Bible Project’s Tim Mackie and contemplative prayer

“And that’s because the Divine Presence is always with us. This can be understood as the glorified Christ, or as the Holy Spirit, or as the Trinity, or as the Higher Consciousness, or as the One Self, or as the Higher Self.” [1] –Contemplative prayer advocate Thomas Keating.

This is unholy.

The Bible tells us:

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (2 Philippians 9-11)

So, here is the question: Has Tim Mackie, co-founder of Bible Project, entered into contemplative practices? I began to wonder about this based on comments and talks Mackie has given on YouTube.

Mackie seems like a person with a mind that is very busy, always thinking, thinking, thinking. Our active thoughts are the bane of anti-biblical practices such as New Age meditation, Eastern meditation, and so-called contemplative prayer. In order to reach the meditative state we have to still all thought, blank out the mind.

Contemplative prayer is essentially the same thing as Eastern or New Age meditation, only disguised with Christian terms and phrases.It is spiritually deceptive and foundational to the rising false church.

Tim Mackie states he has a Spiritual Director.[2] There are, to the best of my knowledge, no Spiritual Directors who do not advocate contemplative practices.

Tyler Staton is the author of Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools. He is the pastor of Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. The Foreword to Staton’s book is written by Tim Mackie, who is Staton’s friend and who also (I believe) attends Bridgetown Church.

In the Foreword, Mackie writes, “Tyler shared with me a number of habits he learned from others, practices that keep our minds, hearts, and bodies open to the presence and power of God’s Spirit. It turns out they’re quite ancient and deeply intuitive.”[3] Mackie’s involvement in the book is significant because Bible Project reaches millions through its videos as well as through sermons and talks by Mackie featured on YouTube.

Regrettably, Mackie quotes Thomas Keating, a Catholic priest who was quite successful in introducing contemplative prayer into the Body of Christ. Before the lengthy Keating quote, Mackie himself writes, “My hope is that you will come to experience prayer and the presence of God in the way Keating describes it:”[4]

And here is the Keating quote:

This Presence is so immense, yet so humble; awe-inspiring, yet so gentle; limitless, yet so intimate, tender and personal. I know that I am known. Everything in my life is transparent in this Presence. It knows everything about me–all my weaknesses, brokenness, sinfulness–and still loves me infinitely. This Presence is healing, strengthening, refreshing–just by its Presence … It is like coming home to a place I never should have left, to an awareness that was somehow always there, but which I did not recognize.[5]

This Presence… is Keating talking about the biblical God? As demonstrated at the beginning of this article, he is not. Due to his saturation in contemplative prayer, Keating has a very different understanding.

Why do Mackie and Tyler Staton not know this about Keating? Sure, Keating can speak “Christianese” if that is what his audience requires. He can speak of Trinitarian love, or about Christ with seeming sincerity. But it doesn’t take much effort at all to learn about Keating’s actual theology.

Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools is ostensibly about prayer in general. Tyler Staton is a good writer. But in terms of sources, references and quotes, the book is awash with advocates of contemplative prayer: Keating, Nouwen, Merton, Peterson, Manning, Foster, Julian of Norwich, and on and on. A person could potentially be led into these anti-biblical and deceptive practices through interest in the people Staton mentions or sources throughout the book.

But, really, isn’t this just a book about Christian prayer by a pastor who happens to be friends with Tim Mackie? So what if contemplatives are sourced or quoted? Those contemplatives are used by Staton in his book because Tyler Staton is contemplative himself. As Pastor Staton makes clear in an interview,

“I would not describe myself as a contemplative. I would describe myself as a charismatic contemplative.”[6]

So, back to our original question. Has Mackie also acquired contemplative practices? Or has his busy mind prevented this? Either way, the influential Mackie has given his blessing to a book that, when all is said and done, is indicative of the strong contemplative spirit that will simply not go away.

Source Notes:

1. 40. Into Unity Consciousness with Thomas Keating Go to 1:58 in video link here

2. 24/7 The Gathering ’22 (Tim Mackie) Go to 46:55 in video here

3. Tyler Staton, Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools, Foreword, xii

4. Ibid., xiii

5. Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel (New York: Continuum, 1992), 137, italics in original.

6. Ep2: Interview: Tyler Staton on how to hunger for more faith. Go to 34:52 in video link here

Related article: Hell needs “reframing” says The Bible Project co-founder

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