Having read Richard Foster’s The Celebration of Discipline, I already knew this guy was a little batty and a whole lot mystical. For this reason, I approached the book cautiously and prayerfully, asking God to teach me what He desired for me to learn from this book before I felt inclined to set it aside as “unreadable.” While God did teach me a few things about prayer that have since aroused my thinking, He also taught me much about discernment regarding what I read. Thus for this “review,” I won’t even share the few things I learned about prayer from this book that I couldn’t finish, because Richard Foster’s mysticism is so blatant and far from innocuous.
A true believer in the saving work of Christ as described in Scripture cannot possibly read Foster too much without sensing a very nasty philosophy of “salvation”: that God has not truly redeemed us, but has instead simply invited us onto a long path of enlightenment which we must trudge along in the footsteps of Jesus, hoping we arrive safely with a better understanding of what Jesus did on the cross, and we must do so all the while still burdened down not only with our still-carnal minds but with our sinful baggage as well. That is not the salvation I know of from just a cursory reading of God’s Word, and it is not one that I want to spend my time reading! While I do believe in the sanctification of the believer, I also believe that this sanctification follows justification. The process of my spiritual growth after salvation plays no role in my standing before God as his adopted child. The shed of blood of Christ “once for all” has secured that reality for eternity. As his redeemed, I now have the privilege to come before the Throne of Grace “white as snow,” for the blood of Christ has cleansed from all sin (even those I will invariably commit today with my carnal mind). I cannot see how the Richard Foster who wrote the first several chapters of this book could agree with what the Scriptures clearly detail regarding this Truth, which is why I could not continue reading his work. Sorry to any Foster fans, but when I asked God to teach me what He desired for me to learn from this book, He answered my prayer.