Archive for the ‘New Age movement’ Category

Yoga: How Did it Conquer the World and What’s Changed?

BBC News

LTRP Note: Posted for informational and research purposes. June 21st was the United Nations International Day of Yoga.

BBC News

Millions of people around the world have rolled out their yoga mats to celebrate a tradition that was once the preserve of Hindu holy men but is now a worldwide phenomenon.

Practitioners in more than 100 countries have planned events this week to celebrate the third International Yoga Day, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi convinced the UN to declare in 2015.

Since coming to power in 2014, the Hindu nationalist leader has led efforts to promote yoga, which he practises daily, as an important part of India’s history and culture.

“Many countries which do not know our language, tradition, or culture, are now connecting to India through yoga,” Mr Modi told a crowd of tens of thousands in the city of Lucknow, where he performed poses. Click here to continue reading.

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William Paul Young’s Christless “Shack”

LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails author Warren B. Smith wrote this article shortly before he had a heart attack a few weeks ago. The final editing of this article was obviously delayed. But with the growing interest in The Shack (book and movie), we are very grateful that Warren was able to finalize and submit this very important article to us a couple days ago. If you know people who are reading and being influenced by The Shack, please consider giving them some of the material Warren Smith has presented (see links below).

By Warren B. Smith

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)

The Holy Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the one and only Christ. He is the anointed one. He is the Messiah. He is the Savior. There is no other. This one and only Jesus Christ is referred to as Christ more than 500 times in the New Testament. In fact, the name Jesus Christ bookends the whole New Testament. The Bible’s Jesus is clearly identified as Christ in the first line of the first chapter of the Book of Matthew and in the last line of the last chapter of the Book of Revelation. But The Shack’s “Jesus” is never identified as Christ. In fact, the word “Christ” cannot be found anywhere in whole Shack story. William P. Young’s “Jesus” is not ever described—not even once—as the Jesus who has “a name which is above every name”—the full and complete name of Jesus Christ:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2: 9-11)

A “Jesus” Who is Not Christ

Excluding the name of Christ from The Shack is pretty much what you would expect from a self-professed universalist like William P. Young.1 If Young had clearly identified The Shack’s “Jesus” as Christ, his universal “Jesus” would have lost his universal appeal. And that is because the “Jesus” of other religions and New Age teachings is “another Jesus” who is not Jesus Christ. In one example alone, Young’s “Jesus” proves himself to be “another Jesus” when he teaches Shack readers the New Age lie that God is “in” all things. Using The Shack’s “Jesus” as his mouthpiece, Young falsely teaches—“God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.”2 But God is not in all things. This is pantheism. This is universalism. This is heresy. It totally contradicts the teachings of the true Jesus Christ.3 The apostle Paul warned the Corinthians—and all of us—to beware of men like William Paul Young who come preaching and teaching about “another Jesus” who is not Christ. Paul said we “might just go along with him—we “might well bear with him”:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

A Christ Who is Not Jesus
All of this is to say that when you don’t have a Jesus who is clearly identified as the Christ, you open the door to a “Christ” who is not Jesus. A perfect example of this type of anti-messiah “messiah” is the false Christ Maitreya. His alleged presence here on earth was announced in full page newspaper ads that ran in major cities across the world in 1982. All these many years later, he still claims to be the Christ and continues to wait for a troubled world to call him forth. As a prototype of Antichrist—one who comes in the name of Christ but actually opposes Christ—Maitreya steadfastly and defiantly declares that he is “the Christ.”4 One thing is for sure, whoever the prophesied Antichrist turns out to be, the true Jesus Christ warned that this false Christ would come in his own name—not in the name of Jesus Christ.

I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (John 5:43)

Thus, to separate the name and title of “the Christ” from the full name of Jesus Christ is an important spiritual ploy. It helps to prepare the way for an Antichrist who will come in his own name—not in the name of Jesus Christ. Wittingly, or unwittingly, this is exactly what William P. Young has done in The Shack. There is no Jesus Christ in The Shack. Just a “Jesus” who attempts to teach Shack readers the pantheistic, universalist false doctrine that God is “in” all things.

The Shack’s Christless Doctrine
According to William P. Young, The Shack was written to help his “mostly grown children” understand his theology—what he believes.5 He describes what he wrote for them in The Shack as “theology wrapped in story.”6 But what kind of “theology wrapped in story” never names the name of Jesus Christ? What kind of Jesus is he presenting to his kids and to his millions of readers? The answer is that he is presenting “another Jesus” who is a pantheistic, universal, Christless “Jesus.” While the apostle Peter was commended by the Lord Jesus Christ for recognizing and openly acknowledging Him as “the” Christ, William P. Young would not receive that same commendation. People may love The Shack, but The Shack’s “Jesus,” is not Jesus Christ.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)

Endnotes
1. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York: NY: Atria Books, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2017), p. 118.
2. William P. Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
3. Warren B. Smith, Be Still and Know That You Are Not God (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015). Exhaustive booklet that explains and exposes the heretical teaching that God is in all things.
4. Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2011), Chapter 4; Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2004), Chapter 14.
5. C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited (New York: NY: FaithWord, Hachette Book Group, 2012), p. ix. (from the Foreword written by Wm. Paul Young).
6. Ibid., p. xi.

