Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
Letter to the Editor: What To Do When Christian Charities, Such as Compassion, Turn Contemplative/Emergent
Hi Lighthouse Trails!
Thank you so much for your ministry! My family has been learning about apostasy for a little while now, and we stumbled across your website recently. . . We read your article about VOM and Michael Wurmbrand and were deeply saddened by it. We have supported VOM for many years so it made us do even more research on it. I e-mailed Michael, and he responded very kindly; and my family has decided not to support VOM anymore. Thank you for the information that you have provided.
I have a question about Compassion International now. I am truly concerned that Compassion lists Doug Pagitt as one of their speakers. I also read about an upcoming event in which some Compassion Advocacy Coaches will be able to learn how to do contemplative prayer at a retreat in Nebraska. You can read about it here:
I sponsor a child from _________, and I received a letter today from their Child Development Center and they mentioned that the teenage students study themes that require “a deeper reflection, self-discipline and formation…” (underline mine). I have learned enough lately to know that spiritual formation is another term for contemplative prayer. I was not sure if that is exactly what they meant by formation, but I definitely want to know. I called Compassion today and the person did not really answer my question very well, I don’t think they really knew what contemplative prayer was. I want to continue supporting my child since I truly care for him, but I do not want to support a ministry that will teach him New Age spirituality!!!!!! I was wondering if you could give me more information on Compassion, and what should I do about sponsoring my child?
My family is having trouble finding ministries to support since we stopped supporting Samaritan’s Purse, VOM, and others due to their teachings. We are looking for similar ministries to support. We love Ray Comfort and Living Waters; we also love Ken Ham and AIG. Do you have a list of similar ministries to VOM/Samaritan’s Purse that we could support? Michael Wurmbrand told us about a ministry he started in the 70s called Help for Refugees that we are thinking about supporting.
Thanks again for your ministry and all that you do!
While Lighthouse Trails does not make recommendations for churches and organizations (largely because we do not have the manpower to follow up on such recommendations to confirm whether a particular church or organization is still biblically based), we do bring warnings to the body of Christ about groups that have strayed from a biblical viewpoint and become ecumenical, contemplative, emerging, and a part of the liberal social justice movement. Tragically, most of the larger, more known organizations have already taken this spiritual plunge. While we realize that these organizations do help with the physical needs of many around the world, they have come to misrepresent true Christianity and have set aside the Gospel (all together in some cases) in exchange for a powerless substitute. So while they are conduits for helping with poverty, they have become neglectful in the most important thing any human being needs – rich or poor – and that is to have the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be given the opportunity to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. And as long as Bible-believing Christians continue financially supporting such groups, the groups will see no need to change (not that they will change – but at least if support is withdrawn and explanation is given as to why, then the organizations will know why they are losing support and some, perhaps, may examine the issues and have their eyes opened).
While we know there are no perfect churches and organizations (because imperfect humans operate them), we do know by Scripture that the gauge which we can set for ourselves while living in this world is the Gospel (that man is sinful and in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ died to pay the price for our sins and rose taking victory over death and that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life). The contemplative/emerging belief system rejects this. The contemplative/emerging view is that God is in all people (regardless of acceptance of and belief in Jesus Christ as Savior), that man can save himself and the earth by his own means (bringing about the Kingdom of God), and that Jesus was a good role model and example but did not suffer a painful death for the purpose of atonement (a loving God would never do that, they say). This is why Lighthouse Trails is so determined to warn about the contemplative prayer movement and the “new” emerging spirituality. Where contemplative prayer comes in is as a vehicle. As Ray Yungen has shown in his book A Time of Departing, when a person begins practicing contemplative meditation, over time, his or her spiritual outlook changes (just as Thomas Merton’s and Henri Nouwen’s did), and it begins to resemble one that looks more Buddhist or Hindu than Christian.
