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Coming From the Lighthouse

                                                      Printer Friendly Version (click here)     June 9, 2008

In This Issue -

An Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World

Serious Concerns for Focus on the Family's Marriage Conference

Newsweek - Has the Evangelical Manifesto Fizzled Out?

Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion

Town Hall: "Obama Enjoys Support of New Generation of Christian Leaders"

Gay Activist Group to Visit Saddleback on Father's Day

Shaping the Minds of the Youth

Christian Pastor Attends Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change Tour

Announcing Summer 2008 Book Release

Publishing News

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

Book Spotlights

 

 

 

 

Who We Are

Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company. While we hope you will read the books we have published, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, and newsletter.

We pray that the books as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

 

What is Contemplative Spirituality?

definition: 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).

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.

How Widespread Has Spiritual Formation Become? Read our list of ministries that are promoting it. Please pray for the leaders of these groups that their eyes may be opened.

 

Myanmar Update

For the latest updates on Understand the Times orphanages in Myanmar where the recent cyclone hit, please visit Understand the Times website.

 

CONTACTING US

Important Note: If you try to reach Lighthouse Trails through email and do not receive an answer from us within a timely manner, please either re-email your comments or call us. Unexplainably, we do not receive all our email, and some of our email to others does not reach its destination. Phone calling, faxing, and regular mail are the most reliable methods of communication at this time.

 

Using Our Material

Lighthouse Trails Research Project exists as a service to the body of Christ, helping to equip in the defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the biblical Christian faith. While all of our own articles (and books) are copyrighted material, we want the material to be available to be used on other websites, in newsletters, newspapers, on radio, in articles, and in books. Please click here for guidelines to using our material.

Dear articles,


Children are at risk! In public schools, in both Canada and the United States, students are being introduced to eastern-style meditation through Yoga.1 YMCA clubs are offering Yoga, and many television programs for kids make reference to various New Age concepts. Even babies are the target for becoming mystically attuned.2  And just this past spring, Washington state students (as young as 5 years old) were bused in to hear the Dalai Lama and Rob Bell. 3

But it's not just children in the secular world. Children in churches are at risk too. Churches are introducing kids of all ages to Rob Bell's Nooma films (a gateway to the New Age/New Spirituality), 4 and in many mainstream churches, yoga for the whole family is being offered.

Lighthouse Trails has reported on "Children and Meditation" many times. That's because it is serious. And if kids don't get enough influence of eastern mysticism while they are growing up to forever change their spirituality, they very likely will end up in a college that will  finish the job. And that's both secular and Christian. It's no laughing matter.

Last year we reported that Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey was promoting contemplative spirituality.5 And there was the story about an organization called Kids in Ministry where a boy having a kundalini-type episode was filmed at one of the group's meetings.6

Eugene Peterson has a "Bible" in which children are instructed on contemplative meditative techniques. 7 NavPress has hopped on the contemplative bandwagon for kids too in their PrayKids magazine. 8 Even Awanas has been showing interest in contemplative spirituality.9

The list could go on and on. The point we want to make is this. Children need to be warned and watched over. Otherwise, it's almost a sure thing, that they are going to become practitioners to New Age style meditation. Just as any good parent watches over their children to guard them against sexual abuse, so too parents must now do the same in spiritual matters. Gone are the days when parents could send their children off to Sunday School or mid-week youth group, fully confident that all is well. It just might not be so.

Thus, we urge you to equip your children and make sure you know what they are watching on television, what they are being taught in Sunday school, and what they are doing at the local YMCA or youth group. Their spiritual welfare is at risk, and it is our responsibility as parents to protect them.

In the grace of our Lord,

Editors

Lighthouse Trails Research

 

An Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World

by Berit Kjos

Uncompromising Christians are not welcome!

This "[Evangelical] Manifesto" is full of contradictions. While its authors claim to trust the Bible, they flout God's warnings. They claim to exclude no one, yet they redefine and "repudiate" fundamentalists. They claim to speak for themselves, but their message demands global transformation and prophesies disaster if not obeyed. They claim to follow "the narrow way," but they call for a broad, interfaith "framework" (new rules) for participating in the "public square" without offending anyone.

By whose authority did the steering committee draft this new social contract? It's not Biblical! Though it tells us that the Gospel freed us from legalism, it imposes man's rules and restrictions on God's people! That's legalism!

"An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?" Jer. 5:30-31

What is "Common Good" in a Pluralistic world?

