Pope Francis Proposes New Beatitude – to See God in Every Person

bigstockphoto.com (for editorial purposes)

bigstockphoto.com (for editorial purposes)

According to an article in the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis has proposed six new beatitudes. The article states:

At the Mass, which took place at the conclusion of his ecumenical trip to the country, Pope Francis highlighted the lives of the Swedish saints Elizabeth Hesselblad and Bridget of Vadstena.  . . . New situations require new energy and a new commitment, he said, and then offered a new list of Beatitudes for modern Christians.

Four of the “new beatitudes” had to do with forgiving others, caring about the earth, and helping the poor and needy. One of them was ecumenical in nature: — Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians [meaning Christians and Catholics], and the second resonated with earlier comments Pope Francis has made to indicate that this pope is not only ecumenical, he is also interspiritual (all paths lead to God) and panentheistic (God is in all).

— Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.—Francis

Related Articles:

Pope Francis calls for intensified dialogue with Muslims – Everyone “a brother or sister.”

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Letter to the Editor: Benjamin Creme’s Death

To Lighthouse Trails:
In light of what Benjamin Creme taught in his lifetime, it breaks my heart that he has died having led so many people astray.

I’m reminded of a passage in Ezekiel where God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).

I hope as well that no one in the remnant will fall for what he taught.

God bless,

Ron D.

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LifeWay Resources (SBC) Stops Selling Same-Sex Marriage Promoter Jen Hatmaker . . . But LifeWay Still Not Seeing the Big Picture

photo: Christianity Today

Jen Hatmaker; photo: Christianity Today

According to a Christianity Today article, LifeWay Resources (the Southern Baptist Convention resource arm) has stopped selling products by Jen Hatmaker because of her promotion of same-sex marriage. The CT article stated:

Jen Hatmaker posted a 650-word response on her Facebook page Monday, saying she “wrestled with and through Scripture, not around it” before coming to a decision to affirm same-sex relationships, which recently led to LifeWay Christian Resources pulling her books from its stores.

Hatmaker has been the topic of Lighthouse Trails articles and Cedric Fisher’s booklet called IF it is of God: Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering as she is part of the group of women who head up the women’s movement called IF: Gathering. You can read that booklet by Fisher by clicking here. In Fisher’s booklet, he says this about Jen Hatmaker:

In Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted: When Jesus Wreck Your Comfortable Christianity, she makes it clear that she is influenced by a number of New Age/New Spirituality individuals. She quotes Catholic priest and contemplative activist Richard Rohr and emergent leader Shane Claiborne. On her blog, she promotes the book, The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson, a book that encourages readers to draw circles around specific things in order to have more answered prayers. Batterson was inspired with this idea by an ancient sage.

In Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, she reveals that her family takes part in a Roman Catholic ritual with mystical origins, the “Seven Sacred Pauses.” Hatmaker got her inspiration from Seven Sacred Pauses, a book by Macrina Wiederkehr who is a spiritual director in the contemplative prayer movement. In Wiederkehr’s retreats, seekers are guided through experiences of silence, contemplation and lectio divina (a contemplative practice where words and phrases from the Bible are repeated in mantra-like fashion). The “seven sacred pauses” are seven times a day to pause and pray, which Wiederkehr describes as “breathing spells for the soul.”

Consider Hatmaker’s statement concerning the preaching of God’s Word:

“I have spent half my life listening to someone else talk about God. Because of this history, I’ve developed something of an immunity to sermons.”

This is eerily similar to the sentiment of Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees), who once, as a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, expressed her dissatisfaction (and eventual rejection) of the preaching of God’s Word. That led Monk Kidd down a path away from the Christian faith and straight into the New Age. Today, she worships the goddess Sophia.

This disgruntlement of God’s Word is so prevalent among leaders of the emerging New Spirituality church. If not preaching, then what? Is it emotionally charged conventions and books with flowering, poetic phrases that open up to spit out a toxic drop of heresy? If Hatmaker is immune to preaching, she has rejected God’s method in favor of her own. (source and footnotes)

While LifeWay did the right thing in dropping Hatmaker’s products, they still do not see the big picture as they keep a tight grasp on numerous problematic authors such as Sarah Young (and her cash-cow Jesus Calling books and Bibles), Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Gary Thomas, Ruth Haley Barton, and many more contemplative, emergent authors.

The fact that LifeWay will remove books by someone promoting same-sex marriage but not remove books by authors who promote a mystical, panentheistic interspiritual prayer shows once again that Christian leaders and ministries just don’t get it. How is it that one is OK and the other is not? After all, they are both going in the same direction, and that is away from the Gospel and away from God’s Word. Where are the overseers of LifeWay and the Southern Baptist Convention? Surely, they are learned men who should be able to figure this out.

