To Lighthouse Trails:
My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about a year ago, and she/we have been sent on various “coping with MS” courses. In every case, occult techniques have been encouraged, endorsed, and recommended by _____ staff nurses and others (who do them themselves!) – and outside occult “therapists” have been brought in as part of the courses to “educate” sufferers about the “benefits.” We were astonished at how effective this was at recruiting MS sufferers into joining their local groups as – right in front of us – pretty much everyone apart from we two signed up immediately afterwards.
My wife and I have become increasingly alarmed that so many UK Christians seem to be “sleepwalking into danger.” If a respected medical-professional endorses something, it’s often just accepted uncritically by many Christians here. The thought that it may be some sort of spiritual “Trojan Horse” is unthinkable. By way of example, one greatly-respected local pastor-teacher and his wife (both of our acquaintance) were recently so persuaded to try a “Christianised” form of Tai Chi & Qigong to help with his depression. We warned them, to no avail; they tell us that they have tried it, it really helps, they would recommend it, and our warnings are clearly just paranoia.
An elder and pastor-teacher in __________ Church, UK
Markell/Yungen Interview – 2 Million Reiki Channellers in the US Alone! – Millions of Americans Affected
The following are two recent interviews by Olive Tree Ministries radio host Jan Markell with research analyst Ray Yungen. The two discuss energy healing and the explosion of its use in the U.S. alone. If you know someone who is getting involved or is already involved with energy healing, have them listen to this interview. They need to be warned of this dangerous practice.
Click here to listen:
To learn more about energy healing, read Ray Yungen’s Booklet Tract titled The Truth About Energy Healing.
LTRP Note: Over the past several years, we have talked, either through e-mail or by phone, to thousands of people. A good number of these people have come out of churches whose pastors have been trained in the seminaries and Christian colleges, which have, in large part (with some exceptions), become havens for unbiblical teachings. These ill-equipped, misled pastors have brought their unscriptural teachings with them to the churches. We have heard the stories from so many of our readers of Christians they know who became caught under the bondage of legalism, and then went to the opposite pole of turning grace into a license for sin. Many times when this happened, these confused Christians began practicing contemplative prayer and/or joined emerging churches, thinking these experiences were from God, especially when they compared them to their legalist backgrounds.
While we do not claim to be theologians here at Lighthouse Trails, we desire to address this issue in this short essay, with the hopes it may draw some back to the true living water that only Jesus Christ can give. Perhaps these words can alleviate some confusion to those who are held in bondage by either of these extremes.
“Come Back to the True Living Water”
By David Dombrowski
In previous articles, we have demonstrated how the Gospel is the greatest of all treasures. Throughout the ages, man has been out digging for treasure. From the earth, we have been able to extract much of the things that we prize most highly including silver, gold, diamonds, gems, metal ores for making innumerable things made of iron or steel, copper or brass, and aluminum, while massive amounts of oil and coal have been extracted propelling us into an industrialized world. Yet, the human heart remains empty, and only God can fill that void.
Scripture likens our need for the Gospel to our need for water. The psalmist wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). And just as a deer is driven by thirst to drink of the cool water brooks, so we, like the psalmist, should hunger and thirst after God. But for most Christians in the Western world, that thirst drives us elsewhere, and what we attain never really satisfies because it is not the living water that is able to give us life and renew us.
The Gospel has been with us for a very long time, but of the world’s population, relatively few have chosen to dip into that water of life. The Scripture beckons, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Though the offer is made to all, there are so few who seem to listen. Consequently, so many choose to live in a perpetual drought, fearing the water of life that is able to save men’s souls.