The list of names on the Manifesto's Steering Committee and its "Charter Signatories" suggests that this document is a collective effort of Evangelical leaders. But the primary author seems to be Os Guinness. His 2008 book, The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It, is simply a more detailed version of the Manifesto's agenda. We find countless repetitions of phrases such as "common good" in both book and Manifesto.

This "common good" must be negotiated in a "Public Square" -- a global arena where people share their views. To keep their debates "civil," they must learn to appreciate pluralism and seek a "common life" compatible with all beliefs and lifestyles. Peace and unity must be forged through a collective "framework" that provides the social rules for "living together with our deepest differences." The Manifesto summarizes the challenge:

"...what we as Evangelicals lament in the culture warring is not just the general collapse of the common vision of the common good, but the endless conflict over the proper place of faiths in public life, and therefore of the freedom to enter and engage public life from the perspective of faith. A grand confusion now reigns as to any guiding principles...."[1,p.16]
Click here to read this entire article and for access to links and citations.

Serious Concerns for Focus on the Family's Marriage Conference

 Gary Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes and points them to a tantric sex advocate, but still Focus on the Family keeps Thomas for speaking and for his books.

On February 28, 2009, Focus on the Family will present to churches across North America the
"Focus on Marriage" conference in a "LIVE simulcast." Focus has invited Gary Thomas to help train married couples attending the event. Thomas, also strongly promoted by Rick Warren, has several popular books covering topics such as marriage, parenting, and spirituality. Unfortunately, he is a proponent of contemplative prayer.

In his book, Sacred Pathways, Thomas instructs readers:

It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing. (p. 185)

(link to article on meditation) Thomas' contemplative propensities take him (and readers) into an area that could have significant ramifications on countless families. In his book Sacred Marriage (a book that Focus on the Family stands by and sells on their website), Thomas introduces readers to a woman named Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and to her book Conjugal Spirituality. Thomas favorably references Oliver several times throughout Sacred Marriage and also references Oliver on his website in a Sacred Marriage study guide. 1

Who is Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and why should Christians be concerned about Gary Thomas' promotion of this woman's book, Conjugal Spirituality?

On the back of Oliver's book, it states that "[r]eligious practice as we know it today remains, in effect, 'celibate.' Mary Anne Oliver proposes an alternative ... she examines the spiritual dynamics of long-term relationship."

You may be wondering, "What does that all mean?" To put it simply, Oliver believes that sexuality and spirituality go together and that couples are missing out because they have not incorporated the two but rather have practiced what she calls a celibate spirituality. But she is not just talking about spirituality - she is talking about mystical spirituality!

Oliver received her doctorate in mystical theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and her book permeates with her mystical persuasions. She describes her "discomfort" regarding present views on sexuality and religion and says she hunted for answers by talking to monks, going on retreats and even spending an entire ("liturgical") year at Taize, an ecumenical, meditation-promoting community in France. Eventually, she came to identify what she termed "conjugal spirituality" (p. 1).

Oliver says that "negative attitudes" and "walls" toward sex have inhibited people and says: "Although the walls are coming down, the separation of sex and spirituality which has been operative since the 4th century has yet to be completely eliminated" (p. 16).

What exactly is Oliver proposing couples do to remove these "walls"? Very clearly, her message to couples is to turn to mysticism. In dismay, she says that "spiritual counselors and writers" have not begun to teach the "Upanishads [Hindu scriptures] and Tantric writings as the basis for moral theology for couples" and that "[s]ome still refuse to grant that mystical experience can be associated with erotic love" (p. 18). Oliver says that changes in mainstream theology have prepared the way for "the emergence of conjugal spirituality." She adds: "An upsurge of interest in the spiritual life and a renaissance in mystical studies have widened the domain of spirituality" (p. 27).

This mysticism that Oliver encourages is experienced through "bodily exercises" that the couple practice together, "creating one's spiritual space." Listen to some of her instructions in what she describes as "intercourse on all levels of consciousness":

1. "Center 'that whole human reality which some people are beginning to call body mind'" (p.85).
2. "Two basic movements in which each can contact the core energy of the other and experience the enlarging of the oval inhabited by the divine presence" (p. 91).
3. Yin and Yang movements
4. "Concentrate in the stillness and silence" (p. 93).
5. "Center yourselves."
6. "Meditate using the five senses. Experience the circuit of energy circling slowly through the joined bodies" (p. 93).
7. "Focus a few minutes on the breath as a sign of the Spirit's activity within yourself" (p.102).
8. "Repeat name or "I love you" as a mantra" (p. 102).

