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The Dangers of Spiritual Formation

The Dangers of Spiritual Formation.

MattS AMTM June 2019 Part 24 (heresy and false teachings) Short Article

I have just finished reading an article from Charisma Magazine that sparked my interest. The title of the article was “Why Reading Your Bible Isn’t Enough to Grow Spiritually“.

This got my suspicions up immediately because it seemed to be suggesting that the Bible is insufficient in some way. Upon delving into the article I discovered that my suspicions were correct. The article mentioned the term “Spiritual Formation”. The remainder of the article was what I would normally expect from Charisma magazine, in that it was wishy-washy and devoid of anything really meaningful, there were a few good sounding words scattered here and there, but it was devoid of scripture to back it up as a biblical practice. There was one reference to scripture (Psalm 1:1-4) that contradicted the title of the article that reading your Bible is not enough to grow you spiritually, as the requirement was for one to actually follow instructions given by the word of God.

The article did not adequately explain spiritual formation or how indeed the Bible was insufficient to grow us spiritually, and as I see I it, there were two main dangers with this article.

1. It suggested that the reading of scripture was insufficient to grow us spiritually.

2. It used the term “Spiritual Formation” and then failed to either adequately explain this term and how it is defined in Christendom today.

Both these ideas are dangerous, as the first diminishes the Bible as insufficient for our spiritual needs and negates what Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

The second danger is using the term “Spiritual Formation” in a fairly loose way may encourage the reader to find out more about “Spiritual Formation”. This may lead them into websites that promote false teaching and possibly even into Churches that practice “Spiritual Formation”. Once again, there is a danger in this for the undiscerning believer. Looking at the face of “Spiritual Formation” it seems to be okay, as it encourages “spiritual disciplines” in the areas of prayer, Bible reading, study, submission, worship, fasting and meditation. However, shouldn’t this be happening in the discipling process with new Christians?

When you start to delve a little into current “Spiritual Formation” programs, words like “Contemplative Prayer” etc start to feature, also the focus of the “spiritual disciplines” seem to be very inwardly and self oriented. In my opinion, this ends up becoming little more than a Gnostic  exercise with the potential for demonic experiences.

In summary, let’s continue to be immersed in God’s word, get back to discipling, and stay away from these unbiblical false practices.


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