LTRP Note: After posting this article by C.H. Fisher, we received an e-mail from a father whose daughter attended the IF: Gathering. Please read the e-mail below plus our response:
To whom it may concern:
I want to state that I have been and I remain a supporter of your faithful exposing of false teachings and teachers. I respect your normal process of checking the facts prior to releasing articles. That is why I am surprised that you reposted the article about the “IF” conferences. This statement alone tells me that this article should never have been posted: “I confess that I didn’t watch any of the conferences, and do not intend to. There isn’t enough time to watch or read everything that is inundating Christianity. It is an overwhelming deluge. However, CT told me everything I need to know to advise every true Christian to avoid them.”
If the writer is trusting [Christianity Today] for information I have a problem right there. I haven’t trusted them for quite some time.
I was not at the conference and neither was the writer of this piece but my daughter was telling me how much she enjoyed some of the speakers she heard this past week at a video conference for women. Guess which one? Yup “IF.” Now I am not pitting her word against anyone except to say that I shared this article with her and her honest opinion was that there were strong misquotes and statements taken out of context. One example is the statement about what if God is real what then…. She said that the actual context was strong encouragement to live lives that reflect strong biblical values and even a warning to the group not to listen to gurus and other false teachers like Oprah.
I write this to you in love and again, I wasn’t there but one thing we all want to avoid is being proven to be crying wolf. Please check the facts and then by all means proceed in faith directing people to the Word of God, The Bible, for correction. Again I love and support what you do. I have purchased material and I will again just please make sure what you post is verifiable.
I continue to pray for you and for the power of God’s truth to change lives.
In Christ _________
Thank you for sharing your concerns in your e-mail. ______, although the writer (C.H. Fisher) did not attend the conference, he was basing his article largely on what he knows of the women who were the speakers as well as other documentation. For instance, Ann Voskamp is a figure whom we identify with the emerging church. You can read about her in our article, “Ann Voskamp’s Best Selling Book One Thousand Gifts – A Collision of Inspiration and the New Spirituality.” In addition, IF:Gathering is definitely pushing Spiritual Formation, which is a sometimes subtle but always dangerous spirituality. And the conference is also promoting emerging figures such as Tony Campolo. I realize that your daughter may not have picked up on anything she felt was wrong, but to us, this just proves how these emerging speakers are good at what they do, which is to draw young women away from traditional Christianity and toward a whole new way of thinking. We believe this whole new way is going to hurt these young women, and sadly, most won’t know what is happening until they are heavily influenced.
______, if we go by your reasoning that because we didn’t attend the conference, we should not warn about it, then technically, we shouldn’t say anything about any conference we don’t attend. However, as we see it, a conference often leaves out the “really bad” stuff because that is the hook to get people to become attached to these speakers. Then with books, DVDs, social justice issues, and social media, they present their newfound protégés with the “deeper” information. You can see this on IF speaker Jen Hatmaker’s blog where she lays out the different steps planned for conference attendees after the conference is over (i.e., IF: Gathering, IF
Another example of why we feel the need to warn about this “movement” is Jen Hatmaker. In her book Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity (published by LifeWay) she quotes several emerging figures including Shane Claiborne (quoted over a dozen times) and Catholic priest Richard Rohr. Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. If you want to see the kinds of things Rohr believes in, just peruse his website where you will currently find Rob Bell and Oprah. In addition, consider what we wrote about Rohr in a 2010 article:
Rohr’s spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Episcopalian panentheist Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. For Rohr to write the foreword to such a book, he would have to agree with Coutinho’s views. On Rohr’s website, he currently has an article titled “Cosmic Christ.” One need not look too far into Rohr’s teachings and website to see he is indeed promoting the same Cosmic Christ as Matthew Fox – this is the “christ” whose being they say lives in every human-this of course would nullify the need for atonement by a savior.
So what young women attending IF are going to get is Hatmaker’s spiritual views, which according to her book, have been influenced by Richard Rohr and Shane Claiborne.
Shane Claiborne is a disciple of Tony Campolo, a major figure in the emerging church. Claiborne’s book Irresistible Revolution has a foreword by liberal political activist and anti-Israel/Christian Palestinianism spokesperson Jim Wallis of SoJourners organization.
Jen Hatmaker is just one example of why this warning by C.H. Fisher needed to go out. We researched a number of the other women speakers at IF: Gathering after we received your e-mail and discovered that of the ones we have researched thus far, they all have emergent leanings to one degree or another.
