Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
The church of today is very much astir. Everywhere we turn, embellishments are being added to Christianity as if to improve it. The old ways do not seem to satisfy anymore. A great influx of new teachings and practices have exchanged the God of old as depicted in the pages of the Bible with a deity much more palatable to the post-modern mind. Brennan Manning illustrates this when he stated in one of his books, “ . . . the god who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.”1 This “progressive” contemplative/emerging church has gone so far as to place in pulpits men who blaspheme God and who deny the atonement. But let us step back for a moment to see how emerging thought has developed. Such a statement did not come out of the blue, but as Ray Yungen suggests, a “creeping” effect made it all possible.2
Over the years, Christian leaders and pastors have stopped defending the faith and have exchanged the Word of God for things that outwardly appear very spiritual and promise a “quantum leap” into a “new spirituality.” Though there have always been those who deny Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross, most of this kind of thought and teaching has been kept out of the evangelical/Protestant church. But as the walls of biblical truth were gradually torn down, it is no longer unusual to hear this kind of teaching in Christian colleges and seminaries. Much of what we see today began with men who pioneered the way to apostasy, then as a domino effect these ideas caught on and accelerated to the unbiblical thoughts and teachings we are witnessing in so many Christian circles today.
An example of this creeping effect can be seen in the Brennan Manning quote above from his 2003 book because it is nearly a word for word rendering of several lines from New Age sympathizer and mystic William Shannon’s 1995 book Silence on Fire.3 This book is the biography of Thomas Merton who possibly had more to do than anyone else in giving mysticism (namely contemplative prayer) that initial push whereby it has now avalanched into the mainline evangelical/Protestant churches. But it all began as a creeping or rippling effect with the initial momentum almost imperceptibly slow.
Over the last couple of decades, countless pastors and religious leaders across North America have pulled out for their evening reading books written by mystics like Henri Nouwen hoping to glean something to carry them to the next level of spirituality. Unfortunately, that quantum leap ends in the web of apostasy. As you may know by now, Henri Nouwen (also a great admirer of Thomas Merton) wrote in a provocative intellectual style that has intrigued many pastors, but what happened when these pastors stumbled upon these words:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.4
Nouwen said these words toward the end of his life after spending years involved with mysticism. And yet, pastors, leaders, and professors are enamored with Nouwen. And on goes that seemingly subtle creeping in of deception slowly but surely.
Pastors of North America, it’s not too late, but the North American church is in on borrowed time. We have become weak and spoiled, and it is time to change course, return to a no-compromise faith, the kind many of us had when we first became Christians. To straddle the fence, as has been the case for way too long, has cost the church dearly and could mean a steady erosion of biblical faith and a fall into the mire of full-blown apostasy.
While the mystics and emergents attempt to strip Jesus of who He is and what He came for, we should never forget that in Him we have a priceless treasure. Isaiah said of Him, “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Most importantly, Jesus came to redeem us from our sins:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he used a number of illustrations, one of which should have special significance in our churches today:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)
While the emerging, purpose-driven, contemplative “progressives” of today are casting biblical doctrine on the dung heap more than ever, we should be holding on to it as something truly sacred, for it is biblical doctrine that defines our faith and gives to us living water. Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
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.
No wonder the devil wants to undermine and get rid of the Word of God, and he is attempting to do it through many who call themselves Christians.
Contending for the faith may cost us everything we have, but it is worth it, a jewel far about price. This life will soon be over, but eternity will last a very long time. Shouldn’t we be putting our treasures in heaven no matter what it may cost us now?
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:45-46)
1. Brennan Manning, Above All, pp. 58-59 as quoted from Roger Oakland in Faith Undone, p. 195. (2003)
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 94. (2nd ed. 2006)
3. William Shannon, Silence on Fire, pp. 109-110. (1195)
4. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51. ( 1998 Hardcover Edition)
To Lighthouse Trails:
I am writing to inform you of a deeply worrying experience I had.
