Purchased With His Blood—A Priceless Sacrifice

A few months ago, we began a series of articles (see links below) where we explored what is valuable in life from God’s perspective. And we used the illustration of weighing things on a scale because scales were used in the Old Testament as a means of assessing the value or quantity of a commodity. We still use scales today, for example, at the grocery store to assess the value of any produce sold in bulk. In bread bakeries, flour is often weighed as opposed to measured, due to the fact that flour will get compacted to varying degrees. Batches of dough can come out differently each time when flour is measured by volume, and whoever is making the dough must keep adding water or flour to get the right texture—all of which takes extra time and concentrated effort. Once flour is weighed, the batches come out perfect every time with no extra time spent adjusting for texture.

In a previous article, we referred to this verse, “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight. (Proverbs 11:1), and alluded to the fact that God, who penned these words through Solomon, was more concerned about other things than the scales used at market places. And just as a false weight will throw a scale off and make it forever inaccurate, false doctrines will consistently give false readings and false values without the user even knowing it.

The Gospel is the standardized weight of the Bible by which doctrines and teachings can be measured. This is a very important truth in assessing whether a doctrine, teaching, or practice is biblical or not. It is what John meant when he wrote:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.           1 John 4:1-2

 In other words, the Gospel is what everything must be measured by to find their true value.

We also discussed how a value was placed on Jesus when Judas betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver:

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forebear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Zechariah 11:12-13

Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver on the temple floor when the realized that he had “betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4) then went and hung himself. Judas, who had long been dipping into the disciple’s treasury, had now come face to face with the innocent lamb without blemish whose worth cannot be measured. How can we place a value on the Son of God who created all things and died to redeem all mankind—to those who believe on Him? Jesus Christ is the standard by which all things are measured, not the other way around. Yet in America today we too have placed a price on Jesus, and we will only go so far in our commitment to Him; and in so doing we have not only placed a price on God but on ourselves also.

When Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, He purchased us with His own precious blood, a priceless one-time sacrifice. You may remember when Jesus was visiting Lazarus in Bethany and Mary anointed His feet with the costly anointment of spikenard (John 12:3), Judas was offended at the tremendous waste. Remember, too, this was the same Mary who had offended Martha by not being busy in serving. But Jesus said something to Martha that we could all take to heart:

 Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke10:41-42

Like David, Mary had a heart after God, and this pleased Jesus very much.

One thing we should realize is that when Jesus purchased us with His blood, a priceless sacrifice, it put a new value on us. We who have received Christ as Savior are not our own anymore because we now belong to Him. Think of it this way: things are worth what people are willing to pay for them—usually rare commodities being worth more. Gold for example is something that people will spend their lives trying to acquire, but in Heaven, it will be used to pave the streets. Diamonds comprise the other commodity that is so highly prized in the world, but in reality, they consist of nothing more than carbon that has undergone a transformation through heat and pressure.

When Jesus purchased us with His blood, He placed an immeasurable value on us, but at the same time we are not our own anymore as we belong to the purchaser. This has a lot to say about the way we should be living our lives. As we have shown already, Mary’s life was forever changed, but are our lives really changed? Now that we belong to Christ, we should live our lives each day as unto the Lord.

As the days grow darker, spiritually speaking, in this world, we pray that believers in Christ will become all the more acutely aware of the need to surrender their lives to the Lord as fully as they can on a daily basis. Life truly is a vapor passing to the sun’s rising. As believers, we can take great comfort in knowing Jesus as our Savior; let us be determined to make the remaining days of our lives count for Him. Too much time is being wasted by the average North American Christian, and in reality, we don’t have that much time. There is something to be said for living each day as if it were our last.

When we consider the things happening today in the world, it grieves us, but we can understand the fact that our world is corrupt and perishing. But then when we see what is happening in the church, it becomes most difficult to comprehend and accept.

We believe our final hour is fast approaching, while so many Christians are so worldly minded, they are basically shaking hands with the Devil. Over the past few years especially, our ministry has been heavily tested as to the purity of our devotion to the Lord. We have watched other ministries whom we have known and respected give in to compromise—a little bit at a time.

