Archive for July, 2008
Jesus did not send out just anyone who was willing to tag along to help “cure societal problems.”
If that’s all He was attempting to accomplish in Matthew 10, He was a miserable failure because, from what the Bible teaches, society’s problems continued long after the disciples returned and, in fact, got a lot worse – especially for followers of Jesus.
By Paul Proctor
July 30, 2008
OneNewsNow.com recently reported the following in an article by Jim Brown titled Interfaith “cooperation” at Saddleback:
California mega-church pastor Rick Warren says Christians should not be reticent to work with Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, and even atheists to cure societal problems.
In conjunction with the presidential forum he is hosting next month at Saddleback Church, Pastor Rick Warren will convene an interfaith meeting for 30 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders “to discuss cooperation for the common good of all Americans.”
Now I don’t, for a minute, expect anyone outside the Body of Christ to appreciate the things of God, His sovereignty, His glory, His purpose, His Word or even the gospel. If you’re a social worker – even a Christian working as a volunteer within a charitable, yet secular organization, you are to be commended for your service to society.
But the church was not established by Jesus Christ to partner with other world religions and beliefs to share God’s glory with Allah, Joseph Smith, Buddha or Madeline Murray O’Hare. Neither were we called by Christ to bring their followers into the ministry with us. Those who have truly been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb ought to know better than this.
There is any number of popular preachers these days, both on and off TV, touting unbiblical notions to cheering crowds as if they were carrying out the Great Commission. Many of them, if not most, are convinced that their worldly success and the resulting fame and fortune they enjoy is evidence of God’s approval and blessing.
The fanatical followers of these smooth talkers are so far from the truth and so taken by their preacher’s voice, reasoning with them, even from the scriptures, is often like reasoning with an animal, which is why I believe Jesus said, in Matthew 7, verse 6: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Click here to read this entire article.
by Hungry Hearts Ministries
What is Chrysalis?
Chrysalis is the youth and young adult version of its parent movement, Walk to Emmaus. Chrysalis walks (or retreats) are called “flights” for 10th through 12th graders and “journeys” for young adults ages 19 through 24. Participants in the 72 hour retreats must be sponsored by alumni of previous retreats.
Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of a Roman Catholic movement, Cursillo de Cristianidad, which means “little course in Christianity.” This movement, designed to empower persons to “Christianize their environment,” originated in Spain in 1948.
During the 1960s and 1970s Episcopalians, Lutherans and several non-denominational groups offered Cursillo. The first Cursillo weekend in the Episcopal Church was conducted in the early 1960’s with help from Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of Iowa. The doctrine taught in Cursillo was traditional Catholicism. In 1978, The Upper Room, which is the Spiritual Formation unit of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church, adapted the program for a primarily Protestant audience and began to offer it under the name The Upper Room Cursillo. The name was later changed to the more ecumenical Upper Room Walk to Emmaus. Click here to read more.
Lighthouse Trails has added another Christian college to its list of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries that do NOT promote contemplative/emerging spirituality, do NOT have a spiritual formation program, and do NOT use Purpose Driven materials (a catalyst for contemplative and emerging). The school is His Hill Bible School near Comfort, Texas.
For a list of other Christian schools that fall in this category, please click here.
To view the growing list of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries that ARE going in the contemplative direction, click here.
LTRP Note: We are providing the following article for website owners who believe in standing up for biblical faith and who may need a web hosting company that does not shut down controversial sites.
by Jim Atkinson
Web Hosting Database
Out of house writer
The Internet, once the last bastion of truly free speech, is slowly being overrun by lawyers and government officials the world over. Certainly, there are criminals who need to be apprehended for their online exploits, but those of us who are merely exercising our first amendment right should feel protected. Sadly, many mainstream Web hosts will drop your site as soon as you attract the smallest amount of opposition. They are, after all, intimidated by the threat of losing money in a lawsuit. Luckily, there are still a few brave Web hosting companies that cherish free speech and that will stand behind your site. Below, we have listed 11 hosts that won’t dump you at the first sign of controversy. Click here to read this entire article. Please use your own discretion and wisdom when choosing a web host company.
The Lilly Endowment will be awarding about 120 grants of approximately $45,000 each in their 2008 National Clergy Renewal Program. Senior vice president of religion at the Endowment says this award offers a time of renewal for pastors and other clergy members to “explore the roots of their religious traditions, write poetry, [and] practice contemplative prayer.” 1 This Lighthouse Trails report will show that the Lilly Endowment has been a conduit for helping to finance and propagate contemplative spirituality and the emerging church for many years.
