For Lighthouse Trails, 2016 was a year that will never be forgotten. On October 16, our beloved author, co-laborer, and dear friend, Ray Yungen, passed away unexpectedly having succumbed to an infection he received while in the hospital for a recently diagnosed leukemia treatment. A few weeks later, author and co-laborer Caryl Matrisciana passed away after a hard long battle with cancer. Words cannot express how losing these two wonderful courageous unique people has been a painful and difficult thing for not just the editors at Lighthouse Trails but for our other authors, other like-minded ministries, and countless readers who have come to love and appreciate Ray and Caryl. We are greatly comforted in knowing they are both with the Lord, but we will miss them greatly in so many ways.
A few months prior to losing Ray and Caryl, our author and co-laborer Warren B. Smith was displaced from his home in central California due to a serious house fire caused by an electrical malfunction. Since the fire, Warren and his wife Joy have been living in various locations while waiting for insurance contractors to renovate the house to livable conditions. Needless to say, it has been a very turbulent year for the Smiths. Warren has spent the last two decades writing prolifically, warning about the deception that has entered the church and has spoken in numerous conferences and churches. He has taken on issues that Christian leaders have refused to address such as Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, Eugene Peterson’s The Message, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, Leonard Sweet and the emerging church, and the coming “false christ” who will deceive the world. Ironically, Warren wrote several booklets this year for his Through It All series as a means of encouraging believers in the faith. These particular booklets are filled mostly with Scriptures. He told us he has turned to the booklet titled Trusting God Through it All many times throughout this past year. We are praying that 2017 will be a blessed year for this brother who has so sacrificially served the church for so long.
As many of you know, Lighthouse Trails relocated from Silverton, Oregon to Eureka, Montana in 2010. In 2015, the publishing facilities were moved onto a parcel of land where a 2800 sf office/shop was built. While Lighthouse Trails authors, editors, and web-assistants are located in various places throughout North America (and one author in the UK), a small office and shipping staff was trained in Montana. April of 2016 marked the end of our first year on the land, and through many challenges and new situations, God blessed the operations of Lighthouse Trails in 2016 and allowed us to publish 27 new booklets by various LT authors, to begin producing our lecture DVDs in house for the first time (saving us inventory costs and allowing us to increase the number of DVD titles we offer), and to release three books: the updated expanded edition of The Evolution Conspiracy by Roger Oakland and Caryl Matrisciana, the expanded second edition of Maria Kneas’ Strength for Tough Times, and most recently, Roger Oakland’s The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Message to the Last-Days Church. We also helped with the expanded 2nd edition of Warren Smith’s “Another Jesus” Calling.
Another significant thing happened to Lighthouse Trails in 2016 when in early spring we learned that the online shopping cart company Lighthouse Trails had used for over twelve years was going to become unavailable to us within weeks because of an enormous, out-of-our-range fee hike that would take place with only about a month’s notice. It was shocking news to us because we felt there was no way we could train for and migrate to a different system in that short a time; and without our shopping cart (i.e., the online store), Lighthouse Trails would suffer financially, which would put our daily operations at risk. But, almost miraculously, we found a new system to migrate to, received the technical help we needed to make the migration, learned how to use the new system, and a day before we were to lose the old system, we were up and running on the new one. While there were several glitches at first, the store soon began running smoothly again, and we see now that this is a much better system. Plus, because it is open-sourced, we no longer pay a monthly fee to any company for our shopping cart. So in the end, what started out as a potential disaster created a more financially sound and efficiently run Lighthouse Trails. The Lord is so faithful!
In 2016, we began a new project in which every few months, we are sending short letters and selected booklets to over 100 of the most influential evangelical leaders. Thus far, we have done three mailings and plan to continue this in 2017. Our leaders list is currently at 130. We also did one similar mailing to over 200 presidents and deans of Christian colleges and seminaries in 2016. While we have received very little response (mostly a few form letters) from the leaders, we hope and pray that somewhere along the line, some of them will begin to read the booklets and see the importance of what they are saying. We also believe it is right to challenge the leaders and hold them accountable for the things they are doing that hurt the body of Christ. Obviously, because we name names, we are not too well liked by many of these ministries, but we came to terms with that reality many years ago.
