LTRP Note: Please see the video below, which is an 8-minute talk Pope Francis recently gave regarding this matter. While listening to him talk, it was hard not to think of the martyrs described in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, many of whom died at the hands of Roman papacy because they would not accept Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist. Is this where we are heading again? As Roger Oakland often says, history repeats itself. See our article “If Rick Warren is Right, Why Did These Martyrs Even Die At the Hands of the Roman Catholic Church?”
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
ROME — In a recorded video statement released on Saturday, the Roman Catholic Pontiff known as Francis asserted that evangelicals and Catholics are one, and that it is the devil who has divided the two groups.
“Division is the work of the ‘Father of Lies,’ ‘the Father of Discord,’ who does everything possible to keep us divided,” he said.
The eight-minute video was for the “Celebration of Christian Unity” event organized by John 17 Ministries out of Phoenix, Ariz., which seeks to unite Christians and Catholics.
“I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps,” Francis stated. “But there is someone who ‘knows’ that despite our differences we are one.” Click here to continue reading.
Letter to the Editor: Alpha Course Founder, Nicky Gumbel, Asks for Ecumenical Unity with Catholic Church
When I came across a tweet including a picture of my pastor attending the recent Alpha Leadership conference in England, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Alpha, so I did some research. My concern deepened as I uncovered the focus of this conference. Unity. Ecumenical unity with the Catholic Church. The choice of speakers confirmed my concern: Father Raniero Cantalamessa, (Preacher to the papal household), Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Here is the link to all of their talks: https://lc17.alpha.org/2015-talks.
Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of the Alpha Course, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church, (an Anglian church in London), opened the Leadership Conference with a speech titled, “A Vision for a United Church.” His main point was that we should look to the trinity as the model of unity, for they are each a part of one body, and are unified. Here are some concerning quotes from this address:
– “This crisis is a massive opportunity for the church to stand together and fight together.”
-“Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational.”
– “Unity is not an option—Jesus is still praying for our unity—so that the world will be one.”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything—disagreement is healthy.”
– “I used to think if some part of the church is different from me, they must be wrong. Now I think, ‘wow, they’re different from me, I must have so much to learn from them!’”
-” I have come to love the Catholic Church—If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?”
– “The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!”
– “We live in a divided world that demands a united church.”
– “Root of all problems in the world is division. Paul gives us the answer to this—it’s in relationships!”
– “The Incarnation demands a visible expression of the invisible church. We may not get this in our lifetime, but we can have signs of it. I believe this conference is a visible sign of our invisible unity.”
I’m attaching my full notes on Gumbel’s 32 minute opening address. Will be taking notes on the other talks in the next few weeks and can send them to you if you’re interested.
Hope this helps-
The Gospel According to Alpha by Cecil Andrews (Take Heed Ministries)
The Dangers of the Alpha Course by Deception in the Church
By Jan Markell
Olive Tree Ministries
I guess the Fox Network really is fair and balanced. They present the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. In this case the “ugly” is a program about Lucifer. That’s right: Lucifer leaves Hell and becomes a resident of Los Angeles. I’m not making this up.
Based on the show’s trailer, the Lucifer character will be offered up to the masses who watch the Fox program as a likable character with moral and ethical convictions, fulfilling the biblical account of this insidious demonic entity. It’s only fitting then, that this modern-day show would portray Lucifer as a type of benevolent god, since this was always his goal. It was to take the place of the real God.One commentator said that the masses are increasingly obsessed with evil so why not make a program glorifying Satan? You might say that Hollywood has done that for decades and featured their offerings to the evil one on the big screen and you would be correct, but this program will be prime time, available to millions with just the turn of a dial or push of a TV transmitter. Click here to continue reading.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
Concerns are arising among Christians and online commentators after a homosexual activist recently told a national publication that churches “must be made ‘to take homosexuality off the sin list.’”
Mitchell Gold is the founder of Faith in America, an organization that aims to “end the harm to LGBT youth and families from misguided religious teaching.” He served on the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign for seven years, and was named on of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Gay People in America” in 2007 by Out Magazine.