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Benjamin Creme – Maitreya’s Voice – Dies at 93

wikipedia

Benjamin Creme – 2005 – wikipedia

Share International, the organization for Benjamin Creme, has announced his death. He was 93 years old. The announcement stated:

Share International regrets to announce that Benjamin Creme, British artist, author and lecturer has died. He passed away peacefully on 24 October 2016 at his home in London, with his family around him.

Through his work as the Chief Editor of Share International magazine, as author of many books, and as international speaker, Benjamin Creme has been an inspiration throughout the world in presenting information about the emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom. Working from a background of the Ageless Wisdom Teachings given to the world by Helena Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, and the Alice Bailey esoteric teachings, he has expanded and brought up to date this ancient knowledge.

Working under the tutelage of one of the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme dedicated the last 40 years of his life to his work for the Emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom, and in doing so inspired hundreds of thousands of people across the world. He began his public work in 1975 and lectured worldwide from 1979 onwards, only finally stopping at the age of 90. (source)

Warren B. Smith wrote about Creme in his book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? The following excerpt from Smith’s book gives a brief overview of Benjamin Creme:

In February 1982, Wayne Peterson, a director of the U.S. Government’s Fulbright Scholarship Program,1 was relaxing in his Washington D.C. home looking for something to watch on TV. His interest was piqued when he noticed popular talk show host Merv Griffin holding up a book titled The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom. Peterson, a former Peace Corps volunteer and veteran American diplomat, writes that his first thought was that the book had some “fundamentalist Christian message,” but he questioned why Griffin would be “promoting” this religious group on his show. Fascinated, he stayed tuned as Griffin interviewed the book’s author, British artist and esotericist Benjamin Creme. Peterson recalls what transpired in the interview:

During this discussion, Creme said that the one Christians call the Christ had reappeared and was living in a major industrial city in the Western world. This time his name was Maitreya, and he was bringing with him a large group of his disciples, highly advanced, spiritual men called the Masters of Wisdom. He said we could expect to hear more about Maitreya on local and international news programs very soon.

Maitreya’s purpose, Creme indicated, was to help us realize our innate divinity through learning to live in right relationship as brothers and sisters of one great family. The first step was to establish sharing as the way to eliminate the poverty and starvation that caused millions around the world to die daily in the midst of plenty. Maitreya was emerging in time to help us save ourselves and the planet, and would make himself known to all in a televised ‘Day of Declaration’ soon to come.2

As Peterson listened to Creme and heard about Maitreya, he recalled an incident from childhood. As a little boy in the midst of a life-threatening illness, he believed that he had been visited by “Mary,” the mother of Jesus. So powerful was her help and presence that he expressed his desire to depart with her rather than stay in the world. In her successful effort to convince him to stay in the world with his family, Peterson states that she told him the following:

I am going to tell you a secret that few now know. If you stay with your family, you will see the Christ because he will come to live with the people of the world.3

Universal New Age Christ
Convinced that Maitreya was the “Christ” that “Mary” had promised would come, Peterson ordered Creme’s book. From his reading, he learned more about the “Christ” and his “highly evolved” disciples, the “Masters of Wisdom.” Peterson read how these Masters of Wisdom are supernaturally assisting in the evolution of humanity. From his reading, Peterson came to the conclusion that what we commonly refer to as angels are really “Christ” and these Masters of Wisdom. He read that in the future, as humanity transitions from the “old order” to a New Age, there will be more and more open collaboration between these Masters of Wisdom and world leaders in all fields and disciplines. Reading Creme’s book, Peterson felt he was beginning to get the big picture:

“As I read Creme’s book, I learned more about the Christ, or World Teacher, whose personal name is Maitreya. He is the one awaited by all the major religions albeit unknown to them. The Christians wait for the return of the Christ, Buddhists for the next Buddha, Muslims for the Imam Mahdi, Hindus for a reincarnation of Krishna, and the Jews for the Messiah. These are all different names for one individual, Maitreya, who is here not as a religious leader but as a teacher for all humanity.”4

Benjamin Creme, in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, said:

“In the esoteric tradition, the Christ is not the name of an individual but of an Office in the Hierarchy. The present holder of that Office, the Lord Maitreya, has held it for 2,600 years, and manifested in Palestine through His Disciple, Jesus, by the occult method of overshadowing, the most frequent form used for the manifestation of Avatars. He has never left the world, but for 2,000 years has waited and planned for this immediate future time, training His Disciples, and preparing Himself for the awesome task which awaits Him. He has made it known that this time, He Himself will come.”5 (from False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, chapter 4, pp 45-47, Mountain Stream Press, used with permission)

Endnotes:

1. Wayne S. Peterson, Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Beings: Experiences of an American Diplomat with Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 2003), p. ix.
2. Ibid., p. 31.
3. Ibid., p. 3.
4. Ibid., pp. 33-34.
5. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (North Hollywood, CA: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 30.

