Posts Tagged ‘Warren B. Smith’
By Berit Kjos
The invasion of monsters began decades ago, and it quickly transformed the world of entertainment. With little resistance, an army of cute-ugly creatures swept into toy stores, television, and movies. They now adorn children’s clothes, bedding, wallpaper, lunchboxes, and books. And many have pushed their way into children’s hearts on the backs of seductive and misleading fables that mold their thoughts and manipulate their imagination.
Some of these monsters are crude and cool like Stitch, Shrek, and the serpentine aliens of Men in Black. Others appear wise and honorable like Yoda in Star Wars. But the creatures that win the prize for thrills and chills are the dark and deadly looking ones like Darth Maul, Tolkien’s Orcs, and the ominous aliens in Signs.
They all serve a set of strategic social and spiritual goals: They entertain. They shift a person’s attention from the real world to a more titillating realm created by those who write the myths and steer the imagination. They tempt Christian fans to re-imagine or reinvent both God and themselves in the new context—thus bending the old realities to fit the re-envisioned ones. They desensitize their fans to mystical images and symbols of evil. And they stir a craving for more intense excitement of the same kind.
Eventually the real world of nature, families, work, and biblical truth becomes too boring to be enjoyed. Who cares about truth and facts when folklore and fantasies seem far more titillating and exciting?
Today’s techno-progressive mystical-oriented world has little tolerance for biblical watchfulness. Instead, it embraces its mythical heroes with a driving passion that often eclipses both family and reality. The more shocking, crude, insidious looking, and ugly, the more cool and captivating the product. Hollywood and toy makers know that well.
Perhaps you remember the Madballs from the late eighties. The grotesque bouncing heads bore matching names like Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker, and Screamin’ Meenie. With shrewd foresight, their inventor, Ralph Shaffer, suggested that his successful minispheres would “take the world of cute-ugly into a new direction.”8
He was right. The horrific-ugly as well as the cute-ugly began turning a corner and pulling Western culture along with it. Grotesque, demonic-looking creatures with fiery eyes infiltrated toy stores and sold like hotcakes. Many were mutants—part animal and part human, or an admixture of animal and monster. And most could wield the kind of supernatural power featured in their respective legends and stories.
They won incredible popularity. Children quickly overcame their natural aversion to scary images and learned to treasure these ugly, hybrid, mutant supernaturals. Few noticed their resemblance to the demonic creatures described in the Bible.
One of those early creatures of darkness, Black Star, would ride on a green horse with huge bat-like wings and a long dragon tail. Its eyes were glowing red and a long tongue dangled from its mouth. Another popular invader, Dark Dragon, had black wings and a huge tail with red scales along the sides. Hiding a skull in its chest, it had a lion’s mouth, teeth, and claws. Its eyes were glowing red, and out of the center of its forehead shone a large, green third eye.
In a lecture titled, “The Rising Interest in the Supernatural,” Larry McLean, coauthor of The Early Earth, compares today’s grotesque toys to historical images representing ancient gods:
These [creatures] that show up in archeology and what we would call mythology were not just figments of the imagination. They were . . . represented as part human and part animal in their characteristics like this bird-human of the Assyrians. [They can be] horse-and-human like centaurs. Or fish-and-human like the god Dagon of the Philistines . . . or part jaguar and part human.
Notice that tongue hanging out over the chin—which is a universal symbol of demonic possession. . . . One of the most popular combinations is human and serpent. . . . It’s not surprising that pagan religions worshiped serpents and dragons, for the Bible tells us in Revelation 12 that the old serpent, the dragon, is Satan the devil.9
Nor should today’s growing popularity of devilish images surprise us. The Bible prophesies that demonic activities will escalate before and during the reign of the Antichrist. Could the multiplication of demonic-looking, alien images be part of Satan’s plan to prepare us for these awful future events?
Don’t laugh. There is plenty of evidence that a sizable percentage of UFO sightings, alien abductions, crop circles, and other extraterrestrial manifestations fit into the realm of the supernatural. According to John Ankerberg and John Weldon’s book The Facts on UFO’s and other Supernatural Phenomena:
[F]ew unbiased researchers can logically deny that UFO experiences are of an occult nature. If we catalog the basic characteristics of the occult and compare them to UFO phenomena, we discover an essential similarity. . . .
After 20 years of research, we believe that the demonic theory dovetails extremely well with the totality of UFO phenomena. . . . In fact, we know of no UFO contactee who is not basically a spiritistic medium. In addition, we have read hundreds of articles from the oldest and most respected UFO journal, the British Flying Saucer Review, that indicate the psychic and/or non-extraterrestrial aspects of UFOs which, given their actions and messages, indicate probable demonic origin.10
These threats have not escaped notice. According to “Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-up” by Timothy Good, “the ubiquitous UFO phenomenon . . . [is] a phenomenon that has caused grave concern at high levels of many of the world’s governments, despite their statements to the contrary.”11
Ankerberg and Weldon arrived at the same conclusion. They found that “in the U.S. alone, tens of millions of dollars have been spent in official UFO investigations by the CIA, FBI, U.S. Army Intelligence, Naval Intelligence, and other organizations.” They quote astrophysicist Dr. Jacques Vallee who describes the UFO event as “a bizarre, seductive, and often terrifying phenomenon reported by many witnesses as contact with an alien form of intelligence.”12
Naturally, many UFO enthusiasts and New Age leaders would disagree. Some began to circulate the far-out notion decades ago: A group of benevolent aliens or ascended masters would suddenly appear on the earth and cleanse it from all who resist its spiritual evolution toward global oneness. At the same time, they would prepare humanity to receive the prophesied New Age “Christ.”
Maybe not so far-out after all, at least according to one major New Age figure, Barbara Marx Hubbard. Marx Hubbard believes there will indeed be a cleansing of all those who resist the coming together of all humanity and rejection of its “Christ.” She calls this process of cleansing the “Selection Process.” Listen to a few quotes by Marx Hubbard as she describes this cleansing. Keep in mind while reading these that Marx Hubbard is not some glassy-eyed spaced-out hippy from the ’60s living on an isolated mountainside. As a matter of fact, she was instrumental in forming a lobby group in Washington D.C. to create a “U.S. Department of Peace.” This organization, called The Peace Alliance, has worked with willing Congress members and other influential figures (such as the late Walter Cronkite) to bring about this Peace plan.13 From Marx Hubbard’s book, The Revelation, she quotes from her “Christ”:
Dearly beloved, I approached the crucifixion far more easily than I approach the selection. The crucifixion was done unto my body. The selection will be done unto yours.14
The decisive moment of selection has almost come. The judgment of the quick and the dead is about to be made. The end of this phase of evolution is nearly complete.15
By your acts you shall be judged as to whether you can evolve, or must be “cast into the lake of fire,” which is the second death.16
The selection process will exclude all who are exclusive. The selection process assures that only the loving will evolve to the stage of co-creator.17
The end is near. The old play is almost over. Suffice it to say, that if you do not choose to evolve into a wholesome, co-creative human, then you shall not.18
In former New Age follower Warren B. Smith’s book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, Smith unveils Marx Hubbard’s “Selection Process”:
Hubbard’s “Christ,” while describing the “birth experience” and professing his love for all mankind, nevertheless warns that there will be no place in the “New Jerusalem” for those who refuse to see themselves and others as a part of God. He describes, therefore, the necessity of a “selection process” that will select out resistant individuals who “choose” not to evolve. This “selection process” is a “purification” that will be accomplished through “the shock of a fire.”19
Marx Hubbard likens those who resist this “co-creative stage of evolution,” to a “lethal cancer cell in a body: deadly to itself and to the whole.”20 She explains:
The surgeon dare leave no cancer in the body when he closes up the wound after a delicate operation. We dare leave no self-centeredness on Earth after the selection process.21
Regardless of how this apocalyptic scenario will play out, be it with the supposed and added element of “aliens” or “ascended masters,” or not, these demonic beings will no doubt come as “angel[s] of light” and “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) illustrating “the beautiful side of evil” rather than the grotesque images of occult idols in order to “deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). These “masters” represent a hierarchy of warring demons that match the warning in Ephesians 6:12, which tells us that our battle is not against “flesh and blood” but rather against the “rulers of the darkness of this world” and “against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Different versions of these seductive deceptions have spread around the world through the writings of countless occultists. Their numbers include the infamous Satanist Aleister Crowley as well as the occultic “prophetess” Alice Bailey, whose channeled messages from spirit guide Djwhal Khul inspired United Nations and many education leaders.
