Archive for the ‘Churches in Crisis!’ Category

Reminder: What Lighthouse Trails Believes About Israel and the Jews

We have been shocked and utterly dismayed at witnessing a growing distain for Israel and the Jews by those within the evangelical camp. Sadly, we have learned that even some who read Lighthouse Trails fall in this category. That has been surprising to us because we have been very vocal about where our sympathies lie since our inception. While not everyone who has crossed our path has been upfront about their own views on Israel and the Jews, Lighthouse Trails has never kept this a secret.

Recently, we heard a sermon online by an evangelical pastor who said that those who hold a special regard for the Jews need to repent. In a day and age when anti-Semitism is growing rapidly and were there are only 14 million Jews left in the world, we were very troubled by this pastor’s comments. He elaborated on how much evil the Jews had done to the world as if they were especially evil and wicked. This is a sign of the times.

As a reminder, here is what we believe about Israel and the Jews:

We believe God made an everlasting covenant with Israel. We do not believe the church replaces Israel (replacement theology). We believe there is biblical prophetic significance with Israel today. While we believe that individual Jews need to hear and accept the Gospel just like every human being does, the Bible is clear that Israel and the Jews are the apple of His eye, and as believers, we have been grafted in.

We reject and detest every form of anti-Semitism (which we are shockingly seeing growing strongly within the evangelical church today). We have published two books by living Holocaust survivors and carry numerous other materials about the Holocaust, finding it to be one of the most atrocious acts every committed against humanity and particularly against the Jews. We believe Satan hates the Jews and Christians with a special vengeance.

We have posted numerous articles in the past several years that illustrate our concern for and interest in Israel and the Jewish people. In 2011, we began carrying Tony Pearce’s book, The Messiah Factor, which we find to be one of the best books we have read regarding Israel and the Jews. Below are a couple extracts from that book. We have also posted some articles by Pastor Bill Randles and Mike Oppenheimer, both who have written extensively about Israel. Below are some of those articles as well as others we have posted. Hopefully, these articles will clearly show our views regarding Israel and the Jewish people.

We realize there are Christians who will not agree with us, and to you we say, there are many websites that will side with you, but Lighthouse Trails is not one of them.

 

Israel in comparison to Arab countries: Israel – Red; Arab Countries: Green

SOME OF OUR COVERAGE OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE:

LT Statement on Luther and His Later Views Toward the Jews by Lighthouse Trails

Hitler’s Plan to Replace Christianity with a “New” Christianity  by Tony Pearce

Who Really Killed Jesus? (A word to those who hate the Jews)  by Tony Pearce

Israel/Flotilla Coverage You May Not Hear in the Mass Media – “Israel Should Go Home to Germany!”

Balaam, On Being Paid to Curse Israel  by Bill Randles

New York Times: America’s Policy Towards Israel Officially Shifts from The Berean Call

The Anti-Israel Revelation

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2012 – Resistance in the Midst of Travesty

Why the Heathen Rage in a World Gone Amiss  by Bill Randles

Obama and the Mourning of Israel Video with Bill Randles

Media misleading on Jews evicting Arabs from Jerusalem  by WND

Interesting Times? . . . Actually it is the End Times  by Bill Randles

Israel and Prophetic Proof  by The Berean Call

A Right and Left Hook to the Bible  by Mike Oppenheimer

“Former senior White House correspondent renews venom [against Israel and the Jews] at Arab conference” by WND

Vatican synod calls for end to Israel’s ‘occupation’ – “no longer a chosen people.” by Jerusalem Post

 

U.N. Human Rights Council Retaining Its Bias Against Israel

Obama Defends “Robust Support” For Israel – Administrative Record Proves Differently  by CSN News

UN Textbooks for Palestinian Children ‘Explosively Anti-Semitic, Anti-American and Anti-Israeli’  by CSN News

It’s Official: Obama Administration Promotes Islamist Regimes; Insists They are Moderate

Letter to the Editor: Former New Age Follower Shares Vital Information With Her Pastors and Church Leaders

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Several years ago, I learned that our church was planning to do a labyrinth walk.  A pattern had been set up in one of the rooms, and stations were placed along the path at which to perform rituals and meditate. From my experience in the New Age prior to becoming a Christian, I knew this was something Christians should not be doing.  I found information on the Internet about the background and purpose of the labyrinth, which I presented to our pastor.

Some years later, I came across Warren Smith’s book, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Life.  It caught my attention, as our church was studying, The Purpose-Driven Life. As I read the book, I could see that quotations used were by New Age or non-Christian people.  Also, the statement that “God is in everything and everyone” is not true.

At the same that I was made aware of this book, I was hearing about contemplative prayer being practiced. This was done by sitting in silence for up to half an hour in order to hear from God, perhaps chanting a word over and over in order to make your mind go blank.  I had done this when I was in New Age in order to develop ESP (extrasensory perception ).  It was called “transcendental meditation,” and, I found out, would attract demons. I made a presentation to the elder board, along with another lady, to inform them of the error in contemplative practices.

It was not long after that my husband and I left that church and found one that was not doing The Purpose-Driven Life or contemplative prayer.

A few years later, we returned to that former church, which, by then, had a new pastor who was preaching directly from the Word.  As there was still some material being used promoting contemplative prayer, I used some information I had received from The Berean Call (stating that the study of psychology could lead to the  practice of contemplative prayer) to present to the pastor.  As that was exactly what had happened to me, I shared my experience with  him.  Through our Women’s leader, who is aware of the deception, I have been able to give out booklets from Lighthouse Trails, which she shares with the staff and ladies of the congregation.

Although I have not always known the result of sharing this information, I believe it has made the pastors more aware of the deception that is occurring in evangelical churches today.

Lynda

DOES YOUR PASTOR KNOW THAT YOGA AND CHRISTIANITY ARE NOT COMPATIBLE?

BKT-YG-LAWSON-LOW-RESOLLTRP Note: We are hearing more and more reports about evangelical churches embracing Yoga. If your church is entertaining the idea of introducing Yoga classes to the church or if you know of a local church that is doing this, please give that pastor a copy of this booklet and ask him to reconsider. To order copies of YOGA and Christianity – Are They Compatible? in booklet form, click here. Those churches that welcome Yoga will in time be drawn in to the “new” spirituality and away from God’s Word. This is serious, and there is no time to waste. If you cannot afford to buy a booklet for a pastor, e-mail us his name and address, and we will send it for you at no cost to you. Let’s do what we can to stop Yoga from entering so many churches.