It is even more disconcerting to watch ministries known for the gift of discernment giving into compromise. Some of these ministries are now making their decisions based on what will bring in the most money. Given the status of our economy, making ministry decisions based on finances can be a very real temptation. But our question is, what happens to a ministry’s discernment when its decisions are based on financial profit? Our ministry would have never even started if we had been unwilling to offend people. We have been compelled these past nearly ten years, of the Lord we believe, to publish materials and print articles that might offend and consequently lose some of our readership. Again, we ask, what happens to a ministry’s discernment when its decisions are based on not offending anyone? Our own conclusion is that discernment ceases to exist where compromise is the “God” that rules. We decided that we would rather have our ministry remain small or even die through lack of finances than to die the surer death of compromise. And quite frankly, we have stood in awe watching our ministry survive this many years when we would put out publications that left us wondering if this one could end in a lawsuit that might be our final deathblow.

Take a look sometime at some of the major Christian publishers and distributors and notice how many of the books should not be there. You will find books promoting yoga and contemplative prayer, books written by mystics, books by emerging leaders, books by New Agers, but these are all popular books because the trend in the church today is toward apostasy, and that is what sells.

So, back to our original question in this article—What is your cost? It is Jesus who purchased us with His blood—a priceless commodity. We really have no other place to go when Jesus asks us, “Will ye also go away?” Our reply can only be, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68).

Related Articles:

How Much Does the Gospel Weigh?

The Cost for Being Careless About the Gospel

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Canadian Trevor Baker Sings About Apostasy in the Church and the Last Days

Saskatchewan singer, Trevor Baker, and his wife, Jennifer, have been traveling around North America for over eight years now warning believers  (and non-believers too) about apostasy in the church and the time the Bible calls the Last Days. Lighthouse Trails learned about Trevor from Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, and we’ve been listening to his music ever since. We believe his music is a blessing from the Lord that will uplift, exhort, and strengthen. Below are the lyrics to one of his songs, It’s All in Place from the CD with the same name and also 30 second clips of the songs in that CD. Lighthouse Trails is selling three of Trevor’s CDs and his Let’s Go Home DVD (you can also watch this DVD at our store site). By special arrangement with Trevor, if you are unable to purchase the CDs at the full price, you may have one for free or for a donation. Just mail us your name and mailing address, tell us which CD of his you want (of the three we carry), and please send $2.95 (U.S.A.) for shipping with any donation you might be sending. To order the CDs or DVD online, click here.
 

Listen to 30 second song clips from the CD, It’s All In Place (see lyrics to title song below).

It’s All In Place
© Trevor Baker 2010

If we didn’t see it coming we do now
It was quiet for some time
But now it’s loud
Like a train you faintly heard
So far away
The picture’s getting clearer
Everyday

The house of God
Where steeples used to ring
Has morphed into
A strange peculiar thing
The Lord said all these things
Would come to pass
But who knew it would happen
Quite this fast

Friends we knew
Who were so strong before
Now stand in line
At each new open door
Not questioning the outcome
Or the source
They can’t be deterred from heading
Down this course

The feelings this drums up
Can’t be described
Some days all you want to do is hide
I’ve been through my Bible
With a fine toothed comb
And all the signs are sayin’
Soon we’re goin’ home

Chorus

We’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
We’re going home
It’s time to grab your coat
The chances of the days extending
Are remote

They say that where there’s smoke
There’s always fire
You can tell the end
By what has happened prior
The Bible’s clear
On how things will unfold
And all these things
Have clearly been foretold

If the days were not cut short
None would be saved
And there’s little said
About the free and brave
The proud have all been given
Ample choice
Only the broken and the humble
Hear His voice

Chorus

And they’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
They’re going home
The ark’s about to float
Fulfilling every word
That Jesus spoke

Bridge

It’s countless all the names
That will be scratched
All because they lived
With strings attached

Chorus

But we’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
We’re going home
It’s time to grab your coat
The chances of the days extending
Are remote

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Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC instructs followers on contemplative prayer

By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries

In Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit: 5 Practical Phrases, International House of Prayer leader Mike Bickle gives instructions on how to experience contemplative prayer–which he calls “communing prayer.” Like all Christian contemplatives, Bickle works hard at presenting this as biblically acceptable. He states there is “…a lot of counterfeit mysticism…” Before teaching his Christianese mantra method, he again emphasizes he is not talking about Eastern or Oprah religion.

