Friday, June 15, 2012

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola?

Posted by Christine Pack

Pastor Tim Keller,
Redeemer Presbyterian
An excellent post by Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries points us to a talk by Tim Keller in which Keller points his followers to the mysticism of Roman Catholic Monastic practices for deepening their prayer lives. Keller, who is a Presbyterian-PCA pastor and a leader of The Gospel Coalition had this to say:
"The best things that have been written, almost, are by Catholics during the counter Reformation: Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Ávila.....great stuff."
At the end of this short video is the reminder that Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits in 1540 with the specific purpose of destroying the Protestant Reformation. The obvious question is: why would a Protestant pastor point Christians toward the teachings of a Roman Catholic mystic who poured his life's work into destroying the Protestant Reformation?

Let me also point out that the meditation practices of the Catholic mystics recommended by Pastor Keller are pagan, occultic practices. As a former mystic who was saved out of mysticism, my challenge to the church will always be this: what could a Catholic mystic who holds to Catholic doctrine (and thus is lost) teach us about deepening our relationship to God? These are pagan practices that have been Christianized with biblical terminology, but they are pagan to the core. Focusing repetitively on ANYTHING for a length of time (whether it is one's breathing, a candle, an icon, even a snippet of Scripture) will put someone into a light hypnotic state. Thus, the thing focused on becomes merely a device, so trying to clean this practice up by making the device a snippet of Scripture does not somehow sanctify this practice. Christians, I urge you to reject these unbiblical practices. Christians are meant to be a people who "walk by faith," (2 Cor 5:7not a people who walk by tangible experiences. In fact, the the entire book of Hebrews is written as a warning against tangibility, as this was a critical time in the church's history during which many Jewish Christians were struggling with the idea of giving up the tangibility of the sacrificial system which had been a part of their culture for several thousand years. Is this not what mysticism encourages, though? A chasing after of mystical encounters with "God?" I put "God" in quotes here because, as a former mystic, I can assure those who engage in mysticism that this is not the way we are to enter into God's presence. Those who engage in mysticism will encounter something of a spiritual nature. Only, it will not the God of the Bible.
"And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14)
I'm going to circle back to the Reformation here, and do a little history lesson. The Reformation came about when God providentially raised up brave men who were willing to fight for the truth, and point people back to God's Word instead of the fallible, human priests of the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church had had a spiritual stranglehold on the world for centuries, but through the providential invention of the printing press, and men like Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliff, etc., the tiny spark lit by Martin Luther's 95 Theses, a document exposing the unbiblical nature of Roman Catholic teaching, became a flame that tore through Europe and England, and eventually impacted the entire world. Men and women were now reading God's Word - truth - for themselves, not waiting for it to be told to them by priests.

Thus, the motto of the Reformation became Post Tenebras Lux (translated, After the Darkness, Light). This motto meant that truth (light) was now piercing a dark world that had been taken captive to mysticism and tradition....for lack of having access to the Bible.

And yet, with this willful embracing of mysticism in the church today, I sometimes think this generation's motto ought to be Post Lux Tenebram (After the Light, Darkness). By rejecting Sola Scriptura and embracing mysticism, the church today seems to be going back to the Middle Ages in which, instead of not knowing God's Word because it's not available to them (as was the issue during the Middle Ages), they now do not know God's Word because they are rejecting it in favor of mystical experiences. And pastors like Tim Keller are leading the way.

 Additional Resources 

Ignatius of Loyola, an Examination of His Teachings (Pastor Gary Gilley)

What Is Mysticism? (Sola Sisters)

Mysticism: Spiritual Crack (Sola Sisters)

Catholic Mysticism Infused Into Our Society (Berean Beacon)

Why the Reformation Was Important (Sola Sisters)

After The Darkness, Light (Post Tenebras Lux) (Sola Sisters)

Biblically Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (Dr. John MacArthur)

A Chart With Christian/Catholic Views Side-By-Side (Berean Beacon)

Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic Priest....From Darkness to Light (Berean Beacon)

Far From Rome Near To God (Amazon)

On The "Faith" of Mother Teresa: John Ortberg Strikes Out (Sola Sisters)

The Myth of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa A Lost Soul (Berean Beacon)

Mother Teresa in Her Own Words (Sola Sisters)

CNN Reports That Mother Teresa Underwent Exorcism (CNN Archives)

BBC Reports About Exorcism Performed on Mother Teresa (BBC Archives)