Note: The following article is based on actual facts, but
the name has been changed to protect the innocent.
In September of 2008, a Christian woman (a wife and mother) stumbled across
the Lighthouse Trails Research website when she and her husband became
concerned about certain things happening in the large church they had been
attending for several years, including plans to build a labyrinth and her
husband being taught a repetitive breath prayer at a men's prayer
breakfast. Prior to that day, Susan had not heard the term contemplative
spirituality nor did she know the meaning of "emerging church." But
on that particular day, Susan learned that she, her husband, and her
teenage sons were attending a church showing signs of going emerging. She
the weeks that followed, Susan scoured the Internet for documentation and
information on this "new" spirituality that had apparently come
into her own church. She also learned that her teenage sons' youth group
had been promoting emerging church figures--and had already done a
three-week course on Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis (Bell had spoken at the
church as well). It is Rob Bell who tells Velvet Elvis readers to study
New Age mystic Ken Wilber for three months for a "mind-blowing
introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity [panentheism (God in
all) and pantheism (all is God)]" (p.192 V.E.). Ken Wilber
promotes all varieties of mysticism: tantra, yoga, kundalini, karma
meditation, sexual transformation through mysticism, etc. 1 And on the YouTube account associated with Wilber
(which he openly links to from his main site) are many offensive videos, including one by a rapper who
talks about raping girls from ages 1-10. Unspeakable! For any Christian
church or school to use Rob Bell's materials, when he clearly resonates
with Ken Wilber is a breach of faith. Many Velvet Elvis readers are
young people. When they read Bell encouraging them to turn to Wilber, they
could end up on Wilber's website and even the YouTube videos, not to
mention Wilber's New Age books.
When Susan and her husband confronted
their church's leadership about their embracing of certain emerging church
leaders, the leadership denied these allegations. Emerging church links
(such as The Ooze) that were posted on the church website were
hastily removed, but with no public disclaimer or explanation. And even
though The Ooze link was removed, Spencer Burke, The Ooze's founder, states
currently on his site that he "serves" at that church. Roger
Oakland quotes Burke in Faith Undone:
I stopped reading from the approved evangelical
reading list and began to distance myself from the evangelical agenda. I
discovered new authors and new voices at the bookstore--Thomas Merton,
Henri Nouwen and St. Teresa of Avila. The more I read, the more intrigued I
became. Contemplative spirituality seemed to open up a whole new way for me
to understand and experience God. I was deeply moved by works like The
Cloud of Unknowing, The Dark Night of the Soul and the Early
Writings of the Desert Fathers.2
It seemed to Susan that the church
removing certain links was merely a damage-control tactic to avoid public
scrutiny. And even though some links were removed, other troubling ones
remained and do so to this day. One of these is Beliefnet.com, an extremely
popular, high-traffic website that services all religions. Strangely,
Susan's "evangelical church" was linking directly to Beliefnet.com's Catholic section. This, of
course, falls in line with contemplative spirituality that was
pioneered into the evangelical church by Catholic monks (Merton, Keating,
Pennington). But strange, because Susan's church was denying being contemplative.
Beliefnet.com has an array of departments that represent every religious
tradition under the sun. Some of the departments include: A Course in
Miracles, Wicca, New Thought, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist and so on.
There is even information on warlocks and an article in the Pagan and
Earth-Based section titled "Welcome Your Baby: Pagan Traditions."
Another section is by a homosexual warlock. Banners flash
throughout the site, beckoning visitors to join particular groups. And the
Christianity section is inundated with eastern-mysticism sympathizing
figures like Marcus Borg, Tony Jones, and suggestions for practicing
eastern-style meditation. Clearly, Beliefnet.com is not a website that a
biblical church would point their congregants to. Author and researcher Ray
Yungen, in hearing about the church linking to Beliefnet.com, commented:
"It has a buffet-style approach to spirituality. In other words,
whatever suits your taste--so typical of the emerging church view."
Other links that remained on Susan's church website are Discipleship Journal and SoJourners Magazine,
both heavy proponents of contemplative/emerging spirituality.
As Susan learned the nature of this "new spirituality," she
became increasingly alarmed. And as she began talking about it with the
leadership at her church, it became apparent to her that this was going to
be no small matter and that her concerns were not going to be welcomed by
her church's pastors and elders. After several agonizing weeks of discussion,
prayer, and turmoil, Susan and her husband sadly left their church. They
knew they could not, in good conscience, leave their sons (and themselves)
in harm's way.
But for Susan, the battle was only just beginning. One of her son's was
scheduled to go on a missions trip to Europe with his Christian high school
group. But at a parent's meeting, when Susan asked one of the leaders if
the students would be attending any of the "boiler rooms"
(Catholic-oriented contemplative "prayer" rooms) when they were
in the UK, the leader curtly replied, "We'll go where ever the Lord
leads." Susan thought perhaps he did not know what the boiler rooms
were, but his sharp answer worried her. By this time in Susan's research,
she had learned that the UK boiler rooms, started by mystic proponent Pete Greig (Red Moon Rising) were not something
she wanted her young son to take part in. And Susan suspected that the
reason for the swift dismissal of her question at the parent's meeting was
because she was becoming known as a trouble-making parent who didn't
understand the wave of the future for Christianity.
Susan and her husband were still going to allow their son to go on the UK
trip. After all, his school was a Calvary Chapel high school. But last week
something happened that changed all that. Susan learned that her son's
class was asked to read a book titled How to Stay Christian in College by
J. Budziszewski. The students were to do a book report on the book, and
then the class would study it in the following weeks.
Susan made a quick call to Lighthouse Trails and asked what we knew about
this author. We had not heard of him, but quickly learned that J.
Budziszewski (pronounced Boo-jee-shef-ski) was an author and professor who
had converted in 2004 from Protestantism to Catholicism. We also learned he
was a proponent of contemplative practices. He is a featured professor on
contemplative-promoting Focus on the Family's TrueU.org online university,
telling students to practice lectio divina as a form of meditation.3
It seemed quite ironic that someone who had left the Christian faith to
follow contemplative Catholicism wrote a book to instruct high school
students how to remain Christian while in college, when he had converted
away from evangelical Christianity. And knowing that a Calvary Chapel high
school was using this book was troubling. Interestingly, the first person
Budziszewski quotes in How to Stay Christian in College is
Lutheran-turned-Catholic priest, the late Richard John Neuhaus, who many
would consider a friend in the emergent/Catholic conversation.
Lighthouse Trails quickly obtained a copy of How to Stay Christian in
College, and much to our dismay saw full page advertisements at the
back of the book for books by Tony Jones and Eugene Peterson. We could understand why Budziszewski's
publisher would place ads for Jones, a major advocate for mystical
practices, in the back of Budziszewski's book. But we could not understand
how Calvary Chapel could bring this into their school.
Thinking that perhaps Calvary Chapel was not aware of Budziszewski's 2004 conversion and his promotion of
contemplative prayer practices, Lighthouse Trails, on behalf of Susan's
family, contacted the Calvary Chapel high school. The vice-principal of the
school politely listened to our concerns and said he would get back with us
very soon. We told him that we felt compelled to issue a warning about the
matter but said we would wait until we heard back from him. We told him we
were concerned for Susan's son as well as the other students, who had been
handed this book just prior to graduating and heading off to college. We
said we felt this situation was urgent and we hoped to hear from him that
the book had been pulled.
Several days passed, and we never did hear back from the school. Yesterday,
Susan contacted us after she had a meeting with the vice-principal. She
told him, in view of her and her husband's growing concerns, including the
use of Budziszewski's book and the vagueness about the UK boiler rooms,
they could not allow their son to go on the UK trip. She also learned
yesterday that Budziszewski's book was not going to be pulled, and in fact,
the vice-principal had been instructed from higher ups "don't call
Lighthouse Trails - let them do their article."
Needless to say, Susan and her husband have felt a sense of distraughtness
that the Christian church is going in this direction, and discernment (or
even the desire for it) seems so lacking. Lighthouse Trails has
acknowledged in the past that Calvary Chapel's founder Chuck Smith has made
public statements denouncing contemplative mysticism, the
emerging church, and the Purpose Driven Movement. He is one of the few
leaders in the evangelical church who has made such bold proclamations.
Thus, this article is not to condemn Calvary Chapel as a whole. We know
there are many Bible-believing Calvary Chapel pastors who are standing
strong for the faith. But rather it is to show that deception is often
subtle, and Christian leaders cannot give way to it when it is spotted. It
doesn't matter that the school did not call Lighthouse Trails back. We are
insignificant. But it does matter, that in spite of legitimate and
substantiated concerns, the book was not removed. Below is a heartfelt
letter that Susan wrote to us this week. We post it with her permission--
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We told our son to pray, as he is going to the beach to get some sun--he is
off school today.
He seems okay that he is possibly not going to England after all. I believe
the leaders have singled him out for some reason. I have told him that he
may likely be sent home for some minor infraction, most likely the day
before the team goes to the boiler rooms. Good try, not with our son. We
know it is because we have challenged the Emergent doctrine that is
entering even some Calvary Chapels. What will happen when Chuck Smith
More things become clear to us all the time. This new Calvary Chapel high
school is so different than the one we knew with our first two kids. Times
are changing; now our senior gets a book by a protestant
theologian-turned-Catholic, WHO IN AN ARTICLE PREACHES THE PRACTICE OF
"lectio divina" from the desert fathers.
As a family, we reject the mystical, sensual lies, the emptying of the mind
in meditation, to put so many other unclean spirits in... No thank you. No
meditation, except on the Word of God. The Bible states this will happen in
the last days, that there will be a great departing from the faith. This
concerns us as we see the YOUTH of today being targeted with false doctrine
and mystical practices.
Up at Biola University they now have a Masters Degree program in
"Spiritual Formation." The seminaries are practicing mystical
spirituality, even lectio divina, meditation, getting a high from breathing
techniques (breath prayers) and entering the alpha state, and the ensuing "HIGH."
Because of this we have such a heavy heart for the youth of today. We
sincerely grieve over the lies and false doctrine that they are being told.
The Bible also speaks that not all who say Lord, Lord, will enter the gates
of Heaven ... Lord, keep our young people safe, as well as our own kids,
loved ones, and friends.
What happened to just JESUS?? It seems so simple, and for some unknown
reason it does not seem to be enough for so many today.
We support your ministry and the fact that your hearts are so committed to
exposing the truth. We choose to follow ONLY the inspired Word of God. We
do not give any, and I mean any, credence to all the other
"supposed" Christian authors, who do not speak the truth of the
Word of God. Because of this, kids today love the physical and emotional
HIGH and think that that is God. Lord God please have mercy on us.
We, as you know, have left an O.C. (RH) church that had breath prayers, Rob
Bell, were going to build a labyrinth, linked to Emergent leader Spencer
Burke, and still links to Beliefnet.com. WHY would a Christian church EVER
lead their flock to this site rather than the one true Jesus Christ?
When confronted with this site they said they were going to remove it, like
the Spencer Burke site. IT has been a full month, and they have not. Do
they want to have their seekers and very vulnerable flock turn to dangerous
doctrine?? Do they want their flock of believers to take the belief-net
test, and maybe end up in a pagan or occult religion???
How can one of RH pastors state to my husband and I, that after a meeting
with Calvary Chapel pastors, that they are on the same page??
We have tried to e-mail Chuck Smith and to have a meeting. He has never
answered us. We do not believe that he has ever gotten our messages. Where
is Chuck Smith?? The body of Christ needs him right now. Well if you can
shed any light on the subject, please do.
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH,
Concerned parents in Orange County
2. Spencer Burke, "From the Third Floor to the Garage," online
chapter from Stories of Emergence published by Zondervan/Youth
Specialties, 2003, http://www.theooze.com/etrek/spencerburke.cfm.
Richard Foster's Legacy Endures - Christian Leaders Help to
Make it So
there is one person who could be considered the "father" of the
present evangelical "spiritual formation" movement, that person
is Richard Foster. And in spite of the non-biblical,
mystical-promoting foundation of the spiritual formation movement, Foster continues to be
touted, promoted, and looked up to by evangelical leaders, pastors, and
professors. This article hopes to reveal the underlying nature of Foster's
spirituality and to reject the recommendations of these Christian figures
who rather than warning the body of Christ about Foster's spiritual
formation, they point to him as a credible source of spiritual nourishment.
Recently, Christianity Today featured an article written by Richard
Foster titled "Spiritual Formation Agenda." In the article,
Foster discusses the progress (and the lack of progress) he feels the
church has made in the last thirty years regarding spiritual formation. He
says thirty years because that is when he officially began his efforts to
bring spiritual formation to the evangelical church through his book, Celebration of Discipline, which has now sold
over two million copies and where Foster stated: "[W]e should all
without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative
Foster explains in the CT article:
Thirty years ago, when Celebration of
Discipline was first penned, we were faced with two huge tasks: First,
we needed to revive the great conversation about the formation of the soul;
and second, we needed to incarnate this reality into the daily experience of
individual, congregational, and cultural life. Frankly, we have had much
greater success with the first task. Christians of all sorts now know about
the need for spiritual formation, and look to saints Catholic, Orthodox,
and Protestant for guidance. (emphasis added)
Foster couldn't be more right on two
accounts: first, Christians of nearly every denomination are embracing
"spiritual formation" today, and Lighthouse Trails has been
documenting that for several years; and secondly, "spiritual formation"
IS indeed connected to "saints Catholic, Orthodox, and
But who are these "saints" that Foster refers to and what is
their spirituality? This is a key and valid question. And Foster himself
can answer it. All we have to do is look to his own writings--he has been
revealing these saints to the church for over thirty years. And incredibly,
the church has bought into it hook, line, and sinker, hands down, no
questions asked. Prove of that is abundant and convincing as Lighthouse
Trails has often shown.
Two of the best sources to turn to in order to understand Foster's
spirituality are his two books, Spiritual Classics (2000) and Devotional
Classics (1990). In each book, Foster features writings from 52
"great devotional writers" or as he has often called them Devotional
Masters. In Devotional Classics, Foster features: St. John of
the Cross, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Teresa of Avila (who levitated
during mystical trances), St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Hildegard of Bingen
(called a saint but not actually canonized). The one thing these five all
have in common is they were practitioners of mysticism and held to
panentheistic (God is in all) views.
In Foster's two Classics books, he also features several other
mystics of this same nature. Some of those include Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin, Meister Eckhart, John Main, Karl Rahner, Thomas Merton, Evelyn
Underhill, Julian of Norwich, Brother Lawrence, and Henri Nouwen. (For more
information about these individuals, refer to our research site.)
One evening in 1994, Lighthouse Trails author Ray Yungen attended a seminar
in Salem, Oregon, in which Richard Foster was speaking. Yungen had not
heard much about Foster prior to that time but when a concerned youth
pastor asked him to come listen to Foster, Yungen agreed. Prior to the
seminar, Yungen read Celebration of Discipline. At that time, Yungen
had been studying and researching New Age mysticism for ten years. Yungen
describes a brief conversation he had with Foster that evening:
After the seminar ended . . . I
approached Foster and politely asked him, "What do you think of the
current Catholic contemplative prayer movement?" He appeared visibly
uncomfortable with the question, and at first seemed evasive and vague. He
then replied, "Well, I don't know, some good, some bad (mentioning
Matthew Fox as an example of the bad)." In defense, he said, "My
critics don't understand there is this tradition within Christianity that
goes back centuries." He then said something that has echoed in my
mind ever since that day. He emphatically stated, "Well, Thomas Merton
tried to awaken God's people!" I realized then Foster had waded deep into
Merton's belief system.2
Yungen began to study Foster in depth
after that, and in 1999, he wrote the first edition of A Time of
Departing, an expose on the contemplative prayer movement.
In order to understand this mystical movement, one must understand the
spirituality of Thomas Merton. Yungen continues:
[I]t is precisely this alignment with
Merton that undermines Foster's claim to being mystically attuned to the
God of the Bible. Merton expressed views such as, "I see no
contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity ... I intend to become as
good a Buddhist as I can."
It is essential to really understand why Merton said things like this in
order to understand why the contemplative prayer movement presents such a
potential danger to evangelical Christian churches. Merton's conversion was
spiritual, not social or political, as clearly revealed in one of his
His [Merton's] change of mind with regard
to the higher religions was not the result of tedious comparison and
contrast or even concerted analysis. It was an outgrowth of his experience
with the Absolute [God].
In other words, Merton found Buddhist
enlightenment in contemplative prayer.3
Today, 30 years after Richard Foster
started his campaign for contemplative formation, he is still aligning
himself with Thomas Merton, who actually told New Ager Matthew Fox once
that he felt sorry for the hippies who were taking LSD because they could
get the same results practicing contemplative prayer.4 In Foster's upcoming
book (April 2009), Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion,
Foster devotes an entire six-page section of the book to Thomas Merton. He
says that "Merton is captivated by God's relentless love for the
world" (p.81). He acknowledges that Merton, like Foster himself, was
influenced by Meister Eckhart and other mystics, as well as occultist
Aldous Huxley (Perennial Wisdom, as above, so below). Foster says that
Merton "stands as one of the greatest twentieth-century embodiments of
spiritual life as a journey" (p. 84). What Foster DOES not tell the
reader though in his new book is that Merton believed that God dwelled in
all people. He embraced the Sufi (Islamic mystic) as well as the Buddhist
view of God, that man, in totality, shares the divine nature, and in
essence IS the divine nature, of God. Leonard Sweet, another admirer of
Merton, quotes Merton in the preface of his book, Quantum Spirituality:
It is a glorious destiny to be a member
of the human race, ... now I realize what we all are.... If only they
[people] could all see themselves as they really are ... I suppose the big
problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.... At the
center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and
by illusions, a point of pure truth.... This little point ... is the pure
glory of God in us. It is in everybody.5.
In spite of Richard Foster's obvious
embracing of Merton's spirituality, evangelical leaders continue to stand
by Foster. A case in point: At the upcoming Renovare international conference,
The Jesus Way (June 21-24), popular Christian figure,
Max Lucado, will be one of the featured speakers. Lucado will be joining
Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, and Eugene Peterson (all
contemplatives) at the conference. Lucado's presence at the event is not a
total surprise to Lighthouse Trails. Three years ago, we reported that Lucado's
book, Cure for the Common Life, was promoting
contemplative spirituality. 3 But most people don't know that, and he is the very
personification of the typical mainstream evangelical pastor, so his
aligning with Foster is very significant.
In addition to Lucado's embracing of Foster, Focus on the Family sells a series by H. B. London that features Richard Foster
in a favorable interview. While this too is no surprise to Lighthouse
Trails because Focus on the Family resonates with Gary Thomas, who
resonates with contemplative spirituality in his books, FOF's promotion of
Richard Foster will influence many, many people.
Some may accuse us of guilt by association but this is clearly guilt by promotion.
In other words, there is a tie in or connection between every one we've
mentioned. The individuals we've discussed are basically kindred spirits.
And this illustrates the ground that contemplative spirituality is gaining
on an ongoing basis. Lighthouse Trails wants to emphasize that this is no
passing fad but the wave of the future. Karl Rahner (one of Foster's
mystics) said that "The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he
will not exist at all."6
In Rick Warren's first book, The Purpose Driven Church, Warren
praised the spiritual formation movement and recognized Richard Foster's
key role in it. Warren said that spiritual formation was a "valid
message for the church"7 and has "given the body of Christ a
wake-up call."8 Unfortunately, largely because of Rick Warren's
world-wide following, Richard Foster's legacy continues to endure.
1. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco, CA:
Harper & Row, 1978 edition), p. 13.
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails
Publishing, 2nd ed, 2006), pp. 76-77.
4. Interview with Matthew Fox: http://web.archive.org/web/20060425035122/nineoclockservice.tripod.com/mattiefx.htm.
5. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City,
NY: Doubleday Publishers, 1989), pp. 157-158.
6. Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations, Concern for the Church,
translated Edward Quinn (New York: Crossroad, 1981), p. 149.
7. Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 127.
Christian Mystics of the Past
A Conditioning Process - Caving into Deception
by Caryl Matrisciana
day in 1979, a young California business man was on his morning jog on a
hillside path overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Feeling the breeze against his
face and taking in the beauty around him, he suddenly heard a whispered
voice within him. He describes the experience:
formed into a pair of meaningless but mellifluous-sounding syllables in my
mind, which gradually grew into a chant. To the beat of my running steps I
gave voice to it, feeling a bursting joy: Kah-lee! ... Kah-lee! Somehow I
knew that it was good and right for me to be doing this. Several months
later, a friend gave me a copy of Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography
of a Yogi. A few pages into the text, reading the author's account of
his early life in India, I came across these words: "Our family moved
to Lahore in the Punjab. There I acquired a picture of the Divine Mother in
the form of the goddess Kali."
I was stunned. No wonder on that morning run I had felt such an abounding
bliss . . . I had been chanting the name of a Nature god! I later learned
that on that morning I had been a few hundred yards from the seaside ashram
that Yogananda occupied for many years. Many mysterious experiences led me
eventually to the feet of this master.1
jogger that day was Jim Ballard, the author of Mind Like Water, a
primer in Eastern religious practices. Former New Age follower Warren Smith describes his own reaction to Ballard's
experience with Kali:
Just as I had not questioned the
supernatural circumstances that led me to Indian guru Bhagwhan Shree
Rajneesh, Ballard did not question the supernatural circumstances that led
him to Paramahansa Yogananda. Yet if either one of us had been seriously
reading the Bible back then we might have looked at our spiritual
experiences quite differently. . . .
Fueled by his supernatural experience with "Kali" and by other
various "mysterious experiences," Ballard was eventually led to
"the feet" of Yogananda just as I had been led by my mysterious
experiences to "the feet" of Rajneesh.2
Ballard's experience took place nearly
thirty years ago, but the effect the Hindu god had on him continue. In his
book, Little Wave and Old Swell (most recently published in 2007),
Ballard says the book was "Inspired by [Hindu swami] Paramahansa
Sadly, a very popular Christian figure
has written glowing forewords to both of Ballard"s books: Ken
Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager and founder of
"Lead Like Jesus," calls Mind Like Water a "wonderful
I hope that you and countless other
readers will find in Mind Like Water some ways to calm your mind and uplift
your consciousness, and to transform the way you operate every day in this
Little Wave and Old Swell is a children's book
that carries the same message as Helen Schucman's A Course in Miracles--a
New Age book made popular largely through Oprah Winfrey's promotion. What
is the theme of the Course?â€"that man is divine, and God is in
all. In the foreword to Little Wave and Old Swell, Blanchard tells
readers to "[r]ead it many times. Let it speak to your heart."
Blanchard's endorsement of Mind Like Water and Little Wave and
Old Swell is a prime example of how New Age spirituality has entered
In view of these things, I cannot help but recall the lyrics I heard so
many years ago at the musical Hair: "This is the dawning of the
Age of Aquarius."5 But unlike the optimistic, utopian world the
hippies in the 1960s thought was in the making, the Bible says the world
will enter a time of strong spiritual delusion. Revelation 12: 9 says that
at some point in history, before Jesus Christ returns, Satan will deceive
the whole world.
Our hope as young hippies, for a world with "Harmony and
understanding, Sympathy and trust abounding,"6 will not occur. True
peace will not come before the world experiences a great tribulation, as
Revelation describes, but will only occur after Jesus Christ comes back to
take His rightful place as King. Before Christ returns, the Anti-christ
will come, and many will fall into his grip of madness and deceit.
Before the world can accept this world leader, a conditioning process must
first take place. Such a process has been going on for some decades.
Western society has been heavily influenced and altered by it already. The
last hold out against the New Age of Aquarius is the Christian church. Now,
that too is caving in under the assault. (From Out of India by Caryl Matrisciana, chapter 16,
"The Dawning of the Age.")
1. Jim Ballard, Mind Like Water (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons,
2002), p. 14.
2. Warren Smith, Reinventing Jesus Christ, chapter 5 updates, p.
3. Jim Ballard, Little Wave and Old Swell (New York, NY: Atria
Books, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2007), front cover.
4. Ken Blanchard quoted from foreword of Jim Ballard's Mind Like Water,
5. "Aquarius," song in the production, Hair, op. cit.
(used by permission from Alfred Publishing Co. - permissions on file at
Ken Blanchard Presents: Little Wave and Old Swell (A Course
in Miracles for Children)
Important Research on Ken Blanchard
God in Everything? The Premise of Contemplative Spirituality
The theological implications of this worldview put it at
direct odds with biblical Christianity for obvious reasons. Only one true
God exists, and His identity is not in everyone.
was Alice Bailey, the famous occult prophetess who coined the term New Age,
who made this startling assertion:
is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the
Christian Knower with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to
the same efficacy of method.1
did she mean by the term "Christian Knower"? The answer is
unmistakable! [O]ccultism is awakening the mystical faculties to see God in
everything. In Hinduism, this is called reaching samadhi or enlightenment.
It is the final objective of yoga meditation: God in everything--a force or
power flowing through all that exists. William Johnston believes such an
experience exists within the context of Christianity. He explains:
I can safely say, however, is that there is a Christian samadhi that has
always occupied an honored place in the spirituality of the West. This, I
believe, is the thing that is nearest to Zen. It is this that I have called
famous psychologist Carl Jung predicted this system would be the yoga of
Surviving Beatles Unite to Promote Kid's Meditation
than 40 years after they traveled to India to study transcendental
meditation, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will reunite for the
LTRP Note: According to the
article below, the two remaining Beatles (the musical group from the 60s)
will be teaching children around the world to meditate. But they aren't the
only ones who are putting kids in touch with their higher, mystical
selves. From AWANA clubs, to Focus on the Family's Odyssey to Eugene
Peterson's Message Bible for Kids to Rob Bell's Nooma films in the
Christian schools, Christian leaders and teachers are bringing kids to the
contemplative, mystical waters as well. Please see our links below.
By Alan Duke
"Surviving Beatles reunite to promote kid's meditation"
(CNN) - Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will reunite on stage
next month [Change Begins Within Benefit Concert in conjunction with David Lynch Foundation] to raise money to teach
transcendental meditation to children around the world to "help
provide them a quiet haven in a not-so-quiet world," McCartney said.
The star-studded list of performers who will join them include two
musicians who were with the Beatles when they journeyed to India's
Himalayan foothills in 1968 to learn transcendental meditation from
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
"In moments of madness, it has helped me find moments of
serenity," McCartney said in the concert announcement.
Profits from the April 4 show at New York's Radio City Music Hall will fund
the David Lynch Foundation's program, which has already taught 60,000
children around the world how to meditate, foundation spokesman Steve
Yellin said.Click here for source.
Read Out of India, Caryl Matrisciana's compelling
biography. In that book, India-raised Matrisciana shares how the Beatles
had an impact on an entire generation. Also for a complete analysis of the
current contemplative prayer (Spiritual Formation) movement within
Christianity, read A Time of Departing.
More on Children and Meditation:
National Pilot Project to Study Contemplative Kids -
Project Influenced by Thomas Keating
Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative
Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey - Promoting
Special Alert: Awana Embraces Contemplative Spirituality!
New YouTube Clip - Roger Oakland - Road to Rome
Lighthouse Trails has now placed a
third 10-minute video clip of Roger Oakland on our YouTube account.
This one is a portion of Roger's talk, Road to Rome and the Emerging Church from his
four-part DVD series. You may click here, which will take you to Lighthouse Trails
YouTube. From there you may watch this new clip as well as two other
clips by Roger and two by Warren Smith when he addressed 800 pastors in
California in 2008. We will be adding two clips of Ray Yungen lectures in
the near future.
All Lighthouse Trails YouTube video clips are edited and compiled by Luke,
to whom we are most grateful.
What is the Spiritual Formation Movement, and Why is it
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.
I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term
"Spiritual Formation" was hardly known, except for highly
specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a
rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual
Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become
certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands
for spiritual direction.1--Richard
move away from the truth of God's Word to a mystical form of Christianity
has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. Few
Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, most do
not realize it has even happened.
The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during
the Dark Ages when the Bible became the forbidden book. Until the reformers
translated the Bible into the language of the common people, the great
masses were in darkness. When the light of God's Word became available, the
Gospel was once again understood.
I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and
less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these
experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is
about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset
is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term
suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to
emulate Him. Thus the idea that if you do certain practices, you can be
more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that
anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a
relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite. In a DVD called Be Still, which promotes contemplative prayer,
Richard Foster says that contemplative prayer is for anyone and that by
practicing it, one becomes "a portable sanctuary" for "the
presence of God."2
Rather than having the indwelling of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,
spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines supposedly transforms
the seeker by his or her entering an altered realm of consciousness.
The spiritual formation movement is widely promoted at colleges and
seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader.
It teaches people that this is how they can become more intimate with God
and truly hear His voice. Even Christian leaders with long-standing
reputations of teaching God's Word seem to be succumbing. In so doing, many
Christian leaders are frivolously playing with fire, and the result will be
thousands, probably millions, getting burned.
It isn't going into the silence that transforms a person's life. It is in
accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and allowing Him to change us that transformation
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
We are reconciled to God only through
Christ's death (the atonement for sin), and we are presented "holy and
unblamable 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. (For more
information on this topic and emerging spirituality, read Faith Undone.)
1. Richard Foster, "Spiritual Formation: A Pastoral Letter"
(January 18, 2004, click here).
2. Richard Foster, Be Still DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, 2006),
section titled "Contemplative Prayer."
Assemblies of God: Committed to Spiritual Formation,
Contemplative and Emerging
Which organizations are involved with spiritual formation?
Morersearch on spiritual formation.
Reiki on the Rise in 2009
The following out-of-house news article by Spafinder reveals that in
2009 Reiki [i.e., energy healing) will be one of the top 10
health spa trends to watch. There are currently over 1 1/2 million Reiki
channelers in the US; Germany, alone, has over a million Reiki channelers.
Below this news article, we have posted an article by Ray Yungen, who
addresses the dangers of Reiki and its connection to contemplative
"SpaFinder Issues 6th Annual Full Trends Report:'Top 10 Spa Trends
to Watch in 2009'"
SpaFinder, the global spa resource, has announced ... the company's sixth
annual forecast of the emerging concepts that will shape the world of spa
in 2009 and beyond. The global spa industry's extraordinary growth and
resiliency has been fueled by important new ideas in health, wellness,
fitness, beauty, design, and cuisine. Despite a turbulent economy, SpaFinder
President Susie Ellis believes 2009 will prove no exception, with the
industry continuing to innovate, including developments such as the
'in-transit' spa experience, new offerings for the exploding Gen X and Y
demographic, bolder eco-friendly initiatives, and the ramping up of global
Everyone's 'talking about energy,' and for 2009 the spa industry will
follow suit, with a lot of high-voltage buzz around 'energy medicine' and
therapies like Reiki; Qi Gong; chakra balancing; healing touch; magnetic,
light and sound therapy; and acupuncture. While there's charged debate
about how to define these practices, whether they're in fact 'new,' or
whether there's enough scientific evidence to warrant our attention--the
energy medicine trend within both the spa industry and the medical
establishment is clear. For instance, Dr. Oz of Oprah fame recently argued
that 'the next big frontier of medicine ... is energy medicine,' and former
Surgeon General and Canyon Ranch CEO Richard Carmona recently reported that
energy medicine is one of the emerging science areas they're pursuing for
their forward-thinking medical resorts. Click here to read this entire article.
Reiki, and its Connection to the Contemplative Practices of
Thomas Merton and Richard Foster
by Ray Yungen
mystical pragmatism is growing particularly fast through various New Age
healing techniques. One such procedure is called Reiki (pronounced
ray-key), a Japanese word that translates to Universal Life Energy or God
energy. It has also been referred to as the radiance technique. Reiki is an
ancient Tibetan Buddhist healing system, rediscovered by a Japanese man in
the 1800s, that only recently has come to the West.
The Reiki technique consists of placing the hands on [or near] the
recipient and then activating the energy to flow through the practitioner
and into the recipient. One practitioner describes the experience in the
doing it, I become a channel through which this force, this juice of the
universe, comes pouring from my palms into the body of the person I am
touching, sometimes lightly, almost imperceptibly, sometimes in famished
sucking drafts. I get it even as I'm giving it. It surrounds the two of us,
patient and practitioner.1
is this "juice of the universe?" The answer is an important one,
given by a renowned Reiki master who explains:
Reiki attunement is an initiation into a sacred metaphysical order that has
been present on earth for thousands of years ... By becoming part of this
group, you will also be receiving help from the Reiki guides and other
spiritual beings who are also working toward these goals.2
this is not widely advertised, Reiki practitioners depend on this
"spirit guide" connection as an integral aspect of Reiki. In
fact, it is the very foundation and energy behind Reiki. One Reiki master
who has enrolled hundreds of other masters spoke of her interaction with
the spirit guides:
me, the Reiki guides make themselves the most felt while attunements are
being passed. They stand behind me and direct the whole process, and I
assume they also do this for every Reiki Master. When I pass attunements, I
feel their presence strongly and constantly. Sometimes I can see them.3
Christian's initial response to this information might be, "So what? I
don't travel in those circles, so it does not concern me." This
nonchalant viewpoint would be valid except for the fact that Reiki is
currently growing to enormous proportions and in some very influential
circles. (It may even be in your local hospitals, schools, and youth
organizations.) It is essential to know that many nurses, counselors, and
especially massage therapists use Reiki as a supplement to their work. It
is often promoted as a complementary service.... One Reiki master
delightfully noted this surge of interest when he stated:
the years, there has been a shift in the belief system of the general
public, allowing for greater acceptance of alternative medicine. As a
result, we are seeing a growing interest in Reiki from the public at large.
People from all backgrounds are coming for treatments and taking classes.4
very revealing statistic involves Louisville, Kentucky, where 102 people
were initiated into Reiki in just a single weekend.5 This denotes a large
number of people are drawn to Reiki in the Bible belt, traditionally a
conservative part of America.
It is important to understand the way in which Reiki is presented to the
public at large. Despite its underlying metaphysical foundation, when one
reads the literature put out by Reiki practitioners it is not at all
apparent. One Reiki master who runs a day spa repeatedly uses words like
comfort and nurture in her brochure. Reiki is something that will give you
pleasure. Another woman who is a professional counselor tells her potential
clients that Reiki will give them deep relaxation and reduce pain. Again
and again these same themes emerge from promotional literature on
Reiki--relaxation, well-being, reduce illness, reduce stress, balance your
mind, etc. How can one say that Reiki is bad when it claims to help people?