According to Bickle, “I use sentences, better yet phrases. Eventually on these five phrases I’m gonna give you in a minute, I reduce those to one word…” (42:13 of video, give or take)

There is much throughout this entire video to cause concern. (click_HERE_for_video)

I am sorry to say contemplative prayer seems foundational to IHOP, which means much deception has occurred, and will continue to occur. As covered elsewhere, Mike Bickle wants Fire Within,  a book promoting the teachings of Catholic contemplatives Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, to be the “manual for IHOP-KC.” (click_HERE_for_article)

Mike Bickle “claims that God is restoring contemplative prayer to the church. He goes on to claim that contemplative prayer is a God-ordained means of entering into the fullness of God, and that the brightest lights in church history have been Roman Catholic mystics who lived during the dark ages. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

Mike Bickle “Want[s]” Contemplative Mysticism Book to be “the manual for IHOP–KC.”

Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church Come to Kansas Through YouthFront and MNU

MIKE BICKLE AND MIKE HUCKABEE TEAM UP FOR “THECALL” REVIVAL CONFERENCE

CrossTalk on WorldNetDaily Article – Challenge to Dominionist Leaders – The Gospel Should Come First!

Latter Rain: The Spawning of Apostasy

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Girl Scouts of USA Says It Will Accept ‘Transgender Youth’ on a ‘Case-by-Case Basis’

(CNSNews.com) – Girl Scouts of the USA told CNSNews.com in a written statement on Friday that it will accept “transgender youth” on a “case-by-case basis.”

The organization sent CNSNews.com the statement after CNSNews.com asked if the national Girl Scouts had a position on a case in which a Girl Scout troop in Colorado initially prevented a 7-year-old boy from joining and then the state Girl Scouts organization said that it would accept boys who were “living life as a girl.”

The brief Girl Scouts of the USA statement made no mention of the Colorado case.

“Girl Scouts of the USA is an inclusive organization, and we welcome all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members,” it said. “Acceptance of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child in question as a top priority.” Click here to continue reading.

More on Girl Scouts of the USA:

Girl Scouts hiding secret sex agenda?

Girl Scouts Continue Plunge into New Age Spirituality

Girl Scouts to troops: ‘We’re not radical!’

The New Age Comes to the Girl Scouts

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Letter to the Editor: Woman reading occultic books led down dangerous path – asks men to help women

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I am currently reading Berit Kjos book on A Twist of Faith. How uncanny it can be to realize that I was going down a steep path of deception using the very books I thought were novels and enlightening written by witches. I had books or had read books mentioned in Kjos’s novel on how women are being thrust into conferences cajoling them into “another Jesus.” The induction of soft witchcraft, the use of talismans, charms, incense, candles, and the like are bizarre now that I think about it. I had to burn [some] books because I began to experience supernatural visions, and smells.

I don’t like to think about that time. I am so careful now about what I meditate on –  the books and philosophies – and I always go to the word of God for confirmation. I am careful also about people because, even though diversity seems to be a unifying builder of economy and faith, there has to be a testing of the spirits to ensure that the spiritual fabric of the society is not compromised. This is so very important. Without the spiritual foundation, we are doomed to fall. I am still rebuilding my own life after discovery of feminist books based on sensual discovery. His will, not my will. Slowly, but surely, the lesbian agenda has permeated all areas of business, education, sports etc. If you dare talk about this subject, it becomes an EEO subject. Where are our Christian leaders? Many women have shaven their heads and sprayed them gold or orange to signify this rebellion. God help us! Women I mean . . .  Guys, stop playing so many video games and get off the porn –  the women need your help!!! 

A Lighthouse Trails reader

Related Article:

Rise Up, O Men of God! Your Women Are Fighting the Battle

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Lighthouse Trails Editor:”My Journey Out of Catholicism (and why the Catholic Church is not reformable)”

By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails

Over the years, I have encountered many Christians who wonder, “What’s wrong with being Catholic? After all, they believe in the Cross; they believe Jesus is the Son of God. It can’t be all that bad.” If you are a Christian who has wondered about these things, this special testimonial report is for you.

I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, so I am writing of things I know about and lived with for over thirty years. From my earliest childhood, I had a hunger and a thirst for God. I largely attribute this to my mother who instilled in me the love and reverence for God that she had. Born and raised in Poland, she grew up Catholic, but when she was about thirteen years old, while kneeling in a chapel alone, she invited Jesus Christ into her heart to be Lord of her life. Just prior to this, she had lost both her parents to mushroom poisoning. Jesus filled a void in her life that carried her through many difficult years. Years later, she shared with me that this must have been her born-again experience, though in the Catholic church she had not heard of such terminology; altar calls and making decisions to receive Christ were totally alien to her experience.

