What does the Bible teach about Taize, Lectio Divina, Labyrinth, Renovare, guided imagery, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius?

Hello N,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are programs with occult methodologies and techniques that are being introduced and practiced in Christian churches, seminaries and youth rallies around the world.

These exercises are taken from the old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. And are the antithesis of the meditation presented in God’s Word. Other examples of these practices are the Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo, Centering Prayer, Ignatian Awareness, Examen, chanting, biblical imagination, prayers of discernment, and the Jesus Prayer.

Most evangelicals would immediately reject divination practices like the Ouija board, for example, and see it as a device for contacting evil spirit entities, which the Bible condemns and calls an abomination (Deut. 18:10-12). But they don’t reject the Catholic Spiritual Exercises because it appear less threatening as it is disguised under church related activities.

The term “contemplative,” means to think about something intently but practitioners of these contemplative methods don’t do that. The aim of these practices is to get people beyond thinking and into the realm of “experiencing” God. A tutorial of this movement is The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which introduces occult visualization. Sadly, these visualized apparitions are demons that take actual forms and usher the practitioner into the world of the occult and away from God.

Contemplative Prayer is not a Biblical prayer because mystical “spirituality” demphasizes the role of faith and Scripture and exalts “transcendental” experiences that claims to raise the person from the earthly experiences into a supposedly higher “spiritual” level. It is based on physical “experiences” rather than the Bible. But the scriptures clearly teach that the believers should “give attendance… to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13).

Faith that is based on Mysticism is subjective and does not rely upon the absolute truths of God. The Word of God has been given to us as a light the leads to righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Trusting in feelings and experiences is not Biblical because the believers must “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  And “faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”  (Romans 10:17).

The Bible (OT and NT) never mentions any of the apostle, prophets or disciples ever using such forbidden methods to connect with God. On the contrary all sorcery and divination were fully condemned (First Samuel 15:10) and for practicing these evils, the Jews were led into captivity and destroyed (2 Kings 17:17; Jeremiah 14:14; Malachi 3:5).

God has given His Word and His Holy Spirit to help His children know what is of Him and what is not. And the apostle Paul lists sorcery as one of many sinful practices that rob people from having eternal life: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife . . . and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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