Quaker
Quakers (or members of the Religious Society of Friends), participate in an "Alternative Christianity."

The Society, which began in 1660, has a Christian background, but many key elements of Quaker doctrine stray from true Christianity, including Quaker approval of ecumenism, religious tolerance, and homosexuality. The Quaker views on the divinity of Christ and inspiration of Scripture are also not consistent with God's Word.

Learn more about the Quakers and see examples of their doctrines in our encyclopedia.

All information on Quaker doctrine is taken from Ted Hoare's pamphlet Facts About Friends.
Richard Foster
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: One influential American involved in the spiritual formation movement is Quaker Richard Foster.
 
 

Richard Foster is a Quaker,

theologian, and leader in the spiritual formation movement. His international bestseller, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, “is designed to help Christians experience authentic transformation through engagement with classic Christian spiritual disciplines.”i Christianity Today calls Foster's work "one of the top ten books of the 20th century."ii

Here are a couple words from Celebration of Discipline on meditation:

The inner world of meditation is most easily entered through the door of the imagination. We fail today to appreciate its tremendous power. The imagination is stronger than the conceptual thought and stronger than the will...Another form of meditation is what the contemplatives of the Middle Ages called "re-collection," and what the Quakers have often called "centering down." It is a time to become still, to enter into the recreating silence, to allow the fragmentation of our minds to become centered.iii

Perhaps some rare individuals experience God through abstract contemplation alone, but most of us need to be more deeply rooted in the senses. We must not despise the simpler, more humble route into God's presence. Jesus himself taught in this manner, making constant appeal to the imagination, and many of the devotional masters likewise encourage us this way...Seek to live the experience, remembering the encouragement of Ignatius of Loyola to apply all our senses to our task.iv

...we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. In their writings, all of the masters of meditation strive to awaken us to the fact that the universe is much larger than we know, that there are vast unexplored inner regions that are just as real as the physical world we know so well.v

Celebration of Discipline also includes references to the teachings of many mystic personalities, such as St. Teresa of Ávila, Carl Jung, French mystic Madame Guyon, Russian mystic Theophan the Recluse, Thomas Kelly, Thomas Merton, Thomas à Kempis, and a group Foster calls "the Devotional Masters of the Christian faith—Augustine of Hippo and Francis of Assisi and Julian of Norwich."vi

Renovaré

In 1988, Foster founded Renovaré, an organization focused on providing training and resources for Christians who want to grow in spiritual formation. Renovaré’s ministry team includes influential Christian leaders such as Lutheran William Vaswig, philosophy professor Dallas Willard, and Anglican Gary Moon.vii

A 2003 Sojourners magazine article explains the organization’s vision:

The name Renovaré means "to renew" in Latin, and renewal is the guiding definition of the group‘s work. According to the Renovaré publications, it is committed to working "for the renewal of the church of Jesus Christ in all her multifaceted expressions."viii

Sojourners writer Keith Matthews also notes the ecumenical side of Renovaré and its focus on spiritual exercises:

It now has a mailing list of 29,600 and has launched hundreds of spiritual formation groups across an unusually wide denominational spectrum.

Renovaré invites people to commit themselves to "spiritual exercises, spiritual gifts, and acts of service."ix

Albert James Dager of “Media Spotlight” makes this comment about the spiritual exercises Foster and Renovaré teach:

Unfortunately, all these exercises serve to do is open the person up to demonic influences that assuage his or her conscience with a feeling of euphoria and even “love” emanating from the presence that has invaded their consciousness. This euphoria is then believed to validate that the person is on the right spiritual path.x

According to Dager, Renovaré is teaching Buddhist practices in Christian garb:

The objective is to move from conscious communication with God to being “in the Presence,” as Bill Vaswig puts it…When they speak of “practicing the presence of God,” which is a major facet of Renovare's spiritual exercises we find that what they mean is ZEN MEDITATION.xi

Download a PDF of Dager’s special report on Renovaré

 


 

i. Educating Christians: A to Z Resources for Discipleship (November 1, 2005).

ii. Agnieszka Tennant, "The Making of A Christian," Christianity Today (September 16, 2005).

iii. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline as quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Harvest House Publishers, 1996): 383.

iv. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (HarperCollins, 1998): 25, 29-30.

v. Celebration of Discipline (New York: HarperColllins, 1980), 13.

vi. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (HarperCollins, 1998):

vii. Renovare.us.

viii. Keith Matthews, “How is it With Your Soul?,” Sojourners (November-December 2003).

ix. Ibid.

x. Albert James Dager, “Renovaré: Taking Leave of Ones Senses,” Media Spotlight (2003): 5.

xi. Ibid.

This article is adapted from Walter Veith’s Rekindling the Reformation DVD The Jesuits and The Counter Reformation Part 2

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