LTRP Note: The following is from chapter one of Carolyn A. Greene’s book Dangerous Illusions (the sequel to Castles in the Sand). As far as we know, these are the only two novels ever published that delve into the evilness of the contemplative prayer/emerging church movement. The setting for Castles in the Sand is a Christian college where a young naive girl becomes deeply involved in mystical practices that her Spiritual Formation professor has introduced her to. In Dangerous Illusions, the story continues but is now taking place in a small mountain town in the U.S. where an unsuspecting church becomes victim to a dangerous deception that is masqueraded as a better more progressive Christianity. Every college-age young person (and their parents) should read these two important (and suspenseful!) books.
Dangerous Illusions—Chapter 1 by Carolyn A. Greene and Zach Taylor
It was nothing like he’d thought it would be. Rob Carlton walked the narrow brick and mortar path following close behind the robed monk. Hands in his jacket pockets, his neck enveloped by his upturned corduroy collar, and his knitted cap pulled low over his ears, Rob looked up as they passed an old brick office building belonging to the monastery. A certain sacred ambience lingered in the air.
The mountain wind buffeted Rob’s back, and the low-lying cloud cover obscuring the knife-edged peaks disseminated late spring snow on both him and the monk. Rob was cold, but he fought the urge to make haste, and in lockstep, paced himself with that of his companion while listening politely to quiet explanations. Rob asked the occasional question while half-wishing he’d never come, yet at the same time, strangely glad he did.
It had been a long one-hundred miles from Birch Valley, and he had plenty of time to think. All week long Stephanie had been insistent that he go, and on the Saturday morning that was his usual day to sleep in late, he found himself packing a small suitcase, listening in veiled irritation as she chattered away while preparing his favorite hotcakes-and-sausage breakfast. After twenty years of marriage, she was an impossible woman to refuse, for she knew all the right buttons to push. And one morning along the way, he awoke, struck with the startling realization that she had evolved into the kind of woman who could make his life quietly miserable while smiling to herself, convinced that whatever she required of him was in his best interest. It was she who was into this monastic mystical stuff, not him. Her quirky yet altogether feel-good theology had lately taken a dramatic turn.
At first, when she had begun traversing what he considered a slippery slope, Stephanie was content to leave him be with his old-time Baptist tradition. She, on the other hand, voraciously read books by obscure authors (ones he’d never heard of anyway) and engaged herself in a wide variety of spiritual exercises.
It was when she began watching the videos that she turned a corner, urging and, of late, demanding he become involved. His joking rebuffs were increasingly met with a self-righteous hostility. “You’re an elder of a failing church,” she snipped, “and you’re not even interested in giving the congregation the shot in the arm it needs.”
So he gave in and agreed to meet with the monk. Rob had fumed his first hour behind the wheel, but the more he thought about it, the more he felt she might have a point. His traditionalist mentality was getting Sheep Gate Lane Church, or Sheep Gate as the members called it, nowhere—and fast. To be sure, the old ways were comfortable and doctrinally sound, but the atmosphere of the church was now dry and devitalized. He really did care about the spiritual life of folks he had loved and fellowshipped with for the past decade; he just didn’t know what to do to get them interested anymore—or to renew his own interest, for that matter. Lately it seemed as if the entire concept and reality of church life was lacking a certain vitality.
But worst of all, the congregation was thinning out, and it was no longer the life-changing experience it used to be for those who remained. One thing he knew for sure—account books don’t lie. Offerings had dropped significantly over the past few months, and at the current drop-out rate, the church would close its doors before the new year began. Given his position as a salaried staff member, he was at risk. The imminent doom of surrendering a comfortable lifestyle for a spot in the unemployment line did not sit well with Rob at all.
And now here he was, following some robed monk down an ancient-looking stone path far removed from anything he’d ever known. He glanced backward periodically, half-expecting to see a reporter from the Birch Barker Weekly snapping his photo for the newspaper’s next exposé. Rob had the feeling that everybody in Birch Valley knew precisely what he was up to. Yet it was supposed to be done in secret. “Remember, don’t tell anyone you are going up there,” Stephanie had reminded him. She had even suggested he not take his iPhone with him at all.
“Tell me again why no one can know,” Rob had asked as he zipped his suitcase closed and grabbed his jacket.
“There are people—like Jacob Brown—who would resist changes—the kind of changes I’m thinking about—if he got wind of it. I can just hear him now at some emergency-called, all-church meeting saying, ‘This kind of thing is going against the Gospel,’” Stephanie mocked. “How many times have I heard Jacob say something like that! Sometimes I can’t help wish Jacob Brown would just . . .”
“Stephanie! Don’t even say such a thing!”
“Well, after all, he is getting up there in years.”
Rob had left the house with Stephanie still going on. She followed him to the car and continued talking to him through the open car window as he backed down the driveway to the road. After he had gotten out of town and was heading up toward the monastery, he had realized how he hated this cloak-and-dagger stuff. He had wished the weekend was already over and done with just so he could report back to Stephanie that he had given it his best shot and found her ideas to be anything but feasible or doable.
Now, as Rob walked with the monk, he took a closer look at the young bearded man. His rough, brown hood was drawn across his face, and each hand poked into the warm and spacious robe sleeves. A gentleness and serenity emulated from him. Serenity—oh how Rob longed just for some peace.
