Archive for the ‘CHILDREN AT RISK!’ Category
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
Homeschooling is growing at a record rate in North Carolina, according to reports.
Over 10,000 more students are being homeschooled than just two years ago, with enrollment figures surpassing that of private schools. The News & Observer reports that the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education estimates that there are 98,172 homeschooled students in North Carolina, compared to 95,768 students enrolled in private schools.
While the majority of students attend public school—1.5 million—there is still a marked departure from the system, as there were just 2,300 homeschooled students in the state 25 years ago.
“If you’re dissatisfied with public education, you really have two routes,” Kevin McClain, president of North Carolinians for Home Education, told the outlet. “You can send your child to a private school, which is really expensive, or you can homeschool. The economy means that, for many people, you homeschool.” Click here to continue reading.
DANGEROUS ILLUSIONS . . . has such a tender, romantic heart . . . a sweet-murder-mystery-romance with a tangible love for the young people who are its target audience. It expresses love to a jaded, over-stimulated generation who must know that heroes and God-fearing, loving people still exist in the modern world despite the dark and violent images of MTV and Marvel comics. It is a barn-burner of suspense, hard to put down . . . and despite the accurate portrayal of sinister forces and very wicked people, it lacks the cynical hopeless misery of the media world our young-adults grow up in. It is the tender loving heart of God in the authors that shines through. I teared-up at the ending while reading in a restaurant. Appealing to both genders, the warm tapestry of appropriate Scriptures, Biblical names, symbols, images and characters warm the reader amidst the tension of events. It fills the book with a message that will arm today’s Christian youth against the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’, false prophets and Hollywood show-people who permeate their young lives within the church. Well-developed atmosphere, mystery, characters, theology, heresy, apostasy and clarity are woven into an absolutely lovely tapestry with “THE LOVE OF GOD” as its central image. It is a new item in the library of Christian literature that (by God’s magnificent grace and Word) can save young Christian lives from the Age of Apostasy in which we live.—ROGER NEILL
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
LONDON – In an attempt to crack down on religious ‘extremism,’ Britain’s Education Secretary has announced that any schools that teach creation will be stripped of government funding.
Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary of Great Britain, delivered a statement to Parliament late last month, in which she condemned the spread of religious views within British schools. Citing a recently-released report, Morgan particularly emphasized the danger of radical Islamic beliefs infiltrating Britain’s classrooms.
“There has been no evidence of direct radicalisation or violent extremism,” Morgan stated. “But there is a clear account in the report of people in positions of influence in these schools, with a restricted and narrow interpretation of their faith, who have not promoted fundamental British values and who have failed to challenge the extremist views of others.”
The report mentioned by Morgan also denounces the teaching of creation in public schools, suggesting that anti-evolution beliefs are comparable to radical Islam. One section of the report claims that creation beliefs equate to “teaching belief as fact.” Click here to continue reading.
We are happy to present a new slideshow of photos from the Bryce Homes for Christian Widows and Children in Kenya, but first here are the answers to five things you might be wondering about the Bryce missions project that is supported solely by UTT and Lighthouse Trails readers.
1. Does the Bryce Home project have a U.S. building that it must maintain?
Answer: No, there are no U.S. overhead building costs whatsoever.
2. Does the Bryce Home project have a staff it must pay?
Answer: The pastors in Kenya who run the program are compensated for their time, but there is no paid staff in the U.S. or Canada.
3. How much of the donations from Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times go directly to the Christians in Kenya who are in the Bryce Home project?
Answer: 100% of the donations received.
4. How much accountability is there in the Bryce Home project?
Answer: Roger Oakland, director of Understand the Times and founder of the Bryce Homes International, travels to Kenya once or twice a year where he meets with the three Kenyan men (Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter) who are running the program from Kenya. He also meets with each Bryce Home family during these visits. In addition, both he and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have regular communication via e-mail and phone through the year.
5. Is there an emphasis on teaching the Word of God to the Bryce Home widows and children?
Answer: Definitely. While the program does put donations toward practical needs such as housing, food, clothing, water purification, latrines, standard education for the children, and start up money for agriculture and other businesses for the widows, there is regular instruction in the Word of God presented by Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, Pastor Lawrence, and Pastor Daniel.