If there is one word we can think of that would capsulate what took place in the church in 2016, it is ecumenism (or unity). Christian leaders have decided that unity is more important than practically anything else. Unity with the Catholic Church in particular. But while it is dismaying to see this taking place, we are also encouraged because we are witnessing a growing number of Christian believers who understand what is going on from a biblical perspective and are showing discernment and courage. These are believers who talk to and warn their friends, family members, pastors, and church members even though they are often rejected and in many cases have no church to attend. But they have remained steadfast in their commitment to God’s Word and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. While we know because of what Scripture says that the apostasy which is overtaking the evangelical and Protestant church is not going to stop, we also know that God is faithful, and He will give to those who love the truth spiritual sight. We have a God whom we can trust, and He has always preserved a remnant of believers who continue in His Word.
PRESSING ON INTO 2017
It is obvious to us that our adversary, Satan, tried very hard to discourage and dismantle us in 2016. Many of our authors shared with us stories of immense struggle and challenge this past year – more than any other year in the history of Lighthouse Trails. Some of our critics may venture to say that it is actually God trying to halt our work. But we don’t believe that it is He who wants us to stop. Even if some of the trials and challenges are from His hand, we don’t believe He is ready for us to end the work at Lighthouse Trails. While the work we do is not popular among the general populace of church goers and church leaders, and certainly not “positive” and cheerful, we see the same thing happened to the Old Testament prophets and watchmen, to Jesus’ disciples, and even to Jesus Himself. Don’t get us wrong – we don’t equate ourselves with the prophets or disciples, but we do see a pattern in history that those who stand against the lies of the enemy and who hold fast to God’s Word are persecuted and do suffer extraordinary hardship. But we love the words of Paul when he said:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
With that said, here are some of the things we have planned for 2017:
- On January 2nd, 2017 we launched a new Lighthouse Trails Research Project website that is mobile friendly. We have not had the chance to update that site for a number of years, and because it was not mobile friendly, we were losing ratings on the Internet, and when ratings drop, fewer people can find our site. We are still working on the new site and will continue to improve it over the next few weeks. If you have any concerns about finding material, please don’t hesitate to let us know via e-mail or phone.
- On January 1st, 2017 Lighthouse Trails Publishing, LLC was changed to a corporation, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Inc. We made this change as part of our efforts to assure Lighthouse Trails will continue on (should the Lord tarry) even if something happens to its founders David and Deborah Dombrowski. With the passing of Ray Yungen and Caryl Matrisciana in 2016, just a few weeks apart from each other, we were reminded that life is short, and only the Lord knows when each of us will depart this earth and go to be with Him.
- We have several new book projects in the making some of which are: Simple Answers to Understanding the Catholic Faith—An Evangelical Primer by Ray Yungen, Witness For This Generation by Roger Oakland, Father ten Boom, God’s Man by Corrie Ten Boom, Changed by Beholding by Harry Ironside, Moscow Express by Georgi Vins, and several others. We will announce release dates as they are available.
- Lighthouse Trails began publishing our topical booklets four years ago in January of 2013. Since then, we have released 107 booklets and have distributed over 150,000 of them. A growing number of them are going into prisons too. They are providing a valuable resource to the body of Christ, dealing with issues that, again, Christian leaders are not talking about. Upcoming booklets for 2017 include Freemasonry by Carl Teichrib, Reaching the Millennials by Roger Oakland, Taize Worship by Chris Lawson and several others. There are currently 35 authors writing booklets for Lighthouse Trails.
- We will continue with our Christian-leader mailings and hope to do another mailing in 2017 to the colleges and seminaries.
- In 2017, Lighthouse Trails will continue on with the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal, which is mailed out to subscribers six times a year. We will also continue on with our e-newsletter that is e-mailed out three times a month.
In the last few years, discernment ministries have suffered the loss of a number of excellent researchers and writers, either through death, illness, or resignation; sadly, several solid and trusted blog writers decided to close their blogs and end their research and writing for various reasons. It is our prayer that God will raise up new writers and researchers who understand the times in which we live, who are not afraid to speak the truth, in love and in strength. Lighthouse Trails will be keeping an eye out for such like-minded writers with the hope of coming alongside them to help get their warnings out.
In spite of these losses, there remains a strong dedicated team of authors who continue to produce outstanding works—the latest being Roger Oakland’s new book which is an exhortation for all Christians to respond to the call of the Good Shepherd and a new booklet by Cedric Fisher on the testing of our faith.
Clearly, we are living in tumultuous times, both in the church and in the world. While many Christians are hoping that the new presidential administration can help America and even the world, we know that ultimately the only thing that is going to help is when people genuinely surrender their lives to the one true God and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is for this very reason that Lighthouse Trails continues on year after year (by the grace of God).