Other Articles About The Shack by Warren B. Smith

http://www.warrenbsmith.com/theshack.htm

 

What Your Church Needs to Know Before Doing a Priscilla Shirer Study

The repetition [of a word or phrase] can in fact be soothing and very freeing, helping us, as Nouwen says, “to empty out our crowded interior life and create the quiet space where we can dwell with God.”—Jan Johnson, When the Soul Listens, p. 93

Years ago, I got a chance to meet Jan Johnson. . . . I was encouraged and redirected in so many ways. As a young woman trying to navigate the ins and outs of my relationship with the Lord, Ms. Jan spoke wisdom into my life that was extremely pivotal in my life—personally and in ministry.—Priscilla Shirer (emphasis added; http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/wisbits; quoted in 2010 and still up on Shirer’s website)

Priscilla Shirer

This week, our office received a call from a woman who was concerned that her church is going to be doing a study using material by Priscilla Shirer. Our caller wanted to get some information she can show her pastor as to why her church should not be doing a Priscilla Shirer study. Because Priscilla Shirer is a contemplative proponent, we concur with our caller’s concerns. In John Lanagan’s booklet,  Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer,Lanagan shows how both Moore and Shirer have been advocates of contemplative spirituality for quite some time. In that booklet, and this is what we want to focus on in this article, Lanagan discusses a woman named Jan Johnson. Because Priscilla Shirer embraces and has gleaned spiritually from Johnson, we need to take a closer look at what Johnson believes.

We first heard about Jan Johnson in Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing where Yungen explains:

Spiritual director Jan Johnson, in her book When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer, is a perfect example of an evangelical Christian who endorses and promotes this practice [contemplative prayer]. She leaves no doubt about what this type of prayer entails:

“Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is a prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God’s presence, and it makes you better able to hear God’s voice, correcting, guiding, and directing you.” [emphasis added]

Johnson’s explanation of the initial stages of contemplative prayer leaves no doubt that “stilling” your thoughts means only one thing; she explains:

“In the beginning, it is usual to feel nothing but a cloud of unknowing. . . . If you’re a person who has relied on yourself a great deal to know what’s going on, this unknowing will be unnerving. [emphasis added] (Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 82.)

When Johnson talks about stilling the mind in order to experience God’s presence and hear His voice, she is referring to something that is universal with mystics—putting the mind into a neutral, altered state where one is not aware of the distractions around him. This inner stillness cannot only be achieved through some type of meditative practice (see Johnson’s quote at top of this article), which in the case of “Christian” mystics is contemplative prayer. For those of you unfamiliar with contemplative jargon, the “cloud of unknowing” is taken from a small book of the same name, written by an anonymous monk several hundred years ago. The book is a primer on contemplative prayer and in it instructs:

Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . .  With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting. (The Cloud of Unknowing)

This is describing a mantra-style practice, no different than that used in eastern meditation. It is interesting that Jan Johnson says the effect of this type of prayer is “unnerving.” Webster’s Dictionary defines unnerving as “inspiring fear.” This reminds us of another contemplative teacher, Richard Foster, who suggested that people pray prayers of protection before practicing contemplative prayer in order to avoid an evil encounter. But where in Scripture is prayer to God described as inspiring fear or something that needs prayers of protection first? Nowhere. That’s not how God’s Word defines prayer.

Jan Johnson

In Jan Johnson’s book, Invitation to the Jesus Life: Experiments in Christlikeness, Johnson shows her resonance with a number of contemplative figures with quotes by and references to them.  One particular name that jumps out is New Age sympathizer Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Read a few quotes by Chardin and then ask yourself, why would a Christian author (Johnson) be drawn to someone with these views:

What I am proposing to do is to narrow that gap between pantheism and Christianity by bringing out what one might call the Christian soul of pantheism or the pantheist aspect of Christianity.—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, p. 56

Now I realize that, on the model of the incarnate God whom Christianity reveals to me, I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe. Thereby, too, my deepest ‘pantheist’ aspirations are satisfied.—Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, p. 128.

I believe that the Messiah whom we await, whom we all without any doubt await, is the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution.—Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, p. 95.

Johnson’s 2016 book Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina leads readers in lectio divina meditations. Lectio Divina is used today as a gateway practice into contemplative mystical prayer. In her book, Johnson provides a section titled  “Relax and Refocus (silencio)”  which is instruction to readers on how to get rid of mental distractions when trying to practice lectio divina:

Each exercise begins with brief guidance to slow down, quiet your inner self and let go of distracting thoughts. . . . focusing on God. A way to interrupt this [mental] traffic is to focus on being present in the moment by breathing in and out deeply— even overbreathing. It also helps to relax our body parts one by one: bending the neck, letting the arms go limp, relaxing the legs and ankles. Loosen each part from the inside out. This doesn’t mean you’re setting aside your mind— you’re redirecting your mind away from the busyness that often consumes you. Being present in the moment prepares you to wait on the still, small voice of God. If you are distracted, you may want to try the palms up, palms down method. Rest your hands in your lap, placing your hands palms down as a symbol of turning over any concerns you have. If a nagging thought arises, turn your hands palms up as a “symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord.” [Foster] If you become distracted at any time during meditation, repeat the exercise. (Meeting God in Scripture, Kindle version, Kindle location 102)

To back up her teaching on practicing contemplative meditation and finding that inner stillness of the mind, Johnson turns to several contemplative teachers in Meeting God in Scripture. Sadly, God and Scripture are not the only things readers are going to meet when they read this book by Johnson. They will also meet Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, and David Benner. Other books Johnson has written have the same caliber.  A few of those titles are:  Spiritual Disciplines Companion: Bible Studies and Practices to Transform Your Soul, Enjoying the Presence of God: Discovering Intimacy with God in the Daily Rhythms of Life, Abundant Simplicity: Discovering the Unhurried Rhythms of Grace, and Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice: Experiments in Spiritual Transformation (Willard and Johnson). She has written several others books which carry the same message: you’ve got to have the inner mental silence to really know God (something Beth Moore has said too—in the Be Still DVD).

