Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
LTRP Note: Please see our links below this letter for some excellent resources on Reiki.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I won’t bore you with details of my life and why I am writing, but want you to know I am a Bible-believing Christian. My mom is into the New Age movement and has had Reiki done on her for years; recently she started practicing Reiki. She does it on friends and family members (I am the only Christian in the family). I live with back pain, and she has wanted to do it on me. I have always said no, but after researching Reiki I finally decided to tell her that my beliefs conflict with Reiki and that the “energy” is actually demonic (that was a difficult conversation). FYI, she told me she can’t do it on anyone without their permission. Also she regularly meditates and talks to “her angel,” whom she credits with anything good happening. She is getting deeper into this.
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. This “Jesus” seems to be a big part of her life, but I think her angel(s) more so. She states she only “prays” to God but “talks” to her angel(s) and asks them for help. I see the contradiction because she “prays” to Jesus before Reiki but doesn’t believe He’s God yet only prays to God. But she doesn’t see it. Obviously this is a false Jesus (and are not holy angels). We are very close, but it turns my stomach to hear her talk about her angels (one of whom is “like a best friend” and has a name).
I’ve been trying to research any author or speaker before I listen/read them because I know how subtle wrong teaching can come in. It takes a lot of discernment; your website will help me a lot. So many people are being mislead by a lot of different things. It’s heartbreaking! I don’t think my Christian friends truly understand what this stuff is so its hard for them to understand how upset I am.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you are telling the truth. I felt impotent in my search for answers until I stumbled upon the podcasts and then the website.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult? by Ray Yungen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?, click here.
Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?
In the West, mysticism always used to be restricted to a tiny fraction of the population (i.e., shamans, esoteric brotherhoods, and small spiritually elite groups). Never before has there been a widespread teaching of these methods to the general population. Now, mysticism pervades the Western world. How did this happen?
The first such book to reach a broad audience was Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. This book could rightfully be called a practical mystic’s “Bible.” Many people can trace their first involvement with metaphysics to this book. Since its publication in 1978, it has sold millions of copies and has influenced the fields of psychology, health, business, and athletics.
This book became so popular because it addresses such topics as creativity, career goals, relationships, better health, and simple relaxation and peacefulness. Who wouldn’t want to have all this, especially if all it takes is engaging in a simple practice?
Gawain spells out very clearly what that practice entails. She teaches her readers:
Almost any form of meditation will eventually take you to an experience of yourself as source, or your higher self . . . Eventually you will start experiencing certain moments during your meditation when there is a sort of “click” in your consciousness and you feel like things are really working; you may even experience a lot of energy flowing through you or a warm radiant glow in your body. These are signs that you are beginning to channel the energy of your higher self.1
There were books like hers before, but those appealed to people already in the New Age subculture. This wasn’t true of Creative Visualization. This book had just the right secular slant on something inherently spiritual. Gawain believed that one could stay a Jew, Catholic, or Protestant and still practice the teachings of the book. All you needed to do was develop yourself, not change your religion.
Today, sales of this book and others like it have exploded in the Western world. This is not an understatement or scare-tactic conjecture. Take a look at book sales for some of the major New Age authors around today. Just the top two, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, have sold fifty million books between them. James Redfield, the author of The Celestine Prophecy can boast of a staggering twenty million books sold, and Neal Donald Walsch, the channeler of Conversations with God, a surprising seven million.
The basic message of these books and hundreds of others like them could be reduced to one simple word, a word that cries out a uniform consistent theme—meditate! That is to say, you’re not going to get anywhere in this life unless you get that “click” that Gawain spoke of earlier, and to do it, you must meditate.
If you think the New Age movement is a colorful assortment of strange cults dressed in orange and populated by free-spirited aging hippies and assorted oddballs who are being duped by money-hungry charlatans and egocentric frauds, then think again. We are not dealing with fringe religious groups or chanting flower-children anymore but with a broad-based concerted effort to influence and restructure our whole society.
Shakti Gawain says any form of meditation will work, but what she really means is that any form of a particular type of meditation will work. She is not talking about the kind of “meditation” in which one ponders on or considers a certain topic. The type she practices and promotes involves stopping the normal flow of human thought. You can’t get the “click” she speaks of unless you go all the way by emptying the mind versus simply just sitting and thinking. Merely pondering does not suffice. To meditate “successfully,” you must employ a specific method which produces a void referred to by many New Age practitioners as “the silence”—or “the voice of the silence.”
But how does one engage in the actual practice of New Age meditation? For starters, one begins by repeating a single world or short phrase for a minimum of twenty minutes (once a meditator is good at meditating, he can even shorten that time). But if for some reason, the meditator finds himself given to active thought again, he must revert back to repeating that same word or phrase. This word or phrase is what is referred to as “the mantra.” A similar method involves focusing on the breath for the same amount of time. Yet another method, commonly found in Shamanic cultures, incorporates the use of both chanting and drumming. Alongside of this, there exists an even more subtle “Christian” form of meditation, which employs the use of biblical phrases, a single word such as “Jesus,” and spiritual-sounding phrases such as “Maranatha,” “Abba Father,” “You are my Lord,” and “Here I Am.”
Meditation has always been the precursor to mysticism, and this especially applies to the underpinnings of far-eastern religions in particular (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism). We are all familiar with the stereotype of the Hindu guru or the Buddhist monk depicted in the lotus position, but this stereotype no longer is reflective of what meditation has come to mean in our post-modern or pseudo-modern society.
Meditation as we know it to be now has literally busted out from its foundational origins into a wide array of options and expressions. Undoubtedly, the most common way in which most encounter meditation is within the therapeutic realm. Many are incredulous when they discover meditation is not just for stress reduction but possesses a definite mystical component, irrespective of one’s intent. We will now examine in more depth the existing evidence which bears witness to this.
Stress is believed to be one of the leading causes of illness in America today. Millions of people suffer from disorders such as headaches, insomnia, nerves, and stomach problems because of excessive stress in their lives. In response to this situation, an army of practitioners have come forth to teach relaxation skills and stress reduction techniques to the afflicted millions. A newspaper article proclaims:
Once a practice that appealed mostly to mystics and occult followers, meditation now is reaching the USA’s mainstream. . . . The medical establishment now recognizes the value of meditation and other mind-over-body states in dealing with stress-related illnesses.2
Does all meditation lead to New Age mysticism? Can a person meditate without having a metaphysical motive? Can it be done just to relax and get rid of tension without any spiritual side effects? These are legitimate questions. Suppose a company brings in a stress specialist to give a seminar and all employees are required to attend. What if a doctor prescribes meditation to relieve migraine headaches? Say an aerobics instructor has participants of the class lie on their backs, close their eyes, and do breathing exercises. Is there such a thing as neutral meditation?
I once asked John Klimo (who wrote what has been called the definitive book on channeling) if the millions of people meditating for stress reduction could become transformed as a result. His response almost sent me through the ceiling! “Most certainly,” he replied with marked enthusiasm. Being a channeler himself, he viewed the possibility of this with great expectation.
His optimism was well-founded. When the meditation techniques used in stress reduction are compared to the meditation used in New Age spirituality, it is clear to see they are basically the same. Both use either the breathing or mantra method to still the mind. A blank state of mind is all that is necessary for contact to occur.
Some well-known channelers became so because meditation catapulted them into the world of spirit entities. Jach Pursel, who channels the immensely popular “Lazaris,” explains how this entity first came to him:
Early evening. Sitting on the bed, plumped up in pillows, I am preparing to meditate (ha!). I am going to seek insight (ha!) to help guide our lives. . . . Two hours later, Peny [his wife] didn’t hear my sheepish apology for having dozed off. She was excitedly tumbling over words trying to tell me that an entity had spoken through me. She thought I had fallen asleep again, too. This time, however, my head didn’t bob, so she waited. Some minutes passed, and then a deep, resonant voice began where mine had left off. The answers, however, were powerful, not of the caliber of mine. She listened. She wrote as fast as she could. . . .