We look forward to serving the Lord and the body of Christ in 2017. We are humbled that God can use us as publishers representing authors who are so dedicated to ministering to the church as well as reaching out to the lost with the salvation message of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prayers, support, encouragement, and exhortation from all of us at Lighthouse Trails. And may God bless your families and churches with His truth and wisdom throughout this new year.
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails
See also Part 1 Year in Review | See also Part 2 Year in Review | See also Part 3 Year in Review
(Listed in order of date posted)
On March 9th of this year, a press release came out announcing the retirement of long-time AWANA president Jack Eggar who was being replaced by an interim president and CEO, Valerie Bell. Bell is a member of Willow Creek (and her husband is a Vice President of Willow Creek Association). The fact alone that AWANA has selected someone from Willow Creek to lead AWANA should be enough to show that AWANA has at least in part absorbed the spirituality of Willow Creek, which is the spirituality of the emerging church (and that is NOT guilt by association). But the selection of Valerie Bell has even deeper roots in the “new” spirituality.
“Are you looking for reliable, Christ-centered information and healing that is safe, affordable and that really does work? Are you sick & tired of being sick & tired? Are you a healer or are you searching for effective healing that is Christ-centered? You have found your tribe.”
So says Tammy Anderson Ward, President of Hope Haven Events, who presents the “Christ-Centered Energy Healing Conferences.” If Christ-centered energy healing sounds like an oxymoron, that’s because it is. And all one needs to do is cruise around on the website to see that the nature of these conferences is blatantly New Age. But we’ll get to that in a little bit. The group is reaching out to a broad audience and is being billed as “the world’s largest Christ-centered energy healing conference;” but what caught the attention of Lighthouse Trails and author Ray Yungen more than anything is that they are reaching out to homeschool kids and parents, a traditionally conservative segment of the population.
According to a news release from PRWire titled “Pope Francis To Address Americans At National Mall Event ’Together 2016’ With Special Video Message,” Pope Francis will be joining (via video) evangelical leaders such as Ravi Zacharias, Luis Palau, Michael W. Smith, and Josh McDowell, emerging-church leaders such as Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen (IF), and Mark Batterson (Circle Maker) and charismatic leaders such as Sammy Rodriguez and Hillsong for an event motivated by a goal to bring unity to all those who “love Jesus.” The event is called “Together 2016,” subtitled Fill the Mall.
On June 13, Lighthouse Trails reported on an event called Together 2016 that will take place this summer in Washington DC. We explained that organizer Nick Hall was bringing together evangelical, emerging, charismatic, and Catholic leaders for the ecumenical purpose of uniting together. A special video appearance by Pope Francis will be part of the event. A similar event (but without the Pope) has been announced. The Gathering: A National Solemn Assembly will take place in September in Dallas, Texas, and while there doesn’t appear to be any direct promotion of the Roman Catholic religion as there is with Together 2016, there is a definite united-we-stand-regardless-of-our-beliefs scenario in The Gathering.
As we observe evangelical Christianity being drawn toward “the Mother Church” of Roman Catholicism, it is amazing to see how very few Christian leaders speak up about this. On the contrary, one after the next, Christian leaders are succumbing to this ecumenical, interfaith last-days apostasy of merging evangelicalism into the Catholic fold. Lighthouse Trails has reported on numerous examples of highly influential evangelical leaders heading in this direction: Rick Warren, Beth Moore, James Robison, and Ken Copeland to name a few.
Today, we received two different e-mails that provided information to show the continuance of this evangelical move toward Rome. In the first e-mail sent by Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa senior pastor Brian Brodersen was brought to our attention. Brodersen is beginning an online YouTube series called Things That Matter.
Last week, a colleague sent a note to Lighthouse Trails asking us to review a sermon that Erwin Lutzer recently gave at Skip Heitzig’s Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque (New Mexico) Church. Lighthouse Trails has issued challenges and appeals to Erwin Lutzer on a number of occasions over the past ten years because of our concerns that as a major Christian leader (Pastor Emeritus (as of spring 2016) of Moody Church – the same church Dr. Harry Ironside and D.L. Moody pastored many years ago), Lutzer would lead many astray because of his written endorsement of Larry Crabb’s book, The Papa Prayer, that openly promotes “centering prayer.” An editor from Lighthouse Trails spoke personally on the phone with Lutzer in 2006 but to no avail.
