Archive for March, 2012
After receiving an e-mail from a concerned woman regarding Lancaster Bible College, we checked it out ourselves and have now added Lancaster Bible College to our continually growing list of Christian colleges and seminaries that promote Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality). The school, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a statement of faith that would line up with a Bible-believing viewpoint. It’s mission statement sounds OK: “to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving him in the Church and society.” But as with so many other Bible schools today, Lancaster has accepted the “New Spirituality” that embraces contemplative spirituality and facets of the emerging church (new missiology, globalism, ecumenism, servant leadership, etc).
Part of the reason this happened at Lancaster is no doubt its accreditation relationship with The Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation (ABHE). As you may remember, last year Lighthouse Trails wrote an article “An Epidemic of Apostasy – Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited” showing that ABHE was requiring accrediting schools to incorporate a Spiritual Formation program into their schools. So, with Lancaster Bible College as one of the schools accredited with ABHE, it isn’t a surprise to see the school falling into step with contemplative spirituality. Be that as it may, however the incorporation of contemplative came into play at Lancaster, the point is it did, and those looking for a solid Bible-based, non-contemplative Bible college may need to look elsewhere.
Below we are listing three significant instances where you will find the contemplative/new spirituality influence at Lancaster. As you will see, there are many indications that this spirituality has deeply permeated Lancaster Bible College.
1. Lancaster offers a Spiritual Formation & Discipleship major: Once a school offers a major in Spiritual Formation, that school has usually past the point of no return.
2. LBC offers something called Project Renovation. This provides a contemplative retreat for youth workers “for the purpose of soul care.” On the Project Renovation website, which LCB links to and is directly connected to, many resources are listed to develop one’s focus on contemplative spirituality, including a link to Hearts & Minds Book Review that offers a large selection of mystical and emerging promoting authors and books. Project Renovation also provides a link to Ruth Haley Barton’s The Transforming Center and Kyle Strobel’s Metamorpha (both places are ardently contemplative). The director of Project Renovation is Lancaster Bible College’s Director of the Student Ministry Majors, Rick Rhoads.
3. The Lancaster Bible College online bookstore shows that a great number of the textbooks being used have a contemplative and/or emerging emphasis. Here are some of those:
a. course: WPA101; textbook: Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland
b. course: WOR402; textbook: Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
d. course: THE480; textbook: Celtic Spirituality by Oliver Davies
e. course: STM102; textbook: Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture by Walt Mueller
f. course: THE105; textbook: The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar
g. course: STM311; textbook: Youth Minstry by Mark Ostreicher (Youth Specialties)
h. course: STM315; textbook: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
i. course: STM402; textbook: Understanding Prayer: a fresh approach by Kyle Lake
j. course: STM480; textbook: Speaking to Teenagers by Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins
k. course:SPF210; textbooks: Surrender to Love by David Benner, Devotional Classics by Richard Foster
l. course: SPF310; textbooks: Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard, Cultivating a Life for God by Neil Cole
m. course: ICS104; textbook: Prayer by Philip Yancey
n. course: CML102; textbook: Shaped By God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea
o. course: CML201; textbook: Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley
p. course: CML210; textbook: Leadership Next by Eddie Gibbs
q. course: CFM332; textbook: Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation by Awana leaders
“Lighthouse Trails, the Early Years – Part 2 – “A Hot Topic” That Just Wouldn’t Go Away”
By Deborah Dombrowski
After reading the unpublished manuscript, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen (our new-found brother in the faith) in the fall of 2000, the first thing that seemed reasonable to do was to meet with the Young Life Director of Training for Oregon. I was concerned about my own daughter’s involvement with Young Life but also was thinking about all the thousands of Young Life leaders and interns who might be introduced to contemplative spirituality through Young Life’s recommended reading list.
I called the Young Life office in Portland and made an appointment. During the week or so interim before the meeting, I began researching contemplative spirituality on the Internet. The only problem was, there was virtually nothing opposing it or critiquing it. But there was plenty supporting it. Finally, I found an article by a John Caddock (from Oregon). His article was written in 1997 and was titled “What is Contemplative Spirituality, and Why is it So Dangerous?.” It was actually a review of Brennan Manning’s book, The Signature of Jesus. That was one of the books Ray had discussed in his manuscript. I also later found an article by Al Dager of Media Spotlight. But that was about it. Essentially, the contemplative issue was not being challenged, at least not on the Internet. Little did we know at the time, it had been simmering in the background within the evangelical church for at least two decades by then and was about to explode.