The entity explained that he was Lazaris! . . . Lazaris requested two weeks of our time to finalize the necessary adjustments so he could “channel” through me. He provided Peny with a simple, but detailed, method I should use to enter trance more easily. He assured her that this experience would never be detrimental, that although he had neither a body nor time, he appreciated that we did, and he would never abuse either.3
Kevin Ryerson (featured in Shirley MacLaine’s book and television movie Out on a Limb) also got into channeling by accident. He joined a meditation group hoping he could tap into some inner reservoir of creativity just as many in the business world are now doing. He relates:
When I entered this group, I had no intention or expectation of becoming a trance medium. But after six months, in the course of one of our sessions, I entered into a “spontaneous channeling state,” as I refer to it now.4
John Randolph Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation and instigator of the World Healing Day Meditation, also became involved in metaphysics through this route. He reveals:
Back when I was in the business world, the American Management Association put out a little book on meditation, which indicated that meditation was a way to attain peace of mind and reduce stress in a corporate environment. So I decided I’d try it. . . . I learned that I could go into meditation as a human being, and within a matter of minutes, have transcended my sense of humanness. I discovered how to come into a new sphere of consciousness. Consciousness actually shifts, and you move into a realm you may not have even known existed.5
So, can meditation be done without potential spiritual side effects? For those who still say yes, give ear to the following:
In alpha [meditative state] the mind opens up to nonordinary forms of communication, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition . . . In alpha the rational filters that process ordinary reality are weakened or removed, and the mind is receptive to nonordinary realities. (emphasis mine)6
You must be willing to slow down, to stop and just be quiet. It is into this quiet space [meditation], not the noisy one, that Spirit enters. Make a sacred space for your Higher Self to enter by being silent and willing to listen, willing to simply BE. This attracts your superconscious essence like a magnet.7
First and foremost, almost all mediums agree on the significance and the importance of regular daily meditation. This single practice, above all others, is no doubt the very shaft that drives the wheel of development.8
Even though meditation can bring you seeming peace of mind and improved health, I believe it is evident, by the accounts just given, that those who engage in it may find themselves in similar circumstances. According to New Ager Betty Bethards, “Meditation can, and does, change your life because it changes you.”9 Ken Wilber, another New Age writer and expert in the field of higher consciousness, aptly puts it:
If you’re doing meditation correctly, you’re in for some very rough and frightening times. Meditation as a relaxation response is a joke.10
I understand the bizarre implications of what I am trying to convey and certainly can see where a skeptic might laugh at such accusations. But evidence to the contrary is abundant. In 1996, Time magazine actually did an article on just such a reality. The article called “Ambushed by Spirituality” was written by a Hollywood studio executive and producer who described himself as “the last guy you’d figure would go spiritual on you.”11 Marty Kaplin explained how he “stumbled” onto “meditation” to keep from grinding his teeth when he became stressed. The following account backs up my bold assertion:
I got more from mind-body medicine than I bargained for. I got religion. . . . The spirituality of it ambushed me. Unwittingly, I was engaging in a practice [meditation] that has been at the heart of religious mysticism for millenniums. . . . Now I know there is a consciousness that transcends science, a consciousness toward which our species is sputteringly evolving.12
Nathaniel Mead, another authority that was honest and open about the side effects of simple meditation practice, echoed what Ken Wilber warned about. In a natural health magazine, Mead states:
One source of meditation problems comes from the attempt to turn a powerful, psychological technique into a simple physical therapy. When a meditator is led to expect stress reduction and instead comes face to face with his true self, the result can be anything but relaxing.13
But in spite of the dangers and risks, meditation continues to be promoted by those in the alternative health profession. The prestigious and highly respected Mayo Clinic has put its stamp of approval on meditation as well in its book The Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine. The book gives the green light by stating:
Today many people use meditation for health and wellness purposes. In meditation, a person focuses attention on his or her breathing, or on repeating a word, phrase or sound in order to suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupies the conscious mind. . . . Meditation may be used to treat a number of problems, including anxiety, pain, depression, stress and insomnia.14
The book then devotes an entire page with step-by-step instructions on how to meditate. These instructions are the exact same type of meditation you have been reading about in this booklet (i.e., focus on the breath and repetition of words and phrases). The Mayo Clinic’s acceptance of Eastern-style meditation is an excellent barometer for how widespread meditation has become in respectable and mainstream society. And with the explosion of stress and anxiety in Western culture and the promotion of meditative techniques by such reputable institutions as the Mayo Clinic, this will neutralize any opposition people may have to meditation based on the perception of it being unorthodox. In essence, meditation is now for the masses!
Meditation has found its way to the masses through many routes—a primary one of which pertains to physical fitness in the form of Yoga. The very word “Yoga” means union with the god of Hinduism, namely Brahman. Meditation is the vehicle by which to accomplish this union. Vedic, which is Hindu literature, is filled with references to Yoga in this context. Although, in America, Yoga has erroneously been looked upon as just a series of simple stretching exercises, the mystical aspects are clearly evident if one takes the time to look into the matter more deeply. A considerably high percentage of those who are drawn to Yoga, roughly thirty percent, delve into the religious aspects of Yoga eventually. Yoga’s popularity is to spirituality, what a gateway drug is to harder drugs; and it has laid the groundwork for an acceptance of meditation that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.
You will recall my mention of Marty Caplan who said he was ambushed by spirituality. This means there was someone or something that did the ambushing. The apostle Paul identifies these ambushers when he writes:
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)
These religions of which Paul speaks are the source of the modern meditation movement. It is not hard to find examples of this in various accounts of meditative experiences.
Lori Cabot, in her book Power of the Witch, actually backs up the apostle Paul’s assertion, but instead of calling them devils, she refers to them as “spirit helpers.” In her chapter on meditation (which she refers to as alpha—the brain waves level when one is in a meditative state), she makes the following recommendation:
Establish a reciprocal relationship with your spirit helpers from the start. Be aware of how you fit into their mission and purpose, and do your best to be a partner or companion to your spirit guides.15
In the Western world today, meditation has become a kind of cure-all for all manner of mental and physical problems, for both young and old alike. Most people in the modern world see meditation as more of a therapeutic practice than a spiritual one. But as I’ve illustrated in this booklet, intent is not the main factor in determining the outcome of meditation practice. Before you or a loved one accepts the premise that meditation is a pathway to wellness, please give the contents of this booklet your most serious consideration.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. (Proverbs 8:11)
To order copies of Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?, click here.
1. Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1983, 9th Printing, p. 57.
2. USA Weekend Sunday Supplement, July 24-26, 1987, p. 12
3. Jach Pursel, “Introduction from the Sacred Journey: You and Your Higher Self,” taken from Jach Pursel’s website, http://www.lazaris.com/publibrary/pubjach.cfm.
4. Mark Vaz, “The Many Faces of Keven Ryerson” (Yoga Journal, July/August 1986), p. 28.
5. “Two Billion People for Peace,” Interview with John Randolph Price (Science of Mind, Aug. 1989), p. 24.
6. Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, 1989), p. 173.
7. Kathleen Vande Kieft, Innersource: Channeling Your Unlimited Self (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, third printing, 1989), p. 114.
8. Zolar, Zolar’s Book of the Spirits (New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press, 1987), p. 227.
9. Betty Bethards, Way to Awareness: A Technique of Concentration and Meditation (Novato, CA: Inner Light Foundation, 1987), p. 23.
10. “The Pundit of Transpersonal Psychology” (Yoga Journal, September/October 1987), p. 43.
11. Marty Kaplan, “Ambushed by Spirituality” (Time magazine, June 24, 1996, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,984754,00.html).
13. Andrea Honebrick, “Meditation: Hazardous to your health?” (Utne Reader, March/April 1994), citing Nathaniel Mead (Natural Health, November/December 1993, taken from the Transcendental Meditation Ex-Members Support Group, TM-EX Newsletter at http://minet.org/news94sm.dtp.0.html).
14. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine (Time, Inc., Home Entertainment Books, 2007), p. 90.
15. Lori Cabot, Power of the Witch (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday, 1989), p. 198.
To order copies of Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?, click here.
In order of date posted.