In Conjugal Spirituality, Oliver talks favorably about mystic Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point and the "Indian Tantric Yoga tradition ... spoken of as kundalini potential energy" (p. 97). She describes public sexual ceremonies in which couples practice "Taoist visualizations and meditations, accompanied by breathing exercises" and talks of "[i]nvoking the gods and goddesses." Oliver says that society may frown on such public displays of sexual mysticism at this time and couples may have to improvise until restrictions are lifted. She says that "sexual union celebrated [is] an eschatological sign of God's kingdom where all will be one" (p. 101).

It is important to realize here that when Gary Thomas read Oliver's book, he resonated with it. This is not guilt by association, but rather guilt by promotion. For those who do not understand the significance of his promotion of Conjugal Spirituality, perhaps a brief lesson in tantric sexuality (an underlying theme in Oliver's book) will help to illustrate it. Ray Yungen explains:

Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual experiences.

Once completely off-limits to the masses of humanity, tantra, like all other New Age methodologies, is now starting to gain increasing popularity. A Google search on the Internet shows 6,600,000 entries for the word tantra! This union of sexuality and Eastern spirituality is a perfect example to illustrate just how much the New Age has permeated our society as it has affected even the most intimate areas of people's lives.

The potential to impact a very great number of people, especially men, was brought out in an article by a sex worker who incorporates "Tantric Bodywork" into her services. She paints a very sad portrait of the dynamics of the "enormous sex industry" in which millions of stressed and unhappy men seek out "erotic release" from women who are just as unhappy and stressed as their clients. She observes that there is a "culturally rampant phenomenon that spouses are disconnected from each other."

To remedy this tragic interplay of exploitation, she has turned to Tantric Union to give her clients what she feels is not just sex but "union with the divine." After she read a book called Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute, she turned her erotic business into a "temple." Of this temple, she says it is:

...dedicated to being a haven of the sacred, a home for the embodiment of spirit, filled with altars, sacred objects, plants, art, dreamy sensual music, blissful scents. My space is home to Quan Yin [a Buddhist goddess], crystals blessed by the Entities of John of God [a Brazilian spirit channeler].

Now the "multitudes of men" who come to her get much more than they bargained for. In the past, wives and girlfriends needed only to worry about sexually transmitted diseases from cheating husbands and boyfriends, but now their men may instead bring home spiritual entities! (from For Many Shall Come in My Name, pp. 115-116)

If Christians begin to incorporate contemplative practices with their sexual lives (a Christian version of tantric sex), the results will be devastating to the church, and we predict sexual perversion will be more rampant than ever. Why? Because if the altered states of consciousness are truly demonic realms (as we believe they are) then tantric sex is another venue of the hidden darkness that Jesus spoke of.

These assertions may sound absurd and far-fetched to some readers, but evidence of the truth of this does exist. For instance, Henri Nouwen (who along with Thomas Merton, is one of the top icons of the contemplative prayer movement), in his last book Sabbatical Journey, candidly revealed how he listened to audio tapes on the seven chakras which is the basis for tantric sex (p. 20). Also in Nouwen's book, he makes mention of his encounter with a mystic named Andrew Harvey, whom Nouwen referred to as his soul friend (spiritual mentor) and how much Harvey's mysticism had touched him (p. 149). And yet Harvey's mysticism includes this tantric element. In a 2007 conference (The International Conference on Sacred Sexuality), Harvey lead a workshop called "Sexual Liberation, Tantra, and Sacred Activism" in which Harvey did:

... show that sexual liberation and Tantra are vital parts of the Divine Mother's plan for the birth of a new humanity, since they make possible a profound and ecstatic contact with what Andrew calls Divine Eros - a tender passionate dynamic love-connection. True Tantric sexuality gives its' practitioners access to extraordinary and unified energies which will form the base of a commitment to Sacred Activism.

In view of Gary Thomas' promotion of mantra meditation in his book Sacred Pathways, it makes perfect sense that he would be quoting from someone like Oliver. But is this really what Focus on the Family wants to give to married couples attending the "Focus on Marriage" conference next February?

It is worth noting here that Focus on the Family shares their affinity over Thomas with Rick Warren, who says of Thomas: "In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary identified nine of the ways people draw near to God." 2 Then Warren names contemplative as one of those. Of Sacred Pathways, Warren says:

Gary has spoken at Saddleback, and I think highly of his work. In this book, Gary encourages readers to understand the unique way in which they relate to God and then he tells them how they can make the most of their spiritual journeys. He places an emphasis on practical spiritual exercises.3

Rick Warren also resonates deeply with Henri Nouwen, which would also make sense given his views of Thomas.