Now, how long has the Gospel been with us? Paul tells us that Abraham received the Gospel:
And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:8)
God made a covenant with Abraham based on a promise to send a “seed” (namely Christ), and in that seed, the promises would be fulfilled (see Galatians 3:16). It is here that a date is given of four hundred thirty years before God gave the Law to Moses. And while the date is of no real significance, what is significant is that the New Covenant (the Gospel) came before the Old Covenant (the Law). Paul’s letter to the Galatians vividly portrays how the Law was never given to save anyone; rather it was given to lead us to the Savior:
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Abraham was justified by faith and faith alone as Paul recounts that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Paul then emphatically states that no one is justified by the law when he says, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11, emphasis added). In fact, the Law was an impossible system for salvation because to break any of it even only once meant to break the whole Law:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)
James reiterates the power of the Law when he states: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). It is clear, therefore, that the Law has power, but not the power to save – unless of course a person keeps all of the Law, at every point, perfectly, and no one has ever done that (except Christ). The power of the Law is to show us that because of sin, our righteousness is as filthy rags and consequently we remain under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. The Law demonstrates that, without question, we are in need of a Redeemer, and that is why in Old Testament law, lambs and bullocks were sacrificed year after year, not because they saved at all but because they served as a continual reminder of the need of a Savior who was to come. One teaching that is spread abroad today is that the Jews are exempt from the Gospel because God gave them the Old Testament. But if that were true Paul would not have written “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3:11). On the contrary, it was to the Jews first that the apostles preached the Gospel until later when God showed them that it was to be preached to the Gentiles also. The Gospel is for all people everywhere, Jew or Gentile. This is why the proclamation of the Gospel is so very important because, under God’s plan, the way of salvation comes in only one way.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:18)
And when we think about it, the religions of the world think that we can be saved by our own goodness or that we already have God’s divinity within and consequently have no need of a Savior. But God chose to show Abraham a different way, and all who come to God must come to Him in the same way:
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:4)
So, when God made Abraham a father of many nations, He made it clear that this covenant, based on faith in a promise (i.e., Christ the Redeemer), was to be available to all people everywhere. Then came the Law four hundred and thirty years later to direct everyone, like a schoolmaster, to their need of a Redeemer as it exposes our sinfulness. In this sense, the Law can be likened to the test equipment in a doctor’s office. After performing various tests, the doctor is able to identify a particular ailment, but the tests themselves have only exposed the problem and done nothing to render the cure. The doctor can then prescribe the proper medicine or refer the patient to a surgeon. Once that prescription or surgeon’s referral has been made, the patient is bound rather than cured by his doctor’s orders until the proper steps have been taken. Likewise, we remain bound under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. Then He, as the Great Physician, cleanses us from our sin and imparts new life in us. That is why the Scripture says:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This is also why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well:
Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)
This woman was acquainted with the problem, but now she had found the cure.
Likewise, Jesus’ offer of “living water” (John 4:10) goes out to all people as He explained “whosoever” may come and drink of this water of life (Revelation 22:17). I find it rather puzzling, though, that while countless numbers from all over the world have found that water, many have the tendency to go back to the Law to find comfort and assurance there. Like the patient who is now cured but feels compelled to stay indefinitely in the doctor’s office or the hospital when all that doctor can really do is to test and prescribe. If the Great Physician has already cured us, why would we want to go back into the Law that was designed to diagnose but not to cure. Furthermore, the Law can never be fulfilled by adherence to a set of rules; that is why Paul said, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Somehow, we get to thinking that mechanically observing a set of rules pleases God, but God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. So, while we can fulfill the Law by love, we cannot do it by merely observing a set of rules. Like the patient holding the prescription, the Law is for those bound by sin, directing them to the Savior. The Law is good insomuch as it exposes our sin and brings us to our Savior, but it has no power to save. This is why Paul was so startled in hearing that the Galatians were going back into the Law and why he was compelled to write:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3)
Contrary to what many might teach, Paul was not offering the Galatians a license to sin, but a fundamental truth of Scripture – that the Christian life can only be lived out as that well of living water springs up from our hearts. It is imperative, however, that we be found in Christ because Jesus alone is that well from which the springs of life flow.