We could give several more examples of Johnson’s embracing contemplative spirituality. You won’t find much that she has written that doesn’t include this element. In one article on her website titled “What Is Solitude & Why Do I Need It? or . . . Turn Up the Quiet,” she quotes panentheist Thomas Merton from his book New Seeds of Contemplation. Why does Jan Johnson keep referring to contemplative mystics in her writings? There can only be one answer to that question—because she resonates with them.

Conclusion

As noted at the beginning of this article, Priscilla Shirer “was encouraged and redirected in so many ways” when she met Jan Johnson. She added that Johnson “spoke wisdom into [Priscilla’s] life that was extremely pivotal in [her] life—personally and in ministry.” Shirer said these words in 2010 and has left them up on her website to this day. Obviously, she still feels this way about Johnson. In Shirer’s popular book 2006/2012 Discerning the Voice of God, she favorably quotes Jan Johnson twice from When the Soul Listens. Shirer also quotes contemplatives Joyce Huggett and Phil Yancey in Discerning the Voice of God. Shirer clearly has been influenced by Jan Johnson as she admits herself.

We’ll close with this: On Priscilla Shirer’s website, where she talks about meeting Jan Johnson, she also includes an article by Johnson who is quoting panentheist Catholic priest Richard Rohr (founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation) from his book Everything Belongs (meaning everything and everyone is part of God). Rohr’s spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Episcopalian panentheist Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ). Rohr wrote the foreword to a book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. For Rohr to write the foreword to such a book, he would have to agree with Coutinho’s views. On Rohr’s website, he has an article titled “Cosmic Christ.” One need not look too far into Rohr’s teachings and website to see he is indeed promoting the same Cosmic Christ as Matthew Fox – this is the “christ” whose being they say lives in every human—this, of course, would nullify the need for atonement by a savior. Lighthouse Trails has written numerous times about Rohr as he is aggressively pushing his panentheistic mystical spirituality into the evangelical church. If everything you have read in this article has not persuaded you to steer clear of Shirer’s studies, then this should do it, hands down. The fact that she keeps the post about Rohr on her website should alarm all Bible-believing Christians and illustrates the spiritual affinity Priscilla Shirer is drawn to.

Before your church does a Priscilla Shirer study, please keep in mind the things you have read in this article. Contemplative prayer has roots in panentheism  (God is in all) and interspirituality (all paths lead to God) as you can read in Ray Yungen’s article “The Final Outcome of Practicing Contemplative Prayer: Interspirituality.” Do you really want your church influenced in any way by a spirituality that is so against the Cross? Are we saying Priscilla Shirer is necessarily against the Cross? No, but for someone who wrote a book on how to discern the voice of God, she sure isn’t showing any discernment in the voices that she herself is listening to and being persuaded by.

The Blood of the Saints

By Ray Yungen 
One of the main tenets of New Age thought is peace, goodwill, and the unity of all humanity. Remember, the Age of Aquarius is to be the Age of Oneness. In context with this idea, the New Age term cleansing is quite disturbing. A number of books make reference to those who are laggards when the New Age reaches its maturity. New Age leaders consider these resisters as eventually the only hindrance in allowing this global oneness to occur:

Remnants of the Fifth Root Race [untransformed humanity] will continue to survive in the initial stages of the new Cosmic Cycle, but unless they increase their awareness or consciousness to the Higher Mind and the tempo of spirituality, they will be removed from the Life Stream of the Race.1 (emphasis added)

Unity-motivated souls will respond to His [the New Age Messiah’s] call, their inner drive for spiritual world unity will synchronize with higher energy. People opposing the recognition of the Christ may struggle intensely, but it will not be prolonged. The Christ energy by then will be so strong people will be dealt with according to their own individualized karma and their ability and desire to assimilate this accelerated energy.2 (emphasis added)

The final appearance of the Christ will be an evolutionary event. It will be the disappearance of egocentric [lower self], subhuman man and the ascension of God-centered Man. A new race, a new species, will inhabit the Earth–people who collectively have the stature of consciousness that Jesus had.3 (emphasis added)

Even Alice Bailey herself, who personified New Age consciousness, backs what these previous quotes imply:

The new era is coming; the new ideals, the new civilization, the new modes of life, of education, of religious presentation and of government are slowly precipitating and naught can stop them. They can, however, be delayed by the reactionary types of people, by the ultra-conservative and closed minds…. They are the ones who can and do hold back the hour of liberation. A spiritual fluidity, a willingness to let all preconceived ideas and ideals go, as well as all beloved tendencies, cultivated habits of thought and every determined effort to make the world conform to a pattern which seems to the individual the best because, to him, the most enticing–these must all be brought under the power of death.4 (emphasis added)

If one understands the rationale behind these statements, then it becomes clear what they are talking about. Those who will accept the Christ consciousness can stay–those who won’t–must go. The quote about people’s “ability and desire” to assimilate the “Christ energy” as the determining factor in their fate is very thought provoking.