When we consider that Doug Pagitt is listed on the Compassion International website as one of their regular speakers (see link above), it is difficult to fathom how Compassion can say on their website that “God’s Word must have the final authority in regulating compassionate treatment of every human being, including children.” Doug Pagitt, who is one of the founders of the new Brian McLaren CANA Initiative—a liberal, emerging think-tank—has consistently promoted contemplative spirituality and the emerging church for many years. Compassion also lists Tony and Bart Campolo (Tony is a leader in the Christian Palestinianism movement), Mark Scandrette (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope), mantra-meditation advocate Gary Thomas, emergent writer Ann VosKamp (One Thousand Gifts), and a number of other emergent-type figures. Their speaker list is actually transforming into a contemplative/emergent who’s who. In our minds, Compassion’s partnering with Doug Pagitt and other emergents sends a loud message that they do NOT consider God’s Word as a final authority. How could they and still lock arms with emergent leaders?
In Doug Pagitt’s book A Christianity Worth Believing, Pagitt denounces the idea that the Bible is our final authority. The following is a short book review on Pagitt’s book done by one of our free-lance writers. Please read this as it will help show where the “new” emerging “Christianity” is going (and sadly, taking lots of Christian organizations, like Compassion, VOM, and World Vision, with it):
“Doug Pagitt’s New Book – A Christianity Worth Believing – NOT Worth Believing”
by Ezra McGill
In his book, A Christianity Worth Believing, emergent leader Doug Pagitt presents a theology that is worth exposing, because it is neither biblical nor Christian. This is the unfortunate power of media-savvy emergent leaders–errant theology is couched in Christian terms, and the undiscerning are drawn in.
As others have noted, Doug Pagitt undoubtedly cares about his flock, the homeless, coffee farmers in Guatemala, and the environment. Yet, if the emergent movement could be summed up in one phrase, perhaps it is this: “Tiny men shaking tiny fists at the biblical God.”
The Bible tells us, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.(Psalm 2: 2-4)
The author of A Christianity Worth Believing vigorously disputes the authority of the Word of God. He writes, “The inerrancy debate is based on the belief that the Bible is the word of God, that the Bible is true because God made it and gave it to us as a guide to truth. But that’s not what the Bible says” (p. 65).
He further explains, “This is how it works. We are characters in the stories we hear. The living Bible invites us to step into the stories, not as observers, but as participants in the faith that is alive and well and still being created” (p.67).
That’s right. Pagitt believes Christianity is still in the process of being created. Obviously, this theology that is being created is in total opposition to biblical Truth. Like the author of The Shack, Pagitt categorically denies the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.
He states, “the early evangelists recognized they could help the Jesus story make sense if Jesus was seen as someone who was chosen to appease the wrath of God—hence, the ‘anointed one’ who could do what no one else could do” (p. 181).
So, minus our Savior, how does this emergent leader view receiving forgiveness for sins? Before we get to this, let us understand that he spends a good deal of time making the artificial distinction between Christians’ alleged Greco-Roman understanding of God (Pagitt sees this as a distant God), and the Old Testament Hebrew God (always present, understanding, and intimate).
Incredibly, the author presents the Old Testament as his “proof” that there has always been accessible forgiveness for sin. He notes that his wife was raised in a Jewish family, and she “tells [the congregation] each year that the Jews would celebrate the Day of Atonement by gathering lint from their pockets, every little corner of them. She invites us to do the same. Then we write confessions on pieces of paper or pick up leaves to represent each sin and walk to the edge of a stream. As we drop our leaves and papers into the stream, we read from the Psalms” (pp.163-164).
Psalm 103:11-13 is then read to Pagitt’s congregation: “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”
Following this, he writes, his wife, “reminds us that just as the water carries our words away, God takes our sins from us. As far as can be, sin is removed, taken, gone. Yes, sin exists, and when we find it, we should get rid of it” (p. 164).
But what defines “sin” if the Bible is not really the authoritative Word of God? If Christ is not Savior? Pagitt never really gives a satisfactory answer to this.
“Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment”(Lamentations 2:14). Pagitt assures us he understands this new theology can be upsetting. “This can come as a shock to those Christians who are so used to hearing that Jesus is the solution to sin that they assume that the remedy started with the death of Jesus. The Jewish Tradition tells us otherwise” (p. 163).
A Christianity Worth Believing is the presentation of a distorted version of our faith. It is the tepid celebration of a powerless, false “christ.” It is textbook emergent heresy. Those reading this book who do know and love Christ may feel disgust, disbelief, even scorn. Well and good. But may we also be very afraid for those who are exposed to such teaching.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
One gets the sense that Doug Pagitt seems compelled to deny the Truth–he simply cannot see it. He is the angry blind man striking out with his cane. He swings, he slashes; he jabs and stabs. Unfortunately, that sharpened cane has poked out many an eye.
And seems poised to pierce many, many more.
“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?’” (Luke 6:39)
Larry Crabb to Join Richard Foster’s Renovare Contemplative Conference – Christian Leaders Continue to Promote Crabb
I’ve practiced centering prayer. I’ve contemplatively prayed. I’ve prayed liturgically . . . I’ve benefited from each, and I still do. In ways you’ll see, elements of each style are still with me.—Larry Crabb in The Papa Prayer, p.9
I’m glad that as a conservative evangelical who still believes in biblical inerrancy and penal substitution, I’ve gotten over my Catholic phobia, and I’ve been studying contemplative prayer, practicing lectio divina, valuing monastic retreats, and worshipping through ancient liturgy. I appreciate Bernard of Clairvaux’s provocative insights. I’m drawn to Brother Lawrence’s profoundly simple ways to practice God’s presence. I’m intrigued and enticed by Julian of Norwich’s mysterious appearings of Jesus.—Larry Crabb, Real Church, p. 41
I generally read books to stimulate my mind, but I read this one [The Papa Prayer] for my soul, and it has left an imprint that I believe will be with me for the rest of my life. In these pages you will be introduced to a new way of praying that will, I guarantee, change the way you think about prayer; and, best of all, you will actually be motivated to pray continually, joyfully, and purposefully. This is a book for all of us who want to pray more but don’t; for all of us who have been discouraged because our prayers have not been answered, and for those of us whose priorities in praying need to be redirected. It is also for those who have read many books on prayer and think they need not read another one! Read these pages and let God change your perspective and your heart.—Erwin Lutzer, from The Papa Prayer endorsement pages
On April 3rd, Richard Foster’s Renovare organization will be presenting the Formation for Whole Life conference in Houston, Texas.
According to several sources, including Rick Warren,1 Christianity Today,2 and Lighthouse Trails, Richard Foster is a key player in the contemplative prayer movement (aka: Spiritual Formation movement). Speakers at this year’s Renovare conference include contemplative figures Ruth Haley Barton,3 Mark Scandrette,4 Richard Foster, and Kyle Strobel.5 Joining the team of speakers will be Larry Crabb, a popular evangelical author and speaker, who years ago switched from a psychology focus to a focus on Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer).6
While it is not surprising to see Larry Crabb sharing a platform with other contemplatives, what is troubling is that Crabb continues to receive acceptance by Christian leaders. In 2011, Crabb spoke to the student body at Liberty University. In 2012 and 2013, he spoke at the Billy Graham Training Center. In 2012, he was invited to Moody Church (the church once pastored by Harry Ironside and D.L. Moody, now pastored by Erwin Lutzer)—7 (click here to see video of that Sunday).
During that 2012 “sermon” by Larry Crabb at Moody Church, Crabb introduced Jesus as more of an example or model to us (one that we can be like) than a Savior to us. This is the crux of the contemplative/emerging message. This is where Spiritual Formation comes in. Since to be truly Christ-like is not possible without Christ in us (born-again), the contemplatives turn to the disciplines (with the emphasis on the mystical), and this gives them the illusion of being close to God (the mystical experience produces this euphoric feeling). Crabb’s conclusion was that we need to search for our own “center[s].” His psychology-filled, Scripture-starving sermon at Moody did not point to Jesus Christ and His magnificence but rather pointed to how the attributes of God can make us a great community having great relationships. This is the focus of the emergent church where personal salvation is set aside for great relationships and community social justice.
