|Written over twenty-five hears ago, and proclaimed by Christianity
Today as one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, the
influence of Celebration of Discipline is all but incalculable.
It's author, Richard
Foster, is a Quaker, so his spiritual life is grounded in the subjective
“inner light” presupposition of the Friends. He is highly steeped in
the Roman Catholic mystics, drawing from dozens of them for his theology.
More than that, Eugene Peterson informs us that Foster has “‘found’
the spiritual disciplines [in the mystics] that the modern world stored
away and forgot” (p. 206). Foster’s views are also formed by Quaker
mystics and even secular thinking, most surprisingly Carl
self-confessed demon-possessed psychologist.
Without question, these extra-biblical sources are behind Foster’s
understanding of the Christian life. That is not to say that he does not
refer to Scripture and occasionally interpret it correctly. However, it is
astounding to see how often he mutilates the Word of God (e.g., pp. 16, 17,
55, 83, 114, 156, 170, and 177).
As a result of his unbiblical routes and disregard for the meaning of Scripture, it should not surprise us that Foster has become a Pied Piper, leading multitudes away from Biblical Christianity. From the vantage point of twenty-six years since the publication of Celebration of Discipline, we see just how far astray Foster has taken his followers. These include:
Overall Foster’s book is an encyclopedia of unbiblical teaching,
which leads the unsuspecting reader away from Christ and into mysticism, or
worse. It is a telltale sign of the state of the church to find how
accepted Foster’s teachings are.
* Reviewed by Pastor Gary Gilley, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, IL 62703. More detailed information on the teachings in Celebration of Discipline is available in Gilley's February 2005 Think On These Things article: "Mysticism Part II," and posted as BDM's report on Richard Foster. For a primer on mysticism, see Gilley's January 2005 Think On These Things, "Mysticism Part I: Mysticism, a Way of the Past, the Wave of the Future."