As the monk’s robes whipped every which way in the wind, he led the way to the small tiled courtyard. They paused at an overlook at the edge of the gray stone wall that encircled the area. Speaking in a soft tone, the monk said, “As you can see, it’s a most idyllic setting for a retreat. It’s early yet, of course, and officially, we don’t house people until May, but your wife was so . . . insistent that you needed, well . . . some guidance, and she seemed familiar with our ways. She did say you might have some personal obstacles to overcome regarding some of our teachings, but we understand that not everyone who comes here for refreshing subscribes to our faith. We’re very aware, understanding, and accommodating when it comes to such matters. It’s the personal journey, not indoctrination, that we’re interested in.”
“So it doesn’t matter that I’m not Catholic?” Rob probed.
The young monk smiled warmly. “Not at all. We welcome people of all faiths here. We’ve had Protestants, Buddhists, even agnostics …”
Rob’s eyes widened. “Buddhists?”
The monk chuckled. “We often get that reaction from those involved in mainline religion or Christian fundamentalism. But on a more serious note, we believe we—that is, you, me, everybody—can learn from all spiritual paths, regardless of our upbringing or current faith. Up here, amidst this unspoiled solitude, we provide a place of refuge for all who come. We exist primarily to help facilitate an authentic spiritual journey for the seeking soul. Some of our most influential Catholic teachers of the past were involved with Zen teaching. While we don’t incorporate everything pertaining to that particular pathway into our spiritual disciplines here, we still believe much of it to be compatible with Christian theology.”
Rob leaned against the waist-high wall as he perused the gray, hand-fitted rock giving the impression of a medieval castle, a symbol of both comfort and fortification. The monastery proper included a chapel and connecting monks’ cells all built of the same locally quarried stone, giving an appearance simultaneously imposing and retiring—a monument, perhaps, to a bygone yet intensely spiritual era. Rob had to admit it was a pretty place. A blue-green sea of spruce, fir, and pine cascaded downward from the aerie; and the air was rich with the scent of residual winter snow that remained at this altitude. It had taken some fancy footwork, driving wise, for him to get there; and the switchback climb through pockets of mud and dingy snow had afforded him a few moments of high tension. But standing on the edge of the monastery’s overlook and drinking in the quiet, Rob reluctantly admitted to himself that it had been worth it. There was something about the place he couldn’t quite put his finger on—a prevailing, transcendent, “a way backward is a way forward” kind of atmosphere that brought back fond, childhood memories like fishing for lake trout or experiencing that ecstatic, full of hope and promise feeling so part and parcel of young love. Feeling a twinge of regret, he couldn’t remember if he’d kissed Stephanie goodbye before he rushed out the door and sped away. He’d have to make that up to her when he got home.
“Come,” the monk urged. “There’s something else I’d like to show you.” They left the courtyard and walked along a meandering flagstone pathway through what was more than likely a spectacular flower garden during the summer. Next, they passed by thickets of brown stems poking up through patches of snow until they came to a large, circular, cement pattern, roughly thirty feet around and built into the ground. Rob stared. He recognized it from the cover of one of Stephanie’s books. The book’s title came rushing to the forefront of his memory—The Labyrinth: Old and New.
It was an odd thing to see this maze-like structure in real life sitting in the heavily wooded grounds of the monastery. With its circles within circles, it had the distinct look and feel of something ancient. “This is a …” the monk began.
“Yes, I know,” Rob interrupted. “It’s a labyrinth.” He stared long and hard at it, thinking.
The monk regarded him with respectful silence then asked, “Would you like to . . . ?
Rob shook his head. “Not just yet,” he said somewhat sheepishly. “This is all so new and …” He shrugged. “You know.”
The monk placed a gentle hand on Rob’s shoulder. “Would you like to see one of our prayer huts?”
Rob nodded, and they made their way back to the courtyard and to a small wooden A-framed building. Inside the prayer hut, as it was called, it was warm and cozy, out of the wind, and heated by a small propane stove. Rob looked around in nervousness and wonder, shifting his gaze from a tall, stained-glass window that nearly filled one side of the front entrance wall to the triple-tiered racks of lighted votive candles in the front to the plain wood altar gussied up with a brace of gilt candlesticks. Behind the altar was a large cathedral window, which unveiled a not-too-distant view of fir and pine trees leading up a mountainside. The two A-frame walls were decorated with murals; and one Rob recognized—an ecstatic monk on his knees with his arms outstretched and his hands, feet, and side pierced in accordance with one of his visions. Francis of Assisi. What was it they called it? Stigmata. The actual wounds of Christ, they said. Rob looked up at the center of the wall to the hand-carved crucifix. The figure of the suffering Jesus overlooked the room from its placement above the altar. Rob stared upward, feeling strangely drawn. Despite the modern décor, the room exuded a kind of antiquity reminiscent of another place and time—perhaps dating as far back as a thousand years.
Rob sat down on a large cushion situated on one of the wooden benches that lined the walls. He sighed and gazed out the window. The monk sat next to Rob and said, “Many monasteries that act as retreat centers are more modern than ours. But as a community we felt much could be gained by keeping the atmosphere like it was for the original brothers who established the Order. Don’t you agree?” Rob nodded but said nothing. His countenance exemplified the struggle he was going through to rely on logic and reason. For a time, the monk sat quietly, hands folded in his lap, gazing alternately at the crucifix and then at Rob. Finally, he took a deep breath and asked, “Mr. Carlton, what is it you’re looking for? Your wife was not very specific, and though we don’t normally make it a habit to pry, I’m sensing a feeling of desperation in you that I’d like to help you through. That is, if you’ll let me.”
