Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

Discernment Ministries Not Needed? Would the Apostle Paul Agree?

By the Editors at Lighthouse Trails

This week, someone sent us an online article, written by a pastor who said that the church does not need discernment ministries  anymore. While the pastor’s comments that such ministries are making great money by doing this kind of work were erroneous, it was the pastor’s rationale and conclusions about discernment ministries as a whole that were most troubling. His rationale was that discernment ministries should not be criticizing and challenging leaders and teachers within the church (but rather outside the church; e.g cults, Mormonism); his conclusion was the church does not need discernment ministries and people should stop listening to them. He lumped all discernment ministries together, suggesting that they are all jealous of each other and spend a lot of time fighting amongst themselves. (By this reasoning—that discernment ministries are invalidated because of fighting and jealousy—then there also should be no marriages, families, churches, organizations, or virtually any human institution because institutions are made up of sinful humans who do at times fight and struggle between each other.) He suggested that many of these discernment people will end up dying early anyway because of the high level of stress involved. Needless to say, we found such an article very sad because we knew there would be people who would read it and would be persuaded by the pastor’s words.

There is one thing true in what this pastor stated, and that is that there can be quite a bit of stress involved with discernment. But, again, his rationale is faulty. It would suggest that since being discerning (or having a discernment ministry) is stressful, it must be wrong. But if we look at the lives of the apostles, the Old Testament prophets, and many martyrs who have lost their lives over the last 2000 years for standing for truth, no doubt, their lives were stressed and difficult. To speak the truth is not easy, and to speak the truth within the church is downright tough. Few knew this more than the apostle Paul:

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11: 25-27)

Even though Paul determined to put his trust in the Lord and serve Him only, what he went through sounds pretty stressful. Why was he willing to go through those sufferings and persecutions? Because he had full

The Martyrdom of Paul (Illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim, public domain)

confidence that he was called to warn and to preach for the edifying and exhorting of the body of Christ:

[I]f ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;  who now rejoice in my sufferings for you . . . warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. (Colossians 1: 23-24, 28-29; emphasis added)

At Lighthouse Trails, we by no means claim to be of the caliber of the apostle Paul. Nor do we want to be looked upon as such. We are just one part of the body of Christ, working diligently in a work we believe God has called us to do. We do not claim to be anything special, but we do claim that God in His wisdom has a place in the body for such a ministry as ours (Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 12; vs 21:  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you”).

We know there are some who name themselves among “discernment ministries” who are guilty of not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit when writing and reporting. They are at times vitriolic, unkind, practice mean name calling, and go after a figure’s personal effect rather than staying focused on the teachings, doctrines, beliefs, and promotions. It has been a criteria of Lighthouse Trails from our beginning that any author or writer we publish is allowing the fruits of the Spirit (e.g., love, gentleness, goodness, meekness, etc., Galatians 5:22-23) to be prevalent in his or her work.

Scripture says that as the days on this Earth grow darker and darker, spiritually speaking, more and more proclaiming Christians will turn away from the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (e.g., “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” 1 Timothy 4:1). Lighthouse Trails and the authors we represent are determined to continue in the work in which we have been called in spite of the fact that we are often falsely accused, unjustly discredited, and misjudged. Whether the Lord takes us home early or allows us to live long lives, it is our prayer that we will endure faithfully until the end. Perhaps, in time, people will stop listening to discernment ministries all together. If and when that day comes, we pray there will be enough pastors and churches who are speaking the truth and warning “night and day.” In the following passage by Paul, we can see that his heart was for the building up of the body of Christ, no matter the cost to him. May we all, as believers in Jesus Christ, whether “discernment ministry,” pastor, or neither, strive to have this same attitude:

 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.  Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12, emphasis added)

CONCLUSION

The following is a list of discernment ministries that Lighthouse Trails has come to know and look to over the past fifteen years; they are ones that meet the biblical criteria described above. Though these particular ministries may not agree with each other on every aspect, we have seen no greed, worldly ambition, jealousy, mean spiritedness, or dishonesty in these ministries. While they, like Lighthouse Trails, do not claim to be perfect or infallible, they always point readers back to the Word of God and uphold the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is there a need for discernment ministries in today’s church? We believe the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” And we believe the apostle Paul would agree.

Trusted Discernment Research Ministries

The Berean Call

Deception in the Church
Sandy Simpson

Forcing Change
Carl Teichrib

Guarding the Flock Ministries

Herescope Blog

Kjos Ministries
Berit Kjos

Learn to Discern Granny

Let Us Reason Ministries
Mike Oppenheimer

Lighthouse Trails Research Project

ReachOut Trust

Spiritual Research Network

Understand the Times,
Roger Oakland

Signs of the Times in Song with Trevor Baker, Part 1

Trevor Baker

LTRP Note: The following is part 1 of a recent interview that our Canadian friend and co-laborer in Christ Trevor Baker had with The Berean Call. Trevor will be singing at The Berean Call’s 2017 conference this year. We met Trevor, who is from Saskatchewan, through Roger Oakland a few years ago. After listening to his music the first time, we realized he was singing about the things that Lighthouse Trails and other ministries were writing about. His passion for truth and love for the lost shines through in his songs.

Interview by The Berean Call with singer/songwriter Trevor Baker (You’ll hear a few of his songs in this 2-part interview.) Trevor’s website is www.trevorbaker.ca.

Warren B. Smith Suffers Heart Attack on May 21st – Please Pray for Him

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. (Romans 15:30)

On Sunday afternoon (May 21st), Lighthouse Trails author and co-laborer in the Gospel Warren B. Smith had a heart attack and has been admitted to a hospital where he is undergoing emergency stint surgeries and other procedures to remove artery blockages. We know so many of you have come to care for Warren as you have watched him give of himself sacrificially in the defense of the Christian faith these past several years. As the Scriptures above instruct us, as believers, please pray for Warren during this time  – that the surgeries and procedures will be successful and that he will recover fully.

Warren submitted his latest booklet in his Through It All series – Sound Doctrine Through It All – on Saturday, and we are posting it below. Warren began his Through It All series about a year ago, and since then, he and his wife have undergone some very difficult trials, including a house fire last year that has prohibited them from living in the house until the restoration is complete (hopefully in August). He has also written some outstanding and important refutation articles on The Shack since that movie came out in March. We at Lighthouse Trails have been grateful for the ministry of this man who was brought out of the New Age and into the arms of Jesus and has been warning the church ever since about the New Age/New Spirituality that has entered the church unbeknownst to many.

We cannot explain in human terms why there have been so many losses (including the passing of Ray Yungen and Caryl Matrisciana last fall) and unusual trials among many in discernment this past couple of years, but we ask those who have been helped by Warren and others in discernment to faithfully remember these servants in prayer.

Thank you so much.
From the Editors
www.lighthousetrails.com

Sound Doctrine Through It All

By Warren B. Smith

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. (Deuteronomy 32:1-2)

How precious is the Book divine, by inspiration given! Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine, to guide our souls to heaven.—John Fawcett, How Precious is the Book Divine (1782)

Doctrine and Dogma

It is not very popular these days, but the Bible tells us to study and to rightly divide the Word of God:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Scripture tells us that the Word of God is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword”:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Scripture assures us that God’s Word really is God’s inspired Word, and that it is profitable for doctrine:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
But in the deceptive times in which we live, doctrine has become, for many, a harsh and even hated word. Yet, according to Strong’s Concordance, the word doctrine in Greek simply refers to “instruction” and “teaching.” Webster’s New American Dictionary defines doctrine as “something taught as the principles or creed of a religion, political party, etc.; tenet or tenets; belief; dogma.” The word dogma also takes a bad rap and is similarly defined by Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” These definitions are very straightforward, but the words doctrine and dogma still carry heavy negative connotations—even in the minds of many believers. If someone holds to doctrinal truth and refuses to compromise, they are frequently regarded as being too “dogmatic” and “hung up on doctrine.”