For three years, Lighthouse Trails has been warning believers about Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. It was October 25th 2013 that we announced going to press with Warren B. Smith’s book “Another Jesus” Calling. Since then, we have published three booklets by Warren on the topic as well as several articles. We also sent his booklet 10 Scriptural Reasons Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book to over 100 Christian leaders earlier this year. Interestingly, in these past few years, we’ve heard virtually no public comments by Christian leaders about Jesus Calling – for or against. We wondered, “Do they like the book and are too afraid to say so?” or “Do they NOT like the book and are too afraid to say so?” Afraid that if they stated their true feelings about the book – whether for or against – they would take heat from either their followers who love the book or from discernment ministries who warn about the book. Well, apparently, all that doesn’t matter anymore because leaders are starting to speak up about Jesus Calling – and the ones who are, LOVE IT!
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has come under public heat because it recently announced they were giving an ultimatum to employees who saw nothing wrong with same-sex (homosexual) marriage. In a Charisma magazine article (we are not endorsing Charisma), the author states:
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is one of the leading campus ministries, and its publishing arm, InterVarsity Press, is one of the top Christian publishers. But this fine ministry is learning the hard way that, when it comes to homosexuality, you cannot straddle the fence.1
The reason the Charisma writer says “straddle the fence” is because InterVarsity Press has been publishing emergent, contemplative, New Age/New Spirituality authors for a long time, and mixing truth with error has finally caught up with them.
According to a Christianity Today article, LifeWay Resources (the Southern Baptist Convention resource arm) has stopped selling products by Jen Hatmaker because of her promotion of same-sex marriage. The CT article stated:
Jen Hatmaker posted a 650-word response on her Facebook page Monday, saying she “wrestled with and through Scripture, not around it” before coming to a decision to affirm same-sex relationships, which recently led to LifeWay Christian Resources pulling her books from its stores.
Hatmaker has been the topic of Lighthouse Trails articles and Cedric Fisher’s booklet called IF it is of God: Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering as she is part of the group of women who head up the women’s movement called IF: Gathering.
According to an article in the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis has proposed six new beatitudes. The article states:
At the Mass, which took place at the conclusion of his ecumenical trip to the country, Pope Francis highlighted the lives of the Swedish saints Elizabeth Hesselblad and Bridget of Vadstena. . . . New situations require new energy and a new commitment, he said, and then offered a new list of Beatitudes for modern Christians.
Four of the “new beatitudes” had to do with forgiving others, caring about the earth, and helping the poor and needy. One of them was ecumenical in nature: — Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians [meaning Christians and Catholics], and the second resonated with earlier comments Pope Francis has made to indicate that this pope is not only ecumenical, he is also interspiritual (all paths lead to God) and panentheistic (God is in all).
See also Part 1 Year in Review | See also Part 2 Year in Review
Listed in order of date posted.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
Hardly a day goes by without news relating to Bible prophecy and especially the advancing trend towards a global religion for the cause of peace. It seems there are few who understand this is what the Bible predicts will happen on planet earth before the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom.
By Tony Pearce
Light For the Last Days Ministries (UK)
Israel is in the grip of a terror offensive as Palestinians have been attacking Israelis with knives and driving their cars at them. Between September 13 and November 30, 2015, 22 Israelis were killed and 215 wounded.
The attacks began after false accusations that Israel was defiling the Al Aqsa Mosque (on the site of the former Jewish Temple in Jerusalem). Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been telling his people that Israel was planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and “change the Arab and Islamic character and identity” of Jerusalem. He condemned Jews for “defiling the Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet.” Radical Islamist and terrorist elements are calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Statements by Fatah and Hamas have described the attacks as “heroic actions” and “the natural response to Israel”s crimes.”
By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network
Filmed between a 45-minute break between down-pouring rain and a storm system approaching from the horizon, this unscripted, impromptu video expresses my heart and desire to see people in the Calvary Chapel movement (and other movements) helped and healed and strengthened in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in these last days.
I have no desire to divide the Body of Christ or needlessly offend anyone who is in Calvary Chapel movement and beyond. I am simply sharing my heart and God’s truth in light of a number of observations I have seen growing for over 25 years now in the Calvary Chapel movement. Things now have become so blatant in the rising storm of ecumenical apostasy that only sincere prayer and publicly declared clarion calls for humility, truth, and repentance will make any difference at all. My prayer is that God Himself by His Spirit and His Word will raise up clarion voices around the globe in this late hour.
