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.
The Gathering motto is “One Vision, One Voice, One Agenda.” The mission statement says:
DRESS REHEARSAL FOR A FALSE REVIVAL? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for “Together 2016” in Washington, DC
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.
Nick Hall, the organizer of the event who hopes to draw one million people to the National Mall on July 16th, stated: “Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us.”1 Hall told one news source, “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.”2
It’s been over fifteen years since contemplative pioneer Richard Foster shared his vision of Catholics and evangelicals coming together3 and over two decades since Chuck Colson helped author a document titled “Evangelicals/Catholics Together.”4 It’s been over a decade since Rick Warren announced his hopes to bring about a second reformation that would include people of different religions.5 In more recent days, evangelical leaders such as Beth Moore,6 Franklin Graham,7 and Kenneth Copeland8 have played their parts in helping to remove the barriers between the evangelical/Protestant church and the Roman Catholic Church (something the Catholic Church calls the New Evangelization program9).
According to the Bible, we know a time is coming when a global one-world religion will serve alongside a global one-world government, both of which will reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord. Whether they realize it or not, the leaders and musicians participating in Together 2016 are helping to make that global religion a reality as they participate in this ongoing relay race of breaking down the walls that divide different faiths in the name of unity at all costs.
Right now, in America, evangelical and charismatic leaders are calling for a nation-wide revival. But will their revival be a revival from God; or will it be a false revival? And is Together 2016 nothing more than a dress rehearsal for this false revival?
By Ray Yungen
For many years during my research, I would come across the term contemplative prayer. Immediately I would dismiss any thought that it had a New Age connotation because I thought it meant to ponder while praying—which would be the logical association with that term. But in the New Age disciplines, things are not always what they seem to be to untrained ears.
What contemplative prayer actually entails is described very clearly by the following writer:
When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness . . . the profound mystical silence . . . an absence of thought.1
To my dismay, I discovered this “mystical silence” is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence—the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:
Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply “sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.2
Those with some theological training may recognize this teaching as the historical stream going back centuries to such figures as Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich.
One of the most well-known writings on the subject is the classic 14th century treatise, The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous author. It is essentially a manual on contemplative prayer inviting a beginner to:
Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . . With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting.3
The premise here is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced—the mind has to be shut down or turned off so that the cloud of unknowing where the presence of God awaits can be experienced. Practitioners of this method believe that if the sacred words are Christian, you will get Christ—it is simply a matter of intent even though the method is identical to occult and Eastern practices.
So the question we as Christians must ask ourselves is, “Why not? Why shouldn’t we incorporate this mystical prayer practice into our lives?” The answer to this is actually found in Scripture.
While certain instances in the Bible describe mystical experiences, I see no evidence anywhere of God sanctioning man-initiated mysticism. Legitimate mystical [supernatural] experiences were always initiated by God to certain individuals for certain revelations and was never based on a method for the altering of consciousness. In Acts 11:5, Peter fell into a trance while in prayer. But it was God, not Peter, who initiated the trance and facilitated it.
By definition, a mystic, on the other hand, is someone who uses rote methods in an attempt to tap into their inner divinity. Those who use these methods put themselves into a trance state outside of God’s sanction or protection and thus engage in an extremely dangerous approach. Besides, nowhere in the Bible are such mystical practices prescribed. For instance, the Lord, for the purpose of teaching people a respect for His holiness and His plans, instated certain ceremonies for His people (especially in the Old Testament). Nonetheless, Scripture contains no reference in which God promoted mystical practices. The gifts of the Spirit spoken of in the New Testament were supernatural in nature but did not fall within the confines of mysticism. God bestowed spiritual gifts without the Christian practicing a method beforehand to get God’s response.
Proponents of contemplative prayer would respond with, What about Psalms 46:10? “Be still, and know that I am God.” This verse is often used by those promoting contemplative prayer. On the surface, this argument can seem valid, but once the meaning of “still” is examined, any contemplative connection is expelled. The Hebrew meaning of the word is to slacken, cease, or abate. In other words, the context is to slow down and trust God rather than get in a dither over things. Relax and watch God work. Reading the two verses just before Psalms 46:10 puts it in an entirely different light from that proposed by mystics:
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
This isn’t talking about going into some altered state of consciousness!
It should also be pointed out that being born again, in and of itself, is mystical. But it is a direct act of God, initiated by Him—the Holy Spirit has regenerated the once-dead spirit of man into a living spirit through Christ. Yet, we notice that even in this most significant of experiences when one is “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24), God accomplishes this without placing the individual in an altered state of consciousness.
