Archive for the ‘Christian Organizations’ Category
Silence: Movie Promotes Contemplative Spirituality and Sanctions Apostasy But Gets Backing By Christian Groups
By Cedric Fisher
Silence is the latest movie by Martin Scorsese, who also produced The Last Temptation of Christ. I have read several reviews by professing Christians who are recommending it without reservations. Additionally, the Dove Foundation awarded the movie 4 out of 5 doves. Charisma News asks, “Is Martin Scorsese’s Silence Prophetic?” CBN also presented a rave review. Christianity Today titled its review, “Scorsese’s Silence Asks What It Really Costs to Follow Jesus.”
Another review in CT is titled, “Silence Review: Hollywood’s Gift To The Church That Might Just Save Your Faith.” And what is the message of Silence that might save your life? The message of the movie is antithetical to true faith.
The title of Lumindeo’s review of the movie is “Silence—A Christian’s Contemplative Guide.”1 In the “About” section of the Lumindeo website, it is described as “a network created by and for passionate followers of Jesus Christ.” If Lumindeo consists of passionate followers of Jesus Christ, why don’t they know that Christianity never grew in apostasy, but always in persecution and martyrdom?
Crosswalk likewise implies that it is a Christian-themed film with the statement, “Theologians, look no further: this movie is jam-packed with spiritual themes.”2 Spiritual themes, perhaps, but Christian themes? Not by any stretch. Crosswalk reveals a misunderstanding of true Christianity in the following statement. Click here for footnotes and to continue reading.
Since early 2016, Lighthouse Trails has been sending out short letters and topical booklets that we publish to dozens of Christian leaders in America. Thus far, we have received a few responses, usually short notes from the ministry office thanking us for sending the materials. This week, we received an e-mail from Chuck Swindoll’s ministry telling us to remove him from our list and to no longer send him materials. The e-mail stated:
Please remove Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries at PO Box 5000, Frisco, Texas 75034, from Lighthouse Trails Publishing’s mailing list.
As a not-for-profit ministry, we strive to use every penny wisely and imagine that you do too. Because of the time and effort required to process the huge amount of correspondence we receive, we respectfully request that you remove our organization from your mailing list. This may also help you save some printing and postage costs. Thank you for taking the time to update your records. We sincerely appreciate your prompt assistance with this matter.
While we do not want to be presumptuous in thinking that busy successful Christian leaders would even want to give Lighthouse Trails a moment of their time, we do find it disconcerting (though not really surprising) that Chuck Swindoll has refused our booklets. Swindoll is discussed in Lighthouse Trails articles partly because of a book he wrote titled So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There (see Ray Yungen’s article below). It’s a sad state of affairs when leaders have the time to read Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, Richard Foster, and Dallas Willard, and other contemplative authors but not enough time to read material that questions the contemplative prayer movement.
Nevertheless, at their request, we will remove Chuck Swindoll’s name from our leader’s list. But this does not remove him or other Christian leaders from being responsible for what they are doing and teaching or from having to answer one day to the one Who judges all things.
We told Chuck Swindoll’s office that we would let our readers know of its request.
So You Want to Be Like Christ
by Ray Yungen
Charles (Chuck) Swindoll has a popular radio program called Insight for Living. In a September 2005 radio broadcast, Swindoll favorably quoted Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster. But it wasn’t until I saw Swindoll’s 2005 book So You Want To Be Like Christ: Eight Essentials to Get You There that I realized Swindoll had been influenced by contemplative authors. In the book, Swindoll quotes Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen, as well as Eugene Peterson and Dallas Willard. He states that he “sensed a genuine need … for the cultivation of intimacy with the Almighty.”1 He says, “There is a deep longing among Christians and non-Christians”2 for intimacy with God and that intimacy with God should be our goal, and “discipline is the means to that end.”3 Chapter three of Swindoll’s book is called “Silence and Solitude.” In it, he tells readers there are “secrets … that will deepen our intimacy with God,”4 so we can see “what others miss.”5 As he attempts to explain what these secrets are, he refers to the Scripture so often quoted by contemplatives, Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He goes on to say:
As we continue our journey toward intimacy with the Almighty, Psalm 46:10 calls us to the discipline of silence…. What happens when you and I commit ourselves to periods of absolute, uninterrupted silence?6
Swindoll refers to an interview between Mother Teresa (a contemplative and interspiritualist) and former anchorman Dan Rather where she explains to Rather the concept of the silence. Swindoll then exhorts his readers to “discover its secrets for yourself.”7 Yet he avoids describing the actual method of contemplative prayer, saying, “You’re on your own with this one,” referring to it as “the mystery of godliness”8 (which actually is a reference in the Bible to the deity of Jesus Christ, not the silence, I Timothy 3:16). He brings the proverbial horse right to the water by favorably quoting [Richard] Foster, Nouwen, and [Dallas] Willard throughout the book.