The reason for this level of acceptance is easy to understand. Most people,
many Christians included, believe if something is spiritually positive then
it is of God. A pastor friend of mine recounted a situation in which a Christian,
who had some physical problems, turned to Reiki for comfort. When this
pastor advised the man that Reiki fundamentally opposed the Christian faith
he became furious and responded with the following defense, "How can
you say this is bad when it helped me?" That is why I titled [a
chapter in my book] "Discernment." To discern is to "test
the spirits" (1 John 4:1). If something is of God it will conform to
the very cornerstone of God's plan to show His grace through Christ Jesus
and Him alone (Ephesians 2:7). Reiki, as I defined earlier, is based on the
occult view of God.
This assessment of Reiki is beyond question. Every Reiki book I have ever
seen is chock full of pronouncements that back up the point I am trying to
make. In The Everything Reiki Book, the following clears up any
doubt about Reiki's incompatibility with Christianity:
the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to
allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication
centers. This is why many Reiki practitioners report having verbalized
channeled communications with the spirit world. (emphasis mine)6
is even more disturbing is that the Reiki channeler may not even have
control over this "energy" as the following comment shows:
and massage therapists who have been attuned to Reiki may never disclose
when Reiki starts flowing from their palms as they handle their patients.
Reiki will naturally "kick in" when it is needed and will
continue to flow for as long as the recipient is subconsciously open to
such method is Therapeutic Touch. Like Reiki, it is based on the occultic
chakra system, portrayed as the seven energy centers in the body aligned
with spiritual forces. The seventh chakra identifies with the God-in-all
view. Therapeutic Touch is widely practiced by nurses in clinics and hospitals.
It is seen as a helpful and healing adjunct to nursing care.
If the connection between Reiki healing and other metaphysical practices
can be seen, then we more fully understand why the following quote is one
of the most powerful statements as to the true nature of contemplative
prayer. A Reiki master in the course of promoting the acceptance of this
familiar with the work of ... or the thought of ... [she then listed a
string of notable New Age writers with Thomas Merton right in the center of
them] will find compatibility and resonance with the theory and practices
comes from Buddhism, and as one Merton scholar wrote, "The God he
[Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in
This is why it is so important to understand the connection between the
writings of Richard Foster and Brennan Manning with Merton. Promotion
indicates attachment, and attachment indicates common ground. Something is
terribly wrong when a Reiki master and two of the most influential figures
in the evangelical church today both point to the same man as an example of
their spiritual path. (from chapter 5, A Time of Departing) To
understand more about the connection between Foster, Manning, and Merton,
read A Time of Departing in its entirety.
1."Healing Hands" (New Woman Magazine, March, 1986),
2. William Rand, Reiki: The Healing Touch (Southfield, MI: Vision
Pub.,1991), p. 48.
3. Diane Stein, Essential Reiki (Berkley, CA: Crossing Press, 1995),
4. William Lee Rand, "Reiki, A New Direction" (Reiki News,
Spring 1998, http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/reikinewdir.html, accessed
12/2005), p. 4.
5. Reiki News, Winter, 1998, p. 5.
6. Phylameana lila Desy, The Everything Reiki Book (Avon, MA: Adams
Media, 2004), p.144.
7. Ibid., p. 270.
8. Janeanne Narrin, One Degree Beyond: A Reiki Journey into Energy
Medicine (Seattle, WA: Little White Buffalo, 1998), p.xviii.
9. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum
Publishing , 1996), p. 76.
Click here for More on Reiki
Christian Organizations Falsely Labeled "Hate"
by Linda Harvey
[Another] pro-family organizations was just listed as a "hate"
group on a supposedly objective web site. It might be amusing if it didn't
hurt the reputations of tireless and upstanding Christian groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is based in Montgomery, Alabama, and
originally was a watchdog for racist groups, and I certainly appreciate
this focus. But the group also has a long history of radical left-wing
activism, including more recently, becoming defenders of
"tolerance." By their priorities, though, we are to tolerate
every religion except Christianity. There is to be no criticism of
law-breaking and financially-draining illegal immigrants, because that's
"racism." And homosexuality and transgenderism are to be
considered worthy lifestyles. Those who oppose homosexuality in the public
arena are now automatically suspect.
The SPLC identifies groups they deem as "hate" groups. They
regularly publish hate group lists, and this wouldn't matter if they were
just another goofball leftie group out there. But some law enforcement
agencies use this group's information for their own "watch"
lists, and the SPLC even conducts some "hate crimes" training.
Along with the neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups, they have recently begun
adding others they call "anti-gay." And that's where these
pro-family groups come in. Traditional Values Coalition based in California
is headed by Reverend Lou Sheldon.... TVC is now a so-called
"hate" group listed on the SPLC web site. Click here to read this entire article.
The Election is Over - What About the Department of Peace?
The Shack Author Joins the Ranks of Those Who Deny Substitutionary
a recent radio interview, The Shack author, Paul Young,
told the interviewer he did not hold to the traditional view of the
atonement in that he does not believe Jesus Christ bore the punishment
(i.e., penalty) for man's sins when He died on the Cross (transcript).
He also stated, with regard to this topic: "I don't know if you're
aware, but that's a huge debate that's going on in theology right now
within the evangelical community." That debate, to which Young refers,
is the new theology (or as we call it the new spirituality) that is
entering Christianity through contemplative and emerging figures such as
Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren, and Marcus Borg.
This "huge debate" states that a loving Father would never send
His Son to a violent death on behalf of the sins of others. And while they
do not deny that Jesus did physically die on a Cross, they insist that His
death was not to be a substitutionary act wherein He was punished for our
sins. Rather, they say, He was killed by man, not for man. And he was a
perfect model of sacrificial servanthood. As Episcopal new spirituality author,
Alan Jones, states, "Jesus' sacrifice was to appease an angry God.
Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine" (Reimagining
Christianity, p. 168).
Contemplative proponent Brennan Manning, quoting Catholic mystic William
Shannon, says: "[T]he god who exacts the last drop of blood from his
Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased . . . does not
exist" (Above All, pp. 58-59). Mystic Marcus Borg has this
exact same view. He is opposes the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement
and sees the Cross as merely a metaphor for transformation in the mystical
sense. 1 Brian McLaren shares this view (and indeed resonates
with Borg) when he says that hell and the Cross are "false advertising
for God." 2
The Shack, still at the top of the New York Times Best Seller
list, is being heralded as one of the best Christian books ever. But as
Lighthouse Trails and other concerned ministries have reported in a number of documented articles, The Shack is
not a Christian book, and it should not be packaged, presented, and
promoted as such.
While many who have read The Shack, tout that it has changed their
lives, what these people do not understand is that the book appeals to
people's senses; thus, the book is sensual. And because it makes people
feel good, they assume (wrongly) that it must be from God. But The Shack
is appealing to the carnal man and not the spiritual, and as the Bible
warns, there is a "wisdom [that] descendeth not from above, but is
earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3: 15).
For more information on the denial of substitutionary atonement by Christian
mystics, click here.
Nazarene General Assembly Welcomes Contemplative
Spirituality--Nazarene Pastors WorldWide Invited
spirituality has been coming into the Nazarene denomination for some time
through their seminaries and universities. But this summer, the
mystical-based spirituality will be taking a giant step into the Nazarene
Church at large. The Nazarene Theological Seminary will be presenting a
contemplative retreat to pastors and leaders from around the world who will
be attending the 2009 General Assembly & Conventions in June.
The conference, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, is open to
pastors, leaders, and lay people within the Nazarene Church. A staff member
in the Nazarene General Assembly conference office told Lighthouse Trails
on March 16th that they are expecting from 15,000 to 25,000 attendees from
around the world, some of whom will be non-Nazarenes as all are welcome.
The General Assembly Spiritual Formation Retreat will be
held at San Pedro Center, a Franciscan retreat center the day
before the opening session of the General Assembly conference. And while
concerns over having a Nazarene retreat at a Catholic contemplative
location should stir concern, this report is focusing on one of the six
people who will be leading the retreat, Dr. Alden Sproull. Sproull is
founder and director of the Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation based in
According to his website* (see below), Alden Sproull has
"worked in Contemplative Spiritual Practices for 30 years." The
Kairos Center is "a unique center for spirituality." The website
Kairos is not a religion, but people from
a variety of traditions benefit from the spiritual programs at
Kairos that are not available at traditional religious institutions.
Under "Spiritual Practices," on Sproull's website,
he states: "We need to open ourselves to the presence of God through
regular spiritual practices. In stillness we can feel unity with God."
Sproull says that examples of these spiritual practices can be found on the
"Center for Contemplative Mind in Society"
website, which he links to from his site. An extensive "tree" of
mystical practices are listed, some of which include: centering prayer,
yoga, labyrinth walking, contemplative prayer, building altars, the Jesus
Prayer, lectio divina, mantra meditation, visualization, and chanting. This
site has a lengthy list of Recommended Reading, too many to list in this report. A
few of the titles will illustrate the nature of the site: Breakfast with
Buddha, Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an
Irish Zen Saint, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, Lighting
the Lamp of Wisdom: A Week inside a Yoga Ashram, and Waking Up: A
Week inside a Zen Monastery.
Alden Sproull would not link to this site, if he did not agree with its
overall message, and what Nazarene's may fail to understand is the
underlying interfaith, interspiritual connections that are brought out
clearly in his linking to that site.
While Nazarene universities and seminaries have been embracing
contemplative spirituality for a long time, many of the denomination's
pastors and church members may not have yet been introduced to
contemplative. But with the upcoming contemplative retreat, that may all
change. Clearly, a message is being sent to Nazarenes worldwide that says,
"Contemplative is a worthwhile spirituality that should be
welcomed." As Lighthouse Trails has tried to show through articles and
books, contemplative prayer is a route to mystical interspirituality, which
in its very nature denies the Cross and the Gospel message. We believe the
apostle Paul's admonition in II Thessalonians 2 relates to the growing
interest and adherence to contemplative spirituality within the walls of
Christianity: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day
[Christ's return] shall not come, except there come a falling away
* Alden Sproull's website, Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation is often
offline and cannot be readily accessed. This link, however, will show a cached file of the site.
Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative
Spirituality in No Small Way
Nazarene Superintendent Praises "A Time of
Departing" But Denomination's Schools Sinking into Contemplative
Nazarene Universities Welcome Brian McLaren
Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church Come to
Kansas Through YouthFront and MNU
Ambrose University (CMA & Nazarene) Full Speed into
Magazine Article on Rick Warren's New Magazine
pastor's partners at Reader's Digest aren't worried about readers
being turned off by a Rick Warren overload. On the contrary, they're
counting on his global appeal. "He's a powerhouse," says Alston
in explaining the publisher's decision to take on the new title." -- TIME,
(noun) A biography that idealizes or idolizes the person (especially a
person who is a saint); the writing and critical study of the lives of the
In a March 11, 2009 TIME magazine article titled "Rick Warren's
Magazine: A Publishing Leap of Faith," it describes the next step of
Rick Warren's massive global marketing campaign. Rick Warren has his own
magazine, Purpose Driven Connection, which is compared to Oprah
Winfrey's "O" magazine, which is all about self-promotion for the
well-known New Age TV celebrity. In fact, the same Reader's Digest executive
who launched Oprah's magazine now oversees Rick Warren's magazine.
Commenting that one article on Rick Warren's ventures in Rwanda "veers
toward hagiography," TIME explains:
premiere issue features a softly lit, smiling Warren on the cover (though
his spokesman Larry Ross is quick to make clear that the cover images will
change - "this isn't going to be like O"). Inside, no fewer than
seven articles are written by Warren or his wife Kay.
is significant about the launching of this magazine is that it is to
MEMBERS, not mere customer SUBSCRIBERS. Rick Warren is still following the
PyroMarketing strategy laid out by Greg Stielstra in his book of that
title, which we reviewed in an article series called "The
Dopamine-Driven Church" in 2007 here, here, here, here, here, here,
here and here. Click here to read this entire article.
Rick Warren/Reader's Digest Partnership Targets New
Multi-Million Member Audience
"The First-Ever Catholic-Emergent Conference"
March 20-22, what is being called "the first-ever Catholic-Emergent conference" took
place. The name of the conference is The Emerging Church: Conversations, Convergence and Action.
Spencer Burke, of the Ooze, calls it "one of the magical moments in
this movement of God."1
The event was being erroneously advertised as a meeting of Catholic
and Protestant leaders. Emergent Village states: "[T]his will be the
first gathering to be planned and hosted by a team of Catholic and
Protestant leaders working together for the good of the church at
large."1 The Center for Action and Contemplation (web home of
Catholic priest and contemplative Richard Rohr and host to the event) also
identifies the non-Catholics as "Protestants" and
"Evangelicals." However, the non-Catholic speakers for the
conference would be more accurately described as emerging church leaders.
The reason for this distinction is vital: Many of the leaders in the
emerging church movement do not resonate with some of the most foundational
doctrines of historical Protestantism and Evangelicalism (e.g.,
substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture as
being the inspired word of God), thus it is erroneous for them to be called
Protestant or Evangelical.
Speakers for the 2009 event, on the "emerging" side included
Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, and Phyllis Tickle. Richard Rohr
represented the Catholic side. Rohr's spirituality would be in the same
camp as someone like Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic
Christ) who believes in pantheism and panentheism. Rohr wrote the
foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest
(from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho's book, he describes an
interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism,
and Christianity) worship the same God.
To understand the significance and the ramifications of the ecumenical move
toward Catholicism by key Christian figures, read Roger Oakland's Faith Undone: the emerging church - a new reformation or
an end-time deception.
For information on the teachings and beliefs of the conference speakers,
please refer to Lighthouse Trails Research Project.