We can take this a step further by looking at the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts, chapter 2 where those present were “all filled with the Holy Ghost” (vs. 4). Notice that they were “all with one accord in one place” (vs. 1) when the Holy Spirit descended on them. From the context of the chapter, it is safe to assume this was a lively gathering of believers engaged in intelligent conversation. Then, when those present began to speak in other tongues, it was not an episode of mindless babbling or vain repetition as in a mantra. Rather it was an event of coherent speech significant enough to draw a crowd who exclaimed, “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (vs. 11). Other observers who suspected they were in an altered state of consciousness said, “These men are full of new wine” (vs. 13). Notice that Peter was quick to correct this group in asserting that they were all fully conscious. Would it not then stand to reason that their minds were not in any kind of altered state? Next, Peter delivered one of the most carefully articulated speeches recorded in Scripture. This was certainly not a group of men in a trance.
So, through the lens of perhaps the two most meaningful mystical experiences recorded in the New Testament (i.e., being born again and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost), an altered state of consciousness was never sought after nor was it achieved. In fact, a complete search of both Old and New Testaments reveals there were only two types of experiences sanctioned by God where the recipient is not fully awake—namely dreams and visions—and in each case the experience is initiated by God. Conversely, every instance of a self-induced trance recorded in Scripture is adamantly condemned by God as we see summarized in the following verses:
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. (Deuteronomy 18:9-11)
An examination of the Hebrew meanings of the terms used in the above verses shows that much of what is being spoken of is the invoking of spells. And a spell, used in this context, refers to a trance. In other words, when God induces a trance it is in the form of a dream or a vision. When man induces a trance, it is in the form of a spell or hypnosis.
And remember, nowhere in the Bible is the silence equated with the “power of God,” but the “preaching of the cross” (I Corinthians 1:18) most certainly is!
1. William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13.
2. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path, p. 31.
3. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, cited from The Cloud of Unknowing, p. 223.
Some People Who Are Promoting the “Silence”
“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person [intimate with God] without stillness and silence.”–Charles Swindoll, So You Want To Be Like Christ? Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There, p. 65“The basic method promoted in The Cloud is to move beyond thinking into a place of utter stillness with the Lord … the believer must first achieve a state of silence and contemplation, and then God works in the believer’s heart.”–Tony Jones, The Sacred Way, p. 15
“Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence…. It is this recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer.–Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 155
“It is through silence that you find your inner being.”–Vijay Eswaran, In the Sphere of Silence, excerpt from website.
“This book [In the Sphere of Silence] is a wonderful guide on how to enter the realm of silence and draw closer to God.”–New Age sympathizer, Ken Blanchard
“[G]o into the silence for guidance”–New Ager, Wayne Dyer, ATOD p. 18 (from interview with Wayne Dyer, Portland, OR., 3/27/97)
“While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to ‘God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.’”–Richard Foster, Prayer, Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 156.
“When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness … the profound mystical silence … an absence of thought.” –Thomas Merton biographer, William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13.
“In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that.”–Interspiritualist, Wayne Teasdale, Michael Tobias, “A Parliament of Souls in Search of a Global Spirituality” (KQED Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1995), p. 148.
“One of the great things silence does, it gives us a new concept of God.” – Calvin Miller, from Be Still DVD
“God’s Word is so clear that if we are not still before Him, we will never truly know, to the depths of the marrow in our bones, that He is God. There has got to be a stillness. We’ve got to have a time to sit before Him and just know that He is. We live in such an attention-deficit culture, and we’re so entirely over stimulated, so much coming at us at once, one image after another, that if we are not careful, we are going to lose the art of meditation.” Beth Moore, from Be Still DVD
“Kierkegaard, probably the greatest Protestant Christian mind of all time, said … “If I could prescribe only one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence.”–Peter Kreeft, from Be Still DVD
“To be still means not only that you make a time to sit with God, but a time for your mind and your heart to be still also. Then God can meet you and fill you with His presence and His Word.”–Henry Cloud (CCN) from Be Still DVD, “Being Still: Helpful Hints with Dr. Henry Cloud”
“What does stillness really mean? Is stillness just something physical? Or is it mental? Is it spiritual? Is it emotional? There’s so many levels of stillness that we need to practice. And know. Be still and know. Know what? You know, there’s something that comes with the assurance of being still. You’re no longer practicing or exerting effort.” Michelle McKinney Hammond, from Be Still DVD, “Contemplative Prayer: The Divine Romance Between God and Man”
“[S]ilence is one of the great spiritual disciplines. And in fact you’re not going to get very far in contemplative prayer unless you know how to be silent. And by that I mean that you really are comfortable with it and you’re practiced in it.” Dallas Willard, Be Still DVD, “Fear of Silence”
“First, you must remember that when you go into solitude and silence, your basic goal is to do nothing. Yes, nothing!”–J.P. Moreland, “How Spiritual Disciplines Work: Solitude and Silence as Spiritual Disciplines”
“It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called.”–Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 66.