Barbara Marx Hubbard, a major New Age proponent and a supporter of Marianne Williamson’s Department of Peace efforts in Washington, DC says there must be a “selection process” for those “who refuse to see themselves and others as a part of God [Hubbard’s New Age God].” She states:

He [God] describes, therefore, the necessity of a “selection process” that will select out resistant individuals who “choose” not to evolve.5 (emphasis added)

Human must become Divine. That is the law.6

According to New Ager David Spangler, Satan is the angel of man’s “inner evolution.” Christians know Lucifer to be Satan, the Adversary, and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 informs us that Satan is the one who will empower the Antichrist. Those defying the Antichrist will really be defying Satan–and they will suffer dearly for it.

Persecution and death is predicted in the Bible for those who won’t fall into line during the Antichrist’s rule. The parallel between what the Bible says about this period and the statements above are striking. The following prophecies reveal what is in store for those who will preach the real Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the true kingdom during this time. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

“They” are the many who are coming in His name claiming to be “christs.” Revelation says of this period:

And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

The following verse lends credence that this will be on an individual spiritual basis:

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (Luke 21:16)

This implies that a family member or a friend may be turned over to be dealt with for their own good. It will be seen as an altruistic act.

This view would most likely infuriate anyone involved with or attracted to New Age spirituality. After all, nowhere do you find New Agers saying they are going to kill anybody. It is left rather vague about how anyone will be removed. But the following channeled words by Neale Donald Walsch’s “God” explain the rationale for what most people would consider outrageous and impossible. Listen to his “God”:

So the first thing you have to understand–as I’ve already explained to you–is that Hitler didn’t hurt anyone. In a sense, he didn’t inflict suffering, he ended it.7

There is no “death.” Life goes on forever and ever. Life is. You simply change form…. After you change form, consequences cease to exist. There is just Knowing.8

The real issue is whether Hitler’s actions where [were] “wrong.” Yet I have said over and over again that there is no “right” or “wrong” in the universe. Now your thought that Hitler was a monster is based on the fact that he ordered the killing of millions of people, correct? What if I told you that what you call “death” is the greatest thing that could happen to anyone–what then?… Shall we therefore punish Bre’r Fox for throwing Bre’r Rabbit into the briar patch?9

This is a very revealing statement. Traditional morality has been virtually turned on its head here. In other words, according to the higher consciousness that Walsch is in tune with, killing people could actually be doing them a favor! But would Walsch think this is profound higher wisdom if he himself was shivering sick and starving in a cattle car bound for Auschwitz. Would he have a smile on his face if he were stripped naked and herded into a gas chamber to face a gruesome, agonizing death. I think not!

But incredibly, Walsch was one of the featured speakers in The Secret, which swept the Western world in popularity. In The Secret, Walsch is described as a “modern-day spiritual messenger”10 and his Conversations with God books including the one from which the previous quotes about Hitler were taken) are called “groundbreaking.”

Could there have been the same spiritual component to Hitler’s persecution of humanity in Europe? Most likely. Consider the following evidence. The swastika, the main symbol of Nazism, is an age-old Hindu symbol that is still found on many temples throughout India. The word is not even German, but Sanskrit-Svastika–meaning “that which is excellent.”11 A New Age book has described its meaning as representing “the final stage in which the chakra is active, developed, opened, and energized by awakened kundalini energy.”12 Thus, the very banner of Nazism stood for the energy that underlies the whole New Age movement. New Agers even acknowledge this. David Spangler makes reference in one of his books to “…the Nazi movement, which had many roots in occultism.”13 The swastika symbol was also prominently displayed on Madame Blavatsky’s personal brooch, in exactly the same style as the Nazi one (tilting at an angle to the right) decades before the Nazi Party was even formed. One can also see the parallel between Nazism and the Ancient Wisdom in the Hindu caste system, with its Brahmin (aryan) caste and its lower untouchable caste. The Nazis also took the term Aryan-literally, the worthy race–from Hinduism.14 The word has nothing to do with ancient Germany as many believe, but is a Hindu word meaning noble or superior.

Related Articles:

The Eerie Silence of a Silent Church  by Warren B. Smith

John Foxe (1517-1587) and His Book of Martyrs – An Introduction
Notes:
1. Donald Yott, Man and Metaphysics, (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 58.
2. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming, (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 152.
3. John White, “The Second Coming” (New Frontier Magazine, December 1987), p. 45.
4. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section II – The General World Picture.
5. Warren Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (Mountain Stream Press), p. 16, citing Barbara Marx Hubbard, Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1998), pp. 240, 267.
6. Ibid., p. 19, Smith citing Marx Hubbard from The Revelation (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 233.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Road Publishing Company, Inc., 1997), p. 56.
8. Ibid., p. 40.
9. Ibid., p. 36.
10. Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York, NY: Atria Books and Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, First Atria Books/Beyond Words hardcover edition, 2006), p. 197.
11. Geoffrey A. Barborka, Glossary of Sanskrit Terms (Buena Park, CA: Stockton Trade Press, Point Loma Publications, 1972), p. 64.
12. Zachary E Lansdowne, Ph. D., The Chakras and Esoteric Healing (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., First Indian edition: Delhi, 1993), p. 114.
13. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York, NY: Dell Publishing Company, 1984), p. 159.
14. Geoffrey A. Barborka, op. cit., p. 15.