The fact is that there has never been a place in the Catholic church for evangelistic crusades and personal decisions because every child raised Catholic is brought up with the belief that he is automatically “Christian” because he was baptized as an infant. In years past, many Anabaptists were burned at the stake because they recognized the fallacy and false assurance associated with infant baptism.

I guess I could accurately say that my mother had a personal relationship with the Lord, not because of Catholicism but in spite of it. As in her case, few Catholics even realize or understand what Catholicism really teaches and how the actual doctrines and teachings are polar opposites to biblical Christianity. Yes, the Catholic Church does teach morals, as do most religions, but when it comes to salvation, the actual teachings hinder and prevent the lost from finding The Way.

As a little boy, I had a very firm belief in God, and I knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the Cross for my sins. I grew up as a religious boy, but my consciousness of sin and my sense of guilt never escaped me. As I grew to adolescence and then adulthood, the realization of my own sinfulness haunted me all the more. I can still remember one snowy night in winter in Portland, Oregon when I was nineteen; although it was nearly midnight, I decided to go for a walk. The moonlit snow enabled me to see my way clearly, and looking up at the stars that night somehow made me feel in touch with God. I still remember saying out loud to God at that moment, “God, I believe if I were to die tonight, I would go to Hell; and if that is going to change, you’re going to have to do something.” This was one of those rare moments where I was completely honest with God and addressed Him in a manner other than the rote, memorized prayer I was taught in the Catholic church.

I suppose if one thing can be said for Catholicism, it can help foster a sense of guilt in a practicing Catholic. My church life consisted of confessing my sins to a priest on a weekly basis, then receiving “absolution” only to come back the following week riddled with sin and guilt again. I think few Catholics and even fewer Protestants actually know or understand the Catholic way of “salvation”; yet it is still printed in the Baltimore Catechism that we are saved by our participation in the sacraments. Central to Catholicism, in fact its very focal point, is the sacrament of the Eucharist where it is believed that bread and wine are literally transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. The implications of this belief, although unbiblical, may seem innocent enough until one realizes that this practice is without question the very heart and core of the Catholic “gospel.” In other words, your participation of this sacrament is what saves you. The point is that your salvation depends on something you do. It gives you a temporary and false sense of assurance until you sin again. In fact, according to Catholic teaching, one can never be assured of one’s own salvation. To have such assurance is to be guilty of the sin of pride. And looking back on it now, such a conclusion makes perfect sense because if our salvation were based on our performance (i.e., participation in the sacraments), we would have something to boast about. So logically from that point of view, if we don’t acknowledge or recognize our salvation, at least in theory we can be humble about it. But Paul saw the error in all this fallacious thinking when he penned the words:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

For the Catholic, the concept of salvation by grace through faith alone is nearly impossible to receive because rooted in the heart of man (and virtually all religions) is the idea that we must earn our way to heaven. Now that Catholics are beginning to read their Bibles, they will sometimes quote other Bible passages, especially from James, to prove that we are, after all, still saved by works. Little do they realize that James was trying to explain what biblical faith really is. It is not an intellectual ascent but a full trust and commitment to our Savior that expresses itself in the way we live. If James were trying to say that our good works justify us, he would not have used the story of Abraham, Isaac, and the altar to make his point. Surely, Abraham was a man of unusual faith, but he did not pretend that he could find salvation through his own goodness, nor was his attempt to sacrifice Isaac on the altar an expression of goodness but rather of his faith in God alone.

In my case, growing up as a Catholic, I had virtually no knowledge of the Scriptures because we were never encouraged to read the Bible on our own lest we should come up with our own interpretations. And here is the crux of the matter: Christians often make the mistake of thinking that because Catholics believe in Jesus and the Cross, everything is O.K. But the reality is that as a Catholic, I knew that Jesus had atoned for my sins on the Cross but that redemption was not freely available to me. In some way, I had to earn my right to the Cross. This belief of mine was rooted to the very core of my being from participating in thousands of Masses where Jesus is re-crucified for my sins again and again. This deep heart-felt belief of mine that fostered my ongoing guilt was unfortunately not misconstrued but one hundred percent Catholic and totally in line with Catholic teaching. Salvation was, therefore, something attainable but always uncertain and out of reach. It is no wonder that the highly acclaimed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who spent her life ministering sacrificially to the poor and sick in India, spent her final hours in serious doubts of her own salvation.

