Some of our readers have asked us for an update on the Calvary Chapel articles we recently released. At this time, we do not have any updates. The information on both articles was accurately reported and documented. We ask you to pray for Calvary Chapel and its pastors. The recent (May 29th) Calvary Chapel event (Movement 2009) with featured speaker Mike Erre has left many concerned. Erre is the author of Death by Church: Saving Jesus From His Followers, a book that is riddled with emerging spirituality concepts and teachings (e.g. universalism, kingdom-now theology, panentheism, etc.). If you have not read our two articles yet, you may click here to do so: “Death by Church -Emergent New Paradigm Pastor to Speak at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa” and Calvary Chapel Termination Has Profound Implications.
Calvary Chapel is not the only Christian organization that is being influenced and changed because of contemplative/emerging spirituality. The Nazarene Church has deeply absorbed this new spirituality, as we have reported in many articles. Also, the Christian Missionary Alliance and Mennonite denominations have been hugely affected. Southern Baptist is another that has been pulled into the contemplative/emerging whirl of deception. Many Reformed/Calvinist churches have started going in this direction, as have Foursquare and Assemblies of God. It has even been reported to us that some Amish communities and Independent Baptist churches are feeling the effects. And the list could go on and on.
What this tells us, as biblical believers, is that a grand-scale spiritual deception is taking place as the Bible warns will happen in the latter days. While spiritual deception has always existed from the beginning of mankind, there has never been such a massive acceptance and embracing of mysticism as there is today. And it is not just happening outside the church–no, it is taking place within much of Christianity as well.
So while there should be legitimate concern as to the future of Calvary Chapel as a whole, there should be equal concern for many other Christian groups as well.
It should be noted that within these various groups we have mentioned, there are ministers and teachers who are staying the course and teaching and defending the Word of God. We applaud these valiant individuals.
Some of the above mentioned organizations are more inundated with the new spirituality than others, largely because of their seminaries and colleges. Once a denomination’s schools start teaching the younger generation false approaches (e.g. spiritual formation) and introducing them to mysticism, that denomination is going to rapidly change– for the worse. This is why Lighthouse Trails puts so much focus on Christian colleges and youth ministries.
To illustrate the depths of our concerns, consider these words by Ray Yungen:
Dr. Rodney R. Romney, former Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Seattle is a person frequently quoted as an example of a New Age Christian. He very candidly revealed what was conveyed to him in his contemplative prayer periods. The “source of wisdom” he was in contact with told him the following:
I want you to preach this oneness, to hold it up before the world as my call to unity and togetherness. In the end this witness to the oneness of all people will undermine any barriers that presently exist.1
Could this be a familiar spirit speaking here? Jesus Christ did not teach that all people are one. There are the saved and the unsaved. And Jesus Christ is the catalyst for this distinction. But the spirit who spoke to Dr. Romney also revealed something else of vital importance. It declared, “Silence is that place, that environment where I work.”2
Please pay attention to this! God does not work in the silence–but familiar spirits do! Moreover, what makes it so dangerous is that they are very clever. One well-known New Ager revealed what his guiding (familiar) spirit candidly disclosed:
We work with all who are vibrationally sympathetic; simple and sincere people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only within the context of their current belief system. 3
The term “vibrationally sympathetic” here means those who suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus–inward mental silence. That is what attracts them. That is their opening. That is why Tilden Edwards called this the “bridge to far Eastern spirituality,” and this is what is being injected into the evangelical church!
We cannot emphasize it enough; simply put, this emerging mystical approach is absolutely a polar opposite to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel says that man is sinful and is in need of a Savior, whereas the mystical approach ultimately reaches the conclusion that man is God.
Today, we received a letter from a man who happens to be very involved with the Calvary Chapel movement. In order to protect his identity, we will call him Michael. Michael is very concerned about the spiritual deception that has worked its way into the church through contemplative spirituality and the emerging church, and he works diligently to warn others. Here is his letter to us:
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
Greetings in the name of our Lord!