We want to also say that C.H. Fisher was using Christianity Today as a source of information, not as an endorsement of CT. We, ourselves, often use secular or even emerging news sources to back up our stories. Neither LT or Fisher sees CT as a godly source of information. But as reporters, we gather our information from various sources to document our articles.
One last thing, we are not saying that these women speakers are not sincere in what they are doing. But we believe they are sincerely wrong.
LTRP Note: This past week, a caller to LT asked if we knew anything about the IF: Gathering with emergent Ann Voskamp. At the time, we had not heard of the conference. “Co-incidentally,” this weekend, C.H. Fisher of Truthkeepers, one of the writers Lighthouse Trails turns to, sent us the following article warning about the IF:Gathering. Fisher’s article is an important and timely warning. Many young women will be attending the IF conferences, and those who do will be subtly introduced to the emerging church. As one example, on the home page of IF, there is a favorable reference to emergent figures Tony Campolo and Bono of U2. (*Also see our comment below the article on doubt vs. faith, which is the theme of IF.) And now, C.H. Fisher’s article, exposing IF.
“The salvation message of the emerging church in not found in doctrine but in dialog, not in truth but in discussion. In this sense, always searching but never finding is a trademark of the emerging church, because in the endless dialogue (conversation), the truth is never found.”—Roger Oakland, Faith Undone
“IF:Gathering . . . is it a movement of God?”
By C. H. Fisher
There is a relatively new fad in woman’s conferences call IF:Gathering. IF:Gathering was founded by Jennie Allen, one of the [Emergent] leaders and a contributor to the emergent Nines Conference. The new Emergent leaders view themselves as spiritual directors ordained by God to create a new Christianity. Thus, when I read that Allen and her associates (including contemplative heretic, Ann Voskamp,) are involved in a new conference, I wanted to know what they are up to. I read an article in Christianity Today about IF:Gathering that hints about their purpose. Christianity Today declared that the IF:Gathering for the first time has what CT calls a “vague premise.” That premise is, “If God is real, then what?” ( Christianity Today, “If a Brand-New Christian Women’s Conference Goes Viral, Then What?” February, 2014) More about that question later.
CT also describes some of the activities of the event. “In between sessions, the mostly-young crowd discussed with each other their own sense of calling as well as hindrances such as fear and comparison.” (CT, Ibid) That’s the kind of stuff you see in a convention of young professionals attempting to take the business world by storm. It is amazingly dissimilar to individuals with a biblical calling.
I confess that I didn’t watch any of the conferences, and do not intend to. There isn’t enough time to watch or read everything that is inundating Christianity. It is an overwhelming deluge. However, CT told me everything I need to know to advise every true Christian to avoid them.
“IF focused distinctly on spiritual formation, with both inspirational and practical takeaways. Based on the directive in Hebrews 12 to ‘throw off everything that hinders’ and ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us,’ dozens of speakers encouraged women to chase their calling.” (CT, Ibid)
Spiritual Formation is the vehicle used by the Emergent Movement to subtly inseminate Christianity with New Age heresy, especially Contemplative spirituality. Spiritual Formation is active with beguiling, religious demon spirits. It is extremely dangerous. I have witnessed a number of Christian leaders apostatize after submitting their souls to Spiritual Formation. I am certain that God did not send a hoard of authors and bloggers armed with demonic heresy to change Christianity. They are sent to persuade Christian women to throw off everything that hinders the works of darkness, especially truth, and to enter a new path that heads straight into apostasy. Click here to continue reading.
*LTRP Note: Catholic mystic Thomas Merton believed that the doctrine of redemption and atonement through Christ was “of little value.” This also reflects the view of the emerging church that tolerance is more virtuous than faith, and that faith can actually be unvirtuous. As illustrated in the movie, Doubt, doubt and uncertainty unites. The priest in Doubt does a homily on doubt, and the fundamentalist in the movie (Meryl Streep) sees that as dangerous but in the end, she herself doubts. The point of the film is that uncertainty is good. Father Flynn from the movie is a Thomas Merton type priest in the sense that firm conviction is not necessarily a good thing. This is consistent with the emerging church. Emergent leader Tony Jones says in his book, The New Christians, that uncertainty (including uncertainty of Scripture) is better than certainty.
Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics Must Unite to Defend Life, Sex, Marriage – ‘We’re on the Same Team’
LTRP Note: This article is posted for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement for the content.
By Michael Chapman
By CNS News
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who leads the eighth largest church in America, Saddleback Church, and is the author of the hugely popular book The Purpose Driven Life, said that Protestants and Catholics must form a “unity of missions” to defend the sanctity of life, sex, and the family, stressing that, “If you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”
“We have far more in common than what divides us,” said Pastor Warren in an interview with Catholic News Service. “When you talk about Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Catholics, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, on and on, they would all say we believe in the Trinity.”
“We believe in the Bible,” he continued. “We believe in the resurrection; we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. These are the big issues.”
Warren, along with leaders of other faiths and denominations, attended a conference at the Vatican in November – the “Complementarity of Man and Woman” — to discuss and defend the family and marriage as being between one man and one woman, and related topics. He made his comments in the video in December. Click here to continue reading.
* Please refer to the “Road to Rome” Booklet Tracts for information related to this issue. These booklets can also be read on our blog by just typing in the title into the blog search engine.
Letter to the Editor: Focus on the Family CD I Gave to My Husband Espouses Thomas Merton (And What This Means)
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Thank you for your very important ministry; to warn and keep the Gospel pure.
Recently, I gave my husband a few CD’s on a road trip—one being from Focus On The Family: Living Authentically Before The Lord (with Dr. Julianna Slattery). Arriving back, he asked me to listen to the first 2 min. A quote by Thomas Merton was the first on the CD. How sad to have a mystic monk who supposedly mixed his Christianity ( not possible) with Sufism & more and realized that we could fall down and worship one another. It is outrageous to think that a Christian organization like this would expose innocent listeners to this heretical monk. Ministries like Focus are becoming a most dangerous place for Christians considering the often concealed mix of truth and error.
With concern and prayers
Lighthouse Trails purchased a digital copy of this broadcast after receiving this letter to the editor. The Focus on the Family host introduced the talk, stating: “Theologian and author Thomas Merton made this observation about authenticity. He said, ‘God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face.'”
This quote is from Thomas Merton’s book, New Seeds of Contemplation (Kindle edition, location 472). As Focus on the Family has illustrated on so many occasions in the past, the organization believes that contemplative spirituality is OK. And they seem to have a particular interest in Catholic monks and monasteries. But to quote from Thomas Merton’s book New Seeds of Contemplation is more than even we can bear. This book is unapologetically a New Age book in that the theme of the book is the New Age mantra, if you will, that God is in everything and everyone. The book was originally published in 1962, but the new 2007 edition carries an introduction by goddess worshiper Sue Monk Kidd. As documented in Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing, Sue Monk Kidd started her “journey” toward the New Age when she was introduced to the writings of Thomas Merton.
We hope the implications here are clear. Not only is Focus on the Family introducing their listeners/readers to Thomas Merton but to his disciple, Sue Monk Kidd, as well. Untold numbers of Focus on the Family listeners may turn now to Thomas Merton, and lo and behold, they will find contemplative mysticism and even Monk Kidd’s goddess spirituality. For those wondering what “goddess spirituality” leads to, consider this: In Monk Kidd’s book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, she promotes the idea that God is in everything and everyone. She says that God is even in human excrement!
Incidentally, Dr. Julianna Slattery, a regular FOF host, emulates much of Thomas Merton’s teachings. In this particular broadcast, terms like true self, false self, mask, and so forth are used (see Yungen’s article on the true/higher self concept). These are terms that come right out of New Seeds of Contemplation. And the quote by Merton above from the broadcast is taken from Slattery’s book, Beyond the Masquerade: Unveiling the Authentic You. Slattery is basically a modern-day version of Thomas Merton. When one considers Merton’s panentheistic, interspiritual persuasions, this is very troubling.