We were told a story this week about a place of business where the owners said that all employees had to begin Yoga classes in order to reduce stress. While one employee who was a Christian refused to participate, he observed that eventually two of the non-Christian employees became Hindu. Shockingly, the owners of the business were Christians.

By Chris Lawson

Western Culture Embraces Yoga
It is no secret that Yoga is taking Western civilization by storm. In just a little over a hundred years, a mystical revolution has occurred that millions of Westerners have wholeheartedly embraced. Amazingly, the Western Judeo-Christian view is in the process of a paradigm shift toward the same perspective as yogic India.

To illustrate the magnitude of the Yoga explosion, consider Yoga Journal’s “Yoga in America Study 2012.” This study reveals some incredible statistics:

• 20.4 million Americans practice Yoga, compared to 15.8 million from the previous 2008 study.
• Practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on Yoga classes and products. The previous estimate from the 2008 study was $5.7 billion.
• Of current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying Yoga.1

Yoga (or Yogic spirituality) is influencing Christians and non-Christians alike. It only takes 0.27 seconds to come up with over 411,000,000 results for Yoga on Google’s search engine. When searching Amazon.com’s “All” category for Yoga, one quickly comes up with a staggering 143,081 results. That’s just within Amazon.Com. If one searches for book titles only on Amazon.com, the search yields 26,316. Certainly, the influence of Yoga can be found almost everywhere. In Time Magazine’s book, Alternative Medicine: Your Guide to Stress Relief, Healing, Nutrition, and More, it states:

Hard to believe now, but yoga was once considered heretical, and even dangerous. As recently as a century ago, yogis in America were viewed with suspicion; some were actually thrown in jail. Today, though, most gyms offer it, many public schools teach it, and a growing number of doctors prescribe it . . . It may have taken 5,000 years, but yoga has arrived.2

Just What is Yoga?
No doubt, many, probably most, of the millions of Westerners who practice postural Yoga have never read a simple definition of what Yoga really is. Below, I have presented a small selection of definitions of Yoga. While there are countless descriptions on the Internet and in libraries, the definitions I have chosen are an accurate overall representation of the meaning of Yoga.

According to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Yoga is essentially: “a practice involving intense and complete concentration upon something, especially deity, in order to establish identity of consciousness with the object of concentration; it is a mystic and ascetic practice, usually involving the discipline of prescribed postures, controlled breathing, etc.”3

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary adds: “a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.”4

Cyndi Lee, expert yogi and writer for Yoga Journal, defines Yoga as such:

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit* word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” . . . The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago.

The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).5

Goutam Paul, author of Bhagavad Gita: The Ultimate Science of Yoga states:

When we talk about linking or connection, an obvious question arises: to connect what with what? The very word “connection” implies that there must be two different entities separated from one another, and they need to be connected. The ancient Vedic* text Bhagavad Gita explains that these entities are the individual consciousness and the universal Supreme consciousness. Some may call this universal consciousness an all-pervading energy, whereas most theists consider this Supreme consciousness to be God. . . . The purpose of Yoga is to connect the individual energy with the universal energy, or put another way, to connect the individual being to its source—the Supreme Being.6

One large online archive of New Age, occult, and mysticism-oriented literature states:

The ancient Yogis recognised long ago that in order to accomplish the highest stage of yoga, which is the realisation of the self, or God consciousness, a healthy physical body is essential. For when we are sick, our attention is seldom free enough to contemplate the larger reality, or to muster the energy for practice…

The roots of Yoga can be traced back roughly 5,000 years to the Indus Valley civilization. . . . According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the ultimate aim of Yoga is to reach “Kaivalya” (freedom). This is the experience of one’s innermost being or “soul” (the Purusa). When this level of awareness is achieved, one becomes free of the chains of cause and effect (Karma) which bound us to continual reincarnation.7

The Index of Cults and New Religions lists the different types of Yoga:

Karma Yoga (spiritual union through correct conduct)
Bhakti Yoga (spiritual union through devotion to a Guru)
Juana Yoga (spiritual union through hidden knowledge)
Raja Yoga (spiritual union through mental control)
Hatha Yoga (spiritual union through body control/meditation)
Kundalini Yoga (spiritual union through focusing inner energy)
Tantra Yoga (spiritual union through sexual practices)8

Swami Nirmalananda Giri of the Atma Jvoti Ashram, answering the question to “What is Yoga?” states:

What do we join through yoga? Two eternal beings: God, the Infinite Being, and the individual spirit that is finite being. In essence they are one, and according to yogic philosophy all spirits originally dwelt in consciousness of that oneness.9

The Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age describes how Yoga is done:

Typical exercises, such as those found in hatha yoga, are practiced under the tutelage of a guru or yogi, a personal religious guide and spiritual teacher. Gurus teach students to combine a variety of breathing techniques with asanas, or relaxation postures. In each of the postures, students must first enter the position, then maintain it for a certain length of time, and finally leave it.10

This dictionary further states that people in the West have mistaken Yoga to be “mere breathing and relaxation exercises,” when in reality “[t]he practice of yoga serves as a gateway to Eastern mysticism and occult thinking.”11 It adds:

Certain postures, such as the lotus position, are taken to activate the psychic energy centers [the chakras]. And specific breathing exercises are practiced to infuse the soul with cosmic energy floating in the air. A guru might have students gaze at a single object, such as a candle, to develop and focus concentration. The guru might have them chant a mantra to clear their minds and become one with the object in front of them. The goal is to achieve increasingly higher meditative states until reaching oneness with the cosmic consciousness.12

Understanding the Meaning of “Occult”
The word “occult” comes from the Latin occultus or “hidden,” and those who employ the term generally do so in an attempt to describe secret and mysterious supernatural powers or magical (magick) religious rituals.

Throughout history, there have been those who attempted to gain supernatural power or knowledge through occult means. Occultism also can generally refer to witchcraft, Satanism, neo-paganism, or any of the various forms of psychic discernment such as astrology, séances, palm reading, and a myriad of other spiritual methodologies for contact with the spirit world. The term occult is often interchangeable with the term metaphysics—these terms share the belief that there is a universal energy (e.g., Chi, Prana, Ki, etc.) that exists in all things. By engaging in the occult (i.e., metaphysical arts), this energy is awakened. Yoga in all its forms is simply one spiritual genre among many designed to induce practitioners into altered states, thereby gaining access into the world of occult spirituality.

