Archive for the ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’ Category

Letter to the Editor: I Was A Cultural “Christian” But Was Not Born Again

To Lighthouse Trails:

. . . having a form of godliness but denying the power there of.

I was a cultural Christian, and I was baptized in the Baptist church that I was raised in. I was not born again. Sadly, it was departing from the faith; however, God used my evil for good. I was convinced that I was a Christian until I was convicted of my sin by the Holy Spirit. No one was present in my living room except the two of us. I was driven to my knees in repentance and pleading for a Savior.

I could have just as easily kept attending and kept up the appearance of acting like a Christian. I fear for the millions in this boat who are represented in Matthew 7: 21-23.

This explains why so many self-identified Christians, even evangelicals, believe so many false doctrines.

This explains why so many churches embrace humanism in sheep’s clothing. They would rather do good deeds to be seen of men than witness and make disciples.

This explains the currently trending missional wave.

This explains the eagerness to embrace the contemplative movement. They do have the Holy Spirit so they embrace the counterfeit spirit instead.

T. Miller

LTRP Note: If you are reading this account above and believe you too may only be a cultural Christian and not a born-again Christian, we would be happy to send you a free booklet on salvation. Please e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com. Your name and address will remain confidential.

Related Article:

What Does It Mean to Repent and Be Saved? by Harry Ironside

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up – A Woman Whose Friend Pulled Her From the Fire

LTRP Note: The following story was submitted by a Lighthouse Trails reader and was written by her friend who just passed away. We are posting it as an exhortation to those who feel discouraged in trying to talk to friends, family, and church members about spiritual deception. We must pray to the Lord for courage and never think it’s better to remain silent when someone we know is heading in the wrong direction spiritually. Had it not been for an “outspoken” friend, Mary might not be with the Lord today.

By Mary

I was born and raised Roman Catholic. My parents were not especially religious but they raised us (nine children) on Christian principles such as being kind and considerate of others and to follow the Ten Commandments.

I attended mass regularly on Sundays and Holy Days according to church rules. But I always knew something was missing.

I remember at Christmas time, looking at our living room stable scene and thinking that there was more to it than what I knew and that something in my teaching was lacking.

I knew I really did not know God and perhaps it was my own fault for not trying hard enough. So when the Lenten season came, I thought I would do all that the Church asked of me. So I decided to fast but not for candy or easy things, but for things that would really mean true self denial. So I gave up smoking which was a great sacrifice to me and also to get up extra early and attend Mass every morning before work as well as receive communion daily and go to confession every week. I also read spiritual material and studied every word and took them to heart.

Then after about three weeks, I was reading the Beatitudes and could go no further and I said to God, “You ask too much.” And I gave up and went back to ordinary living.

At age 37 years, I met a born-again Christian girl who lived in the same apartment house as my niece. We became casual friends. She talked a lot about the Lord and that was fine with me.

One evening after dinner at my apartment as we were doing dishes, she bluntly asked me “What do you do for your sin?”

I quickly replied. “I go to confession and receive Holy Communion, and that cleanses me of all sin.”

She answered, “No it doesn’t.”

Well! I was very annoyed that she could be so rude and attack my religion when I was so polite about her beliefs. She added that “being good” had nothing to do with going to heaven.

I answered that my mother who was such an exceptionally good woman all her life was certainly in heaven.

She replied, “Only if she had received Jesus Christ into her heart; being good and doing good would not have gotten her there.”

Needless to say, I ended the conversation.

Then one night, June 15, 1969 to be exact, I just could not sleep, which was very unusual. I found this book on my night table which my Christian friend had given me months before called Good News For Modern Man. It had a colorful cover and pictures inside. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a New Testament. She had told me to read “Romans.” (She later told me that she was very surprised at that because she had never told anyone to read Romans and had no recollection of telling me to read it).

Nonetheless, I read it –all 16 chapters of it. To say the least, I was blown away. I remember saying over and over, “She’s right, she’s right, she’s right.” (I had no idea I was reading the Bible.)

I quickly got on my knees and asked the Lord Jesus into my heart. It was an incredible union. (The night before I had listened to a tape by Gert Behanna who’d had a terrible life and finally got on her knees and received the Lord. That was how I knew what to do.) Incredible! Incredible! Incredible!

The following night I remember asking the Lord, “What do I do with your Mother Mary? I won’t pray to her anymore until you tell me to.”

I never heard from Him regarding Mary.

To date, there are 22 members in my family who have come to know the Lord. Amen and amen!

