I have just finished reading something about Contemplative Prayer. One of the things that contemplatives believe is that the Kingdom of God is within everyone and everything, you only need to tap into the deep recesses of your soul to awaken the dynamic presence of God.
This sounds all well and good on the surface doesn’t it?
One of the scriptures they use is found in Luke 17:20-21 which says…
Luk 17:20 And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.
If you just take these versus in isolation, then it appears that they are right! But is that what Jesus really meant when addressing the Pharisees?
". . . anyone can experience this dynamic presence of God, because God is within everything he creates. . . . So ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’ is hardly a heretical statement."[Frederica Mathewes-Green, "What Heresy?" November 1, 2003, http://www.ctlibrary.com/bc/2003/novdec/4.22.html] Her reference to the "kingdom-of-God-within" derives from Jesus’ statement in the Gospels where in responding to the Pharisees’ question about how the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20b-21, KJV). As assumed by contemplative spiritualists, did Jesus mean to infer that all persons possess a "dynamic presence," a kingdom of God within them?
Read the rest of this article to really understand what Jesus meant when He said that the Kingdom of god is within you.
If you would like to do further research in this area of what is commonly called ‘Contemplative Prayer’, ‘Breath Prayers’ and ‘Lectio Divina’… HERE is a good place to start.
The thing is this, scripture must be understood within the context of which is was written.