Kundalini—the Energy Behind Yoga
Internationally recognized occult authority, Hans-Ulrich Rieker (author of The Yoga of Light: Hatha Yoga Pradipika) describes the vital role kundalini plays in Yoga when he states, “Kundalini [is] the mainstay of all yoga practices.”13 With this in mind, a brief look at “kundalini energy” (the root of Yoga) is in order.

Born as Chinmoy Kumar Ghose (1931-2007), Sri Chinmoy was an Indian spiritual “master,” spirit medium, occultist, and interfaith guru. Teaching Yoga in the West from the time he moved to New York City in 1964, Chinmoy spent 43 years in the West producing “prayers and meditations, literary, musical and artistic works.” Giving spiritual meditations twice a week at the United Nations building (since 1970),14 Chinmoy’s occult philosophy for life was, “When the power of love Replaces the love of power Man will have a new name: God.”15 Man becomes “God”? According to Chinmoy, yes!

Like many other occultists who promote yogic spirituality intertwined with “love,” Chinmoy masterfully crafted his occultism under the guise of “Concentration, Meditation, Will-Power and Love.” These themes are expanded upon in Chinmoy’s occult manifesto, Kundalini: The Mother Power where Chinmoy explains Yoga’s occult foundation, goals, and the purpose of manifesting the kundalini serpent power.

Chinmoy likened “kundalini arousal” (varying states of demonic possession) to a “game” that is to be “played” between Shakti “The Mother Power” (a Hindu goddess) and the adept who seeks to manifest kundalini. The “power” and “force” that Chinmoy encourages people to “play with” is, in actuality, in many varying religious contexts, demonic spirits (fallen angels) that masquerade as “The Mother Supreme,” “kundalini,” “Chi,” “prana,” etc. Chinmoy wrote:

When the kundalini is awake, man is fully aware of the inner world. He knows that the outer world cannot satisfy his inner needs. He has brought to the fore the capacity of the inner world, which he has come to realise is far superior to the capacity of the outer world. He has brought to the fore the hidden powers, the occult powers, within himself. Either he uses these powers properly or he misuses them. When he divinely uses the powers of kundalini, he becomes the real pride of the Mother Supreme. When he misuses them, he becomes the worst enemy of man’s embodied consciousness and of his own personal evolution.16

Here in the West there are many who feel that the powers of kundalini yoga are nothing but rank superstition. I wish to say that those who cherish this idea are totally mistaken. Even the genuine spiritual Masters have examined kundalini yoga and found in their own experiences the undeniable authenticity of its hidden occult powers.17

The kundalini power is the dynamic power in us. When the dynamic power and the spiritual knowledge go hand in hand, the perfect harmony of the Universal Consciousness dawns and the conscious evolution of the human soul reaches the transcendental Self [godhood].18

Kundalini Awakening
If Kundalini is “the mainstay of all Yoga practices,” as Rieker and other Yoga authorities maintain, the Yoga practitioner must understand clearly what the “kundalini” power is, how “it” operates, and what its effects are.19

Kundalini is a term which in Sanskrit means “coiled.” This “yogic life force” supposedly moves through the chakras (energy centers that are “activated one by one through the breath”20 in the human body in order to bring one into a state of occult enlightenment. According to occult philosophy, Kundalini is a non-physical field of energy that yogis say not only surrounds the physical body but can infuse the body.

Lee Sannella, M.D., a noted Psychiatrist, Ophthalmologist, and cofounder of the Kundalini Clinic in San Francisco, explains in his book The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence:

According to this [tantric] Indian tradition, the kundalini is a type of energy—a “power” or “force” (shakti)—that is held to rest in a dormant, or potential, state in the human body. Its location is generally specified as being at the base of the spine. When this energy is galvanized, “awakened,” [which is done during Yoga], it rushes upward along the central axis of the human body, or along the spinal, to the crown of the head. Occasionally, it is thought to go even beyond the head. Upon arriving there, the kundalini is said to give rise to the mystical state of consciousness, which is indescribably blissful and in which all awareness of duality [separation] ceases.21

For those who have doubts that all Yoga has the capacity to arouse kundalini energy, perhaps one ought to think again. After all, the Yoga postures themselves were designed specifically to receive this serpent power.

Yoga’s Dangers of Psycho-spiritual and Psycho-physical “Emergencies”
Volumes of material could be quoted from regarding the dangers of Yoga, meditation, and other psycho-spiritual and physio-spiritual practices. Modern practitioners—and even medical doctors—are now testifying to the fact that physical dangers associated with practicing Yoga are a reality. In fact, people who have done Yoga for purely “physical exercise” have been spiritually affected to the point of being systematically dismantled by hostile “forces,” over which they have no power. Eastern gurus call this type of Yoga effect “enlightenment,” yet it is anything but that!

In India today, countless millions of Yoga practitioners are influenced by the spirit world, achieving manifold “possession” states and “manifesting” the kundalini-shakti power (also called “serpent power”). It is the same in the West, only it falls under different names and in a Western context. One should note well that it was not until the 19th and early 20th centuries that Yoga was touted as a physio-postural “exercise” in Britain and the USA.22

The following is a mere sampling of what can occur when the kundalini-shakti “force” is “aroused,” “galvanized,” “awakened,” “summoned,” etc. These “spiritual emergencies” can even occur during Hatha Yoga sessions at the local fitness center. Depending on the teacher (yogi/yogini) one has, you never quite know what you will get.

In Lee Sannella’s book The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence, Sannella tells how the “Physio-Kundalini” experience is “a dramatic occurrence . . . culminating [in a] state of ecstatic unification.”23 He adds:

[T]he kundalini causes the central nervous system to throw off stress . . . usually associated with the experience of pain . . . It appears to act of its own volition, spreading through the entire psychophysiological system to affect its transformation.24

[T]he kundalini produces the most striking sensations . . . the “heat” generated by “friction” of the kundalini . . . causes turbulence, which may be experienced as painful sensations . . . spontaneous bodily movements, shifting somatic sensations.25

Amongst other kundalini symptoms, “spiritual emergency” scenarios26 and numerous case studies of destructive kundalini manifestations, Sannella mentions Swami Narayanananda, author of “the first detailed book on the kundalini experience.”27 Sannella notes that Narayanananda’s book:

. . . distinguished between a partial and a full arousal of the kundalini energy. Whereas partial arousal can lead to all kinds of physical and mental complications, only the kundalini’s complete ascent to the center at the crown of the head will awaken the true impulse to God-realization, or liberation, and bring about the desired revolution in consciousness. Only then can the body-mind be transcended in the unalloyed bliss of enlightenment.28

