“Mike Bickle’s Admission About Catholic Influence on International House of Prayer” and Francis Chan’s Involvement

By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries

Francis Chan and Mike Bickle (photo from www.bereanresearch.org)

When is a sheep a wolf? Mike Bickle and Francis Chan are being used to undo the Reformation. Will the rising false church have Catholic and contemplative roots? It is happening even as we speak. This article is reblogged because it includes Mike Bickle’s admission that many of the teachings at IHOP have been influenced by Catholic contemplatives such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and others.

The article also asks which Christian leader will be next to point the visible church towards Rome. Well, as became evident during Onething 2015, that leader is Francis Chan. As the first sentence of the article notes, there was nothing about Catholic participation on the IHOP-KC website in the weeks before the event took place.

Related Information:

The Passion of the Presence and the Purpose of the Passion (and Francis Chan and John Piper’s Involvement with IHOP) by Herescope Blog

 

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Letter to the Editor: What is LT’s Take on “The Voice” “Bible”?

To Lighthouse Trails:

What is “The Voice” translation of the Bible and what do you think of it?

Our Comments:

Our answer (from a 2007 LT article):

According to an article in Christian Today, “New Bible Project for Young Generation Launched”, Thomas Nelson’s 2006 “Bible” project called The Voice is going full speed ahead. The project, announced by TN last spring, is a “re-telling of the Bible that consists of creative voices from historians to poets, storytellers to songwriters,” and is for young people who are “searching for new ways to explore the Bible, or who are seeking to read it for the first time.” The project will be a combination of books, music CDs, artwork and an interactive website. With the largest Christian publisher backing the project, there is little doubt that The Voice will reach countless young people and have a significant impact in many lives.

Unfortunately, the project turns out to be an emerging church creation, thus the foundation of it is marred from the beginning. Because mysticism, New Age ideology, and a return to Rome, are the building blocks of the emerging church, The Voice is going to be a spiritually dangerous conduit for adherents. Some of the emergent leaders involved in the project are Chris Seay (project founder), Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, Leonard Sweet, and Blue Like Jazz author, Donald Miller. In last year’s press release by Thomas Nelson, Erwin McManus was also listed.

This month’s new release (the third book in the project) is called The Voice of Matthew, written by emergent/contemplative Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath).

Chris Seay, the founder of The Voice, is pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas. A mission statement on the website illustrates the theology of the emerging church:

We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person’s life and culture. We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.

We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself – she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.

Saying that all of creation (e.g., all humanity) is redeemed is in direct opposition of the teachings of Jesus who said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). And the belief that the church will usher in the Kingdom of God as opposed to Jesus Christ ushering it in with his literal return to the earth is indicative of the contemplative/emerging mindset. (It is also classic dominionism.)

The contemplative affinities of the contributors of The Voice will assure that mysticism will be an integral part of this project. This new version of the Bible has the potential to lead thousands, and possibly millions, of young people away from the words of Jesus Christ who said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (John 10: 1-4)

We contend that The Voice is not the voice of the Good Shepherd, nor is it the Word of God that says:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:12-13)

To understand more about the emerging church and the new missiology, read Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone.

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Ironside—Four Great Truths

By H. A. Ironside

If Christ to His throne had not bidden farewell,
Sad indeed were the tolling of life’s passing bell;
If Christ on the cross had not suffered and died,
Dark indeed were the passage of death’s somber tide.
If Christ from the grave had in triumph not risen,
Bleak indeed were the dungeons of that dreadful prison;
If Christ were not living and pleading on high,
Death indeed were our doom, death that never may die.
—H. G. T. PARKE

cross on wall backgroundThe above lines were written by a poor unfortunate, a drug-addict, who stumbled into a Salvation Army Hall years ago and came to Christ. It is evident that the Spirit of God gave him a very vivid appreciation of four aspects of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, upon which Scripture bases four great truths. Upon these I desire to meditate, hoping that both writer and readers may thus enter more fully into the completeness of the divine scheme of redemption.

Incarnation

Think, first, of incarnation. The word itself implies a supernatural Being linking Himself with humanity, and this, of course, is what actually took place when the eternal Son of God became Man in the fulness of time. Incarnation means more than the mere assumption of a human body. In Scripture we are told, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It was a voluntary act on His part. He who subsisted from all eternity in the form of God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, emptied Himself of the outward semblance of Deity, and took upon Him the form of a bondman; having come in the likeness of men, and being thus habited as a Man, He humbled Himself still lower, becoming obedient unto death, and such a death—that of the cross. In doing this, He linked Deity with humanity in such a way that He did not cease in any sense to be God, while He became, nevertheless, in the fullest possible sense, Man. He had a true human spirit. “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” (John 11:33) we are told, and on the Cross, He exclaimed, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46). We hear Him saying, “Now is My soul troubled,” (John 12:27), and we read that He “poured out His soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12). His body was in no sense a phantom, as some have taught in early days but a true human body, the earthly vessel in which the heavenly One took up His abode, in order that He might be slain for our sins. All this is involved in the fact of incarnation.