But God’s Word shows us the truths behind those illusions. Revelation 9:1-11 foresees a day when the Abyss (the bottomless pit where Satan will be cast) will open with a burst of smoke and release an army of powerful deadly creatures onto the earth. They will look like a mixture of man, horse, and locust with wings. They will have stinging “tails like unto scorpions,” and their commander will be Satan himself. Our God will allow it; for man’s evil—as in the days of Noah—and God’s eternal justice will call forth His judgment.
Though children are born with a natural fear of hideous, shocking, and evil-looking creatures, this God-given protection has been dulled by the Western world’s mass-media marketing system. Children are being conditioned to embrace demonic manifestations, whether they come as beings with superior intelligence from outer space to rescue planet Earth or as evolved mutations from earth itself. Why wouldn’t they accept these lies?
Unless we teach them otherwise, today’s postmodern anti-biblical beliefs in both physical and cosmic evolution lead most of them to trust in deceptions. Of course—they are told—life had to have evolved on other planets! If there really is a God, He wouldn’t have created the whole universe just for earthlings, would He?
Yes, He would. Why shouldn’t our God, who sent His own Son to die for us, create such a universe? Why not make it so vast that man’s ego would be humbled by such might? Maybe He did it to show us the immeasurable greatness of His magnificent, incomprehensible creative powers and the infinite width, length, height, and depth of His magnificent love. I believe He did.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? . . . For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. (Romans 11:33-34, 36)
By Jennifer P.
Used with permission.
I finished reading my copy of William P. Young’s, The Shack and had something happen that I want to share for those who are interested. While reading The Shack, I rented a movie that came out last year that also, like The Shack, involved some controversy. The movie was called, The Seeker, and it’s based on a book titled, The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. The Seeker was said to have New Age undertones and was also, like The Shack, being marketed to Christians. Because of my interest in cults and also in the New Age movement, I decided to watch the movie to see if indeed the claims were accurate. This is where it began to get interesting.
In the movie, The Seeker, a young boy is a chosen one who is to find signs hidden throughout time, which will help fight against the encroaching darkness. I won’t go into the plot too much but what I will say is, in the movie, each sign that the boy is to find is known as a “fractal.” When I heard the term “fractal,” right away I realized that I had heard that same term somewhere else recently. Later on that day I remembered where I had heard it … The Shack.
Beginning in Ch. 9 in, The Shack, which is titled, “A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away,” we read about how the character Sarayu (who represents the Holy Spirit) has created a garden, and we learn on page 129, that the garden is a “fractal.” We learn about fractals from Sarayu when she says, “A fractal is something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.”  Then we continue reading through the rest of Ch. 9, which is filled with ideas that are not only relativistic, but are also panentheistic, which means that God is in all.
After noticing that “fractals” were mentioned in, The Seeker, and in The Shack, and remembering that the movie and the book were touted as having New Age undertones, I decided the common term found in both was a coincidence that needed to be further explored. I began to read many critiques about, The Shack, to see if any of them mentioned the significance of the word “fractal,” only to find that none of them approached the subject. So I decided to do a search on the Internet using the words “fractal” and “New Age”… bingo!!!
What I discovered was a widely held belief in New Age philosophy known as “Fractal Theory” also known as “Chaos Theory.” There is a phrase spoken among New Agers in which they say to one another, “As above, so below.” In the New Age movement, “Fractal Theory” or “As above, so below,” means that macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom … and so on.  New Agers claim that “Fractal Theory,” or the phrase “As above, so below,” comes from something known as the Emerald Tablet, and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic. According to New Age philosophy, the phrase “As above, so below” was inscribed on the tablet in cryptic wording by someone known as Hermes Trismegistus. The Emerald Tablet is one of the most revered magical documents in Western Occultism. 
So, how do “fractals” or “Fractal Theory” play into the phrase “As above, so below?” In New Age thought, “Fractal Theory” and “As above, so below” are synonymous. They attempt to explain the origin and meaning of the universe. “Fractal Theory” says that in looking at the big picture of nature, we see an evolution of consciousness from small systems of consciousness, to progressively larger and more complex systems of consciousness. Basically, conscious beings are like fractals evolving to ever greater scales of magnitude. Along the way, we follow the same basic patterns, but at each stage of consciousness we find unique variations in this evolving process. These variations can easily lead to confusing chaos if you don’t know the underlying patterns, or “fractals,” which are the basic laws. New Agers say if you know what to look for, which are the key fractal structures, it’s analogous to looking beyond millions of individual trees and realizing that what you really see is a forest … the unity behind the great diversity of nature.  To sum it up, “God” is both our origin and our aim, thus the core belief of the New Age movement which says we need to have a self-realization that we are all gods.
After doing more Internet searches to get a handle on the term “fractal” (I also ran searches with the term fractal combined with popular New Agers such as Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Alice Bailey), I came to realize that “fractals” and “Fractal Theory” are not only a core belief in New Age thought, but are the very foundation of what defines the New Age which states that we are evolving from the Age of Pisces, represented by a mess or a chaos, and are moving into the Age of Aquarius, represented by the “fractal” or the self-realization that we are all gods. The term “fractal” was coined by Polish mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot.  But, as is typical of the New Age movement, they latched onto Mandelbrot’s theory, spiritualized it, and then made it their own. 
Now for those of you who have a copy of The Shack, turn to page 138 and read where the character, Sarayu, tells the main character, Mack, that the garden which Mack described as “the mess,” is his very soul. Sarayu proclaims to Mack, “This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process (evolving). To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing alive – a living fractal.” 
Another interesting fact about the New Age phrase, “As above, so below,” which is synonymous with the term, “fractal,” in New Age thought, is that it’s also used in the popular paraphrase of the bible known as, The Message, written by Eugene Peterson. In, The Message, Matthew 6:9-10 where we find the Lord’s prayer, it reads, “Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right, do what’s best – As above, so below.”  Eugene Peterson’s recommendation of The Shack, is found not only on its front cover, but also on it’s first page beneath where it says, “What others are saying about The Shack.” Peterson’s comment states, “When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack.”  I disagree and would suggest that what’s being “cross-fertilized” is a biblical world view with a New Age world view.
After studying New Age philosophy by breaking out my old copy of Kingdom of the Cults, by Dr. Walter Martin , going to the library to check out a New Age book titled, As Above So Below, by Ronald S. Miller, and continuing to scour New Age sites on the Internet, it became obvious to me that The Shack is filled with New Age thought and Eastern mysticism. I did not come to this conclusion by reading critiques, but found it by doing my own homework. It is my opinion that somewhere along the way, William P. Young has been deeply influenced by New Age thought. This naturally leads to my next question … is William P. Young a New Ager, or is he himself a Christian who’s been deceived? I have no way of knowing the answer to that question, but what I do know is, after all of my studies, and listening online to William P. Young speak at Mariner’s Church , along with reading The Shack for myself, what Mr. Young teaches when he speaks, and the message his book conveys, is not orthodox biblical teaching, but in fact is New Age thought and Eastern mysticism interspersed with some Christian terms.
My encouragement to everyone is to listen to the warnings of the late Dr. Walter Martin. His call to Christians was to know the word of God so we would be able to spot counterfeits.  Walter Martin’s heart was so heavy because of the lack of discernment within the Christian church. His call to Christians took place back in the 1980s. His fear was since the New Age had already infiltrated our society through books, seminars, and business philosophy, that it was only a matter of time before it would infiltrate the church. Dr. Martin hit the nail on the head and was right to sound the alarm. Now 25 years later, the New Age has indeed infiltrated the church, so much so that what is orthodox Christianity, and what is New Age philosophy, is becoming blurred. It is so important that we heed Hebrews 4:12-13:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Only by studying and knowing God’s word, which is truth, can we as Christians gain biblical discernment to spot the counterfeits.
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 129.
 As Above So Below-Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life, Ronald S. Miller & The Editors of New Age Journal, Penguin Putnam, intro. pp. xi-xv.
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, p. 138.
 The Message, Eugene Peterson, paraphrase of Matt. 6:9-10.
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, inside cover.
 Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin, Bethany House 1997, Ch. 11.
The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith
NEW BOOKLET: Remaining Faithful Through It All by Warren B. Smith 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 Remaining Faithful Through It All, click here.
By Warren B. Smith
The hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness was inspired by Lamentations 3:22-23 and affirms that God does not change. His compassions, mercies, and love never fail. He is always faithful and true:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow Of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou has been Thou forever shall be.
Another hymn, Faith of Our Fathers, affirms that in spite of persecutions, afflictions, tribulations, and temptations, there are believers who—through it all—remained faithful and true:
Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword!
O how our hearts beat high with joy
When-e’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!
O Come All Ye Faithful—an exhortation to the “faithful”—is underscored in this beloved Christmas carol:
O come all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels.
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
The following are selected verses about God’s faithfulness to us and our need and desire to be faithful and true to Him.
—God is Faithful to Us—
God is Faithful
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True. (Revelation 19:11)
God’s Word is Faithful
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Revelation 22:6-7)
God’s Faithfulness is Great
It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
God’s Faithfulness Reaches Unto The Clouds
Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.(Psalm 36:5)
God’s Faithfulness is Unto All Generations
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. (Psalm 119:90)
God’s Faithfulness is in the Congregation
And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? (Psalm 89:5-8)
God’s Faithfulness is the Girdle of His Reins
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. (Isaiah 11:5)
God’s Faithfulness Answers Prayers
Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. (Psalm 143:1)
God’s Faithfulness Provides an Escape From Temptation
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God Faithfulness Preserves the Faithful
O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:23-24)
Through God’s Faithfulness, he Forgives Us
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
God’s Faithfulness Called Us to Jesus
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Thessalonians 5:24)
God’s Faithfulness Establishes Us
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
God’s Faithfulness Abides
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
God’s Commandments Are Faithful
All thy commandments are faithful. (Psalm 119:86)
God’s Testimonies are Faithful
Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. (Psalm 119:137-138)
God’s Counsels are Faithfulness and Truth
O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. (Isaiah 25:1)
God’s Son is the Faithful Witness
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)
Jesus’ Faithfulness Reconciles Us to God
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
—We Are to be Faithful to God—
We Are Called and Chosen to be Faithful
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
Our Faith Comes From Hearing and Believing
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3:5-9)
We Are Saved By Grace Through Faith
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Our Faith is in God’s Son
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.(2 Timothy 3:15)
We Are Justified By Faith
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28)
The Just Live By Faith
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)
We Are to Have Faith in His Name
And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:16)
Without Faith We Do Not Please God
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
We Are to be Faithful With a True Heart
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)
We Are to Declare God’s Faithfulness and Lovingkindness
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. (Psalm 40:10)
We Are to be Faithful in Even the Least of Things
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23)
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)
Our Faith is Evidenced by Our Works
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17)
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
The Trying of Our Faith Develops Patience
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:2-3)
Through Faith We Understand
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3)
Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Through Faith We Inherit the Promises
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
Faithful Followers Are Blessed
A faithful man shall abound with blessings. (Proverbs 28:20)
Faithful Followers Are Hard to Find
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)
We Must Hold on to Our Faith
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. (Hebrews 10:23)
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. (1 Timothy 1:19)
We Are to Have Unfeigned Faith
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. (1 Timothy 1:5)
We Are to Ask in Faith
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. (James 1:5-6)
We Walk By Faith
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
We Are to Stand Fast in Our Faith
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
We Are to Put on the Breastplate of Faith
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
We Are to Resist the Devil With Our Faith
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. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16)
We Are to Contend For the Faith
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3)
We Are to Fight the Good Fight of Faith
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1Timothy 6:12)
We Are to Faithfully Watch For His Coming
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:42-46)
We Are to Keep the Faith
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
We Are to be Faithful Unto Death
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
—Faith or No Faith?—
They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. (Deuteronomy 32:16-20)
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:24-26)
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:29-31)
Faithful That Fail
Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. (Psalm 12:1-2)
Departing From the Faith
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
—Faith When He Returns?—
In Luke 18, there is a strong intimation that when Jesus returns there may not be much faith on the earth.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)
When the disciples ask Jesus what will be the sign of His return, the very first sign He discloses is deception—that people will be deceived away from the true faith by those who will come in His name claiming to be Christians and claiming to be Christ:
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (Matthew 24:24-26)
God warns in Scripture of a great Last Days deception, but exhorts us to press on, contending for the faith, fighting the good fight of faith, keeping the faith, and remaining faithful to the very end. He assures us that His grace is sufficient and that—through it all—He will help us and preserve us if we but wait and entrust ourselves to Him in faith:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:23-24)
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
—To Those Who Remain Faithful—
Amazingly, to God’s praise and glory, we can be confidant that He will be faithful to complete the work that He has begun in us:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Also, amazingly and to His praise and glory, is what awaits those who love Him, wait for Him, and remain faithful to Him:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
And perhaps most amazing of all are the words the faithful will one day hear from Him Who has always been faithful and true to us:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:21)
To order copies of Remaining Faithful Through It All, click here.
NEW BOOKLET: The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction by Mary Danielsen and Chris Lawson 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 The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.
Let us first open this overview of the Alpha Course with several passages in Scripture that warn us of the wolves that will enter the church looking to pervert the Gospel and introduce falsehood. We must always measure everything by the plumbline of God’s Word because without that, deception awaits.
2 Peter 2:1-2 tells us:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
1 John 4:1 tells us to “try [test] the spirits” to see if they are from God; and 1 Timothy 4:1 says:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
That verse should cause every believer in Christ to be increasingly sober-minded and vigilant.
Now, when Scripture tells us to test all things, this is not a mere take-it -or-leave-it suggestion. We are clearly instructed that this is an absolute needful thing for us to do—and it is needed more today than ever before. It is becoming more and more clear that most churches (and most individual Christians too) are not doing this simple thing because the level of apostasy and heresy in the church today is mind-boggling and growing by the day.
We know this booklet is going to ruffle some feathers by challenging the Alpha Course. But as the late apologist Walter Martin said, “Controversy for its own sake is sin. Controversy for the sake of truth is a divine mandate.” In light of that, we will state our case for the many unbiblical problems with the Alpha Course and leave it to the reader to decide if it is of any value to the church.
Alpha and the Anglican Church
The Alpha Toolkit is offered for $199 which provides churches with all the materials needed to train small group leaders, marketing materials to entice church-goers and non-church-goers alike, workbook-type guides for each participant and the all-important DVD featuring fifteen talks by Nicky Gumbel.
The Alpha Course is presented as an evangelistic course designed to bring an easy-going method of exploring the “big questions” of life from a Christian perspective.1 With such a vague description, Alpha appeals to a wide range of seekers.
Alpha Course was started in 1977 by an Anglican priest named Charles Marnham, serving at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) parish in London. It began as a course for church members on the basics of the faith.