After having chiropractic treatment for years, I decided to give osteopathy a try, as it seemed to be more gentle on the body. But at the end of the treatment, something strange happened. The practitioner held my head for about seven minutes or so. Up until this point, I figured it was all part of the therapy. But then I became concerned. I couldn’t work out what he was doing, as he was not massaging my neck nor did he seem to be applying any pressure. Then I heard him taking several deep breaths.
I am a Christian who has deeply researched into how New Age philosophy and occult practices are entering theology and the churches. I know about the dangers of meditation, yoga, spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, etc. But this threw me. Yes, I could have spoken up, but I had been taken by surprise and was somewhat confused. I just wasn’t sure what was going on. Then I began to pray to God for protection if anything weird was happening. Soon after this, he stopped.
My treatment had ended. When I got up, I felt incredibly relaxed, as if I was somehow medicated and floating. It felt wonderful. But I knew something wasn’t right. I asked him what he had done, and he was very evasive. Then I told him that I have studied into the New Age and want nothing to do with it or its healing practices. He mumbled that he was not interested in the New Age but that he could help heal my insomnia by applying traditional relaxation techniques to balance my energy centres.
When I walked out of his office, I noticed a small picture on the wall of his reception. It was the drawing of a person in the yoga position showing the seven chakras.
I told him I wouldn’t be back. I knew he had performed some kind of psychic healing on me, but it wasn’t until the bus ride home that it hit me – it must have been Reiki!
Clearly, this osteopath conducts this occult healing practice on all his patients without asking them or telling them. And I wonder how many others in the medical profession (modern or traditional) are secretly doing the same thing. I was furious. However, it has made me much wiser and more prepared in the future should this ever happen again.
But my deep concern is this. I have been a Christian for 31 years, but it is only in the last five years that I have learned about New Age concepts and how Christians are, in many cases, being unwittingly seduced by them. Christians who have had no experience [or understanding] with the New Age (such as myself, until fairly recently) are the most vulnerable, as it is, for them unchartered territory and not recognised for what it is. Had I had this experience prior to learning about the dangers of New Age spirituality saturating the Western World, I am sure I would have kept returning to this osteopath, thinking he was indeed helping me.
I don’t think osteopathy is the problem, rather it is practitioners, such as the one I had, who want to add new methods to their “science”, quite possibly in their genuine search to provide “better” healing.
Sometime back, I had read on your website about how Reiki is being introduced to patients in hospitals. Nevertheless, when it happened to me it took me completely by surprise.
I thank God for your ministry of discernment. I am now writing a letter warning this osteopath about the source and dangers of his psychic healing techniques. Maybe God can use my experience as a witness to him. I may even send him your website link.
Zoe from Sydney, Australia (name used with permission)
Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) Promoting Interspiritual, Panentheist Monk, Basil Pennington
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I thought this link would interest you. The Western Canadian District of the C&MA in Canada is promoting (yet with a disclaimer!) a number of books that teach the practices of contemplative prayer. I was surprised to see it promoted so blatantly on their website. http://www.transformcma.ca/resources-2/
There is also something called a “Holy Spirit Encounter” that they are starting to implement in their churches. I don’t quite understand what the point of these events are because the Holy Spirit lives within us [believers] all the time.
Just thought I would share these findings with you!
Our Comments: While Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on C & MA promotion of contemplative for a number of years, we believe it is worth posting this letter to the editor because of one particular name listed on the website linked to above: Basil Pennington (1931-2005). While the C & MA site gives a disclaimer, which states, “The following list of resources contain a variety of perspectives that cannot be fully endorsed by the WCD in every manner. We do believe, however, that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings,” there is no way that a “discerning reader” could ever “benefit greatly” from the writings of Basil Pennington. The fact that he is included on the already highly problematic list they provide with contemplatives such as Brad Jersak, John of the Cross, Bill Johnson, Henri Nouwen, and so forth proves that the Western Canadian District of C & MA Canada has dropped into a deep level of apostasy from the leadership level.
Basil Pennington is a Catholic contemplative monk who teaches that God is in every person. As L. Putnam points out in one of her articles, Pennington believes in the “God’s Dream” concept (which is God in everyone). He states:
We do not know how precious we are in ourselves. As Dame Julian of Norwich, that delightful English mystic declared, we are God’s dream, his homiest home. We have too little respect for ourselves, too little esteem for our own importance. God sees things otherwise. (from Living in the Question: Meditations in the Style of Lectio Divina)
Interestingly, that sounds a lot like IF: Gathering leader Melissa Greene as we pointed out in a recent article. This idea of “God’s Dream” is actually taught by numerous contemplatives including Rick Warren and Robert Schuller (as Warren B. Smith discusses in Deceived on Purpose). If you hear that term being used by a pastor or teacher you know, it’s time to start asking some serious questions.
Basil Pennington (along with Thomas Merton and William Messinger) is ultimately responsible for bringing contemplative spirituality into mainstream Catholicism and eventually evangelical Christianity. These quotes are just two of many by Basil Pennington that help show his mystical propensities:
It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.—Basil Pennington (Centered Living, p. 192)
[I]n centering prayer we go beyond thought and image, beyond the senses and the rational mind, to that center of our being where God is working a wonderful work, just sitting there, doing nothing. Not even thinking some worthwhile thoughts or making some good resolutions-just being (source)
In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he explains:
In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by [Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating], the following advice is given: ‘We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” [pp. 5-6]. Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart.
If you are part of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, this is the direction that your leadership is heading, or frankly, has already gone.
Letter to the Editor: Warning to Parents—Cartoon Network, Lego Movies etc. Introduce Children to the Occult
To Lighthouse Trails:
I would like to thank you for the books you have released that have assisted me in learning about the New Age and other groups that have been influencing many churches and seminaries. I have purchased hard copies and kindle additions alike. One of the things I have noticed is the rise in eastern mysticism in children’s programming. Legend of Korra, Lego themed shows Chima and Ninjago are a few to mention.
It hits particularly home for me as my children were introduced through the Cartoon Network at their grandparents home. I have researched further and found a book called LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon. In the book, it speaks about the use of the elements in Ninjago (Earth, Fire, Water, Lightning) and the pagan concepts that run throughout it. Interestingly enough, in the endnote section at the end of the book, there is a book called The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and function of a religious metaphor. I looked it up on Amazon, and the contents basically link a lot of the things I have been reading about it in the books by Ray Yungen in terms of interspirituality. They are using these things and obviously with the way boys play (Parallel play), you can see how these products have taken off.
In the future, would you please include these items, as they are continuing to produce more and more of these types of shows and toys.
Thanks for what you do, and may the Lord continue to bless the work of your hands .
Grace & Peace,
Jason (a West Coast Pastor)
P.S. Here is a another Cartoon Network character Raven from Teen Titans Go, introducing Children to Meditation. I will include wiki link, quite a bit more detail, very detailed occultism and eastern mysticism being introduced to very young ones. http://teentitans.wikia.com/wiki/Raven
Thank you for caring, for the next generation as we strive to present them before the Lord.