But though a true Man, He was a sinless Man and not only sinless in thought and act, but impeccable; because being as truly God as Man, it is unthinkable that He could in His humanity do that, under any circumstances, which was repugnant to His Godhead, and God cannot sin. Thus He fulfilled the types of old; He was the unblemished, spotless Lamb; like the unyoked heifer, He never came under the yoke of sin. He was as pure within as He was without, thus answering to the burnt offering which had to be laid open and examined in every part, and could only be presented to God if found inwardly perfect.

In order that this might be so, He could not come into the world through the process of natural generation, for this would have made Him heir to all the fearful entailment of sin and infirmity which characterized the human race as proceeding from fallen Adam. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, a distinct creation in the womb of the virgin, and thus He entered this world through the portals of birth, but as the Second Man, the Lord from heaven. Herein lies the importance of the doctrine of the virgin birth, which some today insist has no real bearing upon the question of His Saviourhood. But His incarnation must be sinless and impeccable, or He could not be the Savior of sinners. If there were within Him the least evil or tendency to evil, He must needs have a Savior for Himself, and He could not stand in the breach for us.

We speak of His sinless incarnation. On the other hand, it is quite inaccurate to apply the term “the immaculate conception” to this wondrous mystery. This latter term is used very loosely by many Protestants who fail to realize, or forget if they ever knew, that it is the name given by the Roman Catholic Church to the Romish doctrine of the sinless, yet natural conception of the blessed virgin Mary. No such term is ever used in the Bible, nor does such a term belong in Protestant theology in connection with the sinless incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. These truths need to be emphasized more than ever today, for if we lose sight of them we become confused in our thinking, and we shall be further confused as we go on to consider the work of His Cross. He had to be what He was in order to do what He did. If He had been in any sense less than God manifest in flesh, He could not have offered up Himself in the power of the Eternal Spirit for our redemption. If He had been other than the One of whom it was written, “He knew no sin,” He could not have been made sin for us.

While we are not saved through His incarnation, and our present union with Him is not because He took our humanity upon Himself, but because we have been linked to Him, the glorified Man in heaven, by the Holy Spirit, yet it is of all importance that we hold fast to the truth that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Bethlehem must precede Calvary. He became Man that He might die for men.

Propitiation
In the second chapter of Hebrews, we are told in verse 17, “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.” The word here translated “reconciliation” could be rendered “propitiation” as in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10: “He is the propitiation for our sins;” “God . . . sent His Son to be the propitiation.” This word is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, made in the third century before Christ, commonly called the Septuagint, and expressed generally as the LXX, to translate the Hebrew term which occurs again and again in the Old Testament, and is rendered in many different ways in the English Version, a few of which are as follows:

1. “Pitch,” in Genesis 6:14, as used for the “covering” of the ark.
2. “Appease,” used in Genesis 32:20, where it means literally “to cover the face.”
3. “Atonement,” used in many places in Leviticus 16, and particularly in Leviticus 17:11.
4. “Satisfaction,” used in Numbers 35:31.
5. “Ransom,” used in Job 33:24.
6. “Put it off,” in Isaiah 47:11.
7. “Reconciliation,” used in Daniel 9:24.
8. “Pacified,” used in Ezekiel 16:63.

Here we see that in the death of Christ, God has found a ransom for sinful men and that a covering has been provided to shield us from the storm of judgment. Atonement has been made for our sins, full satisfaction has been rendered to the divine justice for our iniquities. God’s judgment is appeased; sin is expiated, and God is pacified toward us for all that we have done, because of the perfection of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now He Himself is our propitiation and we come to God alone by Him.

Resurrection
But although the death of our Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished the putting away of sin so that every believer is justified by His blood, it is through His resurrection that we know God is satisfied with the work that His Son accomplished when He took our place in judgment and bore our sins in His own body upon the tree. He “was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). It is not that we are justified by His resurrection, but it is that His resurrection proves that the work which justifies has been accomplished, and we come into the benefit of it all when we put our trust in the Risen One. Everywhere the apostles went they preached Jesus Christ and the resurrection. Just as incarnation without propitiation is in itself unable to save us, so propitiation without resurrection would be incomplete. None could know certainly that God was satisfied with the work of His Son if Christ had not burst the bands of death asunder and risen in triumph from the tomb.