Spiritual Experiences

Today, spiritual experience is taking precedent over sound doctrine, and it is leading to great deception in the church. Having an “encounter” with God has become more of a priority than knowing and rightly dividing the Word of God. And in the process, deceptive spirits have moved into the lives of undiscerning believers as they temptingly offer counterfeit spiritual experiences—all in the name of “God,” “Jesus,” and the “Holy Spirit.” And this is exactly what the Bible said would happen in these last days:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The word doctrine is specifically cited in the New Testament forty-nine times. Any teaching—especially whatever comes through personal experience as seemingly “new revelation,” “new truth,” or “new doctrine,” must always be measured by God’s Holy Word (Acts 17:11) and spiritually tested for truth and authenticity (1 John 4:1-3). Not every spiritual encounter is from God. There is a deceiver. The following selected Bible verses underline the importance of sound doctrine and the necessity of keeping, abiding, and holding fast to God’s Word.

God’s Bible Doctrine

All Scripture is Profitable for Doctrine
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Jesus Taught Doctrine
And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine. (Mark 4:1-2)
And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces. (Mark 12:38)
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. (John 18:19-21)
People Were Astonished at Jesus’ Doctrine
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29)
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. (Mark 11:18)
And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:31-32)
Jesus’ Doctrine Was God’s Doctrine
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. (John 7:14-16)
God’s Doctrine was Delivered to the Church
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Romans 6:17)
God’s Doctrine is Good Doctrine
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. (Proverbs 4:1-2)
God’s Doctrine is to be Understood and Learned
They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. (Isaiah 29:24)
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. (Isaiah 28:9-10)
God’s Doctrine Nourishes
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (1Timothy 4:6)
God’s Doctrine Edifies
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
Laboring in Doctrine is Honorable
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
Good Works Come From Good Doctrine
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity. (Titus 2:7)
We Are to Attend to Doctrine
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:13)
We Are to Speak Sound Doctrine
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
We are to Exhort with Sound Doctrine
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:3)
We Are to Adorn Doctrine in All Things
Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (Titus 2:10)
We Are to Teach No Other Doctrine
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:3)
We Are to Beware of the Doctrines of Men
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. . . . How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6, 11-12)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (Colossians 2:20-23)
We are Not to Teach the Doctrines of Men
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)
We Must Beware of False Doctrine
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. (1 Timothy 1:9-11)
We Are to Continue in Doctrine
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:41-42)
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:16)
We Are Not to be Carried Away with False Doctrines
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. (Hebrews 13:8-9)
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Ephesians 4:14)
We Must Remove Ourselves From Those Who Teach False Doctrines
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-6)
Sound Doctrine Will Not be Endured
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
We Must Not Give Heed to Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
We Must Abide in the Doctrine of Christ
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)
We Must Beware of Doctrines of Vanities
But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. (Jeremiah 10:8)
We Must Repent of False Doctrines
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:14-16)

Conclusion

In a period of time when the Word of God is being discounted, denigrated, and deconstructed, it is especially important that we hold fast to the Word of God and the doctrines it espouses. The Bible states that “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). The Bereans were commended by the apostle Paul because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily” to see whether the things they were being taught and told “were so” (Acts 17:11). May God bless and keep you as you search the Scriptures and endeavor to stand fast on the Bible’s inspired teachings and inspired sound doctrines.

Prayer

I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (Psalm 119:14-17)

To order this booklet, please click here.

Other Titles in Warren B. Smith’s Through It All Series
Rejoicing Through It All
Praising God Through It All
Trusting God Through It All
Being Thankful Through It All
Remaining Hopeful Through It All
Blessings Through It All
Remaining Faithful Through It All
Standing Fast Through It All
To see a list of all Warren Smith’s books, booklets, and DVDs, please visit his website at www.warrenbsmith.com.

Ask Your Local Library to Bring in Copies of Lighthouse Trails Books

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Many of our readers may not realize that Lighthouse Trails Publishing has numerous different wholesale outlets (SpringArbor, CBD, Anchor, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.*) where our books can be purchased. One of those outlets is Baker and Taylor. Baker and Taylor is the main distributor that services libraries across the United States. Since Lighthouse Trails began fifteen years ago, Baker and Taylor has purchased numerous copies of Lighthouse Trails books that now sit on library shelves throughout America.

If you would like to see Lighthouse Trails books on your local library shelves, just call or visit your local library and ask the librarian to bring into circulation particular books of ours. You may need the ISBN numbers, which you can find on the back cover of all of our books. We also include the ISBN numbers of all our books in our catalog.**

Having your local library bring in Lighthouse Trails books will do two things: first, you can enjoy reading our books at no cost to you; and second, it provides an opportunity for people who are not familiar with Lighthouse Trails books to read these books.

* Note #1: Even though our profit margin is greatly reduced when books are purchased through these wholesale outlets because of the high discounts they require from us, we believe these outlets have provided a much greater reach in readership for our materials.

** Note #2: If you do not have a copy of a title you wish to see in your local library, you can find the ISBN number for each of our books in our catalog. We only include ISBN numbers in our catalog for books that we actually publish. If you don’t see an ISBN number on a book in the catalog, it is because that is not our own book. Click here to view a PDF version of the latest Lighthouse Trails catalog, or e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com and request one be sent to you by mail.

LT Reader Told: Lighthouse Trails is Against Everything!

This week, we received a phone call from a Lighthouse Trails reader who told us she was trying to share some of our information with someone she knew. That person asked a leader in ministry about Lighthouse Trails, and the response she got was Lighthouse Trails is against everything! Our reader was asked this question, What IS Lighthouse Trails for? We told our reader to tell this person the following:

  1. We are for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. We are for helping to preserve the Word of God.
  3. We are for edifying the Body of Christ.
  4. We are for seeing the salvation of souls.

Next time someone you are trying to share our information with tells you Lighthouse Trails is against everything, you can tell them Lighthouse Trails is for all the above as well as many other things that are true, honest,  just, pure,  lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8).

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Here is something else to consider. Let’s say someone tells you one day, “I just don’t like Lighthouse Trails, and I don’t like the way they are always talking so negatively about so many things.” This person then says that it doesn’t matter whether what Lighthouse Trails is saying is true or not, they aren’t going to read anything by them. It’s very much like the following scenario:

One day, you are in your house when there is a loud and frantic-sounding knock on the front door. You go to the door, open it, and standing there is your clearly upset neighbor shouting, “There’s a fire on the way, heading right for your house.” You push the neighbor aside, go outside, and climb a ladder onto the roof. And sure enough, you see a big fire heading right toward your house. But you think to yourself as you are climbing back down the ladder, “I don’t really like that neighbor, and I definitely don’t like the way he was ranting and raving at me. I just don’t like him at all.” So you go back inside your house, close the door, and continue on with your day.”

This is exactly what is happening with so many Christians today – the authors and editors at Lighthouse Trails and many of our readers are trying to warn of the danger and deception that has come into the church, but we are often brushed off as too negative and being against everything. It doesn’t make any sense to ignore these warnings.

LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 1 – TOP 10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Every year around this time, Lighthouse Trails presents its Year in Review. Over the next few days, we will be posting our top stories from different categories from 2016. This is an opportunity to read stories you may have missed and also to get a wide-lens glance at important things happening in the church and the world from a discernment and biblical point of view. As always, our primary focus at Lighthouse Trails is the Gospel. We hope this Year in Review will point readers to that very message.

YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 1 – Top 10 Letters to the Editor

 1/Letter to the Editor: Open Letter to Anne Graham Lotz Regarding Circle Maker
Dear Anne,

I have always regarded you as a very spiritual woman, but when I read that you had bought into the heresy found in the book The Circle Maker, I thought to myself, how could she be so deceived?

The Bible says in 1 John 4: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are come into the world.”

If you were to type into a search engine  “The Circle Maker” you would find what I, a layman, found out about this book and this “new way” of praying.

2/Letter to the Editor: My Mother is Doing Reiki and Communicating with “Angels”!