Swindoll goes so far as to imply that without the silence we cannot really know God, [stating]:
Sustained periods of quietness are essential in order for that [becoming like Christ] to happen … I encourage you to experience this for yourself.9
He finally quotes from Henri Nouwen’s, The Way of the Heart and then reflects, “I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person [intimate with God] without stillness and silence.”10
This is really quite a misleading statement. It is not the silence that draws us closer to God and allows us to become a “deep person” as Swindoll and the contemplatives insist. Scripture clearly teaches that it is only through the blood atonement of Jesus Christ that we can gain access to Him. We cannot add or take away from that. When we are born again, we are as united to Him as we will ever be. Atonement by the blood is the only direct and truly genuine means of meeting with God. The Old Testament speaks of the “mercy seat” wherein the Lord says “there I will meet with you” (Exodus 25:22). How awesome! A Holy God meets with man, but only when there is blood to atone for man. Hebrews 10:19-22, a clear reference to the Old Testament passage says that Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, is the fulfillment. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn apart, signifying that now in Christ (the new covenant), the Holy Place, God’s presence is open to ALL who believe. We do not need to go into a meditative, self-induced state [as Nouwen suggests in his writings] to be in God’s presence.
Some may say that Swindoll is only referring to a quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of life when he speaks of silence. If that were the case, then why does he differentiate between silence and solitude? He refers to solitude as getting away from it all, an external quietness, and makes it clear that silence is an internal stillness like Henri Nouwen described in The Way of the Heart.
While at this point, Swindoll does not actually teach mantras or altered states, his promotion and extensive quoting of contemplatives gives every indication that he is moving toward the contemplative camp. Typically, those who begin following the teachings of the authors I have warned about, and begin promoting the silence, continue steadily on a downward spiral into outright mysticism and deception. It is vital to understand that Nouwen’s book The Way of the Heart is a virtual primer on the practice of contemplative prayer. For instance, in the 2005 radio broadcast, Swindoll read a portion of The Way of the Heart where Nouwen makes reference to the silence of the mind contrasting it with regular silence as in not speaking. (This has been an excerpt from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., pp. 190-192)
QUOTES FROM SWINDOLL’S BOOK:
“So you want to be like Christ? Me too. But that kind of godliness won’t just happen … Disciplining ourselves will require the same kind of focused thinking and living that our Master modeled.” Introduction
“Let’s commit ourselves to these eight spiritual disciplines.” Introduction
“Henri Nouwen … longed to get away from all those words … So how do we pull it off? How, in a world bent on distracting us from growing deeper? … How do you and I become more godly? … The word is discipline. The secret lies in our returning to the spiritual disciplines.” p. 9, 10.
“I have sensed a genuine need–in my own life–for the cultivation of intimacy with the Almighty…. God requires spiritual disciplines … essential in our pursuit of godliness. … I came across Dallas Willard’s excellent work The Spirit of the Disciplines.” p. 12
“Richard Foster’s meaningful work Celebration of Discipline …” p. 15
“Discipline. This is the means for having intimacy with God. … Discipline is control gained by enforced obedience. It is the deliberate cultivation of inner order. So how are intimacy and discipline connected? … Discipline is the means to that end.” p. 21
In September 2005, Lighthouse Trails was informed that Chuck Swindoll was favorably quoting Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster on his Insight For Living program. We contacted Insight for Living and spoke with Pastor Graham Lyons. We shared our concerns, then later sent A Time of Departing to him and also a copy to Chuck Swindoll.
In a letter dated 10/3/05 from Pastor Lyons, we were told, “With his schedule I doubt he will read it.” We are sorry that Chuck Swindoll has time to read Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster but no time to read A Time of Departing, especially in light of the fact that thousands of people will read Chuck Swindoll’s book, listen to his broadcasts, and now believe that the contemplative authors are acceptable and good.
1.Charles Swindoll, So You Want To Be Like Christ? (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, a div. of Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 12.
2. Ibid., p. 14.
3. Ibid., p. 21.
4. Ibid., p. 55.
6. Ibid., p. 61.
7. Ibid., p. 62.
9. Ibid., p. 63.
10. Ibid., p. 65.
Letter to the Editor from a Former Young Life Leader: “My biblical background was considered a liability instead of a blessing.”