Just as Sue Monk Kidd was transformed into a New Ager after following the teachings of Thomas Merton, here is what happened to another evangelical-turned-emergent when he started reading Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation:
I was struck by the incredible wisdom that could be found apart from the “approved” evangelical reading list. A Trappist monk, [Thomas] Merton gave me a new appreciation for the meaning of community. His New Man and New Seeds of Contemplation touched my heart in ways other religious books had not. Not long afterward my thinking was stretched again, this time by Thich Nhat Hanh—a Buddhist monk . . . Hanh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ gave me insight into Jesus from an Eastern perspective. (bold added – Spencer Burke, Making Sense of the Church, pp. 136, 137)
Thomas Merton’s books conditioned and prepared this young man to look to a Buddhist perspective. Focus on the Family is doing the same thing to the body of Christ as they fall into step with a great spiritual deception that has overtaken much of mainstream Christianity. We predict that if Focus on the Family and other evangelical/Protestant ministries continue on the contemplative path, that in time, they will fully embrace the panentheistic spirituality of Thomas Merton and Sue Monk Kidd. And mystic Karl Rahner’s statement, the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will be nothing, will come to pass. Ray Yungen puts it well: “It is what I refer to as Mertonization (remaining in the religion you already are in but being aligned with Eastern mysticism), which is exactly Merton’s dream fulfilled: mystical unity within religious diversity. In effect that one-world religion is already here!”
Quotes by Sue Monk Kidd from her book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter:
As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess. p. 161
Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi. . . . Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one. p. 163
The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things. p. 163
By Jan Markell
Olive Tree Ministries and Radio Broadcast
Used with permission.
What nation could be “apartheid on steroids”? Surely some Islamic stronghold, right?
Try Israel. That’s according to World Vision’s Steve Haas writing for the Lausanne Movement.
Haas goes on to suggest that all the problems of the Palestinian people perpetrated upon them by Islamic thug dictators are, in reality, the fault of Israel. He even blames the demise of the Palestinian Christian population upon Israel when, in fact, Palestinian Islamic leaders have driven out the Christians.
Haas states, “As peacemakers, we have been tasked by a justice agenda of love and sacrifice. I truly believe we can be pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli, and pro-justice because we are adamantly pro-Jesus.”1
Don’t believe it.
I’ve been present at a tragic event called “Hope for the Holy Land.” The one-night event visited my alma mater a few years ago, Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. It featured a World Vision rep, Mae Cannon, Willow Creek’s Lynne Hybels, and The Holy Land Trust rep Sami Awad.
Their approach offered zero hope for the Holy Land because they only wanted to talk about “the occupation.” Jesus didn’t live in “occupied territory.” It was and is God’s land and the borders are outlined in the Bible.
Efforts to interject truth into that forum were blocked.
Haas says, “For over 60 years, many evangelicals have clung to a very narrow theological narrative that weds Christian theology with a political ideology known as Zionism.” This is in the latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis.
He compares Christian Zionists—evangelicals with a Bible-based zeal and love for Israel and the Jews—to Spanish inquisitors, Crusaders, supporters of apartheid South Africa, and other historical atrocities.
I don’t put the root of such thinking at the feet of antisemitism as much as I lay it at the feet of “Replacement Theology.” This is the belief that all the promises made to Israel have been transferred to the church. It is raging through many denominations today.
“Replacement Theology” leads to “replacement reality.” That’s what is going on. There is a twisting and a distorting of facts so severe that it has created a “replacement reality.” Folks are believing a lie.
To add insult to injury, pro-Palestinian U.K. Vicar Stephen Sizer last week stated that Israel was likely behind 9/11. The comments were especially egregious coming during the week when most of the free world recognized the 70th anniversary of the liberation of many of the concentration camps.
Sizer’s “replacement reality” leads him smack-dab into the heart of antisemitism, so much so that he hangs out with the daughters of Iran’s Ayatollah Khoumeini.
Here Sizer presents many of his anti-Israel books to the Khoumeni daughters with fond autographed comments.
Sizer has also been a regular organizer, lecturer, and panelist at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference hosted by the Bethlehem Bible College. The bi-annual event has been characterized by sentiment that Israel and her Christian supporters are to blame for most of the woes in that region.
Sizer did apologize for his “replacement reality.”
Folks who think this way believe that the old religious Right crassly imposed a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy based on its end-time theology, creating untold suffering among largely innocent Palestinians. They now hope that more thoughtful, more compassionate evangelicals, will reject that heritage and instead stand with the Palestinians as the victim group most needing compassion.
The fact is that evangelicals are strong supporters of Islamic evangelism around the world. Many evangelical agencies have been raised up, particularly since 9/11, to reach out to lost Muslims, including Palestinians.
Olive Tree Ministries and Radio Broadcast
Used with permission.