In an article written by Frank Buni of the New York Times, Gold is quoted as stating that he believes churches ought to be forced to stop considering homosexual behavior as being sinful.
“Gold told me that church leaders must be made ‘to take homosexuality off the sin list,’ he wrote.
By Ray Yungen
I believe the Bible contains an important signal that the changes of times and seasons may indeed be at hand. In Matthew 24:3-5, which is a chapter dealing with the tribulation period, Jesus spoke these revealing words to His disciples concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the world (age):
And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign [indication] of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (emphasis mine)
In the past, I have heard two basic ways of interpreting verse 5—“for many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and shall deceive many.” The first interpretation is that there will be various ones claiming to be the returned Jesus Christ. The other view, which has gained greater acceptance in the last ten or fifteen years, is that a number of messiah figures would appear and gather followers to themselves in a fashion similar to Jim Jones or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I now feel both of these interpretations may be incorrect. It is in light of some predominant New Age viewpoints that these verses take on major significance.
A basic tenet of New Age thinking is that of the Master Jesus. Adherents to this idea believe that during the unrecorded period of His life, Jesus traveled to various occult centers and Mystery Schools in such places as Tibet, India, Persia, and Egypt where He learned the metaphysical secrets of the ages. Thus, they claim He spent seventeen years of travel on a pilgrimage of higher consciousness. According to this theory, Jesus of Nazareth became the Master Jesus, one who has gained mastery over the physical world by becoming one with his higher self.
You will recall that one of the terms that New Agers regularly use for the higher self is the Christ consciousness. To them, Christ is not a person, but a state-of-being. Excerpts from the following New Age sources explain it this way:
Jesus Christ educated His followers to discern the real man. He taught that there is a power in man that gives him authority over the things of the world. This principle is the higher self, the spiritual man, the Christ.1
The Christ Consciousness or Christ Principle represents the idea of a Saviour, but not, as taught in orthodox religions, a physical, material person. Jesus became the Saviour as He rose to the heights of His inner powers and became a True Son of God. . . . In other words, when Jesus, the man, was ready, the Christ Principle or Consciousness took over and predominated.2
After reading innumerable such statements in New Age material, I decided to take a closer look at Matthew 24:5. What I found astounded me. The Greek word for “many” in this verse is polus, which means a very great or sore number, as in millions and millions. A term derived from this word is hoi polloi, which translates the masses. The Greek words for “shall come in my name” means they shall come claiming to represent what He represents by using His name or authority. Therefore, Matthew 24:5 is saying that a very great number of people shall come claiming to represent what He represents, but are in fact, deceiving people. In light of come in my name, consider the following remarks taken from a variety of New Age sources:
Jesus was an historical person, a human being; Christ, the Christos. is an eternal transpersonal condition of being. Jesus did not say that this higher state of consciousness realized in him was his alone for all time. Nor did he call us to worship him. Rather, he called us to follow him, to follow in his steps, to learn from him, from his example.3
Jesus was one soul who reached the state of Christ consciousness, there have been many others. He symbolized the blueprint we must follow…. The way is open to everyone to become a Christ by achieving the Christ Consciousness through walking the same path He walked.. . . He simply and beautifully demonstrated the pattern.4
The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him—or at least have the potential to be. The significance of Jesus is not as a vehicle of salvation but as a model of perfection.5
Jesus was aware of himself as a finished specimen of the new humanity which is to come—the new humanity which is to inherit the earth, establish the Kingdom, usher in the New Age.6
This view, then, is that Jesus is a model of what the New Age or Aquarian person is to become. I would say these statements can be called coming in His name or claiming to represent what He represents.