P.S. When my mother was going into the hospital, she asked to borrow these monthly pamphlets I had subscribed to all about the Lord Jesus taken, of course, from the New Testament. When she returned them, she said, “I believe,” her exact words. At the time, I was not saved, but the Lord brought this memory back to me to encourage my heart.

I believe in my heart I will see her in glory.

Used with permission.

Letter to the Editor: Dallas Theological Seminary’s Women’s Conference Speaker, Christine Caine, Raises Concerns for Reader

LTRP Note: After reading this letter to the editor, please read the section below the photo for an excerpt of Cedric Fisher’s booklet on the IF:Gathering.

Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:

Thank you for the article regarding Dallas Theological Seminary’s movement toward contemplative prayer and the New Spirituality. It was painful to read as I have relied upon their faithfulness to the Word since 1974 when I first sat under the teaching of a DTS graduate. All the teachers I listen to and know have graduated from DTS. There are many graduates here in _____, Texas and true verse-by-verse teaching has had an influence upon so many who love the truth. I have been able to discern a change even in the teachers I sit under as I hear who they quote in their teachings.

Having just read your article in the newsletter, I received this notice [see photo below] for the upcoming women’s conference. It is not surprising that it would be the women who would lack the discernment to recognize the belief system of Christine Caine [see excerpt below], but it is apparent the worldly mindset has saturated many levels of authority at DTS. I have no knowledge of the other speakers [see list below]; however, it really doesn’t matter when the keynote speaker is Caine. It is with great sadness that I have to come to the conclusion that we are truly in the time that Paul warned Timothy would come—when one of the last stalwarts of truth has fallen for the same lie that captivated the imagination of Eve—wow. “Come out of her, My people”

Thank you for your love and commitment to the truth. I do pray for you. . . .

Ann (not real name)

I. A list of the other women speakers at the DTS women’s conference (list provided by our reader – listing these is not to insinuate they are in the same camp as Caine):

Stephanie Carter
Kymberli Cook
Jada Edwards
Sandra Glahn
Bev Godby
Taryn Mays
Christen Nutter
Joy Pedrow
Terrie Pittman
Nika Spaulding

II. Below is an excerpt from Cedric Fisher’s booklet: IF It Is of God: Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering. If:Gathering is a group of mostly emergent-leaning women, whose influence is growing rapidly among evangelical young women.

Christine Caine
Christine Caine claims Joyce Meyer as her “spiritual mother” and lists Word of Faith preacher Sheryl Brady as a dear friend calling her “flat out the best chick preacher of the word.”1 Caine has “preached” in seeker/emergent Steven Furtick’s mega church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The following is transcribed from Caine’s opening statement in Furtick’s church:

This place is a little bit like God, take this in context, in that like you are omnipresent. You are here. You are across the room. You are down the street. You are all over the worldwide web. It is like wherever you look, here we are and it is my honor and privilege to be here, I couldn’t wait.2

Caine also declared that her heart was “knitted” to Furtick. One whose heart is surrendered to God could not possibly be knitted to an individual such as Furtick. Journalist and researcher Jim Fletcher says this about Furtick:

Steven Furtick . . . mentored as he is by evangelical bigwigs like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, felt bold enough to post a YouTube video in which he sneeringly challenged what I’d call traditional Christians to basically get out of the way, because their time is past. Presumably, to Furtick, it’s the “new generation’s” time now, so step aside with your stodgy hymns and expositional preaching style. . . . Masked a bit by a pious nod toward humanitarian causes, the leadership of this group is quite nasty, albeit in subtle ways.3

Further, according to the itinerary on Christine Caine’s website, she will be speaking at NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) leader Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California in August 2015 in the Bethel Women’s Conference. Why does this matter? It shows a pattern of being willing to associate with people and “minister” in churches that are teaching and promoting false and dangerous teachings.4

To read the entire IF booklet and for endnotes, click here.

Endnotes for Excerpt:

1. http://christinecaine.com/content/164-days-that-revolutionized-my-faith-life/gjentl?permcode=gjentl.
2. Christine Caine, Elevation Church, Code Orange Revival 2012, http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/codeorangerevival (some of her sermon can be watched at: http://www.god.tv/code-orange-revival/night-4-anything-is-possible-with-god).
3. Jim Fletcher, “‘Hip’ church gives biblical Christians new label: ‘Hater’” (WorldNetDaily, http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/12/hip-church-gives-biblical-christians-new-label-hater/#JEfipOHtSOZJfZeD.99).
4. Read John Lanagan’s article/booklet titled The New Age Implications of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson where it discusses Johnson’s propensity toward “quantum spirituality” (the belief that God is in everyone).

