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We're asking the big "What if...?" questions about the Synod of Alberta and the Territories in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. It's more than a conversation, we hope to be part of God's action!
The welcoming statement on the Integral Life webite linked to in this blog states: “You are here because you’re intelligent, you have broad interests, and you’re looking for something deeper”. This would accurately describe a lot of people I know. However I don’t think Integral Life is the place to find a way to a deeper relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The teachings do not point the way to Christ alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, or Scripture alone.
The fact that much of the Integral Life website is hosted by Ken Wilber is a huge red flag for me. It is my understanding that Ken Wilber is a practicing Mahayana Buddhist, who also promotes various aspects of Hinduism. Most of his beliefs fall along the lines of an Eastern worldview, new-age thinking, mysticism or gnosticism. He has had much influence on emergent liberals such as Brian McLaren and Rob Bell.
Wilber’s thinking does seem more complex and quite different than most “new-age thinkers” but it is clearly not a Christian worldview. It is essentially unbiblical at its core. His world view is more consistent with pantheistic monism. He denies the existence of a Creator and the reality of finite selves. He illogically asserts that both dual and nondual states are somehow real in amongst different levels of “human evolutionary spiritual consciousness”. (He places Christianity fourth among nine levels.) He promotes the mystical experience of “emptiness” to be the highest state of consciousness where the subject-object relationship disappears into a nondual reality.
According to Wilber’s world view there essentially is no need to be leading people in the direction of Christ and his saving grace. Therefore I think we need to be leading people in a direction away from Integral Life’s teachings.
I agree that we must continually point to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. I believe that the Lutheran church has thrived and will thrive when we place our hope in the person of Jesus. Thanks for your thoughtful reflections! If you were to pose a “What if?” question for the Lutheran church today, what would it be?
Thank you for you comment. I did not intend in the post to promote a faith view outside of Christianity, only to remind those living in the Christian Tradition that there is more than one way to look at faith. Our faith often centers around the exterior (exoteric) and the rituals that we share. But there is a part of the Tradition that also speaks to the interior (esoteric) life. That is where my interest in the post springs from.
Is there also a possibility that someone from outside of the Christian Tradition can see the truth in the Biblical witness, and yet not subscribe to the Tradition? I would hope so. We as a church become quickly exclusivist if we are not open to voices outside of our “group” and maybe even miss something because our limited perspective blinds us.
I just started reading a book that reminded me of this blog post and your interest in the “interior life.” I wonder if you or anyone else has read and has thoughts on it: “Metamorpha-Jesus as a way of life” by Kyle Strobel. I am looking forward to reading more about what he has to say about authentic spiritual transformation.
With regards to your question/comment about people outside the Christian Tradition seeing the truth, I would say that there may be some aspects of truth found in other places but since the sum total of truth is in Christ, that is where we should be looking. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Truth by definition is exclusive (of course the invitation is open to everyone to accept or not) and I think it is a dangerous slippery slope on the road to syncretism if inclusivity and listening to outside voices get too much of a priority.