Why are American Christians failing to trust God on homosexuality?

We are not responsible for the outcome, only to be obedient. We must stop having tea in the parlor while there’s a fire in the kitchen. Let’s turn and face what we must, and feel confidence knowing Who we have at our backs.

by Linda Harvey
Mission America

American Christians are being led into homosexual “marriage” with hardly a whimper of protest.

The agenda is already everywhere we turn. My friend called me from the Ohio State Fair. She, her husband and two young daughters had just visited the arts pavilion. “You’ll never guess which wedding cake won,” she said.

“Two males or two females?” I asked.

“Two males–with rainbow decorations,” she told me. “And it was a very mediocre cake.”

Two decades ago I would have applauded Judge Vaughn Walker’s “courage” in overturning Proposition 8.I would have seen his judicial despotism as “progress,” and I would have ooed and ahhed over the same sex cake. Then Jesus Christ took hold of my life, and among many revelations, I saw homosexuality for the God-offending home-wrecker and life-wrecker it is. It’s becoming a nation-wrecker as well.

God graciously allowed me, a sinner, to be a part of his kingdom. And ironically, when the veil of deception fell from my eyes, I recognized for the first time the road to destruction America was travelling unless a miracle intervened. One of the major drivers of this hell-on-wheels, it became obvious, was homosexual activism.

So I consulted my new compatriots— believers in Christ— certain they would have wisdom to share, but I encountered mostly indifference. Yes, I do praise God for a few trusted fellow warriors who see the whole picture, but despite this and spotty resistance from conservative enclaves, relatively few American Christians contend with homosexual aggression. Like the creeping alcohol abuse of a wayward teen, though, ignoring it only ensures full-scale disaster somewhere down the line. And so, here we are. Click here to continue.

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A Special Report: Christianity Today Treats Contemplative Controversy as Legitimate Issue in Cover Story About Beth Moore

In the August 2010 cover story of Christianity Today, the magazine has brought out two things that the major Christian media has thus far ignored – one, that Beth Moore, described as “the most popular Bible teacher in America”  by CT is a proponent of contemplative prayer, and two, that there is a debate over whether contemplative meditation is of Eastern religious origin or not. This Lighthouse Trails special report will look at both of these facets, Beth Moore’s contemplative propensities (incidentally, she is noted in CT  for influencing “millions” of women) and the vital question as to whether contemplative prayer is indeed rooted in Eastern mysticism. 

Christianity Today hit the nail right on the head when it informed its readers that:

“Critics argue that contemplative prayer is rooted in Eastern mysticism and thus not a practice that Christians should engage in.”

Lighthouse Trails has always warned that contemplative prayer is in fact rooted in Eastern mysticism, with a heavy emphasis on the word “rooted.” In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, Yungen brings out that contemplative prayer was created by the Desert Fathers, a group of monks who lived in the desert during the early middle ages. Quoting Ken Kaisch, A Time of Departing reveals:

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them. (Finding God, p. 191).

At the time, the city of Alexandria, close to where the Desert Fathers existed, was a stronghold of Eastern mysticism through the connection of King Alexander’s link to India. It is believed that the Desert Fathers utilized Eastern style meditation practices (i.e., mantra meditation), but instead of using Hindu or Buddhist mantras, they tailored this Eastern style prayer to their Christian beliefs, using “Christian” mantras. As an early treatise on contemplative prayer written by an anonymous monk, The Cloud of Unknowing, describes:  “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.” This is why all the major icons of contemplative prayer (Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, etc) echo the same spiritual perceptions as Eastern meditation practitioners. Thomas Merton said as he was leaving on a trip to South Asia to address Hindu and Buddhist monks: ” We left the ground– I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wandering … I am going home, to the home where I have never been in this body. ” (Merton’s Asian Journal, pp. ). Henri Nouwen echoed this when he said that Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Muslim (i.e., Sufism) religion offered many treasures for the spiritual life of the Christian (in the foreword of Thomas Ryan’s Disciplines for Christian Living).