1/A Special Letter from Caryl Matrisciana – Reflections on Sorrow by Caryl Matrisciana
I’m so grateful to Jesus Christ for having walked the sorrows of this life and given us His example of how godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow can be faced through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, which is freely given to believers as His Gift of Grace (2 Corinthians 1:5-6; Hebrews 2:10;). The apostle Paul distinguishes two sorts of sorrow: “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). The one is that sorrow for sin [that is] wrought by God [and] leads to repentance, while the other is a sorrow about worldly objects which, when separated from the fear of God, tends to death, temporal and eternal. (Unger Bible Dictionary)
In 2014, Rick Warren (called “America’s Pastor) was interviewed by Catholic T.V. network host Raymond Arroyo. The interview took place at the Saddleback Church campus and was posted on YouTube by EWTN in April of 2014. Because I had written previously in 2013 about Rick Warren’s connections to Rome and to the Catholic convert Tony Blair (former prime minister of Britain), I was very aware that Rick Warren was heading down the path toward Rome. But not until I saw this interview did I realize just how far he has gone in that direction.
3/The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints by Cedric Fisher
In the wake of a brutal execution of Christians at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in October 2015, the Obama administration announced the appointment of a new czar position to supposedly battle domestic terrorism.
4/Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection by Ray Yungen
n 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pope Francis the First. This new pope immediately began causing ripples in the Catholic Church with his statements on certain issues. He also caused many to take notice of his unpapal lifestyle such as living in a guesthouse with twelve others rather than living in the papal apartments like previous popes. He projects a down-to-earth image that denotes compassion and trust. He has been called the people’s pope, someone who is your friend, someone you can trust. But there are certain things about Pope Francis’ coming on the scene that are being ignored by the media and most people.
Our Spiritual Adversary would have everyone believe that we are all “one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. Using every promotional means possible—including a creative and ingenious perversion of quantum physics—he is attempting to convince the world and the church that while Jesus was Christ, so is everyone. And while Jesus was God, so is everyone else. To underscore this heretical New Age doctrine of God and Christ “in” everyone, he would have us further believe that nothing of any significance happened on the Cross of Calvary.
Contemplative prayer, which Priscilla Shirer refers to as her “brand new way” and Beth Moore says is essential in really knowing God, is in reality an ancient prayer practice that is essentially the same as New Age or Eastern meditation though disguised with Christian terminology. Those who participate and enter the contemplative silence, as it is called, open themselves to great deception.
7/“For God So Loved the World . . . That Whosoever!” by Harry Ironside
Why do so many people think this is the greatest text in the Bible? There are other wonderful texts that dwell on the love of God, that show how men are delivered from judgment, that tell us how we may obtain everlasting life; but no other one verse, as far as I can see, gives us all these precious truths so clearly and so distinctly. So true is this that when the Gospel is carried into heathen lands, and missionaries want to give a synopsis of the Gospel to a pagan people, all they find it necessary to do, if they are going to a people that have a written language, is to translate and print this verse, and it tells out the story that they are so anxious for the people to hear.
Why would our country, so richly blessed by God, embrace the occult? What caused this drastic change in values? How could it have happened so seemingly fast?! Actually, the entire Western world had already been “softened up” by the 1960s when the rising rebellion against God erupted into public view.
9/D is for Deception: The Language of the “New” Christianity by Kevin Reeves
A number of years ago, a book written by emerging-church leaders Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet was released. The book was called A is for Abductive: the language of the emerging church. Going through the alphabet, the authors identified many terms they hoped would be picked up by the younger generation, thus creating a unique emerging spiritual atmosphere. They called it a “primer with a mission.” That mission that McLaren, Sweet, and other like-minded change agents embrace has been successful in bringing in a new kind of “Christianity. . . .”
Have you heard the rumor going around—that God can be found “only in the silence”? Don’t buy it. Please understand. I love quiet. I drive for hours with the radio off, sit in the porch swing and listen to the birds, and lie on Gram’s quilt in the dark to watch the stars. I insist on quiet for Bible and prayer time.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity by Kevin Reeves and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity, click here.
By Kevin Reeves
and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails
A number of years ago, a book written by emerging-church leaders Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet was released. The book was called A is for Abductive: the language of the emerging church. Going through the alphabet, the authors identified many terms they hoped would be picked up by the younger generation, thus creating a unique emerging spiritual atmosphere. They called it a “primer with a mission.”1 That mission that McLaren, Sweet, and other like-minded change agents embrace has been successful in bringing in a new kind of “Christianity,” which is not biblical Christianity but rather a “New” Christianity now permeating the halls of Christian colleges, seminaries, evangelical churches, small groups, ministries, and organizations. We have compiled in this booklet common terms and their basic meanings to help uncover the true meaning behind some of the deceptive language of the “New” Christianity (i.e., the New Spirituality).
What Does That Mean?
Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. (Isaiah 5:13)
A great deal of confusion resides in today’s church. In the West, particularly, discernment among Christians is at an alarmingly low ebb. Even genuine believers in Christ have been led astray from the primacy of the Bible and swept up into an ecumenical, interspiritual environment which marks so much of our current Christian practice. Formerly solid Christian fellowships have been torn loose from scriptural moorings and now float on an endless sea of experiential religion. Anecdotal preaching has replaced time-honored biblical exposition; feelings take priority over the Scriptures; pulpit charisma rules congregations steeped in modern culture.
For Christians who understand the times in which we live and who are committed to defending the faith and warning others of spiritual deception, much of the difficulty in doing so resides in the fact that the terminology used by New Christianity/New Spirituality leaders and authors is either completely new to the biblical Christian or the terms are the same but definitions have changed.
Ignorance of the schemes of the devil is no virtue. It is incumbent upon us to “[s]tudy to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), and in being properly equipped, to speak truth to the erring Christian and help him return to the real “ancient paths” (Jeremiah 18:15) that God laid out from the foundation of the world.
Each of the definitions of the following terms are short and in no way fully explain the complexities often involved. But we hope this glossary will help you to better understand the nature of the enemy’s deceptive plans to distinguish scriptural truth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Language of the New Spirituality
Absence of Thought: The mental state sought after by those practicing contemplative prayer or meditation. By repeating a word or phrase or concentrating on the breath or an object, the mind goes into an altered state of consciousness and all thought becomes absent.
Alchemy: One of the terms used in the popular book, Jesus Calling, it is an ancient mystical art of the occult. Webster’s definition uses the words mystical and syncretist religion and astrology to describe alchemy.
Alignment: Spiritually speaking, bringing one’s will into conformity with the vision and goals of a religious organization or church.2
Alpha: It is the goal of meditators to reach the alpha state where the mind is in a kind of neutral trance or hypnotic slumber.
Altered State of Consciousness: A meditative or drug-induced non-ordinary state of mind. In a religious context, a state where the seeker is drawn out of his normal thinking processes into “self-realization” or contact with what he considers the divine or divine wisdom.
Ancient Disciplines (see also Spiritual Disciplines): This is not talking about ancient as in Bible days but rather is referring to Desert Fathers (monks and hermits) who drew from pagan religions and began practicing an eastern-style meditation.
Ancient Future: see Vintage Faith
Ancient Wisdom: The supposed laws of the universe that, when mastered, enable one to control one’s own reality. Another word for metaphysics or occultism.
Aquarius/Aquarian Age: Sign of the Zodiac represented by the water carrier or the Earth Age associated with this astrological sign. The term New Age refers to the coming Aquarian age, which is in the process of replacing the Pisces Age. According to astrologers, every 2,000 years constitutes an age. New Agers predict this Aquarian age will be a time of utopia, when man will come into a fuller knowledge of his supposed inherent divinity.
As Above, So Below: This term is seen as the key to unlocking all occultic practice as described in the New Age book, As Above, So Below. Signifies that God is “in” everything and man is divine. Used in Eugene Peterson’s book The Message “Bible” in the Lord’s Prayer. (Warren B. Smith explains this term in further detail in Deceived on Purpose).
At-one-ment (replaces atonement): This term has nothing to do with the atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross; rather it is the concept that every human being and all creation is at one with each other. We are all connected together because “God” is flowing through everything and everyone.