Shortly later, John Irvine, a curate at the time at HTB, took it over and developed it into the format it has today. In 1990, Sandy Millar (vicar of HTB at that time) invited HTB reverend Nicky Gumbel to take the helm of the Alpha Course, overseeing further revisions to appeal to the widest audience possible. Gumbel added his own touch to Alpha, helping the program to spread around the world at an exponential rate.
It is important to recognize that Alpha’s creation in the Anglican Church is significant. The Anglican Church dates back to the 16th century when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church, which would not allow him to get a divorce. Henry decided to use his throne to pass a series of laws to prevent the office of the Pope from having any authority in England. One of these laws, titled “The Act of Supremacy,” declared the King of England to be the head of the newly formed Church of England, giving him virtually the same level of authority in England as the Pope had over the Catholic Church. As a result, the Anglican Church is a curious and ecumenical mix of Catholicism and Protestantism. The 39 articles of Anglican belief developed in the reign of Elizabeth I laid out the Protestant doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church but were deliberately written to be so vague that they were open to various interpretations by Protestants and Catholics alike.2
With 80 million members worldwide today, the Anglican Church (which includes the Episcopal church) is largely in sync with the liberal political, theological, and ecumenical worldviews seen throughout postmodern Protestantism today. So it should not surprise anyone that Anglicanism finds a strong voice in evangelical circles via the Alpha Course by those who value unity over truth, social justice over the true Gospel, and a strong desire to reconnect with our “vintage” faith—marching off to reconcile with Rome at the end of the day.
Who is this man with the unassuming and friendly name, Nicky Gumbel? His bio alone should cause red flags, but the average North American Christian either knows nothing of his bio, or he or she simply doesn’t care. Again, considering the church today, both cases are probably equally true.
Gumbel is vicar of the largest Anglican church in Britain (a big problem in itself when you realize what the Anglican church stands for, as we have explained above). If you look at the website of Gumbel’s church, Holy Trinity Church Brompton, you will find a typical site that looks similar to many Protestant church sites today. In addition, if you were to do a search on Gumbel’s view of the Bible, you will find much encouragement to read the Bible, and you might presume from what you read that he and his church place a high value on its contents.
The truth is, anyone can say they revere the Bible; anyone can say they read it and want you to read it as well; anyone can present an orthodox “Statement of Faith.” But what needs to be examined is what that person or organization is truly teaching. Anyone can talk the talk, but it takes a lot more than having a good sounding doctrinal statement to walk a genuine walk. The fruit of a self-proclaiming Christian group needs to be looked at.
This does explain, though, how: 1) there can be so many biblical references in the Alpha Course and yet have it be so off the mark, and 2) how they can emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit and still manage to completely misrepresent Him to the Alpha student. Just because there are a multitude of Bible verses used does not mean they are interpreted or applied correctly. The Bible can be and often is misconstrued and taken out of context. At any rate, today the Anglican Church in Britain, under the authority of Prince Charles, is certainly not known for sound doctrine or emphasis on the kind of Christianity that the Scriptures describe, so “fruit inspection” is crucial.
An important development in the historical background of Alpha’s creators is that HTB Church became the center of the “holy laughter” movement for England and Europe in the 1990s. Eleanor Mumford, along with her husband John, carried the Vineyard movement to the UK (with grudging approval from Vineyard founder John Wimber3), visited the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in Ontario in 1994, and brought back the experiences she had there. Nicky Gumbel attended a meeting in a home in May 1994 where Mumford told of her experiences in Toronto and “invited the Holy Spirit to come.”
The moment she did that, strange things began to happen. One person was thrown across the room and did lie on the floor howling and laughing, “making the most incredible noise.” Another man was lying on the floor “prophesying.” Some appeared to be drunk. Gumbel testified that he had an experience “like massive electricity going through my body.”4 Gumbel got himself together and rushed to a meeting at Holy Trinity Brompton. . . .When he closed that meeting with prayer and said, “Lord, thank you so much for all you are doing, and we pray you’ll send your Spirit,” the same strange phenomenon were again manifested. One of those present lying on the floor with his feet in the air started “laughing like a hyena.”
Nicky Gumbel spends a substantial amount of time relating to Alpha participants in Alpha’s video 3 talk 9, exactly how this occurred:
Ellie Mumford told us a little bit of what she had seen in Toronto . . . It was obvious that Ellie was just dying to pray for all of us. . . . Then she said, “Now we’ll invite the Holy Spirit to come.” And the moment she said that one of the people there was thrown, literally, across the room and was lying on the floor, just howling and laughing—making the most incredible noise. . . . I experienced the power of the Spirit in a way I hadn’t experienced for years, like massive electricity going through my body. One of the guys was prophesying. He was just lying there prophesying.5
From there, others brought the movement to Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, and the hyper-charismatic church of the ‘90s once again brought shame to the Christian community by laughing, barking, and claiming that gold dust and feathers falling on their assemblies was proof of God’s presence and approval. At some gatherings, taxis were provided for those “too drunk in the spirit” to drive home from services.
If you are saying to yourself that this is old news (1994) and not relevant today, let us caution you that today Alpha is bigger and more influential than ever. According to Alpha’s own site, over 27 million people have now completed Alpha, and its running in 169 countries in 112 languages. Spiritual deception never disappears. Our adversary just regroups it for a different (i.e., bigger) audience because 1) so many proclaiming Christians do not know about context, nor do they really seem to care, and 2) the devil is not going to dismiss a perfectly good deception if he can nab a successive generation with its lies.
So here is our warning: if you believe that Gumbel’s Holy Spirit doctrines are not a problem and his bringing the Brownsville debacle into the church is not important to anyone any longer, then please continue to read. The truth of the matter is that any falsehood we allow, even in small leavenous lumps, leads to greater compromise down the road unless true repentance takes place.
In an interview with the UK Guardian in 2009, Gumbel makes it clear that while he considers himself a Christian, more specifically he is an Anglican. He explains:
This may sound pernickety but I wouldn’t describe myself as an evangelical. These are labels, which I don’t think are helpful. If I was going to use any label it would be Christian, and if you push me any further I’d say I’m an Anglican—that’s the family of the Church that I belong to.6
Since the Anglican Church has so much in common with the Roman Catholic Church, we have to wonder how evangelicals got the impression that the Alpha Course is compatible with Protestant/evangelical Christianity.
In the following two quotes, we can see Gumbel’s acceptance and promotion of Roman Catholicism and the Catholic papacy:
It was a great honor to be presented to Pope John Paul II, who has done so much to promote evangelism around the world. We have been enormously enriched by our interaction with Catholics in many countries.7
Probably one of the strongest movements of the Holy Spirit is in the Roman Catholic Church, so there’s not a huge theological difference between the official teaching of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, for example.8
So we see that the Anglican Church, which has foundations deep in Catholicism, has produced a program that is sweeping the globe, designed to give simple answers to people who want to know the meaning of life. Alpha is designed to be fun and attractive, affirming and enjoyable (i.e., “inoffensive”). But how will this Catholic-influenced agenda point people to the real Jesus Christ, the real Gospel, the real sinful state of humans under the conviction of sin, and their need for a Savior? Will Alpha’s fun, attractive, and affirming program (yours for only ten weeks of classes) lead participants to repenting and surrendering their lives to God in such a manner that will secure their eternal destination (1 John 5:13)?
Alpha is missing the mark on so many levels doctrinally, it is tough to cover it all here. Within its pages, there is no satisfactory explanation as to why Jesus had to die in the first place. Sin is described as doing “wrong things” and yet the doctrine of sin is never fully taught, avoiding even the actual word.
What is never explained is that the biblical concept of “sin” is not just about doing wrong, it is about who we are—the motivations of the heart, our inherent sinful nature, and our separation from God. Alpha does not teach about the full nature of God or His attributes, His righteous anger at sin, or that holy justice required a substitution on our behalf. “Gospel light” hardly describes it fully, and one is left with the impression that Christ died because we mess up sometimes and because the universe brings with it some abstract notion of justice in case stuff happens. Alpha does not bring home the reality or the gravity of our sin, the realization that in us is no good thing, and the truth of how God sees us as lost in our sin until we receive (trust) Christ as our Savior. Thus, we can have no confidence in Alpha that it can truly convert people into a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit According to Alpha
Among the fifteen video talks Nicky Gumbel presents throughout the course, of particular interest to discerning Christians are talks number 8, 9, and 10. These talks are shown at Alpha’s distinctive Holy Spirit Weekend discussing who the Holy Spirit is, what He does, and how one might be filled with the Holy Spirit. Manifestations supposedly of God’s Spirit are encouraged during this weekend, even among those who are not yet saved.
Given the background of Alpha’s creators, one can only imagine what experiences might be encouraged. Manifestations such as uncontrollable laughter, lights, shaking, burning, physical heat, gold dust, and shocks have been documented from numerous sources. New Age participants in Reiki therapy and Kundalini Yoga experience the same kinds of manifestations.
A UK apologetics site, in exposing Alpha, had this to say about “strange manifestations”:
Biblically, the Holy Spirit magnifies Christ—but not Himself —but in Alpha, the Holy Spirit sometimes seems to be doing “his own thing.” Some of those who have been involved with HTB and Alpha claim that they have felt a force, or an unseen power, impelling them to do some very strange and even unChristian things, such as laughing uncontrollably. All responsible Christians, at length, must surely question such things in order to evaluate the fruits of a movement.9
So just how long has this deception been brewing, and at what point did Gumbel appear to be introduced to a specific level of supernatural manifestations? On a particular Alpha video, Gumbel recounts the night that John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Movement) visited HTB church back in 1982, years before the holy laughter movement. At this meeting, there were many “words of knowledge” (supernatural revelations concerning the situations of various people in the room): “Specific details were given, accurately describing the conditions . . . As the list was responded to, the level of faith in the room was rising.” The following account gives more of what happened on Wimber’s visit:
Gumbel says that he still felt “cynical and hostile” until the following evening when he was prayed for: “So they prayed for the Spirit to come . . . I felt something like 10,000 volts going through my body . . . The American (Wimber) had a fairly limited prayer. He just said “more power” . . . it was the only thing he ever prayed. . . . Now we’ve seen many kinds of these manifestations of the Spirit on the weekends. . . . These manifestations and the physical healings themselves are not the important thing . . . the fruit of the Spirit. . . . these are the things that matter, the fruit that comes from these experiences. So we began to realise that God heals miraculously. . . .
Nicky Gumbel gives no indication here that he or anyone else attending that meeting tested the spirits to ensure that everything came from the Holy Spirit.”10
Author and lecturer Roger Oakland offers some insight:
When Vineyard pastor Randy Clarke came to the Toronto Airport Vineyard in January of 1994, he held several nights of meetings and then lit “the fire.” Randy Clarke had received his “anointing” from the “Holy Spirit Bartender” from South Africa, Rodney-Howard Browne.
For years afterwards, the transferrable anointing spread around the world. “It” was also called “it.” Once someone got “it” they were able to give “it” away. “It” was transported to the UK by Nicky Gumbel from the Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in England.11
Benjamin Creme, the New Age guru who has been preparing the world for decades now to receive “The (new age) Christ” actually expressed his thoughts about the Toronto Blessing some time back. What makes this significant is that for the last few decades and continuing today, Creme has had only one job: promoting the one he calls “The Christ”—Lord Maitreya. Also back in 1982, he took out pricey full-page ads in every major global newspaper announcing in bold headlines that “The Christ is Now Here,” which was quite the jolt to the prophecy student who is versed in what the Scriptures say about a final evil world ruler.
Creme is convinced even today that his “Christ” will communicate telepathically to all citizens of the world simultaneously when his time comes to be revealed. Those practicing mind-altering meditation (such as Yoga or contemplative prayer) are being conditioned to be “vibrationally sympathetic” to receiving such “messages.” (To read more about Benjamin Creme and “Lord Maitreya, read Warren B. Smith’s book False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) The fact that Creme would have anything to say about a signs and wonders movement within the Protestant Church actually says as much about the church as the guru. But when asked about the Toronto Blessing and what he thought of it, he said it was a good thing, and is . . . “the [same] method being used by his [own] spiritual Masters to soften up Christian Fundamentalists to accept the New Age Christ when He appears.”12 Charming . . . and not just a little alarming.
When we look at the background and what influences the “spirit” behind Alpha, there is every indication that this is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible, who does not ask us to do all kinds of weird and crazy things. We are not to seek visions and dreams or other things typical in Alpha-style hyper-charismatic circles. While some might perceive Alpha’s teachings on the Holy Spirit to be biblical, the problem lies in the clear beliefs and practices of the founder and how it is and has spread throughout the churches in practice thanks to Toronto and Brownsville. The kinds of manifestations that Gumbel promotes have nothing to do with the Comforter leading us into all truth and making us more like Jesus. It will more likely lead the participant into altered states of consciousness and occult practices common in New Age and emergent circles.
So who are the endorsers of the Alpha program? Probably the most influential supporter of Alpha (at least within the evangelical church) is Rick Warren. Warren was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Alpha Global Conference. For the fee of $190, one could catch him at Royal Albert Hall or get a seat at Gumbel’s church in Brompton (HTB)—remember, the site of the birth of the Holy Laughter movement.
The credibility that Warren lends to Alpha cannot be understated because of his highly popular Purpose Driven movement. And if Alpha was previously found mostly in mainline denominations and charismatic churches, Rick Warren’s backing is going to provide a major thrust for the Alpha course to enter evangelical and even conservative Christian denominations.
In addition, Willow Creek Association promotes and presents the Alpha Course, and on Alpha’s main website, there is information about the various churches that teach the Alpha Course.
A 2016 endorsement of the Alpha Course by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s senior pastor, Brian Brodersen, is going to have a significant impact on many Calvary Chapel and other non-denominational mega churches. Brodersen posted this statement on April 14, 2016 on his Facebook to Nicky Gumbel regarding Gumbel’s new ALPHA film series:
What a FANTASTIC introduction to the new ALPHA film series! Good One @ Nicky Gumbel.13
Something that Calvary Chapel leaders—and all Christian church leaders for that matter—should remember is that the reason the Protestant Reformers were burned at the stake during the Protestant Reformation was because they stood against the errors of Roman Catholicism.
Today, things are quite different. We see thousands of Christian leaders of every sort either sympathizing with or outright promoting ecumenism and working with churches and movements that the Roman Catholic Church is absorbing or seeking to absorb into the fold in the future. The Pope’s and the Vatican’s influence is like a magic spell over many Christian leaders these days, and many have forgotten that judgement of the Living God is upon those who twist Scripture and present a false gospel:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-12)
A simple question one should ask of Brian Brodersen and other Christian leaders is: “Which version of Jesus Christ is Nicky Gumbel promoting—the Roman Catholic version of Jesus that is eaten and ingested in the Roman Catholic ritual of the sacrifice of the Mass or the biblical Jesus of Nazareth who was sacrificed only once for all time and is now sitting at the right hand of God in heaven (Hebrews 10:12) and is NOT being mystically turned into a wafer by a priest to be eaten and ingested (John 6:62-63)?
Well, in actuality, Gumbel, if he chooses to, can simply bounce back and forth like a ping-pong ball, playing to each crowd freely whenever the social context calls for it. With Roman Catholics, he can eat the Eucharistic Jesus, and with Protestants he can point to Scripture, and with charismatics, he can promote excesses and holy laughter and just go with the flow however things take shape. This type of convoluted spirituality escalates confusion to its highest form. This is not Christianity, this is diabolical!
Where Does it Lead?