For those who are still skeptical, the co-founder of one of the largest centers for teaching contemplative prayer, Tilden Edwards of The Shalem Institute, said that contemplative prayer is “the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality” (Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18). How much more clear can this be? We could go on and on to verify the link between Eastern religion and contemplative spirituality. We have documented over 200 pages in A Time of Departing, not to mention article after article with continued documentation.

Returning to Beth Moore, while it may come as a surprise to many Christianity Today readers that Moore is being identified with contemplative “mysticism,” it is no surprise to Lighthouse Trails because in the spring of 2006, Moore was included in our coverage of a Fox Home Entertainment film titled Be Still,* an infomercial for contemplative spirituality.  Shortly after the DVD was released, Lighthouse Trails spoke with Moore’s personal assistant who said that Moore did not have a problem with Richard Foster or Dallas Willard’s teachings. To reiterate this, Living Proof Ministries issued a  statement a few weeks after the release of the DVD that stated: “[W]e believe that once you view the Be Still video you will agree that there is no problem with its expression of Truth.” Living Proof offered to send a free copy of the DVD to anyone who receives their email statement and wishes to view the DVD, saying that, “[I]t would be our privilege to do this for you to assure you that there is no problem with Beth’s participation in the Be Still video.” This statement was issued because several women contacted Moore’s ministry after reading the Lighthouse Trail report on the Be Still DVD.

In the Be Still DVD, countless enticements, references, and comments clearly show its affinity with contemplative spirituality. For instance, Richard Foster says that anyone can practice contemplative prayer and become a “portable sanctuary” for God. This backs up other statements by Foster over the course of the past thirty years in which he believes that even a non-believer in Christ can participate in the “spiritual discipline” of silence and have an encounter with God. The assumption by all mystics is that God dwells in all people, and meditation will help them to realize their own Divinity. This panentheistic view of God is very typical for contemplatives. As Ray Yungen points out, those who practice contemplative prayer begin to view God through panentheistic (God in all) and interspiritual (all is united) eyes. Thomas Merton, whom Foster has admired publicly for many years, believed that all human beings have divinity within, and this divinity can be accessed through contemplative prayer, thereby making the Cross of Jesus unnecessary for union with God. We believe that the reason for this change in spiritual outlook for those who continue practicing contemplative meditation (i.e., mantra-like meditation) is that these altered states of consciousness actually engage the practitioner with demonic realms leading to spiritual deception.

The underlying theme of the Be Still DVD is that we cannot truly know God or be intimate with Him without contemplative prayer and the state of silence that it produces. While the DVD is vague and lacking in actual instruction on word or phrase repetition (which lies at the heart of contemplative prayer), it is very misleading, to say the least. What they don’t say in the DVD is that this state of stillness or silence is, for the most part, achieved through some method such as mantra-like meditation. The purpose of the DVD, in essence, is not to instruct in contemplative prayer but rather to make you and your family hungry for it. The DVD even promises that practicing the silence will heal your family problems.

The thoughtful and discerning Christian needs to ask whether the Be Still DVD is an accurate “expression of Truth,” as Beth Moore says it is, and is there truly “no problem with Beth’s participation” in this project? Considering the fact that Christianity Today calls Moore “the most popular Bible teacher in America,” these are fair questions to ask. Moore has the potential of leading  millions of women in a spiritually dangerous direction. Those women in turn will bring this mystical teaching home to their husbands, children, and churches. In the Be Still DVD, Moore states: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” Moore says that it is not possible to “truly know” that He is God without “a stillness.” She is not talking about a quiet place to pray and spend time in God’s word, but rather she is talking about a stillness of the mind – this is what contemplatives strive for – unless you practice this stillness of the mind, your relationship with the Lord is inadequate. According to Beth Moore, you don’t even know Him in the way you should.

