Saturday, February 19, 2005
There is a disturbing trend that is at work among Christianity today that threatens to undermine the very foundations of Pharisee religious experience. Some of you see threats in the Culture around us. Others see threats from within. Today I would like to warn you of a threat from without that is far more insidious than any I’ve ever yet encountered. We know that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light and that if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. As a member of God’s elect, I want to reassure you that I have not been deceived by that old serpent’s latest attempt to worm his way into our Pharisee churches. Satan, knowing that religion is a cloak in which to hide himself, often assumes the guise of spirituality in order to deceive the weak. Many people are easily fooled and led away by his tricks. Fortunately for you, I am here to warn you of his snares and expose his latest trick. It is the increasing use of “spiritual directors” by otherwise biblical Pharisees.
Spiritual directors and spiritual direction is a quiet but rising force, all the more insidious because those most likely to be drawn into this web of error and apostasy are pastors themselves. One of the reasons that pastors are most vulnerable to the siren song of spiritual direction is because they spend their days and nights providing direction and guidance to the flock over which God has made them overseer. This can quickly become an emotionally draining activity that taxes the spiritual fortitude of even the best pastor. One of the reasons I do not succumb to these demands is because I do not have a large congregation and nearly everyone that attends my church is a mature Christian who needs very little guidance in spirituality. Instead, they need me to warn them about threats from the outside. This is why most of my ministry is dedicated to exposing the errors of others.
You may wonder what is so dangerous about spiritual directors and what is wrong with them. Allow me to expose their errors for you. First of all, most spiritual directors are of the catholic persuasion. There may be a few Protestants who advocate spiritual direction but most are catholic. Some are Roman Catholic. Others are Anglican or Eastern Orthodox. All of them represent the insidious influence of Catholicism. As we know, Catholics of all stripes avoid truths that the rest of Christianity holds dear. I have had people convince me that just because Catholics believe such things as the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, original sin and other doctrines they have at least some truth. Well, they may give lip-service to such but they don’t really hold the truth the way us Pharisees do. By mixing it with even the tiniest bit of error, they destroy the whole thing and even if they were 99 and 44/100% pure, that extra .56% of error would be enough to consign them to apostasy. Only 100% purity as practiced by us Pharisees is good enough for God.
Beyond their association with Catholics and error, Spiritual directors often hold radical notions such as nonviolence and even a “Network for Good” as if doing good has any place in true Christianity. We all know that Christians should be characterized by a deep and abiding faith instead of an outward show of good works. Most of what you read about spiritual directors and spiritual direction is vague and ephemeral. They talk about prayer as some sort of communion with the Divine when really it is a shopping list for getting our wants and needs answered. They describe meditation and contemplation as some sort of virtue or means to promote mysticism in the Christian experience. All good Christians know that there is nothing mystical about Christianity and to explore the “mysteries” of God will only lead to error. God is easily explained and understood by the systematic theology we preach and teach in our Pharisee churches. Every question has a simple, clear, easy to understand answer that can be demonstrated through the skillful use of proof texts. The only “mystery” I see is how people go in for this stuff.
Let me conclude by saying that people who need spiritual direction need look no further than the pulpit of their local Pharisee church. Pharisee pastors are exemplars of spiritual devotion, piety and holiness. If one would simply emulate our stern resolve to remain unspotted from the world and dedication to our Christian sub-culture, they would never be plagued by the nagging doubts or sense of “wanting something more” from their spiritual experience. If you want more, just order my sermon CDs on the dangers of spiritual directors.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”…Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 16:6, 12 (NIV)
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