Lighthouse Trails editors spoke with Erwin Lutzer a number of years ago expressing concern about his endorsement in Larry Crabb’s book, The Papa Prayer, where Crabb praised the role that “centering prayer” (i.e., mantra-type meditation) had in his life. In that phone conversation, Lutzer asked us to please remember to love all the brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. He felt this was more important than criticizing others and naming names, and he said that we (Lighthouse Trails) may not really be qualified to identify spiritual deception within the church.8
In a 2012 article Lighthouse Trails wrote regarding Larry Crabb’s spiritual affinities, we stated:
Perhaps one of the most sure-tell indicators of where Larry Crabb’s spiritual sympathies lie and why he’s not a good match for Dwight L. Moody’s church can be found in a book Crabb wrote the foreword to. The book, Sacred Companions (written by David Benner), heartily recommends a plethora of contemplative mystics: Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, Basil Pennington, Richard Foster, John of the Cross, Gerald May, John Main, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Alan Jones and several others. Many of these are panentheistic (God is in all), universalist (all are saved), and interspiritual (all paths lead to God). Ray Yungen talked about Benner’s book in the first edition of A Time of Departing. Yungen stated:
“[C]ontemplative prayer stands on the threshold of exploding worldwide. Dr. Larry Crabb . . . has written the foreword to a book [Spiritual Companions] that expounds on the future of spiritual direction in the evangelical church. . . . It is safe to assume then that we are looking at a contemplative approach. With that in mind, Dr. Crabb predicted [in Sacred Companions]: ‘The spiritual climate is ripe. Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to abandon the old way of the written code for the new way of the Spirit.’” (ATOD, 1st ed., p. 137)
As Lighthouse Trails has often said, when Christian pastors and leaders endorse or share platforms with those who are teaching serious heresy (contemplative negates the Gospel itself with panentheistic/universalisitic/interspiritual roots),9 this not only sends a confusing message to the body of Christ, it actually puts many in harm’s way. Isn’t it time for Christian leaders who name the name of Jesus Christ to stop promoting contemplative advocates?
1. In The Purpose Driven Church (pp. 126-126), Rick Warren calls the Spiritual Formation movement a “valid message for the church” that has “given the body of Christ a wake-up call.” He identifies Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as key players in the SF movement.See chapter 8 of A Time of Departing for this documentation: http://www.lighthousetrails.com/atodch8.pdf.
2. In a 2008 Christianity Today article titled “The Future Lies in the Past,” Richard Foster is credited with the “birth of the ancient-future movement” (i.e, contemplative/Spiritual Formation movement): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/22.22.html.
4. Mark Scandrette is addressed in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1614.
6. Christianity Today, “A Shrink Gets Stretched.”
by Ray Yungen
In 2 Corinthians 1:9, the apostle Paul says:
“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”
The verse does not say we should trust in ourselves who are God—it says we should not trust in ourselves but trust in God. God is a personal Being, not the Universe, not a spirit guide, and most certainly not humanity.
The reason the New Age is wrong is that it takes devotion, trust, and glory away from the One who created us and gives it to man and the rebellious familiar spirits who deceive man into self-glorification. An analogy of this would be that of an artist’s canvas or paint—rather than the artist taking credit for the painting, the canvas or paint takes the credit.
That is why the Gentile nations were separated from the true God. They were the metaphysicians of old (the Mystery Schools) “who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served [honored] the creature [man] more than the Creator [God], who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).
This folly was due to the same error that millions are making right now. They turned to the realm of familiar spirits for guidance, just as people are doing today.
There is one account in particular that brings out what I want to convey. It is found in Acts 16:16-19:
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination [familiar spirit] met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying [psychic predictions]: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, Which shew unto us the way of salvation.” And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace and unto the rulers.
These verses show four things that are critical to understanding the nature and aim of the New Age movement:
1. The spirit was the source of her power, not some latent faculty inherent in the human makeup. When it went, her ability was gone.
2. The spirit was accurate to a high degree. Otherwise she would not have brought her masters “much gain.” You don’t become a success with a poor showing.
3. Paul and the spirit were not on the same side. This is quite evident by the fact that he cast it out of her.
4. Most important of all, the spirit tried to identify itself with God. When it followed Paul and Silas, it was saying the truth, “These men show us the way of salvation.” By doing this, the spirit could continue its practice of deceiving all concerned and perhaps later undo what Paul’s ministry had accomplished.