NEW BOOKLET: 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith

NEW BOOKLET: 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith, click here.

10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith

By Berit Kjos

In a world where public schools, television, movies, popular music, the Internet, and more all offer tempting counterfeits of what God promises His people, there is only one safe place for our children: in the loving arms of the Shepherd. So train your children “in the way [they] should go” (Proverbs 22:6) so that when they are grown, they will not depart from the faith. The following ten points offer practical and scriptural advice on how to raise your children to know and love the Lord and to continue walking in the faith.

ONE: Be Alert & Always Keep on Praying

Pray! For as Jesus said, “[W]ithout me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5). The work to help our children keep their faith begins and ends with prayer. Pray for open and trusting communication with your child. Pray for discernment to detect teaching that contradicts God’s truth. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak up and what to say.

Pray for your child. Pray that he learns to discern error on his own and that he will be bold enough to speak truth with courage and to stand alone when all his friends follow after other gods. Pray that pleasing God will be more important than pleasing teachers and peers.

Pray together as a family. Put on the “whole armour of God” daily. Remember that “having your loins girt about with truth” means more than merely declaring it done. It means reading (or hearing) and following the Word, and knowing it well enough to discern error. Read and discuss Ephesians 6:13-17. Memorize the parts of the armor.

Pray that you might meet other Christian families who understand the times in which we live. Pray for faithful Christian friends for your child. Pray for other parents who will stand with you. When you see the need to get involved in your child’s schooling, pray for direction.

Trust God, not yourself. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

TWO: Know What Your Child Is Learning in School

Talk with your child. Listen for clues that help you spot good as well as questionable teaching. Be objective and model appreciation of schools and teachers.

Perhaps you have a child who gladly gives detailed accounts of all events from the time he left for school that morning. My boys preferred to answer all my questions with a brief “Good!” or “Okay.” But I discovered that a tasty snack after school could produce at least five minutes of sharing. When my son was fourteen, a sandwich at a local deli boosted our conversations immensely.

I also found that communication mysteriously wilted when my sons suspected that my motive was cross-examination rather than having fun together or if I kept so busy at home that I couldn’t stop and listen.

If you and your child have been too busy to really listen to each other, it is not too late to begin now. Don’t start by asking a lot of questions about school, especially if you have a teenager. She probably won’t be ready to share openly until she knows she can count on your empathetic response, non-judgmental attitude, and genuine interest in her. If she has found that her sharing produces anxiety, agitation, anger, and an impulsive trip to her teacher resulting in confrontation on any level, she will probably make a point to keep hidden from you most, if not all, questionable information. No child wants to be an accomplice to an emotional or embarrassing confrontation.

Volunteer to assist the teacher in the classroom. You will gain firsthand knowledge as well as easy access to the teacher’s listening ear.

Scan elementary textbooks, take-home papers, and fliers. Check to see if significant facts are deleted or distorted. Consider their effects on your child. Ask yourself the following questions about the above material:

Does it imply that Christianity is unimportant, old-fashioned, or a hindrance to progress? Does it ask your child to discuss his faith in front of the class—thus leaving him open to embarrassment and ridicule? With new proposals for bringing religion back in schools, look carefully at the kinds of religions which are being promoted and ways in which these religions will be taught. It could mean wide open doors to more counterfeits.

Does it present an imbalanced view of Christians? Are pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and other Christians denigrated, maligned, and ridiculed—or never described favorably?

Does it emphasize, promote, or give detailed descriptions of other religions, while ignoring Christianity?

Does it require your child’s participation in spiritual exercises?

Does it give instructions in Yoga, meditation, channeling, or guided imagery?

Does it include a blatant pro-homosexual slant?

Does it ask your child not to share information with his parents?

Discuss your findings with your child. Express your appreciation for the good things you see. Explain any area of concern. Teach discernment by pointing out contradictions to God’s truth.

THREE: Share God’s Values With Your Children

Ask God to show you how to communicate in natural age-appropriate ways. The simplest way is to discuss your own personal experiences from God’s perspective during your ordinary encounters—when you sit, walk (or drive), lie down, and get up.

You may want to use the following topics for meal or bedtime discussion or for special family evenings. Choose items appropriate to your children, adjusting the words to their age-level.

Explore the meaning of values:

What does it mean to value something?
What do you value? Least? Most?
What determines your values?
What costs are you willing to pay for what you value? Rejection, teasing, not seeing certain movies?

Discuss what God says about things He loves:

Honoring and obeying parents: Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1
Respecting authority: Romans 13:1
Following God—our highest authority: Acts 5:29; John 10:4
Love: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Forgiving and caring for others: Luke 6:27-36

Discuss what God says about things He hates.

Lying: Proverbs 12:22
Stealing: Matthew 19:18
Cheating: 1 Corinthians 6:8-9
Greed: Luke 12:15
Rudeness and swearing: Ephesians 5:3-5
Proverbs 6:16 has a list of what God hates.

Talk about what would happen if everyone followed this guideline: Do whatever feels right.

