Open Letter:

Why We're Monks

 

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).

Photo: Celtic cross. 

 

 

 

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: Monk Preston enjoys solitude in a quiet wooded area.  Photo Copyright 2003 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved.

"We feel that the idea of "monks" is a historical Christian symbol and metaphor for both a life of prayer, and a life of dedication to the Lord.

All we mean by our use of the term "Monk" is to be a consecrated Christian, especially dedicated to the Word of God and prayer." 

-Monk Preston

(Co-Founder and President, The Prayer Foundation ™) __________________________________________________

The Letter We Received:

I had a friend tell me about the Knights of Prayer  , and I admit I was skeptical.  Upon reviewing your website and doctrine, I find that I do agree with your belief system.  However, I was wondering why you have adopted the monastic system, which is closely tied with Roman Catholicism.  The word "monk" is associated with isolation and purism, and has a perceived tradition of such.  I guess my main question is simply: "Why?" This is totally for my own curiosity and satisfaction; please do not take it as an urgent request or complaint.  Any response will be appreciated.                                                                               Thank you.                                                                                               Daniel G.

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Our Reply:

We were well aware that this approach might be misunderstood by many in the Evangelical Community. 

Dear Daniel,

 
Thank you for you interest in our ministry.
 
     In 1999, Monk Preston and his wife, Monk Linda, felt called by God to co-found an Interdenominational Christian Prayer Growth and Encouragement Ministry (one of its ministries is this web site of Prayer Teaching and Resources).  To this they have dedicated our lives. 
 
     When they stood in the ruins of ancient (ca. 500-700 A.D.) Irish Celtic monastic settlements, they felt that this was how they wanted to live their lives (they were also greatly affected by visiting Assisi and walking in where St. Francis had walked).  As Evangelical Christians strongly into the teachings of the Great Reformers of the Protestant Reformation (and Monk Preston having been an Evangelist invited to preach in Churches of many different denominations for several years in the early seventies), they were well aware that this approach might be misunderstood by many in the Evangelical Community. 

...after taking even a little time to look at our Doctrine and Practice, they see that we are indeed Bible-believing and teaching Evangelicals, and we have been truly surprised at how universally positive the reaction has been.

 
     In general, the reaction has been much like yours.  Upon seeing our Habits (monk robes) the natural (and, to us, completely understandable) reaction is "I thought only Roman Catholics had monks?  Is this some kind of Cult?"  But after taking even a little time to look at our Doctrine and Practice, other Christians see that we are indeed Bible-believing and teaching Evangelicals, and we have been truly surprised at how universally positive the reaction has been. 

     We daily receive many e-mails from Pastors and members of various Evangelical denominations, and they rejoice that God has raised up a ministry to fill this particular "niche."  In fact, we receive about two hundred e-mails a day (we have been online since Nov. 8, 2000).

We feel that the idea of "monks" is a historical Christian symbol and metaphor for both a life of prayer, and a life of dedication to the Lord.

     We feel that the idea of "monks" is a historical Christian symbol and metaphor for both a life of prayer, and a life of dedication to the Lord.  All we mean by our use of the term "Monk" is to be a consecrated Christian, especially dedicated to the Word of God and prayer.

     Even Martin Luther considered retaining the monasteries as schools but rejected them instead because at the time entering a monastery was seen as a way of obtaining forgiveness of sins (which Luther realized was only and completely through Christ through the Atonement).  We wondered what would have happened if the idea of monks and monasticism had been subjected to the light of the Protestant Reformation, and arrived at the conclusion that it would be in line with what we have already stated above (a more complete explanation of Luther's reasons for rejecting Monasticism is found on our page: Favorite Monks: Martin Luther).

All we mean by our use of the term "Monk" is to be a consecrated Christian, especially dedicated to the Word of God and prayer. 

     In a very similar way, the Celtic Christians (which were never formally organized, but consisted of independent Christians and Christian ministries in Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, and Scotland) existed from around 200 A.D. (some would say earlier) until the time the Roman Catholic Church ended it.  In England this occurred at the Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D., and in Ireland at the Synod of Cashel in 1172 A.D. A.D.  Parts of Scotland actually remained Celtic Christian until the time of the Protestant Reformation, (when they became Presbyterian Protestants).

     Some of the the Celtic Christians apparently allowed married monks for over three-hundred years, and were extremely missionary minded. After the fall of the Roman empire, it was a flood of Irish missionary monks who preached the Gospel to pagan Europe, re-converting it to Christianity.  This includes then pagan Italy, where the Irish monks founded an Irish Celtic monastery in Bobbio, right outside of Rome.  The story of these Irish missionary monks is told in the second half of the book: How the Irish saved Civilization).

 St. Francis also desired to follow only the example of Christ and the Apostles, and totally rejected most of the common practices of the existing monasteries of his time.

 
     Of course, even in the Roman Catholic Church, the early Franciscans were a "preaching" monastic Order (mendicant "Friars").  St. Francis desired to follow only the example of Christ and the Apostles, and totally rejected most of the common practices of the existing monasteries of his time.

     Although, as an Evangelical Protestant ministry, we do not accept certain of the teachings of Roman Catholicism (for example: penance, purgatory, and prayer to saints), we realize that there are many individual Evangelical Roman Catholic believers, and these we welcome to (and many do) participate in the various ministries of The Prayer Foundation .

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Further information as to "Why We're Monks", may be found on the following pages:

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Copyright © 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved.