March 26, 2007 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
In This Issue:
(Click Titles)
Printer Friendly Version


 

Emergent Leaders? Paving the Way to Apostasy

Some say that some emerging church leaders (like Dan Kimball and Mark Driscoll) are not part of the Emergent movement and that the terms Emergent and emerging church mean two different things. However, according to one of the strongest catalysts for the emerging church movement, Zondervan Publishing, Kimball and Driscoll are indeed part of the "Emergent movement." Zondervan describes its 2007 book, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches as: "Five of the emergent movement's most prominent leaders debate their views on Scripture, Christ, atonement, and more." Those five are Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, John Burke, Karen Ward and Doug Pagitt. Be that as it may, emergent and emerging are just words, but those who adhere to either of the concepts are going in the same direction, and as we stated in our article, Emerging Church Confusion: What Does it Really Mean?, emergent leaders are feeding the emerging church movement and making it what it is and will become.

Incidentally, in Zondervan's book, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, Robert Webber, the editor of the book, says that "traditionalists have been out of touch with cultural changes, and the contemporaries who have become so thoroughly enmeshed with and catechized by culture are out of touch with the traditions. This reality has created what seems to be an unalterable division between devoted Christians" (p. 213). This is a scary statement, and here is why: In Dan Kimball's book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, he makes it clear that "traditionalists" are those who take the Bible literally. Webber says those kind of Christians are out of touch with today's culture (in other words they don't wear hip looking eye glasses or wear slicked back hair or drink beer at the pubs with gays, or cuss in public). That makes them abnormal and oblivious to the world around them according to Kimball. Webber would like to see the two types of Christians (those literalists who believe everything the Bible says and those emergents) come together. He states: "What are we to do? Should we encourage the split? Or is there a new direction for us all? ... What will it take to create an Ancient-Future faith (Webber's name for the emerging church)?" (p. 213) He goes on and tells the solution: "First, an Ancient-Future faith calls us to return to our ancient roots in the first centuries of the church." He explains that these "ancient roots" include "spiritual formation" (contemplative mysticism) and he says that while there have been reforms throughout history (such as the Reformation), we do not need to be divided over them (he includes Catholicism) and says we are "connected to the same family. This ecumenical conviction is central to an Ancient-Future Vision" (p. 214).

Dan Kimball and Robert Webber have laid out what will be a persuasive argument to many who have not really taken a close look at what these emergent leaders are proposing, but take heed, if this "ecumenical conviction" comes to pass then evangelical Christians will all be practicing mantra meditation, walking through labyrinths, practicing lectio divina and doing the sign of the Cross ... and it will have far greater implications and results than just thick glasses, slicked back hair and sitting in pubs sipping beer. It will be disastrous for those who have yet to hear the true gospel message of Jesus Christ, which can save their souls.

In emerging church leader, Scot McKnight's book, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus, McKnight says that Protestant Christians are the only Christians who do not honor Mary. He recommends that Protestant churches all practice an "Honor Mary Day" (p. 144), saying she "leads us to a Jesus who brings redemption ... To listen to Mary is to hear the message of Jesus' death and resurrection as a mega-event whereby God established a new kind of power, a new kind of family, and a new kind of kingdom" (p. 145). McKnight describes this great event as a time when the world will come together and worship Mary.

Today, Christendom has become filled with leaders who have lost their way. If Christian leaders like David Jeremiah and Josh McDowell, who are now promoting emerging leaders, continue in their present direction, they will be responsible for countless lives losing their chances for hearing the true gospel, and these leaders will be helping pave the way for an interspiritual, mystical, apostate religion.

Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) Going Contemplative?

The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) appears to be heading right into the contemplative camp. Trinity International University, the EFCA's American university, has partnered with the very contemplative/emerging Spiritual Formation Forum. In the recent EFCA newsletter , they announced the upcoming Spiritual Formation event called the Midwest Regional Spiritual Formation Forum (taking place in June). According to the newsletter, "the theme of the event is 'Spiritual Formation and the Mission of the Church,' and addresses two profoundly connected themes: the yearning for a deeper and richer personal inward journey with God, and our calling to address the urgent and dire needs of this world. EFCA Pastors and leaders living in the Midwest are encouraged to take advantage of this regional seminar."

Unfortunately, EFCA Pastors and leaders are going to get a hearty dose of contemplative spirituality when they attend this conference. Two of the speakers are Scot McKnight and Bruce Demarest while one of the other partners of the event is Richard Foster (Renovare). Demarest was one of the contributors to Foster's Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible1 and is Professor of Christian Theology and Spiritual Formation at Denver Seminary. He is a major proponent for contemplative spirituality. Scot McKnight (author of The Real Mary) is a catalyst for helping to fold Protestantism into Catholicism and calls for all Protestant churches to set aside a special day to "honor Mary." 2 McKnight is a professor of Religious Studies at North Park University, Chicago, Illinois and the author of over twenty books. He considers himself a spokesman for the emerging church movement.

 

BOOK ALERT: Keri Wyatt Kent's Listen Keri Wyatt Kent's book, Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life, is a book that is going to ultimately affect more than just adults. The book is a primer in contemplative spirituality, and backing the book is Elisa Morgan, president and CEO of MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). So not only will moms be influenced (because they will listen to the recommendation of MOPS), but they in turn will influence their children. Thus contemplative spirituality is already making inroads into the youngest generation of Christians - preschoolers.

To begin with, Wyatt Kent's book is filled with quotes and references by a literal who's who of the contemplative/mystical world. Some of these personalities include Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Anne Lamott, Rick Warren and Ruth Haley Barton, all of whom have contemplative proclivities. Wyatt Kent has also included references by some with New Age affinities like Sue Monk Kidd (worships the goddess within) and M. Scott Peck. Information about any of these listed above can be found on the Lighthouse Trails Research site.

What does Wyatt Kent (a member of Willow Creek) have to say about contemplative prayer and the silence? Well, she starts the book out by quoting contemplative proponent Jan Johnson who says that "many people believe God no longer speaks to us today" (p. 4). Johnson, in her own book When the Soul Listens says:

Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is a prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God's presence, and it makes you better able to hear God's voice, correcting, guiding, and directing you.(p. 16)

In the beginning, it is usual to feel nothing but a
cloud of unknowing .... If you're a person who has relied on yourself a great deal to know what's going on, this unknowing will be unnerving. (p. 120)

It is clear that Wyatt Kent shares such sympathies with Johnson. She explains her reasoning for wanting this kind of prayer: "[M]any of us have a one-sided relationship with God. We talk much more than we listen. Something's missing. I want to learn how to listen to God (p. 5). She says she is "learning that certain practices have been helpful in enhancing and strengthening" her conversations with God (p. 6). Later, Wyatt Kent quotes Julia Cameron from her book, The Artist's Way (p. 59). In Cameron's book, she talks about the "spiritual path to higher creativity." Wyatt Kent says she feels "a deep desire to provide encouragement, as Cameron does in her book, to fledgling creative types who may not have received it elsewhere" (pp. 59, 60). To gain some insight into the spirituality of Julia Cameron, read this interview on Shambhala Sun . If Cameron's "creativity" becomes an integral part of the lives of mothers of preschoolers, what will be the results?

In Wyatt Kent's chapter called "Listening in Silence," she clearly displays her affinity with mystical prayer.... "Because if you let silence in, doing so will change your life," she says. She goes on: "Many people meditate simply by being quiet and thinking of nothing or simply focusing on a word, such as peace"(p. 118)." She quotes Richard Foster as saying: "Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self- justification" (p. 117). What Foster means is it puts the stopper on all thought (i.e., putting the mind in neutral). Wyatt Kent insists that Jesus Himself "modeled these practices, and his followers have been using them as tools for creating space to listen to God" (p. 119). Wyatt Kent tells readers (through a quote by John Ortberg) that "Meditation is not meant to be esoteric or spooky or reserved for gurus reciting mantras in the lotus position. It merely implies sustained attention. It is built around this simple principle: "What the mind repeats, it retains" (p. 147).