By Ray Yungen
One of the main tenets of New Age thought is peace, goodwill, and the unity of all humanity. Remember, the Age of Aquarius is to be the Age of Oneness. In context with this idea, the New Age term cleansing is quite disturbing. A number of books make reference to those who are laggards when the New Age reaches its maturity. New Age leaders consider these resisters as eventually the only hindrance in allowing this global oneness to occur:
Remnants of the Fifth Root Race [untransformed humanity] will continue to survive in the initial stages of the new Cosmic Cycle, but unless they increase their awareness or consciousness to the Higher Mind and the tempo of spirituality, they will be removed from the Life Stream of the Race.1 (emphasis added)
Unity-motivated souls will respond to His [the New Age Messiah’s] call, their inner drive for spiritual world unity will synchronize with higher energy. People opposing the recognition of the Christ may struggle intensely, but it will not be prolonged. The Christ energy by then will be so strong people will be dealt with according to their own individualized karma and their ability and desire to assimilate this accelerated energy.2 (emphasis added)
The final appearance of the Christ will be an evolutionary event. It will be the disappearance of egocentric [lower self], subhuman man and the ascension of God-centered Man. A new race, a new species, will inhabit the Earth–people who collectively have the stature of consciousness that Jesus had.3 (emphasis added)
Even Alice Bailey herself, who personified New Age consciousness, backs what these previous quotes imply:
The new era is coming; the new ideals, the new civilization, the new modes of life, of education, of religious presentation and of government are slowly precipitating and naught can stop them. They can, however, be delayed by the reactionary types of people, by the ultra-conservative and closed minds…. They are the ones who can and do hold back the hour of liberation. A spiritual fluidity, a willingness to let all preconceived ideas and ideals go, as well as all beloved tendencies, cultivated habits of thought and every determined effort to make the world conform to a pattern which seems to the individual the best because, to him, the most enticing–these must all be brought under the power of death.4 (emphasis added)
If one understands the rationale behind these statements, then it becomes clear what they are talking about. Those who will accept the Christ consciousness can stay–those who won’t–must go. The quote about people’s “ability and desire” to assimilate the “Christ energy” as the determining factor in their fate is very thought provoking.
Barbara Marx Hubbard, a major New Age proponent and a supporter of Marianne Williamson’s Department of Peace efforts in Washington, DC says there must be a “selection process” for those “who refuse to see themselves and others as a part of God [Hubbard’s New Age God].” She states:
He [God] describes, therefore, the necessity of a “selection process” that will select out resistant individuals who “choose” not to evolve.5 (emphasis added)
Human must become Divine. That is the law.6
According to New Ager David Spangler, Satan is the angel of man’s “inner evolution.” Christians know Lucifer to be Satan, the Adversary, and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 informs us that Satan is the one who will empower the Antichrist. Those defying the Antichrist will really be defying Satan–and they will suffer dearly for it.
Persecution and death is predicted in the Bible for those who won’t fall into line during the Antichrist’s rule. The parallel between what the Bible says about this period and the statements above are striking. The following prophecies reveal what is in store for those who will preach the real Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the true kingdom during this time. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9:
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.
“They” are the many who are coming in His name claiming to be “christs.” Revelation says of this period:
And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10)
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
The following verse lends credence that this will be on an individual spiritual basis:
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (Luke 21:16)
This implies that a family member or a friend may be turned over to be dealt with for their own good. It will be seen as an altruistic act.
This view would most likely infuriate anyone involved with or attracted to New Age spirituality. After all, nowhere do you find New Agers saying they are going to kill anybody. It is left rather vague about how anyone will be removed. But the following channeled words by Neale Donald Walsch’s “God” explain the rationale for what most people would consider outrageous and impossible. Listen to his “God”:
So the first thing you have to understand–as I’ve already explained to you–is that Hitler didn’t hurt anyone. In a sense, he didn’t inflict suffering, he ended it.7
There is no “death.” Life goes on forever and ever. Life is. You simply change form…. After you change form, consequences cease to exist. There is just Knowing.8
The real issue is whether Hitler’s actions where [were] “wrong.” Yet I have said over and over again that there is no “right” or “wrong” in the universe. Now your thought that Hitler was a monster is based on the fact that he ordered the killing of millions of people, correct? What if I told you that what you call “death” is the greatest thing that could happen to anyone–what then?… Shall we therefore punish Bre’r Fox for throwing Bre’r Rabbit into the briar patch?9
This is a very revealing statement. Traditional morality has been virtually turned on its head here. In other words, according to the higher consciousness that Walsch is in tune with, killing people could actually be doing them a favor! But would Walsch think this is profound higher wisdom if he himself was shivering sick and starving in a cattle car bound for Auschwitz. Would he have a smile on his face if he were stripped naked and herded into a gas chamber to face a gruesome, agonizing death. I think not!