As a Christian missionary and as a former Calvary Chapel pastor for many years, I have been observing a growing trend of too many people remaining silent on far too many major ecumenical compromises. A host of other issues are also of concern.
By Cedric Fisher
Recently, I was in a hospital waiting room and reluctantly picked up an issue of Guidepost Magazine. I very seldom read Guidepost because the long-time publisher, Norman Vincent Peale, promotes heresy and diabolical religions. He has also denied the virgin birth and the necessity of being born again.
As I perused the magazine, I landed on an article by Anna Gentile, a hospital chaplain. The article was about Guideposts and Gentile’s work with sick children.
By Jim Fletcher
Late last month, the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission” (ERLC) hosted another self-serving conference in Nashville, titled “Onward” (shockingly, the same title as that of the ERLC chief’s new book; it’s about the marketing, stupid). Stanley was invited to speak. Boy, did he.
While ERLC President Russell Moore looked on grinning, Andy Stanley said the following: “I would ask preachers and pastors and student pastors in their communications to get the spotlight off the Bible and back on the resurrection.”
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
The commentary you are about to read has been written with much prayer and thought. I have not written it impulsively or with ill motive but rather believe God has compelled me to testify of things that have gone unspoken of and hidden in secret for too long. For the sake of the body of Christ and the furtherance of the Gospel, the secret things in darkness need to be exposed.
There are a number of low-profile Calvary Chapel pastors starting to ask questions. Chuck Smith, the founder of the movement, seemed to be biblically sound and determined to serve the Lord throughout his many years of ministry. Toward the end of his ministry, it appears there were strange bedfellows planted around him who in earlier years he would have avoided. So what happened? The purpose of this commentary will be to answer that question.
Chuck Smith attributed the growth and the strength of the Calvary Chapel movement to the Holy Spirit and not to man-designed gimmicks or human effort. He never wavered from that position until the day he died. He called Calvary Chapel “His Church.” While there were those who had some questions about strange things going on behind the scenes, the Calvary ship sailed pretty well most of the time.
By Amy Spreeman
Fed up with false teaching: Calvary Chapel church says “So Long” to the CC Association – Berean Research
A Calvary Chapel pastor who warned of false teachings and apostate movements seeping into the Calvary Chapel organization has been removed from his regional leadership position, and is now removing his local congregation out of the Calvary Chapel Association altogether.Pastor Dwight Douville of Calvary Chapel Appleton Wisconsin was informed last month that he was being removed from his position as a regional leader, a position he’s held for many years. Why? He says because personal friendships have been put above doctrinal truth, muddying the waters of what Calvary Chapels are all about. And because he advocated for maintaining and staying the course while calling out wolves and yeast seeping into Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the organization as a whole since the death of founder Chuck Smith.
By Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Paul warns us that at the end of the age, inside the church, there will be teachings of demons—quite a serious charge. That it will be a time that is extremely dangerous to believers who do not know the Word correctly and do not watch what they are being taught.
The Devil has tailor-made deceptions for every church in every age; he knows the people’s weaknesses and propensities to do wrong in certain areas. He will use whomever he can in whatever capacity he can to bring confusion, falsehoods, and destruction—especially if he can target a church’s pastor. Contrary to popular teaching, the Devil, who is the greatest of angelic creatures, is of the highest intelligence, has power, and is often underestimated in his scheming by those who think they can bind him.
By Ray Yungen
In an article released in January 2016 written by New Age leader Deepak Chopra titled, “Will Pope Francis Become a Holy Man for the World?,” Chopra states,
Pope Francis I is poised to be more than a very popular pontiff . . . He could rise to become a symbol of holiness beyond the Catholic Church. . . . for those of us who aren’t Catholic, there’s a universal message voiced personally by the Pope: “No one can be excluded from God’s mercy. The question, then, is how potent this mission will be.
Chopra says that “millions of non-Catholics feel a fresh wind blowing” because of the Pope’s actions and that Pope Francis has “become a spiritual exemplar.”
In the article, Chopra gives some advice to Pope Francis, that he not become another “theological” pope but rather one with a “higher consciousness” and like the “Jesus” who was not theological but rather “enlightened.”
By Lois Putnam
Miami-Dade County Schools Partner with Mindful Kids Miami
Miami-Dade County Schools (Fourth Largest School District in the U.S.A.) is being transformed into a mindfulness-yoga school system through its partnership with Mindful Kids Miami, and its mindfulness lady leader–Valerie York-Zimmerman.
Yes, grades Pre-K through 12, students as well as teachers and administrators will be instructed in mindfulness meditation. Training centers have been set up all over Miami even in the sanctuary of the “most progressive church in the city”–Riviera Presbyterian Church (USA). Recently Riviera adherents proudly held up a banner reading, “We All Are God’s Beloved Children: No Exceptions!”
See also Part 1 Year in Review
Editor’s Note: (Listed in order of date posted from January 2016 – December 2016)
2016 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 2 – TOP 10 OUT-OF-HOUSE NEWS STORIES
Christianity Today: More than half of evangelical pastors say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ.
More than one-third say they value the pope’s view on theology, and 3 in 10 say he has improved their view of the Catholic Church.
Those are among the findings of a new study of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, released this week from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Overall, the survey found that many Protestant pastors have taken a liking to Pope Francis.
Yoga Alliance: The newly released 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years.
Fortune Magazine: In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).
The UK Guardian: . . . A group of Christians, Muslims and Jews is trying to crowdsource funds to build a place where they can all worship: Berlin’s “House of One” is aiming to become the world’s first building to combine a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof.
Washington Post: On campuses across America, the Thought Police have a new tool: Bias Response Teams, administrators who crack down on classroom insensitivity.
More than 100 US colleges have set up BRTs. The newshounds at Heat Street last week dug up a taste of how it works.
A professor at the University of Northern Colorado got visited by the school’s Bias Response Team — for imploring his students to think about opposing viewpoints.
Associated Press: The leaders of the world’s Orthodox Christian churches ended a historic gathering on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday hoping to repeat the meeting within a decade, despite a boycott by the Russian church—the most populous in a religion of some 300 million people — and three other churches.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I led prayers attended by the 10 Orthodox church leaders who attended to mark the end of the weeklong Holy and Great Council — the first of its kind in more than 1,200 years.
Christian News Network: Ten more states have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its requirement that school districts allow male students who identify as female and vice versa to use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity.”
Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming now join the list of states that are challenging directives from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued in May.
NBC News: Israel has accused a manager working for U.S.-headquartered Christian charity World Vision of funneling millions of dollars to Islamist militant group Hamas. Mohammad El Halabi, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into Gaza, World Vision said in a statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities on Thursday. He had run the organization’s Gaza operations since 2010.
Jerusalem Post: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans. One resolution established an “investment screen” that will recommend where Lutherans should invest their money with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. The other urged a cutoff of US aid to Israel unless Israel meets a series of conditions, and calls for the immediate US recognition of “the state of Palestine.” . . . David Brog, of Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that the resolutions “blame Israel and only Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.
Associated Press: Pope Francis urged Lutherans to set aside doctrinal differences Thursday and work with Catholics to care for the poor, the sick and refugees as he laid out his vision for greater communion before his visit to Sweden later this month.
Francis greeted about 1,000 Lutherans who were visiting the Vatican on an ecumenical pilgrimage. They had arrived in Rome from Germany, where Martin Luther famously sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to a church door to challenge the abuses of the Catholic Church.
Francis will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation with his Oct. 31-Nov. 1 visit to Sweden, where he will participate in an ecumenical service with the Lutheran World Federation.
Every year around this time, Lighthouse Trails presents its Year in Review. Over the next few days, we will be posting our top stories from different categories from 2016. This is an opportunity to read stories you may have missed and also to get a wide-lens glance at important things happening in the church and the world from a discernment and biblical point of view. As always, our primary focus at Lighthouse Trails is the Gospel. We hope this Year in Review will point readers to that very message.
YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 1 – Top 10 Letters to the Editor
I have always regarded you as a very spiritual woman, but when I read that you had bought into the heresy found in the book The Circle Maker, I thought to myself, how could she be so deceived?
The Bible says in 1 John 4: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are come into the world.”
If you were to type into a search engine “The Circle Maker” you would find what I, a layman, found out about this book and this “new way” of praying.
My mother says she prays to “Jesus” before doing Reiki. When she said that, I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring it and decided I needed to really look into Reiki and share my faith (she knows I’m a Christian—thus telling me Reiki is OK for me because she prays to Jesus; but I don’t think she saw much distinction in our beliefs and said her Reiki teacher used to be a female minister). She does not believe in the Bible or most of it anyway, nor Jesus’ deity, but rather He came to point the way to God. To me, of course, this just doesn’t make any logical sense for so many reasons (I told her those reasons), but she is so deceived she can’t see reason.