For those who understand this language of turning off thoughts, creating space, repeating words and phrases, you will also understand how tragic it is that an organization like MOPS is going in this direction.

See also:

Christianity Today Article Promotes Mystical Practices

Wyatt Kent's book, The Garden of the Soul

Ancient Wisdom for Babies

The Pope: Waiting for the "Separated Brethren" to Come Home

The following article confirms that Pope Benedict XVI is dedicated to carrying on the New Evangelization program, as was his predecessor Pope John Paul II. For those who believe that Roman Catholicism has changed and is no longer Roman Catholicism, this article should put that myth to rest. What is important here is that according to the pope, there is no unity with Rome unless the "separated brethren" come home to Rome.

Further, note the pope's emphasis on "perpetual Eucharistic adoration" as part of his new "apostolic exhortation." As more and more of the faithful spend time in "adoring" the "Roman Catholic Eucharistic Christ" that is "present" in the host (following transubstantiation) and contained in the monstrance and placed on display, there will be more and more false appearances of Jesus, as the Jesus of the Bible warned would happen in the last days (Matthew 24: 23-24, 26). This is when the "New Evangelization Program" becomes very effective.
Click here to read this entire article.



 

Josh McDowell Responds About Dan Kimball Endorsement

Last week, we received an email from a woman who emailed Josh McDowell about his endorsement of Dan Kimball's book, They Love Jesus But Not the Church (please see our book review). With permission, we have posted the response our reader received:

Fran,

I have received Josh's comment concerning his endorsement of Dan Kimball's book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church. Josh said that Dan is a dear friend and one who understands youth in way that many do not. Whether you agree with the emergent church or not, the book is excellent concerning youth and youth culture and how to address the issues. He feels that many would benefit from reading the book, because the more we understand the youth problem, the healthier the body of Christ will be.

We would suggest you read our documented book review on Kimball's book (see link above) to gain some further insight as to whether "many would benefit from reading the book" and whether Kimball's book would help make a "healthier" body of Christ. In our estimation, this book is going to spiritually hurt young people who are seeking for truth. We are sorry that Josh McDowell and other Christian leaders don't see this.

See also:

Emerging Church Confusion: What Does it Really Mean?


Understanding Transubstantiation (The Eucharist)

LTRP Note: Because of the current emphasis being put on the Eucharist by many contemplative/emerging leaders within the evangelical/Protestant camp, we believe this article by former Catholic nun, Mary Ann Collins, is important:

Transubstantiation is the doctrine that if a validly ordained Catholic priest consecrates bread and wine, then Jesus Christ is literally present -- body, blood, soul, and divinity -- in every crumb of consecrated bread and every drop of consecrated wine. This is the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is clearly stated in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Catholics call this "the Eucharist" or "holy communion." They speak about the "real presence" of Christ in the bread and wine. Things relating to it are called "eucharistic." A consecrated communion wafer is called a "host." Hosts that are left over after Mass are kept in a tabernacle, (a large, ornate container that can be locked). When hosts are in the tabernacle, a candle is lit. This enables Catholics to know that consecrated hosts are inside, so they can kneel and pray in front of the tabernacle as a form of eucharistic devotion. The tabernacle also protects the hosts by making it difficult to steal them.

When I was a Catholic, I sometimes attended special services called "Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." A large consecrated host was put in a monstrance. (This is a large, ornate, metal container, in the basic shape of a daisy with a stem, plus a base so that it can stand up.) The monstrance looked like it was made of gold. It had a circular chamber in the middle which held a large, round host. The front of the chamber was glass, so you could see the host. Visually it looked like gold rays were coming out of the host.

The priest put the monstrance on the altar. We worshiped the host, believing that it was Jesus.
Click here to read more.