These spirits are doing the same thing today. This girl, no doubt, believed that it was her inner divinity giving her the information that was so effective in aiding the community. The truth of the matter is, when you say you have connected with your inner divinity and that you are God, sadly, you have joined the ranks of those who, “Professing themselves to be wise [knowing the truth], they became fools [absurd], and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man” (Romans 1:22-23).
Swami Muktananda was one of the most admired and respected New Age leaders during the 1970s and early 1980s. He was thought by many to be the virtual embodiment of the God-realized master. He told His disciples:
“Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own Being. Chant the mantra always going on within you. Meditate on your own self. God dwells within you as you.”1
When Muktananda died in 1982, one of his closest followers revealed that his master “ended as a feeble-minded, sadistic tyrant luring devout little girls to his bed every night with promises of grace and self-realization.”2 Without realizing he was echoing the truth of the verses just quoted, he concluded:
There is no absolute assurance that enlightenment necessitates the moral virtue of a person. There is no guarantee against the weakness of anger, lust, and greed in the human soul. The enlightened are on an equal footing with the ignorant in the struggle against their own evil.3
It is very clear that the metaphysical explosion that our society is currently immersed in is a continuation of what Leviticus 19:31 warned against:
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards [metaphysicians], to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. ”
On this basis alone, Christians have a duty to challenge the validity of the New Age [New Spirituality] message that we are God.
1. David Eastman, “Kundalini Demystified” (Yoga Journal, September/October 1985), p. 43.
2. “Baba Beleaguered” (Yoga Journal, July/August 1985), p. 30, (reprinted from CoEvolution Quarterly Winter 1983).
3. Stan Trout, excerpts from an open letter (Yoga Journal, July/August 1985), p. 30.
Update: Feb. 23, 2014: When this article below was written on Feb. 13, 2014, the Faith Baptist Bible College bookstore was not carrying Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling (though they were carrying a couple of her other books). They had been carrying Jesus Calling last year but removed the book when Lighthouse Trails had informed the recently retired president of the book. Unfortunately, today, the book is appearing back on the college bookstore website. Lighthouse Trails had sent a copy of Warren B. Smith’s new book “Another Jesus” Calling to the interim president in early February of this year. He wrote us a note thanking us for the book and saying that it would be helpful to the school.
* * * * *
As Lighthouse Trails has reported over the last several years, a fast-growing number of evangelical/Protestant colleges, seminaries, and universities are integrating contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) and emerging ideologies into their schools. If you or someone you know are currently looking for a Christian college, we beseech you to check potential schools very carefully. Ask to see textbook lists, search their websites to see if they have spiritual formation programs, and find out who speaks at their student chapels. It would also be a good idea to contact the school chaplain and ask some good questions.
For many years now, Lighthouse Trails has maintained two lists on the research site. The first one is our growing list of Christian schools that ARE promoting contemplative and/or emerging: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/Colleges.htm And the second one is a small list we have put together of schools that are NOT going in that direction at this time: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/collegesgood.htm.
This brings us to the topic of this article. Today, February 12, 2014, with much dismay, Lighthouse Trails has put a stroke through Faith Baptist Bible College(in Iowa) which is one of the schools that has been on our “good”college list for many years. At this time, we cannot in good faith recommend the school and are compelled to issue this notice of caution to our readers. It is our hope that before Faith Baptist ends up on the contemplative college list, they will set things straight. Rather than remove their name altogether, we have crossed it out with the hopes that it might be able to remain on that “good” list.
The decision was made primarily because of the ongoing promotion and selling of contemplative-promoting authors in their bookstore (Sarah Young, Gary Thomas (also being used in their course M‐LC 648), John Ortberg, Brennan Manning, Peter Scazzero, Calvin Miller, Philip Yancey, Ken Boa, N. T. Wright (used in their course B‐AN 821), Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Brother Lawrence, and many others. They are even carrying the Thomas Merton promoting book Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation. You can find information on each of these authors on our research site).
Over the past several years, Lighthouse Trails editors have had occasional correspondence with the recently retired president of Faith Baptist, Dr. James Maxwell. As a matter of fact, Dr. Maxwell wrote a great informative article a few years ago titled “The New Spirituality.” In that article, he rightly identified contemplative prayer as the vehicle through which the New Spirituality was entering the church. He footnoted Lighthouse Trails’ research as well. Based on that article and from correspondence we have had with Dr. Maxwell, we have been assured that he shares the same strong concerns that Lighthouse Trails has on this issue.