Many reading this may be asking, is there any other evidence as to where Moore really stands with regard to contemplative. The answer to that may at least partially be found in a book she wrote in 2002 called When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. In a section about “Unceasing Prayer,” Moore states:

I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence [a Carmelite mystic who said he “cried out, singing and dancing  violently like a madman” when he went into the “presence”1], who called praying unceasingly practicing God’s presence. In fact, practicing God’s presence has been my number one goal for the last year. (p. 109)

Moore says: “A head full of biblical knowledge without a heart passionately in love with Christ is terribly dangerous–a stronghold waiting to happen. The head is full, but the heart and soul are still unsatisfied” (p. 60). This language is very indicative of contemplatives and echoes Richard Foster who said we have become barren within or Rick Warren who says the church is not fully mature without spiritual formation ala Foster and Willard (i.e., contemplative prayer)  (The Purpose Driven Church, p. 126-127 ). However, all of this talk leads one to think that the Word of God is little more than a philosophy and needs the help of contemplative prayer to be effective at all. The insinuation is that the Holy Spirit is dormant and ineffective without this vital stimuli.  Contemplatives are making a distinction between studying and meditating on the Word of God versus loving Him, suggesting that we cannot love Him or know Him simply by studying His Word or even through normal prayer–we must practice contemplative to accomplish this. But the Bible makes it clear that the Word of God is living and active, and it is in filling our minds with it that we come to love Him and know Him, not through a mystical practice that is never once mentioned in the Bible, except in warnings against vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7) and Old Testament warnings against seeking to make contact with the spirit world or going into altered states of consciousness (Deuteronomy 18:11).

In Moore’s book, she makes frequent references to contemplative pioneer Brennan Manning, stating that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” (p. 72). This is indeed a troubling statement made by “the most popular Bible teacher in America.”  No doubt, many of the women who follow Moore, in reading her comments about Manning and her quoting of him have turned to the writings of Manning for further insights. Why wouldn’t they when their favorite Bible teacher speaks so highly of him? When they do turn to him, they will find that Manning is a devout admirer of Beatrice Bruteau, founder of  The School for Contemplation. Bruteau wrote the foreword to a book called The Mystic Heart by New Age mystic Wayne Teasdale, a book that actually lays out that contemplative prayer will unite Christianity with all the world’s religions at a mystical level. And yet, in Manning’s book, Abba’s Child, he says that Bruteau is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”  Manning  backs his love for “contemplative consciousness” by stating the following:

[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer. (The Signature of Jesus, p. 212)

Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as “Abba, I belong to you.” … Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often. (SoJ, p. 218)

When distractions come, … simply return to listening to your sacred word…. [G]ently return [your mind] to your sacred word. (SoJ, p. 218)

[E]nter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard. (SoJ, p. 218)

This is the contemplative prayer that Beth Moore is promoting – Manning’s contemplative prayer. Furthering Beth Moore’s great admiration for Manning, she quotes him from his book Ragamuffin Gospel calling the book “one of the most remarkable books” (p. 290) she has ever read. But it is this very book that reveals Manning’s true affinity with contemplative spirituality. In the back of the book, Manning makes reference to Catholic priest and mystic Basil Pennington saying that Pennington’s methods will provide us with “a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God.” However, most assuredly Pennington’s methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions. In his book, Finding Grace at the Center, Pennington says:

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices. (from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p.64, quoting Finding Grace at the Center, pp. 5-6)

Pennington also says that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the human family (Centered Living, The Way of Centering Prayer, p. 104).

In Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning cites Carl Jung as well as interspiritualists and contemplative mystics, Anthony De Mello (see note below), Marcus Borg (denies the Virgin birth and Jesus being Son of God), Morton Kelsey, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Annie Dillard, Alan Jones (who denies the atonement), Eugene Peterson, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. This is a list of mystics that any discerning Bible teacher would never point followers to either directly or indirectly!

For Moore to call Manning’s book “remarkable” and to say his contribution to this generation of believers is “a gift without parallel” leads one to conclude that Beth Moore has absorbed Manning’s spirituality. And if that is the case, which we believe it to be, then Moore, as nice and well intentioned as she may be, has become another conduit for a panentheistic spirituality.