But incredibly, Walsch was one of the featured speakers in The Secret, which swept the Western world in popularity. In The Secret, Walsch is described as a “modern-day spiritual messenger”10 and his Conversations with God books including the one from which the previous quotes about Hitler were taken) are called “groundbreaking.”
Could there have been the same spiritual component to Hitler’s persecution of humanity in Europe? Most likely. Consider the following evidence. The swastika, the main symbol of Nazism, is an age-old Hindu symbol that is still found on many temples throughout India. The word is not even German, but Sanskrit-Svastika–meaning “that which is excellent.”11 A New Age book has described its meaning as representing “the final stage in which the chakra is active, developed, opened, and energized by awakened kundalini energy.”12 Thus, the very banner of Nazism stood for the energy that underlies the whole New Age movement. New Agers even acknowledge this. David Spangler makes reference in one of his books to “…the Nazi movement, which had many roots in occultism.”13 The swastika symbol was also prominently displayed on Madame Blavatsky’s personal brooch, in exactly the same style as the Nazi one (tilting at an angle to the right) decades before the Nazi Party was even formed. One can also see the parallel between Nazism and the Ancient Wisdom in the Hindu caste system, with its Brahmin (aryan) caste and its lower untouchable caste. The Nazis also took the term Aryan-literally, the worthy race–from Hinduism.14 The word has nothing to do with ancient Germany as many believe, but is a Hindu word meaning noble or superior. (For more information, read For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen)
The Eerie Silence of a Silent Church by Warren B. Smith
John Foxe (1517-1587) and His Book of Martyrs – An Introduction
1. Donald Yott, Man and Metaphysics, (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 58.
2. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming, (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 152.
3. John White, “The Second Coming” (New Frontier Magazine, December 1987), p. 45.
4. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy (http://laluni.helloyou.ws/net news/bk/externalisation/exte1119.html, accessed 03/2007), Section II – The General World Picture.
5. Warren Smith, Reinventing Jesus Christ, (Ravenna, OH: Conscience Press, printed edition, 2002), p. 16, citing Barbara Marx Hubbard, Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1998), pp. 240, 267.
6. Ibid., p. 19, Smith citing Marx Hubbard from The Revelation (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 233.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Road Publishing Company, Inc., 1997), p. 56.
8. Ibid., p. 40.
9. Ibid., p. 36.
10. Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York, NY: Atria Books and Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, First Atria Books/Beyond Words hardcover edition, 2006), p. 197.
11. Geoffrey A. Barborka, Glossary of Sanskrit Terms (Buena Park, CA: Stockton Trade Press, Point Loma Publications, 1972), p. 64.
12. Zachary E Lansdowne, Ph. D., The Chakras and Esoteric Healing (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., First Indian edition: Delhi, 1993), p. 114.
13. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York, NY: Dell Publishing Company, 1984), p. 159.
14. Geoffrey A. Barborka, op. cit., p. 15.
Letter to the Editor: Focus on the Family CD I Gave to My Husband Espouses Thomas Merton (And What This Means)
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Thank you for your very important ministry; to warn and keep the Gospel pure.
Recently, I gave my husband a few CD’s on a road trip—one being from Focus On The Family: Living Authentically Before The Lord (with Dr. Julianna Slattery). Arriving back, he asked me to listen to the first 2 min. A quote by Thomas Merton was the first on the CD. How sad to have a mystic monk who supposedly mixed his Christianity ( not possible) with Sufism & more and realized that we could fall down and worship one another. It is outrageous to think that a Christian organization like this would expose innocent listeners to this heretical monk. Ministries like Focus are becoming a most dangerous place for Christians considering the often concealed mix of truth and error.
With concern and prayers
Lighthouse Trails purchased a digital copy of this broadcast after receiving this letter to the editor. The Focus on the Family host introduced the talk, stating: “Theologian and author Thomas Merton made this observation about authenticity. He said, ‘God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face.'”
This quote is from Thomas Merton’s book, New Seeds of Contemplation (Kindle edition, location 472). As Focus on the Family has illustrated on so many occasions in the past, the organization believes that contemplative spirituality is OK. And they seem to have a particular interest in Catholic monks and monasteries. But to quote from Thomas Merton’s book New Seeds of Contemplation is more than even we can bear. This book is unapologetically a New Age book in that the theme of the book is the New Age mantra, if you will, that God is in everything and everyone. The book was originally published in 1962, but the new 2007 edition carries an introduction by goddess worshiper Sue Monk Kidd. As documented in Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing, Sue Monk Kidd started her “journey” toward the New Age when she was introduced to the writings of Thomas Merton.
We hope the implications here are clear. Not only is Focus on the Family introducing their listeners/readers to Thomas Merton but to his disciple, Sue Monk Kidd, as well. Untold numbers of Focus on the Family listeners may turn now to Thomas Merton, and lo and behold, they will find contemplative mysticism and even Monk Kidd’s goddess spirituality. For those wondering what “goddess spirituality” leads to, consider this: In Monk Kidd’s book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, she promotes the idea that God is in everything and everyone. She says that God is even in human excrement!
Incidentally, Dr. Julianna Slattery, a regular FOF host, emulates much of Thomas Merton’s teachings. In this particular broadcast, terms like true self, false self, mask, and so forth are used (see Yungen’s article on the true/higher self concept). These are terms that come right out of New Seeds of Contemplation. And the quote by Merton above from the broadcast is taken from Slattery’s book, Beyond the Masquerade: Unveiling the Authentic You. Slattery is basically a modern-day version of Thomas Merton. When one considers Merton’s panentheistic, interspiritual persuasions, this is very troubling.
Just as Sue Monk Kidd was transformed into a New Ager after following the teachings of Thomas Merton, here is what happened to another evangelical-turned-emergent when he started reading Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation:
I was struck by the incredible wisdom that could be found apart from the “approved” evangelical reading list. A Trappist monk, [Thomas] Merton gave me a new appreciation for the meaning of community. His New Man and New Seeds of Contemplation touched my heart in ways other religious books had not. Not long afterward my thinking was stretched again, this time by Thich Nhat Hanh—a Buddhist monk . . . Hanh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ gave me insight into Jesus from an Eastern perspective. (bold added – Spencer Burke, Making Sense of the Church, pp. 136, 137)
Thomas Merton’s books conditioned and prepared this young man to look to a Buddhist perspective. Focus on the Family is doing the same thing to the body of Christ as they fall into step with a great spiritual deception that has overtaken much of mainstream Christianity. We predict that if Focus on the Family and other evangelical/Protestant ministries continue on the contemplative path, that in time, they will fully embrace the panentheistic spirituality of Thomas Merton and Sue Monk Kidd. And mystic Karl Rahner’s statement, the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will be nothing, will come to pass. Ray Yungen puts it well: “It is what I refer to as Mertonization (remaining in the religion you already are in but being aligned with Eastern mysticism), which is exactly Merton’s dream fulfilled: mystical unity within religious diversity. In effect that one-world religion is already here!”
Quotes by Sue Monk Kidd from her book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter:
As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess. p. 161
Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi. . . . Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one. p. 163
The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things. p. 163
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
The expression “Where are we going?” is not an uncommon one, but whether it be a child asking a parent or a fellow traveler posing the question, it usually denotes a sense of being lost and one of concern. Then, of course, posing the question to a stranger could be one of much graver concern. But, in any case, it is a good question to ask because it signifies a desire for safety – to get going in the right direction toward the right destination. When a hunter or a hiker asks that question, it could actually be a matter of life and death; oftentimes, he may have nothing more than a map and a compass, but these tools of navigation can make all the difference when it comes to survival.