Narayanananda catalogued a listing of sensations and experiences that occur as kundalini symptoms. Sannella summarizes some of these:

* There is strong burning, first along the back and then over the whole body.
* The kundalini’s entrance into the central spinal canal, called sushuma, is attendant with pain.
* When the kundalini reaches the heart, one may experience palpitations.
* One feels a creeping sensation from the toes, and sometimes the whole body starts to shake. The rising sensation may feel like an ant crawling slowly up the body toward the head, or like a snake wiggling along, or a bird hopping from place to place, or like a fish darting through calm water, or like a monkey leaping to a far branch.29

Sannella arranges the “physio-kundalini complex” into four basic categories, which the following somewhat encapsulates and which Sannella (and others) consider to be “therapeutic.” Of the psycho-spiritual/physio-spiritual process Sannella contends, “[s]everal of my kundalini cases are especially interesting because they serve as support for my contention that the kundalini process can be looked upon as being inherently therapeutic.”30

Therapeutic? I find that absurd reasoning! Surprisingly, Sannella admits to the dangers:

I must, however, sound a word of caution here. I firmly believe that methods designed specifically to hasten kundalini arousal, such as breath control exercises known as pranayama, are hazardous, unless practiced directly under the guidance of a competent spiritual teacher, or guru, who should have gone through the whole kundalini process himself or herself.31

He says the Yoga breathing techniques “may prematurely unleash titanic inner forces,” and the practitioner will have no way to control these forces. He warns, “The kundalini can be forced, but only to one’s own detriment.”32 Basically, one must go through varying stages of what the Bible would consider demonic possession!

Symptoms of Kundalini Awakening
There is a very long list of symptoms that can occur during a kundalini awakening. While proponents will tell you that there are many benefits, they readily admit, as I have shown, that there are many terrible consequences. Here are just a few of them:

Tremors * Shivering * Shaking * Cramps * Spasms * 
Energy rushes * Muscle twitches * Strong electricity circulating the body * Tingling * Intense heat or cold * Involuntary bodily movements * Jerking *
Periods of extreme hyperactivity * Periods of fatigue * Intensified or diminished sexual desires * Headaches * Pressures within the skull
* Racing heartbeat 
* 
Emotional outbursts
* Rapid mood shifts *
Feeling of grief, fear, rage, depression * Spontaneous and uncontrollable laughing and weeping * Mental confusion * Convulsions * Altered states of consciousness33

I don’t recall Jesus or the disciples ever likening the fruit of the Spirit or the working of the Holy Spirit with any of these symptoms!

What About “Christian” Yoga?
In an eye-opening article titled “Yoga Renamed is Still Hindu: I challenge Attempts to Snatch Yoga From its Roots,” Professor Subhas R. Tiwari of the Hindu University of America made some very interesting points in response to inquiries from several journalists around the country. As a graduate with a Master’s degree in Yoga philosophy from the famed Bihar Yoga Bharati University, Professor Tiwari’s response was featured in an article in Hinduism Today. Professor Tiwari enlightened undiscerning American’s with the following:

In the past few months I have received several calls from journalists around the country seeking my views on the question of whether the newly minted “Christian Yoga” is really yoga.

My response is, “The simple, immutable fact is that yoga originated from the Vedic or Hindu culture. Its techniques were not adopted by Hinduism, but originated from it.” . . . The effort to separate yoga from Hinduism must be challenged because it runs counter to the fundamental principles upon which yoga itself is premised. . . . Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga. . . .

[Yoga] was intended by the Vedic seers as an instrument which can lead one to apprehend the Absolute, Ultimate Reality, called the Brahman Reality, or God. If this attempt to co-opt yoga into their own tradition continues, in several decades of incessantly spinning the untruth as truth through re-labelings such as “Christian yoga,” who will know that yoga is—or was—part of Hindu culture?34

Some may ask, “Well, can’t I just do the Yoga exercises and forego the religious or spiritual aspects?” One researcher has this to say:

There is absolutely no problem in stretching exercises in and of themselves. . . . No one can deny that stretching helps the blood flow, that breathing in oxygen helps our overall health. . . . There are numerous exercise programs that incorporate stretching that in no way relates to yoga (and its perspective). . . . Religious syncretism is probably the most dangerous thing we can involve ourselves in because we can rationalize its purpose. . . . Essentially one cannot practice a portion of Hinduism and continue to walk with the true Christ who is not a Hindu Guru.35

A former occultist who is now a Christian explains:

You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy. . . . The movements themselves become a form of meditation. The continued practice of the exercises will, whether you . . . intend it or not, eventually influence you toward an Eastern/mystical perspective. That is what it is meant to do! . . . There is, by definition, no such thing as “neutral” Yoga36

The Conflict Between Yoga, “Christian” Yoga, and the Gospel

Is Yoga a religion that denies Jesus Christ? Yes. Just as Christianity denies the Hindu MahaDevas such as Siva, Vishnu, Durga and Krishna, to name a few, Hinduism and its many Yogas have nothing to do with God and Jesus . . . all of Yoga is all about the Hindu religion. Modern so-called “yoga” is dishonest to Hindus and to all non-Hindus such as the Christians.—Danda, Dharma Yoga Ashram, Classical Yoga Hindu Academy; an e-mail written to Lighthouse Trails Research

Altogether, Western Yoga has become a launching platform for occultism—the very thing that lies at the heart of Buddhism Hinduism, and New Age spirituality. Even the Christian church has been affected by alleged “Yoga for Christians.” Consider the names of such “ministries” that mix Scripture and “Jesus” with Yoga, and then sell it as Christian Yoga exercise: Yahweh Yoga, Holy Yoga; Body Prayer, Christ-Centered Yoga, New Day Yoga, Trinity Yoga, Yoga Devotion, Grounded in Yoga, Be Still Yoga, Atoning Yoga Extending Grace, and many more.

Most Christians would probably acknowledge that occultic practices are the antithesis of biblical Christianity. But when it comes to Yoga—also the outworking of occultism—they seem oblivious. And yet, the philosophies and practices of yogic mediation have the capacity to “unhinge” (dismantle) humans—in every way. These philosophies come from ancient occultism and originally started back in the Garden of Eden. The voice of that old serpent, the Devil and his satanic forces, put forth the exact same lie today that has fueled the world of the occult through all the ages—that humanity can become God. “[Y]e shall not surely die . . . ye shall be as gods” (i.e., like God; Genesis 3:4-5).