With each passing year, the Alpha Leadership course becomes more blatant in its rejection of sound doctrine in favor of an ecumenical agenda that will merge seamlessly with the coming world spirituality predicted in the Bible. In 2015, the list of speakers at the Alpha Global Conference should concern every Christian who is a lover of truth: Rick Warren, who we mentioned earlier, Father Raniero Cantalamessa (preacher to the Papal household whose writings are recommended reading in the Guide for Alpha participants), word of faith proponent Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and several others.
One should note that the Alpha Course is so “user-friendly” and spiritually generic that Roman Catholic leaders accommodate it, embrace it, utilize it, and promote it. It is the unchanged standard Alpha Course. Alpha is compatible with Catholic teaching, but it does not present wholly Catholic issues. It assumes that follow-up teachings will be offered to Catholics and those wishing to become Catholic. And, of course, as we said earlier in this booklet, Nicky Gumbel has met with at least two popes in order to cultivate an Alpha Course that is geared entirely for a Roman Catholic context. Alpha for Catholics is utilized on a global scale.
In fact, the introduction page for the Roman Catholic Alpha Course promotes it this way:
Answering the Call for the New Evangelization
Alpha is a tool for the New Evangelization that is being used by thousands of Catholic parishes in over 70 countries around the world. Alpha creates an environment and opportunity for an encounter with Jesus. As Pope Francis likes to say, it’s a chance for “Jesus to find them.”14
Alpha is without a doubt a great experience of new evangelization.15—Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President, the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization
Would a biblically sound, Gospel-focused program be so accepted and embraced by the Roman Catholic Church? No, because it would be incompatible with the Catholic view of salvation. Alpha markets itself as helping people find truth and find God. If Alpha originally intended to be coy about its true colors, Gumbel removed all doubt at the 2015 Global Conference by revealing its cooperation with Rome:
Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational . . . unity doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!16
But Christian history has proven already that unity is often embraced at the cost of truth, and those who stood alone (like the martyrs) were the ones who made a difference. Truth can bring unity, but unity for its own sake does not lead to truth. That is why Jesus promoted truth and did not commit Himself to the crowds.
Gumbel also expressed the following at the conference:
Unity is not an option—Jesus is still praying for our unity—so that the world will be one.
Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything—disagreement is healthy.
I used to think if some part of the church is different from me, they must be wrong. Now I think, ‘wow, they’re different from me, I must have so much to learn from them!
I have come to love the Catholic Church—If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?
The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!
We live in a divided world that demands a united church.
Root of all problems in the world is division. Paul gives us the answer to this—it’s in relationships!17
No, Mr. Gumbel, the root of all problems in the world isn’t division. Jesus said He came to cause division—division between truth and error. The root of all problems in the world is sin, which separates man from God. And the only way to get truth is through the Word of God. Subjective and experiential Christianity is guaranteed to leave one walking in step with the apostates on the broad road to destruction.
The Bottom Line
The church today, using unnatural (and unbiblical) growth methods and programs, has grown into an unnatural institution, with perverse and unsound doctrines, combining paganism with Christianity and compromising any bits and tidbits of truth. The Bible indicates that true church growth comes from “the washing of water by the word” (see Ephesians 5:26-27). Only as we cleanse ourselves of false doctrine while washing in the pure doctrine of God’s Word can we experience the natural growth that God intended.
The Alpha Course fits perfectly into today’s emergent “progressive” culture with its experiential mysticism and its ecumenical merging of all faiths, starting with Rome. We won’t be surprised next to see Alpha for Muslims. It is also a front for Toronto-blessing-style hyper-charismania and Latter Day Prophet lying signs and wonders antics. Even if people find some truth in it, there is enough poison to render it harmful to the body as a whole. Even if a solid church can find a way to present it with their own solid teaching, why bother? If we need so many books to explain the Bible, how are we any different from the various cults today?
The bottom line with Alpha is this: Can Christians who love the Word and their Bibles be comfortable with, or even need, a program that is—
Written from the Church of England/Anglican perspective?
Written and taught by a man who brought us holy laughter and the Brownsville Revival?
Teaches Catholics the same course as Protestants and urges them to stay in the church they are in?
Is ecumenical to the core?
Promotes an incomplete theology of the Cross and atonement?
Promotes New Age/hyper-charismatic manifestations claiming they are of the Holy Spirit?
Teaches Kingdom Now Theology/Dominionism?
If you or your church are using the Alpha Course, or are considering using it, please prayerfully consider what you have read in this booklet.
To order copies of The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.
3. Alpha Course’s Gumbel Invites Vineyard UK Founder Eleanor Mumford & Furtick, Hybels to Leadership Conference http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/02/alpha-courses-gumbel-invites-vineyard.html.
6. “Nicky Gumbel Interview Transcript” (The Guardian, August 28, 2009, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/28/religion-christianity-alpha-gumbel-transcript).
7. Roger Oakland, “Alpha and the Pope, http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c25.shtml, quoting Nicky Gumbel from “Alpha News,” March-June 2004, p. 7.
8. “Nicky Gumbel Interview Transcript,” op. cit.
10. Sandy Simpson, “The Dangers of the Alpha Course” (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/alpha.html; quoting from Session 12 White Alpha training manual ppS8-62/Video V Talk 13).
11. Roger Oakland, “Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Alpha,” http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c183ccandalpha.shtml.
12. Nick Needham, “The Toronto Blessing,” http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/toronto.aspx.
13. From Brian Brodersen’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PastorBrianBrodersen/posts/822581941179918.
14. Alpha For Catholics, http://us.alphausa.org/Groups/1000042056/Alpha_Catholic_Context.aspx.
16. Nicky Gumbel, “A Vision for a United Church,” at the 2015 Alpha Leadership Conference; https://lc17.alpha.org/2015-talks.
17. These quotes are taken from a Letter to the Editor: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17458.
To order copies of The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.
Letter to the Editor: Trying to Warn Our Grown Children . . . And Letter to Our Pastor Goes Unanswered
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We are very thankful for Lighthouse Trails Publishing and Research, and for all the dedicated watchmen who warn and educate the sheep. We pray for continued wisdom, provision, and protection for everyone who is engaged in presenting and defending the simple and powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are especially concerned because our talented, zealous adult children are, to some degree or another, caught up in following Bethel and Hillsong worship and practices. So far as I know, none are practicing ‘contemplative’ prayer, but other occult practices are subtly mixed in with their schools of worship and ‘supernatural’ ministries. We prepared a notebook for each of our children and their spouses where we downloaded and printed Warren Smith’s Reinventing Jesus Christ (now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) back in late 2006 or early 2007 – probably just before we discovered Lighthouse Trails. I think they mostly stuck the notebooks under the bed or somewhere obscure.
Since that time, some of them have expressed disappointment in us for backing off of all things Vineyard, hyper-charismatic, and the whole signs & wonders and healing ministries movements. So, we have the privilege of standing in the gap and praying God will reveal the Truth to them and expose all the error they are so vulnerable to. My husband says we really can’t bring up these topics with them anymore, that we need to wait until they ask us what we think or believe because they already know. We find that we aren’t comfortable going to their churches anymore.
At one of their churches, one big event featured a couple from Bethel (Redding) leadership – and Heidi Baker – ‘ministering.’ We watched some of it online . . . very distressing.
We actually have left our own Calvary Chapel fellowship this past year. They’re still teaching the Word, chapter and verse, but are not willing to address apostasy issues. My husband wrote a letter to the pastor after Jesus Calling showed up in the bookstore – even some of the men in their Bible study were bringing it along and quoting it. No response, not even an acknowledgment of his letter was ever offered. The book disappeared from the bookstore, but they never addressed it from the podium, nor did they ever stock any books by discernment authors.
We have been blessed to be able to attend discernment conferences with Roger Oakland and Warren Smith speaking, as well as some local CC pastors who are good under-shepherds. We have gotten to meet and speak with them, as well as with Caryl Matriciana and Randolph and Johanna Michaelson. What is surprising to me is that these types of conferences don’t seem to attract the thousands of Bible believers I thought would be lined up to participate, up in arms about false teaching and wolves in sheep’s clothing as are we, like-minded.