More than this, had He remained enthralled in the arms of death, it would have given the lie to His entire testimony and redemptive program. It was imperative that He rise again the third day. It was this that proved Him to be in very truth the Son of God and the all-sufficient Sacrifice for sin. And so today the message that goes out to all mankind is as of old, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10). It is the Risen One whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Savior. He has been made both Lord and Christ to give repentance and remission of sins to all who turn to Him in faith.

Intercession
As the risen Christ, our Lord is carrying on a special service now on behalf of all believers here on earth as the minister of the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore we are told, “He is able also to save them to the uttermost [that is, forevermore], that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He ministers in the holiest of all as our great High Priest with God, giving every believer a perfect representation before the eternal throne. He is there also as our Advocate with the Father, keeping the feet of His saints, and insuring the restoration of every failing Christian.

We often speak, and rightly, of the finished work of Christ. This refers, of course, to the work of propitiation, as we have already seen. To this nothing can be added, nor can anything be taken from it. It is complete. To attempt to add to it would be only to try to spoil His finished work. But on the other hand, it is just as correct to speak of the unfinished work of Christ, for He began a service in behalf of His people when He ascended to heaven, which has been going on ever since, and will not be finished so long as there is one saint left on earth in the place of testing and possible failure. We have a sample of His intercession in John 17, where we find His great high-priestly prayer. In that wonderful chapter, He anticipates the Cross, and we are permitted to listen reverently to the tender words He speaks on behalf of His own to the end of time. In John 13, we see Him acting as Advocate, washing the defiled feet of His disciples, thus picturing the work He has been carrying on ever since He returned to the glory. He is the girded Servant still, and will be so as long as we need Him. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous,” (1 John 2:1) and “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). His advocacy is based upon His propitiation.

Were it not for this present service of our Lord Jesus Christ, the first sin committed by a believer after his conversion would destroy communion with God, and there would be no way to restore that communion again. It needs to be remembered that there are two links that bind every saint to the Savior, and these are union and communion. The link of union is indissoluble. Once formed, it can never be broken. The link of communion is delicate indeed. The least sin will break it, and it would never be formed anew were it not for the intercession of our Lord Jesus. He meets every accusation of the enemy. He presents our case before the Father. He, through the Holy Spirit, brings the Word to bear upon our consciences, and thus He brings us to contrition, confession, and restoration.

How full is our salvation! How wonderfully has God provided! The Incarnate Son became Himself our propitiation. Resurrection attests our justification, and His intercession carries us on to the end of the journey. If it be asked, “Why do we need an advocate?” the answer is, “Because we have an accuser, Satan,  accuser of our brethren . . . which accused them before our God day and night'” (Revelation 12:10). But “who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33,34). Jesus Christ meets every charge of the adversary. His propitiatory work is the answer to every accusation. And He will minister all needed grace to meet present need and restore the souls of His failing saints, until the glad hour when He will call us all to meet Him above and to share the joys of the Father’s house.

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‘Pastor Protection Act’ Unanimously Passes Georgia House

Old Church

         photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill this week that protects clergy from punishment if they decline to perform same-sex “weddings.”

H.B. 757 was introduced last summer by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, and found support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“No minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages, perform rites, or administer sacraments according to the usages of the denomination, when acting in his or her official religious capacity, shall be required to solemnize any marriage, perform any rite or administer any sacrament in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion under the Constitution of this state or the United States,” the bill reads in part.

In addition to churches, the bill also applies to religious schools, missionary societies and denominational conventions.Click here to continue reading.

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Letter to the Editor: My Pastor Asks Church to Read David Benner – Who is He?

To Lighthouse Trails:

Our Pastor has started a series based on a book “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery” by David G. Benner. What can you tell me about this book and the author? What our pastor has read from this book is very strange because in the first few pages there is no mention of the Bible. Can you help me because I think this book is a farce.

B.G.

Dear B.G.