I thank God that He has given us His Word to enable us to navigate our way through life, for we are on a life and death journey, and our destination is of utmost importance. The Bible indicates that we are sojourners through life (Psalm 39:12), yet we need not be lost because the Psalms also declare, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Have you ever been hiking when it was beginning to get dark? Hopefully, you got out in time before darkness set in, but this psalmist offers us a picture of someone walking along a path when darkness has already set in. Yet, he has the comfort of a lamp to light his way to safety. We can be encouraged by God’s Word that offers us both comfort and safety, because the fact is we live in a dark world, and the “god of this world” (Satan) blinds the eyes of the unbelieving (2 Corinthians 4:4). But today, it is more than just the atheist and agnostic who are in grave spiritual danger, as multitudes of proclaiming Christians are being blinded by what Scripture refers to as a time of strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or as Paul says elsewhere:
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)
Unfortunately, for many of these people, they will all the while think they are abiding in the truth.
In another article I wrote titled “Shamanism or Cutting-Edge Christianity?,” I addressed the fact that mystical spirituality has been drawing multitudes of Christians away from the truth of the Gospel message. I also demonstrated that all these forms of mystical meditation are from the same source in that they connect the practitioner with the world of the occult – a realm that is populated exclusively by deceiving spirits and not shared by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not inhabit a realm that God has declared to be “an abomination unto the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:12). So whether an individual enters the mystical realm (“the silence”) through chanting, the mantra, rhythm, dancing, or focusing on the breath, and whether it be through Eastern mysticism, yoga, New Age meditation, contemplative prayer, Native Spirituality, or shamanism, in each case the practitioner is connecting with and drawing from the same source – an occult realm of deceiving spirits pretending to be “of God” but where in reality neither Jesus Christ nor the Holy Spirit can be found. Seeing that mystical meditation has become common place, I realize a very great number of people would see the statement I just made as fanatical or as a conspiracy theory. But the fact is that a conspiracy is already underway, instigated by Satan himself and performed by his vast number of demons. As Ray Yungen suggests in his book A Time of Departing, mysticism will have much to do with the great delusion that is already sweeping throughout the world. He points out that there is a mystical sector or element in the various religions of the world, so it would only make sense that if the religions of the world are to unite, mysticism will play a major role. Also, as I pointed out in that article, the Yanomamo shaman practices spiritual disciplines of self-denial reminiscent of the spiritual disciplines of the Desert Fathers. But, these practices, too, are being resurrected today as the latest in cutting-edge Christianity.
Now, as I suggested in that article, because the Yanomamo have been practicing mysticism and the spiritual disciplines for a very long time, it stands to reason that what they have brought to fruition will in time be the outcome of these practices that are sweeping through our churches today. So, without attempting to or pretending to be prophetic, we can forecast the outcome of these practices based on where these practices have brought the Yanomamo and other peoples who practice Native Spirituality. The reason why I can say these things is because when the Yanomamo shaman engages in mysticism, he enters the same mystical realm that Christians do when they engage in contemplative prayer. In both cases, they enter into the same occultic realm and put themselves at the mercy of the demons who inhabit that realm. Unfortunately, the demons are not merciful, but rather pose as angels of light or the Holy Spirit and lead the practitioner away from the simple truth of the Gospel. While promising much, they deliver what is ultimately harmful to the practitioner. Currently, contemplative or mystical prayer is sweeping the church with the sales pitch that it enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being to include relaxation and a direct connection to hearing from God. But as we have been attempting to demonstrate over the past thirteen years with our books and articles, contemplative prayer and mysticism do indeed connect one with a spiritual realm, but that realm is not God, and it is not good.
And while the New Age movement promises an Age of Aquarius (or enlightenment) as an age of peace and oneness if we all engage in mystical prayer, the Bible indicates that the last days will be marked by unrest and war. And if we look at the Yanomamo, who have been practicing spirituality for centuries, we can see that the lives of these tribesmen and women are marked not by peace but by unrest and violence. If all that the mystics are saying were true, you would think that when the anthropologists discovered the Yanomamo peoples they would have discovered utopian bliss and celestial innocence; but rather violence and unrest was discovered. The Yanomamo have tried and proven that spirituality is not what sustains a people, but as Chief Shoefoot points out after his conversion, our hope is in Jesus Christ alone. It is tragically ironic that while a Yanomamo chief, like Chief Shoefoot, has time tested and proven that mysticism does not work and has now turned to Jesus, countless Christians are now turning to mysticism to find answers.
