(462) GOD IN MY EVERYTHING by KEN SHIGEMATSU (Part 1) – Emerging Trends in the Church Today

NEO-MONASTICISM

Ken Shigematsu, author of God In My Everything – How An Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God.


BACKGROUND
Ken is the Senior Pastor of Tenth Church (C&MA) in Vancouver, BC, one of the largest and most diverse city-center churches in Canada. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded to Canadians in recognition

499251_1_ftcfor their outstanding contribution to the country. Before entering pastoral ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo and draws on both EASTERN and western perspectives in his writing and speaking. Ken is the author of God in My Everything (Zondervan 2013).

The book’s description goes on to say –

Ken Shigematsu shows that a vibrant spiritual life is for all of us–not just those predisposed to SOLITUDE and reflection. The time-tested spiritual practice of the “rule of life” can bring you into a closer relationship with God. A personal rule of life fits almost any vocation or life situation and shifts with you as life changes.

Journey down this ancient pathway and learn to enjoy God as you draw closer to Christ.

Ken Shigematsu shows that SPIRTUAL FORMATION is more than just SOLITUDE and CONTEMPLATIVE  reflections. SPIRITUAL FORMATION happens in the everyday, in each and every moment of life.  For those caught up in the busyness of work, family, and church, it often feels like time with God is just another thing on a crowded “to-do’ list. Ken explains how the time-tested spiritual practice of the “rule of lifecan help bring busy people into a closer relationship with God. He shows how a personal rule of life can fit almost any vocation or life situation.

In God in My Everything, you will discover how to create and practice a life-giving, sustainable RHYTHM in the midst of your demanding life. If you long for a DEEPER spirituality but often feel that the busyness of life makes a close relationship with God challenging—and, at times, seemingly impossible—this book is for you.

 
Ken is a very good writer who grabs your attention by making his advice very practical. His appeal to those caught up in the busyness of life and his instruction into setting up a personal “rule of life” that can be applied to your job as well as to your personal life with the goal of bringing you into a closer relationship with God.  Who wouldn’t want that?

I commend the author for an appeal to challenges that most all of us face in life. I also respect his background coming from an Eastern perspective which reveals a different perspective on many different issues in life.  

Ken is a pastor with the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  It is important to not judge Ken Shigematsu’s motives beyond what he has revealed in his writings and speeches.  This critique is focused on comparing his beliefs, teachings, books,….etc. to what is in God’s word regarding various areas of our lives. I’m sure if we looked at what Ken promotes from a biblical perspective, we could also demonstrate a number of biblical perspectives that he is promoting well.  

With this strength also comes several concerns.  Starting from the very beginning of his book in its title – “God In My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God” there is a sense that this book is not your standard Evangelical perspective. While some may applaud that perspective, there are several real concerns starting from the very beginning of the book.  This is even shown in the book description as listed above.  For someone who has followed this blog for quite a while now, they should quickly see some wording that raises red flags – requiring some additional biblical vetting on the message be conveyed in the book.

  • A sampling of these phrases that should tip off these concerns include:  EASTERN PERSPECTIVE, SOLITUDE, CONTEMPLATIVE, SPIRITUAL FORMATION, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES, PRACTICE, going DEEP(ER), RHYTHM, ANCIENT PATHWAY, RULE OF LIFE….etc.  
  • Previous postings describe several of these which are commonly used in contemplative and mystical writings to convey concepts that have limited or no biblical justification for.  At the risk of repeating myself too often, in some cases, the lack of biblical support is made up by having more similarities to other religions such as EASTERN MYSTICISM as well as ancient practices found in some of the Early Church Roman Catholicism which also followed MYSTICAL practices. 

 

Starting from the beginning in Chapter 1, which is titled – “Monks, Samurai, and the Christian Life” forshadows the reader on the direction Ken will take in conveying his ideas.  But even before we go down this path, there are several other red flags that one can identify as possible concerns.  I used to repeat ad nauseam, the phrase – “You can’t judge a book by its cover”.  While I still believe it to be true, technically speaking, the reality of today’s trends in “Christian books” have shown that in many cases today, you can judge a book by its cover.

Both on the cover and inside the book, many of the references Ken Shigematsu uses come from a more liberal, progressive, “emerging church”, mystical perspective.  Some examples include TONY CAMPOLO, PETE SCAZZERO, SHANE CLAIBORNE, JOHN ORTBERG.….etc.  These names are easily recognizable to many.  But, in each of these examples, these authors have demonstrated repeatedly their preference to trends coming from mystical practices instead of Scripture.  It is also not uncommon that these teachers promote a SOCIAL GOSPEL instead of a biblical GOSPEL to those who unexpectantly follow through with what is being taught.  These practices can draw a follower of Christ further from a close fellowship with God and into areas that are only found in Eastern & early Roman Catholic Mysticism.  

One example of this comes with the word MEDITATION.  As explained in previous postings, many today directly use and apply methods that come out of Eastern religions and are not taught in the Bible – breathing techniques, posture, repetition of a mantra, emptying the mind……etc.  Some of these are used by Ken Shigematsu without question.  A huge red flag!  

The question many of you have may be – “So what?”  While there are several dangers to doing these things, let me just say these techniques empty the mind.  Once the mind is more focused (on “nothingness”), it allows the person to focus on whatever would then come into the mind next.  Like TRANSCENDENTAL MEDIATION, a person can be influenced by whatever then affects that person during these meditations. If they are following after non-biblical practices to achieve this focus, it is not too difficult to see how demonic influences could start to affect the person’s walk.  

NEO-MONASTICISM

Back to the first chapter, Ken introduces the reader to his promotion of a MONASTIC walk in his spiritual life.  Monasticism is making huge inroads into Evangelicalism today. It is quite mind-boggling that the church has taken a turn in following after practices not prescribed by God’s word but in essence come from practices from other religions (i.e. Eastern) and ancient Roman Catholicism.  This new NEO-MONASTICISM is a topic we will discuss in the future postings on Ken Shigematsu’s book – God In My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God“.  It is an important topic to discuss and be made aware of with concerns of drawing people away from God and family.  

 

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One response to “(462) GOD IN MY EVERYTHING by KEN SHIGEMATSU (Part 1) – Emerging Trends in the Church Today”

  1. tigercat2121 says :

    Interesting…and unfortunate. Even pastors can get side-tracked (to put it nicely). Have you just skimmed the book or read most of it? Is there any biblical/worthwhile info. in it?

    J

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