 What makes the Christianity Today’s August issue noteworthy is that this is the first time to our knowledge since the beginning of Lighthouse Trails in 2002 where a major Christian media has publicly recognized that there is a “debate” going on about contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation). While they did not identify  Lighthouse Trails as one of the “critics” of this debate, nevertheless they have  helped to bring it to the table and give it a broader platform. We would like to note here that over the past eight years thousands of believers have contacted Lighthouse Trails and do see what is taking place. This is not just something that only a handful of people see, albeit a minority in the church.

Lighthouse Trails sincerely implores Beth Moore and all Christian leaders going in the contemplative direction to take an honest look at the evidence that contemplative prayer IS rooted in Eastern mysticism. Nothing else explains the affinity that so many practitioners have for Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism. As Merton told a Sufi teacher, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana” (Thomas Merton, My Brother, Pennington, p. 115). Fana is the same as Hindu Samadhi and Buddhist nirvana. Merton went on to explain how mystical meditation even eclipses the need to believe in Jesus’ atoning and saving work on the Cross. To the Sufi teacher, Merton stated:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy [“the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption,” said the Sufi teacher] is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light, . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam. (Merton and Sufism, p. 109)

It is essential to grasp the significance of what is being said here: Merton believed that the doctrines that are the essence of Christianity (such as atonement and salvation) were irrelevant and actually, if taken seriously, were an  impediment to religious unity. The complete union of all the world’s religions cannot be accomplished  without a form of mysticism within Christianity-that form is contemplative prayer, the very thing that a growing and large number of Christian leaders are propagating today!

It is this that motivates Lighthouse Trails to continue issuing a warning. We are not haters, as some have supposed; in fact we love people,( including those who promote contemplative prayer) and feel compelled to warn them about the spiritual land mines buried within the mystical paths on which they have embarked.

Footnote:

1. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, translated by John Delaney, Image Books, 1977, p. 34


Note: The writer of the Christianity Today article, “First Came the Bible,” is Halee Gray Scott, a writer and a faculty member at Wesley Seminary and A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Talbot School of Theology, where her research interests include leadership development and spiritual formation.

Many of the quotes in this report are taken from A Time of Departing. Click here for information on A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen.

Also read: Richard Foster and the Be Still DVD

*To view a transcript of the entire Be Still DVD, please contact us.

Quote by ANTHONY DEMELLO ON CONTEMPLATIVE SILENCE:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28.

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Evangelical Christianity Catapulted into Seeing “God” with New Interspiritual Eyes

by Ray Yungen

Contemplative advocates propose that there has been something vital and important missing from the church for centuries. The insinuation is that Christians have been lacking something necessary for their spiritual vitality; but that would mean the Holy Spirit has not been fully effective for hundreds of years and only now the secret key has been found that unlocks God’s full power to know Him. These proponents believe that Christianity has been seriously crippled without this extra ingredient. This kind of thinking leads one to believe that traditional, biblical Christianity is merely a philosophy without the contemplative prayer element. Contemplatives are making a distinction between studying and meditating on the Word of God versus experiencing Him, suggesting that we cannot hear Him or really know Him simply by studying His Word or even through normal prayer—we must be contemplative to accomplish this. But the Bible makes it clear that the Word of God is living and active, and has always been that way, and it is in filling our minds with it that we come to love Him, not through a mystical practice of stopping the flow of thought (the stillness) that is never once mentioned in the Bible, except in warnings against vain repetitions.

In chapter three of my book, I quoted Thomas Merton’s statement that he saw various Eastern religions “come together in his life” (as a Christian mystic). On a rational, practical level Christianity and Eastern religions will not mix; but add the mystical element and they do blend together like adding soap to oil and water. I must clarify what I mean: Mysticism neutralizes doctrinal differences by sacrificing the truth of Scripture for a mystical experience. Mysticism offers a common ground, and supposedly that commonality is divinity in all. But we know from Scripture “there is one God; and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:32).