Rob studied the face of the young gentle man for a prolonged moment then let out a weary sigh. “I’ve got trouble, and I don’t know what to do.” No sooner had the words left his mouth than all he had been feeling came bubbling to the surface with such intensity, he couldn’t suppress it: the dying church, his wife’s nagging, his own helplessness and uncertainty, and the fear of losing his position. A hundred other things came forth too, all jumbled together. And although he wasn’t completely coherent, the young monk seemed to understand.
“It’s obvious what you and your people need,” he said in a comforting voice. “Renewal. You’ve languished in dead traditionalism for so long you don’t know how to “do church” any other way. Mr. Carlton, that’s why we’ve opened our doors to the public for the retreat. We, that is, the Catholic church at large and our little community specifically, have rediscovered the old ways, the paths that the ancient Christians took in their spiritual walk. It’s like I told you. It’s the journey that’s important. How we get there is personal, and what may look to some as, oh, heretical …” he said the word with a derisive smile, “is for another a valid tool for finding God. You understand?” Rob nodded.
“I think so,” he conceded. “But, again, I’m no Catholic . . .” The monk looked on patiently and spoke as if to a child. How funny it was—Rob was old enough to be his father, but here the “son” was comforting and mentoring the “father.”
“Like I said, you don’t have to be. The ways in which we teach here, as well as the practices and spiritual disciplines we teach, you can take back to your own church and incorporate. At least try it and see. What have you got to lose? We have many success stories, and most of them began similar to yours.” Rob pondered, and the monk stood. “Look,” he said, “why don’t you just sit here awhile and meditate. It’ll come to you, what you should do. I’ll pray for you. Come to the main office when you’re ready to go to your cell.” He turned to leave but stopped and looked down at Rob. “I should tell you though, that by accepting these teachings and putting them into practice, two things will happen: first, your life will go through some dramatic changes, and second, you will face opposition back home. Some won’t understand, and others will simply refuse to embrace a liberating spirituality. It’s largely out of fear this happens—fear of change—fear of others who are different. You have to prepare yourself for that.” He reached down and touched Rob’s shoulder once again then took a few steps and went out through the antiquated looking oak door.
Silence engulfed the room, and Rob sat with his head down and hands between his knees. Opposition, he thought. “Yeah,” he muttered. “Like Jacob Brown. There’s no way he’ll stand for this. And yet if I decline, Stephanie will make my life insufferable. The house won’t be fit to live in.”
Rob’s mind drifted to the monk. He had such a kind demeanor, so gentle and even . . . well, even soothing. Jacob is always emphasizing doctrine, Rob pondered. Talk about fear—Jacob is afraid to try anything new. But what about charity? Look at this monk. He is kind and seems to have so much peace about him. Just because his beliefs are different than ours, does that make them wrong?
Then it hit Rob that maybe Stephanie was right. Maybe there was something they were missing. Maybe, just maybe . . . He shook his head and with gritted teeth said, “Man, I don’t need this.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a worn, little book within arm’s reach on a small shelf built into the wall. He leaned over and took hold of it while at the same time reading the title: The Cloud of Unknowing. In parentheses, it said, “Written by an anonymous monk in the fourteenth century.” Hey, I remember seeing that book on Stephanie’s desk, Rob mused. As he opened the book, a cloth bookmark fell out. He let the book fall open to the marked page. Underlined in pencil were the words: “take thee but a little word of one syllable: for so it is better than of two . . . fasten this word to thine heart . . . With this word, thou shalt beat on this cloud and this darkness above thee. With this word, thou shall smite down all manner of thought under the cloud of forgetting.” Take this word, a word with one syllable, Rob pondered. Stephanie was always talking about her prayer word and how repeating it and meditating on it brought her into the presence of God where she could hear his voice.
Raising his face again to the crucifix, Rob studied the figure there—the crown of thorns, the bleeding wounds on the hands, feet, and side. As he shifted his attention to the wall murals, he found himself drawn again to the painting of Francis of Assisi. “Yes,” he said aloud. Rob stood, hurried over to the door, paused, and walked back to the cushion. He reached down and grabbed the Cloud book, briefly eyeing it again, then tucked it under his arm. I have a feeling I am going to need this little book. Out the door into the fresh air he went. He was anxious to speak more with the monk. And when he had a chance, he had to call Stephanie. Something told him it was going to be an exhilarating weekend.
This is from Chapter 1 of Dangerous Illusions by Carolyn A. Greene and Zach Taylor.
6 Questions Every Gay Person Should Ask by Michael Tays Carter is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of 6 Questions Every Gay Person Should Ask, click here.
By Michael Tays Carter
Homosexuality was a biblical issue long before it became a political one. This booklet answers six important questions about man’s existence and whether or not a God of perfect love exists. Are we only here by chance governed by an amoral “spirit of the universe”? Could it be there is a moral God who has set moral boundaries for our good—a God who loves us enough to literally save us from ourselves?
ONE: What about my Unmet Needs?
There is an Eat-Drink-And-Be-Merry-For-Tomorrow-We-Die party going strong. It is hosted by the famous “I-Have-Needs” with the popular “Get-Your-Needs-Met-Here” to greet you at the door. “Hate-The-Law” is dancing the night away with “New-Christ-Consciousness.” “Doubt-The-Bible” has the crowded room in the palm of his hand. No one wants him to leave, but he has had so much to drink he staggers, and “Easy-Way-Out” has to show him to the door. Morning comes, and the place is still packed with people who all have needs at the Eat-Drink-And-Be-Merry-For-Tomorrow-We-Die party.