May God give you good health and continue to provide for you and protect you as you continue to fight the good fight!
Yours warmly in Christ,
In March of this year, Lighthouse Trails sent out a letter and a booklet to over 130 Christian leaders. We told our readers about this on February 25th in an article titled “Lighthouse Trails Publishing to Make Contact with Over 100 Christian Leaders to Warn About Jesus Calling.” The booklet we sent was Warren B. Smith’s new booklet 10 Scriptural Reasons Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book.
You may be wondering what kind of response we received from this first mailing. Let us say up front, we are not doing this booklet campaign because we expect to receive a big response. We are doing it because we are compelled to do all we can to warn believers, including leaders and pastors. We also believe that the leaders need to be held responsible for remaining silent on vital issues that are affecting so many people. As for response, we have received three responses. Here they are:
- Koinonia Institute (Chuck Missler): Dear Friends in Christ: Thank you for your taking the time to write to us here at Koinonia House. As much as Chuck would love to reply to all the mail he gets, it is just not physically possible anymore. Chuck is in New Zealand, establishing a new ministry outreach. Thank you for sending Chuck this important book. We will make sure he receive it when he returns back to the United States. May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth. Koinonia House Staff
- Living Proof Ministries: I know Beth will be so encouraged to receive the gift you sent her. Thank you for spurring us on to love and good works! In His grace, LPM Staff
- CBN (Pat Robertson): Click here to view.
In our March article to our readers, we said we hoped to send out a new letter and booklet pack to these leaders every two or three months. Now, we are ready to send out a second letter and two booklets. The booklets we have chosen are Ray Yungen’s 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer and Roger Oakland’s Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome. Here below is the cover letter we are including:
Dear Christian Leader:
We are sending you two booklets pertaining to two very vital issues affecting the evangelical Christian church today.
Five Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer explains in a concise manner the dangers of the contemplative prayer movement, which is currently being introduced into a large percentage of Christian seminaries and colleges.
Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Pathway to Rome is not a character-bashing assault but is rather a carefully documented and biblically sound examination. While the booklet focuses primarily on Rick Warren because he is a major influence in the church today, the situation explained in the booklet is becoming more commonplace than most realize.
We hope you will read and prayerfully consider the messages in these two booklets.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails
Below is the current list of over 130 Christian leaders who will be receiving letters and booklets every two or three months:
NOTE: We are not saying that all of these leaders are in deception. But we do believe they all would benefit from reading the material we are sending.
|Randy||Alcorn||Eternal Perspective Minsitries|
|John||Ankerberg||John Ankerberg Ministries|
|Kay||Arthur||Precept Ministries International|
|Mark||Bailey||Dallas Theological Seminary|
|John and Lisa||Bevere||Messenger International|
|Pastor Tom||Carter||Dinuba First Baptist Church|
|Matt||Chandler||The Village Church|
|Jim||Daly||Focus on the Family|
|Mart||DeHaan||Our Daily Bread|
|Dr. James||Dobson||Family Talk|
|Joni||Eareckson-Tada||Joni and Friends|
|Jack||Eggar||Awana CEO President|
|Dr. Tony||Evans||Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship|
|Pastor Jonathan||Falwell||Thomas Road Baptist Church|
|Jerry||Falwell Jr.||Liberty University|
|Joseph||Farah||World News Daily|
|Dr. Ronnie||Floyd||Southern Baptist President Crosschurch|
|Louie||Giglio||Passion City Church|
|Dr. Jack||Graham||Prestonwood Baptist Church|
|David||Green||Hobby Lobby Stores Inc|
|Pastor John||Hagee||Cornerstone Church|
|Ken||Ham||Answers in Genesis|
|Hank||Hanegraaff||Bible Answer Man|
|Jack||Hayford||The Church on the Way|
|Pastor Skip||Heitzig||The Connection|
|Hugh||Hewitt||The Hugh Hewitt Show|
|Pastor Jack||Hibbs||Real Life With Jack Hibbs|
|Pastor Dave||Hocking||Hope for Today|
|Dr. Michael||Horton||Westminster Seminary|
|Pastor Bill||Hybels||Willow Creek Community Church|
|Pastor Robert||Jeffress||First Baptist Church|
|Pastor David||Jeremiah||Shadow Mountain Community Church|
|Pastor Timothy||Keller||Redeemer Presbyterian Church|
|Pastor R T||Kendall||R T Kendall Ministries|
|Dan||Kimball||Vintage Faith Church|
|Dr Tim||LaHaye||Southern California Seminary|
|Dr. Richard||Land||President-Southern Evangelical Seminary|
|William||Lane Craig||Biola University|
|Pastor Greg||Laurie||Harvest America|
|Nancy||Leigh DeMoss||Revive Our Hearts|
|Mike||LeMay||Stand up for the Truth|
|Hal||Lindsey||Hal Lindsey Ministries|
|Pastor Fred||Luter||Franklin Avenue Baptist Church|
|Dr. Erwin||Lutzer||Moody Church|
|Pastor John||MacArthur||Grace Community Church|
|James||McDonald||Walk in the Word|
|Josh||McDowell||Josh McDowell Ministry|
|Janet||Mefferd||Janet Mefferd Today|
|CEO Santiago “Jimmy”||Mellado||Compassion International|
|Joyce||Meyer||Joyce Meyer Ministries|
|Albert||Mohler||Southern Baptist Theological Seminary|
|Beth||Moore||Living Proof Ministries|
|Elisa||Morgan||Women of Faith|
|Dr Joel||Mullinex||Rejoice in the Lord|
|Pastor Joel||Osteen||Lakewood Church|
|Luis||Palau||Lis Palau Association|
|Tony||Perkins||Family Research Counsel|
|John||Piper||Bethlehem Baptist Church|
|Dennis||Pollock||Spirit of Grace Ministries|
|Dave||Ramsey||The Lampo Group|
|Dave||Reagan||Lamb and Lion Ministries|
|Ron||Rhodes||Ron Rhodes Ministries|
|Pastor Raul||Ries||Calvery Chapel Golden Springs|
|Pat||Robertson||700 Club Christian Broadcasting Network|
|James & Betty||Robison||Life Today|
|Rev. Samuel||Rodrigues||New Season Christian Worship Church|
|Joel||Rosenberg||Trident Media Group agent Scott Miller|
|Dennis||Rydberg||Young Life Service Center|
|Pastor Tim||Savage||Camelback Bible Church|
|Mark||Schoenwald||HarperCollins Christian Publishing|
|Bobby||Schuller||Christ Cathedral Church|
|Jay||Sekulow||American Center for Law and Justice|
|Gary||Smalley||Smalley Relationship Center|
|Larry||Spargimino||Southwest Radio Church Ministries|
|Dr Charles||Stanley||First Baptist Church|
|Cameron||Strang||Relevant Media Group|
|Jimmy||Swaggart||Jimmy Swaggart Ministries|
|Chuck||Swindoll||Insight for Living Ministries|
|Tim||Tebow||Tim Tebow Foundation|
|Jack and Rexella||Van Impe||Jack Van Impe Ministries International|
|Pastor Joe||Van Koevering||Gateway Christian Center|
|Pastor Rick||Warren||Saddleback Church|
|David A.R.||White||Founder Pure Flix Movies|
|Dr George||Wood||Assemblies of God president|
|Dr Rick||Yohn||Men of the Word|
|Dr Ed||Young||The Winning Walk|
|Pastor Michael||Youssef||Leading the Way|
|Board of Director||Bible Study Fellowship|
|Dr. Jim||Garlow||Skyline Wesleyan Church|
|Pastor Ray Johnston||Johnston||Bayside Church|
|Dr. Paul||Nyquist||Moody Bible Institute|
|Priscilla||Shirer||Going Beyond Ministries|
|Dr. Jerry||Nance||Teen Challenge Emerging Leaders College|
|Pastor Jon||Courson||Applegate Christian Fellowship|
|Alex and Stephen||Kendrick||Filmmakers – Sherwood Baptist Church|
|Pastor Bryan||Chappell||Grace Presbyterian Church|
|President Roberta||Combs||Christian Coalition of America|
|Alistair||Begg||Truth for Life|
|Pastor Steve||Berger||Grace Chapel|
|Pat||Boone||Actor – Singer PBGL Inc.|
|Pastor Brian||Broedersen||Calvary Chapel Church – Costa Mesa|
|Susie||Rowan||Bible Study Fellowship|
|Kimm||Carr||CBS Ministry Service Center|
|Chancellor Michael||Farris||Home School Legal Defense Association|
|Dr. Jeff||Myers||Summit Ministries|
LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails is not what some term “KJV Only.” However, we have come to trust the King James Bible more than other versions, and this is what we use for our articles and books. That said, we have strong concerns about many of the new modern translations (and paraphrases that are treated like translations). The ESV has been marketed as a very close translation to the KJV. But a close look, as is done by this Canadian Lighthouse Trails friend, Art K., reveals that the ESV differs from the KJV in many instances and should not be touted as very similar to the KJV. Please also read the article below by Warren B. Smith called “The Kindly Christian Widow.”