In a booklet put out by Saddleback Church on spiritual maturity, the following quote by Henri Nouwen is listed:

Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and Him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists, but that He is actively present in our lives—healing, teaching, and guiding—we need to set aside a time and space to give Him our undivided attention.1

When we understand what Nouwen really means by “time and space” given to God we can also see the emptiness and deception of his spirituality. In his recent biography of Nouwen, God’s Beloved, Michael O’ Laughlin says:

Some new elements began to emerge in Nouwen’s thinking when he discovered Thomas Merton. Merton opened up for Henri an enticing vista of the world of contemplation and a way of seeing not only God but also the world through new eyes. . . . If ever there was a time when Henri Nouwen wished to enter the realm of the spiritual masters or dedicate himself to a higher spiritual path, it was when he fell under the spell of Cistercian monasticism and the writings of Thomas Merton.2

In his book, Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic, Nouwen talks about these “new eyes” that Merton helped to formulate and said that Merton and his work “had such an impact” on his life and that he was the man who had “inspired” him greatly.3 But when we read Nouwen’s very revealing account, something disturbing is unveiled. Nouwen lays out the path of Merton’s spiritual pilgrimage into contemplative spirituality. Those who have studied Merton from a critical point of view, such as myself, have tried to understand what are the roots behind Merton’s spiritual affinities. Nouwen explains that Merton was influenced by LSD mystic Aldous Huxley who “brought him to a deeper level of knowledge” and “was one of Merton’s favorite novelists.”4 It was through Huxley’s book, Ends and Means, that first brought Merton “into contact with mysticism.”5 Merton states:

He [Huxley] had read widely and deeply and intelligently in all kinds of Christian and Oriental mystical literature, and had come out with the astonishing truth that all this, far from being a mixture of dreams and magic and charlatanism, was very real and very serious.6

This is why, Nouwen revealed, Merton’s mystical journey took him right into the arms of Buddhism:

Merton learned from him [Chuang Tzu—a Taoist] what Suzuki [a Zen master] had said about Zen: “Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake and become aware.”7

Become aware of what? The Buddha nature. Divinity within all.That is why Merton said if we knew what was in each one of us, we would bow down and worship one another. Merton’s descent into contemplative led him to the belief that God is in all things and that God is all things. This is made clear by Merton when he said:

True solitude is a participation in the solitariness of God—Who is in all things.8

Nouwen adds:

[Chuang Tzu] awakened and led him [Merton] . . . to the deeper ground of his consciousness.9

This has been the ploy of Satan since the Garden of Eden when the serpent said to Eve, “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:4). It is this very essence that is the foundation of contemplative prayer.

In Merton’s efforts to become a mystic, he found guidance from a Hindu swami, whom Merton referred to as Dr. Bramachari. Bramachari played a pivotal role in Merton’s future spiritual outlook. Nouwen divulged this when he said:

Thus he [Merton] was more impressed when this Hindu monk pointed him to the Christian mystical tradition. . . . It seems providential indeed that this Hindu monk relativized [sic] Merton’s youthful curiosity for the East and made him sensitive to the richness of Western mysticism.10

Why would a Hindu monk advocate the Christian mystical tradition? The answer is simple: they are one in the same. Even though the repetitive words used may differ (e.g. Christian words: Abba, Father, etc. rather than Hindu words), the end result is the same. And the Hindu monk knew this to be true. Bramachari understood that Merton didn’t need to switch to Hinduism to get the same enlightenment that he himself experienced through the Hindu mystical tradition. In essence, Bramachari backed up what I am trying to get across in A Time of Departing, that all the world’s mystical traditions basically come from the same source and teach the same precepts . . . and that source is not the God of the Old and New Testaments. The biblical God is not interspiritual!