If you are concerned about Focus on the Family's continued promotion of Gary Thomas, please contact them and ask them to reconsider their earlier response when they stated in a letter to us that:

"[T]here is and always has been a strong tradition of contemplative prayer in the Christian church that has nothing to do with mantras and Eastern meditation. To confuse the two, as you have done, is to jump to an unwarranted conclusion based on a misunderstanding of certain features they appear to have in common."4

Those of you who have studied the contemplative issue know how faulty this response is. The contemplative tradition did not start with the biblical saints and apostles but rather a few centuries later with the desert fathers (who drew from those of Eastern religions), and when Focus on the Family says "features they appear to have in common," just what are those features? Either the method or the results. And we know from Gary Thomas, Henri Nouwen, and Mary Oliver McPherson, that it is both.

For those who may have any doubt about what we are saying, please consider this: In Sacred Pathways, Thomas favorably turns to a man named Basil Pennington (pp. 99, 104, 192). Ray Yungen pinpointed Pennington's views when he quoted him in A Time of Departing as saying:

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible ... Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices. (ATOD, p. 64)

Pennington also states:

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

It appears that this is the direction Gary Thomas is heading. The question is, will Focus on the Family and thousands of Christian couples do likewise?

More:
Focus on the Family Answers Lighthouse Trails - Defends Contemplative Author - May 2006 - Letter from Focus on the Family

 

Newsweek - Has the Evangelical Manifesto Fizzled Out?

The Milquetoast Manifesto

from Newsweek magazine

What if the evangelicals wrote a manifesto and nobody cared? It was supposed to be a decisive document, a credo that unified American evangelicals around the Christian principles that form the foundations of their faith. It would restore to American evangelicals a sense of mission and history--giving them permission to look beyond party politics for their values while at the same time urging them to be orthodox and ethical in their lives and in the world. Instead, "An Evangelical Manifesto" was released three weeks ago to almost no fanfare.
Click here to read the rest.

Related:
An Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World

Deepak Chopra Comments on Evangelical Manifesto

Decoding the Evangelical's Manifesto for Global Ecumenism

 

Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion

LTRP Note: Several years ago, Warren Smith, author of Deceived on Purpose, wrote an article about the Holy Laughter movement. Because of what is taking place at the Todd Bentley "revival," we are presenting Smith's article.

"Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion"
by Warren Smith

I watched the video again. It was entitled Signs and Wonders Camp meeting 1994. Pastors of huge charismatic churches were stumbling around the church stage "drunk" with "holy" laughter. Wanting to testify to the fact that "holy" laughter had transformed their ministries and their lives, many of them were unable to speak when called on to do so. But their "drunken" condition became their testimony. Their halting speech was seen as "proof" of the "power of the spirit" that had come over them. The congregation roared in approval as pastor after pastor laughed uncontrollably and then fell to the floor. Standing alongside the "drunken" pastors was evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, the self described "Holy Ghost bartender" who was serving up this "new wine" of "holy" laughter. Many Christians today believe that Howard-Browne is God's appointed channel for imparting joy and revival to the end-times church. Other Christians see Howard-Browne as a false prophet who is inflicting great damage to the body of Christ....

[W]hen I talked with several members of the San Francisco Vineyard congregation I was told how hundreds of people were getting "hit" with "revival"--how some people were getting so "soaked in the spirit" they would lose consciousness for up to several hours after falling to the ground with "holy" laughter. The Vineyard members described "holy" laughter unqualifiedly as "awesome" and definitely "the work of the Lord."

I learned that their Vineyard pastors had recently flown to a Vineyard church in Toronto where God had reportedly "touched down" and where "revival" had "broken out." The San Francisco pastors participating in the Toronto "revival" had then "brought it back" to San Francisco. It seemed that one of the characteristics of "holy" laughter is that it can be easily transferred from one person to another through the laying on of hands. Thus the Toronto "revival" had now "spread" to San Francisco. Nightly meetings were now being held at the San Francisco Vineyard to accommodate the streams of people wanting to get "touched" by this "move of God."

