Author Archive

Labyrinths Have Found Their Place in the Christian Church

We received the top two photos this week from a reader. Below that are photos of various labyrinths in churches across North America. We have posted these, not to single out these particular churches, but rather to show examples of how many denominations have now incorporated the contemplative mystical practice of walking the labyrinth. And this is only showing some of the churches that have labyrinths on site. There are countless churches, ministries, and denominations that may not necessarily have labyrinths on site, but pastors and leaders encourage their congregations or followers to use them (e.g., the Reformed Church of America), or they encourage their congregations to visit retreat centers that have them.  Carl Teichrib has written an excellent article/booklet on labyrinths that is worth the read.

(The photos used below are low resolution photos used in accordance with the U.S. Fair Use Act for the critique, review, and dissemination of information.)

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Orcas Island, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Mark Lutheran, Salem, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millbrook Baptist, Raleigh, NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wesleyan University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calvin Presbyterian Church, Zelienople PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First United Methodist Church, Boulder, CO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuller Theological Seminary

Pictures That Say a Thousand Words – What Would the Reformers Think of Them?

The following photos are an assortment taken from stories we have written or posted over the last three years.

July 2017

Leaders of the World Communion of Reformed Churches sign copies of the declaration in the Saint Mary’s City Church in Wittenberg, Germany, expressing support from Reformed churches for the Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. (Credit: Photo courtesy of WCRC/Anna Siggelkow.)

2014 at the Vatican, Italy

Pope Francis speaks at an inter-religious conference on family values at the Vatican on Monday. Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren, bottom right, sits in the audience.

 

2014

Pope Francis with several evangelical leaders including James Robison, Tony Palmer, and Kenneth Copeland

2014

While Protestants Commemorate Reformation This Month, Papal Persecution Regarding the Eucharist Often Ignored

By Philip Gray
(Freelance writer and defender of the faith)

Pope Francis during a Mass, holding up the wafer that is said to have the presence of Jesus in it after transubstantiation

October 31, 2017 is being commemorated by many Protestant groups as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Many groups are using the occasion to suggest that there is no need for a Protestant Reformation any longer, and Protestants and Catholics can and should now unify, if not in name, then at least in mission and faith. Ecumenical events are taking place across the globe to supposedly celebrate the Reformation, but in reality, many of these are efforts to break down the walls that divide Protestanism and Catholicism. The Catholic Church insists there is no need for a Reformation any more because the Catholic Church, it says, is now in agreement doctrinally with Protestanism in many areas. While the motive by the Catholic Church of making such claims is highly questionable (e.g., to ultimately win back the “lost brethren” to the “Mother Church”), there is one area (and it is perhaps the most significant of all because it has to do with salvation) that the Catholic Church does not and will not ever claim to be the same, and that is in the Eucharist (i.e., the sacraments, the Mass). For if there was no Eucharist and Mass, there would be no Catholic Church. If you do not understand what the Catholic Eucharist is, then be sure to read some of the material* by Lighthouse Trails regarding this. In a nutshell, the Eucharist is the practice and belief that the real presence of Jesus is in the communion wafer (an event the Catholic Church refers to as  Transubstantiation that can only be performed by a Catholic priest), which is to be consumed by the sinner in order for his sins to be forgiven. It is, in essence, a recrucifying of Christ as if Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was not sufficient (which is contrary to Scripture that talks about the “finished” work on the Cross.”

One thing that is not being brought up in many of these Reformation events this year is the many people who died at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church for refusing to believe in the Eucharistic Christ. In honor of those who were martyred because they would not bow the knee to a false gospel, below are posted the stories of two martyrs who died at the hands of the Catholic Church because they refused to take the Mass and believe that Jesus Christ was in a wafer. These are direct quotes from the Lighthouse Trails edition of  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

Martyrdom of William Hunter (martyred at 19 years old in 1555)
William Hunter had been trained in the doctrines of the Reformation from his earliest youth, being descended from religious parents who carefully instructed him in the principles of true religion. When Hunter was but nineteen years of age he refused to receive the communion at Mass and was brought before the bishop.

