- The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
- The virgin birth of Christ.
- The belief that Christ's death was an atonement for sin.
- The bodily resurrection of Christ.
- The historical reality of Christ's miracles.
So given Kimball's early involvement with the ECM, there is some controversy as to what he now believes, teaches and confesses.
But as I stated to Kimball in a recent Facebook thread, my concern with him is not what he currently teaches, but rather with the mystics (and mystical practices) associated with the ECM that he has recommended to his readers/followers, including:
This is all well and good...except that the mystics Kimball has recommended to his readers/followers do employ the use of mantra meditation and spiritually dangerous mind-emptying techniques in the contemplative prayer and Lectio Divina that they teach.
Our entire Facebook exchange follows:
Dan - I'm glad you chimed in. I have a question not regarding what you currently teach, but what you have promoted in the past. (I have great respect for Chris, and if he says that you are now orthodox in what you believe, teach and confess, I will take his word for it.) I guess my concern is with the mysticism you've promoted in the past, especially the Lectio Divina and contemplative prayer (Emerging Worship).
I remember you saying on the interview with Chris that you weren't involved in mystical stuff...that for you, none of what you participated in involved mantra meditation or mind-altering techniques. I believe you, because in my research, I have not found anything that even hints that you are a mystic.
But my question is this: contemplative mysticism has been around now in the church for almost a decade and has led many into a very dangerous spiritual realm. And you were yourself aligned with the guys who've been most responsible for bringing it into churches. Now, I know that you have separated from those guys, and I commend you for that. But my questions is this: are you open to making some kind of public statement about the dangers of contemplative prayer and mysticism, given that as a leader, many look to you for leadership in spiritual matters and as one of the early emergent guys you had a hand in pointing people toward these dangerous practices?
If you like, we can discuss this privately. I'm not sure FB is the ideal forum for a discussion like this.
Christine - I hadn't even heard of the term "contemplative prayer" as is defined in the discernment circles until I read how it defined there. So, so much is how you define these terms - I think being "contemplative" is not a bad thing as we pray, meditate on Scripture etc. but if contemplative means emptying your mind, going into chants where you lose your thinking or the ways I have read discernment sites describe that - for one, we never have practiced that in our church. I never have promoted or taught people to do that. The Scriptures teach in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." That is why in our church we try to constantly stress the importance of being immersed in Scripture for our guide and the importance of knowing the Bible. So in answer to your question, I would not approve nor endorse forms of mindless chanting or the types of things I have read defined as what "contemplative prayer" is as defined on the discernment web sites. But I would encourage you to search out when someone or a church is being accused of being "contemplative" (like ours was) has anyone ever gone there to see if what is being said is true? Does someone have a video of a church that is being accused of doing mindless chants or emptying their minds and going into mystical trances? Has someone actually seen it? Or is it speculation and then people like yourself assume what is reported is true? That is why so many times as people have come to our church who are looking to prove we are doing these things, all come away with not seeing them happening. Like Matt Slick. Or Jim Belcher. Or the Masters College students who came up to visit and after apologized as they had made judgments based on what they were taught. Or a guy from a Calvary Chapel who read a book from one of the discernment self-publishers that was in town and visited and then said he was totally misled by what he read and realized it wasn't accurate when he checked things out. That is what I am stressing in all this. So, would I promote mystical, emptying of minds and mindless chanting? No. Never have. Would not teach that in our church and never will. If someone says we do, then please show evidence of that we practice tis type of "contemplative prayer" as the way it is defined by discernment web sites. Thank you Christine!
Dan - I'm not saying at all that your church is now teaching or has ever taught mind-altering mantra meditation....just that your past alignment with those who DO teach it - not to mention your usage of the same terms - has confused many in the body of Christ when you use the same terms.
I'm not speculating on anything...only going by the terms you've used in your own books.
Would it not serve the Body for you to clear up this confusion with a more direct public statement? There are many who are in danger of being led into the dangerous realm of mysticism over a misunderstanding of these terms. I do sense that you have great compassion for believers....surely you are moved by those weak in the faith who can be easily confused?