In 2011, Lighthouse Trails wrote a letter to Dr. Maxwell. The following is a shortened version of that letter with the key points:
Dear Dr. Maxwell,
. . . We learned recently that the accreditation Faith holds nationally is with Association for Biblical Higher Education. We learned about this while writing an article (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7733) about Christian school accreditation and how ABHE is requiring member schools to incorporate “spiritual formation” into the lives of their students. While we realize that each school is given some liberty as to how they interpret and implement spiritual formation, we have strong concerns because the term spiritual formation was pioneered into the evangelical church by those who promote a mystical contemplative spirituality (Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, etc), and when you point students to “spiritual formation,” you will ultimately be pointing them to these and other similar writers. We know that Faith is now beginning to use that term, saying that their spiritual formation will be a good one.
. . . . As just one example (a serious one) to back up our concerns, in your bookstore, under recommended books, in the Prayer section, you list just one book, and that is a book by homosexuality sympathizer, contemplative advocate, Phil Yancey. http://www.fbbcbooks.com/servlet/the-Books-cln-Christian-Living-cln-Prayer/Categories Do you realize what is in that book? It is basically a primer on contemplative spirituality. In the back of the book he recommends resources from people like Buddhist sympathizer Catholic convert Peter Kreeft, emerging darling Phyllis Tickle, of course Richard Foster, and many others of the same caliber. How did this recommendation come to be on Faith’s site? . . . However, you can remove the book but another will take its place if this issue isn’t dealt with properly [Note: while that book appears to no longer be on the Faith bookstore website, other books by Yancey are].
I know you received a letter recently from a Dr. ______ with his concerns. You stated to him that Faith was not going to practice or incorporate contemplative spirituality, but Dr. Maxwell, how are you warning your faculty and students? How can you be so sure that some of them are not at home in the evenings reading Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, or Phil Yancey? They are probably reading Yancey as you have the book readily recommended to them. I have often wondered these past few years why your school did not ever have your professors or students read A Time of Departing. To date, there is no other book that covers this matter in the well documented, logical and biblical manner that this book does.
Now two years later, Faith Baptist Bible is still carrying books by contemplative authors and using a smattering of them in their classrooms. And the accreditation with ABHE is still in effect. It is because of these things that Lighthouse Trails can no longer safely recommend Faith Baptist to our readers as a school that is free from the contemplative influence.
If you are not acquainted with ABHE, please read our article “An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited.” In that article, we document that ABHE intends to insure that all accrediting member schools will fall into step with a vigorous Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative) program. Faith Baptist will be no exception!
We’ve already done the homework here for nearly 12 years. So please read our “Epidemic of Apostasy” article if you never have. It connects the dots. But we’ll give one convincing example now that for a school to be aligned with ABHE for accreditation will mean theological and spiritual suicide for a college in the long run (from a biblical point of view). As you can see on this page here, ABHE is partnered with a number of various organizations (about eight of them). These partnerships are not some kind of loose association. On the contrary, ABHE utilizes their “cutting-edge services.” One of the partnerships is with Spiritual Transformation Inventory. Long story short (see our article for more), this is basically an assessment tool on how well a school is integrating Spiritual Formation and the “spiritual disciplines” and practices into its school. There are numerous things we could show you, but let’s take a look at the STI’s Connected Life Workbook. In the book, under REFERENCES ON SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES/PRACTICES (p. 23), there is a who’s who of contemplative mysticism proponents some of which are Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, David Benner, Ruth Haley Barton, and so forth. The workbook encourages students to “develop a contemplative prayer life” (p. 19). The book focuses on how well the individual feels and experiences “God’s presence” (obtaining a low score if the feeling or experience is small). It includes a section on how to hear God’s voice while practicing being still and repeating portions of Scripture. This workbook is a classic example of pushing contemplative prayer. ABHE uses this assessment tool to help steer member schools in obtaining and keeping their accreditation. Do the math—it all adds up.