Automatic Writing: When one enters an altered state of consciousness through a meditative practice, he or she acts as a conduit for supernatural entities or spirit guides (actually demons or familiar spirits), allowing those entities to “dictate,” via pen and paper. The act of writing down what those entities communicate.
Awakening: New Spirituality proponents say man is waking up to the realization that he is God, that divinity is within him. Thomas Merton spoke of man realizing what is already there (“God”). New Spirituality leader Leonard Sweet put this on the cover of his book Nudge— Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There. Richard Foster told researcher Ray Yungen once that Thomas Merton “tried to awaken God’s people” (meaning through mysticism).
Be Still: Taken from Psalm 46:10—“Be Still and Know That I Am God.” Those promoting contemplative prayer use this phrase as part of their meditative exercises, claiming that the verse is a mandate in Scripture to practice the “silence,” when in fact, the Scripture, when taken in context, means to trust in the Lord. It has nothing to do with going into a meditative state by shutting down thought processes.
Breath Prayer: Practice consisting of picking a single word or short phrase and repeating it in conjunction with the breath. Rick Warren encourages the use of breath prayers in his highly popular book, The Purpose Driven Life.
Catalyst: Taking pastors and leaders to a “new level” (i.e., leaving the old ways and moving into “new” innovative methods and ideas). Emphasizing that everything must change and must change quickly and dramatically.
Centering/Centering Prayer: Another term for meditation (going deep within your center). A type of meditation being promoted in many mainline churches under the guise of biblical prayer, but which is actually Buddhist or Hindu in origin. Larry Crabb tells readers in his book, The Papa Prayer, that he has been greatly benefited from centering prayer. Sadly, Christian leaders such as Erwin Lutzer, James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell endorsed Crabb’s book.
Chakras: Believed by New Agers to be seven energy centers in man, aligned along the spine, which open up during the kundalini effect in meditation.
Channeling (see also Automatic Writing): Altered state of consciousness whereby the channeler opens himself up to inhabitation by spirits, often the supposed spirits of the dead or “ancient masters” who convey hidden mysteries. Acting as a medium.
Christ-Consciousness: Taught by New Agers to be the state of awareness, reached in meditation, in which one realizes one’s own divinity and oneness with God, thereby becoming a “christ” or enlightened being.
Christ Follower: While there is nothing inadvertently wrong with this term, New Christianity/New Spirituality proponents have captured the term to say a “Christian” is a dogmatic, preachy, uncaring, irrelevant person whereas a Christ follower doesn’t preach or carry around a Bible (which they say makes unbelievers/unchurched uncomfortable) but rather becomes integrated into the culture, absorbing the culture. Whereas a Christian is set apart, the Christ follower focuses on relationships, community, and social justice, they say. It is the idea that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church (for more on the term Christ follower, see http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4810).
Christian Formation: See Spiritual Formation
“Christian” Yoga: Some claim that Yoga can be neutralized by performing a Christian rendition of it. But even Hindu yogis say there is no such thing as “Christian” yoga because the exercises cannot be separated from the religious aspects. Yoga is the heartbeat of Hinduism.
Civility: Basically, no one is to challenge or question another’s beliefs. All are valid.
Cloud of Unknowing: An ancient primer on contemplative prayer written by an anonymous monk. It instructs: “Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . . With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting.”
Co-Creator/Co-Creation: According to New Spirituality/emerging church advocates, man is a co-creator with God because man is equal, in abilities and nature, to God.
Colonialism: A derogatory term used by New Spirituality advocates to describe those who are still clinging to the “old time religion,” which is seen as outdated, archaic, irrelevant, and unsuccessful.
Common Ground: Using the dialectic process, an agreement among people that “ameliorates the extremes,” thus effectually dispensing with tolerance for diversity.3 In practice, it is arriving at agreement through compromise. A one-world religion will be achieved through this means.
Contemplative Prayer: Going beyond thought by the use of repeated prayer words or phrases. Similar to centering prayer in that it encourages a clearing of the mind of conscious thought in order to create a spiritual receptivity to God or the divine.
Contextual Theology: The belief that the Bible, in and of itself, is not free-standing—other factors (culture, ethnicity, history) must be taken into consideration, and with those factors, the message of the Bible must be adjusted to fit.
Convergent: A coming together or unifying of ideas. The boundaries that distinguish different beliefs are eradicated.
Conversation (or Conversation Journey): New Christianity followers reject the idea that truth is unchangeable or that we can have certainty in knowing truth; thus, we have “conversations” that are always seeking answers but never finding. To be certain of anything is arrogant, they say. This ongoing conversation journey is inclusive of all beliefs and ideas; nothing is rejected.
Cosmic Christ: All world religions will eventually be bound together by the “Cosmic Christ” principle, which is another term for the higher self; thus, the Cosmic Christ is the “Christ” within every human being. The Catholic Church now has in its Catechism the concept that we are all Christs.
Creative Visualization: Imaging in the mind, during meditation especially, a desired object or occurrence, then expecting its physical fulfillment. In simple terms, it is a practice that supposedly creates one’s own reality. Though pagan in origin, this practice has its “Christian” counterpart in various aspects of the charismatic/Pentecostal church, most notably in Word of Faith, in which faith proclamations are enjoined with visualizing the desired result.
Critical Mass: While a scientific term, when speaking of populations of people it is referring to “an explosion in global consciousness capable of ‘touching’ or transforming all of humankind.”4 The idea is that when a certain critical number of people all share the same awareness, then change can come to all people’s thinking because of the critical mass (as in an atomic explosion). A critical mass does not have to be a majority if it is a powerful enough mass, but unity is essential and so is meditation.
Cultural Architect: An emerging church/progressive Christianity term for pastor or leader with the idea that these cultural architects differ from their pastor counterparts in that they are in touch with the culture and are relevant.
Daniel Plan: Saddleback Church’s fifty-two week spiritual and physical health and wellness program. For the program, Warren enlisted the assistance of three physicians with New Age/holistic medicine beliefs and teachings (Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hymen).
Dark Night of the Soul: Term coined by John of the Cross, describing a time of intense inner crisis in which the seeker feels far from God. It is highly typical of contemplatives to use this idea of spiritual dryness or emptiness to convince followers they need something more in their relationship with God. Contemplatives insist that the “old ways” don’t work anymore.
De-Construction: Undoing the old traditional Christianity. In A is for Abductive, McLaren says it is “disassembling anything that has acquired a pat and patent set of meanings [i.e., doctrine] for the purpose of reassembling in new ways [i.e., emerging/New Spirituality]” (p. 95).
Desert Fathers: A group of ancient Christian monks living in wilderness areas of the Middle East who practiced contemplative prayer, borrowing meditation techniques from Hindu and Buddhist sources. You will often find references to the Desert Fathers in contemplative-promoting books.
Dominionism: The belief that God’s people will rise up as overcomers and put Satan and his minions under their (not Christ’s) feet. According to Dominionists, Christ cannot return until this is accomplished. The rapture is discounted as a myth, with the declaration that Christ will return, not for His people, but rather already in them (no physical return). The overcomers will then present to Christ a faultless world where He will then rule.
Ecstasy: The hoped-for outcome of contemplative prayer or meditation wherein the seeker is carried out of himself into a oneness with the Divine. People say they experience an ecstasy compared to nothing they have ever known before. They feel a sense of unity with all of life and are convinced of their own immortality. Such experiences keep them returning for more. One is not going to believe he or she is God if one doesn’t feel like God.
Ecumenism: The merging of the various Christian denominations and doctrinal persuasions resulting in a dilution of biblical faith.
Emergent: The term emergent was first used by the group (Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, etc.) originally called Young Leaders Network. When they left Leadership Network to go on their own, they became Emergent. Today the terms emergent and emerging are often used interchangeably.
Emerging Church: Postmodern congregations that follow a loose set of doctrines promoting a redefinition of Christianity and incorporating into their fellowships some or all of the following: Roman Catholic mysticism and contemplative prayer, eastern meditation techniques, pagan religious practices such as walking the labyrinth, Lectio Divina, mantra, etc. Highly ecumenical. The focus is on social justice and cultural relevancy rather than the Gospel and the Word of God. Emphasis is on a social gospel as opposed to a personal Gospel.