Book Reviews

The following links are to some excellent book reviews by various ministries:

Reviews by Deception in the Church

Book Reviews by Gary Gilley

Book Reviews by Media Spotlight (Al Dager)

Book Reviews by Kevin Reeves

This list is taken from our Helpful Resources page on our research site.

The Powers Behind The Alpha Course

By Bayith Ministries

It's 1942; the middle of the Second World War. You're a combatant, but you have been permitted to take a short break in neutral Switzerland ...

You're sitting in a park, minding your own business, when a man you don't know walks over with a drink in his hand and offers it to you. There's a world war going on, and secret agents operate in that part of Europe , so you are naturally on your guard. You study the man's demeanor. While doing so, you also politely quiz him about his motives and about the contents of the glass. He interrupts you and, in a rather impatient tone, declares that the checks you are performing are irrelevant and that the only sensible test of the brew is for you to drink it and see what happens. Who among us would be silly enough to fall for such a proposition? The drink could be a poison that kills you instantly. Worse, its toxin might be slow- acting, thereby deceiving those folks around you into trying it themselves. Worse still, its slow-acting toxin might be present alongside some beneficial ingredients, or even just a mild hallucinogen, in which case its initial effects might well seem helpful. And if one of its ingredients also made it addictive...

Again, who in their right mind would make the apparent effects of the above drink the sensible test of it? If the concoction were lethal, one or more people would have to die according to the above approach, yet this is exactly what certain individuals today are insisting God has made the test of any new movements being touted in the professing Church. Fruit is the test of a person (in other words, does the person exhibit the fruit of the Spirit as per Galatians 5:22 -23?) but, for the reason spelt out above, fruit cannot be the God-given test of a move or movement.
Click here to read this entire report.

CONFERENCE ALERT: BC Mennonite Brethren Heading Toward Contemplative? This coming May, the THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CONFERENCE OF MENNONITE BRETHREN CHURCHES will be presenting the MB Pastors & Spouses Retreat 2007, which will feature Pete Scazzero. Scazzero is the author of the 2006 book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, which is described as "a groundbreaking work on the integration of emotional health and contemplative spirituality in our discipleship and formation in Christ."

As we reported last November (see report), Scazzero is a proponent of contemplative prayer and promotes several mystics and panentheists in his book.

According to the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren website, their vision is "that every person in the Province of BC will have contact with a committed Christ follower who loves them." Unfortunately, if these "Christ" followers are adhering to the teachings of Scazzero and those he promotes (like Meister Eckhart, Tilden Edwards, and Basil Pennington), it may not be the Jesus Christ of the Bible that the people of British Columbia will be introduced to. We pray and hope that the BC Mennonite Brethren will reconsider the consequences of contemplative spirituality and turn away from the direction they appear to be heading.

March 2007 Marks 5 Year Anniversary for
Lighthouse Trails

March marks the end of the 5th year for Lighthouse Trails Publishing. As many of you already know, we began this ministry/company after reading a manuscript by Ray Yungen, which later became our first release, A Time of Departing.

We want to take this opportunity to thank those who have emailed, written or called over the past five years to encourage and uplift us. We hope we have been able to do the same to many of you. God bless you and keep you in the shadow of His wings.

For more information about how we began, click here.

 

Publishing News - Hot of the Press - The Other Side of the River

The Other Side of the River by Alaskan author Kevin Reeves, is off the press and is now available. The book is the true story of a young man's spiritual plunge into a movement called "the River," which claims to be spreading the kingdom of God through signs and wonders. Sometimes referred to as the River revival, the Third Wave or the Latter Rain, this movement is marked by bizarre manifestations, false prophecies, and esoteric revelations. Warnings of divine retribution keep many adherents in bondage, afraid to speak out or even question those things they are taught and are witness to. For Kevin Reeves, the determination to rescue his family came to the forefront. Even if the cost was high and even if he had to stand alone, his journey back into the freedom and simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be worth the price. Click here for more details.

 

 

 
 

Featured Resources

 
     

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are "spiritual formation," "the silence," "the stillness," "ancient-wisdom," "spiritual disciplines," and many others.

Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.