Christian Leadership And Mentoring: Contemplative Theology’s Trojan Horse -- By: Philippe R. Sterling

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 20:39 (Autumn 2007)
Article: Christian Leadership And Mentoring: Contemplative Theology’s Trojan Horse
Author: Philippe R. Sterling


Christian Leadership And Mentoring: Contemplative Theology’s Trojan Horse

Philippe R. Sterling

Pastor, Vista Ridge Bible Fellowship
Lewisville, Texas

I. Introduction

When the Greeks had lain siege to Troy for ten years, without success, they pretended to retreat. They left behind a large wooden horse in which a number of Greek soldiers had hidden themselves. A planted spy convinced the Trojans, despite the warnings of Laocoön, to move the horse inside the city as a war trophy. In the following night, the Greeks descended out of the wooden horse, opened the gates for the Greek army, attacked the unsuspecting and celebrating Trojans, and finally conquered Troy.

From this story comes the expression Trojan horse as a general term describing a gift that is actually a trick. It gave rise to the proverb “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” The term Trojan is also used today to refer to malicious computer software that look harmless or beneficial to the user but actually contain a computer virus or spyware. In the last decade the spiritual virus of contemplative spirituality has been introduced widely in Evangelical circles through the avenue of leadership training and enrichment.1

II. Examples of Contemplative Influences in Evangelicalism Today

A. VantagePoint3 and the NAB Conference

In the fall of 2005 I received a call from the developer of the leadership training material used by the conference of Baptist churches of which my church is a member. He wanted to form what’s called a Leadership Training Center in the North Dallas region that would involve churches from several denominations. He wanted to meet with me and orient me to the training concept and materials and see if my church would want to participate.

I met with him at a Starbucks and he went over with me the Leadership Training Center strategy and gave me a copy of the first workbook used in the program. I took the workbook home and began to read it. I was surprised to find this contemplative exercise:

Step into the Quiet…

find a place where you can be alone for a two hour period of time.

for the first thirty minutes, relax and allow yourself to be comfortable.

chill the noise and clutter within…this could take awhile.

focus on God actually indwelling your very being.

repeat a special name or phrase which characterizes your relationship with God.

when dis...

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