I found the following article published just this week from John MacArthur’s Grace To You ministry, and I’m sharing it today so you can begin to understand why Spiritual Formation is causing so many Christians concern:
It’s possible—perhaps even likely—that you’ve never heard the phrase spiritual formation before. It’s the kind of terminology that’s often sequestered in academic circles. But in recent years, the concepts and practices of spiritual formation have gained popularity in the church and brought related issues to the forefront for many believers.
Even forming a basic definition of spiritual formation is no simple feat. It’s a fluid concept, with a wide range of accepted meanings and applications.
In broad terms, spiritual formation is the process of spiritual shaping and growth. Sending your children to a Christian school would fall under the wide canopy of spiritual formation. The same could be said of any education tied to a specific religion—Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim schools all contribute to the spiritual formation of their students.
However, in Christian circles, spiritual formation refers to more than mere academic instruction. Most often, it’s a reference to the dynamic means of sanctification. It deals with the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit and the various methods He uses to bring about spiritual growth in our lives.
It’s at this point things can become confusing. On one hand, there are the time-tested, practical Christian disciplines we’re all familiar with—things like personal and corporate Bible study, worship, prayer, discipleship, and service.
On the other hand, many of the leading voices in the spiritual formation movement stress the need for more intuitive interpretations of spirituality. They encourage believers to incorporate a wide variety of extrabiblical spiritual practices, such as contemplative prayer, silence, meditation, creative expression, and yoga. In fact, some of the most popular methods of spiritual formation have been lifted from Catholicism, new age mysticism, or other religions and re-branded with biblical-sounding terminology.
But any kind of subjective spirituality that draws your focus away from the Lord and His truth can have disastrous results, derailing your spiritual growth and cutting you off from God’s plan for your sanctification.
All true spiritual growth starts with the preeminent role of God’s Word in the lives of His people. But is Scripture alone enough for spiritual maturity?
Great question! What are your thoughts? And more importantly than our own opinions, what does God have to say?
- John MacArthur on Spiritual Formation and Biblical Sanctification (donotbesurprised.com)
- John MacArthur on Spiritual Formation and Biblical Sanctification (gty.org)
- Campbell University in North Carolina Added to Contemplative College List (lighthousetrailsresearch.com)
- What Is Spiritual Formation and Why Does It Matter? (freedomfromwolves.blogspot.com)
- Should Christians expect to hear God’s voice? (standupforthetruth.com)
- A Shepherd Guards His Flock (solasisters.blogspot.com)