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July 17, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
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As the world watches on in fear and anxiousness over what is currently taking place in the Middle East, let us pray that the body of Christ throughout the world will continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are spiritually lost. Perhaps more now than any time in history, the purity of that gospel message is being attacked and challenged, and yet it is in that very message that salvation can be found. Jesus made that clear when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Contemplative/emerging spirituality began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent (Satan) said to Eve, You will be like God, and later in Isaiah 14 when he said, I will be like the most High God. This is actually the premise of the New Age in that all paths lead to God as well as all humanity has Divinity within. Because contemplative/emerging spirituality is now influencing most well-known Christian leaders and countless ministries, churches and organizations, we as believers must continue to speak up and warn about this belief system which ultimately rejects the gospel and prohibits it from being preached.

"And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:42-43)

"50 Most Influential Churches" - Many Promoting Contemplative
 
This month The Church Report (both an online and hard copy magazine) posted a "50 Most Influential Churches" list. The list was compiled from a 2006 survey of over 2000 non-Catholic leaders. The number one spot fell to Willow Creek (Bill Hybels) with Saddleback (Rick Warren) following at number two. This means that the two most influential churches (according to this survey) are promoters of contemplative spirituality.

Many others of the 50 named also fall within this category. Some of those include:

#3 North Point Community Church (Pastor Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley)
#4 Fellowship Church (Pastor Ed Young, Jr.)
#7 Life Church (Pastor Craig Groeschel)
#12 Mosaic Church (Pastor Erwin McManus)
#17 Mars Hill Bible Church (Pastor Rob Bell)
#18 Capo Beach Calvary (Pastor Chuck Smith, Jr.)
#22 Mars Hill Church (Pastor Mark Driscoll)
#40 Calvary Church Fort Lauderdale (Pastor Bob Coy)
#45 Menlo Park Park Presbyterian (Pastor John Ortberg)
#46 Oak Hills Church (Pastor Max Lucado)
#48 Wooddale Church (Pastor Leith Anderson)

Through our research, we have discovered that many, not all, of the other pastors and churches on this list also promote contemplative and/or emerging spirituality. Many of the 50 are part of and participating in the "new evangelicalism" that approaches Christianity from a business viewpoint with strong New Age affinities. If indeed this list by The Church Report is an accurate estimation of influential churches, it is a valid statement to say that Christendom is now in some very troubled waters, both in North America and around the world.

Lighthouse Trails believes that real godly influence should be attributed to the many unrecognized Christian pastors throughout the world who have stayed true to the Word of God and faithfully preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. These shepherds of the body of Christ do not compromise truth with church-growth, seeker-friendly, Purpose-Driven and New Age practices. These are the pastors (and their churches who support them) who should be honored. They are the ones who will stand against the seducing spirits and doctrines of demons that will usher in that false "coming one" who opposes and hates Jesus Christ - the only name in which salvation lies.


Note: Regarding The Church Report, please read the following - On the staff page of the website, there is an array of staff members, editors and writers. The list is lengthy and includes Ken Blanchard, Robert Schuller, Dr. Phil, Beverly LaHaye, Chuck Colson, Paul Crouch, Mark Driscoll, Brian McLaren, and Luis Palau. Because of the New Age and contemplative persuasions of some of the writers, we hope readers will use much discernment when reading this monthly church report. The magazine was mentioned and linked to in a recent Rick Warren pastors.com newsletter.

Popular Bible Website Begins
Spiritual Formation Project

 

Bible.org is a popular and well-visited website that began in 1995 to "leverage the Internet as a powerful new force in Christian ministry." According to the website, Bible.org "has grown to serve millions of individuals around the world through providing thousands of trustworthy resources for Bible study." However, the ministry's newly launched Spiritual Formation project has concerned many who use the site to find resources. The new project's motto is "Journeying together along a path of spiritual transformation," and is currently featuring the materials of Bill Hull.

Hull's most recent book, Choosing Life: Exploring a Faith That Embraces Discipleship, has a foreword written by Dallas Willard and a back cover endorsement by Brian McLaren. In addition, Hull tells readers to "study and practice the Spiritual Disciplines, listing Eugene Peterson, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Soren Kierkegaard and Francis de Sales as beneficial authors to read. Hull instructs readers to practice lectio divina and says to "explore new vistas of the devotional life that we as evangelical's have missed (p. 218)." The book is filled with quotes by and favorable references to Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, John Ortberg and other contemplatives.