Within weeks of my visit to Vineyard I happened to catch a program on "holy" laughter on a local Christian TV station. The panel of guests were enthusiastically discussing "holy" laughter and endorsing it unquestioningly as a latter days "outpouring" of God's Holy Spirit. Comparing "holy" laughter to the "work" of the Spirit at Pentecost, they were convinced that "holy" laughter was completely authentic. They equated "holy" laughter with the biblical notion of joy. As far as they were concerned "holy" laughter was the "joy of the Lord." Scriptural references to joy were cited; testimonies were given; songs were sung; and by the end of the program I felt like I had just watched a one hour info-mercial on "holy" laughter.
Click here to read this entire article.

To read more about "Holy Laughter," "Latter Rain," "Kingdom Now," and "Word-Faith," movements, read The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves -- One man risked all to find the truth and to save his family.

 

Town Hall: "Obama Enjoys Support of New Generation of Christian Leaders"

Out-of-house news source

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
Town Hall

Younger Christian leaders are picking new causes; many are joining the Obama bandwagon as it crosses America, and their elders are not impressed....

With the evangelical leaders who fought against abortion -- and for protection of the institution of marriage -- now retiring and dying, a void is beginning to appear. Just like a little wooden boat floating downstream, many evangelical Christians are adrift in new swift currents of a "social gospel." ...

Respected researcher Berit Kjos aptly explains the changes: "God calls us to serve the poor and fills our hearts with love for the needy. That's why His true followers around the world have willingly given their lives to share His truth and love in perilous places. But today's world-centered church illustrates a different kind of service. Designed to please man rather than God, it trains its servers to hide the 'offensive' truths of the gospel."

"Like Rick Warren," Kjos says, "it uses the Bible to validate its purposes but emphasizes organizational behavior rather than Biblical beliefs -- in short, deeds instead of creeds. Behind its noble appearance hides a postmodern version of the century-old 'Christian Socialism.'"
Click here to read this entire news story.

Related Stories:

Obama Foreshadows Coming Spirituality

Spiritual Politics by Warren Smith

Meditation: The Heartbeat of a New Kind of Politics

Exclusive: Obama Discusses Faith and Politics

The Red Three-Legged Stool by Herescope

 

Gay Activist Group to Visit Saddleback on Father's Day - A Personal Note 

LTRP Note: We believe that God loves the whole world. We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior. We also believe the homosexual lifestyle is not compatible with biblical Christian living and that God makes this very clear in His Word.

On Father's Day Weekend (June 13-15), Rick Warren's church will be visited by the American Family Outing, a project hosted by the gay activist group SoulForce. According to the website, "diverse families from around the country will create meaningful conversations about faith, family, and LGBT people." These "meaningful conversations" will take place at six mega churches, two of which are Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Church. The first of these six visits began with Joel Osteen's church on Mother's Day and the last one will end on Father's Day at Saddleback.

In regard to the visit to Saddleback on June 15th, according to one article, "Gay dads celebrate Father's Day with Rick Warren, author of 'The Purpose Driven Life,'" "a group of LGBT and straight-ally families will spend their holiday in a way that is both extraordinary and profoundly commonplace: they will attend services at Saddleback Church . . . The following day, the families will join leaders from Saddleback Church for a private meal and conversation."

Soulforce states that the goal for the road trip is "[t]o begin a process of changing hearts and minds in today's largest mega-churches . . . to educate the national public through the media on the issues of faith, family, and sexuality."1 Soulforce says that pastors like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels are more "pragmatic and politically sophisticated" than leaders like the late Jerry Falwell and James Kennedy and ones like James Dobson. Calling Rick Warren and Hybels "emerging leaders" of a new generation, they hope the road trip can persuade Warren, Hybels and the other four mega-church pastors to drop their stereotyping of homosexuals, who in the past have each called the practice of homosexuality a sin. Soulforce would like to see that kind of talk end. "Through our visibility we hope to peacefully challenge the false stereotypes about LGBT [Lesbian/Gay/Bi-Sexual/Transgendered] people and same-gender families, and educate the public through authentic and personal conversations," says Soulforce. The visits will include spending time in worship together, a private forum for "personal and direct interaction and dialogue," and some sort of meal together."

In view of the Soulforce event and the enormous changes taking place in our society (and the church), we are posting this November 2006 article again. See below:

"Ted Haggard Story Will Raise Serious Questions For All"
from November 2006

Last week's exposure of evangelical leader, Ted Haggard, is going to bring a lot of questions to the surface. Gay rights activists, the secular media, and many others are going to say, "See, why should we ban homosexual marriages? Even the Christians do it. Why should we say it is wrong? And why should we even become Christians? They are no different." And is it any wonder that non-Christians will ask these questions? As they see it, Christians accept (and are often even a part of) homosexuality, homosexual unions, homosexual religious leaders, pedophile priests and pastors, etc. But regardless of the news of Ted Haggard's secret lifestyle, and in spite of increased acceptance of homosexuality, even among much of evangelicalism, the practices of homosexuality and pornography are harmful, and they destroy families and society.