Evangelical Christianity is now being invited, perhaps even catapulted into seeing God with these new eyes of contemplative prayer. And so the question must be asked, is Thomas Merton’s silence, Henri Nouwen’s space, and Richard Foster’s contemplative prayer the way in which we can know and be close to God? Or is this actually a spiritual belief system that is contrary to the true message that the Bible so absolutely defines—that there is only one way to God and that is through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on the Cross obtained our full salvation? In this book, I have endeavored to answer these questions with extensive evidence and documentation showing the dangers of contemplative prayer.

If indeed my concerns for the future actually come to fruition, then we will truly enter a time of departing. My prayer is that you will not turn away from the faith to follow a different gospel and a different Jesus but will rather stay the course and finish the race, so that after having done all you can, you will stand.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13).

(To better understand contemplative spirituality and the spiritual formation movement, read A Time of Departing, 2nd edition.)

Notes:
1. Henri Nouwen, cited in Saddleback training book, Soul Construction: SolitudeTool (Lake Forest, CA: Saddleback Church, 2003), p. 12.
2. Michael O’ Laughlin, God’s Beloved (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004), p. 178.
3. Henri J.M. Nouwen, Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers, 1991, Triumph Books Edition), p. 3.
4. Ibid., pp. 19-20.
5. Ibid., p. 20.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid., p. 71.
8. Ibid., pp. 46, 71.
9. Ibid., p. 71.
10 . Ibid., p. 29.

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Christianity Today’s Anti-Christianity Today

by T. A. McMahon
The Berean Call – President

According to the online encyclopedia wikipedia.org, “Christianity Today [CT] is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, IL. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International, claiming readership of 290,000. The founder, Billy Graham, stated that he wanted to ‘plant the evangelical flag in the middle-of-the-road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems.’

“Today it, and its 13 sister publications, reach well over 2 million readers in its traditional paperbound form, and more than 10 million pageviews per month in their Internet form.”

It was right after I became a born-again Christian more than thirty years ago that I encountered my first copy of Christianity Today. Having grown up Roman Catholic, my appetite for anything evangelical was ravenous. Yet even in those early years of my faith, there were things that I read in that magazine that troubled me. I recognized, in Mr. Graham’s own words, “a definite liberal approach to social problems” in the promotion of “Christian” psychological counseling (see TBC, July 1999 ).

Of even more concern, however, were articles that clearly favored Roman Catholicism. This was disconcerting for one who had recently been delivered from the bondage of the false gospel of Rome. I remembered also reading an old quote from Billy Graham, which he had spoken nearly a decade before he started CT. He declared that “The three gravest menaces faced by orthodox Christianity are Communism, Roman Catholicism, and Mohammedanism” (Plains Baptist Challenger, March 1984). Incredibly, years later, among CT’s contributing editors and writers were Roman Catholics, including Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus. It was Neuhaus, along with CT editors Chuck Colson, J. I. Packer, Timothy George, Thomas Oden, Richard Mouw, and Mark Noll, among others, who formed, were promoters of, and/or were signers of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” Their news release proclaimed: “[L]eading Catholics and evangelicals are asking their flocks for a remarkable leap of faith: to finally accept each other as Christians….[E]vangelicals including Pat Robertson and Charles Colson joined with conservative Roman Catholic leaders today in upholding the ties of faith that bind [them]….They urged Catholics and evangelicals…to stop aggressive proselytization of each other’s flocks.”

The Catholic bias of CT is reflected in the modus operandi of Graham’s crusades: they were, and continue to be, publicized and subsidized by each Catholic diocese where they take place. Additionally, the crusades continue to be outfitted with Catholic counselors who guide those Catholics that “come forward” to return to their local Catholic churches.

The list of Catholic luminaries celebrated by CT includes popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II (Graham told Larry King that he and the pope “agree on almost everything”), Mother Teresa, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Buddhist/Catholic monk Thomas Merton, and mystic Catholic priest Henry Nouwen. Catholic mysticism is further promoted by CT contributing editor Richard Foster, who is the godfather of the modern contemplative/mystical (read “Eastern”) movement within evangelical Christianity.