On Hull's website, he says we must "redefine what it means to be a Christian," quoting Brian McLaren as saying we should "spend the next 15-20 years asking the question, 'what is the gospel?'" Hull's two-year Choose the Life program offers resources which include Brian McLaren's, A New Kind of Christian and Dallas Willard's Spirit of the Disciplines.

In a Bible.org article, written by Ken Boa and titled "An Introduction to Sacred Reading, Boa gives a detailed and lengthy discourse in the use of lectio divina, explaining that it was introduced John Cassian. Boa says that while the practice of lectio divina died out over the centuries it was restored by people like Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating. Boa refers favorably to a number of mystics (i.e., contemplatives) in his article and quotes Merton as saying, "It is much better to desire God without being able to think clearly of Him, than to have marvelous thoughts about Him without desiring to enter into union with His will." This is similar to Brennan Manning, who exhorts readers to stop thinking about God during the time of prayer.

On Bible.org, Bill Hull states:

Something is happening, there is a new movement emerging in the land.... There is a call going out, "Dive, Dive, lets go deep with God." The academy calls it spiritual formation, others spiritual direction, practitioners refer to it as discipleship. Leaders are traveling to and fro in order to conduct summitry about it.

Unfortunately, this "traveling to and fro" is resulting in a complete New Age infiltration of Christendom. It appears that Bible.org has jumped on board and is doing their part to help multitudes of people "dive in."



 

 20 Million in the Emerging Church?
 

Chicago: According to a CBS report, there may be as many as 20 million participants in the emerging church. The report says that Generations X and Y are looking for a religion that is like something out of the 60s. One pastor quoted called it "a new reformation," while another said its "just finding a new set of answers, a different way of being Christians." What the report failed to say however, is that nearly all of the emerging church leaders (those who have influence with their books and teachings: Bell, Pagitt, McLaren, Jones, etc.) promote contemplative spirituality in a significant manner.

But if the 20 million figure is even close to right, this would make the emerging church the largest single denomination or religious movement in the US, roughly comparable to the Southern Baptist Convention. And if those figures are true then the largest and most dynamic movement within Christianity is heading in a New Age direction (labyrinths, centering prayer, etc.). And with influential leaders like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels promoting and encouraging the emerging church, many more millions may be added to that number.


View the video or read the CBS report on the Emerging Church. 

WARNING: West Coast Youth Conference Will Promote Contemplative Spirituality
 

Parents, who are considering sending their teens to the BNYC (Brethren National Youth Conference), should think twice about this. While the conference will include speakers like Ray Comfort and Josh McDowell, it will also offer a variety of contemplative resources and teachings to the teens. The links below show some of the concerns.

1. (Triple Trax - group 2 is teaching the spiritual disciplines) "The Climb will encourage students in their spiritual growth to adopt spiritual disciplines."

2. offering emerging teacher, Don Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz "A remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God."

3. Youth Workers Resources: (This list includes Youth Specialties, Group Publishing, and Relevant Mag, all of which promote, endorse, and teach contemplative, emerging and Eastern style practices and beliefs. (See our research on Youth Specialties.)

This event is being held at a university (Biola) that partners with Richard Foster and Larry Crabb in the Spiritual Formation Forum. In addition, Biola’s Institute of Spiritual Formation teaches contemplative spirituality. See Biola, What Ever Happened? The conference is offering a resource to parents called www.cpyu.org, which has numerous connections to contemplative and emerging.

Note: We received a phone call on Friday from a concerned parent who told us that during the Triple Trax session, youth will be taken to both a Buddhist temple and a Moslem mosque.

It is our hope that Ray Comfort and Josh McDowell will warn teens attending the conference not to participate in any of the contemplative sessions.



 

Wesleyan Church Corporation Offers
Contemplative Retreats

 

HolyNext is a two-day spiritual formation retreat, which is offered by the Wesleyan Church. The ministry website is owned by the Wesleyan Church Corporation and was created last year. Mottos such as "Be Still" and "New Blessings from Ancient Practices" flash across the pages of the site, while spiritual disciplines are offered as a way to be "recharged in the presence of God."