Eucharist: The small wafer administered during the Communion portion of the Catholic Mass. When consecrated by the priest, the wafer supposedly becomes the literal body of Christ. Some emerging and evangelical churches are turning their communion services into modifications of the Catholic Eucharistic mass.
Fractal: Directly related to what are being called the “new sciences” of “Chaos Theory” and “Fractal Theory.” Linked with the occult phrase “as above, so below.” Mentioned in William Paul Young’s book, The Shack.
Fresh: New Spirituality advocates say we need to see God in new “fresh” ways. Rick Warren says this in The Purpose Driven Life. Occultist Alice Bailey says the path to God will be based on “a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and of God Immanent within every form of life.”5
Fusion: A common term within New Spirituality to describe a fusing together of ideas, beliefs, and people.
Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan: Initiative originating with Saddleback Church’s pastor Rick Warren, where social justice “deeds” take precedence over doctrine and beliefs.
God’s Dream: A crossover term used by both the New Age and the church and oftentimes connotes desire for world peace. When people of all faiths move past “doctrinal idiosyncrasies” and “transcend divisive dogmas,” they can attain “God’s Dream” for world peace.
Ground of All Being: New Ager Marilyn Ferguson wrote that God is within everyone and everything. God is described as the universal “ground of all being.”
Higher Self: Supposed God-self within each human being. New Agers seek to connect, through meditation, with their higher self. Also called the Christ-Self or True-Self. Brennan Manning helped to bring this term into the evangelical church.
Holy Laughter: Considered by proponents to be a sign of “revival,” holy laughter is uncontrollable laughter, often spontaneous and mass-manifested, erupting in response to “the anointing” or the supposed manifest presence of God.
Ignatius Exercises: Meditative exercises named after Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Catholic Jesuit Order.
Immanence: The New Age belief that God is in everyone.
Incarnational: A term used to describe an emerging “progressive” kind of evangelism that focuses on the needs of people but downplays the importance of sharing the Gospel message (as that can offend).
Individualism: New Spirituality advocates resent individualism, saying that is the old way of viewing things. Now we must be collective, unified. Individual relationships with Jesus Christ are to be replaced with communities in which social justice is the focus.
Interspirituality: The premise that divinity (God) is in all things, and the presence of God is in all religions; a connecting together of all things, and through mysticism (i.e., meditation), this state of divinity can be recognized. Consequently, a premise based on and upheld by an experience that occurs during a self-hypnotic trance linking one to an unseen world rather than to the sound doctrine of the Bible. Wayne Teasdale, a lay monk who coined the term interspirituality, says that interspirituality is “the spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions.”
Jesus Prayer: A popular version of this prayer, often used in contemplative meditation, is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” often abbreviated to “Jesus.”
Kingdom Now: A teaching that Christians should be walking consistently in supernatural power and establishing Christ’s kingdom on earth. Much overlap exists between Kingdom Now, Dominionism, and Latter Rain theology.
Kingdom of God: New Spirituality believes the kingdom of God can be brought to earth through humanity becoming one. When they use this term, they don’t mean it in the sense the Bible uses it but rather it is a kingdom based on the unity of all mankind and man realizing his divinity. There is no Cross in this kingdom.
Kundalini: Powerful energy associated with the chakras and brought on through meditation. Hindu in origin, kundalini manifestations include uncontrollable shaking, writhing, convulsions, trance states, a sensation of fire or electricity on or in the body, swooning, etc.
Labyrinth: An ancient pattern, often constructed of rocks or cement, wherein a circular pathway leads to a central point. Originating in Greek mythology, labyrinths are gaining a strong following among practitioners of contemplative prayer and are becoming a visible part of church landscaping and architecture. Seekers of any faith are encouraged to walk the labyrinth’s pathways and pray for an individual experience with God. Read Carl Teichrib’s booklet The Labyrinth Journey for a complete explanation.
Lectio Divina: Means “sacred reading.” This contemplative prayer practice is gaining popularity within the evangelical/Protestant camp. It often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over in order to “hear from God.” Basically, Scripture is being misused as a tool for meditation.
Making History: Another way of saying things must change.
Mantra: Word or words repeated either silently or out loud in order to induce an altered state of consciousness. A way to turn off thoughts and enter the “silence.”
Maturity: A term used by all contemplatives, such as Richard Foster and Rick Warren, to describe the outcome of someone who is a regular practitioner of contemplative prayer. The traditional view of God, they say, is somewhat immature or childish, and the contemplative view of God is mature. In other words, the mystical view of God will give true maturity as opposed to a more juvenile or childish view of God.
Meditation: The meditation most of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation does just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in the equivalent of pause or neutral. A comparison would be that of turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond. When meditation is employed by damming the free flow of thinking, it holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where the mind dwells on a subject. New Age meditation works as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty, and silent.
Meditation and Contemplation (Biblical): A normal thinking process of reflecting on the things of God and biblical precepts.
Metaphysical: Beyond the physical realm or pertaining to the supernatural.
Mindfulness: A Buddhist term from bapasana. It’s the practice of meditation. Gives the classic Buddhist spiritual enlightenment. Now it is being used in virtually every area of human endeavor: stress reduction, education, medicine, post-traumatic stress, and stress in the workplace.
Missional (also Missional Church): Replacing the term missions; it strives to improve society through social justice. De-emphasizes evangelism to the lost. Emphasizes being relevant and connected to the culture.
Mysticism: A direct experience with the supernatural realm.
Namaste: A greeting that occurs at the end of each Yoga session—meaning the god in me greets the god in you.
New Age: In a religious context, an all-encompassing spirituality, sourced in ancient pagan practices that defies specific “doctrinal” definitions. It is geared toward New Age religion, which can incorporate teachings and practices from virtually any other religion or non-religion such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Wicca, astrology, alchemy, veganism, homeopathic medicine, tarot cards, crystal gazing, etc.
New Apostolic Reformation (NAR): Teaches that there are apostles and prophets today in the church who are equal to or greater than the apostles and prophets who wrote the Bible and that to come into the fullness of Christ, the church needs to submit to them. Teachings include varying degrees of Latter Rain, Five-Fold Ministry, Dominion, and Kingdom Now theologies.6
New Reformation: The emerging church says there is a “new” reformation every 500 years, and we are due for one now. Whereas the last reformation was a breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church, this one will be a uniting of all belief systems. The late emerging church leader Phyllis Tickle said once that Brian McLaren is the next Luther.7
New Thought: Movement that tries to merge classic occult concepts with Christian terminology. Two examples are Christian Science and Unity church.
Non-dualism: Ray Yungen says Satan is trying to eradicate the gap between good and evil. In the New Spirituality, there is no “dualism” (good and bad, right and wrong, etc.).
Nonphysical Guides: Spirit guides or as the Bible refers, familiar spirits and demons.
Occult: Means “hidden” and refers to spiritual practices utilized to contact the supernatural realm. The practice of metaphysics throughout history.
Oneness: God is in everyone and everything.
Oneness Blessing: An effort to bring the Oneness Blessing to millions of people around the world with the hope of changing people’s consciousness and thus the state of the planet. This Oneness experience takes place when a Oneness Blessing giver places his or her hands on a person’s head (although it can also be bestowed through eye contact or even simple intention), and a sense of awakening into oneness is imparted.8
Organic Church: Often called a house church or simple church movement; different from “going to church.” The organic church sees itself as new, vibrant, and unique, not like the “outdated” traditional church.
Palms Down, Palms Up: A contemplative exercise wherein with eyes closed, one puts his palms up to receive from God and his palms downward to get rid of the bad within him.
Panentheism: God is in all things. God is both personal and is also in all of creation. It is a universal view that believes God is in all people and that someday all of God’s creation will be saved and be one with him. There is a physical dimension but God is true essence and real identity.
Pantheism: God is all things. The universe and all life are connected in a sum. This sum is the total reality of God. Thus, man, animals, plants, and all physical matter are seen as equal. The assumption is “all is one,” therefore, all is deity.