I have never asked my children’s opinion about the truth of this value claim [that torture is wrong] and do not intend to do so, just as I never asked them their opinion about the law of gravity. . . . Rather, I teach them the truth of this value and expect them both to believe it and to base their action on it.1—Richard A. Baer, Jr.

FOUR: Train Your Child To Be “Ambassadors” For God

Tell your own experience of standing up for what you believe. Let your children feel your inner battle to choose God’s way. Assure them that you understand their struggles—and that God’s favor is worth far more than peer approval. No matter how we feel, we who belong to Him are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Take time to read together stories about courageous Christians. Nobody outgrows the richness of family reading.

Practice sharing your convictions with each other (1 Peter 3:15-17).

FIVE: Teach Your child to Know God’s Instructions & Warnings

As a family, read Deuteronomy 6-8. Study a portion each day. Write and discuss what He tells you to do and what He promises to do for you. Agree to help each other to follow His guidelines and receive His promises.

Show your child that while charity and respect should be shown to all human beings, the New Age/New Spirituality quest for a global community is based on the evolutionary presumption that man—not God—controls and can save the world.

Show how commitment to truth has its roots in and stems from biblical values. While loving the world’s people, we cannot trust rulers who oppose God and reject His values. One of the most misunderstood and misquoted Scriptures in the Bible is Luke 6:37: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” God is not telling us to close our eyes to evil and tolerate beliefs and behavior that deny Him. Rather He reminds us to have “righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Hinduism teaches New Agers to tune out unpleasant realities. But no amount of creative visualization or individual, group, or collective meditation will even begin to create a perfect world. The fact is that mankind, apart from God, still suffers from a deadly urge to conquer and control.

SIX: Encourage Your Child To Choose the Good

Develop a mindset that seeks the best, not just the “OK.” In the case of toys, you may have identified and rejected the worst toys. But the rest are not necessarily good either. Discuss these questions to help your child learn to choose only the best. When discussing toys and games, phrase the questions according to your child’s age level.

Does it present a true picture of life? In a time when even adults base their lives on counterfeit dreams and false illusions, our children need to learn to tell what is flight of fancy and what is real.

How long would the interest last? Fad toys are fun for the moment, but they whet the appetite for every “in” thing, so that decision-making centers on the question, “What will make me feel happy right now?” Determine not to buy that lie. Unfortunately, many quality toy companies have been bought up or squeezed out by giants who can pay the high price for television promotion. The range of major toy lines is narrowing to those that look glamorous on the screen.

Will this toy be used for playing alone or with others? A child needs a healthy balance of solitary and social play. Good toys will help him interact both with his imaginary world and with the real world, harmonizing the two. That may require some interaction with you. Perhaps you could agree together to find toys that will help you, the parent, participate in your young child’s imaginary world.

Does it build godly character? Many toys, hobbies, and games do.

SEVEN: Train Your Child to Follow God, Not Peers

We want our children to feel good about themselves, be liked by their peers, and not miss out on the fun. But as we realize what their friends choose, we wonder how our children will respond to the peer pressure. How can we prepare them to make wise choices?

Counter peer pressure. Children naturally compare us to the parents of peers, challenging us to match their “generosity.” That hurts, since we want them to feel our love for them. We see what they don’t realize: that always getting what they want will not make them feel secure in our love. It’s more likely to increase their craving and stir discontent. Also, it teaches them to equate love with material things. If your child is old enough, explain this process to him.

Look to the Bible for guidelines and authority. God understands our desires to follow the crowd; He feels our struggle to be “in” the world but not “of it” (John 17:16-18). According to age readiness, review Romans 12:1-2 together and then discuss 3 John 11 and Jude 18-20.

Self-denial seems out of place in a nation consumed with self-indulgence and self-fulfillment. But God commanded it, and Jesus demonstrated it. Dare we refuse to acknowledge it? According to the age of your child, discuss Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:24 and then allow the Holy Spirit to direct your application.

Don’t get me wrong. Far more than earthly parents, God wants His children to be happy and have a good time. But He doesn’t want cream puffs to satisfy our hunger and turn us away from the meat of truth. Self-discipline produces the kind of maturity that brings genuine happiness forever, not merely a pleasant moment today.

Our Heavenly Father, who models parenting better than any of us, doesn’t major on the superficial. He knows better than to give us all the things we want. For just as most children will choose pop over milk, and chips over carrots, so do we, as adults, often choose that which cannot satisfy. God does not want vain deceits, as He calls them (Colossians 2:8), to mold our appetites, satisfy our hunger, and replace the very best.

It’s hard to teach restraint to children who are begging for gratification. Wanting to please rather than overreact, we flinch at the thought of having to continually censor our children’s wants, preferences, and desires. Parental authority simply doesn’t fit the fast-spreading new views of social equality taught through the media and the schools. Yet, we must obey God. He has told us to raise our children to choose His way, and we must rise to the occasion, fight the good fight, and not shrink back.

After hearing God’s warning and praying for His wisdom, nine-year-old Alan Brannan decided to throw away all his Pokémon cards. “My friend did the same,” said his mother. “Her twelve-year-old son had been having nightmares. But after a discussion with his parents about the game and its symbols, he was convicted to burn his cards and return his Game Boy game. That night, he slept well for the first time in a month.”