It seems that no voice that advances apostasy has been omitted from CT’s list of contributing editors or writers: Ron Sider, President Obama’s leftist theologian; Notre Dame professor Mark Noll; Eugene Peterson (who wrote his own bible called The Message); Eastern Orthodox followers Frederica Mathewes-Green and Bradley Nassif; former executive editor Terry Muck (who writes of his love for the Buddha); Leith Anderson (who promotes the experiential over the propositional, i.e., that emergent experience trumps doctrine); and psychology and Bible integrationist Eric L. Johnson, to name but a few. Click here to continue reading this article.

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Letter to the Editor: Why is Lighthouse Trails Doing Shepherd’s Garden?

Yesterday, after we announced Lighthouse Trails’ new division, The Shepherd’s Garden, we received an email from a Lighthouse Trails reader asking why we were “getting into the tea business.” The reader said he was very concerned that we were going to become too commercialized  and thought perhaps we had sold so many books that we had more or less struck it rich and that we saw the tea business as a lucrative business venture.  He said that perhaps we have become too “popular and famous.” We thought there may be other LT readers who share his concerns. Thus, we would like to clarify our reasons for incorporating this new idea.

At Lighthouse Trails, we have paid a high price for continuing on in this ministry. Part of that difficulty has been financial challenges.  We have given away countless books in a missionary/evangelism sense to skeptics and critics, which erodes profits; in addition, publishing in general is expensive. We began the publishing company knowing absolutely nothing about publishing, but we met Ray Yungen, who had been carrying around an unpublished manuscript for two years (A Time of Departing). After we read it, God removed a veil from our eyes, and we knew that book had to be published. We came to learn that most Christian publishers would not publish material exposing the dangers of contemplative spirituality, thus we began Lighthouse Trails. Soon after, we came under a very intense attack from the enemy. It seemed that as soon as we started Lighthouse Trails, life changed for us dramatically. I remember thinking early on, if this is what life is going to be like from now on because of LT, I don’t want to do this. But my husband, Dave, and Ray Yungen, in their leadership and guidance, assured me that this is what we were supposed to be doing. In time, we came to understand that what we were suffering was minor compared to what martyrs in the past have suffered, and we, like all Christian believers, should count it a privilege to serve Him.

We want to assure Lighthouse Trails readers that we are not becoming commercialized, in the negative sense of the word. The idea of the tea came to us several months ago, and after much thought and prayer, we felt that perhaps God had given us this idea as a way to sustain ourselves and also help sustain Lighthouse Trails. We do not depend on the income from Lighthouse Trails for our personal lives. We have never wanted to be dependent on it so that we would never be tempted to compromise just to make a living. But that means we have had to work in other capacities.  And this means very long hours, definitely no vacations, etc. etc. But we have believed so much that we are supposed to be doing this ministry that we have gone to any lengths we can to keep it going.  In the past, we made enough from book sales to put money back into the company so we could do new books and DVDs, which we felt were urgently needed. Now with the economy in its present crisis, Lighthouse Trails is not holding its own, and we must have other ways to help support it.  The tea is a pragmatic idea and also points people to the Word of God in a small way. It will also be a blessing and encouragement to those who enjoy it. We believe it does fit in with the Lighthouse Trails mission.  The typical thing for ministries to do when in financial stress is to send out pleas for donations. But because we are not a non-profit ministry, we generally do not seek out donations, and thereby see the necessity for being “tent makers.” We believe this little tea company, while blessing others, will also help assure that Lighthouse Trails can remain active for years to come.

Deborah Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing

You might also want to read our statement on “Why Lighthouse Trails is not a non-profit ministry.”

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Christ’s apparition attracts thousands

Comment from Understand The Times:

 The following article which describes an “apparition of Jesus” that supposedly took place in a Catholic church in Nigeria recently, is exactly what authors Jim Tetlow and Roger Oakland predicted would be taking place in the future in their book Another Jesus: The Eucharistic and the New Evangelization. Jesus warned that “false appearances” would be taking place as one of the signs of the last days.