Paradigm Shift: See Shift
Postmodernism: A fluid term indicating a worldview in direct opposition to the morals, logic, and societal expression of the modern world from the Enlightenment through the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Truth is viewed as a social construct and is not objective or absolute. In the emerging church, it is marked by a disdain for both solid biblical exegesis and rational theological discourse, and an embracing of individual experience, desires, or thought processes over objective truth. In the emerging mind, one is always seeking but never finding. Doubt is heralded whereas certainty is considered arrogant.
Practicing the Presence of God: Taken from the ancient monk Brother Lawrence’s book by the same name, today the phrase is used in conjunction with practicing contemplative prayer. God’s presence is no longer based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the born-again believer but focuses on “practicing” God’s presence through meditative exercises such as Lectio Divina or centering prayer.
Prayer of the Heart: Another term for contemplative prayer. A move from doctrine to the mystical. Henri Nouwen stated: “The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart.”9
Prayer Path: See Labyrinth
Progressive: A term used to replace the term emerging or emergent, meaning a type of advanced Christian who has shed the old stale ways of traditional biblical Christianity.
Quantum Spirituality: When man overcomes his physical boundaries and limitations and becomes a fully realized being, awakened to the consciousness that he is God (also Quantum Leap).
Red-letter Christians: A term promoted by Tony Campolo and other “progressive” emerging figures who say they follow the red letters of Jesus in the Bible. They focus primarily on Christ’s words of love and forgiveness but disregard His words about judgment, sin, and evil.
Reiki: Spiritual energy channeled by one attuned to the Reiki power. Literally, translated god energy.
Replacement Theology: The belief that the Christian church has replaced Israel, and Israel no longer has any significance from a biblically prophetic point of view. God’s promise of an eternal covenant with Israel was not eternal after all, according to this view. See Mike Oppenheimer’s booklet Israel: Replacing What God Has Not.
Re-words (re-jesus, re-imagine, re-think, re-form, re-invent, re-imagine): Words used to suggest that traditional historical Christianity is outdated and must be re-created.
Sacred Space: Either a physical spot where one goes to engage in a mystical practice or the actual silence (state of being) during the mystical experience.
Scripture Engagement: When used, often includes Lectio Divina. Biblegateway.com, a popular online Bible resource, is promoting Lectio Divina through “Scriptural Engagement.”
Seeker-friendly: When a church puts more emphasis on making unbelievers comfortable in church and less emphasis on discipling believers. Regular members are often encouraged to leave their Bibles at home so “seekers” are not made to feel uncomfortable.
Self-centered: In the eyes of the New Age/New Spirituality teachers, anyone who is not focused on bringing about global unity and world peace through interspirituality is self-centered. “Self-centered” people do not believe that all humans are connected to each other with a god-energy in each person. To say that God is separate from man is “self-centered.” Rick Warren uses this term numerous times in his book The Purpose Driven Life in the context of unity and peace.
Self-realization: Full contact with the higher self, resulting in knowing oneself to be God. The “enlightenment” that occurs, often during meditation, wherein the practitioner becomes aware of his divinity or his connection with the divine.
Servant Leadership: Today, there is much talk about teaching people to become good leaders. In reality, what is happening is people are being taught to be “good” followers who do not exercise discernment. The term (and the concept) is used to further encourage people to accept the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality.
Shift: The idea that the church needs a radically different view of approaching and experiencing God.
Silence, the: Absence of normal thought. Common in Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian contemplative practice and is supposedly a state, often reached through meditation, where the practitioner can be in touch with his higher self, the universe, or the divine.
Slaughterhouse Religion: The belief that a loving God would never send his son to a violent “slaughterhouse” death for the sake of others. It rejects the view of substitutionary atonement (see Faith Undone for an entire chapter on this).
Soaking or Soaking Prayer: A method commonly seen in charismatic revival meetings. The participant receives the particular anointing present, normally through the laying on of hands, and “soaks” in the supposed presence of God. Manifestations associated with soaking prayer can include slain in the spirit, uncontrollable shaking or laughter, being encompassed by a sense of heaviness, spontaneous visions, altered states of consciousness, etc.
Social Justice (and Social Gospel): Shifts the emphasis from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ to more earthly endeavors like environment, empowerment, employment, entitlements, equality, and esteem-building programs promoted by global elites to benefit or punish selected people groups as needed for its “sustainable development”—an agenda more in keeping with that of a community organizer than a follower of Christ.10
Soul Care: Another term for “spiritual direction” with the purpose of finding the divinity that is within each person through contemplative meditation.
Source: An overlapping word used in both the New Age and the church as a substitute for God.
Spiritual Disciplines: The supposed disciplines used in Spiritual Formation for the purpose of becoming more christ-like. Can include fasting, prayer, good deeds, and always includes the “discipline” of contemplative prayer (e.g., solitude and silence). The Desert Fathers practiced extensively self-denial and disciplines, which as Paul indicates in Colossians 2:20-23 only provide “a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility.”
Spiritual Director: One who promotes or mentors people in the spiritual disciplines. Often ministering in Christian retreat centers or employed by Christian colleges.
Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer has entered the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality being promoted. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement. In spiritual formation, it is believed that if you practice certain disciplines, you will become more christ-like.
Superconsciousness: Basically, the New Age concept of how one connects with God. The word conscious means awareness and super mean larger or greater. This realm that exists is not known by the ordinary five senses, so when one gets in touch with it, he is achieving ultimate awareness. This is also the realm of familiar spirits. This term is used in the third Harry Potter book in conjunction with meditation and the inner eye (from the chakras).
Synergy: Working together in unity to bring about the spiritual evolution of man.
Taize: Taize is an ecumenical interspiritual community in France. Taize worship is a prayer service consisting of meditative singing and periods of silence in order to reach a contemplative state.
Tantra (aka: tantric sex): Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual experiences.
Thin Places: This term originated with Celtic spirituality (i.e., contemplative) and is in line with panentheism. Thin places imply that God is in all things, and the gap between God, evil, man, and the universe thins out and ultimately disappears in meditation.
Transformational: From the contemplative point of view, one experiences transformation from practicing the contemplative silence. This transformation is actually a change in consciousness brought on by entering altered states through meditation. Focus becomes interspiritual and universalistic.
Tribal: Used to explain that everyone is in a different tribe (religious belief system), and all tribes are legitimate; we need to embrace each other’s tribes.
True Self: Deceptively used by both the New Age and by many in the church to define your “inner divinity,” your “divine self,” which they say can be reached through meditation.
Ultimate Reality: Buddhist concept of God. Spiritual presence in all things.
Universalism: The belief that all humanity has or will ultimately have a positive connection and relationship with God. A universalist belief system, or universalism, states that every human being will be reunited with God, whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not. Universalist belief also embraces the idea that every human being has divinity or God within them.
Vintage Faith or Vintage Christianity: A spirituality that goes back to former practices, but not as far back as the apostles’ and Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. They say we need only look back to Catholicism and early century monks and mystics.
To order copies of D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity, click here.
1. http://www.brianmclaren.net/emc/archives/0310243564_samptxt.pdf, p. 17.
5. Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, p. 150.
6. Sandy Simpson, the New Apostolic Reformation, November 2011: http://www.echozoe.com/archives/2494.
8. Caryl Matrisciana, “The Oneness Blessing—Pathway to Global Awakening”: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=201.
9. Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991), p. 81.
10. Paul Proctor, “Social Justice Is Not Christian Charity, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4193.
Editor’s Note: We want to thank Lighthouse Trails authors Warren B. Smith, Ray Yungen, and Roger Oakland for their permission to use definitions on some terms from their books for the purpose of this glossary.
For more information on the “New” Christianity/New Spirituality, we encourage you to read Faith Undone, A Time of Departing, A “Wonderful” Deception, “Another Jesus” Calling and other Lighthouse Trails books and booklets. Visit www.lighthousetrails.com.
To order copies of D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity, click here.