I would like to tell you a story about a Christian family and what homosexuality and pornography did to them. It is a true story. Catherine was 25 years old and pregnant when her husband deserted her and their children. He was gone for two years, having utterly abandoned his family. Then one day, he showed up, but with him came a secret so great and so horrible and one Catherine would not learn about for three long years. In the end, the innocence of her children was ripped out of their lives-for at the hands of their own father, they were subjected to the abuses of a homosexual pedophile and used to make money through a father's immoral means. After a conviction in court that should have given these children and this mother assurance of future safety but instead offered neither, Catherine had no choice but to take her children and go into hiding in another country.

What does homosexuality and pornography do to families? Add to that the victimization of children, which is often the case, and you have the ingredients to destroy a society. Throw in drugs and New Age mysticism... and you have little to hold on to. While everyone, both Christian and non-Christian alike, have their thoughts and opinions about Ted Haggard and the implications of this situation, let us remember that homosexuality and pornography destroy. How do I know? I am Catherine, and my story, Laughter Calls Me, is the story of my own children. In reading about Ted Haggard, I decided to come forth with the hope that some child or some family might be spared the suffering that mine and countless others have experienced.

Today, all eyes are on Ted Haggard for his indescribable actions, but we must look further than just this one man. Christian leaders, as a whole, have been walking in deception and sin for some time, and they have bankrupted the Christian church at the price of truth, and souls have been lost because of it. I pray there will be judgment in the house of the Lord - that the sexual perversions, the mysticism, the New Age, the over zealous marketing and deceptions will be eradicated and the true body of Christ will shine through (even though Jesus said the world will hate us - did the leaders forget that part?)

As leaders like Rick Warren have contacted us at Lighthouse Trails, and as I have seen first hand their efforts to defend themselves and cover up the truth, I have wondered why they should still be called the leaders of the church. And then I realized, the true body of Christ is not made up of leaders that compromise, deceive and preach false doctrines that the Bible warns about.

The true body of Christ has one leader, and He is a powerful - yet loving, a righteous - yet compassionate God. And He is the only way of salvation - there is absolutely no other way. As opposed to the religions of the world, with Christ we cannot earn salvation; He gives it freely. While we have all sinned and equally need forgiveness from him, and while we do sin and need to go daily to Him in humility and confession, we cannot abide in sin if He lives in us. And He will live in the repentant soul who humbles himself and asks Jesus Christ to be Lord of his live.

Saved by His grace,
Catherine Brown
author of Laughter Calls Me

"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." I John 1:5-10

 

Shaping the Minds of the Youth

by Roger Oakland

In the late 1960s, two youth workers in their twenties, Mike Yaconelli and Wayne Rice (who happened to be working for Youth for Christ at the time), wanted to change the way youth ministry was viewed and approached. They self-published a small booklet called Ideas, began talking to senior pastors and churches, and in 1970 held their first conference. They called the company Youth Specialties. Interestingly, the late theologian Francis Schaeffer attended their second annual conference.1 Schaeffer would be very surprised if he had known that thirty years down the road this young, sprouting organization would become one of the major catalysts for the emerging church movement.

Just a few years after Youth Specialties was launched, Zondervan publishers took notice of the two men's work:

Youth Specialties' passion for youth workers caught the attention of Zondervan Publishing House in 1974. Zondervan came to YS and said, "You guys are weird and unpredictable. We want to put your books in bookstores," recalls Mike. Zondervan was very Dutch, very Grand Rapids, very conservative--but hey, they believed in our mission!2

Zondervan's interest in Youth Specialties would only increase, and over the next thirty years, the two companies would publish over 500 resources for youth workers. It is worth mentioning that Zondervan became the property of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1988. Murdoch's corporation, also owner of Fox News, has been a major catalyst for Purpose Driven Life and now, we see, for the emerging church through Zondervan. This is significant in light of Rick Warren's relationship with Murdoch. Warren says he is Murdoch's pastor;3 it is clear that both he and Youth Specialties benefited from a corporation that had a net profit of 21 billion dollars for the 2004 fiscal year,4 and whose founder (Murdoch) received a "papal knighthood" from Pope John Paul II for Murdoch's donation of "large sums of money" to the Catholic church.5
In 1984, as Youth Specialties grew and its circle of influence spread across the country, Zondervan signed a co-publishing agreement with Youth Specialties. Eventually, there was the National Youth Workers Convention, the National Pastors Convention, and another 100 seminars throughout the year around the country.