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
The expression “Where are we going?” is not an uncommon one, but whether it be a child asking a parent or a fellow traveler posing the question, it usually denotes a sense of being lost and one of concern. Then, of course, posing the question to a stranger could be one of much graver concern. But, in any case, it is a good question to ask because it signifies a desire for safety – to get going in the right direction toward the right destination. When a hunter or a hiker asks that question, it could actually be a matter of life and death; oftentimes, he may have nothing more than a map and a compass, but these tools of navigation can make all the difference when it comes to survival.
I thank God that He has given us His Word to enable us to navigate our way through life, for we are on a life and death journey, and our destination is of utmost importance. The Bible indicates that we are sojourners through life (Psalm 39:12), yet we need not be lost because the Psalms also declare, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Have you ever been hiking when it was beginning to get dark? Hopefully, you got out in time before darkness set in, but this psalmist offers us a picture of someone walking along a path when darkness has already set in. Yet, he has the comfort of a lamp to light his way to safety. We can be encouraged by God’s Word that offers us both comfort and safety, because the fact is we live in a dark world, and the “god of this world” (Satan) blinds the eyes of the unbelieving (2 Corinthians 4:4). But today, it is more than just the atheist and agnostic who are in grave spiritual danger, as multitudes of proclaiming Christians are being blinded by what Scripture refers to as a time of strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or as Paul says elsewhere:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
Unfortunately, for many of these people, they will all the while think they are abiding in the truth.
In another article I wrote titled “Shamanism or Cutting-Edge Christianity?,” I addressed the fact that mystical spirituality has been drawing multitudes of Christians away from the truth of the Gospel message. I also demonstrated that all these forms of mystical meditation are from the same source in that they connect the practitioner with the world of the occult – a realm that is populated exclusively by deceiving spirits and not shared by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not inhabit a realm that God has declared to be “an abomination unto the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:12). So whether an individual enters the mystical realm (“the silence”) through chanting, the mantra, rhythm, dancing, or focusing on the breath, and whether it be through Eastern mysticism, yoga, New Age meditation, contemplative prayer, Native Spirituality, or shamanism, in each case the practitioner is connecting with and drawing from the same source – an occult realm of deceiving spirits pretending to be “of God” but where in reality neither Jesus Christ nor the Holy Spirit can be found. Seeing that mystical meditation has become common place, I realize a very great number of people would see the statement I just made as fanatical or as a conspiracy theory. But the fact is that a conspiracy is already underway, instigated by Satan himself and performed by his vast number of demons. As Ray Yungen suggests in his book A Time of Departing, mysticism will have much to do with the great delusion that is already sweeping throughout the world. He points out that there is a mystical sector or element in the various religions of the world, so it would only make sense that if the religions of the world are to unite, mysticism will play a major role. Also, as I pointed out in that article, the Yanomamo shaman practices spiritual disciplines of self-denial reminiscent of the spiritual disciplines of the Desert Fathers. But, these practices, too, are being resurrected today as the latest in cutting-edge Christianity.
Now, as I suggested in that article, because the Yanomamo have been practicing mysticism and the spiritual disciplines for a very long time, it stands to reason that what they have brought to fruition will in time be the outcome of these practices that are sweeping through our churches today. So, without attempting to or pretending to be prophetic, we can forecast the outcome of these practices based on where these practices have brought the Yanomamo and other peoples who practice Native Spirituality. The reason why I can say these things is because when the Yanomamo shaman engages in mysticism, he enters the same mystical realm that Christians do when they engage in contemplative prayer. In both cases, they enter into the same occultic realm and put themselves at the mercy of the demons who inhabit that realm. Unfortunately, the demons are not merciful, but rather pose as angels of light or the Holy Spirit and lead the practitioner away from the simple truth of the Gospel. While promising much, they deliver what is ultimately harmful to the practitioner. Currently, contemplative or mystical prayer is sweeping the church with the sales pitch that it enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being to include relaxation and a direct connection to hearing from God. But as we have been attempting to demonstrate over the past thirteen years with our books and articles, contemplative prayer and mysticism do indeed connect one with a spiritual realm, but that realm is not God, and it is not good.