Bonner caused William to be brought into a chamber where he began to reason with him, promising him security and pardon if he would recant. Nay, he would have been content if he would have gone only to receive communion and to confession, but William would not do so for all the world.

Upon this the bishop commanded his men to put William in the stocks in his gate house, where he sat two days and nights with a crust of brown bread and a cup of water only, which he did not touch.

At the two days’ end, the bishop came to him and finding him steadfast in the faith, sent him to the convict prison and commanded the keeper to lay upon him as many irons as he could bear. He continued in prison three quarters of a year, during which time he had been before the bishop five times.

Then the bishop, calling William, asked him if he would recant and finding he was unchangeable, pronounced sentence upon him that he should go from that place to Newgate for a time, and thence to Brentwood, there to be burned.

About a month afterward, William was sent down to Brentwood where he was to be executed. On coming to the stake, he knelt down and read the Fifty-first Psalm, until he came to these words, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

William now cast his Psalter into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ and be not afraid of death.” “Behold,” answered William, “I am not afraid.” Then he lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;”and casting down his head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.

Mrs. Joyce Lewes (died 1557)
This lady was the wife of Mr. T. Lewes of Manchester. She had received the Romish religion as true, until the burning of that pious martyr Mr. Saunders at Coventry. Understanding that his death arose from a refusal to receive the Mass, she began to inquire into the ground of his refusal and her conscience, as it began to be enlightened, became restless and alarmed. In this inquietude she resorted to Mr. John Glover, who lived near, and requested that he would unfold those rich sources of gospel knowledge he possessed, particularly upon the subject of transubstantiation. He easily succeeded in convincing her that the tomfoolery of popery and the Mass were at variance with God’s most holy Word, and honestly reproved her for following too much the vanities of a wicked world. It was to her indeed a word in season, for she soon became weary of her former sinful life and resolved to abandon the Mass and idolatrous worship. Though compelled by her husband’s violence to go to church, her contempt of the holy water and other ceremonies was so manifest that she was accused before the bishop for despising the Sacraments.

A citation addressed to her immediately followed, which was given to Mr. Lewes, who, in a fit of passion, held a dagger to the throat of the officer and made him eat it, after which he caused him to drink it down and then sent him away. But for this the bishop summoned Mr. Lewes before him as well as his wife; the former readily submitted, but the latter resolutely affirmed that in refusing holy water, she neither offended God nor any part of His laws. She was sent home for a month, her husband being bound for her appearance, during which time Mr. Glover impressed upon her the necessity of doing what she did, not from self-vanity but for the honor and glory of God.

Mr. Glover and others earnestly exhorted Lewes to forfeit the money he was bound in rather than subject his wife to certain death; but he was deaf to the voice of humanity and delivered her over to the bishop, who soon found sufficient cause to consign her to a loathsome prison, whence she was several times brought for examination. At the last time the bishop reasoned with her upon the fitness of her coming to Mass and receiving as sacred the Sacrament and sacramentals of the Holy Ghost. “If these things were in the Word of God,” said Mrs. Lewes, “I would with all my heart receive, believe, and esteem them.” The bishop, with the most ignorant and impious effrontery, replied, “If you will believe no more than what is warranted by Scriptures, you are in a state of damnation!” Astonished at such a declaration, this worthy sufferer ably rejoined that his words were as impure as they were profane.

After condemnation she lay a twelvemonth in prison, the sheriff not being willing to put her to death in his time. When her death warrant came from London, she sent for some friends whom she consulted in what manner her death might be more glorious to the name of God and injurious to the cause of God’s enemies. Smilingly, she said: “As for death, I think lightly of it. When I know that I shall behold the amiable countenance of Christ my dear Saviour, the ugly face of death does not much trouble me.” The evening before she suffered, two priests were anxious to visit her, but she refused both their confession and absolution when she could hold a better communication with the High Priest of souls. About three o’clock in the morning, Satan began to shoot his fiery darts by putting into her mind to doubt whether she was chosen to eternal life, and Christ died for her. Her friends readily pointed out to her those consolatory passages of Scripture which comfort the fainting heart and point to the Redeemer who takes away the sins of the world.

