Archive for April, 2017

The Shack’s Universal Papa

By Warren B. Smith

There is nothing new about saying, “I am God.” . . . However, in the Judeo-Christian-Moslem world, God is usually not popularly understood as a universal presence, the ground of all being.1 —New Age leader David Spangler (emphasis added)


God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things [a universal presence]2—The Shack’s “Jesus” defining “Papa” as a universal New Age God (emphasis added)


I‘m not who you think I am, Mackenzie.”3—Papa, The Shack (emphasis added)


Shared Universal Presence

Ask certain indigenous peoples of the South Pacific Islands who Papa is, and they will tell you she is a female goddess4—just like The Shack’s female Papa. Ask certain Haitians, New Orleanians, and Wiccans who are into Voodoo, and they will tell you that Papa is a shapeshifting “trickster” who can appear as either a male or female deity—just like The Shack’s Papa.5 And if you ask, they will all tell you that their Papas are universal Papas who dwell “in, around, and through all things”—just like The Shack’s Papa.

From L to R: Avraham Aviv Alush as “Jesus,” Sumire as “Sarayu,” Sam Worthington as “Mack” and Octavia Spencer as “Papa” in THE SHACK. Photo by Jake Giles Netter.

Papa as Earth Mother
Shack enthusiasts should take note that “Papa” is also the name of a Polynesian Earth goddess who is part of a pantheon of gods and goddesses found in the South Sea Islands. On the “Journeying to Goddess” website, under the heading “Goddess Papa,” we read that Papa is “the Earth Mother who gave birth to all things” and that “Polynesians summon Papa to help in all earthly matters.”6

In his book Unshackled, Pastor Larry DeBruyn describes how William P. Young’s “Papa” bears a striking resemblance to “the name, nature, and nurturing potential” of this Polynesian Earth goddess Papa.7 Quoting from a source on Hawaiian gods and goddesses, DeBruyn cites the references they make to the “comfort,” “care,” “guidance,” and “unconditional love,” that are given to people “in times of crisis and grief” by this Hawaiian Papa and how her “intervention instills calming reassurance and healing.”8 Young seems to parallel the same script as The Shack story wholly revolves around the comfort, care, guidance, and unconditional love that is given by Papa to his main character, Mack, during his time of crisis and grief—how Papa’s intervention instills calming reassurance and the ultimate healing of Mack’s “Great Sadness.”9

Another website elaborates on how the female Polynesian Papa “worshiped by Native Hawaiians” is regarded as “a primordial force of creation who has the power to give life and to heal.”10 A pagan site informs us that a Papa goddess is especially prevalent amongst the Maoris of New Zealand,11 while another site references a South Seas Papa as part of the mythology of the Southern Cook Islands group.12 While Young obviously put a lot of thought into the naming of his Shack characters, and even though he spent his early childhood living on the South Pacific Island of Papua New Guinea,13 he claims to have had no knowledge of this South Seas Papa goddess prior to his writing of The Shack.14

Papa as Trickster
Certain Haitian, New Orleanian, and Wiccan Voodoo practitioners are devoted to a spiritual “Papa” who can appear as both “male and female” and is known as the “trickster.”15 By simply googling “Papa” and “trickster,” a variety of websites emerge to describe this Papa Legba spirit that stands at the gateway to the spirit world. One of these sites—“Exemplore”—states that Papa Legba “is one of the most widely served African deities” and “is always the first and last spirit invoked in any ceremony” because “he opens and closes the doorway to the spirit world.” 16 The site explains that in Voodoo, “Papa” is “the intermediary” who “stands at a spiritual crossroads and grants or denies permission to speak with the spirits of Guinee.”17

On the same Exemplore site, in a special section for witches, Papa is described as a “master shape shifter” who “can help you transform on the astral realm, master dream powers, and advanced magics.”18 But in regards to Papa, it states that “in his shapeshifter form he tends to change genders and forms to delight himself. So don’t be surprised if a woman shows up to help you.”19 And just as Young’s female Papa and the South Seas islands female Papa can be summoned for help, comfort, and healing, this Voodoo trickster Papa can be similarly called upon. One of the posted comments on this witches part of the site states—“Anyone can summon Papa!”20 But sometimes this Voodoo Papa comes when he is not summoned. In another comment, a perplexed woman wrote—“I did not know about Papa at all until he presented his self to me as my spirit guide. Is this normal?”21 A posted reply assured her that “Papa does his own thing his own way, so if he presented himself to you, you can be sure it is him.”22 Another site expressed the confusion that can result from a female ”God” named Papa—“It’s so confusing because Papa is a Mama.”23 But Scripture assures us that the one true God is “not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). He is not a Papa who is a Mama which art in a shack—He is “our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).

Praying to Which Papa?
So what Papa are people invoking when they are inspired to pray to Papa after reading The Shack? Is Young presenting Shack readers with the true God of the Bible or with a generic Papa “God” that overlaps with all the other mamas and papas and gods and goddesses around the world? The Shack’s “Jesus” answers that question loud and clear for any Shack reader who has a heart for the truth. With words purposefully put in his mouth by Young—a self-described universalist24—The Shack’s “Jesus” proclaims that his Papa “God” is “the ground of all being” because he “dwells in, around, and through all things.”25 In other words,  The Shack’s Jesus says that the Shack’s Papa indwells everyone and everything. This is the same universal God that David Spangler describes in the  beginning quote of this article. But this is panentheism, and this is a lie. This is the foundational teaching of the New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview that has been rapidly emerging both in the world and in the church. All of this is to say—The Shack’s Papa is a universal Papa and The Shack’s “God” is a counterfeit “God” who has cunningly wormed his way into an unsuspecting church.

Trickster Book
As seen with the Voodoo Papa, some of these mama and papa gods and goddesses are also “tricksters.” And they are definitely doing their trickster thing—which often entails cleverly undermining existing societal rules and established religious beliefs as they offer their unique brand of spiritual healing in the name of a more universal alternative spirituality. What can be especially deceptive is that much of their rebellious spiritual activity is cloaked in half-truths, clever remarks, playful humor—and even Christian language. And what seems all too apparent is that The Shack—and particularly The Shack’s Papa—fall into this trickster category. The novel grabs people’s hearts and minds even as biblical Christianity is being dismantled in front of them as they read the book. And only a trickster book can convince people they are reading about Jesus Christ when the name of Christ is never mentioned—not even once—in the entire story. A generic universal Jesus and a generic universal Papa and not a single mention of Christ, or the Devil for that matter—yet The Shack has already become one of the most popular Christian books ever written!

Trickster books for the church will use Christian language to pull the wool over your eyes so they mess with your mind—it’s all part of “messing around” and being a trickster. Toward the end of The Shack’s story, when the female Papa shapeshifts into being a male Papa, Mack asks if Papa is “still messing” with him. Papa’s immediate answer is—“Always.”26 At this point, sincere readers of The Shack need ask themselves a reasonable question—“Is the one true God of the Bible always “messing” with us, or is this what you would expect from a universal gender-bending trickster Papa “God” who bears more of a resemblance to the trickster god of this world than the one true God of the Bible.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Endnotes (Caution: Some of the endnotes in this article are from occultic websites.)
1. David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture (Sante Fe, NM: Bear & Company Publishing, 1991), p. 148.
2. William P. Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
3. Ibid., p. 96.
4. Part Three: The Chiefs xx Papa and Wakea, http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/hm/hm22.htm | Godchecker website: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/oceanic-mythology.php?list-gods-names.
5. Denise M Alvarado, “Papa Legba and Other Spirits of the Crossroads” (Who is Papa Legba?, Images of Legba, https://exemplore.com/magic/papalegba).
6. https://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/goddess-papa/, “Goddess Papa” September 19, 2012.
7. Larry DeBruyn, Unshackled: Breaking Away From Seductive Spirituality (Indianapolis, IN: Franklin Road Baptist Church, 2009), pp. 27-28. Author’s reference pertains to the now archived Wahine’o Wanana Institute’s “Hawaiian Goddesses” website: https://web-beta.archive.org/web /20110410205614/http://www.powersthatbe.com /goddess/papa.html.
8. Ibid.
9. William P. Young, op. cit.,  pp. 43-66, p. 92, pp. 96-98, pp. 101-102.
10. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papahanaumoku
11. The Goddess Papa, http://www.holladaypaganism.com/goddesses/cyclopedia/p/PAPA.HTM.
12. Wikipedia: Papa (mythology)— https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_(mythology).
13. Wm. Paul Young—About (http://wmpaulyoung.com/wm-paul-young-about).
14. Eric Barger, “Why The Shack Must be Rejected” (Lamp & Lion Ministries, Lamplighter, May 2017, http://christinprophecyblog.org/2017/04/why-the-shack-must-be-rejected),  pp. 13-14.
15. “Papa Legba and Other Spirits of the Crossroads” (Exemplore blog, Images of Legba, Who is Papa Legba?, https://exemplore.com/magic/papalegba).
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. “Papa Legba for Witches,” How Legba Can Help You (https://exemplore.com/wicca-witchcraft/papa-legba-for-witches)
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid., Posted Comments (Nitecat response to babygirl1414)
21. Ibid., Posted Comments (jacynnavarro)
22. Ibid., Posted Comments (Nitecat response to jacynnavarro)
23. http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/oceanic-mythology.php?deity=PAPA
24. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2017), pp. 118-119 (Young states that he believes in universal salvation.)
25. William P. Young, The Shack, op. cit., p. 218.
26. merriam-webster.com and encyclopedia.com (ousia)

Author Bio:

Warren B. Smith (B.A. University of Pennsylvania; M.S.W. Tulane University)—A free lance writer and community social worker who was formerly involved in the New Age movement. He has served as a program coordinator for people with special needs, directed several homeless programs, and has worked as a Hospice social worker in New Orleans and on the California coast. He has written extensively on the subject of spiritual deception and has spoken on radio, television, and at seminars and conferences.

Salt-Free Christianity—the Way of Today’s Church

                        bigstockphoto.com

By Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries

We hear of all different kinds of ingredients in food that we should avoid for our health. Salt is high on the list. Today, salt is used as a flavor enhancer, but in biblical times, it had a more important purpose, it preserved meats. It was the most available way to keep meat from going bad.

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. (Leviticus 2:13)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Your body is a living sacrifice to God when you are employed in His service. This is why Paul follows this with not being conformed to the world; if we are conformed to the world, we no longer have salt in our sacrifice.

We can’t tell someone about Jesus without having salt. Especially if that person already has another way he is following. People need light, and they need salt even though salt can sting on an open wound. The Word of God is described as a two-edge sword, a hammer, and WE are described as salt.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:13-14; emphasis added)

Of course we need to keep in mind that to minister to someone means we need to listen, sometimes more than we speak. There is a right time to answer. Firing answers at a person after each thing you disagree with can extinguish what you want to accomplish. There is a time to be a little salt and a time to be a lot.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6)

Also, salt is a seasoning with grace; it is not the main element.

On the other hand, salt left in a salt shaker on the shelf is useless. Are you salt that is being used? Or are you trampled underfoot by your enemies and just sitting on a shelf useless?

We may not be able to preserve the culture from is decline, but we can preserve individuals lives by our being salt.

And yet, how many pastors and leaders are there who have lost their saltiness? There are pastors in the pulpit who avoid mentioning or pointing out what is sin—that is what I call salt-free Christianity. When you have pastors who refuse to repent for teaching wrong doctrine or for their wrongdoing to other people (and they have been confronted and do nothing in response), they have become saltless.

Salt can be removed within the church, no longer preserving biblical doctrine. Losing salt does not come overnight, it takes time. This happens when opportunities to speak out and present the truth are neglected which begins the process. It is when worldly “tolerance” is exercised instead of biblical judgment.

It is the church of Laodicea that does not notice it has become lukewarm and saltless. Members of the Laodicean church show tolerance for any doctrinal aberration, seeking to unite with all under the name of love, peace, and unity.  This backslidden church has stood for nothing for so long that it has little effect on society while at the same time, it has allowed many things contrary to Christ’s teachings to come in. Jesus is outside, knocking on the door.

Eventually God removes His lampstand from churches that do not repent.

We are being taught to be tolerant, to discern nothing, to judge nothing- that is salt-free Christianity.

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14: 34-35)

For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.  Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. (Mark 9:49-50)

As believers in Christ, let us not be part of a salt-free Christianity. We are here to preserve—what we need to be is leaven free, not salt free.