The very nature of many of the meditative yogic practices are engineered to (1) blow out the discernment faculties of human beings, (2) create an insulating barrier of spiritual resistance against the biblical Gospel, and (3) generate personal hostile opposition towards Jesus of Nazareth and His teachings. Consider the difference: the Bible teaches that man is sinful and the wages of sin is death; Jesus Christ, came in the flesh, died on the Cross, and was resurrected, paying the penalty for man’s sin with His own shed blood. He then offers salvation freely to “whosoever” believeth on Him by faith. Yoga (i.e., Hinduism), on the other hand, is completely the opposite. Man is already divine, and that divinity only needs to be “awakened” through Yoga. No sin, thus no need for a Savior. Man will save himself.

In place of God’s Word as the ultimate authority, a new higher authority called “experience” is embraced. Thus, the Jesus Christ of the Bible, the clear teachings of Scripture, and the established historical doctrines of the Christian faith, along with “biblical separation” from occult pagan spirituality, are thrown out of the window.

The reality that practitioners of Yoga, including Christian practitioners, can become physiologically and psychologically “unhinged” is a terrifying consideration. When one yields to the spiritual forces of darkness that fuel the world of yogic spirituality, one ought to be prepared to face dire consequences—that for millennia yogis in the East have endured, and by which have tragically been destroyed.

Practicing Yoga can result in the severe dismantling of the human personality, resulting in total spiritual devastation, and oftentimes including demonic possession. The respect, honor, and adoration of rats, snakes, monkeys, cows, and the worship of 330 million gods of Hinduism surely ought to speak volumes to the Western Yoga practitioner who thinks he or she can Christianize Yoga or simply turn it into a benign physical exercise program.

When you stop and realize that increasing numbers of Christian churches are now allowing Yoga classes, and when you look at the sheer facts, this is simply hybridized yogic evangelism in the church. Sadly, the bulk of Western Christians seem to be blind to this.

Paul the Apostle, remembering the sinful disaster that took place in the garden of Eden, warned the early church at Corinth about the danger of spiritual deception in the name of Christ:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlity, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

The question this booklet title asks is: Are Yoga and Christianity compatible? I hope and pray that after reading this material you will answer that question with a resounding No. We live in a world where forces of darkness, of which the Bible speaks, are seeking to deceive us. But Scripture also says we can protect ourselves through His provision. We do not have to walk in spiritual darkness.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6: 11-13)

To order copies of YOGA and Christianity – Are They Compatible?, click here.

Endnotes:
1. “Yoga in America Study 2012” (Yoga Journal, http://www.yogajournal.com/press/yoga_in_america.
2. Lesley Alderman, “Bend and Be Well,” Alternative Medicine: Your Guide to Stress Relief, Healing, Nutrition, and More (New York, NY: TIME Books, 2012), p.62.
3. Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Unabridged, 2nd ed., Deluxe Color 1955, 1983), p. 2120.
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yoga.
5. http://www.yogajournal.com/newtoyoga/820_1.cfm.
6. Goutam Paul, Bhagavad Gita: The Ultimate Science of Yoga (http://www.cs.albany.edu/~goutam/ScYogaCamera.pdf).
7. http://www.experiencefestival.com/yoga.
8. http://www.sullivan-county.com/id3/expositer.htm#Y.
9. http://www.atmajyoti.org/med_what_is_yoga.asp.
10. Debra Lardie, contributing editors Dan Lioy and Paul Ingram, Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2000), pp. 288-289.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Hans-Ulrich Rieker, The Yoga of Light: Hatha Yoga Pradipika (New York, NY: Seabury Press, 1971), p. 101.
14. http://www.srichinmoy.org.
15. Ibid.
16. Sri Chinmoy, Kundalini: The Mother Power (Jamaica, N.Y: AUM Publications, 1992), p. 49.
17. Ibid., p. 51.
18. Ibid.
19. See Hidden Dangers Of Meditation And Yoga: How To Play With Your Sacred Fires Safely by Del Pe.
20. “Chakras,” http://www.sanatansociety.org/chakras/chakras.htm.
21. Lee Sannella, The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence (Lower Lake, CA: Integral Publishing, 1987, Revised 1992), p. 25.
22. See Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton, 2010; A History of Modern Yoga: Patanjali and Western Esotericism by Elizabeth De Michelis, 2005; The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice by Georg Feuerstein, 2001.
23. Lee Sannella, The Kundalini Experience, op. cit., p. 31.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid., p. 32.
26. See also Grof & Grof’s The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth through Transformational Crisis, 1992; and Spiritual Emergency, 1989.
27. Lee Sannella, The Kundalini Experience, op. cit., pp. 48-49.
28. Ibid., p. 48.
29. Ibid.
30. Ibid., pp. 93-108, 113.
31. Ibid., p. 116.
32. Ibid.
33. Symptoms of Kundalini awakening, Submitted by zoya on Fri, 03/11/2011—11:57, http://www.gurusfeet.com/forum/symptoms-kundalini-awakening.
34. Subhas R. Tiwari, “Yoga Renamed is Still Hindu” (Hinduism Today, Jan/Feb/Mar 2006, Magazine Web Edition http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=1456).
35. Mike Oppenheimer, “Yoga, Today’s Lifestyle for Health” (http://www.letusreason.org/NAM1.htm).
36. Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs to the Slaughter (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1989), pp. 93-95.
A. Sidebar on page 7: Goutam Paul, Bhagavad Gita: The Ultimate Science of Yoga, op. cit., p.1.

To order copies of YOGA and Christianity – Are They Compatible?, click here.

CL_Color_suit_2About the author: Chris Lawson is a missionary and an ordained pastor. Among his achievements and calling as a career missionary, he has served as a long-term church planter in the USA and also in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the founder and president of Spiritual Research Network, Inc., a Christian outreach dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel and encouraging biblical discernment. You can visit his website where there is extensive research at: http://www.spiritual-research-network.com. Chris lives in central California with his wife and children.

“Southern Baptists Update Bible’s Language On Gender”

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LTRP Note: The following news story in the form of a radio transcript is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the content. We have also posted links to two other articles on the issue, one which (The Christian Post) is defending SBC’s actions.