Married people who cheat have needs. Drug addicts have needs. Murderers have needs. Pedophiles and rapists have needs . . . What is to stop any of us from meeting our needs as we see fit? Who cares about the idea of rebelling against a moral God or hurting another human being in order to meet our (selfish) needs? When living a pure life seems too hard, what does it matter if we take the easy way out of pain?
The Greeks had homosexual and heterosexual orgies as a spiritual offering to their pagan gods. Who is to say they were wrong? Hitler believed God was on his side as he practiced occult spirituality. Can we know for sure he was deceived?
When we feel the need to live a way the Bible forbids, it is argued that we can excuse ourselves by flippantly reasoning, The Bible must not be true in this particular area of my temptation because it seems impossible for me to overcome. It’s too hard to live the way the Bible says is “right” when it comes to who I am, so I’ll judge the Bible instead of letting it judge me! But, is this really a plausible argument against the veracity of the Bible? It certainly suited Hitler and the Greeks.
When we become addicted and can’t stop a behavior, is it just a coincidence that the Bible warns that sin can own us as slaves? We blame God when He does not take desires away in our timing, on our terms, as if God is meant to be a servant to us instead of the other way around. God, who is the only moral Lawgiver, offers a redemptive plan for mankind in His love, but the freedom, joy and confidence He offers is contingent on surrender to and trust in Him, which often means self-denial in favor of God’s will.
The creed of Satanism teaches: “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” In other words, do whatever seems right in your own eyes. In stark contrast, Jesus taught:
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Matthew 16:24-25)
TWO: Do As Thou Wilt?
The creed of Satanism is “Do as thou wilt”—do whatever you want with only your conscience as your guide. Have you been believing in Satanism without even knowing it?
Do the following quotes from Satanism describe your beliefs?
Verses from the Satanic Bible to consider for freedom to sin
“Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”—Aleister Crowley, Creed of Satanism
“It is a popular misconception that the Satanist does not believe in God. The concept of ‘God’, as interpreted by man, has been so varied throughout the ages that the Satanist simply accepts the definition which suits him best . . . To the Satanist God, by whatever name he is called or by no name at all, is seen as the balancing factor in nature.”—The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey (p. 40)
“The day of the cross and the Trinity are done.”—Satanic Rituals, Anton LaVey (p. 127)
“There is no heaven of glory bright and no hell where sinners roast. Here and now is our day of torment! Here and now is our day of joy! . . . Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth. Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am my own redeemer.’”—The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey (pp. 33-34)
“The very word ‘devil’ . . . means ‘god.’ Satan represents opposition to all religions which serve to frustrate and condemn man for his natural instincts.”—The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey (pp. 55-57)
Verses from the Holy Bible to consider for freedom from sin
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21)
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:34, 36)
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication . . . . He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 8)
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. (Revelation 21:7-8)
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness . . .who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1: 24-29, 32)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
Living however we want in immorality is Satan’s way. Denying ourselves and living in purity, strengthened by His grace, is God’s way. Through the Bible, we can know the God who is far more than an impersonal spirit in the universe—the God who defeated Satan on the Cross.
THREE: What About Hate Crimes?
Violent or hate crimes against homosexuals are wrong without a doubt, but how about hate crimes toward Jesus?
Jesus warned that people would perish without repenting (i.e., turning away from their sinful lives and turning to Him in faith). If you are a practicing homosexual and Jesus Himself were here to tell you straight to your face as a gay person that you must repent of your sin and humbly turn to Him to find new life for your soul, would you call Him a “bigot”? Would you commit a hate crime against Him like the people who nailed Him to the Cross?
When anyone mocks a Christian for living a chaste life, according to the Bible, they are mocking God. Some Christians are discriminated against for believing the Bible as God’s Word, no matter how loving they are toward those who disagree. The Bible says that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus promises this, and He saves that person forever as His own. And He calls those who belong to Him His “Bride.” It hurts Jesus when a Christian is persecuted for believing in Him and the Bible.
Would you bully Jesus for telling you that you must leave your sin and pick up your cross to follow Him? Would you bully Jesus if He Himself convinced you that you were created for purity (see 1 Timothy 4:12). Would you commit a hate crime toward a Christian for telling you such a message in love?
If Jesus convinced you that God did not make anyone for homosexuality, would you say pejorative things about the Bible and hate God for His hatred of your sin? If you lived in the time of Jesus with His definition of sin, judgment, wrath, freedom, righteousness and love, would you have been among those in the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” because He convicts of sin and you “hate” such a conviction? Are you the person described in Hebrews to again crucify to yourself the Son of God and put Him to open shame? (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Will you have an open mind allowing yourself to see Jesus for who He truly is? Can you “accept Him as He is”? Jesus referenced Sodom and Gomorrah, and it was not with a compliment. He said Sodom and Gomorrah were reserved for a day of judgment in eternal Hell (Matthew 10:15, 2 Peter 2:6). This is what God said. Do you hate Him for that?
When Saul was persecuting Christians, Jesus appeared to him and said:
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. (Acts 26:14-15)
What if God never made you for the purpose of same-sex attraction, and homosexuality was never meant to define you as a human being made in God’s image? Would you bully Jesus for that? The Jesus of the Bible warned that all people must “repent” or “perish”—news worthy of a hate crime that nailed Him to the Cross.