“God’s first language is silence.”–panentheist monk Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God, p. 153.
ANTHONY DEMELLO EXPLAINS HOW TO GO INTO THIS SILENCE THAT SO MANY TALK ABOUT–WITH THE MANTRA:
To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28.
By David Dombrowski
In previous articles, we have demonstrated how the Gospel is the greatest of all treasures. Throughout the ages, man has been out digging for treasure. From the earth, we have been able to extract much of the things that we prize most highly including silver, gold, diamonds, gems, metal ores for making innumerable things made of iron or steel, copper or brass, and aluminum, while massive amounts of oil and coal have been extracted propelling us into an industrialized world. Yet, the human heart remains empty, and only God can fill that void.
Scripture likens our need for the Gospel to our need for water. The psalmist wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). And just as a deer is driven by thirst to drink of the cool water brooks, so we, like the psalmist, should hunger and thirst after God. But for most Christians in the Western world, that thirst drives us elsewhere, and what we attain never really satisfies because it is not the living water that is able to give us life and renew us.
The Gospel has been with us for a very long time, but of the world’s population, relatively few have chosen to dip into that water of life. The Scripture beckons, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Though the offer is made to all, there are so few who seem to listen. Consequently, so many choose to live in a perpetual drought, fearing the water of life that is able to save men’s souls.
Now, how long has the Gospel been with us? Paul tells us that Abraham received the Gospel:
And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:8)
God made a covenant with Abraham based on a promise to send a “seed” (namely Christ), and in that seed, the promises would be fulfilled (see Galatians 3:16). It is here that a date is given of four hundred thirty years before God gave the Law to Moses. And while the date is of no real significance, what is significant is that the New Covenant (the Gospel) came before the Old Covenant (the Law). Paul’s letter to the Galatians vividly portrays how the Law was never given to save anyone; rather it was given to lead us to the Savior:
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Abraham was justified by faith and faith alone as Paul recounts that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Paul then emphatically states that no one is justified by the law when he says, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11, emphasis added). In fact, the Law was an impossible system for salvation because to break any of it even only once meant to break the whole Law:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)
James reiterates the power of the Law when he states: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). It is clear, therefore, that the Law has power, but not the power to save – unless of course a person keeps all of the Law, at every point, perfectly, and no one has ever done that (except Christ). The power of the Law is to show us that because of sin, our righteousness is as filthy rags and consequently we remain under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. The Law demonstrates that, without question, we are in need of a Redeemer, and that is why in Old Testament law, lambs and bullocks were sacrificed year after year, not because they saved at all but because they served as a continual reminder of the need of a Savior who was to come. One teaching that is spread abroad today is that the Jews are exempt from the Gospel because God gave them the Old Testament. But if that were true Paul would not have written “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3:11). On the contrary, it was to the Jews first that the apostles preached the Gospel until later when God showed them that it was to be preached to the Gentiles also. The Gospel is for all people everywhere, Jew or Gentile. This is why the proclamation of the Gospel is so very important because, under God’s plan, the way of salvation comes in only one way.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:18)
And when we think about it, the religions of the world think that we can be saved by our own goodness or that we already have God’s divinity within and consequently have no need of a Savior. But God chose to show Abraham a different way, and all who come to God must come to Him in the same way:
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:4)
So, when God made Abraham a father of many nations, He made it clear that this covenant, based on faith in a promise (i.e., Christ the Redeemer), was to be available to all people everywhere. Then came the Law four hundred and thirty years later to direct everyone, like a schoolmaster, to their need of a Redeemer as it exposes our sinfulness. In this sense, the Law can be likened to the test equipment in a doctor’s office. After performing various tests, the doctor is able to identify a particular ailment, but the tests themselves have only exposed the problem and done nothing to render the cure. The doctor can then prescribe the proper medicine or refer the patient to a surgeon. Once that prescription or surgeon’s referral has been made, the patient is bound rather than cured by his doctor’s orders until the proper steps have been taken. Likewise, we remain bound under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. Then He, as the Great Physician, cleanses us from our sin and imparts new life in us. That is why the Scripture says:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This is also why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well:
Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)
This woman was acquainted with the problem, but now she had found the cure.