While the National Clergy Renewal Program is “open to all Christian congregations,” most of the 132 recipients from the 2007 awards are from denominations that strongly promote contemplative spirituality. There were 18 denominations represented; these include: Episcopal, PCUSA, ELCA, United Methodist, UCC (United Congregational Church), American Baptist, Evangelical Covenant, Disciples of Christ, RCA (Reformed Church of America), Roman Catholic Church. Of this group, there were over 110 grants awarded (totaling nearly 5 million dollars). The remaining twenty or so grants were divided among a handful of other denominations including: Mennonite churches (a growing proponent for contemplative through North America), Southern Baptist, and Evangelical Presbyterian. The 2006 denominational make-up of award recipients was very similar. 2
Lilly has a long history of financially aiding those with the contemplative/emerging message. In the late 1990s, Lilly awarded a grant to Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project (a partnership between Youth Specialties and San Francisco Theological Seminary – both strong proponents for contemplative spirituality). Then in 2001 the Endowment, presented the organization with a larger grant, that of $691,000 (see Faith Undone for more on this, p. 36).
In addition, Lilly funded Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, an emerging-type project with Diane Butler Bass.3
New Age sympathizer Parker Palmer (friend and inspiration to emerging leader, Len Sweet) also enjoyed the benefits of Lilly Endowment grants. 4
Indirectly, contemplative/emerging church advocate Rick Warren has also benefited from Lilly. In an article by Kjos Ministries titled “Social Change and Communitarian Systems,” it explains:
The Lilly Endowment “a private foundation…that supports community development, education and religion,” has also helped fund the [Peter] Drucker Foundation. But more recently, it has shown its support for Baptist leadership and pastoral training…. [An] article, “Golden Gate Seminary Receives $300,000 Lilly Endowment Grant” tells us that the funds would provide “hardware, software, renovations and training needed to fully integrate up-to-date technology” with the seminary’s training program.
This grant [$300,000] makes all the more sense in light of a new partnership between Golden Gate Seminary and Saddleback Church. The Baptist seminary will build a new branch on the Saddleback campus to train church leaders to use the digital data tracking technology needed to meet and monitor community needs around the world.5
In 1999, the now emerging/contemplative-promoting Bethel Seminary received $1.5 million from Lilly Endowment in a project created to identify “the next generation of Christian leaders.” 6
One Christian researcher further notes Lilly’s emphasis on assisting the contemplative/emerging movement:
Lilly funded Alan Roxburgh (mentor to Brian McLaren). Lilly also gave $15,000 to the Eastern Mennonite Seminary to build a labyrinth. Meanwhile, another Mennonite seminary (MBBS) puts on a contemplative course, also sponsored by Lilly, called Ministry Quest. And what do these Lilly projects all have in common? Spiritual formation and contemplative spirituality…. [I]n 2001, Goshen College was among the first 20 colleges to receive a five-year grant [from Lilly Endowment]. The Goshen grant is called the CALL project, which sponsored a Brian McLaren visit to the college. 8
There are many other similar grants issued by Lilly, such as the 2007 Fund For Theological Education (FTE). 9 While proponents say the emerging church succeeds because it is a move of God and that contemplative spirituality is a way to become closer to God, financial assistance by Lilly and other organizations and corporations (such as Rupert Murdoch, Josey-Bass, Leadership Network) may have a lot more to do with the real success of these movements. And given the un-biblical nature of these belief systems, that certainly does seem to be the case.
Shaping the Minds of the Youth by Roger Oakland
In 1974, Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read it he was delighted to discover that this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.” —Some History of The Cloud of Unknowing
“The Cloud of Unknowing”
by Ray Yungen
Mystical silence is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence–the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:
Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply “sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.1
Those with some theological training may recognize this teaching as the historical stream going back centuries to such figures as Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich. One of the most well-known writings on the subject is the classic 14th century treatise, The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous author. It is essentially a manual on contemplative prayer inviting a beginner to:
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.2
The premise here is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced–the mind has to be shut down or turned off so that the cloud of unknowing where the presence of God awaits can be experienced. Practitioners of this method believe that if the sacred words are Christian, you will get Christ–it is simply a matter of intent even though the method is identical to occult and Eastern practices.(from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 33)
1. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path (Triumph Books, 1994), p. 31.
2. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, citing The Cloud of Unknowing, p. 223.
by Jane Chastain
The Girl Scouts hierarchy has issued a “Communications Alert” to council CEOs and board chairs to try to put out the firestorm created by the launch of the new “leadership” program inspired by the Ashland Institute and created with the help of the Oxford Leadership Academy.
The new program will take the Girl Scouts on a series of age-specific “journeys” that culminate with the Senior Scouts becoming “ambassadors” to change the world for the global good. However, much of the current emphasis has been on the recruitment of adults who are being trained to become “guides” for the girls on these journeys.
Many believe that the new program is an indoctrination into the New Age movement. Consider the leaders/founders of the above-mentioned groups. The Ashland Institute, which specializes in a practice known as Transitional Awareness, is led by Michael Cecil, the former leader of the Emissaries of Divine Light cult, founded by his father. Click here to read this entire out of house news story.