(Matthew 24:23-26).KJV – Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
 

The article:

St Paul’s Catholic Church along Airport Road in Benin City, yesterday, turned into a mecca of sorts as people from all walks of life thronged the church to catch a glimpse of what has been literally described as an apparition of Jesus Christ.

The uncommon but holy phenomenon according to catholic faithful and enthusiasts present at the church premises, came up early Wednesday morning immediately after the offering of adoration at the church. It has however generated so much frenzy amongst catholic faithful and non-Catholics who jostled through the ever-busy Airport Road in the state capital to witness the rare spiritual occurrence.

Rev. Fr. Edosomwan further stressed that the appearance of Christ on the Blessed Sacrament through the monstrance would help re-direct the lives of Christians whose faith have been ebbing out owning to varying challenges of life. The “apparition of Christ” according to the Priest,” was to remind Christians that through His presence they can draw support and increase their faith in God.”

Similarly, the spiritual significance of the “apparition of Christ” at the St Paul’s Catholic Church was further described to connote the signs of the end of time by Prince Ken Ebosele, a committed catholic faithful who was present at the church to catch a glimpse of the “apparition”. Prince Ebosele revealed that it was a reassurance of the fact that the salvation in Christ which Christians profess was not in vain, adding that the appearance of Christ was a manifestation of the presence of Christ in our lives.

Others who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the “apparition of Christ” at this critical period of human’s sinful existence was clear indication that no matter how neck-deep we are involved in sin, the Almighty God has special interest in the salvation of human beings.

A member of the Edo State House of Assembly representing Ikpoba Okha Constituency, Hon. Jude Ise-Idehen who was also in the Church described the occurrence as a re-affirmation that “Jesus Christ is real,” adding that, “this is the belief of Catholics and other Christians. It is our faith and belief.”

She confirmed that she saw Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that was placed on the altar, stressing that “it is real and that with her coming to Jesus on the altar, all her hearts desires have been received by faith”.

Meanwhile, the miraculous appearance of Jesus Christ in Benin City yesterday have been described as a good Omen and an indication that better things are coming to Edo State. The Director, Edo State Poverty Alleviation Agency, Chief (Mrs.) Evelyn Igbafe who stated this is a chat with The NIGERIAN OBSERVER in Benin City yesterday, remarked that the appearance of Jesus Christ in the state was an affirmation that the present governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was God -sent.  Read more.

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Julia Roberts converts to Hinduism after filming ‘Eat, Pray, Love’

LTRP Note: As Lighthouse Trails reported previously, Hollywood darling Julia Roberts played the leading role in the summer release New Age movie, Eat, Pray, Love. Now, this in – Julia Roberts converts to Hinduism after filming the movie. What is so troubling is that thousands, if not millions, of viewers of the movie could be potentially drawn toward Hinduism, especially after learning that Roberts herself has converted.

Jane Lasky
Examiner

August 7, 2010 — News comes today that when Julia Roberts was shooting the film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ she reportedly made a big decision: To convert to Hinduism.

The ‘Pretty Woman’ actress is the daughter of a Baptist and a Catholic, says Jam Movies, who claims that while filming in India Roberts took a spiritual pilgrimage much like that of ‘Eat Pray Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert.

Out of that experience, the movie star learned about yoga, meditation and reincarnation — something in which Julia Roberts is said to now hold as her own belief.

Roberts told Elle magazine:

‘I’m definitely a practicing Hindu.’

Off the set, Julia and her family chant and celebrate life — a peaceful existence for the new believer in Hinduism who stars in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. The new movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoirs debuts in theaters next week. Click here to continue.

Our past coverage:

Oprah and Julia Roberts Make Push for New Age Eat, Pray, Love Summer 2010 Movie (Lighthouse Trails)

Julia Roberts embraces Hinduism  (India Times)

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