Likewise, Jesus’ offer of “living water” (John 4:10) goes out to all people as He explained “whosoever” may come and drink of this water of life (Revelation 22:17). I find it rather puzzling, though, that while countless numbers from all over the world have found that water, many have the tendency to go back to the Law to find comfort and assurance there. Like the patient who is now cured but feels compelled to stay indefinitely in the doctor’s office or the hospital when all that doctor can really do is to test and prescribe. If the Great Physician has already cured us, why would we want to go back into the Law that was designed to diagnose but not to cure. Furthermore, the Law can never be fulfilled by adherence to a set of rules; that is why Paul said, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Somehow, we get to thinking that mechanically observing a set of rules pleases God, but God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. So, while we can fulfill the Law by love, we cannot do it by merely observing a set of rules. Like the patient holding the prescription, the Law is for those bound by sin, directing them to the Savior. The Law is good insomuch as it exposes our sin and brings us to our Savior, but it has no power to save. This is why Paul was so startled in hearing that the Galatians were going back into the Law and why he was compelled to write:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3)
Contrary to what many might teach, Paul was not offering the Galatians a license to sin, but a fundamental truth of Scripture – that the Christian life can only be lived out as that well of living water springs up from our hearts. It is imperative, however, that we be found in Christ because Jesus alone is that well from which the springs of life flow.
Jesus is that well of living water, offered freely to whosoever will invite Him into their lives and hearts to be Lord and Savior. To the unbeliever, He is the invitation, “let him that is athirst come” (Revelation 22:17). To the new believer, He is that new life where, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But to those who have known Christ for awhile, even a long while, He is the reminder to come back and be refreshed again to the only water that “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). When we partake of that water, it does us much good. And when we share that water with others, it does no harm to our neighbor. It is the only water that is clean and pure and flows from the throne of God.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I work at my local pregnancy help center as Client Services Director. I have been following you for years and am thankful for your warnings. When I first started reading your material I would have never thought I would need the information to guard my own spiritual life. Sadly I had to leave a church because leaders were involved in Mystic Catholicism. Friends have read and praised Jesus Calling and The Circle Maker.
Then mysticism began to creep in at the life-affirming ministry where I work. The pro-life ministry is indeed in a spiritual battle. Where else would Satan rather be but in the mist of something as horrific as abortion? First, some months ago, one of the major supporting organizations for pregnancy help centers suggested in an e-mail we read The Circle Maker for spiritual growth and encouragement. I immediately sent an e-mail back warning against such a suggestion. The writer actually called me the very next day to apologize. She stated she would be more careful in the future, but ended by defending the author of The Circle Maker.
More recently something more disturbing to me has occurred.
An organization called Ministry Ventures has introduced silent retreats for ministry executive directors and board members. In an audio interview, Boyd Baily mentions Henri Nouwen, praising his writings. He describes bowing down before an old monk during a silent retreat although he is not Catholic.
This breaks my heart. We in the pro-life ministry need to depend on God for victory. However, it seems, we are now pleasing the Devil.
Please can you address this issue to help me warn others in the ministry? Ministry Ventures can be found on Facebook where there are links to their writings and audios. Here is a link to the audio I spoke of.
Thank you for your help.
Darcy (not real name)
LTRP Comments: In this audio session (see link above), Ministry Ventures co-founder, Boyd Bailey, says he was introduced to Fil Anderson several years ago (8:10 min mark) while at a “silent retreat” at a monastery. Fil Anderson is the author of Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers. Lighthouse Trails wrote about Anderson’s contemplative persuasions and his being trained at the panentheistic Shalem Institute in our 2013 article “Shalem-Trained Contemplative Fil Anderson Member of Samaritan’s Purse “Spiritual Care Team.”
On the Ministry Ventures website, it lists dozens of Christians ministries which are receiving guidance and training from Ministry Ventures. MV states: “Since 1999 Ministry Ventures has been partnering with faith-based nonprofit ministries to help them go Further, Faster!” Unfortunately, if Ministry Ventures is being influenced by contemplatives, it will no doubt pass this influence onto the ministries who come to them for help. A few of these ministries listed are Baptist Medical & Dental Mission, a number of pregnancy centers, Child Evangelism Fellowship of Hawaii, Chinese Pastors Fellowship, Christian Grandparenting Network, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, (FCA), Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers, andTeen Challenge of South Florida.