FOUR: Why Believe The Bible?
When a person claims there is no absolute truth, it begs the question, “Is that true?” There is no truth if absolute truth does not exist. The gay person may sing along to Lady Gaga, “I was born this way,” but how do we know that is true? Is truth only based on feelings? The Islamic terrorists felt they were pleasing Allah when they attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They felt they were heading to a heaven of celestial sex with virgins as a result, but was reality based on their feelings? When Jerry Sandusky picked underprivileged children to molest and made them “feel” special before sexually abusing them at Penn State, were the children safe to trust their feelings with such a “friend”? How do we measure our worth and a true standard for living when the human conscience can be seared and feelings can be deceiving?
If the Bible is not true and holy, what is? If everyone is good, as New Age spirituality teaches, how do we explain crimes against humanity such as the genocide by Hitler against the Jews, the terror attacks of September 11th, or the “Batman Massacre” in Aurora, Colorado? Is justice for the inequalities and injustices in the world left only to chance? Are we all here by chance? Does the pedophile love his victims, just because he claims to love them while sexually abusing them? What is love? When John Wycliffe was burned at the stake for translating the Bible to the English language, was his death in vain for some silly made-up stories? How can we know we can trust the Bible?
There is no other book like the Bible. It is actually sixty-six books, and all with the same message, written over a span of fifteen hundred years by more than forty different authors from kings to fishermen. The Bible offers a salvation not based on works. What man would make up such a thing to deem himself so powerless with no capability of getting to heaven on his own merits?
Consider the Dead Sea Scrolls, which prove the Bible has stayed intact with the same message as in the earliest manuscripts. No other book has as many early manuscripts that match.
Then, there is the resurrection of Jesus. Roman guards were assigned to His tomb, yet His body still left it. Secular historians like Josephus report that Jesus appeared to over five hundred witnesses after He was resurrected from the dead, supporting the Bible’s account.
Jesus would either have had to be crazy or a downright liar for the claims He made if He was not God in the flesh. He could have never been a “good prophet” if He had claimed to be the only Savior by fraud.
Historically, Jesus fulfilled over three hundred prophecies from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
The most profound reason of all that people don’t believe in Jesus is because they love their sin and are in rebellion against a holy God. The Bible teaches that a fool has said in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1), not a highly educated scientist or professor—a fool. The guilty conscience of a fool is just one more thing to prove the Bible is true.
FIVE: Is There a Gay Gene?
Geneticists, anthropologists, developmental psychologists, sociologists, endocrinologists, neuroscientists, medical researchers into gender, and twin study researchers are in broad agreement about the role of genetics in homosexuality. Genes don’t make you do it. There is no genetic determinism, and genetic influence at most is minor.1
Below is a summary taken from Dr. Neil E. Whitehead’s book My Genes Made Me Do It!—a Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation.2 Dr. Whitehead has done twenty years of scientific research into homosexuality. His research covers more than 10,000 scientific papers and publications from all sides of the debate.
By Dr. Neil Whitehead (used with permission)
These very complex comparisons of identical twins and non-identical twins definitively rule out genetic determinism. Identical twins with identical genes are about 11-14% concordant for SSA [same-sex attraction]. If homosexuality were “genetic,” identical co-twins of homosexual men and women would also be homosexual 100% of the time. In classic twin studies the genetic fraction is less than 23% for men and 37% for women and may be as low as 10%. Twin studies continue to find steadily lower genetic fractions for homosexuality as methodology improves and samples become larger. Everyone has at least a 10% genetic factor influence in his or her thinking and behavior—simply because without genes there can be no human activity or behavior of any kind. Twin studies show that individualistic reactions to chance events (in which one identical twin reacts differently from the other) are by far the strongest contributors to homosexuality. In other words, randomness is a strong factor.
A scan of the whole genome [genetic material] has not found any homosexual genes, unlike the case for schizophrenia (which has still only identified 4 genes linked to 3% of schizophrenia.)
From an understanding of gene structure and function there are no plausible means by which genes could dictate SSA (or other behaviors) in a person.
No genetically determined human behavior has yet been found. The most closely genetically-related behavior yet discovered (mono-amine oxidase deficiency leading to aggression) has shown itself remarkably responsive to counseling.
A genetically dominated SSA caused by a cluster of genes could not suddenly appear and disappear in families, as it does. It would persist through every generation for many generations. It is genetically implausible that many “heterosexual” genes could switch off at the same time.
The human race shares most of its genes—something between 99.7% and 99.9%. That means all ethnic groups will have most of them. This has three implications.
If homosexuality is genetically dictated, homosexual practices will be identical or very similar in all cultures. But the enormous range and diversity of homosexual practice and customs in different cultures (and within cultures) argues against this.
There would be a similar percentage of homosexuality in all cultures. But homosexuality has been unknown in some cultures and mandatory in others.
Changes in homosexual practice and behavior in different cultures would take place very slowly, over many centuries. But this is not what history shows. The decline of whole models (culturally specific expressions) of homosexuality within a century; the relatively sudden (in genetic terms) emergence of the present Western model over a couple of centuries; and abrupt changes of practice within an ethnic group, even over a single generation, are not consistent with anything genetic.