A free digital slideshow by Smilebox
By Berit Kjos
(author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age and Spiritual Deception)
The Spiritual Formation movement is widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader. It teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with longstanding reputations of teaching God’s word seem to be succumbing.1—Roger Oakland
Spiritual Formation has become a widely used term that was introduced to the evangelical church in the 1970s, primarily through a Thomas Merton disciple named Richard Foster and his longstanding, best-selling book, Celebration of Discipline. Today, there are few venues in the church that have not been influenced by the Merton/Foster model of Spiritual Formation.
While at first glance, the Spiritual Formation movement seems profitable and spiritual at best, harmless and benign at worst, that is only because it has been disguised with Christian language and out-of-context Scriptures all the while making grandiose claims that through Spiritual Formation, you can really know God.
In a nutshell, Spiritual Formation teaches that in order for someone to have an intimate relationship with God, he or she needs to practice certain “spiritual disciplines” that will help one to become more Christ-like. Sounds good so far, right?
What many people don’t really know, however, is that the driving force behind the Spiritual Formation movement is a mystical prayer technique called contemplative or centering prayer. The Spiritual Formation leaders, such as Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning, have told their followers for years that we must get rid of distractions in our minds or else we cannot hear the voice of God.
In order to reach a state of silence or stillness (where the mind is basically put into neutral), a word or phrase is repeated (or the breath is focused on) and a meditative (altered) state can then be achieved. But while contemplative advocates insist that this is not the same thing as Eastern-style meditation because their intent is different (they repeat Jesus Jesus, not om om), the results are the same as practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) and demonic realms are experienced in this silence. One meditation writer explains:
The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics; it is no accident that both traditions use the same word for the highest reaches of their respective activities: contemplation [samadhi in yoga].2
That’s a little background of the Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) movement. Although the dangers of this mystical spirituality should be obvious to most Christians, it appears this is not the case, and children have not been exempt from the impact. Evangelical youth groups, children’s organizations, Sunday School curriculum, books, and so forth are introducing contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) to children.
For instance, in a book titled, Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation, Greg Carlson and John Crupper (executive leaders of the Awana’s children organization at the time the book was written) praise Richard Foster’s contemplative-promoting book Streams of Living Water. Carlson and Crupper also say that the contemplative “tradition” is an important contribution to Christians:
In his excellent overview, Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster outlines six different spiritual traditions that are present within the Christian faith. They are the contemplative tradition, the holiness tradition, the charismatic tradition, the social justice tradition, the evangelical tradition, and the incarnational tradition. Each of these has played an important part in the larger history of the Christian church. . . . Each of these traditions has made significant contributions to Christian spirituality and each has weaknesses when isolated from other traditions.3
When Carlson and Crupper say “weaknesses,” they mean they don’t have a problem with contemplative as long as it is used in conjunction with other spiritual practices or “traditions.” They say that each of these models can learn from the other.4 Clearly, this gives the green light on contemplative. Carlson and Crupper add:
[W]e would see many of the techniques [from the Contemplative-Model] of teaching as valuable tools for learning . . . the ideas of repetition and routine . . . are important; and we affirm them.5
Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation identifies some of these “techniques” and “tools” as lectio divina, centering prayer, labyrinths, the Jesus Prayer, and breath prayers, all of which are part of contemplative spirituality.
Incidentally, in one section of the book, it favorably references the Catholic mystic Thomas Merton, who once said that he “intend[ed] to become as good a Buddhist”6 as he could and that he “was impregnated with Sufism.”7 Merton never hid his admiration for Eastern-style meditation or his panentheistic beliefs (that God was in all humanity). For Awana leadership to co-author a book that speaks highly of Thomas Merton shows little discernment or understanding.
Even though Carlson and Crupper are no longer in executive leadership roles with Awana, the book is still on the market today. Plus, Awana is referred to several times in the book so someone reading it would believe that Awana itself has given an OK to contemplative.