LTRP Note: Please also refer to the two articles below this letter to the editor.
I read with great interest the history of how Lighthouse Trails came into being. As you unfolded the story, it was so evident of how the Holy Spirit had been working behind the scenes to put all of the pieces in place. Truly a confirmation of the importance of this ministry and how it has become a lighthouse to pilgrims/travelers who are striving to maintain their footing in such a turbulent sea of compromise.
I especially took notice of your experience with Young Life as my own was not too different. Having joined the staff after high school with the purpose of working with teens, I soon began to notice the compromises creeping in and no one else seemed to be concerned. It all came to a head when I took a stand and insisted I attend a retreat they had planned with the local [Catholic] Abbey before permitting my Campaigners to go. That, in itself, caused a major problem. After attending and taking my stand, it was apparent that my biblical background was considered a liability instead of a blessing. Over many days of discussion, I finally had to offer my resignation as I felt I could not agree with the ecumenical direction Young Life was taking by aligning itself with a Catholic fellowship.
That was many years ago, and it is sad to realize how so much compromising was happening then long before the flood of what is taking place today. Satan has been busy, and the standing for the truth has turned into a determent rather than a badge of honor.
Thank you for your persistence in seeking out the truth back then and following the Holy Spirit’s direction to establish Lighthouse Trails Publishing. It has provided such a needed and trusted resource to those of us who desire to stand upon the Word of God. Your ministry is shared with many others and prayed for daily.
In His Soon Coming Name.
LTRP Note: We find it sad when we think back to how many readers have told us that they still donate to World Vision. Not only is the news story below shocking, but World Vision has been going in the emergent direction for years as we have reported on different occasions. It seems that people want to give to big organizations (just like they want to attend big churches) because it makes them feel safer if they are associated with the masses. What deception! And by the way, if you think World Vision likes Israel, think again (and read some of the articles – see links below) we have posted over the years. If you want to support needy families and children around the world, find a legitimate organization, such as Understand the Times’ Bryce Homes program, that doesn’t despise Israel, doesn’t allow donations to be used for terrorist groups, and actually believes in the biblical Gospel.
By F. Brinley Bruton and Lawahez Jabari
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel has accused a manager working for U.S.-headquartered Christian charity World Vision of funneling millions of dollars to Islamist militant group Hamas.
was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into Gaza, World Vision said in a statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities on Thursday.
He had run the organization’s Gaza operations since 2010.
According to Israel’s Shin Bet security service, El Halabi diverted around $7.2 million of World Vision money to Hamas each year. That is the equivalent of 60 percent of the charity’s total annual funding for Gaza.
Some 40 percent of the funds aimed at civilian projects — some $1.5 million a year — were “given in cash” to Hamas combat units, according to a statement issued by the Shin Bet.
Some of the money raised to support injured children in the enclave had been diverted to Hamas families by “fraudulently listing their children as wounded,” according to the agency. Click here to continue reading.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Regarding the Together 2016 event that you recently reported on and which took place this weekend, I was planning on keeping a close eye on that event. What I found was this:
1. There is a website ‘reset2016.com‘ about the event, their site. It’s an ad that appears when you type ‘together 2016’ in the search box. The first page lists the speakers, the schedule, and all that. When you look there, click on event info, and then ‘week of events.’ I clicked on that, and they listed events for the week leading up to the 16th, and one event included the IF: Gathering. When you read their captions, you identify all the emergent and unity buzz words on the site.
2. On Berean Research, there was a post about Nick Hall and his ‘pulse’ organization being behind the scenes on this event. There was another post about the app for the event, and when a person searched for churches on it, they were lead to a list of options, including ‘gay affirming.’ Then, once the post was up, the app feature was quickly removed.
3. The pope was to make a video appearance at the event, which he did, and the only thing I saw from the news about it is that he was quoted as saying: “Find the one who can give you an answer to your restlessnes.”
The name of Jesus was not mentioned there, and He is the only one who can. But that quote can mean anything, from other religions to a gay buddy; it’s so vague.
4. By searching, I noticed there is also a ‘together 2016’ scheduled for Europe, and again the purpose is ‘unity’ among all the Christian churches, organizations, and movements in Europe, planned by none other than ‘Pope Francis.’ He gave a long speech about it and the transcript is there also. You can see it by typing in ‘Together for Europe, 2016.’