A Story of Death to Life: From Catholicism to Christianity

By Barbara

I was born into a devout Catholic family and culture, knowing only one non-Catholic family until I entered high school. As a baby of just a few weeks old, I was baptized by sprinkling with water. My parents, who simply knew no better just as I did not for so many years, believed that this baptism meant that I was “ born-again.” I went to a Catholic school where I counted an old Franciscan priest as a dear friend. So devout was I that I consistently went to novenas, nine-day prayer vigils to honor Mary. On Saturdays, it was customary to go to weekly confession (now called the sacrament of penance) where I would confess my sins, whether venial (minor) or mortal (punishable by hell), to the priest so he could grant me absolution(cleansing). Normally, he would then have me say penance that my repentance would be deemed valid – possibly say two Our Fathers or 5 Hail Marys or say a rosary. Every Sunday would find me at Mass; every day of the 40 days of Lent period would also find me at Mass even if I had to get up at 5 o’clock to make my first college class. I wore a Miraculous Medal in reverence to Mary and a scapular so that Mary would rescue me from purgatory when I died.

A Catholicism confessional booth

A Catholic confessional booth (bigstockphoto.com)

Yet in spite of all my attempts at holiness, there was a lack of peace within me and an emptiness I could not fill though I tried to appease it with food and alcohol to a certain degree. My prayers to fill my emptiness and to give me peace were often accompanied with sobs as I cried out to a God who seemed always just beyond my grasp, behind a wall (a veil) I could not penetrate. Then one day, in His mercy, the Lord Jesus had a friend invite me to an evangelical prayer breakfast. For the very first time in 35 years, I heard the gospel of salvation, the gospel of eternal life. When the speaker asked those present who wanted to receive Jesus into their hearts to stand, my friend was amazed at how quickly I got up. I sobbed as peace flooded my heart and filled up the emptiness that had been in me all my life. Now, now I was truly born-again:

[Born anew] to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:4-5)

For over two years, I daily read this book called The Bible— devoured would be a more apt expression—and then the Lord led me to take a course on Catholic doctrine from a Catholic institution. Now, I could view Catholic doctrine through the lens of truth. (As the years went on, I read additional Catholic-produced books including the official Catholic Catechism, approximately 800 pages long). How amazed I was to discover what my former church believed! As an example, as a former devout believer in Mary, I had been told according to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that Mary herself was born sinless. That would mean she didn’t need a Savior. Yet she herself proclaimed in the Bible that she did

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1: 46-47)

And there were so many more conflicts. Had I really been led to believe all those years as a Catholic so many things at odds with Scripture? My only excuse? I just didn’t know. And I don’t think my dear Franciscan priest did either. Like myself and all my relatives he simply believed what he had been taught.

No one comes to the Father but by Jesus. All these years Catholics have been told it was through the Catholic Church, by Mary’s intercession, by going to Mass, and by receiving communion that they come to the Father. I trusted what I was taught and was told that the Catholic way was the way to eternal life. Yet, John 14:6 says there is only one way to eternal life. His Name is Jesus.

I rejoice in the fact that before they died, both my parents came to know the truth of eternal life. In fact, it was the very uncertainty of the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on eternal life and the absolute certainty of 1 John 5: 13 on the topic of eternal life (see below) that opened my mother’s eyes.

In reading this and sharing it with others, know that the information in it truly is a story of death to life—mine, yours, and others.

The Bible says, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” With all my heart, I want to see those who are Catholic set free. Catholics need to know the truth of real salvation, and we Christians need to know the truth about Catholicism that we may witness to them meaningfully so that they may know the true love of Jesus and have eternal life.

In 1980, New York Cardinal O’Connor said:

(Catholic) Church teaching is that I don’t know, at any given moment, what my eternal future will be. I can hope, pray, do my very best—but I still don’t know. Pope John II doesn’t know absolutely that he will go to heaven, nor does Mother Teresa of Calcutta. (New York Times, February 1, 1980, B4)

In 1992, Cardinal Ratzinger, formerly Pope Benedict XVI, headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is the watchdog of Catholic orthodoxy, otherwise known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. In that position, he headed the commission that wrote the official Catechism of the Catholic Church. This Catechism was approved by Pope John Paul 11. In that Catechism, that same uncertainty of salvation and eternal life is stated. (Death of a Pope: Dave Hunt of The Berean Call; http://mmoutreachinc.com/cult_groups/pope.html)

Yet those of us who are born-again know with absolute certainty what eternity holds for us:

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that ye [already] have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:11-13)