David Benner is one of the major heavy weights in contemplative spirituality. First of all, this particular book of his is promoted and endorsed by some of the most prolific contemplative mystics out there today, including the Catholic interspiritualist priest Richard Rohr (a modern day Thomas Merton) and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (Handbook on Spiritual Disciplines). In addition to the endorsements, the foreword is written by Basil Pennington. Ray Yungen discusses Pennington in his book A Time of Departing. Yungen explains:

In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington (both Catholic monks), the following advice is given: “We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart, and both are major evangelists for contemplative prayer. (p. 64)

The following two quotes by Pennington show his panentheistic beliefs (God is in all):

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced. ( Centered Living, p. 192)

The Spirit enlightened him [Merton] in the true synthesis [unity] of all and in the harmony of that huge chorus of living beings. In the midst of it he lived out a vision of a new world, where all divisions have fallen away and the divine goodness is perceived and enjoyed as present in all and through all. (Thomas Merton, My Brother, pp. 199-200.)

Enneagram

Enneagram

Regarding the specific book by Benner of which you inquired, it is loaded with quotes by, references to, and ideas from numerous contemplative mystics including Thomas Merton, Dallas Willard, Gary Moon, Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, and of course, Basil Pennington. And throughout the book, Benner recommends contemplative meditation, enneagrams (a meditation tool), visualization, and other means to help the reader become a contemplative mystic. The fact is, the very essence of this book shares the same vision and emphasis that most contemplative books do.  It is important to understand what the contemplative means by “self-discovery,” or finding your true self. To the contemplative, we each have a false self and a true self. This true self can only be reached or attained to through going into the meditative silence, whereupon, they say, we find that true self which is the divinity within all human beings. The core of contemplative spirituality is panentheism (God in all) and the fruit is interspirituality (all paths lead to God).  In The Gift of Being Yourself, Benner’s focus is on helping readers find their “true self,” their divinity within (not dependent on being born again and having Jesus Christ living in you).

Benner has devoted his writing career to spreading the contemplative prayer message such as his book Open to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer, in which teaches readers the contemplative practice lectio divina. You can read our article/booklet on this subject: LECTIO DIVINA-What it is, What it is not, and Should Christians Practice it?

Basil Pennington

Basil Pennington

Isn’t it something that The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery is published by InterVarsity Press! While they have certainly published many contemplative books, this one truly shows how strongly they believe in this panentheistic, interspiritual spirituality. And it reminds us once again that the Christian church is in very big trouble, and yet virtually no Christian leader is warning about it. On the contrary. Rick Warren himself has promoted many contemplatives over the years including Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, and several others.

We would encourage you to see if your pastor would read a copy of A Time of Departing. However, we fear that he, like so many other pastors today, may be well down the contemplative road. If he, himself, is practicing contemplative meditation, then he is being drawn in by seducing spirits (familiar spirits); and to convince someone to step away and denounce those euphoric mind-altering experiences is as hard as convincing a drug addict to give up heroin. That’s why the Catholic priest Thomas Merton likened an LSD trip to the contemplative experience. Both entice their victims to think they are reaching God when in fact they are falling into spiritual darkness.

Note: You can find more information about most of the names mentioned above on our research site: www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com and in our books and booklets.

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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church by Maria Kneas and John Lanagan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. Be sure to scroll past the endnotes to read Part 2 and view a chart. To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church

rp_bkt-MK-JL.jpgBy Maria Kneas

The worship of pagan goddesses is most obvious with Wiccans. However, it is also common in universities and nursing schools. It is promoted by the media and is a component of New Age feminism. What’s more, it has infiltrated mainline denominational churches and its influence can be felt throughout our society.

This movement is impacting our culture and especially the younger generation. One troubling aspect of it is that, according to some of its proponents, facts and logic are “patriarchal,” and therefore they are irrelevant. As you will see, some so-called scholars openly say it is all right to make things up and present them as if they were historical facts.

Philip G. Davis is a professor of religious studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. He wrote the book Goddess Unmasked because he saw that goddess worship was being taken seriously in religious institutions and that myths about the goddess were being taught as factual history on campus. Much of the footnoted documentation in the first section of this booklet comes from his book.

Creating a Goddess-Friendly Culture
The “Age of Enlightenment” gave birth to rationalist materialism. In reaction against this denial of the importance of emotions, a generation of Romantic poets, novelists, artists, musicians and philosophers developed. Many of them were involved with drugs, the occult, Rosicrucianism, or Freemasonry.