Thank you for the complimentary copy of Castles in the Sand. I pray that through the genre of this novel that those who enjoy fiction may come to know the truth of the dangers of contemplative spirituality.
Of course the note on the back cover of the book is appropriate–“…fiction with a message.” And through this genre, truth can be taught. It’s interesting in light of the protestation by [William] Paul Young that The Shack is entirely a fictional work and that it does not teach doctrine. Then why do Gayle Erwin and others claim that they have never understood God the way they do prior to reading The Shack? Yes, works of fiction can (and do) teach doctrine. I would suggest that those who haven’t understood God the way they do prior to reading The Shack is because they have never encountered the Jesus of The Shack within the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit. Could it be that the God they better understand is actually not the eternal God, the Creator of the universe, but another Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4)?
Thank you once again for all you do to alert people about the subtle dangers of contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. Do not lose heart even though the dissenters cry out loudly in protest and criticism. Is it more loving to warn of the potential danger than to know of it and either ignore it or dismiss it with an attitude of “eat the meat, spit out the bones” mindset? I wonder where Sue Monk Kidd might be today if someone had warned her about the dangerous rise within Thomas Merton’s writings.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).
The “God” that is encountered through the experiences that Rodney Romney, Sue Monk Kidd, and the “God” portrayed in The Shack is a “God” who believes that divinity is in all things, including in all of creation and mankind. It is this same “God” that is being portrayed, wittingly or unwittingly, in Mike Erre’s book, Death by Church. But this is not the God of the Bible.
Lighthouse Trails stands with and supports believers in Jesus Christ who are defending the Gospel. It is this Gospel that saves through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
When Sue Monk Kidd was handed a book by Thomas Merton, there was no one there to warn her, as Michael points out. And now she carries Merton’s panentheistic, universalistic message to countless people through her writings. And for this reason, dear believers, we must continue warning and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world and remember we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. II Corinthians 2:11
Finally, it is wrong that Christian churches, denominations, leaders, and colleges are promoting any form of a spirituality that is earthly, carnal, and sensual as is contemplative and emerging. And it is also wrong for pastors, teachers, and leaders who understand this type of deception to say or do nothing. This silence and lack of standing for truth by those who see but say nothing is a slap in the face to the martyrs who have gone before us. 21st century Christian leaders should feel ashamed and saddened for having a lack of courage in light of those past saintsâ€™ great courage. And these are the depths of our concerns.
1. Rodney R. Romney, Journey to Inner Space (New York, NY: Riverview Press., 1986), p. 132.
2. Ibid., p. 138.
3. Ken Carey, The Starseed Transmissions (A Uni-Sun Book, 1985 4th printing), p. 33.
Research Articles on The Shack, click here.
LTRP Note: The following out-of-house article is posted for informational purposes only.
Washington Post: The political experts will decide if President Obama’s speech at the University of Cairo on June 4 was a factor in the unexpected electoral defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s elections on June 7. But while the international effects may be murky, a clear and immediate result of the Cairo speech is its impact on Muslims living in the U.S. Pride about praise of one’s religious traditions from political leaders often adds votes and voices within U.S. society. Catholic America should know: this was part of our past journey to inclusion.
But more than a touchy-feely sort of thing is the likelihood that the Cairo speech will produce greater support for socialized health care and an end to Israeli settlements. Those Catholics in America who agree with the bishops and the pope have long supported a universal health care plan and a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel. With the President’s speech, Muslims in the U.S. have been invited to make an alliance with Catholics.Click here to read this entire article.
by Ray Yungen
Sue Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book When the Heart Waits. She explains:
There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [not just Christian] that’s “only God” … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us. (emphasis mine)1
Sue Monk Kidd, an introspective woman, gives a revealing description of her spiritual transformation in her book God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved. She shares how she suffered a deep hollowness and spiritual hunger for many years even though she was very active in her Baptist church.2 She sums up her feelings:
Maybe we sense we-re disconnected from God somehow. He becomes superfluous to the business at hand. He lives on the periphery so long we begin to think that is where He belongs. Anything else seems unsophisticated or fanatical.3
Ironically, a Sunday school co-worker handed her a book by Thomas Merton, telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.