Jesus is that well of living water, offered freely to whosoever will invite Him into their lives and hearts to be Lord and Savior. To the unbeliever, He is the invitation, “let him that is athirst come” (Revelation 22:17). To the new believer, He is that new life where, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But to those who have known Christ for awhile, even a long while, He is the reminder to come back and be refreshed again to the only water that “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). When we partake of that water, it does us much good. And when we share that water with others, it does no harm to our neighbor. It is the only water that is clean and pure and flows from the throne of God.
In the following slideshow of the Bryce Homes for Widows and Children in Kenya, you will see how several of the Bryce families were blessed this past week with a special donation designated for fruits, vegetables, and meat. These are foods that most of the families seldom have (especially the fruits and meat). We thank the two donors who gave this donation providing some wonderful tasting nutrition for our dear Bryce families in Kenya who have suffered much in their lives because of a homeland that is riddled with disease, starvation, and poverty. For more information and slideshows, visit www.missionsfortruth.com (the Lighthouse Trails missions website), and to donate, visit Understand the Times, International. We hope you will consider being a part of this special missions project. There are now over 20 Bryce Homes in Kenya, supported solely by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails readers.
Request for Help: Our Church is Becoming Involved with “Spiritual Direction” and Spiritual Director International
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am writing to you to in the hope you might be able to give me information about Spiritual Direction as our Church is becoming involved with it. As a Spiritual Director this person is a member of The Australian Network of Spiritual Directors (ANSD) and of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). After reading the brochure I am concerned about the direction it may lead us as it talks about contemplative reflection and interconnectedness of all things and also seeks to encourage ecumenism and inter faith dialogue etc.
Hoping you might be able to help me with this. Thank you for all the work you are doing in warning Christians about the many deceptions we can encounter. Keep up the good work that God has entrusted you to do. __________
Basically, the term “spiritual direction” is part of the contemplative prayer movement. Contemplative teachers say that one must have a “spiritual director” to “teach” or guide him or her how to enter into the silence of contemplative prayer. The spiritual director will provide books and resources by contemplative authors and direct his or her student on how to implement these authors’ spiritual practices. Ruth Haley Barton, a contemplative advocate who teaches thousands of pastors and Christian leaders about spiritual formation said this about her own spiritual director:
I sought out a spiritual director, someone well versed in the ways of the soul . . . eventually this wise woman said to me, . . . “What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.” . . . I decided to accept this invitation to move beyond my addiction to words.1 (emphasis added)
As for Spiritual Directors International (SDI), we consider them the leading association for spiritual directors in the world. Ray Yungen discusses SDI in his book, A Time of Departing:
To underscore the scope and reach of the contemplative prayer movement let’s look at the numbers put out by an organization called Spiritual Directors International (SDI). On their website this group gives ample evidence of what their practices are. In one national conference, the following was presented:
“This workshop offers an opportunity to study and experience the [spiritual] director’s role in a person’s move into the beginning and early stages of contemplative prayer, silence, and openness to new sorts of praying.”
One of the objectives of SDI is “Tending the holy around the world and across traditions.” A 2008 membership list showed 652 Episcopalians, 239 Presbyterians, 239 Methodists, 175 Lutherans, and a whopping 2,386 Roman Catholics; counting another forty or so “traditions,” the total was 6648. To show the nature of just what they mean by “across traditions,” the list included Buddhist, Gnostic Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Siddha Yoga, and even Pagan/Wiccan.2 [Today, the figure is 10,000 spiritual directors.]
On the SDI website, it states the following:
[SDI] has become one of the most significant and forward looking ecumenical and multi-faith spiritual organizations in the world today. (emphasis added)
It’s important to understand that “muliti-faith” and spiritual direction (contemplative spirituality) go hand in hand. As we have stated in the past, the “fruit” of contemplative prayer is interspirituality.
A Christianity Today article, “Got Your Spiritual Director Yet?,” confirmed two things, one that spiritual direction is contemplative, and two that it is on its way to becoming an integral part of evangelical Christianity. The article explains that popular Christian author Larry Crabb changed his views. Once a believer in psychology he switched to spiritual direction. He is just one of many who have done this.