Related Article:

MAITREYA, Obama, and the Purpose Driven Plan

The Ripening – Planet Earth Welcomes Maitreya?

Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything

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Letter to the Editor from Man From India: Yoga is a Doctrine of Demons!

bigstockphoto.com

bigstockphoto.com

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I am from a Hindu background. The word Yoga has developed from the word Yog. Yog means union. So when you do Yoga, you can expect your spirit to be in union with “divine spirit” completely. According to Bishnu Puran, one of the Hindu scripture yoga is “complete union between spirit of god and man.” So when you do Yoga, you are focusing on uniting with some spirit. We know it is not the Spirit of the Lord God.

Yoga was in practice in ancient Hindu times to connect them with gods to get people closure to Nirvana. Hindus have many ways for salvation and Yoga is one of that. It is a doctrine of demons. Christians cannot take part in it as it tries to connect your spirit with some spirit, and you do not know what that spirit is. In Nepal, if you walk to the Hindu temples, you find “holy people,” and they say they got freedom from all the longing of the world because of Yoga. Yoga helped them to be united with their god, and now they are free. They will show you different postures which will be offered as worship to different gods.

As Christians, according to Colossians 2:8, we should not follow the theories made according to the traditions of this world nor based on any spiritual beings.

B. S. D., Nepal

Related Material:

BOOKLET: A Trip to India—to Learn the Truth About Hinduism and Yoga by Caryl Matrisciana

Learn about “Christian Yoga”: Watch Caryl Productions Yoga Uncoiled

 

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Spiritual Formation—A Dangerous Substitute For the Life of Christ

Sometimes we think of spiritual formation as formation by the Holy Spirit. Once again. That’s essential. . . . But now I have to say something that may be challenging for you to think about: Spiritual formation is not all by the Holy Spirit. . . . We have to recognize that spiritual formation in us is something that is also done to us by those around us, by ourselves, and by activities which we voluntarily undertake . . .There has to be method.1—Dallas Willard

bigstockphoto.com (a monastery)

bigstockphoto.com

Aside from the fact that Spiritual Formation incorporates mystical practices into its infrastructure (remove the contemplative aspect and you don’t have “Spiritual Formation” anymore), Spiritual Formation is a works-based substitute for biblical Christianity. Let us explain.

When one becomes born again (“that 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” (Romans 10:9-10), having given his or her life and heart over to Christ as Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ says He will come in and live in that surrendered heart:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

[I]f the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11; emphasis added)

When God, through Jesus Christ, is living in us, He begins to do a transforming work in our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:18). Not only does He change us, He also communes with us. In other words, we have fellowship with Him, and He promises never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

This life of God in the believer’s heart is not something we need to conjure up through meditative practices. But if a person does not have this relationship with the Lord, he may seek out ways to feel close to God. This is where Spiritual Formation comes into play. Rather than a surrendered life to Christ, the seeking person begins practicing the spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, fasting, good works, etc.) with the promise that if he practices these disciplines, he will become more Christ-like.

But merely doing these acts fails to make one feel close to God—something is still missing. And thus, he begins practicing the discipline of silence (or solitude), and now in these altered states of silence, he finally feels connected to God. He now feels complete. What he does not understand is that he has substituted the indwelling of Christ in his heart for a works-based methodology that endangers his spiritual life. Dangerous because these mystical experiences he now engages in appear to be good because they make him feel close to God, but in reality he is being drawn into demonic realms no different than what happens to someone who is practicing transcendental meditation or eastern meditation. Even mystics themselves acknowledge that the contemplative realm is no different than the realm reached by occultists. To understand this more fully, please read Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing.

Bottom line, it is not possible to be truly Christ-like without having Christ inside of us because it is He who is able to change our hearts—we cannot do it without Him.

It is interesting to note that virtually every contemplative teacher has a common theme—they feel dry and empty and want to go “deeper” with God or “become more intimate” with God. But if we have Christ living in us, how can we go any deeper than that? How can we become more intimate than that? And if going deeper and becoming intimate were so important, why is it that none of the disciples or Jesus Himself ever told us to do this? As Larry DeBruyn states:

Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? . . . Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of “something more” than what God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest?2

Is There a “Good” Spiritual Formation?
One of the most common arguments we hear defending Spiritual Formation is that there is a “good” Spiritual Formation done without contemplative prayer. To that we say, we have never yet seen a Spiritual Formation program in a school or a church that doesn’t in some way point people to the contemplative mystics. It might be indirectly, but in every case, if you follow the trail, it will lead you right into the arms of Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and other contemplative teachers.