Lighthouse Trails Begins Second Booklet-Mailing Project – This Time to 235 Christian College/Seminary Presidents
On the week of May 16, 2016, Lighthouse Trails began a second booklet-mailing project. Whereas our first booklet-mailing project is sending out booklets and short letters to over 130 Christian leaders every 2-3 months, this new project is reaching out to 235 Christian college and seminary presidents (and some deans). After 14 years of research, our journalists and researchers have discovered that over 90% of the Christian schools have, to one degree or another, introduced contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation/emerging spirituality) into their schools. As we stated in an earlier article, we have begun these booklet-mailing projects out of a sense of desperation to warn the body of Christ.
For the first booklet going to these 235 college and seminary presidents, we chose Ray Yungen’s A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer because it is Foster’s quote, “We should all enroll in the school of contemplative prayer (from his book Celebration of Discipline) that has helped to change the “landscape” of today’s Christianity. Below is the letter that we sent out last week to these college presidents and deans, and below that is the list of the schools to whom we sent a booklet and this letter. We plan to send out a new booklet and letter every 2-3 months to these school leaders.
In fourteen years of careful research, our team of Christian journalists and authors has discovered that over ninety percent of the Christian colleges and seminaries have begun to incorporate contemplative spirituality (also called Spiritual Formation) into the lives of their students. This has largely occurred because of the writings of contemplative advocates such as Richard Foster (author of Celebration of Discipline, first released in 1978).
The enclosed booklet, A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer, explains why this spiritual outlook is not consistent with what the Bible teaches.
We hope you will read and prayerfully consider the warning this booklet gives.
Sincerely in Christ,
Editors at Lighthouse Trails
Note: This list below is compromised of schools that DO promote contemplative spirituality and ones that DON’T. To see our list of schools that promote contemplative spirituality/Spiritual Formation, click here. Also read our booklet, An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited
|President Name||School Name|
|Dean Dr. Phil Schubert||Abilene Christian University|
|Mr. John Perch||Alaska Bible College|
|President Dr. Michael Scales||Alliance Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. Alton Beal||Ambassador Baptist College|
|Dr. Joseph Saggio||American Indian College|
|President Dr. Evans P. Whitaker||Anderson University|
|President Dr. John S. Pistole||Anderson University|
|Dr. James Hayes II||Andersonville Baptist Seminary|
|Dr. Curvin Stambaugh – Pastoral Theology||Antietam Bible College and Seminary|
|President Dr. Daniel L. Anderson||Appalachaian Bible College|
|Mrs. Amber Mead||Ashland Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. Kent Ingle||Assemblies of God – Southeastern University|
|Dr. Don Meyer||Assemblies of God – University of Valley Forge|
|President Dr. Mark A. Hausfeld||Assemblies of God Theological Seminary|
|Pastor Matt Grimes||Atlanta Baptist College|
|President Jon R. Wallace||Azusa Pacific University|
|President Brad Smith||Bakke Graduate University|
|President Mark Milioni||Baptist Bible College|
|President Dr. Royce Frazier||Barclay Colege|
|President and Chancellor Dr. Ken Starr||Baylor University|
|Dean Timothy George||Beeson Divinity School – Samson University|
|Provost Dr. Thomas Burns||Belmont University|
|President Dr. Robert Nix||Berean Bible Institute|
|Mr. Carl Warden||Bethany Bible College & Theological Seminary|
|Dr. Jay H. Barnes III||Bethel Seminary|
|Dr. Jay H. Barnes III||Bethel University|
|Dr. James Keiller – religious studies||Beulah Heights University|
|President Dr. Frank A. James III||Biblical Theological Seminary|
|President Barry H. Corey||Biola University|
|President Dr. James M. Harder||Blufton University|
|President Mr. Steve Pettit||Bob Jones University|
|Dr. Charles Faber – Professor of Theology||Boise Bible College|
|President Reverend David Melton||Boston Baptist College|
|Pastor Robert Stapleton – school director||Brown Trail School of Preaching|
|President Dr. Stephen D. Livesay||Bryan College|
|President Dr.Chris Morgan||California Baptist College|
|Mr. Dave Molter||California Christian College|
|Dr. Keith Miller – chair for Theology/Bible||Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary|
|Mr. Simon Woodstock||Calvary Chapel Bible College|