About eight o’clock the sheriff announced to her that she had but an hour to live. She was at first cast down, but this soon passed away, and she thanked God that her life was about to be devoted to His service. The sheriff granted permission for two friends to accompany her to the stake—an indulgence for which he was afterward severely handled. Mr. Reniger and Mr. Bernher led her to the place of execution; because of its far distance, her great weakness, and the press of the people, she nearly fainted. Three times she prayed fervently that God would deliver the land from popery and the idolatrous Mass; and the people for the most part, as well as the sheriff, said Amen.

When she had prayed, she took the cup, (which had been filled with water to refresh her,) and said, “I drink to all them that unfeignedly love the gospel of Christ and wish for the abolition of popery.” Her friends and a great many women of the place drank with her, for which most of them afterward were enjoined penance.

When chained to the stake her countenance was cheerful and the roses of her cheeks were not abated. Her hands were extended towards heaven until the fire rendered them powerless, when her soul was received into the arms of the Creator. The duration of her agony was but short; as the under-sheriff, at the request of her friends, had prepared such excellent fuel that she was in a few minutes overwhelmed with smoke and flame. The case of this lady drew a tear of pity from everyone who had a heart not callous to humanity.

(These two stories are taken from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is an unaltered version from John Foxe’s account. See note below about the LT edition.)


Publisher’s Note from the LT edition: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

 

*You do not have to buy material from Lighthouse Trails to gain information on these topics as there are many many articles on this blog that can be read and even printed and shared with friends and family.

Lighthouse Trails Sends Out 6th Letter to 160 Christian Leaders

On October 23rd, Lighthouse Trails sent out the 6th letter plus two booklets to 160 influential Christian leaders in the evangelical camp. We began mailing out short letters and Lighthouse Trails booklets in February 2016 to a list that started with 100 names. To learn more about this project, click here to read the first letter we sent out. To see our current list in PDF, click here. Not all the names in the list are those in deception. This list has a variety of persuasions within the evangelical camp. We are compelled to send each of these people specific information on various important issues that are basically not being addressed in the church today. If you have a name and mailing address of an influential pastor, author, or leader whom you would like us to add to our list, you can e-mail that to editors@lighthousetrails.com and we will include him or her on the next mailing. We must have a good mailing address (only U.S. addresses at this time) to add a name to the list. If you print the leaders list, please consider praying that some of these individuals may understand the urgency of our warning. Below is the letter we included in this week’s mailing. Our next mailing will take place in early 2018:

Dear Christian Leader:

Please find enclosed two of our published booklets that we hope you will find useful in your ministry.

A new missiology that removes focus from the biblical Gospel message and replaces it with a “religiously correct,” “culturally relevant” way of doing missions is having a major impact on many mission efforts in the church today. In Roger Oakland’s booklet that we are sending you, The New Missiology: Doing Missions Without the Gospel, he presents examples of how this is happening. This emergent missiology will do more harm than good to Christian missions and bringing people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

We are also including Shack Theology: Universalism, TBN, Oprah, and the New Age, written by former New Age follower, Warren B. Smith. The Shack is one of the most popular books among Christians today. Most do not see it as theological but rather merely a heart-tugging novel. Yet, The Shack is theological but is not biblically sound. Rather, it introduces some of the most blatant New Age ideas and subtly draws readers away from biblical truth.

Thank you for taking the time to study these matters.