The day before Ray and I were to meet with the Young Life Director, I stumbled upon Peter Marshall Jr.’s name on the Internet and saw where he was promoting Henri Nouwen. I didn’t know a lot about Marshall Jr., but I had loved the movie of his father Peter Marshall, A Man Called Peter, a Scottish minister who eventually became U.S. Senate Chaplain back in the ‘50s. When I saw the endorsement of Nouwen by Peter Marshall Jr., I e-mailed his office with my concerns and got a rather scathing reply back. In my naivety at the time, I couldn’t believe the e-mail was really from him. So on the morning I was to leave for my appointment with Ray and the Young Life Director, I called the Peter Marshall office. Lo and behold, Peter Marshall, Jr. answered the phone. He acknowledged that it was indeed he who had written the e-mail, and he told me that anyone who would say anything bad about Henri Nouwen or Brennan Manning was committing “Satanic slander.” Marshall expressed strong anger about my having questioned the two contemplative men. I was very taken back by the angry response to what I had thought was an amiable and mild challenge on my part. When Marshall was finished reprimanding me, we said good-bye and hung up. I never had another chance to talk to Peter Marshall Jr., and he died in 2010 at the age of 70.
When I arrived at the coffee shop in Portland later that morning, Ray was standing in the foyer waiting for me. As I approached him, I said, “You’ll never believe who I just talked to.” I will never forget Ray’s reaction as I shared what had happened. His eyes filled with tears, and he said, “Peter Marshall is a conservative Christian. I am shocked that he would have such a view.” I knew then that Ray Yungen was a brother who did not hate these people but rather had a genuine desire to help people. And as for Marshall’s angry reaction, I later came to find out that an angry reaction was a common denominator from those who promoted contemplative spirituality when challenged by someone about it. The list of those I would someday talk to either by phone, e-mail, or letter began with Marshall but would later include: Philip Yancey, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne, Rick Warren, Ken Blanchard, David Jeremiah, Gary Thomas, Keri Wyatt Kent, Richard Foster (indirectly), personnel from Focus on the Family, and many others.
From the fall of 2000, when we met Ray, until the end of 2001, we tried to find a publisher who would publish A Time of Departing. We put together a proposal and sent it out to several Christian publishers. I knew how to write a book proposal as I had put one together for my own biography, Laughter Calls Me (also unpublished at that point).
As one rejection letter after the next came in, we grew more and more skeptical that we would find a publisher for A Time of Departing. In the mean time, Ray read in an article somewhere that the top 40 Christian publishers would only publish books written by authors who had “significant national platforms.” We knew this left Ray out. He was unknown.
Ray had published For Many Shall Come in My Name (1st edition) in the early nineties with a small publishing company that eventually went out of business. Several thousand copies of the book had sold, and Ray did a national tour that included interviews with places like Southwest Radio Church, but when Ray’s publisher went under, he was left without any representation.
Then, in 1994, a few years after Ray wrote For Many Shall Come in My Name, he was asked by a Salem (Oregon) Missionary Alliance youth pastor to research a man named Richard Foster who would be coming to the pastor’s church soon. Ray had not heard about Foster prior to that time. Before the seminar took place, Yungen read Celebration of Discipline. Ray had been studying Thomas Merton for some time, and as he read Foster, he felt there was a connection between him and Merton. Ray attended the seminar, and afterwards went to the front where Foster was standing and talking to people. Ray describes the brief conversation he had with Foster that evening:
After the seminar ended . . . I approached Foster and politely asked him, “What do you think of the current Catholic contemplative prayer movement?” He appeared visibly uncomfortable with the question, and at first seemed evasive and vague.
He then replied, “Well, I don’t know, some good, some bad (mentioning Matthew Fox as an example of the bad).” In defense, he said, “My critics don’t understand there is this tradition within Christianity that goes back centuries.” He then said something that has echoed in my mind ever since that day. He emphatically stated, “Well, Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people!” I realized then Foster had waded deep into Merton’s belief system.(from chapter 4 of A Time of Departing)
Ray began to study Richard Foster in depth after that, and in early 1999, he finished the first edition of A Time of Departing, with Richard Foster and Thomas Merton as key figures in his critique. Nearly two years later, we met Ray.