|President Michael K. LeRoy||Calvin College|
|President Dr. J. Bradley Creed||Campbell University|
|President Dr. Michael Carter||Campbellsville University|
|President Dr. J. Randall O’Brien||Carson-Newman University|
|Dr. Benjamin Jacks – Biblical/Theology dept.||Carver College|
|President Dr. Thomas White||Cedarville University|
|President Matt Morrell||Central Baptist Theological Seminary|
|President Mr. Hal Hoxie||Central Christian College|
|President Dr. David B. Fincher||Central Christian College of the Bible|
|Reverend Richard Bishop||Christian Life College|
|Mr. Wayne Wochsnuth – Academic Dean||Christian Life College|
|President Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton||Christian Theological Seminary|
|Dr. Johnny Pressley – Theology Department||Cincinnati Bible Seminary|
|Dr. Johnny Pressley – Theology Department||Cincinnati Christian University|
|President||College Of The Open Bible and Theological Seminary|
|President Mr. Jerry C. Davis||College Of The Ozarks|
|President Dr. Bill Armstrong||Colorado Chrisrian University|
|President Dr. Eric Odell-Hein||Columbia Evangelical Seminary|
|President Dr. Bill Jones||Columbia International University|
|President Dr. Leanne Van Dyk||Columbia Theological Seminary|
|Dr. Cheryl Washington||Concordia College|
|Mr. Robert Sorensen – Chair of Theology||Concordia University Chicago|
|Dr. Kurt Krueger||Concordia University Irvine|
|President Dr. Patrick T. Ferry||Concordia University Wisconsin|
|President Dr. Sheldon C. Nord||Corban University|
|President||Cornerstone Bible Institute|
|President Dr. Joseph M. Stowell||Cornerstone University|
|President Dr. Mark Dalbey||Covenant Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. Barry K. Creamer||Criswell College|
|President Mike Kilgallin||Crossroads College|
|Dr. Joel Wiggins||Crown College|
|President Dr. Mark L. Bailey||Dallas Theological Seminary|
|Dr. Gilbert Parker – Academic Dean||Davis College|
|Pastor Mark Julian||Dayspring Bible College and Seminary|
|Dr. Scott Wenig – professor of Theology||Denver Seminary|
|Dr. William W. Combs – Academic Dean||Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary|
|Dr. Javier A. Vierra – Dean of Pastoral Theology||Drew University|
|Dr. Richard Hays – Dean of Duke Divinity School||Duke Divinity School|
|President Dr. Loren Swartzendruber||Eastern Mennonite Seminary|
|President Dr. Corlis McGee||Eastern Nazarene College|
|President Dr. Robert G. Duffett||Eastern University|
|Mr. Jim Tillotson||Faith Baptist Bible College And Seminary|
|Dr. Mark Baker – Theology Department Head||Fresno Pacific University – Biblical Seminary|
|President Dr. Amy Bragg Carey||Friends University|
|President Dr. Mark Labberton||Fuller Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. Robin Blake||George Fox Evangelical Seminary|
|Dr. Allan Brown – Ministerial Education chair||God’s Bible School and College|
|Mr. Jim Badry – Director of Development||Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. D. Michael Lindsay||Gordon College|
|President Dr. Dennis Hollinger||Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. James E. Brenneman||Goshen College|
|Professor Steven C. Pittman||Grace Baptist Bible College|
|President Ken B. Kemper||Grace Bible College|
|President Dr. Gil Katip||Grace College and Theological Seminary|
|Chancellor Reverend W. Lyman Phillips||Grace Evangelical College and Seminary|
|President Dr. David M. Barnes||Grace University|
|President Brian Mueller||Grand Canyon University|
|Dr. Michael Witmer||Grand Rapids Theological Seminary of Cornerstone Univ.|
|Chancellor Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham||Great Plains Baptist Divinity School|
|President Dr. Ivan Filby||Greenville College|
|President Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.||Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary|
|Vice-President Dr. Jim Martin||Harding School of Theology|
|President Dr. Bruce D. McLarty||Harding University|
|President Pastor Sam Davivdson||Heartland Baptist Bible College|
|President Dr. Elvin Butts||Heritage Bible College|
|Mr. Bill Bagents||Heritage Christian University|
|Attention: Presidential Search Committee||Hesston College|
|President||His Hill Bible School And Camp|
|President John C. Knapp||Hope College|
|President Dr. Joe Grana||Hope International University|
|President Shirley Mullen||Houghton College|
|Dr. Dave Stubblefield||Hyles-Anderson College|
|Dr. Kevin Newman||Indian Bible College|
|Dr. Paul Loder||Indiana Baptist College|
|Vice-President Dr. Wayne Schmidt||Indiana Wesleyan University|
|Chancellor Dr. Jerry TeTreau||International Baptist College|
|Dr. Robert R. Congdon||Internet Bible Institute – online institute|
|contact Kristin Marshall||Intervarsity Christian Fellowship NW|