Two Letters to the Editor About Cedarville University Lead to New Research That Causes Continued Concern
Lighthouse Trails has been following Cedarville University since 2006 when we wrote an article titled “Cedarville University – Heading Down the Contemplative Road?” Since then, Lighthouse Trails has written several others articles having watched this Christian school head down the contemplative/emerging path. In 2013, Cedarville University got a new president, and we wrote an article titled “Will Cedarville University Turn Around With New President? – Challenge May be Big.” In that article, we stated:
Cedarville University has been dancing with the devil and his contemplative/emergent beliefs for quite some time. The question is, will the new president, Thomas White, be able to turn things around? That, of course, will depend on whether he even wants to turn things around, and that won’t happen if he doesn’t understand the true nature behind the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church. If he doesn’t know that a panentheistic mystical paradigm shift is happening to the Christian church right now (as Ray Yungen has so meticulously shown in his research), we fear he may allow Cedarville to continue down its present course.
In the fall of 2015, Lighthouse Trails received two letters regarding Cedarville University. The first letter was from a concerned parent who was looking for a Christian college for her daughter. The letter gives us reason to remain concerned about Cedarville University.
“Co-incidentally,” Lighthouse Trails received a second letter from another person shortly after receiving the one below. In the second letter, we were challenged to remove Cedarville from our contemplative colleges list.
That second letter prompted us to contact Cedarville University, which led to a phone conversation with an academic dean at Cedarville. We shared our concerns that Cedarville students may still be getting contemplative teachings at the school. The dean allowed us to share documentation, in particular regarding a book being used in Cedarville’s Spiritual Formation course titled Grasping God’s Word, in which lectio divina is taught. The dean was gracious to us in his responses and agreed to allow us to send him some materials including Ray Yungen’s book on contemplative prayer, A Time of Departing. While we have not heard back from the dean, we are hopeful that the information we shared with him will bear much fruit in the future of Cedarville University.
Letter to the Editor #1 –
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
As we were doing our due diligence in searching for a college, my daughter and I were sitting in on a class [in April of 2014] at Cedarville University. I was so thankful to be there that day as the professor was teaching on Lectio Divina [from the book Grasping God’s Word]. I did confront the professor after the class was over and wasn’t surprised when he became very defensive. I was saddened to see Grace College on the ‘bad’ list. We have looked at the example given and other resources identified and am constantly checking for other things that are being taught or happening on campus.
Being aware of the contemplative movement, we have been very proactive in teaching our daughter to also be aware and to test everything. It is a battle, and I see many fall deep into it. I have directed many of my friends to your site in regards to the contemplative movement and also in searching for “christian” colleges for their kids. Sadly when they do come back to me they come back with a defense of why “meditation” is good and why the college they are choosing is a good place. This leads me to believe their own churches are either not teaching against or are teaching for the contemplative movement. Fortunately for me, my church has made us aware and are teaching against it.
Thank you again for keeping us aware. It is overwhelming for me sometimes to follow all the links you provide, but I am thankful for them and persevere to be informed.
After doing some research, Lighthouse Trails learned that the textbook being used that day in April 2014 to teach lectio divina is a book titled Grasping God’s Word by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays (see pages 231-234). The book also favorably references a number of contemplative mystics. For instance, on footnote #10 of chapter 12, it states:
For more on prayer, see Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home; Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life; and Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
Such recommendations in a book being used in the Spiritual Formation course at Cedarville University is sad news, to be sure.
To further substantiate our reader’s concerns that contemplative spirituality is being promoted at Cedarville, the following courses at Cedarville are using textbooks by contemplative/emerging authors:
- Biblical Leadership (6210): John Maxwell
- Personal Evangelism (2400): Timothy Keller (contemplative advocate)
- Discipleship (3410): James Wilhoit and Dallas Willard (Spiritual Formation book)
- Orient to Bible Ministries (1000): Scot McKnight (emergent)
- Grasping God’s Word being used in some of the Spiritual Formation courses at Cedarville
Letter to the Editor #2:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
After having a daughter graduate from Cedarville University, I was really disturbed when I received their alumni magazine and it was filled with articles on spiritual formation and contemplative prayer. I received it when Dr. Brown was president of the university. He has moved on partly because of the heat he received for allowing this unbiblical trash to enter the university. Dr. White is now the president and this trash has been removed. Please, for the integrity of your research organization, will you call and verify this information and write about it in your newsletter. Cedarville University is one of the few universities that holds to a seven-day creation and has received negative attention for their out-spoken position against same-sex marriage. People do change and so do institutions. If you are going to name names it is up to you to update and verify your research. Cedarville University deserves a second look and for their name to be taken off the list of universities that teach contemplative teachings.
Thank you for your consideration, R.C.
Of course, if a school that has been going in that direction stops and no longer promotes the Spiritual Formation paradigm, we would be overjoyed. A few things we need to point out:
We see that they still offer at least one Spiritual Formation course in their Bible minor program. One of the professors who teaches it is Dan Estes. https://www.cedarville.edu/Academics/Biblical-and-Theological-Studies/Faculty-Staff/Estes-Daniel.aspx. After receiving your letter, we did speak with Dr. Estes regarding the Spiritual Formation course at Cedarville. He e-mailed us a copy of the syllabus to assure us that he is not using any contemplative promoting books. He did say that there are several other professors who also teach Spiritual Formation at Cedarville, and he couldn’t be sure what they are using to teach the class. He told us we would need to talk to one of the deans of theology who won’t be available until after Thanksgiving. While we cannot say that this course is promoting contemplative spirituality since we haven’t seen all the syllabi or spoken with all the professors, we maintain that when that term is used, it will always directly or indirectly point to the writings of the mystics. After all, the term itself comes from the writings of Catholic mystics and was brought into the evangelical church largely through the contemplative pioneer, Richard Foster, who at one time observed:
“When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16176).
Something we are wondering, if the old president of Cedarville (Dr. Brown) left partly because of the heat he was taking for promoting contemplative/emerging, then why wasn’t there a statement made by the new president saying they were not going to go in that direction anymore. And what happened to the professors who were pushing for this? One of the staff who was promoting contemplative in Cedarville’s magazine The Torch, Kim Ahlgrim, is still on staff (http://www.cedarville.edu/Offices/Academic-Enrichment/Staff.aspx). Were they able to convince her that she was going in the wrong direction, or is she possibly teaching this to students on the side? This is a question that is worthy of being answered by Cedarville.
In our current updating research on Cedarville, we found that they still have on their website the 2011 issue of their publication Torch titled Tuning Out the Noise. This issue is an infomercial for contemplative prayer. If the school is now against contemplative, why leave this issue posted for students and others to access? Kind of like leaving the poison on the counter. You can read our 2013 article for more information about that issue.
On one webpage of Cedarville’s site, they are announcing that they received a 2015 award from the very contemplative/emergent magazine Worship Leader Magazine. While we can’t say that just because they received this award from the magazine that Cedarville is endorsing the magazine or inadvertently contemplative/emerging. However, we struggle understanding why they would post the magazine’s name and recognition if they are now against the contemplative prayer/emerging church movement. And on the Cedarville website, they state:
“Worship Leader [Magazine] is a subscription-only magazine for worship leaders and organizations around the country. It is highly respected as the premier worship magazine in America. A typical issue includes recommendations about the newest worship music, Christian books, movies and articles about how to be a great leader and worshipper of God.”
No warning by Cedarville here; almost an invitation to subscribe to Worship Leader Magazine. But if students do subscribe to the magazine, they are going to get hearty helpings of contemplative/emerging spirituality. In October of this year, on the Worship Leader website, they have an article that recommends the contemplative practice of lectio divina. The article states: “We could do a lectio divina reading of the biblical text, or use any one of several other Ancient/Future ways of engaging with it; anticipating that the God behind the story will be encountered as we do that.”
We would truly like to take Cedarville University off the Lighthouse Trails Contemplative Colleges list. But before that can happen, the concerns above need to be addressed and corrected. We also would like to know if the teachers who were formerly pro-contemplative have had a change of heart. Sadly, when even just one or two professors at a Christian college adhere to this spirituality, it can affect the entire school. Lighthouse Trails does not post the names of contemplative promoting colleges to be spiteful or mean. We do it because we genuinely care about students, especially the young ones, who are being led down a very spiritually dangerous road.