Following Darwin’s theory of evolution, they speculated wildly about the evolution of society. Nationalism became a romantic search for pagan roots, as seen in Wagner’s operas and the fairy tales researched by the Brothers Grimm. Womanhood was idealized. The myth of a past utopian matriarchy was developed. Psychologist Carl Jung idealized the concept of the “anima,” the feminine side of man.1

Romanticism even invaded history and archaeology. Bachoven developed a theory of matriarchy openly based on imagination and not on searching for hard facts. Feminist scholars followed Bachoven’s lead. A historic myth was developed in which an ideal, matriarchal, goddess-worshiping society was destroyed by patriarchal invaders who brought with them all the ills of modern society.2

The scholarship involved in these studies of history and archaeology is so faulty that Philip Davis says:

An important lesson of this book is the ease with which patent falsehoods may clothe themselves in the garb of scholarship and masquerade as truth.3

Feminist scholars and other academic radicals say objective facts and historical accuracy are not even a valid goal:

A feminist scholar told her audience that it is indeed “ethical” for an historian to ignore historical evidence in order to construct a narrative . . . while still presenting it as history.4

In addition to “constructing narratives” (i.e., making up stories and presenting it as history), many academic radicals “explicitly reject the quest for objective truth; they claim that objectivity is not only impossible to achieve in pure form, but actually illegitimate in the first place because it expresses a patriarchal, oppressive mentality.”5

Before full-blown goddess worship developed in the 1950s, American art showed popular imagination being prepared for it. For example, the Statue of Liberty looks like a Greek goddess and is over three hundred feet high. The inscription presents the statue as speaking, and she calls herself “Mother of Exiles.”6 A 1915 poster for the Red Cross shows an American nurse with a billowing, hooded cape that makes her look like a cross between a nurse and a Greek goddess. She carries a placard which says:

I am the Red Cross of Peace. I heal the wounds of war. I am a refuge from fire, flood and pestilence. The love of little children is mine.7

The National Academy of Sciences has a Great Hall done in Byzantine architecture designed to look like a “temple of science.” The dome of that hall looks like it belongs in a cathedral, except it has figures that look like Greek goddesses. Science is personified as a goddess, with an inscription that says:

To science, pilot of industry, conqueror of disease, multiplier of the harvest, explorer of the universe, revealer of nature’s laws, eternal guide to truth.8

The Wiccan Goddess
Wicca was developed in England by Gerald B. Gardner, the first fully public witch of modern times. He was a spiritualist, a Freemason, and a Rosicrucian, with an extensive background in the occult.

Gardner was a member of the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley (a satanist) initiated Gardner into the fourth degree of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Gardner was acquainted with a witch named “old Dorothy Fordham” and claimed to have been initiated into a coven. He used various occult texts in developing his rituals, including texts that were written by Aleister Crowley.9

Aiden Kelley, a Wiccan trained in biblical criticism, applied his critical skills to Gardner’s archive. Based on Kelley’s findings, Philip Davis concludes that:

First, [Kelly’s] identification of Gardner’s literary sources leaves little doubt that Gardner’s own witchcraft texts were his personal creation and not something handed on to him from an ancient tradition.10

Therefore, it is difficult to know how much Gardner’s Wicca resembles ancient witchcraft.

Doreen Valiente was Gardner’s High Priestess. She was informed enough to spot the passages from Crowley in the rituals, and she rewrote them so that Crowley’s name would not discourage potential inquirers.

Initially, the male, horned god and the High Priest were preeminent. By the mid-1960s, the goddess was the supreme deity in Wicca, and ritual authority was vested in the High Priestess.11

Through Wicca, goddess worship has infiltrated our American culture:

The appearance of the Goddess in other radical feminist circles, and then in churches and universities, did not occur until after the establishment of modern witchcraft as a viable new religion.12

Goddess spirituality seems well on the way to becoming the most successful of all these neopagan manifestations in the English-speaking world.13

Wicca presents itself as a wholesome worship of a gentle, benevolent goddess. It’s motto is, “An ye do none harm do what ye will.” However, in real life the results of Wicca are not wholesome at all.

The Goddess and Mainline Churches
In November 1993, a Re-imagining Conference was held in Minneapolis. Most of the 2,000 participants were women.14

This was an ecumenical church conference attended by Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and members of almost a dozen other denominations. They invoked Sophia, the goddess of Wisdom, calling her their Creator. Prayers and liturgies were addressed to this goddess. Communion consisted of milk and honey instead of bread and wine.

They openly rejected the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Atonement. “Christian” lesbians were applauded for coming out of the closet. They encouraged “sex among friends” as a norm.