|President Don Landis||Jackson Hole Bible College|
|Mr. Aaron Abbott – Director of Student Services||John Brown University|
|President Dr. Gary E. Weedman||Johnson University|
|Dr. Eric Gilchrest||Judson College|
|Dr. Scott Caulley – Bible/Theology Dept.||Kentucky Christian University|
|Reverend Tom Lorimer – Academic Dean||Kentucky Mountain Bible College|
|Dean of the Divinity School||La Sierra University|
|President Dr. Peter W. Teague||Lancaster Bible College|
|President – Dr. Mickey Carter||Landmark Baptist College|
|President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford||Le Toureau University|
|President Dr. Charles “Paul” Conn||Lee University|
|Pastor Matt Grimes||Liberty Baptist College|
|President Jerry Falwell Jr.||Liberty University|
|President Dr. Don Green||Lincoln Christian University|
|President William T. Luckey Jr.||Lindsey Wilson College|
|President L. Randolph Lowry III||Lipscomb University|
|Dr. Dave Keeny – Dean of Biblical Studies||Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. James L. Flanagan||Luther Rice Seminary|
|President Dr. David A. King||Malone University|
|President Dan Allender||Mars Hill Graduate School|
|Professor James Pope||Martin Luther College|
|Pastor Aedan O’connell||Maryland Bible College and Seminary|
|President Dr. Cecil Thayer||Massillon Baptist College|
|President Dr. Kim S. Phipps||Messiah College|
|President Dr. Michael Spradlin||Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary|
|President David J. Spittal||MidAmerica Nazarene University|
|Dr. J. Mark Beach – Prof. of Doctrinal Studies||Mid-America Reformed Seminary|
|President Dr. William B. Greer||Milligan College|
|President Dr. R Alton Lacey||Missouri Baptist University|
|President Jim Carlson||Montana Bible College|
|President Dr. Paul J. Maurer||Montreat College|
|President Dr. Paul Nyquist||Moody Bible Institute|
|President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding||Mount Vernon Nazarene University|
|Reverend Dr. Craig Williford||Multinomah University|
|President Richard Milliken||Nebraska Christian College|
|President Robert Ramirez||New Mexico Bible Institute|
|President Dr. Charles S. Kelley Jr.||New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary|
|President Dan Falls||New Tribes Bible Institute|
|President Dr. David L. Parkyn||North Park University|
|President Dr. Deana L. Porterfield||Northeastern Seminary|
|Interim President – Karen Walker Freeburg||Northern Baptist Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. William D. Shell||Northern Seminary|
|President Daniel Patz||Northland International University|
|President Dr. Joel K. Pearsall||Northwest Nazarene University|
|attn. Jennie Victoriano||Northwest University|
|President Gregory E. Christy||Northwestern College|
|President Dr. Michael G. Scales||Nyack College (CMA)|
|attn. Chair of Religion & Theology||Oakwood University|
|President Dr. Mark A. Smith||Ohio Christian University|
|President Dr. David Whitlock||Oklahoma Baptist University|
|President Dr. John deSteiguer||Oklahoma Christian College|
|President Dr. Everett Piper||Oklahoma Wesleyan University|
|President Dr. John Carl Bowling||Olivet Nazarene University|
|President Dr. William M. Wilson||Oral Roberts University|
|President Matt Proctor||Ozark Christian College|
|President Dr. Kent M. Keith||Pacific Rim Christian College|
|Professor Ross Winkle||Pacific Union College|
|Vice-President Vicki Pugh||Palm Beach Atlantic University|
|President Jack Haye||Patrick Henry College|
|Dr. Lonnie Skinner||Patriot University|
|President Dr. Troy A. Shoemaker||Pensacola Christian College|
|President Dr. Andrew K. Benton||Pepperdine University|
|President Dr. Darryl K. DelHousaye||Phoenix Seminary|
|President Dr. Charles Petitt||Piedmont International University|
|President Dr. Bob Brower||Point Loma Nazarene|
|Dr. Frank Damazio||Portland Bible College|
|Chancellor Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III||Reformed Theological Seminary|
|President Christopher Webb||Renovaré Institute|
|President Dr. Deana L. Porterfield||Roberts Wesleyan College|
|President Dr. Daryl Eldridge||Rockbridge Seminary|
|Senior Pastor Byron MacDonald||Rolling Hills Bible Institute|
|President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland||Samford University|
|Dr. Brian Moulton||San Diego Christian College|
|Dean Bryan K. Johnson||Seattle Bible College|
|Office of the Provost – Dr. Jeffrey B. Van Duzer||Seattle Pacific University|
|Dr. George Gunn||Shasta Bible College|
|President Dr. Don Dowless||Shorter University, was Shorter College|
|Dr. Robin Dummer||Simpson University|
|President Dr. Danny Akin||Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary|
|Mr. Paul Roberts||Southeastern Bible College|
|President Jim Marcum||Southeastern Free Will Baptist College|
