Posted by: Yvonne | September 1, 2010

The Truth Project: A Caution Worth Noting

from Lighthouse Newsletter:

Will Focus on the Family and The Truth Project Warn About “Unio Mystica,” “Oneness,” and Contemplative Prayer?

There are concerns about why in Lesson 8 of the Truth Project, Del Tackett uses the term “unio mystica” and “oneness.”  If Christian leaders are going to use these terms (terms that frequently and usually are used by the New Age/New Spirituality), then these Christian leaders should take care to educate their followers of Satan’s devices and the New Spirituality deception that is so prevalent with the evangelical church today. It may seem petty to some, but using such terms can, even if unknowingly, condition Christians to be more accepting of the concepts. Focus on the Family has not shown itself to be a ministry that takes spiritual deception serious in that they have and do continue to promote contemplative spirituality, a spirituality that fits right in with the New Age terms of unio mystica and oneness.

One website describes how contemplative prayer is synonymous with unio mystical: [quote]Contemplative prayer helps to calm the mind and cultivate inner silence. It seeks to reach a non-conceptual, loving awareness of the Divine. Its ultimate aim is the unio mystica, the divine union in which the human soul gets merged in the Godhead. http://meditation-techniques.suite101.com/article.cfm/contemplative_prayer#ixzz0xwVSqlTR%5B/quote%5D

We are not trying to say here that the Truth Project is necessarily trying to inadvertently promote contemplative mysticism, but we do believe  a caution is worth noting, especially in view of the immense popularity of The Truth Project as well as contemplative spirituality. There is an interesting question and comment by a reader on Del Tackett’s website (http://deltackett.com/2007/09/20/a-silent-killer-in-the-house/). The reader stated:

“How does one protect their family from subtle lies mixed with truth in Christian articles, books, etc., in today’s society? For example, our kids were told at church (one we no longer attend) to “repeat a word over and over until your mind becomes silent, thereby silencing your mind” in order to “become one with yourself and God.” This church also said you couldn’t deepen in your relationship with God if you didn’t practice the spiritual disciplines put forth by Richard Foster.

“We love your “Truth Project” and would like to hear your thoughts in a blog on the new and upcoming contemplative spirituality, spiritual disciplines, and lectio divina that seems to be taking the Christian world by storm.”

This family is obviously concerned about what they see as a clear and present danger today. The question remains, will Focus on the Family and Del Tackett see it? Or will they keep talking about unio mystical and oneness without issuing a strong warning to the body of Christ. Will they continue to promote contemplative advocates like Gary Thomas and Richard Foster? Ironically, the title of Tackett’s website article is called “A Silent Killer in the House” (referring to carbon monoxide). Well, there is a “silent” killer in the church. It is called contemplative prayer.

Other information: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4497.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I have done the Truth Project, then bought it, and now am hosting it. I think Lighthouse Trails is a wee bit off base on this one – a bit paranoid.

    I think it is an excellent worldview teaching series that all Christians should view. I have studied worldview philosophy for quite a few years – over a decade – and this the Truth Project is a really good one.

    • How does Mr. Tackett use the ‘unio mystica’ in Lesson 8 that might have set Lighthouse Trails off?

      I’ve had concerns with Focus on the Family for a while, but am glad to hear that they’ve produced something worthy, especially in the subject of worldview.

      Thanks, Glenn!

      ~Yvonne

      • Del Tackett actually talks about three “mystical unions” in Lesson 8, which answers the question, “Am I Alone?” One union is between husband and wife, another between Christ and the Church, and the last, which is the focus of lesson 8, is between God and man. The whole point is that God’s spirit does live in the Christian. Four primary Bible passages used are Col. 1:27; John 15:5; John 14:16-17; and 1 Cor. 3:16-17. Tackett discusses the intimate relationship we, as Christians, have with God. I found nothing to even hint at the idea of contemplative prayer stuff. That was not even close to the subject. It was all about our relationship to God and Christ as spelled out in Scripture, that we are not alone but have God with us and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a relationship. It is the one mystery relationship that Christians have with God that non-believers do not have.

        Just because Tackett used “mystica” in his teaching, that doesn’t mean he is hinting at some mystical relationship as taught by the contemplative crowd. The Bible does indeed speak of our relationship with God as a mystery. And it is indeed “mystical” in a way, just not the way modern mystics would have it!

        • Thanks for that info, Glenn.

          While Mr. Tackett doesn’t seem to be promoting anything new age can you see that using those particular terms might be problematic?

          If Tackett is using new age terminology, like ‘unio mytistica’ and ‘oneness’ as stated on the LT post, I can certainly see where an undiscerning Christian might get confused and therefore the need for a warning.

          I wonder if Tackett is even aware of the new age implication of those terms. It seems that so many Christian leaders are oblivious to the subtlety of that movement. Maybe it needs to be brought to his attention.

          Just a thought…

          • I don’t know if Tackett is aware of the misuse of such terminology, or if he knows about contemplative movement, etc. He was using the term to make a point. And you know terms can be used for more than one purpose. Instead of getting all paranoid about it as I think LT did (and I like LT – follow them all the time and read this when it came out, have lots of their books, etc), I think they should have just bit their tongue and wait to see if anything “mystical” develops from it. I know Focus on the Family has some significant problems with their fostering of those involved in contemplative, and they are also heavy promoters of the whole psychology nonsense, which is why I was surprised to learn this was a FoF project!

            I would say just let it pass and see if other things come out that lead us to suspect there is an ulterior motive for the use of the term.

  2. Both John Calvin and Martin Luther used the term “unio mystica” to describe the believer’s union with Christ. Just google on “unio mystica” and “Calvin” or “Luther” and you will find much of interest and in support of the use of the term in the Truth Project.

  3. Welcome, Dave,

    No doubt ‘unio mystica’ is a concept that is not unfamiliar to many evangelicals. The problem is with how the Truth Project leaders understand and teach it. If they are equating the term with contemplative prayer, as is the implication from Lighthouse Trails, then serious warning is warranted.

    On the other hand, as Glenn has alluded above, if the biblical understanding is presented/taught, then there should be no cause for concern.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    ~Yvonne

    • I just recently watched that session again, and there is no connection at all to the new contemplative movement. I do thing Lighthouse Trails was being a bit skitterish on this one.


Categories

%d bloggers like this: