See also Part 1 Year in Review
Editor’s Note: Listed in order of date posted (from January 2015-December 2015)
1/Feds Spend $2.5 Million on Mindfulness Intervention for Kindergarteners The Washington Beacon (Elizabeth Harrington)
The Department of Education is spending upwards of $2.5 million to bring a mindfulness intervention to kindergarteners in Chicago, where kids can go to “calm spots” in the corner to watch nature videos. The National Institutes of Health has spent over $100 million studying the New Age meditation technique, but it is not the only federal agency pouring federal funding into mindfulness. The Education Department has introduced a “Calm Classroom” program into 3,000 schools through its Investing in Innovation fund, costing taxpayers $2,513,093.
2/Conscientious Objector Goes to Jail: “Federal Judge Orders County Clerk to Jail Until She Agrees to Issue ‘Gay Marriage’ Licenses” Christian News Network (Heather Clark)
A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky clerk to be placed behind bars until she complies with his order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals despite her Christian identity. US District Judge David Bunning declared Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court this morning after she explained in tears that it is not possible for her to comply with the order because of her Christianity.
3/Seventh Planned Parenthood Expose’: Some Babies Are Alive When Organs Are Harvested Christian News Network (Heather Clark)
The seventh expose’ video surrounding Planned Parenthood’s alleged harvesting and sale of aborted babies was released today, featuring testimony that suggests that some babies are alive when their organs are harvested. The footage, released by the Center for Medical Progress, features clips from the past six videos, as well as new footage from an interview with former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O’Donnell, who had shared part of her story last week.
4/Boy Scout Committee Unanimously Approves Proposal to Lift Ban on Openly Homosexual Leaders Christian News Network (Heather Clark)
An executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has unanimously voted to lift a long-standing ban on openly homosexual troop leaders. “As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels, on Friday, July 10, the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy,” the BSA said in a statement on Monday.
5/Vatican Signs First Treaty With “State of Palestine”—Backs Two-State Solution
The Jerusalem Post (Herb Keinon)
The Vatican signed its first treaty with the “State of Palestine” on Friday, calling for “courageous decisions” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution. Israel expressed disappointment last month at the Vatican’s announcement that it reached the outline of an agreement with the Palestinians and at the Holy See’s use of the term “State of Palestine” for the first time in an official document.
6/U.S. Supreme Court Rules: Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Must Be Legalized in All 50 States (Clark) Christian News Network (Heather Clark)
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its monumental ruling on same-sex “marriage” on Friday, declaring that all 50 states must and are “required ” to legalize “gay marriage” under the U.S. Constitution. “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.
7/The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, studies shows The Daily Mail – UK (Harriet Crawford)
Meditation and mindfulness is promoted by celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Russell Brand, who boast of its power to help people put stress out of their minds and live for the moment. But the treatment can itself trigger mania, depression, hallucinations and psychosis, psychological studies in the UK and US have found.
8/Feel the Love Tonight? Rick Warren, Elton John Hold Hands, Joke About Kissing Before AIDS Panel Christian News Network (Heather Clark)
Controversial megachurch leader and author Rick Warren raised concerns Wednesday after joining hands with homosexual singer Elton John during a speech before a congressional hearing on AIDS funding, and joked what would happen if the two kissed.
9/WorldNetDaily Identifies Agenda by Evangelical Leaders to Marginalize Discerning Whistleblowers WorldNetDaily (Jim Fletcher)
“The Internets” have given everyone a voice today. Obviously, that’s both good and bad. Computer technology has really leveled the playing field, so the classic “writer living in his parents’ basement” can have a platform, mostly, like a high-profile New York writer. . . . One gets the feeling, though, that some of the high-profile folks resent the heck out of all this.
The United Nations declared June 21st as International Yoga Day, just three months after India’s newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi used some of his valuable minutes during his address to the U.N. General Assembly to introduce it. With an unprecedented 177 countries signed on, including the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia, it might be an indication that the winds are changing.
During 1924-1926, Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. The 70-year copyright of this work expires at the end of 2015. It is now being re-published, with many annotations in January 2016 after three years of work on the 2000 page book(s).
Here’s what Adolf Hitler wrote, inter alia:
“THE BEST WAY to take control over a people and control them utterly, is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed – until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”
History repeating itself innocuously? It reminds me of the frog in the cool water. It remains there and adjusts to the ever-so-slight increases in temperature of the water – until it’s boiling and the end ….
A & R
Every year at this time, Lighthouse Trails presents its Year in Review. Over the next few days, we will be posting our top stories from several different categories from 2015. 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.
2015 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 1 – TOP 10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
There are so many homeschooling blogs by professing Christian mothers who promote all manner of things that are unbiblical and smacking of the world, witchcraft, the New Age and psychology. Blog after blog promoting Harry Potter novels and fantasy, Disney movies and T.V shows that promote witchcraft, homosexuality, and the spirit of the world. Having the veneer of Christianity but having no substance thereof. Loving and promoting all things of the world on the one hand while professing to be Christian and having a love of Jesus on the other.
The recent posts are really depicting how quickly we are getting there. Now it is all coming into place. I think one reason the warnings have died down is people are getting a sense that the time to blow the trumpet is over. It is just comments people leave. It may sound counterproductive, but at some point this time arrives. Usually just before judgment or something like that. I keep warning as God leads me.
I live in the Midwest, and one would think that the apostate church has not infiltrated us here. Nothing could be further from the truth. My husband and I have stopped attending church due to previous churches attended now being mega seeker sensitive. Recently we decided to try two churches.
My family has been involved with the Awana ministry for almost 20 years both as “clubbers” and leaders. Awana came out with new junior high curriculum. I reviewed one of the books and was not happy. The high school level curriculum too is in the process of being re-written with the help of a man named Josh Griffin. Josh Griffin is the high school pastor for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church.
n March 2015, we were at a small Calvary Chapel in ________________. Our pastor needed to relocate so we were without a regular pastor for many months.
Since we were unable to find a satisfactory Calvary Chapel pastor, we were extremely anxious as to what our next step should be. Someone knew of a C&MA [Christian & Missionary Alliance] District Superintendent who mentioned he could come talk to us as a congregation. When he came, he was extremely nice and personable and exuded confidence and kindness.
At one time, in the 1950s, one could find dozens of Bible Churches with sound pastoral leadership and outstanding music (e.g. Moody Church choir at the time under Richard Dinwiddie). There is no way these kinds of churches would ever fall prey to compromise, ecumenism, or contemporary music shifts–or would they? The last two or three decades has experienced a virtual paradigm shift
I have personal experience with the book: Jesus Calling. A few years ago, having received the book as a gift by a church member, I began to read it. I had no prior knowledge of the book but quickly realized I did not like it. I thought there was another spirit within the pages. I threw it in the garbage can, not even willing to donate it to the thrift shop. We have since moved and have connected to another church. The worship, teaching, and fellowship is God directed, and we were very happy to have found this group of people.
When I came across a tweet including a picture of my pastor attending the recent Alpha Leadership conference in England, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Alpha, so I did some research. My concern deepened as I uncovered the focus of this conference. Unity. Ecumenical unity with the Catholic Church. The choice of speakers confirmed my concern: Father Raniero Cantalamessa, (Preacher to the papal household), Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
After having chiropractic treatment for years, I decided to give osteopathy a try, as it seemed to be more gentle on the body. But at the end of the treatment, something strange happened. The practitioner held my head for about seven minutes or so. Up until this point, I figured it was all part of the therapy. But then I became concerned. I couldn’t work out what he was doing, as he was not massaging my neck nor did he seem to be applying any pressure. Then I heard him taking several deep breaths.
A Lighthouse Trails reader who is on David Jeremiah’s mailing list received the following e-mail notice from David Jeremiah. The appearance took place arch 12, 2015 . . .
Two Letters to the Editor About Cedarville University Lead to New Research That Causes Continued Concern
Lighthouse Trails has been following Cedarville University since 2006 when we wrote an article titled “Cedarville University – Heading Down the Contemplative Road?” Since then, Lighthouse Trails has written several others articles having watched this Christian school head down the contemplative/emerging path. In 2013, Cedarville University got a new president, and we wrote an article titled “Will Cedarville University Turn Around With New President? – Challenge May be Big.” In that article, we stated:
Cedarville University has been dancing with the devil and his contemplative/emergent beliefs for quite some time. The question is, will the new president, Thomas White, be able to turn things around? That, of course, will depend on whether he even wants to turn things around, and that won’t happen if he doesn’t understand the true nature behind the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church. If he doesn’t know that a panentheistic mystical paradigm shift is happening to the Christian church right now (as Ray Yungen has so meticulously shown in his research), we fear he may allow Cedarville to continue down its present course.
In the fall of 2015, Lighthouse Trails received two letters regarding Cedarville University. The first letter was from a concerned parent who was looking for a Christian college for her daughter. The letter gives us reason to remain concerned about Cedarville University.
“Co-incidentally,” Lighthouse Trails received a second letter from another person shortly after receiving the one below. In the second letter, we were challenged to remove Cedarville from our contemplative colleges list.
That second letter prompted us to contact Cedarville University, which led to a phone conversation with an academic dean at Cedarville. We shared our concerns that Cedarville students may still be getting contemplative teachings at the school. The dean allowed us to share documentation, in particular regarding a book being used in Cedarville’s Spiritual Formation course titled Grasping God’s Word, in which lectio divina is taught. The dean was gracious to us in his responses and agreed to allow us to send him some materials including Ray Yungen’s book on contemplative prayer, A Time of Departing. While we have not heard back from the dean, we are hopeful that the information we shared with him will bear much fruit in the future of Cedarville University.
Letter to the Editor #1 –
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
As we were doing our due diligence in searching for a college, my daughter and I were sitting in on a class [in April of 2014] at Cedarville University. I was so thankful to be there that day as the professor was teaching on Lectio Divina [from the book Grasping God’s Word]. I did confront the professor after the class was over and wasn’t surprised when he became very defensive. I was saddened to see Grace College on the ‘bad’ list. We have looked at the example given and other resources identified and am constantly checking for other things that are being taught or happening on campus.
Being aware of the contemplative movement, we have been very proactive in teaching our daughter to also be aware and to test everything. It is a battle, and I see many fall deep into it. I have directed many of my friends to your site in regards to the contemplative movement and also in searching for “christian” colleges for their kids. Sadly when they do come back to me they come back with a defense of why “meditation” is good and why the college they are choosing is a good place. This leads me to believe their own churches are either not teaching against or are teaching for the contemplative movement. Fortunately for me, my church has made us aware and are teaching against it.
Thank you again for keeping us aware. It is overwhelming for me sometimes to follow all the links you provide, but I am thankful for them and persevere to be informed.
After doing some research, Lighthouse Trails learned that the textbook being used that day in April 2014 to teach lectio divina is a book titled Grasping God’s Word by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays (see pages 231-234). The book also favorably references a number of contemplative mystics. For instance, on footnote #10 of chapter 12, it states:
For more on prayer, see Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home; Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life; and Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
Such recommendations in a book being used in the Spiritual Formation course at Cedarville University is sad news, to be sure.
To further substantiate our reader’s concerns that contemplative spirituality is being promoted at Cedarville, the following courses at Cedarville are using textbooks by contemplative/emerging authors:
- Biblical Leadership (6210): John Maxwell
- Personal Evangelism (2400): Timothy Keller (contemplative advocate)
- Discipleship (3410): James Wilhoit and Dallas Willard (Spiritual Formation book)
- Orient to Bible Ministries (1000): Scot McKnight (emergent)
- Grasping God’s Word being used in some of the Spiritual Formation courses at Cedarville
Letter to the Editor #2:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
After having a daughter graduate from Cedarville University, I was really disturbed when I received their alumni magazine and it was filled with articles on spiritual formation and contemplative prayer. I received it when Dr. Brown was president of the university. He has moved on partly because of the heat he received for allowing this unbiblical trash to enter the university. Dr. White is now the president and this trash has been removed. Please, for the integrity of your research organization, will you call and verify this information and write about it in your newsletter. Cedarville University is one of the few universities that holds to a seven-day creation and has received negative attention for their out-spoken position against same-sex marriage. People do change and so do institutions. If you are going to name names it is up to you to update and verify your research. Cedarville University deserves a second look and for their name to be taken off the list of universities that teach contemplative teachings.
Thank you for your consideration, R.C.
Of course, if a school that has been going in that direction stops and no longer promotes the Spiritual Formation paradigm, we would be overjoyed. A few things we need to point out:
We see that they still offer at least one Spiritual Formation course in their Bible minor program. One of the professors who teaches it is Dan Estes. https://www.cedarville.edu/Academics/Biblical-and-Theological-Studies/Faculty-Staff/Estes-Daniel.aspx. After receiving your letter, we did speak with Dr. Estes regarding the Spiritual Formation course at Cedarville. He e-mailed us a copy of the syllabus to assure us that he is not using any contemplative promoting books. He did say that there are several other professors who also teach Spiritual Formation at Cedarville, and he couldn’t be sure what they are using to teach the class. He told us we would need to talk to one of the deans of theology who won’t be available until after Thanksgiving. While we cannot say that this course is promoting contemplative spirituality since we haven’t seen all the syllabi or spoken with all the professors, we maintain that when that term is used, it will always directly or indirectly point to the writings of the mystics. After all, the term itself comes from the writings of Catholic mystics and was brought into the evangelical church largely through the contemplative pioneer, Richard Foster, who at one time observed:
“When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16176).
Something we are wondering, if the old president of Cedarville (Dr. Brown) left partly because of the heat he was taking for promoting contemplative/emerging, then why wasn’t there a statement made by the new president saying they were not going to go in that direction anymore. And what happened to the professors who were pushing for this? One of the staff who was promoting contemplative in Cedarville’s magazine The Torch, Kim Ahlgrim, is still on staff (http://www.cedarville.edu/Offices/Academic-Enrichment/Staff.aspx). Were they able to convince her that she was going in the wrong direction, or is she possibly teaching this to students on the side? This is a question that is worthy of being answered by Cedarville.
In our current updating research on Cedarville, we found that they still have on their website the 2011 issue of their publication Torch titled Tuning Out the Noise. This issue is an infomercial for contemplative prayer. If the school is now against contemplative, why leave this issue posted for students and others to access? Kind of like leaving the poison on the counter. You can read our 2013 article for more information about that issue.
On one webpage of Cedarville’s site, they are announcing that they received a 2015 award from the very contemplative/emergent magazine Worship Leader Magazine. While we can’t say that just because they received this award from the magazine that Cedarville is endorsing the magazine or inadvertently contemplative/emerging. However, we struggle understanding why they would post the magazine’s name and recognition if they are now against the contemplative prayer/emerging church movement. And on the Cedarville website, they state:
“Worship Leader [Magazine] is a subscription-only magazine for worship leaders and organizations around the country. It is highly respected as the premier worship magazine in America. A typical issue includes recommendations about the newest worship music, Christian books, movies and articles about how to be a great leader and worshipper of God.”
No warning by Cedarville here; almost an invitation to subscribe to Worship Leader Magazine. But if students do subscribe to the magazine, they are going to get hearty helpings of contemplative/emerging spirituality. In October of this year, on the Worship Leader website, they have an article that recommends the contemplative practice of lectio divina. The article states: “We could do a lectio divina reading of the biblical text, or use any one of several other Ancient/Future ways of engaging with it; anticipating that the God behind the story will be encountered as we do that.”
We would truly like to take Cedarville University off the Lighthouse Trails Contemplative Colleges list. But before that can happen, the concerns above need to be addressed and corrected. We also would like to know if the teachers who were formerly pro-contemplative have had a change of heart. Sadly, when even just one or two professors at a Christian college adhere to this spirituality, it can affect the entire school. Lighthouse Trails does not post the names of contemplative promoting colleges to be spiteful or mean. We do it because we genuinely care about students, especially the young ones, who are being led down a very spiritually dangerous road.
By David Dombrowski
(Chief Editor at Lighthouse Trails)
The subject of peace has been thought about, written about, and passed through the lips of countless people over the centuries. Human history has been racked by violence and unrest since the fall of man, making peace an evasive commodity that has only been known for relatively short periods of time.
We wanted to take a look at peace from a biblical perspective considering that the subject is being increasingly talked about in academic, political, and especially religious circles. Rick Warren, for instance, has been trying to implement and promote his P.E.A.C.E. Plan through his three-legged stool approach of melding the world’s religious, economic, and political forces into one. As he points out, just as a stool cannot stand unless it has at least three legs, he believes that we cannot achieve world peace without the blending and unifying of these three forces. The New Age movement also has a P.E.A.C.E. plan, and although the acronym utilizes different terms, the intents and goals are similar to those of the Purpose Driven Movement.
The Bible teaches that we are to, “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Paul’s choice of words here serve as a kind of hesitation in approaching the subject of peace because he knew in his own life what an evasive commodity peace can be. Paul’s mission was to preach the Gospel, but in so doing he recounts the perils that he faced to include receiving 39 lashes five times, being beaten with rods three times, and being stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:24-25). But this was no great surprise to Paul because God had said of him, “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we read of the lives of the other apostles, we learn that their lives were marked by suffering and hardship too. But the Lord had also prepared them for this in saying, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Jesus even went so far as to describe to Peter what kind of death he would suffer for the sake of the Gospel (John 21:18). Is it any wonder, then, if our lives are marked by hardships and misunderstandings and hostility.
However, in recalling the lives of the apostles and those who have suffered before us, a very important lesson can be learned here. What is being taught in many of today’s “new” Christianity churches is that our task is to build God’s kingdom here on earth and that Jesus will return once we have created a form of Utopia here. Similarly, the Catholic Church believes we will create a Utopia once the whole world unites in a devotion to Mary and the Eucharist; this world-wide devotion to the Eucharist will be their version of the second coming of Christ.
But as all of these churches unite in trying to bring their version of peace on earth, they are sadly mistaken and ignorant of what is clearly presented in Scripture. This ignorance of the Scriptures is really a matter of choice than anything else. Just as Peter was not happy to hear what sort of death he would suffer, the emerging religious leaders of today do not want to believe the bleak picture the Bible portrays of the world before Jesus’ return. But while Peter accepted Jesus’ words, these new Christianity emerging leaders have bent and twisted Scripture in such a way as to support this Utopian God’s-kingdom-on-earth-now theology.
Unbeknownst to the multitudes who are following these globalistic leaders, these current efforts toward global peace are paving the way for the Antichrist whom the Bible warns will implement a peace plan in the last days. Sadly, much of the church of today, as apostate as it has become, is becoming deluded and conditioned to receive this satanic world leader in much the same way that the churches in Germany were conditioned by anti-Semitic teachings prior to Hitler’s rise to power. Our leaders of today are becoming modern-day John the Baptists for the Antichrist.
While it is true that some of Bible prophecy can be difficult to understand, just a superficial reading of Matthew 24 or Luke 21 should make it abundantly clear that Jesus will return to a world of violence and chaos, not Utopia. But, here again these Scriptures have been twisted or ignored—by choice.
As for the Book of Revelation, some current-day Bible teachers believe that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation have already happened (preterism) (as the Catholic Church teaches) or that these events can be prevented (as the New Age and emerging church teaches) in much the same way that Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites was turned around. The sad difference is that while the Ninevites responded by repentance, our world is moving further away from godliness. Furthermore, the Book of Revelation depicts events as they will actually happen—not as they might or could happen—because John saw in a vision the future as it will be.
There is, however, God’s call today for repentance. There are Christian believers who have been trying to spread abroad God’s appeal for repentance and His warnings about the apostasy that has already come upon us. They have been warning that judgment begins in the house of God and that judgment is upon us now too. As we shall see, judgment on the world has only begun and will intensify in the future like birth-pangs on a woman in labor. Paul said, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).
It is rather uncanny how the world, in recent years, has witnessed so many natural disasters in the form of earthquakes, floods, and weather phenomena, while the mainstream news media has done so little to cover these events. In Japan, they had a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear holocaust with possibly millions seriously exposed to radiation in Japan while unknown quantities of contaminated water got dumped into the ocean, and radiation permeated our atmosphere on a global scale; yet the media had little to say about this either except to almost laughingly dismiss it by saying we are getting less exposure than we get from having an X-ray in the dentist’s office. The indifference is unbelievable.
Could it be this indifference we are witnessing is part of the world-wide delusion Jesus predicted would sweep the earth in the end times? Most Americans, in particular, are living in denial—unwilling to acknowledge the storm clouds looming on our horizon. Is it because we have known little of suffering, and those living today have never witnessed our shores being invaded by war? But America will know God’s judgment, and again the reason why we cannot see it is a matter of choice rather than looking at things realistically.
Of all Americans, our Christian leaders should be seeing and hearing God’s warnings of impending judgment. But instead, they are shaking hands with the Devil and prophesying peace, purpose, and prosperity through unity and “community” to their congregations.
Sadly, our world will not know the lasting peace that our religious leaders are predicting—not until after Jesus Christ returns. Yet, God is offering peace and comfort to his own—to those who hear His Word and follow Him. But this peace is not to be found by pursuing our own dreams and goals but rather in seeking to know what God has planned for our lives. The reality is that much of the anguish we experience in life is when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped or expected. By contrast, Jesus’ apostles knew the peace of God because rather than living in the denial of the post-modern Christians of today, they abided in Christ (1 John 2:28) and fully embraced the lives that God had for them, even when they knew it could mean martyrdom.
Think again of the plight of Peter. Jesus had told him that he would suffer persecution and die a cruel death, yet we do not see Peter wringing his hands at every bend in the road wondering what horrors may await him around the next corner. Peter’s life was not one of denial or of fear, but of resolve; the same man who had denied his Lord three times made it his mission to walk with God no matter where that road took him. Consider the events of Acts chapter twelve. King Herod had just had James the brother of John killed by the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he had Peter arrested too (Acts 12:2-3). No doubt, Herod’s intention was to have Peter executed also; and from the believers, realizing the severity of the situation, “prayer was made without ceasing” (vs. 5). Meanwhile, Peter had no expectation that an angel would deliver him that night, yet he could sleep in such a dire situation. Peter had learned to entrust his life to the Lord—combining faith and yielding to the will of God—and his heart was ready for whatever awaited him. As the chapter closes, we learn that with the turn of events, it is King Herod who dies and Peter is free.
It seems that Peter was always learning lessons in life, and here we can see that he had learned to be at peace in even the most drastic of situations, leaving the outcome in God’s hands. In his first epistle, Peter shares this perspective:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. . . . Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:12,13,19)
Like Paul, Peter had learned to be content in every situation. It is the life available to all Christians who yield to God’s will, trusting Him to bring them through every situation. How alien to this way of thinking is the church of today where the expectation is that God will make things go our way—even to the point of achieving global peace and a Utopian society. These are things that Jesus never promised us and, in fact, warned would not happen. While Christian leaders of today are speaking of establishing God’s kingdom on Earth before Jesus returns, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36—emphasis added).
Should we not, as believers in Jesus Christ, be about our Father’s business? So while we should try to live at peace with all men, our objective should be to spread the Gospel to all mankind. When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he never used illustrations that support the kingdom-now teachings of today. Rather, He spoke of hidden things and small beginnings. There was the parable of the mustard seed, which has a small and humble beginning yet grows into a tree (Matthew 13:31-32). Then there is the parable of the leaven, which a woman “hid” in three measures of meal, yet it leavened the whole lump of dough (Matthew 13:33). We used to wonder what Jesus meant by these parables, but over the last several years we have become aware that while the apostate church has been very visible and trumpeting their attempts to bring about a world-wide “reformation,” simultaneously an unseen body of believers all over the world has been returning to their first love and walking in repentance. I am sure that it is to this body of believers that Jesus refers to as the kingdom of heaven—not the boisterous liberal body who will sacrifice the Gospel in their pursuit of peace.
Peace is one of those unusual commodities (though very valuable), which cannot be achieved through direct pursuit. When nations have walked in repentance and pursued righteousness, God has blessed them with peace. But when nations have become vile and unruly and exchange a pursuit for God for a pursuit of things, the aspiration for peace remains out of reach.
The kingdom of heaven is less visible in its pursuits because its goals are different than the earthly ones of the apostate church. Our commission is to spread the Gospel, and it is to this cause that we need to be faithful. The kingdom of heaven is less visible in another way too—it is something that works in the hearts of people bringing about change through repentance and godliness. Compare this with Rick Warren’s “new reformation,” which is based, by Warren’s own admission, by deeds rather than creeds. All are invited to this reformation, regardless of what anyone believes. But Jesus put it plainly when He said that a man’s actions, be they good or evil, proceed from what is in the heart. A reformation based on action that does not deal with the heart is futile indeed. In order to change our world into a better place, hearts would need to change. The only way our nation could have a turn-around at this point would be through widespread repentance, but how can this happen when even the church is not walking in repentance today?
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
Today, we often hear many Christian groups quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray . . . then will I hear from heaven . . . and will heal their land.” But there is a part of this Scripture that is usually ignored: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” All of the prayers for America by apostate leaders are in vain because these leaders (and their followers) have not even repented themselves. On the contrary, they continue to promote and exalt a kingdom-now, dominionist, mystical, experiential “gospel.” Just look how popular books like The Shack and The Purpose Driven Life have been with new ones like these on the horizon every day. These books make people feel good about themselves, but they do not bring the heart to repentance.
Unfortunately, the peace that our world desires will not be known because its pursuits are ungodly. For the true believer, however, peace is an achievable commodity. Jesus promised His disciples peace when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27—emphasis added). Notice that Jesus says two things here: First, the peace He gives is not like the peace the world gives. In other words, don’t pursue peace from the world. Secondly, Jesus speaks of the heart. Peace, for the Christian, is a matter of the heart. And, as I alluded to before, Christians with false expectations (who are living in denial) will be disappointed again and again and live lives of anguish. The Bible says that “fear hath torment” (1 John 4:18). But the disciples faced their fears; they acknowledged the fact that they would encounter persecution and hardships, then they entrusted their lives to God as unto a faithful Creator. After all, the God who made us is also able to take care of us. And He has promised to abide in us (I John 3:24) if we abide in Him.
Even though we cannot and will not know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, Jesus did instruct us to observe the seasons. Right now, we are at that place Jeremiah speaks of where he says, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). In a time when pastors should be leading their churches in repentance and evangelists calling our nation back to righteousness, we have peace plans underway. The future of our nation and our world is bleak, so we should not be offering false assurances that will only be dashed to the ground.
The Bible offers peace for the true believer, but it is a peace that transcends what the world has to offer. Looking to the world for peace will only lead to disappointment. The peace God gives is of the heart, and it does not depend on our circumstances. It results from looking reality in the face but then looking to God and keeping our eyes on Him—trusting Him to deliver us and keep us under the shadow of His wings.
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:2-4)
To order copies of The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. of Man in booklet form, click here.
After Lighthouse Trails posted Herescope’s article “‘Merry Christmas’ from Sarah Young’s False Christ!” this past weekend on Facebook about the 12/25 Christmas “message” found in Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling, some people on Facebook left comments (some harsh, some angry) that begged for further explanation. Thus, our editors felt compelled to respond.
In his already published booklet Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ, Warren B. Smith illustrates some of the many passages that have been completely removed or significantly altered in recent editions of Jesus Calling. One of the changes reported by Smith is in regard to Young’s controversial Christmas “devotion.”
Smith’s original concern, as expressed in his 2013 book, “Another Jesus” Calling, was that the joy of the Gospel message was being overshadowed by some of the dark comments made by Sarah Young’s “Jesus” in that Christmas “devotion.” Apparently, Sarah Young and her publisher Thomas Nelson agreed. In their special 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling published in 2014, they completely removed one of the most severe comments “Jesus” made about the night of His birth. However, for whatever reason, they did not make the change in all their other editions. This is typical of the way Young and her team of editors have published numerous and varying editions of Jesus Calling as they continually put words in and out of “Jesus’” mouth in an apparent attempt to curb the mounting criticism of Sarah Young’s book.
Here is an excerpt from Warren B. Smith’s booklet Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ regarding the recent change in the 10th anniversary of Jesus Calling concerning the Christmas “devotion.” We hope those reading this will prayerfully consider these things in view of Scripture:
“Jesus” complains about the night of his birth
Creating considerable controversy and confusion, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling said he was born “under appalling conditions” in a “filthy stable” and that the night of his birth “was a dark night” for him. To many readers, this did not sound like the voice of their Savior—it sounded like the voice of a stranger (John 10:5) and that Satan—not Jesus—would be the one describing the night of Jesus’ birth as “that dark night for Me.”
The Damage Control
Compare the original December 25th message with the one that has replaced it in the 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling. Notice how the controversial statement—“That was a dark night for Me”—was deleted and quietly replaced by the less controversial statement—“There was nothing glorious about that setting.”
December 25th Sentence in the Original Edition
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.25 (bold added to highlight what was deleted))
December 25th Replacement Sentence
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. There was nothing glorious about that setting, though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.26 (bold added to highlight what was added)
Jesus Corrects Himself Again?
The complaints made by Sarah Young’s “Jesus” don’t square with Scripture inspired by the true Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us “to be content” in whatever circumstances we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11). Obviously succumbing to the mounting criticism regarding the “dark night for Me” remark, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” corrects himself—again—with no apology or explanation. (excerpt from Warren B. Smith’s booklet Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ)
LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails is a strong supporter of homeschooling. This letter to the editor is posted not to condemn homeschooling but rather to show that homeschooled children and their parents are at risk too of becoming victim to spiritual deception. If you are homeschooling children or if your grandchildren are being homeschooled, we hope you will do all you can to protect those children from teachings that are not grounded in the Word of God. Contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation) is entering the Christian homeschool camp. For example, Biola University (a contemplative-promoting university) offers an annual lecture titled “Spiritual Formation for Home Educators.” Biola has been a leader in bringing contemplative spirituality into the church for a number of years. Now they are helping to bring it to homeschool parents.
Dear Lighthouse Trail Editors:
I am a Bible-believing, born-again homeschooling wife and mother from Australia. I am continually astounded by the sheer depth of deception that has gripped the church and has also taken over so many professing Christian mothers both here and in America.
There are so many homeschooling blogs by professing Christian mothers who promote all manner of things that are unbiblical and smacking of the world, witchcraft, the New Age and psychology. Blog after blog promoting Harry Potter novels and fantasy, Disney movies and T.V shows that promote witchcraft, homosexuality, and the spirit of the world. Having the veneer of Christianity but having no substance thereof. Loving and promoting all things of the world on the one hand while professing to be Christian and having a love of Jesus on the other. Promoting worldly methods of raising children such as “respectful parenting” where requiring obedience and punitive measures of discipline are viewed as harmful and mean.
What happens when you politely point out that these things are unbiblical and how God forbids us from having anything to do with witchcraft and the occult? That if you do not require your children to obey you how can they possibly learn to obey God? That punishment is not a bad thing, that it is a reality of life and that God is love and He punishes and disciplines. That God is just and holy and the unrepentant [those who do not turn from their sin and put their trust in Christ for salvation] will be judged on judgement day.
You are met with derision and the whole “judge not” rhetoric and then are blocked from ever commenting again. “Go away,” is the message; “we don’t want to know about it, and we don’t want to hear from you.” It doesn’t matter how nicely you do it, it’s the so-called Christians (the pseudo Christians) who turn on you the most whenever you point out that what they are promoting is unbiblical.
Every day I am reminded of the frightening lack of discernment among Christians. Now more than ever we need to exercise discernment because Satan and his minions are unleashing havoc everywhere – on television, in the movies, in books, through the school curriculum, and on the Internet. Particularly when raising children because there are snares everywhere. Satan is subtle, and the way to not fall victim to his deception is to not watch worldly TV shows and movies because the brainwashing and the defilement is rife, to pray and to be grounded firmly in the Word of God (preferably using the KJV). If you do these things, you have a far greater ability to spot the apostate teachings that abound.
Many of these high profile “Christian” homeschooling mothers have considerable influence. I often think what a great shame it is that instead of leading their many impressionable followers (many who seem to hang on their every word) to the truth of the Bible, they are leading them very subtly down the slippery slope of the New Age, a false Jesus, and a “feel good”/ “sounds good” methodology of child rearing that is not biblical. A methodology that doesn’t offend anyone and also keeps their non-Christian readers (and their advertisers!) happy.
I often feel like I’m completely on my own when challenging these women because nobody backs me up; it’s a pack mentality, and it is made known in no uncertain terms that you are firmly on the outer. It’s like I’m some kind of weirdo for having the “audacity” to say something. So thank you for your website, your blogs, and your books as you remind me that I am not alone and that God will always have His remnant.