In service for Christ,
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails Publishing
P.O. Box 908
Eureka, MT 59917

The List of Leaders We Are Reaching Out To
(Not all of the names in the list are those in deception. This list has a variety of persuasions within the evangelical camp. We are compelled to send each of these people specific information on various important issues that are basically not being addressed in the church today.)

*photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.

Letter to the Editor: New Booklet Teaches Discernment Is For All Believers – Even Women and the “Uneducated”

Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:

I just read your article “Sound the Trumpet” and wanted to thank you for your paragraph confronting those men in point who seem to have a corner on discernment, bulleting women of “sharp tongue” trumping their scriptural knowledge. The understanding I get is that compared to them most of us who belong to the Savior are a type of second-class members which despite the Truth (here named orthodoxy) is not far from the Roman Catholic hierarchy as in “We can’t trust the masses with Scripture.” It’s more about the light in His Words available for all of us to study, not about one’s status or gender. Indeed, He gives us teachers/shepherds to explain to and lead us, to warn us, but we have the same set-apart Spirit [the Holy Spirit]. We are not without discernment just because we are women or because we haven’t written books on things like “Justification.” These two men may not have actually meant the accusation in such a disdainful way, but this is surely a mindset of the “divinely educated,” with all due respect to the biblically learned.

Now, to the subject of your article, your teaching is that all of us come into maturity about what our Savior, the Head, does not want us to be ignorant of. Thank you for doing the exact work of teaching us we can and we must discern for ourselves, just as our Savior and the apostle Paul said.

Janet

Related Material:

Three Vital Questions to Navigating Discernment by Ironside and Proctor

 

Letter to the Editor: I Was A Cultural “Christian” But Was Not Born Again

To Lighthouse Trails:

. . . having a form of godliness but denying the power there of.

I was a cultural Christian, and I was baptized in the Baptist church that I was raised in. I was not born again. Sadly, it was departing from the faith; however, God used my evil for good. I was convinced that I was a Christian until I was convicted of my sin by the Holy Spirit. No one was present in my living room except the two of us. I was driven to my knees in repentance and pleading for a Savior.

I could have just as easily kept attending and kept up the appearance of acting like a Christian. I fear for the millions in this boat who are represented in Matthew 7: 21-23.

This explains why so many self-identified Christians, even evangelicals, believe so many false doctrines.

This explains why so many churches embrace humanism in sheep’s clothing. They would rather do good deeds to be seen of men than witness and make disciples.

This explains the currently trending missional wave.

This explains the eagerness to embrace the contemplative movement. They do not have the Holy Spirit so they embrace the counterfeit spirit instead.

T. Miller

LTRP Note: If you are reading this account above and believe you too may only be a cultural Christian and not a born-again Christian, we would be happy to send you a free booklet on salvation. Please e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com. Your name and address will remain confidential.

Related Article:

What Does It Mean to Repent and Be Saved? by Harry Ironside

 

Churches Going Contemplative with Diana Butler Bass’ Book, “Christianity For the Rest of Us”

A Lighthouse Trails reader sent us an article this week from a Pacific Northwest newspaper* describing how members of a local church are changing the way they practice church and view Christianity, doing away with their traditional church methods and embracing what they call a “contemplative approach.” The article states that they were inspired, in part, to go in this direction from reading Diana Butler Bass’ book Christianity for the Rest of Us. 

It’s no wonder a church would head in the contemplative direction if congregants are turning to Butler Bass for spiritual nourishment. You may recall a Lighthouse Trails article in November of 2015 about Diana Butler Bass titled “New Spirituality Teacher Says ‘The Jig is Up’ to Those Who Believe in ‘the Blood of the Lamb.'”  Bass is a contemplative proponent, and like so many of her contemplative constituents who wander into the contemplative prayer world, her views toward the Cross and the atonement have become outright hostile; and those who adhere to the “blood of the lamb” and who cling to the old rugged Cross are seen as an enemy and hindrance to world peace and “restoration.”