This conference was initiated by, sponsored by, and attended by representatives of the major American churches.15

Re-imagining was an unprecedented event: an interdenominational assembly of Christians openly bent on destroying the historic Christian religion root and branch, and steering the churches into wholesale neopaganism.16

Neopagan and Wiccan themes are amazingly prominent within older religious establishments. One reason for this is the quest for “inclusive” language and the attempt to apply more female imagery to God. Liturgy reform and revised hymnals have featured feminine imagery and metaphors for God the Mother.17

The Unitarian-Universalist church developed a ten-session workshop on feminism, which encourages goddess worship and even endorses witchcraft. This workshop is called Cakes for the Queen of Heaven. It has been circulated through the major denominations and adopted for use in many mainstream churches.18 The following quotation from Jeremiah gives God’s perspective about this:

Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. (Jeremiah 7:16-18, emphasis added)

A Canadian television station ran a five-part series titled Return of the Goddess, which introduced many people to goddess worship. The National Film Board of Canada produced Goddess Remembered, which became one of their most popular productions ever, being featured by public broadcasting TV stations in the United States as well as in Canada. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Goddess Remembered have both become staples for study groups in some major denominations.19

The Goddess and the University
The credibility of goddess worship has been increased by its acceptance by university professors and its incorporation into textbooks.20

[T]he doctrines of a new religion are being packaged and promoted as factual material for use in publicly funded and accredited institutions of higher education.21

The broader plans of gender feminism seem to have been most fully articulated, promoted, and implemented among academics. Some feminists have even demanded that the goddess be given parity with the God of the Bible in university religion programs. This will impact our entire society because universities and colleges are training most of our future leaders, including government, health care, and the clergy.22

[R]adical professors are . . . using the classroom for recruitment, turning students into political activists. The campus, therefore, is a natural place to look for signs of the radical feminist New Age as it emerges.23

The Goddess and Health Care
Goddess worship has become strong in the field of health care, particularly nursing. Health care professionals are actively promoting New Age practices. For example, the occultic “therapeutic touch” (passing one’s hands above a patient’s body in order to manipulate auras and energy fields) has reportedly been taught to thousands of nurses in eighty North American nursing programs..24

Goddess worship has been overtly promoted, as can be seen from the following quotation from the National League for Nursing, which is an accrediting agency for nursing schools:

Women’s wisdom is ageless and timeless, and passes from generation to generation primarily by oral tradition. . . . These origins are grounded in women’s experiences, female symbolism, and the spiritual roots of the Triple Goddess.25

In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he discusses Sue Monk Kidd, who was once a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher. She began practicing contemplative prayer (a “Christian” mystical prayer practice similar to eastern meditation) and eventually turned away from the God of the Bible to worship the “goddess Sophia.”26 And while what has happened to her is very obvious, many Christians still read her books!

What Can We Do?
This booklet is just an introduction to goddess worship in America. I could give many more examples of how this has affected our society and the church. We need to be informed so we can help people we know who have become confused by these things. God may show us practical things we can do. Above all, we need to take the following Scripture seriously,and apply it to our daily lives.

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. (James 1:5) (See Part 2 Below)

To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

Endnotes
1. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing Company, 1999), chapters 2 through 12.
2. Ibid., chapters 2, 11 and 12.
3. Ibid., p. ix.
4. Ibid., p. 360.
5. Ibid.
6. Information obtained by phone from the Public Information Office of the Statue of Liberty.
7. This poster is in the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. A picture of it appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 29, 1998, p. D-1.
8. The National Academy of Sciences—The Main Foyer and the Great Hall: This says that the architect wanted to create a “temple of science,” www.nasonline.org/about-nas/visiting/nas/nas-building/the-main-foyer-and-the-great.html; The Great Hall: This shows pictures of some of the goddesses. You can see that the ceiling looks like a cathedral rather than a science building, www.nasonline.org/about-nas/visiting-nas/nas-building/the-great-hall.html.
9. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, op. cit., p. 334.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid., pp. 336-337.
12. Ibid., p. 341.
13. Ibid., p. 343.
14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Re-Imagining_(Christian_feminist_conference).
15. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, op. cit., pp. 3-4, 28-29.
16. Ibid., p. 29.
17. Ibid., pp. 24-25, 27.
18. Ibid., pp. 24-25.
19. Ibid., pp. 25-27.
20. Ibid., pp. 29-31.
21. Ibid., p. 31.
22. Ibid., pp. 361, 363.
23. Ibid., p. 361.
24. Ibid., pp. 31-33.
25. Charlene E. Wheeler and Peggy L. Chinn, Peace and Power: A Handbook of Feminist Process (New York, NY: National League for Nursing, 3rd edition), pp. xi-xii. Quoted in Goddess Unmasked, p. 32.
26. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd edition, 2006), pp. 135-136.

 

To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

PART 2: The Shack—Father-Goddess Rising

By John Lanagan

Many Christians have credited the New York Times best-seller The Shack, (the novel by William P. Young) with revolutionizing their faith. With themes of overcoming loss, working through anger, and restored relationship between man and God, Young’s novel has excited many within the Body of Christ.