By Tom Gjelten
NPR

Faced with declining membership among millennials, the Southern Baptists are seeking to modernize their language. The denomination has adopted a new Bible with more gender-neutral terms.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the country, and they’re holding their annual convention this week. Their congregations are mostly in the South and mostly conservative. But like other denominations, Southern Baptists are working to adapt to the times. NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports on how they are trying to change their language.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: On the eve of the convention, the president of the Southern Baptists pastors, Dave Miller, announced he’d be quoting from a new translation of the Bible, one issued by the denomination’s own publishing house.

DAVE MILLER: We are using the new Christian Standard Bible. Tomorrow night, if you come back, the first 2,000 people in the door will receive a gift Bible, a very nice gift Bible. I’ve switched to the Christian Standard Bible. I love that Bible.

GJELTEN: Advertisements for the new Bible say it’s more readable than prior translations, but the changes go deeper. Religion writer Jonathan Merritt and a colleague theology professor dug through the new version and found the text used more gender-neutral language. Click here to continue reading.

Two Examples of Gender Changes in the Christian Standard Bible

The word “sisters” is in the CSB in the New Testament 159 times (18 in KJV NT and NASB NT)

The word “human” is in the CSB 216 times (0 in KJV and 39 in NASB)

Other Articles on This Story:

Related Articles:

The Silent Church in the Day of Apostasy

By Warren B. Smith
(author of False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? )

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Traditional Christian believers frequently mention the analogy of the frog that is so slowly and gradually boiled in a kettle of water that it dies before ever realizing what is going on. Yet many believers fail to realize that the very same thing is happening to them as they tell that story. How else do you explain the rapid rise of the “new gospel” movement with hardly a word of concern within the church about what’s been happening? As “new gospel” advocates continue to publish bestselling books and flock to the airwaves in ever-increasing numbers to advance their cause, there is a strange silence in the church. Does the church have any idea what is going on?

So often we have heard the impassioned refrain, “We can never let what happened in Germany ever happen again.” And with all of the Holocaust memorials, survivor testimonies, and multitudinous books on the subject, we have done a pretty good job of convincing ourselves that we will never make the same mistakes the German people did in allowing someone like Hitler to rise in their midst. We think that Americans would never stand by and allow something like that to happen here in our country. Our democratic processes and old-fashioned common sense would never allow it.

In the introduction to a 1999 publication (Sixth Pressing) of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Konrad Heiden describes how everything that Hitler was about to do was telegraphed in his early writings:

For years Mein Kampf stood as proof of the blindness and complacency of the world. For in its pages Hitler announced – long before he came to power – a program of blood and terror in a self-revelation of such overwhelming frankness that few among its readers had the courage to believe it. Once again it was demonstrated that there was no more effective method of concealment than the broadest publicity.2
Somehow, Christians don’t seem to grasp Jesus’ warnings about the tremendous deception that characterizes the time of the end. Perhaps deceived into thinking that we can’t be deceived, we don’t take seriously enough His warnings that a Hitler-like antichrist figure will one day rise to rule the world – and that many people calling themselves “Christians” will support this spiritual counterfeit who will actually come in the name of Christ. Our adversary wants us to believe that these warnings are for another people at another time. Yet through Scripture, and in our heart of hearts, the Spirit of God tells us that they are not. As we study the Bible, and as we watch and pray and observe the events all around us, we come to understand that these future times described by Jesus are now suddenly and undeniably upon us.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns of their vulnerability and susceptibility to false teaching in the name of Jesus. He suggests that if someone approached them with “another gospel,” “another Jesus” and “another spirit” they might very well go along with it (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Earlier in that same letter Paul had indirectly encouraged the Corinthians not to be ignorant of their adversary’s schemes and devices, lest they be taken advantage of (2 Corinthians 2:11). Paul told the Ephesians that it is a shame that we even have to talk about the things of darkness, but when we expose them they are brought into the light (Ephesians 5:12-13). He also told them that he had not ceased to warn them night and day for three years that men who were “grievous wolves” would “arise” in the Church “speaking perverse things” as they attempted to lead men away from their faith and into the enemy’s camp (Acts 20:29-31). Let us beware of these same warnings today.

And it is, indeed, very disturbing to see many Christian leaders today using many of the same words and expressions commonly used by their “new gospel” counterparts. “New revelation” describing how a great “move of God” is going to take believers “pregnant with destiny” to “a new spiritual level” and into a “new dimension” sounds a lot more like the “new gospel” than the traditional Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are Christian leaders leading the church ever closer to the cross, or ever closer to the “Planetary Pentecost”? Why is there almost no call for spiritual discernment within the Church (except to warn believers not to be deceived into doubting their appointed Christian leaders)? Why is spiritual experience taking precedence over spiritual discernment? Why are there so few warnings about a counterfeit “new gospel” movement that maligns the person of Jesus Christ and threatens the lives of His followers? Why is “new revelation” in many ministries starting to supersede God’s written Word? Why are Christians only being prepared for blessings and not for persecution? What in the world is going on?

Expecting only revival, will the church be deceived by one who will come in the name of Christ and pretend to be Christ? Caught unawares, will the church mistake the counterfeit Christ’s “Planetary Pentecost” for the great “move of God” they had been told to expect? Are we getting set up for the great delusion described in the Bible? Is there any good reason not at least to consider that possibility?

The prophet Daniel makes mention of the God of “forces” in conjunction with antichrist (Daniel 11:38). The “God” of the “new gospel” asks [New Ager] Neale Donald Walsch, “What if I am not a ‘man’ at all, but rather, a Force?”3 The “Christ” of A Course in Miracles states that there is an “irresistible Force” within each person.4 Marianne Williamson explains that this “universal force” can be “activated” within each person and has “the power to make all things right.”5 The “new gospel Christ” tells Barbara Marx Hubbard that on the day of “Planetary Pentecost” a “planetary smile” will flash across the face of all mankind; that an “uncontrollable joy” that he describes as the “joy of the force” will “ripple” through the one body of humanity.6 Benjamin Creme describes the event “as a Pentecostal experience for all.”7 The “Christ” of A Course in Miracles tells how the world ends in “peace” and “laughter.”8

Has anyone wondered whether this same “Force” may be counterfeiting the Holy Spirit in churches and may be producing “revivals” and “moves of God” that are not really “revivals” or “moves of God” at all? Is the “God of forces” in the process of preparing the Church for the “Planetary Pentecost”? Should we not be doing a more thorough job of testing the spirits? Have we put our faith and trust in Christian “leaders” rather than in God? Have we all talked ourselves out of the end times? Have we all agreed that persecution is not something we need to be concerned about? Have we prayed to God that we would not be deluded or deceived?

