Controversy over Contemplation and Contemplative Prayer: A Historical, Theological, and Biblical Resolution
Talbot School of Theology
The topic and practice of contemplative prayer has become a major controversy in Evangelical spirituality. For those critical of the spiritual formation movement in general, contemplative prayer is often raised as one obvious spiritual practice that is foreign to the Scriptures and a Christian world-view, and more akin to New Age and eastern religions. This paper is also critical of any approach to contemplation and contemplative prayer that is not grounded in the Christian Faith. However, I will argue that the Nicene theology of the fourth century CE already addressed some of these concerns in its response to Origenic spirituality and, in turn, provided a theological correction to sub-Christian views of contemplation and contemplative prayer. Furthermore, this paper argues that a truly Christian approach to contemplative prayer can be made consistent with Christian theology and that the Scriptures actually teach a form of contemplation and contemplative prayer.
Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care
DOI of Published Version
Coe, John H., "Controversy over Contemplation and Contemplative Prayer: A Historical, Theological, and Biblical Resolution" (2014). Faculty Articles & Research. 576.