Lighthouse Trails has witnessed many once-solid Christian colleges and seminaries take those first small, seemingly insignificant steps toward the contemplative deception. Once a school starts down that path, the momentum picks up, and before you know it, that school is wholeheartedly embracing this dangerous heretical spirituality.
While the interim president at Faith Baptist Bible College & Seminary did accept a copy of “Another Jesus” Calling and some other materials from us last month, we have yet to see the bookstore cleaned up. After over two years of pleading with the school to remove these books, we are skeptical that it will happen now.
In December of 2013, we sent the following note to Dr. Maxwell as a final effort before he retired:
Dr. Maxwell, in reviewing Faith’s “module textbook” list, we found that one of the classes is using Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage where Thomas references a tantric sex teacher a dozen times (M‐LC 648 Marriage Counseling Prb. & Case Studies Newman Sacred Marriage). We wrote about Thomas’ book. Here is the link to that article: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2515. We can’t figure out why a school like Faith is willing to use a book by a major contemplative figure like Thomas (in his book Sacred Pathways, he tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes) but will not use a book like A Time of Departing in their classes, especially when they have had a president who understands the seriousness. We find that so strange. But we are beginning to wonder if our efforts to warn Faith Baptist are just words blowing in the wind.
More articles in our Contemplative Colleges category
By Ray Yungen
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.
The two most common methods used to induce this thoughtless state are breathing exercises, where attention is focused on the breath, and a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without thinking about what you are focusing on. Repetition on the focused object is what triggers the blank mind. Since mantras are central to New Age meditation, it is important to understand a proper definition of the word. The translation from Sanskrit is man,meaning to think and tra, meaning to be liberated from. Thus, the word literally means to escape from thought. By repeating the mantra, either out loud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The conscious thinking process is gradually tuned out until an altered state of consciousness is achieved. But this silence is not the final objective; its attainment is only a means to an end. What that end entails was aptly described by English artist Vanora Goodhart after she embarked on the practice of zen meditation. She recounted:
[A] light began seeping through my closed eyelids, bright and gentle at first, but growing more and more intense … there was a great power and strength in this Light … I felt I was being drawn upwards and in a great and wonderful rush of power that rose eventually to a crescendo and bathed me through and through with glorious, burning, embracing Light.
Such dynamic experiences as this are what New Age mysticism is really all about … not just believing in some doctrine or a faith that is supported by some creed but rather a close personal contact with a powerful Presence. The renowned occultist Dion Fortune acknowledged: ‘shifting the consciousness is the key to all occult training.’ In other words, meditation is the gateway to the ‘light’ Goodhart experienced. The ultimate objective of the meditation effort lies in the concept called the higher self. This is thought to be the part of the individual linked to the divine essence of the Universe, the God part of man. The goal is to become attuned with the higher self, thus facilitating the higher self’s emergence into the physical realm bringing the practitioner under the guidance and direction of God. This connection is referred to in New Age circles as: awakening, transformation, enlightenment, self-realization, cosmic consciousness and superconsciousness. This is also why an interchangeable term for New Age is metaphysics. Metaphysics means that which is beyond the physical realm (the unseen realm) and being intimately connected to those powers not perceived by the normal five senses.”
The link below is to an interview Stand Up For the Truth radio had this week with Calvary Chapel pastor Chris Quintana. The interview is addressing our recent posts about the Calvary Chapel bookstore carrying The Daniel Plan. During the interview, Chris relayed a situation that recently took place wherein the Calvary Chapel bookstore told Warren Smith (who had stopped in there with Chris and Ray Yungen during a recent conference at Chris’ church) that they carried Jesus Calling but because it was controversial, they kept it in the back room.
Yesterday, we verified that the Calvary Chapel store is still selling the book from the back room. A woman who is an acquaintance of Warren Smith and had heard from Warren about the “back room” copies has given us permission to relay this to our readers. She entered the store, searched for Jesus Calling in the devotional section, and when not finding it, she approached a store clerk and asked if the store was carrying Jesus Calling. The clerk told her it was being kept in a back room. The clerk then disappeared and returned a few moments later with a copy. The woman purchased the book and left (she’ll be using it for research purposes).