The following is an updated version of Art K.’s article with new references and information from an earlier version a few years ago.
The English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. “A Dream Come True”?
Written and compiled by Art K. (updated: April 2016)
Introduction to a Study on The English Standard Version
First, why I compared the KJV to the ESV is because the ESV study Bible has received such high praise for being an excellent literal translation.
Second, in the Preface under “Translation Legacy” page 19, we read “The English Standard Version (ESV) stands in the classic mainstream of English Bible translations over the past half-millennium. The fountainhead of that stream was William Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526; marking the course were King James Version of 1611…” I understood this to mean that there would be a great similarity between the KJV and the ESV. What I found however, is that the ESV, is in the majority of the references, very similar or the same as the NIV. This I find difficult to reconcile with the statement made in reference to the KJV.
Third what motivated me to further compare the ESV to the KJV, was the very high praise that the ESV has received from so many people who are well versed in the field of bible translations. For example, John Piper calls it “a dream come true”? Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlFsBdEkxMQ
Fourth what motivated me to examine the ESV Study Bible was what I read in the Introduction under the subtitle “Divine Words and Merely Human Words”, where it is written “The ESV Study Bible contains two kinds of words. The first kind is the actual of the Bible, which are the very words of God to us. These are printed in the larger font of each page. The second kind is the study notes, which are merely human words” page 9.
The problem is knowing which group of words to trust. The first group of words “the very words of God to us” in the ESV have so many omissions compared to the KJV that it creates serious doubt, not trust. If there are so many omissions in “the very words of God” in the ESV, how can we have confidence in the ‘words of men, in the explanation?
Before we accept this translation as “a dream come true” we need to examine the ESV bible carefully and ponder the words of Jesus, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you”.
1) The following examples are from the New Testament only.
2) This is not an exhaustive study.
A Related Article by Warren B. Smith
The Kindly Christian Widow
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
When I was in the New Age and very involved with A Course in Miracles, I was working for a Northern California agency as a program coordinator serving the developmentally disabled. One day while I was visiting the elderly widowed mother of one of my clients the subject of religion came up. After asking me what I believed, she listened politely as I shared my enthusiasm for the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. As I described what I believed, she smiled sweetly but didn’t say much. When I finished talking, she excused herself for a moment and went into another room. When she returned she was holding a large, blue King James Bible. She wanted me to have it. Not wanting to offend her, and noting its color was a perfect match with my Course in Miracles books, I accepted her gift.
Several years later, as my wife and I were beginning to understand how deceived we had been by A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings, it was this kind woman’s King James Bible that we continually turned to for support and counsel. It sharply contrasted the differences between the New Age “gospel” and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was instrumental in our ultimate conversion to the Christian faith. And we have continued to use the King James Bible for the last twenty years. It has been our guide in everything we do. We thought it was beautifully written, and we found it to be very readable. Occasional outdated words are often defined by their context or can be easily looked up in a matter of seconds. More than anything, though, the teachings and doctrine of the King James Bible have always rung true.
Bible versions only became an issue for us when my book The Light that was Dark was in the process of being published by Moody Press. Moody insisted on converting many of my King James quotes into a newer version. They said they had to make my book more “readable” and “seeker friendly,” so I reluctantly went along with their request. I would not do that today.
I have never understood why church leaders have felt it necessary to downplay and almost apologize for the King James translation. As “seekers,” the King James Bible had met us right where we were at. It might not have been “spiritually correct” for that kind woman to give an unbeliever a King James Bible instead of a newer version, but I will be forever grateful that she did. It helped to save our lives.
No Legitimate Reason?
Having only used one Bible all these years, I wanted to understand why Rick Warren felt the need to use fifteen different Bible versions and paraphrases in The Purpose-Driven Life. In the back of his book I found this explanation:
This book contains nearly a thousand quotations from Scripture. I have intentionally varied the Bible translations used for two important reasons. First, no matter how wonderful a translation is, it has limitations….
Second, and even more important, is the fact that we often miss the full impact of familiar Bible verses, not because of poor translating, but simply because they have become so familiar!….Therefore I have deliberately used paraphrases in order to help you see God’s truth in new, fresh ways. English-speaking people should thank God that we have so many different versions to use for devotional reading.1
I couldn’t really relate to what Rick Warren was saying about “limitations” and overly “familiar” verses. I had always had full confidence in the King James translation, and familiar verses became more and more precious as their truth continued to resound in our lives year after year.
Of the fifteen different versions he used, The Message was clearly Rick Warren’s favorite. In The Purpose-Driven Life he rarely referred to the King James Bible. I found his strange reason why in his 1995 book The Purpose-Driven Church:
Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four-hundred-year-old English. Using the King James Version creates an unnecessary cultural barrier…. Clarity is more important than poetry.2
No “legitimate reason” to read the King James Bible? I remember reading that and being amazed. How could he possibly teach something that was so untrue? The King James Bible had not “complicated” the “Good News” for my wife and I when we were lost in the New Age—it had provided much needed clarity by exposing the deceptiveness of our New Age teachings. In The Light that was Dark I commented:
When we could finally see through the spiritual deception, most of the Scriptures that we had been reading clicked into place. It was as if scales had fallen from our eyes, and suddenly the New Testament was flooded with light. Though we had a lot to learn about other aspects of the faith, it was apparent that we were, by virtue of our having been so thoroughly deceived, already well-versed in the Bible’s description of deception.3
Sometimes we thought we were confusing everyone but ourselves. Disappointed but not disheartened by our friends, and discouraged but not disillusioned by some of the churches, we were nevertheless determined to tell our story of the reality of evil and of the power and majesty of the real Christ—how it was the Bible, not our alternative spiritual teachings, that read clearer and truer than the morning paper.4
God had used the King James Bible in a mighty way to reveal the truth. It had pulled us out of the New Age and put us on solid ground. Its straightforward warnings and teachings were clear and true. If we had been dependent on The Message, or some of the other Bible versions that Rick Warren uses, we might still be in the New Age today. It was the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that had exposed the deception behind our New Age teachings. And it is the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that continues to expose these same New Age teachings that are creeping into the Church today. I just thank God no one put something like The Message in my hands when I was in the New Age. And I thank God for kindly Christian widows. (an excerpt from chapter 4 of Deceived on Purpose by Warren B. Smith)
1. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), p. 325.
2. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 297.
3. Warren Smith, The Light that was Dark (Chicago, IL: Moody Press: Northfield Publishing, 1992)p. 141. Note: this book is now published by Mountain Stream Press.
4. Ibid., p. 149.