My mother says she prays to “Jesus” before doing Reiki.  When she said that, I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring it and decided I needed to really look into Reiki and share my faith (she knows I’m a Christian—thus telling me Reiki is OK for me because she prays to Jesus; but I don’t think she saw much distinction in our beliefs and said her Reiki teacher used to be a female minister).  She does not believe in the Bible or most of it anyway, nor Jesus’ deity, but rather He came to point the way to God.  To me, of course, this just doesn’t make any logical sense for so many reasons (I told her those reasons), but she is so deceived she can’t see reason.

3/Letter to the Editors: Why Aren’t People Seeing What We See?

I have been admonished by a number a people that I am wrong,  just want to be right, question why I am worrying about what others do, or am too extreme or pharisaical (by some believers that are far more mature and Bible literate than I am). I have been told to stop looking on the Internet because that is unreliable and have been laughed at for doing so. My former pastor even told me to stop.

My Christian friends are constantly posting on Facebook about Bethel, contemplative prayer, or blatant New Age stuff as well as Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Hillsong. Very few seem to be concerned about all the strange manifestations and theology coming out of Bethel or that contemplative prayer is not something most of us ever heard about or practiced until a few years ago, yet they are OK with it.

4/Letter to the Editor: Concerns About Erwin Lutzer

I wanted to let you know that I happened to listen to an online YouTube message from Erwin Lutzer yesterday that was an overview of his life.1 Well, I was shocked to hear him say he went to Loyola University!!!! [see YouTube link below; also: https://logoi.org/authors/erwin-lutzer/?___store=en]. It was after his graduation from Dallas Seminary, but still, he did not offer an apology for not knowing he should stay out of Catholicism back when he was young, no, he said it just as if it was a good university to go to!!! I was stunned, as I had always thought Moody Bible was separate from Catholicism, and the very name of Loyola screams Jesuit Catholicism, the worst of the worst of Catholicism! Anyway, I thought it might be worth noting in your articles about how Moody Bible Institute is going Contemplative, and it may help you to maybe understand why his response to your warning e-mails to him was to love all of the brethren.

5/Letter to the Editor: Trying to Warn Our Grown Children . . . And Letter to Our Pastor Goes Unanswered

We are especially concerned because our talented, zealous adult children are, to some degree or another, caught up in following Bethel and Hillsong worship and practices. So far as I know, none are practicing ‘contemplative’ prayer, but other occult practices are subtly mixed in with their schools of worship and ‘supernatural’ ministries. We prepared a notebook for each of our children and their spouses where we downloaded and printed Warren Smith’s Reinventing Jesus Christ (now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) back in late 2006 or early 2007 – probably just before we discovered Lighthouse Trails. I think they mostly stuck the notebooks under the bed or somewhere obscure.

6/Letter to the Editor: Her Father Left Her a Legacy of Discernment

I have been so blessed to come from a Christian heritage where standing up for the truth meant you ended up being almost on an island.  My own dear father was a layman who reported the truth over 50 years ago and was attacked for it so many times and yet, what he shared then is all coming to light now.  He at one time was setting up crusades for Billy Graham and had to resign as he saw what was happening with their alignment with the Catholic church. Dad had spent his early years in the service and due to his abilities went under cover for the Army and found while doing so, the information on the Illuminati and all the connections of its plans. He did such research in order to share with those who were unaware to prepare them for what was coming.  He also was the only white man invited to speak at so many black churches in Philadelphia at the conferences because of his knowledge and love for them as brothers in Christ and yet, he was not a pastor but a layman.

7/Letter to the Editor From Japan: After An Unusual Childhood Surrounded by Mysticism, She Finds the Truth

You may think of Buddhism and Shinto religion when you hear the word Japan, but my background is quite unusual in that my mother was hugely influenced by the QUAKERS when she was a teenager, because of the Quaker Girls School that she went to from 13 to 19, which gave her silent worship opportunities every single morning. She then went on to become very much into metaphysics and western philosophy. She would often sit quietly doing nothing when I was a child, and she would tell me that Jesus was one of those people who had psychic powers to heal the sick. But I was little and I had no idea what kind of thing my mother was trying to convey or teach to me.

8/Letter to the Editor from a Former Young Life Leader: “My biblical background was considered a liability instead of a blessing.”

Having joined the staff after high school with the purpose of working with teens, I soon began to notice the compromises creeping in and no one else seemed to be concerned. It all came to a head when I took a stand and insisted I attend a retreat they had planned with the local [Catholic] Abbey before permitting my Campaigners to go. That, in itself, caused a major problem. After attending and taking my stand, it was apparent that my biblical background was considered a liability instead of a blessing. Over many days of discussion, I finally had to offer my resignation as I felt I could not agree with the ecumenical direction Young Life was taking by aligning itself with a Catholic fellowship.

That was many years ago, and it is sad to realize how so much compromising was happening then long before the flood of what is taking place today. Satan has been busy, and the standing for the truth has turned into a determent rather than a badge of honor.

9/Letter to the Editor: Friend’s Church Bringing in “Praying in Color” – A Disguised Vehicle for Contemplative Prayer

A friend of mine texted me to ask if I had heard of “praying in color.”  She included the following website: www.prayingincolor.com.  Immediately, I knew that this was not of God.  I perused the website and was not surprised that this is rooted and grounded in Hinduism, Catholicism, visualization, and mysticism.  Apparently, one of the leaders at my friend’s church is introducing this to the congregation.  My friend knew something wasn’t right or biblical about this.  The leader explained to the congregation that she had gone to a seminar on “praying in color” and was so taken in by it that she is inviting a “praying in color” coach to do a seminar at her church.  This is not the first time that this leader has introduced false teaching to the congregation (i.e. Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life).

10/Letter to the Editor: Serious Concerns Over Beth Moore’s New Series, “Entrusted”

My small Southern Baptist church recently finished Beth Moore’s “Entrusted” series which includes articles from her daughter Melissa Moore.  Not having experienced Beth Moore I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.  Being informed by Lighthouse Trails and other discernment websites, I approached the class with a good deal of wariness.  I love Beth and Melissa Moore as sisters in Christ.  I was hoping to find nothing of concern in “Entrusted.”  This was not the case.  Following are some of my concerns.

Letter to the Editor: Attacked by Christian Friends For Warning About False Teachings

To Lighthouse Trails:

I too am very interested in apologetics and discernment ministry. Thank you so much for caring for God’s sheep!

I posted on my FaceBook account about 10 different false teachers that are popular on TV, their brand of false teaching and asked my friends to pray for them.

I am so concerned for the sheep of Christ, as I know you are, with false teaching.

The reason I say this is that I got attacked by two dear Christian friends. They said I was accusing the brethren like the devil does, judging another Christian,  and then gave me the love chapter. Oh it was like a stab in the heart. I totally released forgiveness to these two brothers. But I also told them, are we not to be Bereans, are we not to contend for the faith? One just got back to me with more Scripture. He said he doesn’t like ministries who condemn other Christians.

All that being said, the Lord God has called me to become a pastor for his flock, after all these posts and after all these criticisms. God is so good!

I am wondering if you ever get criticized for your discernment ministry by well-meaning Christians. If you do, what is your response to them?

God bless you richly in all that you do for Him!

Dave G.
Manitoba, Canada

Hi Dave,

Thank you for your heart felt letter. In answer to your question, yes, over the past nearly 15 years since we began, we have been attacked and condemned many times by others. We’ve been called terrible names (even though we ourselves do not turn to such hateful tactics), and we have been lied about. Here are a few articles we have written that might give you an idea of how we deal with this:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=21385

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15423

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=5382

And last, this article written by one of our authors may be encouraging and strengthening to you:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=18478

Dave, as you have learned, it’s not an easy job contending for the faith and defending the Gospel, but once we are compelled by the Lord to do so, what else can we do?

May God strengthen and lead you.

The Editors at Lighthouse Trails


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