Dr. Keith Drury (featured on HolyNext and a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University) writes "extensively on spirituality." His newest book is titled With Unveiled Faces ... Experience Intimacy with God Through Spiritual Disciplines. Drury also wrote a book for a series called the Lectio Divina Bible Studies.

 World Vision and Wycliffe Bible Translators Sponsor Contemplative-Promoting Festival
 Cornerstone Festival (July 2006) offers a labyrinth, contemplative "prayer rhythms" and more.

On July 4th through 8th, Cornerstone Festival (a ministry of Jesus People USA) took place. Sponsors of the event included World Vision and Wycliffe Bible Translators. The event offered a prayer labyrinth and "contemplative journeys of prayer." In addition, the festival offered an Imaginarium titled Days of the Dead. (Caution: Young children should not view this link.)

The festival also presented The Burning Bush Program, which offers labyrinths and "Mystical Art Soup ... helping young people identify and develop their gifts in the arts."

The question must be asked, what were World Vision and Wycliffe Bible Translators thinking when they agreed to sponsor this event? With seminars on Celtic Monasticism, Kierkegaard's Relevance to the Contemporary Church, Martial Arts and Missions, and The Revolutionary Way of Christ: Toward a Postmodern Christology, it would be difficult to mistake this for anything other than a promotion for contemplative and emerging spiritualities with overtones in the occult.

Willow Creek To Teach Breath Prayer at
Saturday Workshops

 The teacher helped with a book by
contemplative Ruth Haley Barton.


A Willow Creek project called The Practice ("gathering of those interested in pursuing spiritual transformation") will be presenting various workshops starting this fall. The session called Prayer (scheduled for March 2007) "will be teaching on Breath Prayer, an ancient and helpful form of prayer." The teacher for this workshop is Darlene Strieff. Streiff is listed in John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton's study guide, Ordinary Day with Jesus, as a volunteer who supported the development of the book. Ortberg and Barton's book promotes contemplative, and each session of that book lists "Additional Resources." If readers read some of these recommended resources, they will get more than a hearty helping of contemplative, emerging and panentheistic writings. Take for instance, the recommended books for session one, "Living in Jesus' Name": Three out of five resources are from contemplative authors, including Tilden Edwards, founder of the panentheistic Shalem Institute. Session four, "Leadings," lists contemplative-promoting Dallas Willard and Thomas Kelly (who says that within all human beings there is a "Divine Center"). The majority of these "Additional Resources" are books by contemplatives and include Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, Brother Lawrence and more of Nouwen and Tilden Edwards.

For more information on breath prayers:

Breath Prayer - Not Biblical Prayer

Christians Should Dump Contemplative Prayer

ISRAEL IN THE NEWS TODAY
 

Arab countries and Israel
Green: Arab Countries; Red: Israel

The following links are provided to give you up to date news and commentary on the current crisis in Israel.

BOOK NEWS ... From Lighthouse Trails
 "The rise of centering prayer is causing many churches to become agents of transformation. Those who practice it tend to embrace this one-world-religion idea." - Ray Yungen, 1991

  New Edition     New Edition For Many Shall Come in My Name As you may already know, Lighthouse Trails Publishing has been carrying Ray Yungen's first book, For Many Shall Come in My Name, since we became his publisher in 2002 and published his book, A Time of Departing. For Many Shall Come in My Name was published in 1991, and when we met Ray, there were about 3000 copies still in print.

Those copies are now gone, with the exception of about 45 copies. This year we signed a contract with Ray and have become the new publisher for the book. We are happy to announce that we will be coming out with a new, revised and expanded, edition in March 2007.

I first read the book in 2001 when I met Ray and found it astounding back then. Recently I began reading it again and in light of what I know now about the contemplative prayer movement, I am amazed at this book. The very things Ray discussed 15 years ago in the book about the New Age movement, including the Ancient Wisdom, have now entered Christendom full force in the name of Spiritual Formation, contemplative prayer, Purpose Driven and the Emerging Church.

You may wish to read this excerpt to see why we think this book is an important one in understanding the New Age movement and new spirituality that has entered the church.


A true story that will challenge your faith and remind you ... it could happen again.

Trapped in Hitler's Hell

 

 

 

 

 

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