I have been admonished by a number a people that I am wrong, just want to be right, question why I am worrying about what others do, or am too extreme or pharisaical (by some believers that are far more mature and Bible literate than I am). I have been told to stop looking on the Internet because that is unreliable and have been laughed at for doing so. My former pastor even told me to stop.
My Christian friends are constantly posting on Facebook about Bethel, contemplative prayer, or blatant New Age stuff as well as Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Hillsong. Very few seem to be concerned about all the strange manifestations and theology coming out of Bethel or that contemplative prayer is not something most of us ever heard about or practiced until a few years ago, yet they are OK with it.
I wanted to let you know that I happened to listen to an online YouTube message from Erwin Lutzer yesterday that was an overview of his life.1 Well, I was shocked to hear him say he went to Loyola University!!!! [see YouTube link below; also: https://logoi.org/authors/erwin-lutzer/?___store=en]. It was after his graduation from Dallas Seminary, but still, he did not offer an apology for not knowing he should stay out of Catholicism back when he was young, no, he said it just as if it was a good university to go to!!! I was stunned, as I had always thought Moody Bible was separate from Catholicism, and the very name of Loyola screams Jesuit Catholicism, the worst of the worst of Catholicism! Anyway, I thought it might be worth noting in your articles about how Moody Bible Institute is going Contemplative, and it may help you to maybe understand why his response to your warning e-mails to him was to love all of the brethren.
We are especially concerned because our talented, zealous adult children are, to some degree or another, caught up in following Bethel and Hillsong worship and practices. So far as I know, none are practicing ‘contemplative’ prayer, but other occult practices are subtly mixed in with their schools of worship and ‘supernatural’ ministries. We prepared a notebook for each of our children and their spouses where we downloaded and printed Warren Smith’s Reinventing Jesus Christ (now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) back in late 2006 or early 2007 – probably just before we discovered Lighthouse Trails. I think they mostly stuck the notebooks under the bed or somewhere obscure.
I have been so blessed to come from a Christian heritage where standing up for the truth meant you ended up being almost on an island. My own dear father was a layman who reported the truth over 50 years ago and was attacked for it so many times and yet, what he shared then is all coming to light now. He at one time was setting up crusades for Billy Graham and had to resign as he saw what was happening with their alignment with the Catholic church. Dad had spent his early years in the service and due to his abilities went under cover for the Army and found while doing so, the information on the Illuminati and all the connections of its plans. He did such research in order to share with those who were unaware to prepare them for what was coming. He also was the only white man invited to speak at so many black churches in Philadelphia at the conferences because of his knowledge and love for them as brothers in Christ and yet, he was not a pastor but a layman.
You may think of Buddhism and Shinto religion when you hear the word Japan, but my background is quite unusual in that my mother was hugely influenced by the QUAKERS when she was a teenager, because of the Quaker Girls School that she went to from 13 to 19, which gave her silent worship opportunities every single morning. She then went on to become very much into metaphysics and western philosophy. She would often sit quietly doing nothing when I was a child, and she would tell me that Jesus was one of those people who had psychic powers to heal the sick. But I was little and I had no idea what kind of thing my mother was trying to convey or teach to me.
Having joined the staff after high school with the purpose of working with teens, I soon began to notice the compromises creeping in and no one else seemed to be concerned. It all came to a head when I took a stand and insisted I attend a retreat they had planned with the local [Catholic] Abbey before permitting my Campaigners to go. That, in itself, caused a major problem. After attending and taking my stand, it was apparent that my biblical background was considered a liability instead of a blessing. Over many days of discussion, I finally had to offer my resignation as I felt I could not agree with the ecumenical direction Young Life was taking by aligning itself with a Catholic fellowship.
That was many years ago, and it is sad to realize how so much compromising was happening then long before the flood of what is taking place today. Satan has been busy, and the standing for the truth has turned into a determent rather than a badge of honor.
A friend of mine texted me to ask if I had heard of “praying in color.” She included the following website: www.prayingincolor.com. Immediately, I knew that this was not of God. I perused the website and was not surprised that this is rooted and grounded in Hinduism, Catholicism, visualization, and mysticism. Apparently, one of the leaders at my friend’s church is introducing this to the congregation. My friend knew something wasn’t right or biblical about this. The leader explained to the congregation that she had gone to a seminar on “praying in color” and was so taken in by it that she is inviting a “praying in color” coach to do a seminar at her church. This is not the first time that this leader has introduced false teaching to the congregation (i.e. Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life).