Judge Orders Homeschoolers Into Public District Classrooms
By Bob Unruh
A North Carolina judge
has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the
homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to
The children, however, have tested above their grade levels--by as much as
The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one
friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue....
A statement released by a publicist working for the mother, whose children
now are 10, 11 and 12, said Mangum stripped her of her right to decide what
is best for her children's education.
The judge, when contacted by WND, explained his goal in ordering the
children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have
a "more well-rounded education." Click here to read this entire article.
More "Signs of the Times" Articles:
Swat Team conducts food raid in rural Ohio
I Found God in Soviet Russia
More on Family Hit by Swat Team
An Enlightened Race
Creation DVD Touches Hearts of African Refugees
CUSTOMER REVIEW: I
used the God of Wonders DVD in a personal Bible study at the home of
four young Central African refugees who were rescued out of the Gatumba
Burundi massacres. They have only been here 1-1/2 years; just learning
English, and I'm helping to teach them English using the Bible.
We had just begun in Genesis 1 & 2 when I received the DVDs. You should
have seen the faces on these kids when they saw visuals of God's
magnificence! The amazing Hummingbird, the lightning, snowflakes, DNA ...
the lions and animals they were so familiar with from Africa! ... [T]he
visuals were worth a thousand words!! GOD used the beauty of Jim Tetlow's
masterpiece to touch deeply the souls of a precious 6 yr. old little girl,
and three of her five brothers aged 9, 11 & 14. ALL FOUR children made
their profession for Jesus Christ after the 1st two chapters of Genesis
& his DVD ... in spite of the spiritual battle, the enemy may have
thought evil against this project ... BUT GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD, to bring
to pass, as it is this day, to save much people ... Gen 50:20 - C. M.
For more information on God of Wonders DVD, including links
to trailers and sample video clips, click here.
Purging the Memory of Our Christian Roots
favorite book as a child was a Norwegian translation of an old British book
titled "The Wide Wide Word." It tells about a young girl sent to
live with a distant aunt after the death of her mother. Since Ellen had
already learned to trust Jesus, she knew He was with her in the midst of
her dark and lonely surroundings. She saw His love in amazing
ways--especially through a kind young woman who uses every painful hurdle
in Ellen's early life to point her to God's ever--present comforts.
Since my family rarely mentioned God in those days, this book opened my
eyes to His loving sovereignty. It became my life--line to His special
strength during Norway's post-war years. And when we moved to America, it
was the main treasure I brought with me.
Such books may soon be forgotten--banished by a law that prohibits the sale
of children's books published before 1985. The justification for such an
outrageous decree is that the print might contain a tiny amount of lead.
Testing books for lead is prohibitively expensive. According to an article
titled, The New Book Banning, "no
one seems to have been able to produce a single instance in which an
American child has been made ill by the lead in old book illustrations--not
surprisingly, since unlike poorly maintained wall paint, book pigments do
not tend to flake off in large lead-laden chips for toddlers to put into
Could political goals have prompted this specific ban? I don't know. But if
I were a postmodern change agent, I would want to hide old books that
refresh young minds with moral absolutes and the unadulterated memories of
our historical roots. Truth and freedom are incompatible with today's
evolving standards for global solidarity.
Today's Christian books are different. Actual Scriptures are usually
missing, and new marketing schemes have led even Christian publishers to
adapt their books to postmodern demands. Since entertainment is vital to
sales, their new children's books often show silly images of our holy
God--designed to amuse, not show reverence. We seem to have forgotten God's
"I will not let them ... profane My holy name anymore." Ezekiel
"You thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke
you." Psalm 50:21
Nothing speeds America's memory loss faster than its spreading boundaries
for Biblical truth. And it's no accident that today's emphasis on
politically correct tolerance rarely applies to Christians. Click here to read this entire
Gaither Family Fest to Include The Shack Author
and Gloria Gaither will be hosting the 19th annual Family Fest in May and will be featuring The
Shack author William Paul Young. The Gaithers have been a popular
Christian music team for many years. Lighthouse Trails is sorry to see they
will be including The Shack author in this year's event. The
Shack, a fiction story that has been at the top of the New York
Times Best Seller List for 41 weeks, is presented as a Christian book
but has serious New Age implications including the Black Madonna (goddess)
The Gaithers aren't the only popular Christian figures who are promoting The
Shack and labeing it as Christian. Speaker and author Gayle Erwin has
heartily endorsed the book as have singers Michael W. Smith and Wynonna
Judd, and the book is often used in church studies in various denominations.
In Rick Warren's new magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, in the
premier issue, Warren refers to the book as a "notable best-selling
Christian" book (p. 24).
In 2005, the Gaithers held their Gaithers Praise Gathering in which they
invited Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and other emerging church leaders to
be speakers.1. In 2008, at the
Gaither's Fall Festival, Brian McLaren's book, The Secret Message of
Jesus (see Faith Undone for information on that book) was
featured in the Readers Breakfast Club. Gloria Gaither is also on the
Advisory Board for the Spirit and Place Festival, an organization sympathetic
to the "new (age) spirituality." McLaren is a featured
personality in that organization.
The Gaither's promotion of The Shack, Brian McLaren, and Leonard
Sweet are strong indicators that the Gaithers are attracted to emerging
spirituality, and this will no doubt influence many of their followers.
For more on The Shack, click here.
Lighthouse Trails Taking Applications
Trails is currently looking for someone who can work from their home or
office and who is familiar with the Adobe Dreamweaver program. Starting pay
is $15/hour and would entail about 20 hours a month. This person would be
working on our three websites, finding and fixing broken links and creating
new pages. We will provide training for the right person. Must have some
understanding of html code. Please click here to visit our
employment/volunteer page where you will find applications and other
Spanish Edition of Faith Undone
Lighthouse Trails is pleased to announce that the Spanish
edition of Faith Undone
is now available. Sally Arias, our Spanish translator, completed the
translating of LA FE
DESECHADA last Fall. She worked closely with editors
in Columbia to help finish the project. You may order the book
now. It also qualifies for quantity discounts (10 or more) as do all
Lighthouse Trails books.
Click here to order and for a
product description in Spanish.
Lighthouse Trails First Fiction
Lighthouse Trails 1st Fiction -
Castles in the Sand
author Carolyn A. Greene
Retail - $12.95
Softbound 208 Pages
a young Christian college girl named Teresa is introduced by her Spiritual
Formation professor to the writings of a young mystic girl from the 16th
century, Teresa of Avila, the 21st century Teresa's life is dramatically
affected as she plunges into mysticism. As the young girl falls deeper into
the grips of this dark spirituality, a young mysterious man and Teresa's
concerned foster grandfather, who graduated years earlier from the same
school, see what is happening to the young girl, and they make plans to
"fiction with a message" will help readers to see the true nature
behind contemplative spirituality (Spiritual Formation), which has so
quickly pervaded Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities across
Author Bio: Castles in the
Sand is Carolyn Greene's debut book. She has studied the New Age
movement and the contemplative prayer movement for several years. She lives
in Canada with her husband and two children. Carolyn A. Greene is the
authors pen name. Click here to order and for more