Christianity for the Rest of Us is filled with the ideologies of contemplatives, emergents, and socialist-like figures such as  Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Eddie Gibbs, Marcus Borg, Joan Chittister, Parker Palmer, and her “friend” Brian McLaren. A prevailing theme in the book is “sitting in silence,” meditation, and contemplation. She says things like:

People need silence to find their way back to interior wisdom. They need a recovery of the contemplative arts of “thinking, meditating, ruminating.” (Kindle Locations 1789-1790).

True knowledge of the self, of love and meaning, comes only in silence. (Kindle Locations 1795-1796).

If this and other churches continue following the same path as Diana Butler Bass, they may also begin to embrace her view that “the jig is up” to those who believe in the “blood of the lamb.” Below is the article we wrote in 2015. If your church is reading books by authors such as Diana Butler Bass, please urge them to reconsider what they are doing.

New Spirituality Teacher Says “The Jig is Up” to Those Who Believe in “the Blood of the Lamb”

Every now and then something come along that presents our case in such a succinct and obvious way that we are compelled to share it with our readers with the hope it will leave no question as to how serious the present situation is with regard to Christianity in the Western world. Religious author Diana Butler Bass, who was one of the speakers at the [2015] Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, has written a book titled Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. In it, she makes the stunning statement:

Conventional, comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to. . . . In earlier American awakenings, preachers extolled “old-time religion” as the answer to questions about God, morality, and existence. This awakening is different . . . it is not about sawdust trails, mortification of sin [putting to death the old man], and being washed in the blood of the Lamb [the preaching of the Cross – emphasis ours]. The awakening going on around us is not an evangelical revival; it is not returning to the faith of our fathers or re-creating our grandparents church. Instead, it is a Great Returning to ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine. (pp. 36, 99).

Contrast this with 2 Corinthians 5: 18-21, which states:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It could not be any more clear what’s at stake here. The term “the jig is up” is a slang term that has the connotation of someone being caught at doing something wrong. It has an intrinsically militant tone that is more or less saying “you’re not going to get away with this any longer.” By Butler Bass saying “the jig is up,” there is an underlying implication of a mounting consensus that backs up that statement, such as what Ray Yungen and others we know recently witnessed at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, where 14,000 people attended and where a clear animosity toward biblical Christians was prevalent.

Inside Diana Butler Bass’ book that so openly rejects the Cross and the atonement are the following glowing endorsements of people you have probably heard of:

She’s spot-on prophetic, compelling, and most important, hopeful. —Rob Bell, author of Love Wins

Join her in rebuilding religion from the bottom up!—Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Falling Upward

She has a good nose to sniff out crappy religion, but she also has the eyes to see new life budding from the compost of Christendom. Shane Claiborne, mentored by Tony Campolo

Diana Butler Bass has a keen eye for what is happening in the Christian world these days— so keen, she is able to see through the bad news for the good news that is emerging. Parker Palmer

Bass as one of our foremost commentators on twenty-first century Christianity.—Marcus Borg

I expect (and hope) that this will be the must-read ‘church book’ for every Christian leader— clergy and lay— for years to come.” —Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality

We hope our readers will pass this information onto to many they know and pray it may jolt quite a number of people out of complacency or even skepticism into the realization that what we’ve been reporting on these past nearly 14 years is actually occurring.

What Butler Bass refers to as the “ancient understandings of the human quest for the divine” is what the apostle Paul called the mystery of iniquity. This is where man is deceived by familiar spirits (demons) into believing that man is God.

And when it comes to the preaching of the Cross, Diana Butler Bass, Marcus Borg, Brian McLaren, Richard Rohr, and Shane Claiborne are wrong. On the contrary to what they believe, the preaching of the Cross DOES work. People ARE reconciled to God when they are washed in the blood of the lamb. In other words, they’re not just wrong, they are terribly tragically wrong.

And they [the saints of Jesus Christ] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)


*Note: Because our reader is hoping to reach out to this church with some information, we are not naming the church or the city.


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