My small Southern Baptist church recently finished Beth Moore’s “Entrusted” series which includes articles from her daughter Melissa Moore. Not having experienced Beth Moore I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Being informed by Lighthouse Trails and other discernment websites, I approached the class with a good deal of wariness. I love Beth and Melissa Moore as sisters in Christ. I was hoping to find nothing of concern in “Entrusted.” This was not the case. Following are some of my concerns.
As we come to the end of 2016, we thank the Lord for the wonderful things He has done with the Bryce Homes in several different countries. The Bryce Home program is an Understand The Times, International ministry; however, Lighthouse Trails readers are a big part of the Bryce Homes. The donations that come from the LT readers have especially helped to make the Bryce Homes in Kenya program what it is today where an increasing number of widows and children are being helped significantly, both physically and spiritually. We hope you enjoy this end-of-the-year slideshow of the widows and children in Kenya who are part of the Bryce Homes program. You will notice several new families in the slideshow. As many of the original Bryce widows have been able to become self-sufficient or even partly self-sufficient, other impoverished widows and their children can become part of the program.
The Bryce Homes program is an outreach to Christian families (particularly widows and children) throughout the world, providing them with basic survival needs, educational costs, biblical mentoring, housing, and opportunities to start and run small home-based businesses. If you would like to support this amazing and Gospel-focused missions work, please visit the Understand The Times website.
To our Lighthouse Trails friends:
Joy and I wish to convey our overwhelming gratitude for all the letters and gifts that came pouring in after our July 3rd house fire. And for the many caring people who have asked for an update, we are still awaiting the restoration of our home after the fire that erupted from a seemingly innocent electrical outlet in the basement. Due to many unanticipated factors, it looks like it will be at least another six months before it will be ready for safe occupancy. For a couple of people who routinely ran homeless programs and homeless shelters in our younger years, it has been quite an experience to be without a home ourselves. Living primarily in various motels, we will soon be moving into our sixth place since the fire. To complicate the whole situation, prior to the fire we were in the process of having 70 pine trees felled and removed from our yard. Because of the four-year California drought, bark beetles had killed most of the beautiful pine trees that had graced our yard—many of them 80-100 feet tall. Tree specialists will be working around the construction people in what had been our very quiet home and yard. Throw in a few personal health concerns and the sad passing of our two dear friends and co-laborers Ray Yungen and Caryl Matrisciana, and it has, needless to say, been quite a year. Nevertheless, we are standing fast, hanging tight, and continuing to press on!
In terms of ministry, earlier in the year, I spoke at several conferences and churches in California and Canada and wrote several booklets. After the fire, I spoke in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin. After the shock of the fire wore off we were able to get an expanded 2nd edition of Another Jesus Calling: How Sarah Young’s False Christ is Deceiving the Church published along with another booklet for Lighthouse Trails. Ironically, the booklet titled Trusting God Through it All: What Scripture Tells Us was published just prior to the fire. I have found myself reading that particular booklet more than once since the fire.
Again, we are very thankful for those who have called, written, and helped support us through this process. We look forward to a new year of addressing necessary issues and doing whatever we can to update and encourage the body of Christ through our books, booklets, articles, and presentations at conferences. It should be a very interesting and challenging time for us all.
We wish everyone a blessed and joyful New Year. May we all press on toward the higher calling of our Lord.
Lighthouse Trails Editors’ Note: Please remember Warren and Joy Smith in your prayers this coming year. For as much as they have been through, Warren continues in his determination to reach out to the body of Christ with his warnings, exhortations, and encouragements. We hope you will also prayerfully consider supporting Warren’s ministry financially. Warren gave up a successful career as a social worker and hospice care worker over fifteen years ago to write False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? Since then, God has brought Warren into a full-time writing and speaking ministry. While the Lord has sustained the ministry, it is not without its ongoing challenges, especially considering Warren is not part of an organization that covers him financially. If you would like to send a year-end donation to Warren, you may do so by using his PayPal account or by mailing a check in his name in care of Lighthouse Trails (P.O. Box 908, Eureka, MT 59917). Another option is to support him through regular monthly donations which can be set up also through his PayPal account.