Think about this common scenario: A Christian college decides to begin a Spiritual Formation course. The instructor has heard some negative things about Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning, and he figures he will teach the class good Spiritual Formation and leave those teachers completely out. But he’s going to need a textbook. He turns to a respected institution, Dallas Theological Seminary, and finds a book written by Paul Pettit, Professor in Pastoral and Education Ministries. The book is titled Foundations of Spiritual Formation. The instructor who has found this book to use in his own class may never mention Richard Foster or Dallas Willard, but the textbook he is using does. Within the pages of Pettit’s book is Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, N.T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Thomas Aquinas, Lectio Divina, Ayn Rand, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, J.P. Moreland, Klaus Issler, Bruce Dermerst, Jim Burns, Kenneth Boa and Brother Lawrence’s “practicing God’s presence.” You may not have heard of all these names, but they are all associated with the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church.

Another example of this is Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Whitney is Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While his book does not promote contemplative mysticism, he says that Richard Foster has “done much good”3 in the area of Christian spirituality.

Our point is that even if there is a sincere attempt to teach Spiritual Formation and stay away from the mystical side, we contend that it cannot be successfully accomplished because it will always lead back to the ones who have brought it to the church in the first place.

Spiritual formation is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. It’s no wonder when the majority of Christian leaders have either endorsed the movement or given it a silent pass. For instance, in Chuck Swindoll’s book So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get Your There, Swindoll favorably quotes Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Swindoll calls Celebration of Discipline a “meaningful work”4 and Willard’s book The Spirit of the Disciplines “excellent work.”5 In chapter three,”Silence and Solitude,” Swindoll talks about “digging for secrets . . . that will deepen our intimacy with God.”6 Quoting the contemplative poster-verse Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” Swindoll says the verse is a call to the “discipline of silence.”7 As other contemplative proponents have done, he has taken this verse very much out of context.

Roger Oakland sums it up:

The Spiritual Formation movement . . . teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with longstanding reputations of teaching God’s word seem to be succumbing. . . .

We are reconciled to God only through his “death” (the atonement for sin), and we are presented “holy and unblameable and unreproveable” when we belong to Him through rebirth. It has nothing to do with works, rituals, or mystical experiences. It is Christ’s life in the converted believer that transforms him.8

What Christians need is not a method or program or ritual or practice  that will supposedly connect them to God. What we need is to be “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30) and Christ in us. And He has promised His Spirit “will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13).

In Colossians 1:9, the apostle Paul tells the saints that he was praying for them that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” He was praying that they would have discernment (“spiritual understanding”). He said that God, the Father, has made us “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (vs 12) and had “delivered us from the power of darkness [i.e., power of deception]” (vs. 13). But what was the key to having this wisdom and spiritual understanding and being delivered from the power of darkness? Paul tells us in that same chapter. He calls it “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (vs. 26). What is that mystery? Verse 27 says: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For those wanting to get involved with the Spiritual Formation movement (i.e., contemplative, spiritual direction), consider the “direction” you will actually be going.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2: 8-10)

To order copies of Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t), click here.

Endnotes:
1. Dallas Willard, “Spiritual Formation: What it is, and How it is Done” (http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=58).
2. Larry DeBruyn, “The Practice of His Presence”
3. Donald Whitney, “Doctrine and Devotion: A Reunion Devoutly to be Desired” (http://web.archive.org/web/20080828052145/http://biblicalspirituality.org/devotion.html).
4. Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get You There (Nashville, TN:W Publishing Group, a div. of Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 15.
5. Ibid., p. 13.
6. Ibid., p. 55.
7. Ibid.
8. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone, op. cit., pp. 91-92.

This has been an extract from our booklet Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t). To order this booklet, click here.

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Pew Forum Study: One-in-Five U.S. Adults Were Raised in Interfaith Homes

bigstockphoto.com

bigstockphoto.com

LTRP Note: The Pew Research Center is a liberal secular think tank. We sometimes post the results of their studies as they can show the direction that Americans are going, spiritually. In this particular study, it states that over one fourth of millennials are raised in homes where more than one religion is represented. No wonder this younger generation is so confused, and more evidence of the coming one-world, interspiritual religion.

(2 Corinthians 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness.”

“One-in-Five U.S. Adults Were Raised in Interfaith Homes”
Pew Research Center

Roughly one-in-five U.S. adults were raised with a mixed religious background, according to a new Pew Research Center study. This includes about one-in-ten who say they were raised by two people, both of whom were religiously affiliated but with different religions, such as a Protestant mother and a Catholic father, or a Jewish mother and a Protestant stepfather. An additional 12% say they were raised by one person who was religiously affiliated (e.g., with Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism or another religion) and another person who was religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”). . . .

[T]he number of Americans raised in interfaith homes appears to be growing. Fully one-quarter of young adults in the Millennial generation (27%) say they were raised in a religiously mixed family. Click here to continue reading.

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