Several years ago in my book, The Light That Was Dark, I wrote the following: “Clearly many who said they were of ‘the faith’ would soon become a part of the deception too, if they weren’t already.”

Were we already witnessing the great “falling away” predicted in the Bible? Was the “mystery of iniquity” talked about in the Scriptures already doing its deceptive work with “all power and signs and lying wonders” . . . ? Would people calling themselves Christians abandon their faith in the Bible and the Bible’s Christ? Would they join an ecumenical movement that in the name of love and God and unity would sacrifice the truth of the Bible and perhaps one day merge with the new age itself?

Jesus warned that such a faith would lead not to life but to ultimate destruction: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).9

Could it be that the reason the church is so unaware of the “new gospel” movement is because it is being led by that same spirit and heading down that same broad way? Is it happening now, right in front of our very own eyes?

(For more information, read False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care by Warren B. Smith)

Notes:
1. NBC News “Special Report: America on Alert,” Tom Brokaw hosting Marianne Williamson as guest, September 16, 2001 broadcast transcript (Livingston, New Jersey: Burrelle’s Information Services).
2. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf (Sixth Pressing), translated by Ralph Manheim (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.: Mariner Books, 1999), p.xv.
3. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: Book 3, p. 325.
4. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Text) p. 479.
5. Marianne Williamson, Healing the Soul of America, p. 13.
6. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, p. 243.
7. Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission: Volume Two (Los Angeles: Share International Foundation, 1993), p. 239.
8. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Manual for Teachers) p. 37.
9. Warren B.  Smith, The Light That Was Dark, p. 150.

Welcome to Rome!

By Judson Casjens
Guest Commentary

Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-7, 2017, found that a “leftward movement in perceptions of what is morally acceptable has been ongoing,” with a shift in 13 of 19 issues over time (since 2001). In another section of the same poll, Gallup found that just 24 percent believe the Bible is the literal word of God—the lowest in Gallup’s 40 years of asking Americans about their biblical beliefs.

On several key social issues Americans responded in the most recent survey that it is morally acceptable to use birth control (91%), get divorced (73%), engage in opposite-sex sexual acts outside marriage (69%), engage in same-sex sexual acts (63%), have a baby outside of marriage (62%), commit physician-assisted suicide (57%), view pornography (36%) and practice polygamy (17%).

Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land said the Gallup findings on social issues and faith in the Bible’s validity are certainly linked:

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“There’s been a marked movement left in everything except adultery,” Land said of the surveys. “Cheating on one’s husband or wife still remains taboo. But as more and more people view the Bible as a book of fables, we can see an increasing level of paganism of the United States. The apostle Paul would recognize contemporary America because it looks a lot like ancient Rome and Corinth—except with modern conveniences.”

Land went on to say:

“The precipitous decline in traditional Judeo-Christian morality on these social issues is directly related to the decline in belief in the Bible’s moral authority,” Land said. “Besides the shift left in these crucial social issues, the decrease in the belief in the Bible as the literal, authoritative Word of God is even more alarming. It says something alarming about our culture, when for the first time in 40 years, biblical skepticism has surpassed biblical literalism. We can hope that the half who fall in the middle, believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, stay true to that conviction and are even strengthened in their belief of the Bible.”—excerpted from Southern Evangelical Seminary e-mail (5/22/2017) (quoted for informational purposes)

+++++++++++++++++++

Where do we go from here? The proverbial snowball is rolling downhill and getting ever larger, and one can discern from reading about various nations, including Israel, in Scripture that the ending is not very pleasant. History demonstrates time and again that at the end is no revival, but rather judgement. While Gallup’s poll above includes evangelicals and non-evangelicals, other polls of evangelicals only don’t appear very encouraging either. For the most part, they merely reflect what is stated above. Land is correct in his assessment of the connection between people’s view of the Bible and moral decline. And if this is true, what we are seeing is only symptomatic and not the genuine cause.

What this means for true believers is that rather than supporting various crusades and rally’s around the country which purport to create a voice on various moral issues, we instead need to focus upon becoming holy in our lives and obedient insofar as the true Gospel is concerned. We can “clean up” the country, even get some laws changed; but then where are we? Using the examples of Jesus and the early Church, where do we find the effort and focus? Let me assure one and all that it was not cleaning up and changing paganism for the purpose of complimenting Christianity, but rather leading holy lives and “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27) and using every effort in the spread of that very same Gospel . . . period. And the world of that day was not turned upside down by grandiose crusades or “festivals,” but by people like you and I relating to others just like you and I, and so the Gospel spread. We have turned way too much over to the so-called “professionals” and in so doing have diminished our own value, responsibility, and role in the spread of God’s kingdom.

Not at all unlike Israel of old, today’s evangelicalism is ever turning a deaf ear to God’s Words and warnings, the past polls of evangelicals only have shown similar movement away from the Bible as being verbally inspired and therefore as having diminished authority, all of which is playing a large part in the church’s drift away from biblical orthodoxy. In the middle of all this, the ecumenical push for unity is contributing mightily because all this “togetherness” requires the message of the one and only way of salvation not be mentioned, much less pressed; this movement seeks to find spiritual value and even instruction apart from Gospel truth, which by definition means paganism. James asks some rather pointed questions:

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:11-12)

What on earth are we doing by mixing and blending Truth with error and then calling it love and unity? Of necessity, the true Gospel must be the first casualty in this type of endeavor. The ideas of political correctness and tolerance in true Christianity for the purposes of being non-offensive are unknown in the whole of Scripture; the Gospel message is offensive for it declares that one is an offense to God, under condemnation already, and there is nothing one can do except trust in the provision made by God’s Son Jesus Christ. Something, as but one example, the Catholic Church has declared “anathema” at least three times in Vatican II documents because theirs is a “works-based” system of salvation (sacramental).

What we find so prevalent in evangelicalism today is a refusal to even hear and consider when God’s Word is compared to some movement, error, or teaching. When Israel’s “religion” had changed within due to the admission of pagan practices and beliefs, even to the point of worshipping foreign goddesses, Yahweh sent the prophet Isaiah along with others, but what God said to Isaiah regarding His purposes and Israel’s response needs to be given very careful consideration:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate. (Isaiah 6:9-11)

In a similar discussion with His disciples in which their relationship with the world was discussed, Jesus uttered these thought-provoking words:

 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:22-25)

We have become so focused upon “results” that we have forgotten that irrespective of another’s response, witness and testimony has been faithfully given, and that even rejection serves God’s purposes. That was Isaiah’s ministry and that is a very sobering thought. So to all out there attempting to be faithful, don’t be discouraged due to little or negative response, even from evangelicals; in many ways, this is our calling.