The Shack was on the New York Times best-seller list for 52 weeks at #1 (over 170 weeks all together), and has sold over twenty million copies in 40 languages. It continues to sell briskly to a mostly Christian readership. Yet, in the midst of such enthusiasm, does The Shack, glorify Jesus Christ—or does it contradict the Bible with a false image of the Lord our God?

The novel’s main character, Mack Phillips, has lost his daughter. She has been murdered, her bloodied dress found in an isolated shack. Four years later Mack receives an invitation from God to spend time with the Trinity in the very shack where the dress was found.

Even though there is nowhere in the Bible where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simultaneously assume physical forms on earth, The Shack portrays Jesus as a carpenter, the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman, and God the Father as a large black woman named Papa.

The Shack’s “God” comes to Mack in a form he is willing to accept. While the novel’s feminization of the Lord is as trendy as it is Babylonian, the reader rapidly becomes used to descriptions of God as “she” and “her.” At one point, the book’s version of Jesus praises the fictional Father-goddess, exclaiming, “Isn’t she great?”1

Malachi 3:6 states, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” God is Spirit. In the entire Bible, there is not one single reference to Father, Son, or Holy Spirit—or to any of His angels—as female. Is it wise then to go beyond what has been presented in Scripture?

Unfortunately, this seems a frequent occurrence in The Shack. The Father-goddess character tells Mack she appears in female form “to help you keep from falling back so easily into your religious conditioning.”2 The author and his publishing team apparently assume Christians believe the Lord is an old white man with a beard and have produced the book in part to help straighten out the church’s perception of God.

There is an apparent dismissal of the importance of Scripture, which is reflected in slippery theology found throughout the novel. Young writes, “Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?”3 Guilt edges? A not-so-subtle suggestion that we should not feel guilty or convicted about our sins.

The Father-goddess of The Shack, it seems, is never about guilt or punishment. She benignly informs Mack, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring people from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”4

That sounds wonderful. And, yes, sin enslaves. However, the The Shack’s “God” contradicts the Bible. Jesus “shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Although most sermons these days skirt the issue, Christians do receive punishment (i.e., disciplining) during our time on earth:

[T]he Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  (Hebrews 12:6-7)

But, this is not the message of the Father-goddess, simply because this is not the God of Scripture. Young, a gifted writer, plays to emotion and touches on legitimate hurts and concerns, excelling at imbuing his “God” with attributes of love, forgiveness, and mercy, and this is what many people have responded to.

Increasingly in novels and movies, the Lord is blithely used as one of the characters and given words from the mouth of man. In this sense, the author of The Shack, is simply following the culture.

But something else is going on here—

Universal Reconciliation (UR) is the belief that Jesus’ sacrifice allows Christians and non-Christians to spend eternity with God. In other words, in UR theology, everybody goes to heaven, not just followers of Jesus. Some in this camp even believe this includes the devil and his demons. And as one New Ager pointed out (Neale Donald Walsch) in his highly popular book Conversations with God, even Hitler will go to Heaven!5

Co-author of The Shack,Wayne Jacobsen, acknowledges that UR was included in earlier versions of The Shack. Jacobsen explains:

While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR and didn’t want to be part of a project that promoted it.6

So why did Jacobsen proceed to join forces with Young? He writes:

To me that was the beauty of the collaboration . . . the author would say that some of that dialogue significantly affected his views. . . . Holding him to the conclusions he may have embraced years earlier would be unfair to the ongoing process of God in his life and theology.7

Perhaps, but this allegedly former theology even now seems to explain some of the content of the book.

The Bible clearly teaches the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ, who loved us enough to die for us. Early in The Shack, Mack’s daughter asks if the Great Spirit, the Native American god, is another name for the Father of Jesus. Mack tells her . . . yes. He may as well have told her that Allah (or any other false patriarchal god) is also the Father of Jesus.

Of course, if everybody is going to heaven because of UR, what does it matter? God, Great Spirit, Allah, what’s the difference?

His daughter asks the question because Mack tells the story of an Indian princess who willingly died so her people could be delivered of an illness. According to an Indian prophecy, it could be ended only through her sacrifice. The author states, “After praying and giving herself to the Great Spirit, she fulfilled the prophecy by jumping without hesitation to her death on the rocks below.”8

When his daughter calls the Great Spirit “mean” for making both Jesus and the princess die, Mack never clarifies that Jesus’ Father is not the Great Spirit or that God the Father has nothing to do with this pagan legend.

