"The point here is that regular TGC contributor Mike Cosper is at a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani... an apostate Roman Catholic Cistercian monastery"

Thomas Merton and the Gospel Coalition Blog

Is the ostensibly Protestant TGC really okay with all of this? After-all, one would think its leaders would be aware that the Protestant Reformation resulted in the Roman Catholic Church anathematizing the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. How then, could this monkery possibly be considered “a house of the Lord?” No doubt “the stress of ministry” can wear one down who’s ministering in his own power; however, TGC contributor Mike Cosper then needs to turn to apostates—Biblically, enemies of the cross of Christ (cf. Philippians 3:18)—for a retreat? Really; I think it’s well past time for evangelical leaders to ask why?

-Gospel Coalition Contributor Mike Cosper Defends Retreat With Roman Catholics H/T - Alex Guggenheim

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Pretty silly. So now if you go hang out at a building for some time away, you are linked to the beliefs of the people who own the building?
(Don't the Mormons own several hotel chains? Hmm....)

Charlie's picture

If you had a choose between getting some downtime at a Catholic monastery or at Ken Silva's house, which would you choose? I felt dirty just looking at that blog.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Greg Long's picture

I've been convicted and I must confess...while on a trip to the San Diego area recently for a church conference, my wife and I took time to visit the http://www.sanluisrey.org/ Mission San Luis Rey de Francia . I hope I can still prove my Protestant evangelical credentials.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I must also confess that in 2007 I hung out in several Roman Catholic Churches and chapels, at least one monastery, several Armenian Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox facilities, a couple of Jewish Synagogues... not even sure what else (they all happened to be in Israel).

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Pretty silly. So now if you go hang out at a building for some time away, you are linked to the beliefs of the people who own the building?
(Don't the Mormons own several hotel chains? Hmm....)

Well, maybe if you close your eyes hard enough and plug your ears hard enough it will all go away and you won't have to deal with it. What is really silly though, is that you respond as if this is what is the primary objection, if one at all. But straw men are so much easier to knock down.

The issue was Cosper's use of an apostate for spiritual instruction. Lest some sophomore wish to jump in and cry "Saint Paul quoted Greek literature", this was not being done in the same fashion.

Cosper used Merton as one from who we could and should receive enlightenment and modeling for spirituality.

But just in case you missed the elevated point here it is from the first article:

Quote:
Cosper begins his TGC post with a lengthy quote from Merton’s book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. This is the same book where the fool Thomas Merton denies the doctrine of original sin and teaches the Gnostic mystic mythology of an alleged “spark of the divine” (God indwells all of mankind):

that expression, le point vierge, (I cannot translate it) comes in here. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will.

This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written is us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven.

It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billion points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely….I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere. [1 ]

This is theological garbage and sadly I am not surprised it is being defended by being ignored and instead, some anecdotal point in the articles is being addressed in order to avoid dealing with this.

Charlie's picture

Here is the original TGC post that caused the stir: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/10/26/the-iphone-as-hitchhi...

Now, you'll notice that the post isn't about Merton, alternative spirituality, or anything else. It's about the effect of technology on people.

Next, let's examine the quote. It takes what could be a very ordinary occurrence, killing a spider, and turns it into a penetrating reflection. It's both poetic and pertinent, a perfect anecdote.

If the opening quote had been by Russell Moore (also quoted in the article), everyone would have praised it and said how perceptive it was. So, really, the issue is not the quote itself, but the name tagged at the bottom. Why should that matter? Does a bad person make a bad quote? Are pieces of wisdom only good if they come from wholly orthodox Christians? That's ridiculous. I might start a conversation, blog, or article with a quote by Plato, Nietzsche, Joseph Ratzinger, or John Calvin. In every case, my use of the quote means the same thing. Someone said something my readers ought to hear, and they said it very well.

Did Cosper speak positively of Merton? Yes. For what? For his thoughts on technology. Does that mean people should model their whole Christian lives after Merton? No. Did Cosper imply that? No. Only if we begin with the premise that appreciation implies total endorsement - a truly Fundamentalist (of the worst sort) way of thinking! - could we really object to Cosper's use of Merton here.

So, I think the theological garbage award goes to Ken Silva, who, by his ironic misuse of technology, managed to miss the issue of Cosper's post entirely, all the while making an issue out of a non-issue.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
So, I think the theological garbage award goes to Ken Silva, who, by his ironic misuse of technology, managed to miss the issue of Cosper's post entirely, all the while making an issue out of a non-issue.

Wholeheartedly agree. Ken Silva's discernment blog comes off quite tabloidish rather than theological.............

Lee's picture

"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him....For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." I Cor. 8:1-13

Mr. Cosper has knowledge and influence, and that knowledge has affected him exactly as Scripture predicted, evidenced by the litany of Jr. High excuses--it was close by; blah, blah, blah. With his influence, which he has sought through the Gospel Coalition, he must be well aware that there will be those who he influences with specific vulnerabilities towards the seductive allure of the idolatry of Catholic Mysticism that may now be even more susceptible. At best he has exhibited an epic fail to "flee from idolatry (I Cor. 10:14);" at worst he has promoted that idolatry via his credibility, dancing dangerously close to Jezebel of Rev. 2, who "calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants...to eat things sacrificed unto idols."

He should be rebuked.

Lee

DavidO's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
at one of his church's dance parties

So that's what redeeming the culture looks like.