Twelve years later, Youth Specialties partnered with San Francisco Theological Seminary to form the Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project.6 The following year, the young organization was awarded a grant by the Lilly Endowment.7* By this time, Youth Specialties had contacted the new emergent leaders and said they wanted to work together. Sharing many of the same spiritual affinities as Emergent, Youth Specialties hoped to help take the movement to the next level with more books, more conferences, and more growth.

In 2006, Zondervan bought Youth Specialties.8 After the purchase, Zondervan made a commitment that it would continue its support of the emerging leaders.

While Zondervan's role in helping build the emerging church movement cannot be minimized, it is not the only Christian publisher that has added force to the movement. In fact, most major Christian publishing houses have released at least a few books written by emerging church leaders or books that have an emerging spirituality bent to them.

The secular publishing industry has also played a significant part in the emerging church's tremendous success in getting their message out. In 1996, Leadership Network established a partnership agreement with Jossey-Bass (a large San Francisco-based publishing house), which would turn out to be most beneficial for both parties.9 Incidentally, Jossey-Bass had a close ongoing relationship with Peter Drucker, who sat on the Jossey-Bass board, and his Leader to Leader Journal is to this day published by Jossey-Bass.

Through this strong-arm publishing alliance of Jossey-Bass and Leadership Network, the handful of carefully selected young men (Young Leaders Network) began writing books, and with the Drucker/Buford marketing energies, these young emerging leaders became known world-wide in just a few years, so much so, that in 2005, Time magazine named Brian McLaren one of the country's top 25 "Most Influential Evangelicals."10

In addition to numerous books being published by the Jossey-Bass Leadership Network series, several conferences have taken place that have further propelled this movement. The secular Mother Jones magazine took notice of the young emergent movement and its benefactors, stating:

Postmoderns receive crucial support--financial and otherwise--from the mega churches. These postmodern ministries are loosely organized by the Leadership Network, a Dallas-based umbrella group for many of the nation's mega churches. It's the Leadership Network that keeps Driscoll's bohemian Mars Hill ministry in touch with the fast-growing, but more traditional, University Baptist Church in Waco by holding conferences and seminars. For the past three years the network has sponsored national conferences that bring together postmodern leaders.11

There is little doubt that the emerging church movement would not be what it is today without the zeal, backing, and efforts of Leadership Network, Rupert Murdoch, Jossey-Bass, Youth Specialties, Willow Creek, Peter Drucker, Rick Warren, Zondervan publishing, and the Lilly Endowment.

Bob Buford has stated that, "A few men can make a huge difference," and he adds, "[I]t has become my firm conviction that the way to affect multitudes is to Focus on the Few."12 With such a stealth backing, I can see why this would be true. But if these "Few" are preaching a different gospel, the "affect" on the "multitudes" could produce a terrible falling away from the faith.
If such a process does occur, what will it look like? Will it happen overnight, or will there be a seductive alluring over time? Will the youth be targeted? And what will happen to those who warn about this seduction? Will they be considered out of touch and narrow-minded, holding back new frontiers and tides of change?

For Christianity to be restructured, a spiritual paradigm shift of a magnificent strength and clever strategy would have to take place. It would have to involve all denominations, even ones that were once biblically based. While humans will carry out this shift, we know the Bible teaches that the battle we face is not against flesh and blood and that there is an evil one "which deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). When man turns his back on what the Lord has said, nothing good can come from it:

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. (Jeremiah 17:5-6)(From Faith Undone, chapter 2)

* In 2001, the Lilly Endowment awarded Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project another even bigger grant--$691,000.