The article credits contemplatives (mystics) such as John Cassian and Ignatius of Loyola for getting spiritual direction into the church and suggests that we can learn more about it from Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and Dallas Willard. As Rick Warren stated in his book, The Purpose Driven Church, Foster and Willard are key players in the Spiritual Formation movement, but while Warren says that this movement is a “valid message for the church”3 that has “given the body of Christ a wake-up call,”4 we say it is a terrible seduction for the church.
Incidentally, SDI is listed in our “50 Top Organizations With a Significant Role in Bringing Contemplative Spirituality to the Church”; needless to say, we strongly recommend a church not become involved with it or with “spiritual direction” i.e., contemplative spirituality.
To further illustrate our concerns, SDI has a book titled Tending the Holy: Spiritual Direction Across the Traditions. When it says “across the traditions,” it means across all the world’s religious traditions. The book is filled with quotes by and references to mystics from the world’s largest religions (e.g., Swami Muktananda, Swami Rama, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sri Chinmoy, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Thus “tending the holy” infers that the holy (or God) is in all the various religions (i.e., interspirituality), even ones that reject the preaching of the Cross.
For those wanting to get involved with the spiritual formation movement (i.e., contemplative, spiritual direction), consider the “direction” you will actually be going. Not toward biblical Christianity and the Jesus of the Bible but rather toward an ecumenical, interfaith spirituality that excludes salvation which comes solely through the sacrifice on the Cross made by Jesus Christ. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This SDI poster for an event taking place in 2014 says it all.
We are reminded of a June 2013 article we did titled “Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path, ” where it reports how Moody’s radio host Anita Lustrea graduated with a 2-year degree in Spiritual Direction recently from the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. One of the teachers for the Christos 2-year certificate program is Joann Nesser, who is a member of Spiritual Directors International and served on the SDI Coordinating Council for 6 of the early formative years. (source) In looking at the photos above of the interspiritual line up of speakers for the SDI 2014 conference, one cannot help wonder if these are the faces of the “new” Christianity that has surfaced and looks like it is here to stay.
1. Ruth Haley Barton, “Beyond Words”(Discipleship Journal, Issue #113, September/October, 1999, http://www. navpress.com/EPubs/DisplayArticle/1/1.113.13.html, p. 35.
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails, 2nd ed. 2006), p. 41; information taken from the Spiritual Directors International website—”Demographics of our Learning Community.”
3. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 127.
LTRP Note: Recently, Lighthouse Trails author Ray Yungen told us that Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul books have now sold over 500 million copies worldwide.1 We found that astounding as well as extremely troubling in light of the New Age element that permeates the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. For instance, as author and former New Age follower Warren B. Smith points out in his book A “Wonderful” Deception, the very first quote in the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book in 1993 was by panentheist mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. What a way to kick off a series that would end up selling 500 million copies! Below Ray Yungen talks about Chicken Soup for the Soul,
“Every religion I’ve looked at has some technology— … I’ve studied all of them and found what works for me and I’ve tried to make it available to others. What works for me is a combination of disciplines: I do yoga, tai chi which is a Chinese martial art and three kinds of meditation-vipasana, transcendental and mantra (sound) meditation. If you have to pick a yoga for me, I lean towards bhakii in the sense of devotion, adoration, singing, feeling love and joy exist in my heart.” Jack Canfield, (from Choosing To Be Happy)
The Chicken Soup Phenomenon
By Ray Yungen
Over the last two decades, a series of high profile, immensely successful books (500 million sold) have impacted the lives of many Christians. They are the Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Although these books are filled with seemingly charming and uplifting stories, Canfield’s New Age spirituality is quite disturbing from a Christian viewpoint. In understanding the foundational views of these two authors, one must ask, “Can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Luke 6:43)?
In 1981, in the Science of Mind magazine, an interview revealed Canfield was no less than a teacher of the highly occultic “psychosynthesis” method developed by a direct disciple of Alice Bailey (see Bailey’s clear occultism and birthing of the term New Age in chapter two). In some of his most recent writings, Canfield openly reveals he had his “spiritual awakening” in a yoga class in college where he felt God “flowing” through all things.1 Hence, Canfield also promotes many occult writers.
