Sometimes you just have to marvel at how mankind truly never does learn anything from history, but especially remote history, and more especially again, history which it seems to not even accept as ever happening (because the Bible says it’s so). But more and more recently, I really have come to the conclusion that scripture ever more reveals just how true it is, as the world races to embrace so many concepts and ideologies that were held by a distant civilisation and one not even that remote from our own – and that’s that of ancient Rome & later Greece. Although if truth be told I think mankind is actually trying to model itself on even earlier cultures which have been even more detailed through scripture such as those who lived in Sodom & Gomorrah.
Regardless of which you choose to look at, one thing was sure, those cultures didn’t concern themselves with God in any sense. They either didn’t believe He existed, or if they did, they figured they could become Him (now who else do we know who once sought that only to end up kicked out of heaven as a result), or they figured they could just change God and make Him into someone/something less and make Him into their own image. Scripture is replete with examples of this stupidity from Aaron with his golden calf through to Peter trying to convince Jesus He wasn’t Who He said He was.
And He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said to Him, You are the Christ. And He charged them that they should tell no one of Him. And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men. Mar 8:29-33
Today, the culture is awash with latter-day examples of the same thing. Sadly again, we seem so many in our own day who are following everything and nothing in a vain attempt to satisfy their soul’s inner longing for a connection to its Creator, that they end up in some rather dire situations indeed e.g. through cults & other similar locked in sects, or purely into beliefs that are utterly heretical in every sense. Roman Catholics are particularly prone to this urge to go backwards rather than forwards in their practices and so we see many now following ancient & sometimes more pagan practices such as “Walking the Labryinth” or such like. But many so-called evangelical Protestant churches have fallen into a similar trap by equally determining that many of those practices should be recaptured for congregations today.
However, it’s true to say that sometimes it’s not always the easiest to gauge the right response when faced with such practices within your own church, as I discovered only this morning. Our minister, normally renowned for his solid biblical teaching and practices, determined to grant the pulpit to a Church of Ireland Franciscan Monk!! Whlie the Church of Ireland is considered Protestant, sadly many within it (and more especially within the Church of England) are happily not just sliding back but running back to Roman Catholicism as fast as they can go, ironically citing a lack of biblical discernment as their reason for doing so.
My own view is that there was a very good reason for the Reformation and that reason hasn’t changed, if anything, it has become all the more pertinent, at least to those who are true biblical “Sola Scriptura” evangelicals. Thus, to start looking backwards to the practices (many of them utterly pagan both in origin & practice) of the RC Church is to be to any church’s detriment & I am hugely concerned for where my own church is heading.
Ultimately, we all have to walk the Christian path with an open conscience and to undertake those things we believe to be pleasing to God. I know my minister would absolutely argue that that’s exactly what he was doing by providing the church members with information on prayer & “Practising the Presence of God” (dangerous concept in this particular format) with respect to healing. My view is that certainly teaching about prayer & healing are vitally important to any body of Christians, but doing so through overtly RC (pagan) practices is not the way to do it.
We know that these are absolutely the end days Paul warned us about where “the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12) and that deception and apostasy will abound not just in the world in general, but especially within the Church, so this is the time we should sharpen our spiritual senses not hand them over to those who would suggest we “empty our minds” in order to do so. Hold fast to scripture and scripture alone and you will learn more about drawing close to God, healing, prayer, and every other aspect of the Christian walk than you will ever do by “practising the presence of God” or “walking/praying the labyrinth” etc.