We find both the implications as well as the ramifications troubling with this kind of practice. The implication of keeping a particular book out of the public’s view and hidden in the back room, available only to those who request it, is that while they know the book is problematic, it is also a best seller, and because of it being in high demand, this takes more precedence over whether the book is trustworthy and biblically sound. Another implication is that there are supposedly some Christians who are behind the times (old-fashioned, if you will) and obviously won’t accept a controversial book because they are stuck in the old ways; and methods must be implemented to bring forth the new way even if it means being sneaky about it (remember that interview called Tides of Change a number of years ago between Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet where they talk about ”new frontiers,” “changing times,” and the ”new spirituality”). It also implies that while a bookstore manager realizes a book is controversial, he must keep his promotion of it in secret because he lacks evidence to show the book is OK from a scriptural point of view (i.e., God’s point of view).
The ramification of all this is that it is providing a further open door for spiritual deception to enter the Calvary Chapel movement.
Jesus said to let your yes be yes and your no be no. If a Christian bookstore believes a certain book is a valuable addition to the body of Christ, then that book should be put on a visible shelf for all to see, without shame or secrecy, and that bookstore manager should also be able to provide proof that the book is biblically sound. And, on the other hand, if a Christian bookstore believes a book is heretical, then that book should not be made available to the public at all because it puts the public in harm’s way. Scripture admonishes us to live our lives in the light and not in darkness.
Lighthouse Trails is well acquainted with a number of Christian men and women who have tried to warn leaders of the Calvary Chapel movement for several years - Roger Oakland, Chris Lawson, and Mike Oppenheimer, all formerly part of Calvary Chapel, are three Lighthouse Trails authors who fall in this category. Eventually each of these three men left the movement when their warnings were not welcomed any longer.
It is not just Calvary Chapel that is struggling with spiritual deception – virtually every Christian denomination is going through the same battle as the Spiritual Formation (i.e. contemplative spirituality) movement and emerging church ideology are sweeping through like a plague in Egypt. How can a church or denomination protect itself against this overwhelming spiritual deception that is threatening all of Christianity today? By refusing to compromise even under the pressure of popular opinion and by staying true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Warren B. Smith’s new book, ”Another Jesus” Calling has shown, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling contradicts the Jesus of the Bible. While we realize the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling makes people feel good about themselves (so we are told) and some say he comforts them, if he is a false Christ then he is seducing them and deceiving them.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:37
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1 Peter 5:8-10
. . . that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Philippians 2:15
How interesting that while Calvary Chapel Distribution seems to be biting at the bit to bring in books like Jesus Calling and The Daniel Plan (books that are clearly promoting the “new” spirituality), you won’t find one book by a Lighthouse Trails author anywhere on their store site. Calvary Chapel pastors who want a book by Ray Yungen, Warren Smith, or Roger Oakland must buy their books elsewhere (and there are a number of them that do that – of this we can testify). But apparently, those who want books by Rick Warren, Sarah Young, Gary Thomas, Catholic convert J. Budziszewski, Philip Yancey and other contemplative proponents, if you can’t find them on the store shelves, you need look no further than the Calvary Chapel back room.
Note: Calvary Chapel distribution was carrying several Lighthouse Trails books until 2009. Shortly afterward, we issued this article: “SPECIAL REPORT: Calvary Chapel Termination Has Profound Implications.”
Update: Shortly after we posted the article above, John Lanagan from My Word Like Fire ministries sent us a link to Calvary Distribution’s store showing that they are presently carrying God Calling for Kids (for 3-7 year olds)! This edition is a remake of the New Age channeled book God Calling that inspired Sarah Young to write Jesus Calling. In “Another Jesus” Calling, Warren Smith quotes Harvest House’s Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs regarding God Calling:
The encyclopedia . . . explains that channeling is a form of mediumship and “is a practice forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).” This Scripture specifically warns that “a consulter with familiar spirits” is an abomination unto the Lord. Also in this encyclopedia, under the heading titled “Impersonations and Denials of Christianity,” God Calling is cited as an example of a channeled New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching” as it “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.” (from pp. 25-26, “Another Jesus” Calling)
Folks, this is serious what is happening to Christianity today.