The only real difference between the mysticism or Native Spirituality of the Yanomamo and the “Christian mystic” of today is that the Yanomamo have a fully developed spirituality and are far ahead of the mystical leaders and contemplative prayer proponents of the present. An example of this is that the Yanomamo have developed a broader variety of techniques that enable them to enter “the silence” more quickly. For instance, a drug is used that quickly brings the participant to an altered state of consciousness. Interestingly enough, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the re-emergence in the last days of “that great city Babylon” (Revelation 18:21) which was in ancient times a center of idolatry and mysticism but in the end times will be the mercantile hub of false religion. Revelation 18 describes Babylon as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). But how can it be that a city that practices contemplative prayer and mysticism can be frowned upon by God to such a degree? Is it not because the mystical or occultic realm is the habitation of devils? Chief Shoefoot says that it is so. Of further significance is verse 23 that states: “for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). If we consult Strong’s Concordance, we find that the Greek word used for “sorceries” is pharmakeia (pharmacy) signifying medication and derived from the word pharmakon signifying drugs (i.e., spell-giving potions). It seems very possible, therefore, that the mystics of the last days will incorporate drug use into their mystical practices, and as indicated in verse 23 above, this may become a great merchandising endeavor where people all over the world will be using mind-altering drugs. Thomas Merton, who helped to pioneer contemplative prayer into our generation, said he felt sorry for the hippies of the ’60s who used LSD because, as he pointed out, they could have achieved the same result by practicing contemplative prayer. But the mystic of the end times may actually feel sorry for Thomas Merton because drug use could make the mystical state much more readily attainable by anyone. Contemplative prayer takes some effort by incorporating a mantra-like word or phrase to create a hypnotic state whereas, in the future, the same result could be achieved by popping a pill or inhaling the smoke of a drug – hence “instant” spirituality! Yet, all the while God’s statement about such practices will be, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). Apparently, whatever happens will be a massive global effort and by it, people all over the world will be living in great delusion.
Perhaps “Babylon the great” spoken of in Revelation 18 refers to the re-emergence of a literal city of mystical practice and idolatry in the last days, but, at the very least, it must refer to a state of affairs that will sweep the world. Mysticism (i.e., occultism) will be practiced on a global scale. And, all the while, the masses will be thinking they are pleasing God by practicing mysticism, oftentimes with the aid of drugs.
Then, this chapter in Revelation brings out one final point where it says, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24). May I point out once again that mysticism (or occultism) connects one with a spirit world inhabited by demons posing to be angels of light. The occultist Alice Bailey, under the influence of her spirit guides, predicted that while New Age style meditation will be promoted and propelled by the apostate Christian church, Christians who will not forsake the fundamentals of the faith will be seen as being in the way of bringing in this Age of enlightenment – an age of peace where everyone sees his or her own divinity and oneness with all things. New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests that these resisters of the new world/new reformation will be like a cancer that needs to be excised out of the earth. She calls this elimination the “Selection Process.”1 Now I ask, what can be more hypocritical and diabolical than to think that the annihilation of godly people will bring about peace?
What will be the end of this resurrected city of Babylon? Revelation says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Revelation 18:8), and again it says, “for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:10). Apparently, the judgment to come will be speedy and severe.
So, while we can only speculate on the details of what will happen, we can be sure that a massive delusion will encompass the world and that severe judgment will also take place. Just knowing this, let us, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, cling the more dearly to the Word of God and the Gospel message. Jesus died on the Cross to save sinners and rose from the dead to conquer death; our hope is in Him and nowhere or no one else. And while it is scary to think of persecution of the believers, it is more frightening to think of God’s judgment on those who abandon God’s Word for a lie. May we remember that no matter what we might suffer as Christians, the safest place to be is in God’s will. Knowing this, let us encourage one another with the comfort and hope that is in the Lord. And let us be assured that we know where we are going.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14