Some may ask if Young still has UR leanings? In his article, “The Beauty of Ambiguity,” it is not his character Mack but Young himself who speaks to the Father-goddess. He denies being a universalist and proclaims “faith in Jesus is the only way into your embrace.”9

In the article, Young is having a conversation with Father-goddess, who asks, “I take it that it wouldn’t bother you if I decided to save every human being that ever lived?”

“Nope. I actually hope you’ve figured a way to do just that,” he replies.10

Young’s goddess Father will save everyone through Young’s belief in Universal Reconciliation. This directly contradicts Jesus Christ:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Although Young then proceeds to voice acceptance of the reality of hell, he complains to his fictional Father-goddess:

[W]hy couldn’t you have made things clear? People go to the Bible and find all these ways to disagree with each other . . . Everybody seems to want to acquire their little piece of doctrinal territory . . . Some find support for Universal Reconciliation; some find proofs for eternal torment in hell.11

Young continues with his list. Issues run the gamut from Calvinism to eschatology and, having inserted Universal Reconciliation into the mix, his fictional Father-goddess never corrects him. No surprise there. Is this perhaps an attempt to at least infer valid consideration of UR by including it amongst a hodge-podge of doctrinal concerns?

Incredibly, Young’s Father-goddess clarifies (?) that she made much of the Bible ambiguous on purpose! I find it chilling that the author, or any person, would dare present doctrinal confusion as the intended plan of God—and via a fictional character at that. But, that’s the way it is these days.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)

It’s going to get worse. Goddess worship, false christs, and many other heresies will continue to rise. Movies, novels, and TV will become increasingly blasphemous.

Readers of this novel would do well to examine biblical teaching about the Trinity, sin, repentance, communication with the dead, and much else.

Many in the Body of Christ have run to get a copy of The Shack. Far better, brothers and sisters, to just run.

To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

Endnotes:
1. William Paul Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-9647292-3-0, printing: 50 49 48 47), p. 90.
2. Ibid., p. 95
3. Ibid., p. 68.
4. Ibid., p. 122.
5. Warren B. Smith, “If Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God) and the New Agers are Right, Then Hitler Will Be in Heaven!” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6090).
6.  Wayne Jacobsen, “Is the Shack Heresy?” (Windblown Media, http://web.archive.org/web/20080714200042/http://www.windblownmedia.com/shackresponse.html).
7. Ibid.
8. William Paul Young, The Shack, op. cit., p. 30.
9. William P. Young, “The Beauty of Ambiguity” (The Clarion Journal, http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2008/03/the-beauty-of-a.html).
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.

To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

 

A Chart on Goddess Worship
by Berit Kjos (www.crossroad.to)

Praying to God                       Affirming the goddess
Our Father in heaven                 Our Mother, the Earth
Holy is Your Name                     Sacred and perfect am I
Your Kingdom Come                 My vision come
Your will be done                        My will be done
Give us . . . daily bread               Don’t give . . . I own . . .
Forgive us . . . as we forgive      I choose to forgive—or curse
Lead us not into temptation     Temptation? I form my own values
Deliver us from evil                    There is no sin or evil
For Yours is the . . . power         Mine is the power
. . . forever!                                    Nothing is permanent or absolute

 

To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.

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Calvary Chapel, Bill Hybels, and Jesuit Mysticism

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International

Recently, I was informed about a conference held this week in Budapest, Hungary where Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels taught leaders. According to comments posted on Phil Metzger’s Facebook page, the event was held at Calvary Chapel Golgota Budapest where Metzger is pastor. He is also the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe (also located in Hungary). On Metzger’s Facebook, Hybels was not only endorsed, he was praised. [3]

Perhaps most who read about this event will not be alarmed. But I was because I see the significance. I know that what Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel once stood for is not at all what Hybels stands for. Bill Hybels was mentored by Peter Drucker along with Rick Warren to “reshape” Christianity for the 21st century. Hybels, from the famous Willow Creek Church located in South Barrington, Illinois, fathered the “seeker-friendly” movement.

When Hybels and his cohorts discovered that the seeker-friendly model produced spiritually illiterate believers, they said they “repented” [5] from this model of church; but in actuality, they delved right into teachings associated with the emergent church and contemplative mysticism, seeing those as the next “great” step. Interestingly, on Metzger’s Facebook page, someone defending Metzger’s promotion of Hybels said that it was irrelevant to talk about the emerging church because it was no longer an issue. But nothing could be further from the truth. While often called other names now, such as progressive, the ideologies of the emerging church are very much at work today. Click here to read this entire article and for endnotes.

Related Information

A Jesuit Pope? Understanding The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church

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