Now let us look at the second part of verse 5 in Matthew 24, “saying I am Christ.” Again, we find a multitude of statements such as the following:
Every man is an individual Christ; this is the teaching for the New Age. The experiences of contacting the Christ Self and the subsequent vibrational lifting are not to be reserved for a favored few. Every person in the world, sooner or later, will receive this lifting action. No one will be left out or left behind. Everyone will receive the benefit of this step in human evolution.” (emphasis mine)7
Could it be that many Christians have been looking for “the Christ” in all the wrong places? Could it be that when Jesus said “no man knoweth the hour” of his return, it was because the return of the Christ comes now, within us, and is beyond space and time? Jesus may have been hinting at this when he told us the kingdom of God is within you—not in some time, nor in some place, but within. When we look within, through meditation and the expansion of consciousness, we move beyond time, and meet face-to-face with the Christ.8
The Christ is You. You are the one who is to come—each of you. Each and every one of you!9
Christhood is not something to come at a point in the future when you are more evolved. Christhood is—right now! I am the Christ of God. You are the Christ of God.10
Even more specific evidence ties the New Age into Jesus’ prophecy. In Luke 21:7-8, we find the same discourse as in Matthew 24:3-5. Again, note the warning:
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near; go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:7-8)
Notice “Christ” is italicized in verse 8, meaning that it was not in the original manuscript. The translators of the King James Bible probably thought it awkward that it said, “Many shall come saying, I am.” Probably for the sake of clarity and to be consistent with Matthew 24, the translators added the word “Christ.” It is very interesting that New Agers refer to themselves (or their higher selves) as the “I AM,” (one of the names of God). Note the following:
The first experience of unification with the Christ consciousness may come with the initial crossing of the psychic barrier and contact with the Christ Self or I AM Self.11
This Inner Self is called by many names such as: God-self, Higher-self, Christ Consciousness, I-AM, Buddah Nature, and many others.12
This I AM is God . . . this I AM is You.. . . Universe and Individual Consciousness.. . . God knowing Itself as God, God knowing Itself as You, and You knowing Yourself as God.13
So what Jesus may have been saying is many shall be saying “I AM.”
Because of these statements, I firmly believe what Jesus Christ was prophesying in Matthew and Luke was the current New Age movement when it reaches its full fruition world-wide. He clearly stated that just before His physical return, a huge number of people will proclaim their own personal divinity and that “many” (polus) will deceive—not some, but “many.” There was a good reason for Him to preface these prophesies with the warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” These people will be offering a spiritual message that will look, feel, and sound like it is of Jesus Christ but is not.
(from For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen).
1. Charles Fillmore, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (Unity Village, MO: Unity School of Christianity).
2. Donald H. Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 73.
3. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
4. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Wyoming, MI: Coptic Press, 1982), p. 49.
5. John White (Science of Mind magazine, October 1981), pp. 40-42.
6. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
7. Armand Biteaux, The New Consciousness (Willits, CA: Oliver Press, 1975), p. 128.
8. Gregory Barrette, “The Christ is Now” (Science of Mind, March 1989), p. 17.
9. Life Times, Vol. 1, No.3, p. 91.
10. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), pp. 143, 145.
11. Anne P. and Peter V. Meyer, Being a Christ (San Diego: Dawning Pub., 1975), p. 49.
12. John Baughman, The New Age (Self-Published, 1977), p. 5.
13. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), p. 98.
Letter to the Editor: Please Add William Jessup University to the Contemplative Colleges List—Introducing Students to Emerging Figures
Hello Lighthouse Trails:
Our daughter is a junior in high school and has been receiving college flyers in the mail from secular as well as “Christian” universities. She received the following flyer in a packet.William Jessup University flyer and have attached it as it mentioned “Spiritual Formation Groups” that are used to “reconcile issues surrounding faith.”
When our daughter first received information from this university several months ago, I looked up on your website to see if it was a school using questionable New Age ideas. I did not see anything on William Jessup University, so I kept an open mind and thought maybe this one might be OK. Apparently not, so I am sending you this information so you can possibly add it to your list.
Thank you for the great work you do to inform Christians.
A concerned parent
Thank you for alerting us to the contemplative/emerging affinities of William Jessup University. According to the WJU website, the mission of the university states: “In partnership with the Church, the purpose of William Jessup University is to educate transformational leaders for the glory of God.” The 130 acre campus is located in Rocklin, California, and in 2014 the school had nearly 1400 students with growth having doubled in three years.1
As our reader above has stated, the school, unfortunately, has been integrating Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) into the life of the students. For example, emergent-ideas promoter N.T. Wright will be speaking at the school on May 28th 2015. The lecture is being presented by WJU’s Bible & Theology Department.