And while the New Age movement promises an Age of Aquarius (or enlightenment) as an age of peace and oneness if we all engage in mystical prayer, the Bible indicates that the last days will be marked by unrest and war. And if we look at the Yanomamo, who have been practicing spirituality for centuries, we can see that the lives of these tribesmen and women are marked not by peace but by unrest and violence. If all that the mystics are saying were true, you would think that when the anthropologists discovered the Yanomamo peoples they would have discovered utopian bliss and celestial innocence; but rather violence and unrest was discovered. The Yanomamo have tried and proven that spirituality is not what sustains a people, but as Chief Shoefoot points out after his conversion, our hope is in Jesus Christ alone. It is tragically ironic that while a Yanomamo chief, like Chief Shoefoot, has time tested and proven that mysticism does not work and has now turned to Jesus, countless Christians are now turning to mysticism to find answers.
The only real difference between the mysticism or Native Spirituality of the Yanomamo and the “Christian mystic” of today is that the Yanomamo have a fully developed spirituality and are far ahead of the mystical leaders and contemplative prayer proponents of the present. An example of this is that the Yanomamo have developed a broader variety of techniques that enable them to enter “the silence” more quickly. For instance, a drug is used that quickly brings the participant to an altered state of consciousness. Interestingly enough, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the re-emergence in the last days of “that great city Babylon” (Revelation 18:21) which was in ancient times a center of idolatry and mysticism but in the end times will be the mercantile hub of false religion. Revelation 18 describes Babylon as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). But how can it be that a city that practices contemplative prayer and mysticism can be frowned upon by God to such a degree? Is it not because the mystical or occultic realm is the habitation of devils? Chief Shoefoot says that it is so. Of further significance is verse 23 that states: “for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). If we consult Strong’s Concordance, we find that the Greek word used for “sorceries” is pharmakeia (pharmacy) signifying medication and derived from the word pharmakon signifying drugs (i.e., spell-giving potions). It seems very possible, therefore, that the mystics of the last days will incorporate drug use into their mystical practices, and as indicated in verse 23 above, this may become a great merchandising endeavor where people all over the world will be using mind-altering drugs. Thomas Merton, who helped to pioneer contemplative prayer into our generation, said he felt sorry for the hippies of the ’60s who used LSD because, as he pointed out, they could have achieved the same result by practicing contemplative prayer. But the mystic of the end times may actually feel sorry for Thomas Merton because drug use could make the mystical state much more readily attainable by anyone. Contemplative prayer takes some effort by incorporating a mantra-like word or phrase to create a hypnotic state whereas, in the future, the same result could be achieved by popping a pill or inhaling the smoke of a drug – hence “instant” spirituality! Yet, all the while God’s statement about such practices will be, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). Apparently, whatever happens will be a massive global effort and by it, people all over the world will be living in great delusion.
Perhaps “Babylon the great” spoken of in Revelation 18 refers to the re-emergence of a literal city of mystical practice and idolatry in the last days, but, at the very least, it must refer to a state of affairs that will sweep the world. Mysticism (i.e., occultism) will be practiced on a global scale. And, all the while, the masses will be thinking they are pleasing God by practicing mysticism, oftentimes with the aid of drugs.
Then, this chapter in Revelation brings out one final point where it says, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24). May I point out once again that mysticism (or occultism) connects one with a spirit world inhabited by demons posing to be angels of light. The occultist Alice Bailey, under the influence of her spirit guides, predicted that while New Age style meditation will be promoted and propelled by the apostate Christian church, Christians who will not forsake the fundamentals of the faith will be seen as being in the way of bringing in this Age of enlightenment – an age of peace where everyone sees his or her own divinity and oneness with all things. New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests that these resisters of the new world/new reformation will be like a cancer that needs to be excised out of the earth. She calls this elimination the “Selection Process.”1 Now I ask, what can be more hypocritical and diabolical than to think that the annihilation of godly people will bring about peace?
What will be the end of this resurrected city of Babylon? Revelation says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Revelation 18:8), and again it says, “for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:10). Apparently, the judgment to come will be speedy and severe.
So, while we can only speculate on the details of what will happen, we can be sure that a massive delusion will encompass the world and that severe judgment will also take place. Just knowing this, let us, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, cling the more dearly to the Word of God and the Gospel message. Jesus died on the Cross to save sinners and rose from the dead to conquer death; our hope is in Him and nowhere or no one else. And while it is scary to think of persecution of the believers, it is more frightening to think of God’s judgment on those who abandon God’s Word for a lie. May we remember that no matter what we might suffer as Christians, the safest place to be is in God’s will. Knowing this, let us encourage one another with the comfort and hope that is in the Lord. And let us be assured that we know where we are going.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14