And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God . . . For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:11,12,14

I was now twenty years old and had completed my second year of college. I had feared the draft because I heard they were now drafting college students into the military, but now that I was twenty, I felt secure that I need not fear the lottery any longer. But then, I received my draft notice. I saw this as God’s judgment on me, but little did I know at the time that God was answering what I had said to Him on that starry night a few months earlier.

My time in the Army brought a drastic change to my life. It was the first time I was away from home. It also was my first experience in getting to know other people on a deeper level as I lived and worked with them. For the first time in my life, I met Christians who shared with me the Gospel. One of them even gave me a New Testament, which I did read as I had made the decision that I would use my time in the military to seek for and hopefully find God.

In contrast, having been sent to Germany, I witnessed the selfish and destructive lifestyle of most of the soldiers. In my unit, the majority of them got high on drugs at every opportunity. And drunkenness and prostitution was widespread too. But, I was known as the straight guy. In fact, I was so disgusted by what I saw happening around me that I determined not to have one taste of alcohol while I was there. Some of the soldiers mocked me, though I tried to be amiable and live at peace with them. I still remember one soldier blowing marijuana smoke in my face because I would not get high with them.

But all the while, I knew that my heart was unclean, and I saw in these soldiers a reflection of the dirt in my own life and knew that I was headed toward moral destruction. This made me all the more anxious to find the victory and peace I was witnessing in the lives of the Christians. It was at this very low point of my life that I realized again, like on that night beneath the stars, that without God’s intervention, my life would go to ruins. Up until now, I thought I had the power to change myself, but I now realized I was continuing on a spiritual decline. I picked up a Gospel tract that one of my sergeants had given me and found that salvation is within easy reach of anyone who will acknowledge his own sinfulness and inability to save himself. The hard part was getting to the place of recognizing my need of a Savior. And the Catholic gospel of justification by grace through works had hindered me from finding Christ for years.

I should caution you that if you were to approach the average practicing Catholic with this article, they would either tell you that I was mistaught Catholic doctrine as a youth or things have changed since Vatican II. However, the truth is literally staring us in the face when we realize that the Catholic priest performs an unbiblical ritual in the Eucharist, and Catholic doctrine still says that our participation in this is what saves us. In fact, if you were to take the Eucharist out of the Catholic Mass, you would no longer have the Mass. And if you took the Mass out of Catholicism, you would no longer have the Catholic church, and no priest can deny this.

Some may say, well perhaps the Catholic church is right about the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Maybe the communion wafer and the wine literally do become the body and blood of Jesus—under false appearances of course. But if this were true, then Jesus would necessarily have been lying to his disciples when He told them He had been using a figure of speech, using the earthly term “flesh” to express spiritual truth:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (Italics mine)

But let’s just suppose for a moment that Jesus had answered his disciples in another way when they began to murmur, “this is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Let’s just suppose Jesus answered their confusion by saying, “Oh yes, I really meant it literally. Eating my flesh is profitable and will give you spiritual life.” Given this scenario, would the Catholic church be right in the celebration of the Mass, where Christ is re-crucified daily on an altar? The answer is no because we would still be speaking of another gospel than the one each of the apostles preached. And this is the one key point I want to get across in this article: Our justification is by grace through faith alone, not by our participation in a ritual. Being born of the Spirit is what gives us life – eternal life. By the way, Nicodemus was also troubled when Jesus said to him, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). He could not understand how anyone could come out of his mother’s womb twice. Jesus was always speaking of spiritual things, using earthly terms and parables to express His meaning, but man, being carnal, always misunderstood His meaning, and so it is today.

My time in the service ended shortly after I read that tract and received the Lord in full trust to be my Savior. In fact, I found the Lord about two months before I left the service. God had wrought a miracle in my life in just two years, and I came out of the Army a new man—thanks to God, of course. God also opened my understanding of the Scriptures, but I did not know where to find fellowship. Then, I found out about Catholic charismatic meetings in my area. It seems that a goodly number of Catholics had found the Lord at the tail end of the Jesus movement and these meetings provided a place for fellowship. I still remember a discussion we had as to whether or not we should leave the Catholic church. The consensus was we should stay so as to be a light to those who are still lost. For this reason, I remained in the Catholic church for a number of years. Finally, as my life was more and more transformed by the Word of God, I realized that staying was not accomplishing my hope of being a light to Catholics, and the best witness I could provide was to leave. While I do not judge those who stayed for the benefit of the lost, I want to point out a serious fallacy in this thinking because the Catholic church is non-reformable. As I alluded to before, the sacrament of the Eucharist is another gospel, but to do away with it would be to do away with the whole structure of the Mass, and the Catholic church would then cease to exist. I feel very sorry for those believing Catholics who decided to stay; it must be very difficult for them and awkward for them not to feel like hypocrites.