Saddleback Youth Worker Ruben Meulenberg Charged With 5 Felony Counts – Saddleback Remaining Tight Lipped on Staff Issue

Ruben Meulenberg mug shot

The following is an update from two recent Lighthouse Trails articles: Saddleback Church Youth Worker Arrested for Molesting 14-Year-Boys Brings Issue to Surface”  and “Saddleback Church Statement Appears to Downplay Role of Alleged Molester Ruben Meulenberg.”

Ruben Meulenberg, the youth worker at Saddleback Church who was arrested for allegedly molesting two 14-year-old boys at Saddleback, has been charged with 5 felonies related to the molestation of the boys. At least one of the boys was 13 when the abuse began.

The following public information on the case has been released by the Orange County District Attorney’s office:

Case # 17HF0707

Date: May 30, 2017

YOUTH MINISTRY MENTOR CHARGED WITH COMMITTING LEWD ACTS ON TWO JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL BOYS

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A youth ministry mentor was charged today with committing lewd acts on two junior high school boys.

Defendant Charges Court Date
Ruven Meulenberg, 32, Lake Forest
  • Three felony counts of lewd acts on a child
  • Two felony counts of lewd acts on a child under age 14

Sentencing enhancement

  • Multiple victims
Continued arraignment

  • June 9, 2017, 10:00 a.m.
  • Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana
  • Bail: $1 million

Circumstances of the Case

* At the time of the crime, Meulenberg is accused of being a volunteer youth mentor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest in a position of trust with access to children.

* Between May 2016 and May 2017, Meulenberg is accused of committing lewd acts on 13-year-old boys John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, both on and off church property.

* Between May 18, 2017, and May 22, 2017, the defendant is again accused of sexually molesting the victims, who were then 14 years old.

* On May 24, 2017, a Saddleback Church representative reported suspected inappropriate conduct to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who investigated this case.

* Meulenberg was arrested by OCSD on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom, Sexual Assault Unit

After Lighthouse Trails released its May 29th article questioning whether Saddleback was downplaying the role in which Ruben Meulenberg had at Saddleback, the Christian Post ( which calls itself “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website“) wrote an article titled “Was Saddleback Church Youth Mentor Who Was Charged With Molesting Boys a Volunteer?” in which they referenced the Lighthouse Trails article questioning Saddleback’s recent statement on Meulenberg being just a a volunteer. Interestingly, the Christian Post article revealed that as of yet Saddleback has not answered the question as to whether Ruben Meulenberg was on staff at Saddleback. While it may be true that he was a youth volunteer, certain indicators, as we pointed out in our previous article, suggest that Meulenberg may also have been on staff (see Appendix below), a claim that Saddleback has not yet denied or admitted.

The Christian Post article said that Rick Warren has not yet made a public statement about the case. According to the Christian Post’s website search engine, the online paper has featured Saddleback Church and/or Rick Warren in over one thousand articles since 2004, and most, if not all, praise and promote the work of the Purpose Driven pastor and his church.

While in the bigger picture of Ruben Meulenberg and his victims, it may not matter at all whether he was truly on staff at Saddleback or not; but if Saddleback Church is refusing to admit that he has been paid for any of his services, either as a contractor or a staff member, this should certainly raise questions as to how much can the mega-church be trusted to protect the children under its care. If facts about abuse at Saddleback are being kept in the dark, this will not produce the kind of environment where healing can take place for victims or where parents can feel secure about their children’s safety.

Appendix:

LinkedIn has the following information about Ruben Meulenberg:

Ruben Meulenberg

Saddleback Church | TornadoTwins | Age of Edge (game development)

Age of Edge, Corp

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Orange County, California Area

Media producer operating in 5 areas: videogames, film, books, music & curriculum.

Companies founded:
– TheGameBible.com: in-house project, turning the Bible into a full videogame (www.TheGameBible.com).
– TornadoTwins.com: became the world’s largest game development youtube channel in 3 months.
– FPSControl.com: tool to help midsize game studios create multi-platform games
– GamePrefabs.com: game development store [sold to Unity Tech; world’s #1 game tech corp]
– more

Projects:
– Feature film: wrote, directed and co-produced Saddleback Kids’ first feature film with production staff & volunteers. Used by 700+ churches and given out to 3000 children at Saddleback Lake Forest.
– Curriculum: co-founded fastest growing children’s church curriculum organization in Holland. Trained Saddleback Church’s children’s production staff to use this format.
– Music: founded world’s largest youtube channel on dubstep development (reached in 2 weeks), reached most-votes in Newsboys remix competition, created dance album for Saddleback Church, scored Triumph motorcycle commercial (engine sounds as bass).
– Game Development: developed YouVersion’s Kid-Bible-App prototype in under two weeks. Co-organized web’s largest gamedevelopment competition with cgsociety.org, trained thousands of game developers worldwide (including Disney’s “where’s my water” app developers), developing “The Game Bible” (see above).
Writing: Oversaw writing of 3 years worth of narrative video series for Saddleback Church Childrens’. Wrote “The Unplugged”, a book to help software developers create quickly and on as low a budget as possible.
– Marketing: helped triple attendance count on the annual online conference “The Twelve”, resulting in 10,000+ attendees. Redesigned Saddleback Kids’ summer outreach program, helping it rise from 4% new visitors in previous years to over 30% new visitors.


Appendix 2:

YouTube Comment from Lighthouse Trails author Gregory Reid regarding Saddleback and youth groups:

I had an associate that went to Saddleback to look for cool church ideas and loved the idea that the sign over the youth building said, “No adults allowed.” I was mortified. Creating an isolated youth subculture is deadly and creates a breeding ground for predators. I wrote a book called The Color of Pain that includes a checklist for identifying pedophiles, I think it’s a crucial book in this vulnerable time for youth. When I was a youth pastor I did extreme vetting on every single volunteer or person who showed interest in our youth ministry, even the older college volunteers, and I watched them like hawks. Had to remove two adults who were predators looking for a kill. (source)

Gregory Reid is a child sexual abuse survivor. He wrote about his childhood in his book Nobody’s Angel. His later book, The Color of Pain (published by LT) is a tribute to men who were sexually abused as boys.


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