“It seemed to us that these cards had some sort of power,” continued DiAnna Brannan. “Another nine-year-boy had stolen money from his mother’s purse ($7.00) to buy more cards.” When questioned, he confessed and said he had heard the devil urging him to do it. The family quickly gathered in prayer, then saw God’s answer. Both the boy and his little sister burned their cards, warned their friends, and discovered the joy and freedom that only comes from following their Shepherd.

EIGHT: Training Children to Love Good and Resist Evil

Don’t play games with the occult! Ouija Boards have always invited oppression, but they are far more likely to invoke unwanted “spirits” today. So it is with the new generation of occult games and DVDs as well.

I became aware of this change back in the nineties when a Canadian psychologist called me. He had read my book Under the Spell of Mother Earth and wanted to share some observations with me. In past years, he said, many women would come to scenic Alberta to do a Native American “Spirit Quest” in search of their personal “animal spirit.” Few succeeded. But times have changed, and the “spirits” that now answer the summons are numerous as well as oppressive. Treating the scary symptoms as “multiple personality disorders” is no help at all.

Popular occultism is spreading fast, and the “spirit world” has become increasingly more accessible. But few families are equipped to resist it. Contemporary churches offer little or no help. Most simply ignore the danger or endorse the “fun.” To avoid offense, the word evil is dropped from their vocabulary.

The primary victims of this blindness end up being our children. Unless we teach them to recognize and resist these dangers, many will come to embrace the darkness.

Those who love and follow God will be repelled by occult myths. And those who love today’s popular occultism will run from God’s unchanging truths and wise and loving boundaries. For if we are filled with His Spirit and follow His way, we will—by His life in us—“abhor that which is evil: and cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).

The world cringes when it hears these truths because its fiction and fantasies are too enticing. That’s why people find all kinds of arguments to justify their misdirected love.

To prepare your child for daily battles against tempting spiritual counterfeits, consider these three other scriptural portions of vital truths:

The Armor of God—These six truths expose and counter today’s most popular deceptions. Even more important, they show us the way to an intimate relationship with God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)

The Lord’s Prayer—These truths parallel the ones in the armor of God and serve the same purposes. (Matthew 6:9-13)

The Beatitudes—Jesus’ message, recorded in Matthew 5, show us a standard for holiness that is far higher than we can achieve, but it comes with the promise that—by His life in us—He will make us all He intends us to be. It ends with the reminder that those who follow Jesus will also share in His suffering. Therefore, our children need to be prepared for persecution. Uncompromising faith and God’s unchanging truths have become intolerable in today’s postmodern age. (Matthew 5:1-12)

NINE:  Prepare Your Child for a Lifetime of Reading with Discernment

Are children being taught to read discerningly, or do they accept whatever is in print simply because it is in print?

Pray as a family for discernment and wisdom. Don’t let fear of offensive literature keep your family from finding and feasting on wonderful books.

Commit yourself to a deeper knowing of the Word of God. Continue a daily Bible study program together. If children know truth, they will more easily spot the lies.

Enjoy books together that demonstrate God’s values. Read-aloud times build in most children a deep love for reading, while they also enable you to direct your children’s taste for enriching books. “While the average first-grade student reads from a primer with only 350 words, his listening vocabulary approaches 10,000 words, according to the Council for Basic Education.”2
When you read aloud to your children, they learn to associate wholesome books with good times.

A crossless version of Christianity fits the New Age lie that all can be one—with or without Jesus. It denies man’s need for redemption and, in effect, makes man his own savior. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Examine gift books for children. Some of Audrey and Don Wood’s attractive books are filled with enticing New Age magic. Other picture books, like The Witches Handbook by Malcolm Bird, treat witchcraft as a game for all to enjoy.

Check contemporary children’s poetry. While some poems are superb, others are grotesque and macabre.

Check fantasy game books. They make you the hero—but what beliefs do you follow? What mental pictures will your imagination create? As you make decisions appropriate to the story, will occult forces become part of your thinking? Some titles will tip you off—like Seas of Blood and Castle Death—but many others sound deceptively innocuous.

Be alert to what your child’s peers read. Discuss their influence on your child with him. During the winter of 1989, our son’s eighth-grade peers read Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, master of occult horror.

New kinds of joke books are captivating today’s readers. The object of the humor may be sex, marriage, parents, or God. Some of the illustrations may be pornographic. While we are in dire need of healthy humor, we don’t need to laugh at corruption and delight in immorality. God wants us to love, accept, and forgive each other. But He also tells us to discipline and control our own human nature. Discuss these Scriptures with your child: Leviticus 11:44, 20:26; and Matthew 5:6, 8. Review Romans 12:1-2, 9, and Romans 13:14.

TEN : Leading Your Child to Receive Jesus as Savior and Lord

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:5-7)

How do we lead our children into a lasting and true relationship with Jesus Christ?

Pray that God will prepare their hearts. Spiritual rebirth is God’s work, not ours (John 6:44). We merely cooperate with God’s process, for we are co-laborers with God.

Lay a foundation. Include Jesus in your conversations. Let your children hear you talk to Him. Pray with them. Talk about how He helps you each day. Make comments like, “Jesus understands. He is sad when you are sad. Let’s ask Jesus what He wants us to do.”

Wait for God’s timing. While you watch for signs of openness, be ready for an opportune moment. Perhaps it will come at a time of special need for comfort and strength or when a child shows you by his questions that he genuinely wants to know and follow God.

