic practice of Lectio Divina was first established in the 6th century by Saint Benedict. It was then formalized as a 4 step process by the Carthusian monk, Guigo II in the 12th century. In the 20th century, the constitution Dei Verbum of Pope Paul VI recommended Lectio Divina for the general public. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of Lectio Divina in the 21st century.

Below are exerpts of the lecture by Dwight Judy on acceptance of his promotion. Spiritual Formation is very insidious and it is pure spiritualism.  We must stand on "faith alone" not feelings or impressions.

From the web site:  http://www.dwightjudy.com/pav/docs/Promotion_Lecture_4.pdf
Spiritual Formation: An Interdisciplinary Field
Lecture or Promotion to Full Professor of Spiritual Formation

I am mindful of the extremely rare privilege I have today that my meandering career has had a part to play in helping legitimize the field of spiritual formation within seminary education.

Of course, Garrett-Evangelical is not alone. Spiritual formation studies are being embraced widelywithin United Methodist seminaries. Certification in Spiritual Formation or specialized programs inspiritual direction are now being offered by most of our sister seminaries. Since 1996, The Association of  Theological Schools has required all seminaries to define and evaluate how they incorporate “Personal and Spiritual Formation” into seminary life and curriculum. We have reason to hope that spiritual formation practices are here to stay in seminary education and in the life of the church.We join many of our sister Protestant denominations, which have also been pioneering this work in various specialized training and degree programs. A partner for us all has been The Upper Room, with its consistent leadership in modeling curriculum for spiritual formation in The Academy for Spiritual Formation, as well as providing exceptional resources for small group studies within 
congregations. Spiritual Directors International, founded in 1990, has grown from a 
predominantly Roman Catholic membership into an ecumenical and interreligious organization of more than 6000 members, dedicated to the practice of spiritual direction as a unique way to assist one another in discernment, personal prayer practices, and life decisions." 

The experience that there is a living reality of transcendent Presence, sometimes manifesting as the resurrected Christ, sometimes as the Holy Spirit, was confirmed over and over again as I began to guide people in experiences of Ignatian prayer or the use of imagination with the stories of Jesus. I found people receiving wisdom from the inner Christ far beyond their own framing of their life concerns. Even now I stand in amazement at the summons to ministry that many of our students have received from such a transcendent source. The field of spiritual formation has helped validate such experiences and context them within historic biblical and theological perspectives of authentic Christian life. ...I believe this movement has been a work of the Holy Spirit (God the Holy Spirit - the THIRD PERSON of the trinity of gods) for our time, bringing forth the wisdom of historic prayer disciplines to assist us individually and corporately to discern the movement of God in our lives, our churches and our world.

We will start with the renewal of contemplative prayer practices in the latter part of the 20th
century. One could make a case that the Protestant world was awakened to a missing element of its life with the publication in 1969 of Thomas Merton’s signal work, Contemplative Prayer. Merton had just died in 1968. He had already accomplished much in his life to bridge the world of hidden monastic practices into public discourse. Contemplative Prayer brought words on prayer into the world that Merton had written for the monastery. The 1971edition carried an introduction by the Quaker writer, Douglas Steere, in which Steere wrote: “Thomas Merton was passionately aware of the inward crisis of our age and of its acute need of the dimension of contemplation.”

In my seminary formation within the late 1960’s “spiritual” was a completely neglected word. We did not have a language to speak of the inner movement of the Holy Spirit within our lives and ministries. The “inward crisis” was left to fend for itself or perhaps to be taken into the consulting rooms of the newly forming field of Pastoral Counseling. The distinctively spiritual theme of an interior relationship with God was much neglected.What is the purpose of meditation in the sense of “the prayer of the heart”? In the “prayer of the heart” we seek first of all the deepest ground of our identity in God. We do not reason (God says, "Come now, let us reason together," Isaiah 1:18) about dogmas of faith, or “the mysteries.” We seek rather to gain a direct experiential grasp, a personal experience of the 
deepest truths of life and faith, finding ourselves in God’s truth. Inner certainty depends on 
purification. . . . We learn recollection which consists in listening for God’s will, in direct and simple attention to reality.. . . Prayer then means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of [God’s] word, for knowledge of [God’s] will and for capacity to hear and obey [God]. 

What has happened since 1969 is quite remarkable. Western Christian tradition has recovered the practices of contemplative prayer, which were so neglected within the first half of the 20th century. Why have the church and seminaries responded?

Why has there been a renewal of contemplative prayer in our time? The clearest way I have found to speak of this receptivity to contemplative prayer is in the discussion of the seven mansions in Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. As with Merton’s Contemplative Prayer, Interior Castle was Teresa’s most mature writing completed just five years before her death in 1582. As she laid out the process of the interior life, she spoke of a deepening of awareness leading from focus of our life’s concerns almost exclusively on worldly or exterior affairs (life in Mansions I) to a full alignment with God’s will on a daily basis in Mansions VII, which manifests as good works in the world. Her Mansions II is a description of what I would hope every church does well. And that is to help people in their understanding of God and their faith development through what she called “exterior means.” The practices of exterior means include good sermons, good books, and helpful conversations. ...

... Teresa suggests that there comes a time when we must make our faith our own and for that purpose, we need to cultivate a disciplined life of what she called, “prayer and self-reflection.” We need Wesley’s private prayer as well as public prayer. We need to learn the ways of prayer that lead us day by day into the encounter with God described by Merton.
So, the first thing that a professor of spiritual formation should be able to teach are ways of prayer and the interior life, so that we are inspired with God’s vision and sustained for meaningful service in the world. We now have access to such distinctively Christian prayer practices. These include the practice of lectio divina, as a particular mode of scripture reflection, not neglecting the tasks of contextual biblical interpretation, but also listening for the Word of God spoken through the scripture into our own heart; the Jesus Prayer from Eastern Orthodoxy; Centering Prayer, growing out of medieval Europe; Ignatian use of imagery with scripture; as well as the active prayer forms of intercession, petition, confession, and thanksgiving. In the seminary curriculum, we should enable all graduates to be conversant with this rich tradition of prayer that leads us to a direct encounter with 

I didn't read any further.  It has come to the point where Adventism is preparing witches and warlocks to be our future pastors, evangelists, and teachers. When Saul went to the witch of Endor, God rent the kingdom out of his hand and gave it to David.

"They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall. They even sacrificed

their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan." Psalm 106:36-38 NLT 

Unseen authorities were standing behind the idols accepting the blood sacrifices, 
and the children that were sacrificed to these idol gods were accepted by demons.

  • God doesn't want you involved in idol worship; demons are accepting it.
  • Covenant people violate covenant if they worship anything or anyone else.
  • Satan's demons were accepting the child blood-sacrifices being offered to idols.
  • Worshipping idols will lead to your downfall, and anything can become an idol.
  • Heaven will reject any who don't put the King of all--Jesus--above all others.
  • The fallen angel creation (demons) stand behind idols accepting the sacrifices.
  • Unseen demon gods literally stand behind idols and accept the blood sacrifices.

Lord, help me to understand how idol worship can be my own downfall. 
Don't let me sacrifice my own son or daughter on the alter of money, 
power, success, or position. In Jesus Name, Amen.