The occurrence of SSA in the population is too frequent to be caused by a faulty pre-natal developmental process, so it is not innate in that sense either. This includes epigenetic processes, i.e. influences of the environment on genetic expression.
If SSA were genetically determined, and led to same-sex contact only, it would have bred itself out of the population in only several generations. It would not exist today.
First attractions (both SSA and OSA [opposite-sex attraction]) occur on average at age 10 and are rarely “earliest memories,” meaning attraction is mostly socially induced. The spread of ages of first attraction is very large, very different from the small spread of ages for the genetically pre-programmed event, puberty.
There have been many studies—none of which has shown any convincing strong relationship between homosexuality and exposure to pre-natal hormones, although several have shown very weak links between pre-natal hormone exposure and infant play. Studies examining effects of very high doses of female hormones to pregnant mothers show no effect on males and a dubious effect on women. Therapy changing levels of adult male and female sex hormones has been shown to affect sex drive but not orientation.
The idea that homosexuality results from pre-natal immune attack on male brain characteristics by the mother is poorly supported. In that case male testes and genitalia (having the largest cluster of male-specific targets) should be attacked but are not.
Numerous older studies of brain microstructures, in the nineties, have failed to come up with replicable differences between adult heterosexual and homosexual brains.
Modern studies show male and female brains at birth are not structurally different, making the likelihood of a specifically “homosexual” brain remote indeed. The main consistently replicable difference, from about age two or three, is their size.
The environment has effects on major sexual dimorphism [the difference between the sexes of the same species] from birth to puberty and beyond.
Sexual dimorphism of the brain mainly occurs at puberty, but even so, experts still have difficulty identifying structural differences between adult male and female brains (let alone heterosexual and homosexual). There is substantial overlap.
Neuroscientists are finding that the brain is extraordinarily plastic. The scientific consensus now is that even as an adult, we are what we are making our brains even though we may not be aware of the constant ongoing process. These changes in microstructure are visible in brain scans within months.
If differences are found between homosexual and heterosexual brains they are probably the result of years of conditioning (repeated thinking patterns and behavior).
The stages of psycho-social development toward adult heterosexuality are well defined and accepted by developmental psychologists, and are so obviously learned that heterosexuality is clearly not genetically mandated. In surveys of adult homosexuals many show deficits in several of these developmental stages—suggesting that homosexuality is cultural and environmental rather than genetic.
There is a much higher occurrence of homosexuality among those who have been raised in large cities, rather than in rural areas, arguing that the environment is much more powerful than genes in the development of homosexuality.
A scientific/sociological tool, Path Analysis, has been argued to show that there is no social or familial basis to homosexuality, but rather a biological one. However, social and family paths leading to homosexuality were collectively significant, though individual paths were not. In contrast, genetic paths were collectively insignificant.
Our instincts, such as self-preservation, hunger, and reproduction, are among the most deeply embedded and strongest impulses we have, but these are able to be controlled and even adapted. If we want to argue homosexuality is also a deeply ingrained instinct, we can also argue it should be malleable and responsive to training.
Causes of SSA
There is no one cause. No single genetic, hormonal, social, or environmental factor is predominant. There are similar themes, childhood gender non-conformity, sexual abuse, peer and family dynamics, sexual history, but the mix varies with individuals making individualistic responses the single overriding factor. Two children from the same family and social environment can interpret incidents very differently. So random reaction, if it structures itself into self-image, can become a significant contributor to homosexuality—as twin studies show. The overriding outcome is a homo-emotional focus on people of the same sex that, at puberty, gets confused or melded with genital sex. This begins to finds expression in sexual acts with others of the same sex which become habitual and often (particularly in males) addictive. . . .
DNA is a ladder of nitrogenous bases and sugars that is a recipe for proteins, not sexual preferences. But it is also a ladder of destiny, a Jacob’s ladder, and it is our choice whether angels or demons walk up and down it.3
SIX: Where Will You Spend Eternity?
Eternity is a very long time, and it is worth your time and effort to seek out answers that can affect the outcome of your eternal destination. If in having read this booklet, you want to break free from an addiction to homosexuality, rest assured that the Gospel has the power to break any bondage. Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, died on the Cross offering forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who turn from their sin (repent) and put their trust in Christ. When we are born again by the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, He promises never to leave or forsake us and gives us the power to walk in peace and victory.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:9-11)
To order copies of 6 Questions Every Gay Person Should Ask, click here.
2. My Genes Made Me Do It! is constantly being updated.
3. You may read more of Dr. Whitehead’s research at: http://www.mygenes.co.nz/summary.htm and http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transsexuality.htm.
To order copies of 6 Questions Every Gay Person Should Ask, click here.
To Lighthouse Trails:
I never thought I would be writing this e-mail, but . . .
I read your post about the Oprah weekend. Like you said, long, but very informative. Today I received a Merry Christmas e-mail from a friend at the church we attended before relocating across the state. Wishing us all well, sharing their holiday plans she ended her e-mail with “Namaste.” It had been a few days since reading the [Oprah] post, but I was almost positive that was the greeting Oprah had given to Chopra. Found the post, scanned its contents, and was so grieved to realize that my suspicions were indeed correct. Deception and the wiles of the evil one care not whom they lead astray, as long as His people are hurt by those they love. This precious lady is married to an elder in the church . . . She has heard the gospel MANY times but is not a believer.