Notes:
1. Youth Specialties' 30th Anniversary: http://www.youth specialties.com/about/30th.
2. Ibid.
3. Malcolm Gladwell, "How Rick Warren Built His Ministry" (New Yorker, September 12, 2005, http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/article.asp?ArtID=9636).
4. "News Corporation: Earnings Release for the Quarter and Fiscal Year Ended June 30th 2004," accessed online at http://www.newscorp.com/Report2004/2004_annual_report.pdf.
5. Steve Boggan, "Catholic anger at Murdoch's papal knighthood" (The (London) Independent, February 17, 1998).
6. From the Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project website: http://www.ymsp.org/about/history.html.
7. "Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project Receives Major Grant," (Youth Specialties News, January 11, 2001).
8. Press release from Zondervan, Tara Powers, "Leading Christian Publisher Zondervan Acquires Ministry Organization Youth Specialties" (May 2, 2006).
9. "Leadership Network's Top-Selling Books and Why" (Leadership Network Advance, November 2005, http://www.pursuant group.com/leadnet/advance/nov05s2a.htm).
10. "25 Most Influential Evangelicals" (Time, February 7, 2005).
11. Lori Leibovich, "Generation: A look inside fundamentalism's answer to MTV: the postmodern church" (Mother Jones, July/August 1998).
12. From Bob Bufor'’s website: http://www.activeenergy.net/templates/cusactiveenergy/details.asp?id=29646&PID=207455.

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There's Something About Lilly

 

Christian Pastor Attends Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change Tour - What He Witnessed

by Pastor Jeffery Whittaker

We've all heard it said: "The more things change, the more they remain the same." The Bible says it another way in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10:

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us. "

I found that the essence of these statements are still proving to be axiomatic after my experience at the "Everything Must Change" conference held at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana with emergent church leader Brian McLaren. I sat through session after session listening to the emergent "gospel"; complete with medieval chants and choruses of despair, apologies to the Native American Indians of the St. Joseph River Valley, as well as to "Mother Earth" for scarring her through our mining and oil drilling operations. The sarcasm with which traditional Scriptural positions were discussed, coupled with repeated swipes at Christians who were (in McLaren's opinion) waiting to be "snatched away," "evacuated," or "beamed up," brought one particular Scripture passage constantly to my heart and mind.
Click here to read this entire article.

 

Announcing Summer 2008 Book Release: Things We Couldn't Say

Lighthouse Trails Presents:

Things We Couldn't Say by Diet Eman - August 2008

This is the true story of Diet Eman, a young Christian woman who joined the Christian resistance movement in the Netherlands during WWII. Together with her fiancé and other Dutch men and women, "Group Hein" risked their lives to save the lives of Jews who were in danger of becoming victims of Hitler's "final solution."

Things We Couldn't Say is an endearing and moving love story that occurs in the midst of extreme danger and often unbearable circumstances and loss. Before the war ends, Eman, her fiancé, and several in their group are arrested and sent to concentration camps - many of them lose their own lives.

This story will help us remember a time in history that should not be forgotten and will inspire us to live more courageously and stand for what is right, doing so by the power and grace of God. Things We Couldn't Say is a powerful illustration of II

Corinthians 12:9, which states: "And he [the Lord] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."


Things We Couldn't Say
ISBN 978-0-9791315-7-8
Retail $14.95, 352 pages
August 2008
PRE-ORDER TODAY

 

Publishing News


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BOOKSTORES MAY ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS OR FROM INGRAM OR SPRINGARBOR.

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SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BOOKS:

Lighthouse Trails Publishing now has sample chapters available online for most of the books we publish. We believe you will find each of these books to be well-written, carefully documented, and worthwhile. Click here to read some of the chapters.

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Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

If you would like to receive the Coming from the Lighthouse newsletter in print form by mail, please send an email to newsletters@lighthousetrails.com. Be sure and include your mailing address in the email. We will be issuing a printed newsletter several times a year for those who prefer that over the email edition or for some reason need both.

 

 Both email and printed editions will be free.

 

Book Spotlights

 

Book Spotlights

These two important books expose the truth about contemplative spirituality, spiritual formation, and the new age.
A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My Name

HOLOCAUST: LEST WE FORGET
A true story that will change your life and challenge your faith ..

"Will sweep you into 1930s Germany and back with your faith intact ... [Trapped in Hitler's Hell] carries a stark message for today's Western Christian ... will refocus your priorities and recharge your spiritual life."-Leo Hohmann, Read entire review at The Messianic Times   Trapped in Hitler's Hell

See all books and DVDs on the Holocaust

The Other Side of the River by Alaskan Kevin Reeves  

When mystical experiences and strange doctrines overtake his church, one man risks all to find the truth ... a true story. Read more about this important book, especially now in light of the Todd Bentley "revival" in Florida.

Find out the truth about the emerging church and the avenues through which it is entering Christianity.

Faith Undone by Roger Oakland

Find out more about the book that tells it like it is.

 

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