Another example of the direction William Jessup University is going can be seen with a January 2015 William Jessup Chapel service that presented emergent activist Shane Claiborne. Claiborne is a disciple of Tony Campolo and shares his ideas and beliefs, many of which contradict Scripture. Not surprisingly, WJU’s chapel is titled Deeper Jessup Chapel. Deeper is a term often used in association with the contemplative prayer movement.
In another WJU chapel service this year, Carl Medearis, author of Muslims, Christians, and Jesus spoke. According to a World Magazine article, Medearis is:
. . . an advocate of several ideas associated with the “insider movement” . . . The movement generally questions the need for outward “conversion” to Christianity as long as someone has a personal relationship with Christ, and “contextualizes” Christian teaching and practice for Muslim cultures by finding common ground between the two.
What Medearis is advocating is called the “new” missiology. Roger Oakland discusses this new way of doing missions in his book Faith Undone: the emerging church—a new reformation or an end-time deception. Sad to see Medearis addressing students at William Jessup University. Most likely the founder of WJU would be dismayed to see the direction his school has gone. Other chapel speakers this year include bridger Francis Chan and contemplative proponent J.P. Moreland. It looks like students at William Jessup University are getting a dose full of “new” spirituality teachings during chapel. Needless to say, WJU is now being added to Lighthouse Trails’ Contemplative Colleges List.
LTRP Note: For a number of years, Lighthouse Trails has identified Andy Stanley as part of the emerging church and has considered him to be a bridger (bridging the gap between the emerging church and evangelical Christianity). This excellent book review by Gary Gilley shows an example of the (sometimes subtle) deception that occurs in many of the books being written today by prolific and popular Christian figures.
By Gary Gilley
Pastor and apologist
Endorsed by everyone from Rick Warren and Bill Hybels to Dave Ramsey, Steven Furtick and Jeff Foxworthy, Deep and Wide reveals Andy Stanley’s “secret sauce” (p. 17) which he believes makes his church not only great but a model others should adopt. Stanley’s goal has been to create a church that unchurched men, women and children love to attend (p. 11) and by all accounts he has succeeded. The first of five sections tells the story of the birth of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, first as an extension of his father’s (Charles) church, then as a split, in which several thousand people eventually left the mother church to join Andy’s. Andy knows this is not the best way to start a church, but is honest and transparent enough to admit that this is what happened. Conflicts with his famous father were inevitable and Andy chronicles those as well.
Deep and Wide promotes the seeker-sensitive, market-driven approach of “doing church.” There is virtually nothing in the book that hasn’t been said or done by his “hero” Bill Hybels and others that teach the paradigm. From basing North Point’s programming on surveys and secular management (p. 14), to seeing people as consumers (p. 16) and a target audience that must be attracted and pleased (p. 15), to erroneously believing that the unbeliever should like us because they liked Jesus (pp. 12-13), to virtually every aspect of what they do, Stanley is parroting the philosophy of Hybels. Ironically this model is the same one that Hybels and Willow Creek recently admitted did not accomplish their goal of making followers of Christ (see my book This Little Church Had None, pp. 23-35).
Of course, the real issue is not whether something works, but if it is biblical. Therefore, in section two, Stanley attempts a scriptural justification for his church model. This is easily the most disappointing aspect of the book as Stanley, who has a master’s degree from Dallas Seminary, makes no attempt to engage the key Scriptures dealing with the doctrine of the church. His only venture into biblical exegesis is a feeble, terribly flawed and out of context examination of the counsel at Jerusalem in Acts 15 (pp. 85-91). Stanley comes up with a strained interpretation of the text because he uses what some call rhetorical hermeneutics in which Scripture should be interpreted based upon the characters actions, not their words (pp. 86, 90-92, 298-299). Using this interpretative method, Stanley believes, “Everything [Paul] taught should be defined within the context of what takes place in Acts 15.” And since the conclusion drawn by the council was minimalistic: “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell” (p. 91), the church today should require very little as well (p. 92). Wrapping (or, better, ignoring) everything else in the New Testament pertaining to the church around this concept, Stanley offers this strained understanding as the biblical foundation for the local church. Click here to continue reading this book review.