Hope you do not mind, but I responded to her email, sending her several quotes from that post as well as from Warren Smith’ articles. I will be praying for her, perhaps you would join me in my prayers. Thank you for your diligence to the Truth of His Word. Evil is No respecter of persons.
Keep standing on the promises of God.
By Berit Kjos
(author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)
Humanism has paved the way for the New Age, but most of us didn’t notice. Just as termites can chew away at a home’s foundation for decades before the damage shows, so humanist educators have sought to undermine the public school system. Suddenly we had to face the fact that many schools teach goals and values that contradict biblical values. And the humanist-oriented educational establishment promotes its beliefs as aggressively as any other religious group. Listen to their war cry:
The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being.
These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, day care, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.1
American philosopher and educator John Dewey kindled the fire of educational reform. The first president of the American Humanist Association, Dewey was determined to weed out Christian absolutes and reseed with “truths” that could adjust to changing cultures. The Humanist Manifesto, which Dewey signed in 1933, declares the heart of the movement. This is part of its introduction:
There is great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century . . . Any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today, must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present.2
Without the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, considered one of the nation’s most powerful political machines, Dewey’s ideas might have been confined to university campuses. Supported by the NEA, comprised of textbook writers and superintendents as well as professors and public school teachers, Dewey’s vision spread like wildfire. Through its militant leadership, the whole educational system became involved—with or without the personal support of local educators, many of whom didn’t realize what was happening.
Few textbooks have escaped the watchful eye of NEA censors, who have doggedly followed Dewey’s plan to provide a “purified environment for the child.” Historical facts that clashed with “progressive education” have been distorted or erased. The NEA has sought total control of curriculum content, control of teachers’ colleges, and sex education, free from parental interference. Though a high percentage of American teachers consider themselves moderate or conservative, the NEA supports abortion on demand (without parental consent), preferential treatment of homosexuals, and teaching evolution, while omitting creationism from the classroom.3
One book, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks, unveils some alarming facts. Christianity, family values, and certain political and economic positions have been systematically banished from children’s textbooks. For example, in 670 stories from third-and sixth-grade readers:
No story features Christian or Jewish religious motivation, although one story does make American Indian religion the central theme in the life of a white girl.
Almost no story features marriage or motherhood as important or positive. . . . But there are many aggressively feminist stories that openly deride manhood.
In an original story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the main character prayed “to God” and later remarked “Thank God.” In the story as presented in the sixth-grade reader, the words “to God” were taken out and the expression “Thank God” was changed to “Thank goodness.”4
While some elementary history textbooks still tell about Thanksgiving, they do not explain to whom the Pilgrims gave thanks. Pilgrims were defined as “people who make long trips.” The Pueblo Natives “can pray to Mother Earth—but Pilgrims can’t be described as praying to God.”5 Overt attacks on Christianity through distortion, depreciation, and ridicule have caused even more damage than omissions. Many of the books students are required to read refer to boring church services, self-righteous ministers, and lustful evangelists. One psychology text equated the historical Jesus with mythological gods:
A great many myths deal with the idea of rebirth. Jesus, Dionysus, Odin, and many other traditional figures are represented as having died, after which they were reborn, or arose from the dead.6
When children are subjected to such suggestions and pressures year after year, many yield to the hostile forces that oppose their beliefs.
The chart below lists several of the humanistic standards being passed down to a new generation of young people and compares these with traditional Christian values.
There is no God.
The world is self-existing.
Everything exists for the fulfillment of human life.
The goal. . . is a free and universal society where people cooperate for common good.
Man is responsible for the realization. . . of his dreams.
Values are relative and changing, determined by human need.
Man has within himself the power to create a new world.
We trust in a living, personal God.
God created the world.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.” (Romans 11:36)
Our goal is to “know” Christ and the “power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:7)
Biblical values are absolute and unchanging. (Matthew 24:35)
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
1.. John Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age” (The Humanist, January/ February 1983), p. 26.
2. “The Humanist Manifesto I” (1933)—the first public declaration of the views and objectives of humanism—rejected God and His values, but affirmed humanist faith in the power and evolution of man. (See: http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I.) “The Humanist Manifesto II” (1973) reaffirmed and amplified this man-centered, relativistic, utopian belief-system.
3. Bill Sidebottom, “This Teacher’s Union Agenda Has Little to Do with Education” (Citizen, September 1988), pp. 10—11.
4. Paul C. Vitz, Censorship—Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986), pp. 3—4, 18—19.
6. Mel and Norma Gabler, What Are They Teaching Our Children? (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), p. 38.
Other Articles From Berit’s book:
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Taking a stand from a biblical perspective with regard to purpose-driven-emerging Christianity is not very popular these days. Those working towards establishing the kingdom and “getting closer to Jesus” through contemplative practices rooted in eastern mysticism are very outspoken. If you are not in favor of what they are promoting, you are labeled a hater and against everything.
One pastor wrote me a letter and asked the following question: “Before you went public with your book Faith Undone did you contact everyone you wrote about in the book personally and discuss the issues? If not, shame on you and don’t write me back.”
Of course, I was shamed into writing him back. I recognize that I should always be open for correction. But “shame” is a pretty harsh term coming from one of the “brethren.” Incidentally, this man was insinuating that I was violating Matthew 18 by writing about public figures in my book. But Matthew 18 is not about challenging leaders who are deceiving millions of people.
One pastor I tried to contact sent his bulldog after me who attacked me personally with slander. He didn’t even address the facts. Should I be ashamed of myself for quoting someone who said what he said in a public forum? Does this really make me a “counter-cult-kook” as he said? Click here to continue reading.