In order to draw a conclusion on the spiritual persuasions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul authors take a look at one particular book they both enthusiastically endorse. The book is called Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul, compiled by Arielle Ford. Its format is identical to that of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series—101 stories by different authors on a particular theme.
Ford’s book permeates with Eastern and New Age metaphysical content. A panoply of psychics, mediums, astrologers, channelers, and especially Hindu mystics present a wide array of stories. One such story is about a psychic who writes of her abilities.2 Another story in the book is about a Hindu holy man who manifests “holy ash” out of thin air.3 Yet another involves a man who claims to be the reincarnation of the apostle Paul and writes that the message of Jesus is “God dwells within each one of us [all humanity].”4
Co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Mark Victor Hansen, agreed with Ford’s book so wholeheartedly that he wrote the foreword. Listen to a few excerpts from this foreword, which reveal Hansen’s view:
[E]nlightening stories will inspire you. They will expand your awareness, . . . you will think in new exciting and different ways . . . You will be renewed through the tools, techniques and strategies contained herein . . . May your mystical soul be united with the mystical magical tour you’ve been wanting and waiting for.”5
Jack Canfield echoes this praise on the back cover by stating, “They [the stories in the book] will change your beliefs, stretch your mind, open your heart and expand your consciousness.”6
In March 2005, Canfield came out with his book, The Success Principles. As can be expected, one of these success principles is about meditation. Canfield relates, “I attended a meditation retreat that permanently changed my entire life.”7 Canfield does a superb job of integrating metaphysics with the needs of business creativity. He emphasizes:
As you meditate and become more spiritually attuned, you can better discern and recognize the sound of your higher self or the voice of God speaking to you through words, images, and sensations.8
These books are selling like hotcakes in some evangelical bookstores because they are positive. If someone would have told me fourteen years ago that such books would someday be selling in Christian bookstores, I would have said they were nuts—no way!
Sadly, other such books have seeped into Christian bookstores. In one store, Sara Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, was spotted under a sign, which read, “For Devotions.” In this book she informs her readers we are all “asleep to our divinity.”9 Yet, in spite of her obvious connection to the New Age, I have been told that women’s prayer groups at evangelical churches have ordered this book in bulk!
A vast number of Christians feel they are safe from being misled, simply because they have been professing Christians for so long. This is not the case at all. Considering today’s spiritual and social climate, both adults and young people desperately need keen spiritual discernment. As we move closer to the return of Christ, Scripture makes clear reference to the deluding spirits that will manifest themselves with increased intensity and effectiveness.
1. Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Dare to Win (New York, NY: Berkeley Books, 1994), p. 195.
2. Arielle Ford, Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul (New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, 1998), pp. 244-247, 361.
3. Ibid., p. 36-39.
4. Ibid., p. 15.
5. Ibid., pp. xiii-xiv.
6. Ibid., back cover.
7. Jack Canfield, The Success Principles (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005), p. 316.
8. Ibid., p. 317.
9. Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1995, October 31).
About two weeks ago, I received my monthly copy of IN TOUCH magazine. Lately the magazine has seemed “off” to me, but when I read the article on L’arche — even knowing nothing about them at that time — I literally said out loud (to no one as I was home alone) “Are you kidding me??” . . .
I had decided to write to Dr. Stanley when I received the monthly Lighthouse Trails [e-newsletter] and was shocked and amazed to see you had written about this very story in IT! So thank you for confirming to me what the Spirit of God had already revealed. I am so thankful for your site. I have not “liked” Rick Warren for years but never knew why until I came upon Lighthouse Trails when looking for information on Calvary Chapel which I still attend here on the east coast. (So far, contemplative has not reached the CC’s I know of in the lower New York area.)
The world grows darker day-by day — we desperately need Watchmen on the Wall! Stay strong and stand firm in the Truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace to you,