What Christian Leaders Need to Know – The Final Outcome of Practicing Contemplative Prayer: Interspirituality
LTRP Note: With more than 90% of the Christian colleges and seminaries now bringing in contemplative spirituality via Spiritual Formation programs, and with Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and Beth Moore endorsing the movement, and with countless pastors giving it a thumbs up to their congregations, isn’t it time professors, pastors, and leaders understand what the final outcome of contemplative prayer is? Isn’t it time they understand that leading Christians and church goers down this path is leading them away from the Cross, not toward it. At Lighthouse Trails, we believe it is beyond time for this understanding to occur.
By Ray Yungen
The final outcome of contemplative prayer is interspirituality. If you have truly grasped the portrait I have tried to paint in my book and articles, you have begun to see what this term signifies. The focus of my criticism of mystical prayer must be understood in the light of interspirituality.
Just what exactly is interspirituality? The premise behind interspirituality is that divinity (God) is in all things, and the presence of God is in all religions; there is a connecting together of all things, and through mysticism (i.e., meditation) this state of divinity can be recognized. Consequently, this is a premise that is based on and upheld by an experience that occurs during a self-hypnotic trance linking one to an unseen world rather than to the sound doctrine of the Bible.
It is important to understand that interspirituality is a uniting of the world’s religions through the common thread of mysticism. Wayne Teasdale, a lay monk who coined the term interspirituality, says that interspirituality is “the spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions.”1 Teasdale, in talking about this universal church also states:
She [the church] also has a responsibility in our age to be a bridge for reconciling the human family . . . the Spirit is inspiring her through the signs of the times to open to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Confucians, and indigenous peoples. As matrix [a binding substance], the Church would no longer see members of other traditions as outside her life. She would promote the study of these traditions, seek common ground and parallel insights.2 (emphasis mine)
An article in my local newspaper revealed just how well received interspirituality has become in certain circles. One Presbyterian elder who was described as a “Spiritual Director” made it clear when she said:
I also have a strong interest in Buddhism and do a sitting meditation in Portland [Oregon] as often as I can. I considered myself ecumenical not only in the Christian tradition, but with all religions.3 (emphasis mine)
There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling, and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. Sound doctrine must be central to this debate because New Ageism has a very idealistic side to it, offering a mystical approach to solve human problems. Everyone would like to have his or her problems solved. Right? That is the practical aspect I wrote about in the last chapter—a seemingly direct route to a happy and fulfilled life. However, one can promote the attributes of God without actually having God.
People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ. Then how can you be assured what you believe and practice is of God?
The Christian message has been clear from the beginning—God has sent a Savior. If man only had to practice some kind of mystical prayer to gain access to God then the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fruitless, hollow endeavor.
Sound Christian doctrine comes from the understanding that mankind is sinful, fallen, and separated from God. Man needs a saving work by God! A teaching like panentheism (God is in everybody) cannot be reconciled to the finished work of Christ. How could Jesus be our Savior then? New Age constituents will say He is a model for Christ consciousness, but the Bible teaches He is the Savior of mankind. Therefore, panentheism cannot be a true doctrine.
The problem is that many well-intentioned people embrace the teachings of panentheism because it sounds so good. It appears less bigoted on God’s part. No one is left out—all are connected to God. There is a great appeal in this message. Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach a universal salvation for man. In contrast, Jesus said:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Christ’s message is the polar opposite of these universalist teachings. Many people (even Christians) today think only a few really bad people will be sent to hell. But in Matthew, the words of Jesus make it clear that this just is not so.
While God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world, He did not say all would be saved. His words are clear that many would reject the salvation He provided. But those who are saved have been given the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18) making an appeal to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3). The Christian message is not samadhi, Zen, kundalini, or the contemplative silence. It is the power of the Cross!
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Yes, perishing, and not just unaware of their true self.
In an opinion poll, the startling results describe how Americans actually view God. Spirituality and Health magazine hired a reputable pollster organization to gauge the spiritual beliefs of the American public. This national poll revealed that 84 percent of those questioned believed God to be “everywhere and in everything” rather than “someone somewhere.”4 This means panentheism is now the more popular view of God. If true, then a high percentage of evangelical Christians in America already lean towards a panentheistic view of God. Perhaps many of these Christians are fuzzy about the true nature of God.
How could this mystical revolution have come about? How could this perspective have become so widespread? The answer is that over the last thirty or forty years a number of authors have struck a deep chord with millions of readers and seekers within Christendom. These writers have presented and promoted the contemplative view to the extent that many now see it as the only way to “go deeper” in the Christian life. They are the ones who prompt men and women to plunge into contemplative practice. It is their message that leads people to experience the “lights” and the “inner adviser!”
1. Wayne Teasdale, “Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries: A Theological Reflection” (The Golden String newsletter, http://clarusbooks.com/Teasdale.html, accessed 10/2009).
2. Wayne Teasdale, A Monk in the World (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002), p. 64.
3. Jan Alsever quoted in Statesman Journal, January 27th, 1996, Religion Section.
4. Katherine Kurs, “Are You Religious or Are You Spiritual?” (Spirituality & Health Magazine, Spring 2001), p. 28.
By Ray Yungen
In the Bible, the end-time period (traditionally called the Apocalypse) is referred to as “the day of the Lord.”* Bible scholars refer to it as the time of the Great Tribulation. Some Christians believe that the events foretold throughout the Bible actually have already happened in the first century AD. Such a view is known as preterism. But I believe there are certain aspects of these prophecies that have not occurred yet and are even occurring now.
During this time (the end of the age), the one Christians refer to as the Antichrist will make his appearance. The apostle Paul refers to this personality as “the son of perdition” and the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The term antichrist actually stands for ante-christ meaning more of a substitute than an opposite. In other words, Satan wants to masquerade as the Christ himself and take his seat in the temple—the ultimate blasphemy where he says, I Am God.
When the time is right, Satan will come in person in a man who is completely yielded to him. This man (the Antichrist) will unite the world under a counterfeit spiritual system that blasphemes God and His plan. We read in Revelation 13:5-6:
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Ultimately, this impostor will be knocked from power by the literal second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation period. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, we read:
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
After the destruction of this deceiver and his false program, the true Savior (Jesus Christ) will set up His kingdom on earth and rule in what is referred to as the Millennium, a time of true rest and peace on the earth.
In light of these prophetic warnings, the advent of the New Age movement takes on a very special significance. The apostle Paul spoke of the day of the Lord in reference to “the times and seasons” in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2.
He was making reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream concerning the Gentile kingdoms, which would begin with his kingdom, Babylon, and continue through Media-Persia, Greece, Rome and ten future kingdoms. Before Daniel interpreted the dream, he made it known that God is responsible for the changes in times, which he calls “the times and seasons”:
Daniel answered and said, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings:
He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. (Daniel 2:20-22)
When asked by the apostles in Acts 1:6 whether God would restore the kingdom at that time (bringing in the millennium), Jesus replied in verse 7, “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons.” In light of this, study the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 very carefully where the apostle Paul states:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Paul is saying that the end of the age will come upon the world like a thief in the night—it will sneak up on people. Then he contrasts two groups. “But ye brethren, are not in darkness [ignorance] that that day should overtake you as a thief [unaware]” (vs. 4). He is saying that believers in Christ will have the information available to them to prepare for “that day.”
Paul goes on to say, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day” (vs. 5). Those who walk in the light can see both where they are going and what is coming ahead. He warns against spiritual slumber and drunkenness which could lead to a person being overtaken by that day unaware. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (vs. 6). The word sober here means “alert” or “aware.” If one is instructed to watch and be aware there must be something to watch for—otherwise, Paul’s admonition would be useless. The reason Paul said, “Ye have no need that I write unto you,” is because the forewarning of when that day would arrive came from Jesus Christ Himself.
* Several verses in the Bible refer to “the day of the Lord”: Acts 2:20, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10. There are also many in the Old Testament.