5. The event on Saturday in Washington, DC was cut short due to a ‘heat emergency,’ and many had to be treated for heat exposure. I have no idea, but it reminds me of those assemblies in the Old Testament where a portion of the congregation was wiped out. Yet of course these are all in apostasy, it may have been discipline, or simply a sign that it did not have the Lord’s blessing. In either case, that was interesting.
These events will increase as it is all leading up to the one-world religion. The ecumenism with apostasy and the promotion of ‘unity’ at these events, which now include ‘Pope Francis,’ and eventually the other religions will be included until their goal is met. I can just hear the feverish pitch at their golden-calf fest, all in the name of ‘unity’ and ‘revival.’ All they need is Bono with his coexist sign in the back, with all the symbols of these religions, and it’s complete. The site captions for this one include phrases like ‘all are welcome,’ ‘invite everyone,’ and ‘unifying’ phrases. One theme appeared to be unity in general, such as regarding race. It’s like the powers that be create the perfect storm and then usher in ‘the solution’ for everyone to accept; unifying the world regarding religion, countries, race, diversity (gays), and economically, etc. all under antichrist.
Those who won’t unite with their agenda will be called ‘bigots,’ ‘haters,’ and ‘extremists’ to be ‘dealt with.’ (I am against racism and economic polarity due to deregulation that causes the middle class to shrink, but this is about all sorts of things rolled into ‘one’ ball of wax.). We can be one in Jesus. Or, they can be one under the devil in white. Who it’s under makes all the difference.
I figure you know this stuff but we all have various insights on things. And I remember about a year ago they were rolling out all these ‘anti-terrorism’ laws and measures, like in Australia but other places too as it all becomes very totalitarian. New rules for Facebook against those who speak the truth, all in the name of ‘hate speech’ rules.
The world has become such a scary place in such a short time. I think back to around 25 years ago, and the difference is shocking, how peaceful things were compared to now. So many hold their breath in hopes that ‘this too, shall pass,’ but these things will only get worse.
On June 13, Lighthouse Trails reported on an event called Together 2016 that will take place this summer in Washington DC. We explained that organizer Nick Hall was bringing together evangelical, emerging, charismatic, and Catholic leaders for the ecumenical purpose of uniting together. A special video appearance by Pope Francis will be part of the event. A similar event (but without the Pope) has been announced. The Gathering: A National Solemn Assembly will take place in September in Dallas, Texas, and while there doesn’t appear to be any direct promotion of the Roman Catholic religion as there is with Together 2016, there is a definite united-we-stand-regardless-of-our-beliefs scenario in The Gathering.
The Gathering motto is “One Vision, One Voice, One Agenda.” The mission statement says:
DRESS REHEARSAL FOR A FALSE REVIVAL? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for “Together 2016” in Washington, DC
According to a news release from PRWire titled “Pope Francis To Address Americans At National Mall Event ’Together 2016’ With Special Video Message,” Pope Francis will be joining (via video) evangelical leaders such as Ravi Zacharias, Luis Palau, Michael W. Smith, and Josh McDowell, emerging-church leaders such as Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen (IF), and Mark Batterson (Circle Maker) and charismatic leaders such as Sammy Rodriguez and Hillsong for an event motivated by a goal to bring unity to all those who “love Jesus.” The event is called “Together 2016,” subtitled Fill the Mall.
Nick Hall, the organizer of the event who hopes to draw one million people to the National Mall on July 16th, stated: “Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us.”1 Hall told one news source, “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.”2
It’s been over fifteen years since contemplative pioneer Richard Foster shared his vision of Catholics and evangelicals coming together3 and over two decades since Chuck Colson helped author a document titled “Evangelicals/Catholics Together.”4 It’s been over a decade since Rick Warren announced his hopes to bring about a second reformation that would include people of different religions.5 In more recent days, evangelical leaders such as Beth Moore,6 Franklin Graham,7 and Kenneth Copeland8 have played their parts in helping to remove the barriers between the evangelical/Protestant church and the Roman Catholic Church (something the Catholic Church calls the New Evangelization program9).
According to the Bible, we know a time is coming when a global one-world religion will serve alongside a global one-world government, both of which will reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord. Whether they realize it or not, the leaders and musicians participating in Together 2016 are helping to make that global religion a reality as they participate in this ongoing relay race of breaking down the walls that divide different faiths in the name of unity at all costs.
Right now, in America, evangelical and charismatic leaders are calling for a nation-wide revival. But will their revival be a revival from God; or will it be a false revival? And is Together 2016 nothing more than a dress rehearsal for this false revival?