While we were seeking a publisher for A Time of Departing and getting a growing stack of rejection letters, Ron, the Salem youth pastor who had invited Ray to the Richard Foster seminar, was at a church conference and found himself sharing a dining table with John Armstrong, a pastor, author, and an adjunct professor at Wheaton College Graduate School. Ron happened to have a copy of Ray’s manuscript with him, and after striking up a conversation, asked Armstrong if he would take the manuscript with him and read it. Armstrong agreed.
Within a couple weeks, Armstrong contacted Ron and said that A Time of Departing was fantastic. He said if Ray would remove chapter six (“Could This Really Be the End of the Age?”), he could probably get Harvest House to publish the book. At first, we were excited, but after prayer and deliberation, Ray, Dave, and I decided that removing that chapter would seriously diminish the message of the book. It is in that chapter that Ray talks about occultist Alice Bailey (who coined the term New Age) and her prediction that the Age of Aquarius (a supposed age of enlightenment for man when he realizes his divinity) would come through the Christian church by mystical practices and signs and wonders. Chapter six also talks about Mystery Babylon where seducing spirits will deceive the whole world into embracing a new system of spirituality (a one-world religion). Quoting from that chapter, Ray stated: “[I]nstead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!” No, we knew that chapter had to stay. Sadly, and ironically, John Armstrong has, in more recent years, come out as an advocate for the emerging church.
One day, after we turned down John Armstrong’s offer to help publish A Time of Departing and after I was beginning to think we would never find a publisher for this vitally important book, a little light came on, so to speak, and I said to Dave, “Why don’t we start our own publishing company and publish the book ourselves?” We prayed that God would open the door if that’s what He wanted us to do, and after talking to Ray, it was agreed that this is how we could get the book published.
We knew nothing about publishing. I was a small time free-lance writer and had written my own biography, and Dave had a degree in English from Portland State University. But that hardly prepared us to start a publishing company. I bought a bunch of books from Amazon, one of which was called How to Publish a Book and Sell a Million Copies. I figured if we were going to publish a book, selling a million copies would certainly get our message out. However, when I read the book, one of the things it advised was, Don’t write anything “controversial” if you are interested in “large sales.” It was then I knew that Lighthouse Trails would never be a big publishing company that sold millions of books. We started off controversial, and ten years later, we are still considered controversial. Sadly, “controversial” is increasingly coming to mean something devoted to the biblical Gospel.
In March of 2002, we opened a business bank account and officially started Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Our motto would be “bringing light to areas of darkness.” Six months later, we released the first edition of A Time of Departing. Another book, by a large Christian publishing house, was being released right about the same time. While we were picking up our first 500 copies of our new release from a small printer in Washington state, unbeknownst to us at the time, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was being released as well and would soon be a New York Times best seller, eventually reaching sales of over 35 million copies. It would turn into a rabbit versus a turtle race to get our messages out, but because we believed that contemplative spirituality would draw people away from the Gospel rather than to it, we felt our efforts were necessary and that God would get our warning out as He saw fit.
In the spring of 2003, we sent a copy of A Time of Departing to Rick Warren thinking we should warn this now popular pastor of the contemplative prayer movement. He wrote back a personal note on a card saying:
Just a note to say thanks for the copy of A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen. It definitely will be a useful addition to my personal library and resource in my studies. I agree this is a hot topic. Sincerely, Rick Warren
When we received Rick Warren’s reply, we felt a sense of relief that he seemed to have appreciated our warning. But that was before a lot of things happened:
It was before we read Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Life by Warren Smith.
It was before we learned that Rick Warren had been promoting Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) movement as far back as the early nineties in his first book, The Purpose Driven Church.
It was before we read George Mair’s book, A Life With Purpose where he identified Rick Warren’s plans to use New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard for his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in training leaders around the world.
It was before George Mair was advised by an acquaintance at the Attorney General’s office in California to file a hate crime against Rick Warren for his assault against Mair for his book (but Mair called me, and I advised him against filing).
It was before Rick Warren wrote his “midnight e-mail” to me in the spring of 2005, an e-mail that was filled with inaccuracies to cover up the truth, but yet he had his chief apologist at the time post it all over the Internet within hours of sending it to me.
It was before Saddleback sent out e-mails to an undisclosed number of people saying that Lighthouse Trails and Ray Yungen were “sitting on a pile of money” (and we just wanted to know where it was because we could really have used that pile of money to pay the bills that month).
It was before Saddleback accused Lighthouse Trails of “publishing lies” and saying that we had broken into their website server and “federal agents” were on the case.(story)
It was back when we thought that there was no way the majority of Christian leaders could be right in the middle of helping to bring in a mystical spirituality that would take millions into the arms of outright apostasy.
Needless to say, by the time we went to press with the second edition of A Time of Departing in the spring of 2006, the book now had an entire chapter devoted to Rick Warren and his contemplative prayer propensities. And it had a chapter devoted to something everyone was calling the emerging church. Vicious and unscrupulous efforts were already underway to stop Lighthouse Trails. Had it been just our own strength and wisdom to keep us going, we never could have continued. But, in spite of our own human frailties and weaknesses, and in spite of efforts to stop us, God showed mercy and justice and kept Lighthouse Trails afloat. And while there’s no question that contemplative spirituality has skyrocketed exponentially throughout the world, thanks largely to big name advocates of the movement, tens of thousands of people have now read A Time of Departing as well as our 2007 book on the emerging church, Faith Undone by Roger Oakland; and we believe these books have made a difference in helping to defend the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and identifying this mystical spirituality that is working to blind the eyes of millions.
There’s much more to our story, and you can read about most of the episodes on our site. When we first began, we wondered if there were other Christians who saw what Ray, Dave, and I saw. Surely, we can’t be the only ones, we thought. We are so happy to report that we aren’t by a long shot. Through the thousands of e-mails, letters, customers, and newsletter subscribers, we have learned that God has faithfully shown many believers what is happening in today’s church and world. We are privileged and humbled to have a small part in this work. As we have said many times before, Lighthouse Trails exists as a service to the body of Christ, for the sake of the Gospel, and we pray and hope, to the glory of God.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1Thessalonians 5:1-6)
David and Deborah Dombrowski – December 2010 – Montana
From our article, “Are These Rumors True?”
Also see Berit’s review of The Hunger Games – the book.
By Berit Kjos
“The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on American school children. These include emotional shock and desensitization… isolation from sources of support [parents], stripping away defenses… and inducing acceptance of alternative values…” Thomas Sowell, PhD.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith!” 1 Peter 5:8-9
I heard no laughter while watching The Hunger Games on opening day. Just sober silence. This teenage movie — set in a totalitarian world that supposedly replaced a broken America — shows the grim struggle for survival in a world without God, hope or meaning. The only “higher power” is a heartless government that supplies its own choice of artificial thrills and trials. And the people suffer.
The book behind the movie was published by the prominent Scholastic. It brought us the Harry Potter series and countless other books promoting witchcraft and the occult. By marketing its books through our education system, Scholastic may have done more to distort history, mythologize truth and promote moral and spiritual corruption among children than any other publisher.
If you have children in public schools, they probably read the Weekly Reader, which offers news and current events from a strictly non-Christian perspective. Its publisher, the Weekly Reader Corporation, is owned by Scholastic. This 1990 message illustrates its earth-centered propaganda and twisted view of history:
“Give Thanks to the Earth: The first Thanksgiving feasts were harvest festivals. People gathered to celebrate successful harvests and to thank the Earth for its fruits. You can celebrate the earth every day by always taking care of the environment.” Scholastic News
Brainwashing and Global Change
Decades before the birth of the United Nations, some of the globalist leaders that launched the Federal Reserve called for a radical new agenda for America’s children. With support from the Carnegie Foundations, John Dewey prepared a socialist foundation for the new system. As the first president of the American Humanist Association, he was determined to replace Christianity with pluralistic values that fit the global agenda. Click here to continue reading.
By Bob Unruh
Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, caught up in the high-profile Obamacare arguments that started today, have refused to intervene in a case in which deputies threatened parents with the forced removal of their children unless they agreed to let social workers, who did not have a warrant or probable case, search their home.
The stunning conclusion came in a lawsuit brought on behalf of John and Tiffany Loudermilk, who sued officials after a confrontation at their Maricopa County, Ariz., home in 2005.
A district court judge ruled a reasonable person would believe the Loudermilks’ decision to allow social workers to search their home was coerced, in violation of the 4th Amendment. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the search was proper.
The case may not be finished, as the opinion from the 9th Circuit was unpublished, which means that it is not binding on future cases. Also, when the deputies appealed to the 9th Circuit for immunity, the social workers who also were sued did not, and that part of the case remains on hold at the district court level. Click here to continue reading.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
This is in response to your lead article on March 19, 2012: HOW LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BEGAN – Part One: “It was a dark and stormy night.”
You don’t know us, as our ministry is not as well publicized as yours, but we identify with your work and calling. We depend on you guys in exposing these errors, and in your lead article today about how Lighthouse Trails got started—and we emphasize with your angst. Especially in this paragraph quoted below, though we deal mainly with a subject different from “contemplative prayer”:
You write: “We thought that if we could warn some of the more influential leaders (like Rick Warren), they would be so happy to be warned, they would probably go out and write their own books warning about (CD note: our subject of calling is different) contemplative prayer, and we could just go back to our “normal” lives and leave this kind of thing up to them.”
This happens to us almost on a daily basis in our ministry. When this happens, we take courage from the (entire) book of Habakkuk, and from the verse in Jeremiah below:
First, from the King James: “Thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trusteth, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
And then from the NASB: “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”
Though jousting with our own leaders (whom we see as the footmen) , we have not yet met the enemy, but fully believe that we are being prepared to do so. In our case, as you report in yours, the Lord is “…using the simple to confound the wise,” and thus we enjoy a fellowship with you guys though we don’t know you personally. This is just meant to encourage, and affirm the Lord’s encouragement to Elijah, when he complained about the actions of Jezebel: (Romans 11:4 referring to Elijah’s cry of discouragement in OT) ’ And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” )
We have seen the contemplative issues come up in the Church at large (and have read your reports), but we have only recently seen the corroding effects of contemplative prayer in our intimate local circle—people who have mentored us, and people with whom we would trust our very lives!” So scary. Keep up the good work.
This must be the “fellowship of the saints”???
Many blessings, C_____
By Ross Levitt and Susan Candiotti, CNN
(CNN) – Opening arguments are scheduled for Monday in Philadelphia in the first case in which an official of a Roman Catholic archdiocese has been accused of protecting abusive priests by moving them from parish to parish.
Monsignor William Lynn has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn served as the vicar of clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, a position in which he was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.
A grand jury alleged that he knowingly allowed priests accused of abuse to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children, according to the district attorney’s office. Lynn “acted as if his job was to protect the abuser, never the abused,” a January 2011 grand jury report concluded. Click here to continue.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times International
I am writing this as I travel back home from Nairobi to John Wayne Airport in Southern California. As I have 23 hours of flying time, I am able to process my thoughts with regard to the seven days spent on the ground in Kenya. While I was confident last November that God had led me to visit Kenya, my return visit has confirmed the beginnings of a unique work that has the potential to develop further and bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
My vision for poor and orphaned children started several years ago when I visited Myanmar for the first time and saw the tremendous needs of orphans and widows. Soon a plan to work with national Christians to provide aid along with sound biblical teaching unfolded in memory of our son Bryce. We rented large homes with the goal of housing about 20 children in each home and found dedicated Christians who would oversee the homes and make sure the children were educated, fed, and properly clothed.
From one home, the program expanded to five homes, which we now call Bryce Lodges. We now oversee over 80 children in Myanmar. The children are individually sponsored by people from around the world. Our cost for renting the homes and providing financial assistance for the leaders and helpers comes from donations given to Understand The Times designated for Myanmar.
As time passed, I felt the Lord leading me to expand the Bryce Lodge program to other countries. Last November, I traveled to South Africa and Kenya in order to see what doors God would open there. And this past February, I visited the Philippines with the same vision in mind. While our experience has been very good in Myanmar with our program there, it became apparent to me that there may be an even better way to accomplish our vision to reach orphans by working through local pastors and their churches. Our vision was to provide resources from our donors to be administered through pastors and church members. We would also commit ourselves to assisting in education and Christian education so that children in hopeless situations would have an opportunity not only to be given hope for their futures but also to be salt and light to their communities and ambassadors for Jesus Christ.
When I left Kenya in November of 2011, my vision was for Understand The Times to provide for three to five homes there. These homes would be overseen by Pastor Achilla. The families would be made up of widows and grandmothers who were looking after orphans and the poor.To see photos, read the rest of this commentary, and/or donate to the orphans and widows in Kenya, click here.