Kingdom-Now Evangelicals

By Roger Oakland
While I believe Rome leads the way with the bold claim that God chose Peter and the succeeding popes to take the title of “Vicar of Christ” and determine what the sheep should or should not believe, other groups believe they have been called to usher in or even prepare and set up the kingdom of God here on Earth without the presence of the King. Often taking the position that Jesus will not actually physically return to rule and reign for a period of one thousand years, these groups see themselves as chosen by God to be human vessels for this purpose.
Common names for this teaching are: Kingdom Now, Dominion Theology, and Reconstructionism. It is the idea that before Christ can return, the world must be brought together in unity and perfection, and this work will be done by the Christian church. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Jim Wallis’ social gospel agenda, and Tony Campolo or Brian McLaren’s emergent church are a few of the avenues through which this is being propagated. The goal is to basically eradicate all the world’s ills (e.g., disease, poverty, terrorism, and pollution) and thus, we will have created a “Heaven on Earth” Utopia.

While creating such a world sounds very good, it is not what the Bible says is going to happen. Many Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments, describe a very different scenario, such as the following:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:9-14)
The following list of some of the erroneous teachings in Kingdom-Now theology illustrate how dangerous this belief system is, yet it has tremendously pervaded the church today:
Prophetic Scriptures are denied or fulfilled in 70 AD (as is also the belief of preterism).
The church is the new Israel (replacement theology).
Armageddon is the ongoing battle between the forces of light and darkness.
The Antichrist is a spirit, not an actual person.
We are already in the Tribulation, but at the same time, we are in the Millennium. It doesn’t get any stranger! It’s one or the other.
Rather than following traditional Bible prophecy, they follow “new revelations.”
Modern-day prophets must be obeyed and not judged for their inaccuracy.
They want to restore the Edenic nature even though Eden is where sin began.1
This movement has swept the planet, and those who refuse to join hands are considered “colonial,” “militant fundamentalists,” and “narrow-minded crackpots” who are not willing to catch the “new wave” and get on board with the mighty revival that is moving the world toward unity and peace. Many of the leaders in this movement have no problem whatsoever joining with the pope in Rome and the kingdom-of-Earth plans he has for joining together with other religions, including Islam.
While some discerning Christians can see how this trend plays a role in light of Bible prophecy, there is a huge portion of Christianity that does not. These are those who are reading books by authors who promote emerging church (or “progressive Christianity”) ideas for the postmodern generation that reject the teachings of the Bible and embrace establishing the kingdom of God on Earth right now. They are willing to join hands with other religions by reinventing Christianity into a “broad-way” spirituality where all are saved and part of God’s Kingdom. No longer do they believe in the “narrow road” to eternity. The kingdom of God is for all religions, they say (and even for those who believe in nothing). Unity, peace, connectedness, and oneness is all that matters, while biblical doctrine is being set aside as irrelevant to the “new reformation” at hand. Obviously, such a view leaves little room for the Cross and the biblical Gospel. And Scriptures such as this one are overlooked:
And he [Jesus] went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are. (Luke 13:22-25; emphasis added)
Unfortunately, while there may be many pastors, like Rick Warren, who still hold to a personal belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior, the time will come when the path they are now taking may cost them dearly. It is my hope that these leaders might wake up to see what they are doing before it is too late. And let us not forget the countless number of people following these shepherds who may never embrace a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of the truths being withheld from them for the sake of “peace” and “unity.”
It is also grievous to know that a good number of “Christian” leaders no longer believe (or have never believed) in the Cross as a propitiation for sin but maintain their belief that such a concept is both archaic and barbaric. They hold to the view that Christianity needs to be reinvented for our times. Brian McLaren, who in 2015 represented “Christianity” at the Parliament of the World Religions in Utah, holds to just such a view. In one interview, he said that the idea of God sending His Son to a violent death is “false advertising for God” and he equally rejected the doctrine of Hell as well.2
In addition, McLaren has played a significant role in promoting kingdom-now theology as can be seen in his book The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything. McLaren, who was once listed by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 most influential persons associated with evangelical Christianity, has sought to upgrade the Christian faith in order to make it relevant for today. He asks a number of questions at the beginning of his book that imply the church has misrepresented Jesus’ core message and promotes the idea that Christians need to be honest with themselves even if that means altering their faith. In his book, he makes the following statement:
Sadly, for centuries at a time in too many places to count, the Christian religion has downplayed, misconstrued, or forgotten the secret message of Jesus entirely. Instead of being about the kingdom of God coming to earth, the Christian religion has too often been preoccupied with abandoning or escaping the earth and going to heaven . . . We have betrayed the message that the kingdom of God is available for all, beginning with the least and last and the lost—and have instead believed and taught that the kingdom of God is available for the elite, beginning with the correct and the clean and the powerful.3
In McLaren’s 2016 book titled The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian, he describes this all-inclusive “kingdom of God” that incorporates “multifaith [i.e., all religions] collaborations.” He states:
This kind of collaboration leads to a fresh understanding of what it means to evangelize. I was taught that it meant converting people to the one true religion, namely, my own [Christianity]. Now I believe evangelism means inviting people into heart-to-heart communion and collaboration with God and neighbors in the great work of healing the earth, of building the beloved community, of seeking first the kingdom of God and God’s justice for all. Members of each tradition bring their unique gifts to the table, ready to share and receive, learn and teach, give and take, in a spirit of generosity and vulnerability. Neither my neighbors nor I are obligated or expected to convert. . . . As we work together for the common good, we are all transformed. Those who haven’t experienced this kind of transforming collaboration simply don’t know what they’re missing. . . . Through multifaith collaborations, I have come to see how the language Paul used about one body with many members (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12: 4– 5) applies not only to differing gifts among individual Christians but also to differing gifts among religions.4 (emphasis added)
While many evangelicals have now pushed Brian McLaren to the sidelines of evangelical Christianity, others have continued carrying on his message, sometimes in more subtle ways. But as the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Satan’s devices are always in play. His goal is to destroy the message of the Cross, and while he cannot ever actually destroy it, he can cause untold numbers to reject it by offering them substitutes. But we know there is no substitute for the finished work on the Cross by Jesus Christ, who is the only Savior for mankind.
What Does This Tell Us?
There is a common cliché: if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and has feathers like a duck—it is a duck! Efforts are underway to establish the kingdom of God on Earth right now without the King. Is this what Jesus intended would happen, or are we being misled by human beings who are following the thoughts of their own imagination or worse yet the inspiration of Satan?
While the idea that the kingdom of God is being established here on Earth by human leaders has been around for centuries, we should pay special attention when current events reveal that though the world gets worse and worse, we are being told it is getting better and better. When false religions become part of the kingdom, then clearly, this is not God’s kingdom, but rather it is the kingdom that belongs to the god of this world. Jesus made it very clear there are two kingdoms—one of God and one of this world—when he told Pontius Pilate shortly before He was crucified, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus also said to Pilate in that same conversation “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Ask yourself this, are you hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd, or is it the voice of the god of this world who leads a kingdom that is not of God?
Endnotes:
1. Taken from “Kingdom-Now Theology” (Lighthouse Trails blog, March 6, 2007, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=3295).
2. Interview by Leif Hansen (The Bleeding Purple Podcast) with Brian McLaren, January 8th, 2006); Part 1: http://web.archive.org/web/20090103090514/http://bleedingpurplepodcast.blogspot.com/2006/01/brian-mclaren-interview-part-i.html; Part II: http://web.archive.org/web/20060127003305/http://bleedingpurplepodcast.blogspot.com).
3. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), pp. 78-79.
4. Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration (New York, NY: Convergent Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2016), Kindle location 2768.
(Roger Oakland is the author of several books, booklets, and is featured in many teaching DVDs and films. His latest book, The Good Shepherd Calls, deals with the apostasy taking place in the church today.)

News Article Highlights Lighthouse Trails: “A Book Publisher’s Beacon Shining in the Dark”

LTRP Note: The following article written by veteran journalist Jim Fletcher is highlighting Lighthouse Trails. While we are so encouraged by such an article, we hesitated in posting it on our own site because we don’t want to be guilty of taking glory for ourselves when God is the one who should receive glory for anything good that comes out of this ministry. But because we’ve heard so many stories from readers trying to share our material with pastors, leaders, family, and church members only to be told “don’t listen to Lighthouse Trails,” we thought this article might help  readers share information from Lighthouse Trails. We count it a privilege to stand with you in the defense of the Gospel when doing so in today’s church and world can be very difficult.

“A Book Publisher’s Beacon Shining in the Dark”

Jim Fletcher

By Jim Fletcher

In my previous life as a book publisher editor, it was my privilege to work with important authors like Henry Morris (the “father” of the modern creationism movement) and Berit Kjos (a leading researcher into cults).

In the past two decades, Christian book publishing has descended into an ideological abyss. A willingness by that community’s leadership to allow non-believers into the fold ensured that Christian publishing would decline. Sure, record sales came from a handful of (mostly dreadful) titles (like “Jesus Calling”). Overall, though, it is quite ironic that strategic decisions made decades ago, for business reasons, signaled the beginning of the end for Christian book publishing.

Of course it exists today; dozens of publishing houses remain, and if you listen to biased researchers like Ed Stetzer, you would believe evangelical leadership is still surging, still strong.

The proof is there to see, however. Leading Christian retail bookstore chain Family Christian Stores just ended and the shockwaves from that exit will be felt for a long time.

Recently I had a publishing representative tell me that selling books to a bookstore is now “almost impossible.”

Only the most innovative houses will continue to live. One I admire greatly is the team at Lighthouse Trails Publishing. A West Coast-based company, Lighthouse Trails exists to equip the saints. There can be no greater agenda, especially today as terrible influences are flooding the American church. Click here to continue reading.

Holocaust Memorial Day – A Question of “Tolerance”?

Today, it is the 2017 Holocaust Memorial/Remembrance Day, and around the world people will be stopping to remember the atrocities committed against six million Jews and around five million others, murdered because of the madness of one man – Adolph Hitler. For those of you who follow the writings of Lighthouse Trails, you know we hold a special place in our hearts regarding the Holocaust, and indeed have two Holocaust survivors for authors (one a Jewish Christian and one a resistance worker). What we are about to say is prompted because of our commitment to bring the things of darkness to the light.

During the preparation of our two Holocaust books (Trapped in Hitler’s Hell and Things We Couldn’t Say), we turned to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) for photographs of the Holocaust that we could use in our books. The USHMM has thousands of photos, which are proof against any delusion that the Holocaust never happened. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well think of what thousands of pictures are. So the world should be ever grateful to this Museum that has done well to preserve the past with the hope that such would never happen again.

Eight years ago, during the 2009 Holocaust Remembrance Day observations, when we learned that the USHMM had asked Barack Obama to be the keynote speaker for their ceremony, we realized that the true message of Holocaust remembrance was being lost. We could see that true message is being replaced with ideologies of tolerance, unification, globalism, and so forth. A 2009 press release put out by the USHMM stated:

We are honored that President Obama will participate in our Days of Remembrance ceremony,” said Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “At this critical moment, with hatred and anti-Semitism on the rise in so many parts of the world, and genocide still a reality, we are reminded of the continued relevance of the Holocaust and the urgency of its lessons. What the Holocaust teaches us with such moral clarity is the power of the individual and the responsibility we all have to not stand silent in the face of injustice.”

The Bible says that unless a person is born again, he cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. So we understand why the world views things the way they do, but unfortunately they have missed the real reason why the Holocaust happened, and why it may possibly happen again. While liberals and homosexuals are cashing in on the new Holocaust message of tolerance in order to propagate their agendas, the real meaning is being buried and ignored by most.

This true message is found within the pages of Scripture. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Jews, and in the New Testament, God offered man a promise of salvation and eternal life for all who accepted this new covenant, which was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. Within the pages of Scripture are details about God’s enemy, Satan, who hates God’s covenant with man. From the beginning of the Jewish people, they have been hated by Satan, and after the resurrection, when Christianity began, he has hated Christians as well.

The wrath that was poured out by Hitler, particularly to Jews (and anyone who helped them, of which many were Christians) was instigated, not because Hitler wasn’t “tolerant” or because he wasn’t a “globalist.” It was because he was indwelled with an anti-Christ spirit that hates anything to do with the covenant God has made with man. As the Bible explains, Lucifer (Satan) has the aspiration of being “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14). The Bible says he is the father of lies, confusion, and every evil thing. Christians who have studied the Holocaust and read about the horrible rage that was released against the Jews know that no one man could have done this alone. We understand that Hitler was demonically inspired.

The “tolerance” message deceives people into thinking that it cares about people being treated equally and justly, but in reality it is an anti-God, anti-freedom message. Hidden within its core is the idea that no one belief system can be the only way to God or truth; hidden within its core is an anti-Christ zeal that determines to lash out against God’s covenant with man. For instance, to say Christianity is true and Islam isn’t would be seen as intolerance and therefore evil. But in essence, both faiths are diametrically opposite of each other (even though they may share certain moral values) to how one is brought into a right relationship with God. Islam portrays human effort as being the primary catalyst for such a relationship, whereas Christianity’s emphasis is on a Savior who puts a person in a right relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not of man’s own doing. Since Islam rejects this, a devout Christian has to reject Islam. Thomas Merton knew that doctrinally the two beliefs could never come together; he came to believe that it was only through mysticism they could unite. In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing he discloses Merton’s views on this:

In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:

Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.

To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas … in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . .  But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light [mysticism] . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam. (emphasis added)1

Merton was basically saying that the doctrine of redemption and atonement through Christ was “of little value.” This also reflects the view of the emerging church that tolerance is more virtuous than faith, and that faith can actually be unvirtuous. As illustrated in the movie, Doubt, doubt and uncertainty unites. The priest in Doubt does a homily on doubt, and the fundamentalist in the movie (Meryl Streep) sees that as dangerous but in the end, she herself doubts. The point of the film is that uncertainty is good. Father Flynn is a Thomas Merton type priest in the sense that firm conviction is not necessarily a good thing. This is consistent with the emerging church and where emergent leader Tony Jones says in his book, The New Christians that uncertainty (including uncertainty of Scripture) is better than certainty and where Brian McLaren says we still haven’t got the Gospel right (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293).

The world thinks that if it teaches “tolerance,” that the Holocaust will never happen again. But the very message behind this kind of “tolerance” could actually cause it to happen again because tolerance, according to the world, is against the God of the Old and New Testament and against the people with whom He has made a covenant. But until Jesus Christ returns, which He has promised to do, Satan will be free to attack and destroy. The Bible says that as the days of Christ’s return draw closer, what takes place in the world will be like the birth pangs of a woman in labor. The pangs intensify the closer the birth becomes. And that is why spiritual deception continues to expand, quite quickly now.

While we have appreciated the efforts of the USHMM to preserve the evidence of the Holocaust, we are disappointed that they have latched onto the “tolerance” message that ultimately will reject the Jews and the Christians.

We must add something here too about homosexual activists, because they are the strongest and most out-spoken group for “tolerance.” But they have used the Holocaust and many of its stories, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, to compare their “plight” with that of the Jews in World War II. While it may be true that Hitler did eventually lash out against homosexuals, a number of the prominent Nazis, such as Ernst Rohm, were homosexuals.

For those who may be skeptical, read the following, which is from William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, perhaps one of the best works ever written on understanding Hitler:

He who was so monumentally intolerant by his very nature, was strangely tolerant of one human condition – a man’s morals. No other party in Germany came near to attracting so many shady characters. As we have seen, a conglomeration of pimps, murderers, homosexuals, alcoholics and blackmailers flocked to the party as if to a natural haven” (p. 121-122).

Later, pressure was put on Hitler to rid his organization of these types. But he was not intolerant of the homosexuals – that wasn’t why he turned on them. Hitler was intolerant of anything that stood in his way to bring about a super race of people that excluded, in particularly, the Jews and those who loved them.

We want to make one thing clear. Lighthouse Trails does not advocate persecution of people of any race, religion, or persuasion. We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior, either physically or verbally. What we are trying to get across is that the tolerance message is too binding in a theological sense and restricts the preaching of the Gospel. It will never work for biblical Christianity because, as Christians, we have to insist that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled with God, and the tolerance message rejects such an approach.

Some may wonder how this all ties in with Obama speaking for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum ceremony. Obama represents a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than biblical Christianity and one that lines up with the “tolerance” message in that Obama believes that other religions are legitimate paths to God:

Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. “I am rooted in the Christian tradition,” he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, “I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.” He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. “In our household,” he has explained, “The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”2

It is the following words that Satan hates and does all he can to destroy, but try as he might, he never will. It is the light that shines in a dark world. And a merciful, patient God calls out.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father [God], but by me. John 14:6

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4: 9-10

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Revelation 1:5

It is our prayer that many Jews around the world will come to see Jesus Christ as their Messiah and not be deceived by this “tolerance” message that in the end will hate them and persecute them. Historically, the Jewish people have been a trusting people . . .  this is one message we hope they won’t buy into.

Notes:
1. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006) p. 59, citing Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 110.

2. Stephen Mansfield, The Faith of Barack Obama (Thomas Nelson) p. 55, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203. (See our article.)

The article above was originally posted on the Lighthouse Trails Research blog in 2009 but remains relevant today.

Related Articles and Resources on the Holocaust:

 Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” (Part 2) – Neale Donald Walsch, “God,” and Hitler

Lighthouse Trails Resources on the Holocaust

Why One Should Not Glean From Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s Prayer Studies

By Lois Putnam

On a recent Sunday morning a vivacious older lady stood in front of a congregation, of what can only be termed a solid gospel preaching, mission minded church, and announced to the women that all should sign up for its newest Bible study program that would begin shortly.  Touting both Set Apart, and Living a Praying Life she stated that the author –Jennifer Kennedy Dean–was also part of the National Day of Prayer.

At my seat –I was writing down the information–for I knew my immediate assignment as a discerning Christian was, as Acts 17:11 instructs, to look into Dean to see if all she’s taught and written stands up to scripture.  In short, “Should one glean or be learning from this writer Jennifer Kennedy Dean?”

So that very afternoon I began my investigation.  And it wasn’t long into my research that I found “red flags flying!”   So what was it that made me know that Dean, and her numerous books were  something that I should not be buying into, nor following?  Let me explain!

Dean’s “The Praying Life Foundation” Web Page 

I.  Dean’s All About “Listening Prayer” Article

Checking out Dean’s web page: “The Praying Life Foundation”–her bio, blog, articles, store, and more– soon gave me pause.  For under Dean’s store was a section titled “Free.”  Clicking onto that I found many Dean articles.  Immediately, my eye caught the title: “Listening Prayer.”  Knowing that this was a meditative practice that uses a mantra or repetitive phrase to clear one’s mind so one can “hear God’s voice” as one sits in silence I read the five pages carefully.
http://www.prayinglife.org/free/  Scroll down to find article.

Did Dean support this unscriptural prayer method?  Indeed, Dean did! For Dean began her article by saying, “Spoken prayer will not reach its potential unless it is grounded in listening prayer.  In listening prayer spoken prayer is born.”  And Dean champions going into “the silence”* when she says of the Lord, “He wants us to know his secrets, but his secrets come wrapped in silence.” (p.1)
*  The Silence:  “Absence of normal thought.”  (A Time of Departing: Glossary-p.205) Click here to continue reading.

(Lois Putnam is a Lighthouse Trails author with two booklets released thus far.)

 

World in Crisis: ‘Community Beyond Belief’ Follows Church Model Without Religion

LTRP Note: One of our readers sent us this article today. We have posted it for informational and research purposes only and not as an endorsement.

By Katherine Burgess
The Wichita Eagle

People at Wichita Oasis start showing up at around 10 on Sunday morning, drinking coffee and chatting before the music begins.

Once children are safely in the large playroom – complete with a chalk wall, a tent and plenty of toys – the adults and youths find their seats, ready for music and announcements.

But when the music starts, the songs aren’t about Jesus. And when the speaker begins, he or she doesn’t read a Bible verse.

Although Oasis follows a Sunday morning structure similar to many Christian churches, it calls itself a “community beyond belief,” focused on atheists, humanists and agnostics.

“When you move, it’s so nice to just be able to go to a church of your denomination, make friends there, network there,” said Alexandra Simmons, president of Wichita Oasis and a humanist. “I love being able to provide that for people. Just to have a nonreligious place to get together.” Click here to continue reading.


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