What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.4 She ultimately came to the mystical realization that:
I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us … When we encounter another person, … we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.5
One could come to Monk Kidd’s defense by saying she is just referring to Christians and non-Christians sharing a common humanity and the need to treat all people well. Yet, while respecting humanity is important, she fails to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians thereby negating Christ’s imperative, “You must be born again” (John 3:7), as the prerequisite for the indwelling of God. Her mystical universalism is apparent when she quotes someone who advises that the Hindu greeting namaste, which translates, I honor the god in you, should be used by Christians.6
Monk Kidd, like Merton, did not join a metaphysical church such as the Unity Church or a Religious Science church. She found her spirituality within the comfortable and familiar confines of a Baptist church!
Moreover, when Monk Kidd found her universal spirituality she was no teenager. She was a sophisticated, mature family woman. This illustrates the susceptibility of the millions like her who are seeking seemingly novel, positive approaches to Christian spiritual growth. Those who lack discernment are at great risk. What looks godly or spiritually benign on the surface may have principles behind it that are in dire conflict with Christianity.
Since the original edition of A Time of Departing came out, two major discoveries have come to my attention. First, Sue Monk Kidd has become a widely known author. She has written a bestselling book titled The Secret Life of Bees, which has sold millions of copies [and now is made into a feature film]. Her latest book, The Mermaid Chair, is also on the bestseller list. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I found even more profound evidence that my conclusions about her worldview were right. It seems that just a few years after she had written the book I’ve quoted, she wrote another book on spirituality. This one was titled The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. If ever there was a book confirming my message in A Time of Departing, this book is it.
In her first and second books, Monk Kidd was writing from a Christian perspective. That is why the back cover of God’s Joyful Surprise was endorsed by Virtue, Today’s Christian Woman, and (really proving my point) Moody Monthly. But with her third and fourth book, Monk Kidd had made the full transition to a spiritual view more in tune with Wicca than with Christianity. Now she worships the Goddess Sophia rather than Jesus Christ:
We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness…. Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred…. Goddess offers us the holiness of everything.7
There is one portion in Monk Kidd’s book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that, for me, stands out and speaks right to the heart of this issue. I want my readers to grasp what she is conveying in the following account. No one can lightly dismiss or ignore the powers behind contemplative prayer after reading this narrative:
The minister was preaching. He was holding up a Bible. It was open, perched atop his raised hand as if a blackbird had landed there. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority.
I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling, and it spread out from the core of me like a current so that my skin vibrated with it. If feelings could be translated into English, this feeling would have roughly been the word no!
It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.8
This is an excerpt from A Time of Departing, chapter 7, “Seducing Spirits.”)
1. Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1990), pp. 47-48.
2. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1987), p. 55.
3. Ibid., p. 56.
4. Ibid., p. 198.
5. Ibid., pp. 233, 228.
6. Ibid., pp. 228-229.
7. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), pp. 162-163.
8. Ibid., p. 76.
by Larry DeBruyn
On Mars Hill, the Apostle Paul addressed the Athenian philosophers: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Emphasis mine, Acts 17:29). The word “device” is interesting. The word was formed from the preposition en, meaning in, and a noun thumos, meaning “strong feeling, passion.” Literally, we should not liken God to be a graven image carved “in passion by man.” Evidently, as evidenced by the Exodus Israelites, Paul viewed that passion is integral to both idolatry and immorality. People feel strongly about their gods. All of which brings us to evaluate the relationship of religious excitements to genuine Christian spirituality.