And, a public statement just might take the firepower away from discernment sites making unfounded allegations....
OK, if this helps here is a statement. I have never taught nor practiced contemplative prayer as the discernment ministries define it - meaning to lose your mind in endless chanting or going into altered states of consciousness and practicing "the silence". We DO read Scripture verses cognitively several times (as I described and did in the interview) and we do stop (as I hope every Christian does) and quiet our hearts. But this altered states of consciousness is something I never have taught, nor practiced and if someone thinks I have then please show a video, show me describing it (not just using a term, as I explained on Chris's radio show. When I have written the term in the past "lectio divina" I clearly explained what I meant to Chris by that. And I don't even use that term anymore because it is confusing if associated with "altered states of consciousness".
I will write about this now, as it gets re-quoted a lot on discernment web sites about me, but shows a point. If you read on Lighthouse Trails web site that I wrote practice "the silence", that actually was editorial addition that they put in. I wrote talking about having times of "silence" (which we all should have and that sentence was talking about how in many contemporary worship gatherings it is "go go go" and no slowing down or any time to stop and pray. So I said how we need times of quiet or "silence" in worship gatherings to pray and probably like you do in your own church. However, they chose to add the term "the" in there to fit the description of "the silence" they were trying to make a case for. That is why it is brackets, but it reads like I wrote it. Same for the statement on when they added "desert fathers" to a sentence that I was talking about people practicing the disciplines of the historic church (prayer, Bible study, fasting etc.) in church history from all ages. So many younger people haven't been trained in these basic disciplines of the faith. But then on the Lighthouse web site, they added "desert fathers" to try and show what they were hoping to prove. But go to my actual book, and it isn't there. They added it. I then contacted them to even tell them they did not have it correct what I was meaning there and asked them to remove their words they added to my sentences and they refused. This is why I find discernment web sites to not always be helpful as someone like yourself trusts the reports of these web sites.
Hope that helps and I have to now get back to writing. I am on a writing retreat right now and even coming on here shows that I am taking the time to respond and care about truth being accurate. I can only speak for myself and our church and as the interview with Chris stated things can be altered to prove someones hopes or preconceived thinking and we need to go to the actual source or person and go to the actual writings and read them in context. Without context you can take Bible verses and start cults (like happens) and you have to read in context when someone quotes something from someone's book especially when manipulated to prove a point someone is trying to make. That is inaccurate reporting when done like that. Again, I have to shut off my internet right now and get back to writing as I only have a few days to get a lot done here and I hope by me coming on here for a little while enables you to hear my heart and actual evidence from the source vs. what may be inaccurate. I always want to be held accountable, absolutely. But accountability means going to the person to see if what is suspected is true, checking out the facts, hearing the other side of the story etc. and doing so with humility and the approach Jesus spoke of when we should first remove our own plank in our eye so our posture is one of humility and to restore, and to follow Matthew 18 to check with someone first etc. Thanks for your interest and I wish we could sit down in person and talk, I wish you could come to our church and see what we do week to week etc. and what I teach and practice. OK. Back to writing and thank you again.
Dan - I haven't "trusted" any discernment sites - I'm merely going by your usage of these terms. The terms themselves are leading people astray because to the vast majority of people who have any familiarity with these practices, Lectio Divina and contemplative prayer ARE about using chanting or repetitive phrases as techniques to enter into an altered state of consciousness.
Any Google search for "Lectio Divina" will bring up any number of sites giving the classic Lectio Divina techniques for entering into an altered state of consciousness.
Maybe we can talk more about this privately. I have personal experience with mysticism, having myself practiced Lectio Divina and other forms of mantra meditation before being saved.
I'm hoping that what you're hearing from me is not that I'm concerned about what you're presently doing, but in your usage of this term, as well as past promotion of this practice and alignment with those who are very much talking about entering into an altered state of consciousness when they say "Lectio Divina."
Our response to Dan Kimball's statement will be coming soon....
What Is Lectio Divina?
Contemplative Prayer: Transcendental Meditation Repackaged
Dan Kimball and Lectio Divina
Dan Kimball Goes on Pirate Christian Radio