While it is troubling to see this kind of pass on contemplative spirituality by Awana leadership, calling it a “significant contribution” that has “played an important part” in the church, I believe there are many local Awana leaders who are not compromising their teachings and are staying true to God’s Word. Perhaps they will be the ones to help Awana stay on the right path.
One Christian group that has pushed contemplative spirituality onto children is NavPress. In one issue of their PrayKids! publication, an article titled, “Contemplative Prayer” states:
Contemplative prayer is a form of meditative prayer that focuses on communing with God. Although sometimes confused with its Eastern (and non-Christian) counterpart, true Christian meditation has been practiced since Bible times.
This issue of PrayKids! helps kids learn to slow down their fast-paced lives long enough to experience a meaningful relational encounter with their Heavenly Father.8
In one feature article in Pray!, “Empowering Kids to Pray,” Brad Jersak is referenced in relation to kids and prayer. Jersak’s book, Stricken by God (endorsed by emergent church figure Brian McLaren) is a compilation of essays by various authors including Eastern-style meditation proponents Richard Rohr and Marcus Borg. Borg rejects basic foundational tenets of Christian doctrine (such as the virgin birth of Christ and the atonement),9 and Rohr is a panentheistic Catholic priest who embraces interspirituality and mysticism.
Considering that NavPress, the publishing arm of the Navigators, has a publication for children specifically to teach children contemplative prayer illustrates how integrated the New Spirituality has become within Christianity. Children in the church are being targeted. This is tragic—church is supposed to be one of the safest places for our children.
And it doesn’t get better as they get older. Unaware parents who are anticipating their children attending “good” Christian colleges when they are old enough may be very surprised and rudely awakened to find that Spiritual Formation has now entered almost every accredited Christian college, seminary, and university. My publisher, Lighthouse Trails, has been following this trend for over 12 years now and has discovered that some of the top accreditation associations for Christian schools are requiring Spiritual Formation programs to be implemented in schools now before they can be accredited!10 Students in Christian colleges are now being required to study the works of Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster and to take practicum courses in contemplative and centering prayer where they may be required to practice contemplative prayer for a passing grade.
Pray for discernment and guidance, and use the ideas on how to protect your children from spiritual deception that I have laid out in my book to make sure your child is equipped and “armored” to face what is now so prevalent in evangelical/Protestant Christianity.
1. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), p. 91.
2. Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism (London, UK: SPCK, 1979), p. 7.
3. Michael Anthony, Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), p. 82, quoting Carlson and Crupper.
4. Ibid., p. 83.
5. Ibid., p. 85.
6. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
7. Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 69.
8. “Contemplative Prayer” (PrayKids, NavPress, issue #25).
9. Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew (New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1998), p. 25.
10. “An Epidemic of Apostasy—Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate ‘Spiritual Formation’ to Become Accredited” (Lighthouse Trails Special Report, November 2011, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7733).
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
SYDNEY, Australia – A judge in southeastern Australia has been partially suspended after he declared that the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality will lead to a normalization of incest.
According to a report last week from The Sydney Morning Herald, Garry Neilson is a district court judge in Sydney, Australia. In a recent sexual assault case, Neilson suggested that an adult male may not have been in the wrong for having sexual relations with his younger teenage sister over 30 years ago.
The 58-year-old man, known for legal reasons as “MRM,” has admitted to raping his sister in the mid-1970s when she was 10 or 11 years old. He again abused her in 1981, but he claims those later actions were legal because he allegedly had her consent. Judge Neilson evidently agrees.
“A jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available,’ not having [a] sexual partner,” Neilson reasoned. Click here to continue reading.
From the Editors at Christian News Network
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two historic rulings today ruling against Obama’s abortion pill mandate, upholding the right of Christian business owners to refuse to provide contraception drugs that may cause abortion to employees in a 5-4 decision.
What will go down in history as two of the most important rulings that will affect Christian business owners and their businesses for many years to come was decided today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government cannot force owners of closely-owned corporations to provide contraceptive drugs to employees if they hold religious beliefs that oppose them.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the main dissent.
In the 5-4 decision, the majority of the justices ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to privately-owned businesses, such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties which argued against the mandate. Click here to continue reading.