Explain the basic saving truths. Lead your child through the following steps, and then ask if he wants to pray to receive Jesus. If he says no, tell him he can pray that prayer anytime on his own with the same wonderful results. If your child wants to pray alone, suggest that he come and tell you afterward. Don’t forget the date. Keep it as a most special birthday. Here are some key points to share with your child:

God loves you. He wants you to be part of His special family. He wants you to live with Him in His wonderful heavenly kingdom. “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

By yourself, you can’t come to God. God is holy and perfect and can’t let any sin into His kingdom. Sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Think about the different kinds of sin like selfishness, envy, lying, wanting your own way. Can you be completely free from them? No, you can’t, despite how hard you try.

Jesus made a way for you. He said, “I am the way. . . . no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He died on the Cross, taking the punishment for your sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

You must invite Jesus to come and live in you. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). With His perfect life inside, you may live and walk with God forever. Tell your child that his prayer must include confession (understanding and admitting he or she is a sinner), repentance (turn from the direction one is heading, and follow Jesus), faith (trust that Jesus Christ died and rose again to give man eternal life in Him), and the invitation.

Pray something like this: “Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I have sinned against You. I don’t deserve to be Your child. But I believe You died for me to pay for my sins, and you have forgiven me. Please come into my heart. I want you to be Lord and Savior of my life. Thank you.”

To order copies of 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Richard A. Baer, Jr., “Teaching Values in the Schools: Clarification or Indoctrination?” (American Education, January 1982, https://confluence.cornell.edu/download/attachments/11542/Teaching_Values_in_the_Schools.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1338225531000), p. 18.
2. Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook (New York, NY: Penguin, 1987 edition), p. 40.

The Booklet you have read above is an extract from Berit Kjos’ cutting-edge book, How to Protect Your Child from the New Age & Spiritual Deception. Packed with information and documentation identifying the specific and often subtle elements in today’s society that are impacting our children’s faith and filled with practical and scriptural advice on how we can help our children love and honor the Lord and His Word all the days of their lives.

To order copies of 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith, click here.

World in Crisis: ‘Community Beyond Belief’ Follows Church Model Without Religion

LTRP Note: One of our readers sent us this article today. We have posted it for informational and research purposes only and not as an endorsement.

By Katherine Burgess
The Wichita Eagle

People at Wichita Oasis start showing up at around 10 on Sunday morning, drinking coffee and chatting before the music begins.

Once children are safely in the large playroom – complete with a chalk wall, a tent and plenty of toys – the adults and youths find their seats, ready for music and announcements.

But when the music starts, the songs aren’t about Jesus. And when the speaker begins, he or she doesn’t read a Bible verse.

Although Oasis follows a Sunday morning structure similar to many Christian churches, it calls itself a “community beyond belief,” focused on atheists, humanists and agnostics.

“When you move, it’s so nice to just be able to go to a church of your denomination, make friends there, network there,” said Alexandra Simmons, president of Wichita Oasis and a humanist. “I love being able to provide that for people. Just to have a nonreligious place to get together.” Click here to continue reading.

TBN Pulls Plug on “Shack” Author’s New Book—Sort of . . .

By Warren B. Smith

Now you see Shack author Wm. Paul Young’s new book Lies We Believe About God promoted on TBN, now you don’t. For seven straight episodes of Trinity Broadcasting Network’s weekly series Restoring the Shack, Wm. Paul Young’s new book was prominently featured and even offered as a fundraiser for TBN. Each week’s episode was then posted on the Internet—promos and all. But starting with episode 8, everything changed. Young’s new book was no longer featured and promoted. It also disappeared from episodes 2-7 that had been previously posted on the Internet. TBN editors had actually gone into the previously posted original programs and edited out all their prior offers for Lies We Believe About God. Into the spots where Lies had been offered, a promotional offer for The Shack has been inserted into its place—who would ever know? Only the first episode of Restoring the Shack has retained the original promos for Lies, perhaps as a minor concession to the author or as a way to keep their editing process from being a complete and total whitewash.

Why the disappearing act? From all appearances, it looks like an emergency edit for the purpose of damage control. You would have to ask the publicity department at TBN, but one can only speculate that the network had not done themselves any favors by endorsing and promoting Young’s extremely controversial new book. In Lies, Young had announced, among other things, that he was a proponent of “universal salvation,”1 that the statement “You need to get saved” is a “lie,”2 and that Christ is “in” “every single human being.”3 TBN was probably getting a mountain of questions on all fronts as to why they were promoting this book—a book that in so many ways is at complete odds with biblical Christianity. In light of Young’s new book, one major ministry wrote TBN stating that having Young’s program on TBN was “inexcusable” and “downright blasphemous.”

In a week that saw the graphic artist who helped design the cover of The Shack renounce the book and renounce his involvement with the project,4 TBN made their move. Young’s book Lies has—at least for now—faded into the background and disappeared from TBN. And while some might commend TBN for eliminating their promotion of Young’s new book, the question that still begs to be asked is—”Why did TBN ever promote Lies We Believe About God in the first place?

Endnotes
1. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2017), p. 118.
2. Ibid., p. 115.
3. Ibid., p. 119.
4. Dave Aldrich, graphic artist for The Shack book cover,  said this on his Facebook page on April 4th 2017 . Also see “Artist “Deeply Regrets” Designing “Shack” Cover, Says A Loving God Must “Judge”


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