|President Dr. Kent Ingle||Southeastern University|
|Dr. James Fazio||Southern California Seminary|
|President Dr. Loren Greshum||Southern Nazarene University|
|President Dr. Todd Voss||Southern Wesleyan University|
|President Dr. C. Pat Taylor||Southwest Baptist University|
|President Dr. Brent D. Ellis||Spring Arbor University|
|President James Baker||Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Seminary|
|Dean – Dr. Clinton E. Arnold||Talbot School of Theology (Biola)|
|President Dr. Lowell Haines||Taylor University|
|President David Hill||Tennessee Bible College|
|President Dr. Harley Knowles||Tennessee Wesleyan College|
|Chancellor Victor Boschini||Texas Christian University|
|President Steve Brown||The Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies|
|President Clarence Sexton||The Crown College of the Bible|
|President Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury||The King’s College|
|Dr. John MacArthur||The Master’s Seminary|
|President Dr. Keith R. Anderson||The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology|
|President Dr. Robert Myers||Toccoa Falls College|
|President Dr. Dan Boone||Trevecca Nazarene University|
|Dr. Matthew Beamer – Dean of Academics||Trinity Baptist College|
|Dr. Stuart Parsons – Professor of Theology||Trinity College|
|Dr. Edward Martin – apologetics/philosophy||Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. David S. Dockery||Trinity International University|
|President Dr. Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver||Union University|
|President Dr. Alan S. Cureton||University of Northwestern|
|President Dr. Michael J. Beals||Vanguard University|
|Reverend Kathy Smith||Vision International University|
|Dr. Mike Sanders||Warner University|
|President Matt Pinson||Welch College|
|Mr. Mike Lester – academic Dean||West Coast Baptist College|
|President Randy Roberts||Western Seminary|
|President Dr. Timothy L. Brown||Western Theological Seminary|
|President Dr. Gayle D. Beebe||Westmont College|
|President Dr. Philip Graham Ryken||Wheaton College Graduate School|
|President Dr. Beck A. Taylor||Whitworth University|
|President Dr. John Jackson||William Jessup University|
|Executive Director Don Lough Jr.||Word of Life Bible Institute|
Letter to the Editor: Trying to Warn Our Grown Children . . . And Letter to Our Pastor Goes Unanswered
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We are very thankful for Lighthouse Trails Publishing and Research, and for all the dedicated watchmen who warn and educate the sheep. We pray for continued wisdom, provision, and protection for everyone who is engaged in presenting and defending the simple and powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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.
Since that time, some of them have expressed disappointment in us for backing off of all things Vineyard, hyper-charismatic, and the whole signs & wonders and healing ministries movements. So, we have the privilege of standing in the gap and praying God will reveal the Truth to them and expose all the error they are so vulnerable to. My husband says we really can’t bring up these topics with them anymore, that we need to wait until they ask us what we think or believe because they already know. We find that we aren’t comfortable going to their churches anymore.
At one of their churches, one big event featured a couple from Bethel (Redding) leadership – and Heidi Baker – ‘ministering.’ We watched some of it online . . . very distressing.
We actually have left our own Calvary Chapel fellowship this past year. They’re still teaching the Word, chapter and verse, but are not willing to address apostasy issues. My husband wrote a letter to the pastor after Jesus Calling showed up in the bookstore – even some of the men in their Bible study were bringing it along and quoting it. No response, not even an acknowledgment of his letter was ever offered. The book disappeared from the bookstore, but they never addressed it from the podium, nor did they ever stock any books by discernment authors.
We have been blessed to be able to attend discernment conferences with Roger Oakland and Warren Smith speaking, as well as some local CC pastors who are good under-shepherds. We have gotten to meet and speak with them, as well as with Caryl Matriciana and Randolph and Johanna Michaelson. What is surprising to me is that these types of conferences don’t seem to attract the thousands of Bible believers I thought would be lined up to participate, up in arms about false teaching and wolves in sheep’s clothing as are we, like-minded.
May God give you good health and continue to provide for you and protect you as you continue to fight the good fight!
Yours warmly in Christ,