At the tail end of my stay in the Catholic church, I joined an evangelical Christian community. From the day I found the Lord, I was always intrigued by Acts chapter 4, where the first Christians “were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). The whole idea of community seemed like a piece of heaven on earth. I joined the community with the determination to make it work, even if the task was difficult. And difficult it turned out to be. Oddly, when I became a Christian, I was soon identified by other believers as having a gift of discernment, but now in this community it seemed that the opposite became the rule for the day: if something bothered me, the leaders said it was because I was fighting against God. I remember testing out this attitude one day when our community took a few days vacation trip. Somehow, our vehicles got separated and sitting across from the driver I said in jest, “I think maybe we should turn left.” His immediate reply was, “Okay then, I’m going to turn right.” Although done in humor, this incident was a true reflection of the attitude the members of the community had toward me.

Then, the day came when some of the leaders announced that they were considering becoming Catholic – this was a decision they were making not just for themselves but for all of us. When I joined the community, it was non-denominational though its roots were in a Baptist church. It had begun as a recovery ministry for young people who had forsaken drugs and alcohol or just needed a place to live. The fact that these leaders were now entertaining thoughts about Catholicism came as a great disturbance to me, but not as a total surprise. I had witnessed over the years how some of the members seemed somewhat intrigued with the Catholic church and with Catholic mystics like Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. I remember one Christmas Eve when three of the women decided they were going to attend midnight Mass. I overheard them the next day talking about how enjoyable an experience it had been.

But the meeting where the leaders announced their move toward Catholicism was anything but enjoyable for me. It was like watching a mutiny in one of those old pirate movies but without the violence. The senior elder of the community strongly opposed our becoming Catholic by saying that it did not represent who we were. But there were too many others who had already decided they wanted to move in this direction. The senior elder was immediately removed from the community as a “discipline,” but as time proved itself, he never came back. The community very quickly spiraled into the web of Catholicism.

I remember the night a Catholic priest was invited to speak to the community about Catholicism. This priest was recognized as a leader in the renewal movement of the Pacific Northwest. On that night, he proclaimed a great number of things. Here are some of the key points he shared with us:

What is Ecumenism? The Protestants do not know what ecumenism actually means to the Catholic church. They think it means that the Protestants and Catholics can have fellowship together as co-equals. What it actually means is that the Protestants will eventually be reabsorbed into the Catholic church.

Protestant pastors have no power when they do a communion service. They only go through the motions but nothing really happens. Only the Catholic priest has the power and authority to perform a communion service.

Protestants are the lost brethren because they have rebelled against (forsaken) the one true church.

A good Muslim, a good Hindu, and a good Buddhist are saved. They have more hope of getting into heaven than the Protestants.

The Protestants have a false notion of evangelism. As I have just told you, people of other religions are already saved. But the Protestants need to return to the Catholic church.

Hearing these things that night helped me realize that the Catholic church, as an institution, is much worse than I had allowed myself to believe. Although hearing these things was not actually new to me, it did surprise me that a leader in a renewal movement, where Catholics and Protestants mingled together, had such a low regard for the Protestants and a whole different agenda.

And perhaps what was even more surprising was that these sincere Christians, whom I had loved, lived with, and worked with side by side for over six years did not challenge this priest with his heretical beliefs that night.

The community was moving full steam ahead toward becoming Catholic, but there were some practical issues that had to be dealt with. For example, the leaders of the community had made a covenant to stay together for life, but the senior elder was no longer with them. They brought this problem to this Catholic priest who had a ready answer. He told them that he had the God-given power to dissolve the covenant. He explained that becoming Catholic superseded anything else. Then there was the matter of what to do with me. They thought if they sent me to talk to this priest one-on-one, he could persuade me to return to the “mother church.” But when it became apparent that I was not turning back, I was told that I must leave.

Other things happened in that community. Things got really hot at times; there were fights between members. Eventually two marriages broke up where the husband left the community, but the wife and children stayed behind to become Catholic. One of these husbands later confessed to me that when I was removed from the community he thought God was removing me because I was not a part of God’s special remnant. But after he was kicked out, he realized that what was once a loving Christian community had become a cult.

