I happened to visit Apprising Ministries website today and when I spied a post about Matt Chandler and The Village Church what I read troubled me greatly.
First, Silva pointed out the covenant for membership at the church. Pretty common these days, but I have yet to be convinced that such covenants are Biblical. James 5:12 says, “Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no, or you will be condemned.” Covenanting with a church even with pure motives puts a person under condemnation later when they fall short of their promises — as practically every person will.
I visited The Village Church website for myself to view this covenant document myself.
Silva did not get into the biblical or unbiblical nature of covenants. Rather he went on to examine what The Village Church is requiring of its members and was particularly concerned about the requirement of “spiritual disciplines” which you can see in the second bullet point below:Those words also got my attention. Silva continued: “The issue now becomes what is meant by ‘practice of spiritual disciplines.’ After-all, it could simply mean practicing what’s commonly referred to as the means of God’s grace e.g. in Acts 2:42. It wouldn’t automatically mean that Matt Chandler and his elders are telling their covenant members that they must practice spurious CSM.” (Silva uses CSM as an abbreviation for Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism)
Silva found the answer in the membership section of TVC’s website devoted to Frequently Asked Questions where Dallas Willard’s definition of spiritual disciplines was praised and his and Richard Foster’s books were recommended.
How sad to find that Chandler’s church is not only endorsing books about contemplative spirituality, but actually requiring its members practice “spiritual disciplines. Pastor Gary Gilley lays out the reasons such practices are unbiblical in this article (and exposes Foster’s many theological problems). I pray that Chandler and others in The Village Church would be awakened to the dangers of these mystical practices.
101 of Contemplative Prayer - from Stand Up For the Truth
Richard Foster, A Celebration of Deception – Critical Issues Commentary
Biblical Silence vs. Mystical Silence – Do Not Be Surprised
A Time of Departing - Ray Yungen