Excitements can be manufactured. There are mechanisms that can be used to trigger states of self-transcendence. For example, drugs, drumming, and dancing can deliver participants out-of-themselves. These deliverances masquerade to be genuine encounters with the divine. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), a British expatriate who spent his adult life living in Los Angeles, and was obsessed by interests in psychedelics, mysticism, the paranormal, and the occult, once remarked of the power possessed by mechanical means of arousal. Click here to read this entire article by Larry DeBruyn
Book Review by Gary Gilley: The Attentive Life, Discerning God’s Presence in All Things by Leighton Ford
by Gary Gilley
Southern View Chapel
[Leighton Ford] is best known as an effective evangelist who has been closely associated with Billy Graham. Throughout his long ministry (he is now approaching 80) he has had the reputation of one who preached an uncompromising gospel message….
The Attentive Life gets top-billing in the recent advertisement release by InterVarsity Press promoting the formatio series of books which they claim “follow the rich tradition of the church in the journey of spiritual formation” (p. 229). What is really taking place is that, under the banner of “spiritual formation,” formatio is flooding the evangelical world with Roman Catholic practices and theology….
Ford’s contribution is to promote the Benedictine Hours and Rule of Life as created by St. Benedict in the fifth century. The “Divine Hours” are eight time periods for prayer scattered throughout the day that have been practiced by Catholic monastic orders for centuries (pp. 21, 205-210). Ford was introduced to the Benedictine Hours when he participated in a retreat at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina. It was there that he first experienced what he calls the attentive, or contemplative life (p. 23), of which Ford says, “Paradoxically, attentiveness may be just the opposite of ‘fixing our attention.’ Instead it involves a letting go of our usual need to control, and opening of ourselves to what we are being told or shown” (p. 25). Later he remarks, “Attentiveness means a willingness to listen for God’s voice–and readiness to obey” (p. 38). In practice attentiveness looks like this: “I will sit in a favorite chair in my study with a cup of coffee with classical music playing, not trying to form a prayer with words but waiting, listening, until perhaps I sense the Spirit bringing to the surface a word from God. Then I offer just a simple ‘Thank you'” (p. 77). As can be readily seen, The Attentive Life is not biblical teaching on prayer, the study of God’s Word or meditation, but is a wholly mystical approach in which the mind is actually disengaged while one waits for an extra-biblical word from God.
If there is any doubt about the above critique, Ford removes it in a number of ways. First, he equates his attentive practices with centering prayer as explained by Roman Catholic mystic Thomas Keating, “We wait quietly in God’s presence, perhaps repeating a ‘sacred word,’ [mantra] and let go of our thoughts…. Centering prayer is not so much an exercise of attention as intention.” Click here to read this entire book review by Gary Gilley.
By Bob Unruh
An adviser on the campus of UCLA has edited a student’s personal graduation statement to remove her reference to “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” citing policy in the Department of Molecular, Cell & Development Biology.
Word of the situation came from an Internet posting by Gordon Klingenschmitt, the former Navy chaplain who was removed from the military in a dispute over the use of Jesus’ name in his prayers.
“This is another example of the improper application of separation of church and state,” he told WND. “As a government school, UCLA cannot prohibit religious expression. They’re the ones crossing the line here.”
The school, in a later statement, confirmed it had reviewed its procedures and would read the statements as submitted by students, after “making clear” that it was understood that it is not a university statement.
.Click here to read this entire article.
LTRP Note: The following out-of-house article is a follow up to a previous article we posted (see link below article).
San Diego Union-Tribune
“County won’t force permit on Bible study leaders”
Code officer formally warned couple over meetings at home
Sweeping issues of religious freedom and governmental regulation are swirling around Pastor David Jones’ house in rural Bonita, attracting attention from as far away as China and New Zealand.
He says it all started with $220 in car damage.
Jones and his wife, Mary, hold a weekly Bible study at their home that sometimes attracts more than 20 people, with occasional parking issues. Once, a car belonging to a neighbor’s visitor got dinged.
David Jones paid for the damage, but he thinks the incident spurred a complaint to the county.
A code enforcement officer warned the couple in April for holding a “religious assembly” without a permit. The action became an international incident when it was reported last week on the Web site worldnetdaily.com.
Click here to read this entire news story.