Pope Francis Elected After Supernatural “Signs Says Cardinal—The Role His Jesuit Contemplative Ways Play
According to a news article earlier this year in the UK newspaper The Telegraph, the “surprise election of Pope Francis came about because of a series of supernatural ‘signs,’ one of the leading Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church has claimed.” The article also stated:
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict, said he had personally had two “strong signs” that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was “the chosen one” in the run up to vote.
He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal – who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts – was elected.1
If this is true, that Pope Francis was elected through supernatural means, the question must be posed, from which side did this supernatural, “divine” intervention come? If it is indeed supernatural, it had to be either from God or from Satan (the two opposing forces). Because we know that the Catholic church is a false heretical church that believes salvation is justification through works and not the sole work of Christ on the Cross, that Mary is a co-redeemer who did not sin, and that Jesus Christ is found in the Eucharist and the Catholic Mass, we must conclude that this supernatural intervention that brought Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the station of Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not from God.
How is this relevant to the evangelical/Protestant church today? As Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times have reported since Pope Francis began his reign as Pope, evangelical leaders are racing to the Pope’s side like never before in the history of the evangelical/Protestant church. Some of these who are rallying with the Pope are Rick Warren, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and James Robison, while other Christian leaders, such as Beth Moore, are coming out with statements that are giving strong credibility to the Catholic church.
It is a known fact that Pope Francis is a Jesuit. And as Lighthouse Trails has reported on a number of occasions, he is also a contemplative advocate. See our article Pope Francis – Spiritually “Founded” on a Contemplative Tradition. As research analyst Ray Yungen has documented, the Catholic Church is using contemplative prayer as a means of expanding her borders. Roger Oakland, founder of Understand the Times, has linked the mystical practice of the Eucharist to the Papacy’s New Evangelization program to bring the “lost brethren” back to the “Mother Church.” And as one can see, these efforts are having tremendous results. Ray Yungen states:
I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. (A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen)
For thirteen years, Lighthouse Trails has been warning that when people get involved with contemplative meditation practices, they are putting themselves under demonic influence. In time, the spiritual outlook of contemplatives moves away from the Cross and the Gospel and moves toward panentheism and interspirituality.
How does all this tie together? The cover story in Christianity Today’s December 2014 issue proclaims: “Why Everyone is Flocking to Francis.” CT has its own idea of why “everyone” is drawn to the Pope. But if Lighthouse Trails is correct in our conclusions about contemplative spirituality and its outcome, then what is happening here is a “supernatural” occurrence in the lives of millions of people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who are finding themselves dramatically affected by this Pope.
While we will not try to speculate what the possible role of this Pope could be in relation to Bible prophecy and the endtimes, we will say this with surety: between the New Age and the Catholic Church, the world is being drawn deeper and deeper into darkness and closer and closer to a false christ whom the Bible says is coming.
In closing, we’ll leave you with these words from Warren B. Smith:
The Catholic Church today [is] linked to the foundational New Age/New Spirituality teaching that God is “in” everyone.
The 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official source for all Roman Catholic doctrine today, states:
“Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ.” (#795)
“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (#460) (cited from “Another Jesus” Calling by Warren B. Smith)
In an article called Have a “thin” Christmas in the December 2014 issue of the MB Herald, readers are encouraged to find God in the ‘thin places‘ this Christmas.
God comes near
In North America, with the endless noise and rush of life, it’s often difficult to find places where we can steal a glimpse of heaven . . . we all long for places where the veil of eternity becomes slightly more transparent, awareness of God’s presence is heightened and intimacy with Jesus grows. . .
The ancient Celts called these “thin places.”
Whether thin places are actual geographical locations, or simply moments when we allow ourselves to be more aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives, they’re essential to our spiritual well-being.
New York Times writer Eric Weiner says thin places make us feel disoriented – in a good way. “They confuse. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. Either way, we are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world.”
“Thin places” at Christmas
The Christmas season offers ample opportunities for us to discover “thin places” in our world. They allow us to become disoriented for just a moment. They open the door for God to show us new ways of seeing things – to renew our hope and faith, and to reorient our spiritual compass.
Perhaps it’s a stirring performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” reminding us again of the majesty and grandeur of our Saviour. Perhaps it’s a quiet evening spent by the fire reading God’s Word, seeking his direction for the new year. Perhaps it’s a smile and an embrace from an old friend in the form of a Christmas card, allowing the joy of community to warmly enfold us.
Or perhaps it’s an unexpected faith conversation with a stranger on the subway after a hectic day of Christmas shopping, jarring us out of the ordinary and reminding us of what’s really important.
Wherever the thin places are for you this Christmas season, I wish you many moments discovering the nearness of God in this world.
After all, more than creating a thin space, Jesus’ birth on earth tore the veil in two. On the first Christmas, he emptied himself to dwell with his people, so we might truly see God face-to-face.
SOURCE – Have a “thin” Christmas by Laura Kalmar
Are thin places a biblical way to meet God? Does the Bible teach us to seek God through the concept of thin places?
Before the answers to these questions are explored, one important point must be addressed. In the article, MB Herald editor Laura Kalmar refers to New York Times writer Eric Weiner as one of her information sources on thin places. In the Weiner’s NY Times article, called Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer, he calls thin places “locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.” Weiner is also an author of Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With the Divine. Click here to continue reading.