Not long after I was removed, the community became fully Catholic. They remain so today.

As I am writing these things, I am amazed to think how quickly the years have gone by. These events that seem like yesterday began over twenty-five years ago. And through all these years, I have never publically shared the story about the community. But there is a reason why I felt compelled to share it now. When the community was deciding to become Catholic, they were very excited because they felt that they were pioneers in going back to the mother church. They felt confident that many others would eventually follow their example. Today, I see that this is beginning to happen in large numbers. The community shared with some of their friends that they had grown spiritually as far as the Protestant church could take them, and if they were going to grow anymore, they would have to become Catholic. It is the same thing that is happening today. Many Protestant leaders are now standing up and proclaiming that we need to glean from the teachings and practices of the Catholic church. Particularly appealing to them is contemplative prayer or mysticism and the spiritual disciplines. There is no doubt in my mind that contemplative spirituality is a bridge, bringing Protestants “back” to the Catholic church. The emerging church movement is equally a bridge toward Catholicism, and the Purpose Driven movement has had a role in this as well.

If after having read this article, you would like to know more about what is happening, let me recommend these materials from Roger Oakland, one of our authors, if you haven’t read or watched these already:

The book, Another Jesus, goes into greater depth to explain how the Christ of the Eucharist is truly “another Jesus” of another gospel.

Faith Undone is Roger’s masterpiece in exposing the apostasy that is even now sweeping our nation. This book is more relevant today than the day it was written, as the things described in this book are unfolding at an accelerated rate. This book gives special attention to the subject of the emerging church.

The Emerging Church DVD series of Roger’s is also an excellent source of material that encapsulates Catholicism, the emerging church, and the false gospel that is being promoted in much of the church today.

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Richard Foster’s New Book: “25 Books Every Christian Should Read” – Should Be Titled “How to Become a Catholic Mystic”

In September of 2010, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article “Richard Foster’s Renovare Turns to Panentheist Mystic Richard Rohr and Emerging Darling Phyllis Tickle For New Book Project” telling our readers about a new book that Richard Foster would soon be putting out. The name of his now released 400+ page book is titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. In our 2010 article, we pointed out that the editorial team for the new book included panentheistic mystic Richard Rohr, emerging church figure Phyllis Tickle, and contemplatives Dallas Willard. Below is a list of the 25 books included in Foster’s new book. See for yourself, by looking at this list, that Foster’s purpose is to bring contemplative spirituality to the evangelical Christian church.

Another note worth pointing out here on this list of books that Richard Foster says every Christian should read: A large number of these authors below were either Catholic, on the road to Catholicism, or those who wanted to reform the Catholic church but maintain the Eucharist (belief that the communion elements become the real body and blood of Jesus). As Lighthouse Trails has contended, contemplative prayer is a bridge to Catholicism (not to mention panentheism and universalism). In addition, more and more evangelical Protestants are turning to the Catholic Eucharist, claiming that the mystical experience it offers them leads them to God (but really it leads them to the false Eucharistic “Christ”).

Also, and equally as important and telling as the books of dead authors that Foster highlights in his book is a list of “alive” authors whom Foster recommends at the end of his book (Best Contemporary Authors) some of which include: Richard Foster (of course), Ann Lamott, Brian McLaren, Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard, and N.T. Wright – all names that point to the “new” spirituality.

On the list below, aside from a few names that do not fall into the contemplative, mystic, and/or Catholic category, this combination of books is a recipe for a dangerous path to apostasy. What Foster’s book really should be titled is How to Become a Catholic  Mystic.

25 Books Every Christian Should Read by Richard Foster

1. On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius ( promoter of Catholic Eucharist)
2. Confessions by St. Augustine
3. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
4. The Rule of St. Benedict by St. Benedict
5. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
6. The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous (Catholic monk)
7. Revelations of Divine Love (Showings) by Julian of Norwich
8. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (Catholic monk)
9. The Philokalia
10. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
11. The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
12. Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
13. Pensées by Blaise Pascal (Catholic)
14. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
15. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
16. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law
17. The Way of a Pilgrim by Unknown Author
18. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
19. Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton (converted to Catholicism from Protestanism)
20. The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Jesuit, mystic)
21. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
22. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly
23. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (Catholic monk)
24. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
25. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen (Catholic)

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