Related Information:

My Journey Out of Catholicism

A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church

 

Letter to the Editor: Challenges in Trying To Warn Seniors in My SBC Church – Some Doing Yoga

bigstockphoto

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

In reading your latest offering, I am agreeing with every word. I’ve received Lighthouse Trails e-newsletters for years now, but have to speak out today. I’m a senior and love working with seniors. I recently moved to ___________ and soon joined a conservative Southern Baptist church. After a few months here, I offered to help with the seniors group. God led me to start a little newsletter after only 3 months. (I have been aware of aberrant teaching in the “church” for many years now and have all the books Lighthouse Trails offers.) I felt that the time had come to begin offering some teaching since I had found out that at least 2 of the seniors were engaging in Yoga on a regular basis. I tried putting an article on Hinduism in the last newsletter, and it was rejected by the director, on no uncertain terms.

I will pray and seek God’s guidance as to how to use the information I have, but thank you so much for what you wrote in the article, “Sound the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy—the Enemy is in the Camp.” It only confirms what I’ve learned all along and how much danger we are in even in a church that’s totally dedicated to preaching about Jesus and His Word.

God bless you as you continue serving the Lord in truth.

Mary

Letter to the Editor: The Sheepdog Guarding the Sheep

Sheepdog guarding the sheep

bigstockphoto

Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:

I found that the function of the sheepdog is analogous to the call of Christians to exercise discernment.  Those of you who might work on farms are quite familiar with the functions of the sheepdog in guarding the sheep, I presume.  When these animals see danger, they bark to alert the shepherds and the sheep about the wolves coming their way.

In a similar way, I believe that Lighthouse Trails is called to check out what’s going on and alert the rest of us to the dangers of end times apostasy.  Also, I believe that local churches should have individuals that will test everything and sound an alarm to the pastors when necessary, especially when false teaching comes in.  Keep up the good work.

God bless.

Ron D.

Related Information:

Three Vital Questions to Navigating Discernment

A Rose By Any Other Name OR A Deception By Any Other Name – It’s All the Same

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

This is from a circulating email from Prairie [formerly Prairie Bible Institute or PBI in Three Hills Alberta].

It sounds so good, but I suspect it is dangerous.

S. ____

Email Our Reader Received from Prairie:

What’s NEW for our upcoming year
New Student Orientation begins tomorrow! This time of year campus is filled with a joyful buzz. As we begin the 2017/2018 school year, we have a lot to be thankful for and want to share what is new at Prairie.

LAUNCHING NEW CHRISTIAN FORMATION PROGRAM
Centered on keeping company with Jesus and being reshaped by his Spirit, students in the Christian Formation program will become more deeply rooted in the Scriptures and the process of discipleship. We will celebrate the launch of this program on September 15, 2017.

Online: http://prairie.edu/Bible-College/Christian-Formation

Comments by Lighthouse Trails:

Lighthouse Trails has researched and reported on Prairie Bible Institute a number of times over the past several years (e.g. our article: “COLLEGE ALERT: Letters to Lighthouse Trails Prove Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta) Has Gone Emergent”) And even though school leadership has, at times, insisted they were not contemplative or emergent, every time we have observed them, we have come to the same conclusion – that’s exactly what they are.

“Christian Formation” is just another term for Spiritual Formation or Spirituality. It is rooted in contemplative spirituality. In Prairie’s description for the Christian Formation program, it says students will: “Engage with Christians of the past that have thought deeply about Christian growth and formation” (emphasis added). Which Christians of the past? (Or the present?)

We can gain some insight into who PBI is turning to for spiritual guidance by looking at PBI’s current textbook list for 2017. These may or may not be books being used in PBI’s Christian Formation program, but they are books being used in the school. One thing we’ve learned over the years, when  a school is immersed in contemplative spirituality, it isn’t just in the Spiritual Formation program; rather, it is integrated throughout the school.

We would consider all of these authors as part of the emergent church and/or outside the scope of biblical Christianity.

This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry

The Transforming Friendship by James Houston and Dallas Willard

Lifesigns : Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective by Henri Nouwen

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard

The Secret : What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard

The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (references about a dozen times a tantric sex author)

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Taking Your Soul to Work (foreword by Eugene Peterson)

Being Well When We are Ill: Wholeness And Hope In Spite Of Infirmity (Living Well) by Marva Dawn

The Core Realities of Youth Ministry by Mike Yaconelli

Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Go by Mark Oestreicher (Marko – former Youth Specialties president)

If you are not familiar with these names, you can do a search on our research site and find information.

 

 


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