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Coming From the Lighthouse

                                                  Printer Friendly Version (click here)   September 3, 2008

In This Issue -

Obama: Grew Up with "the Bible and the Koran" - Believes Many Paths Lead to God

Student Concerned Over Biola's Contemplative/Emerging Focus

Darwin. From Physics to Metaphysics

Divination Finds Further Expression in the Evangelical Church

Book Review on Faith Undone

Contemplative Conferences Coming Your Way

Kjos Ministries Excerpts on Things We Couldn't Say

New York Teachers Learn Yoga to Enhance Classroom

Christian Resistance Book - A Must Read

Important New Series on the Emerging Church

Publishing News

Newsletter in Print

Book Spotlights

 

 

Quick Links

 

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Obama: Grew Up with "the Bible and the Koran" - Believes Many Paths Lead to God

The The Faith of Barack Obama written by New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield was released in August by Thomas Nelson publishers. The book carries the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the front cover. Tutu, one of the global "Elders," calls the book "perceptive and well-written." The publisher's description of the book reads:

. . . takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama--as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief.

Mansfield, says: "If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life."

According to Mansfield, Obama is "raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow."

Recently, when Obama was interviewed by Rick Warren, Obama told Warren that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Yet this "banner" Obama raises is one that has an interspiritual foundation, representing a new kind of "Christianity," one that looks more like Brian McLaren's spirituality than traditional, biblical Christianity.

What emerges from this book is a glimpse of a man who has New Age philosophy, believing that other religions are legitimate paths to God, and all humanity is connected together (spiritually speaking - i.e., God is in all):

Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. "I am rooted in the Christian tradition," he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, "I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people." He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. "In our household," he has explained, "The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites." (p.55 of Mansfield's book, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203).

After his interspiritually-based upbringing, Obama later spent twenty years in a church, which promotes the panenthestic (God in all), interspiritual approach. In a 2006 article in United Church News, Obama stated that the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ), of which he was a member (Trinity United Church of Christ) until recently, are "foundation stones for his political work." Just what are those "teachings" comprised of? On Trinity's website, on the Yoga page, the following statement is highlighted:

Within each [of] us is the seed of Divinity. Each Soul is divine. I bow to the divinity in us all!

This is classic Hinduism that teaches that divinity resides in every human being. It is also the message of the New Age movement--man's divinity!

In Obama's own autobiography, Audacity of Hope, he calls himself a "progressive" (i.e., emerging or postmodern) and says: "We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal" (p. 216). Echoing the sentiments of Rick Warren (a close friend of Obama, says Warren), he clarifies that partnerships between "religious and secular" will have to be built, and "each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration" (p. 216). He adds:

Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. (p. 218)

Obama insists that to base national "policy" on biblical truths "would be a dangerous thing" to do (p. 220).

There is one sentence in Audacity of Hope that sums up Barack Obama's spirituality. He states:

When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static (stable) text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations.(p. 224)

In other words, just as Tony Jones said in his book The New Christians, and just as other emergents consistently say, the truths in the written Word of God, the Bible, are not unchanging and cannot be looked upon as stable or immoveable. "New revelations" can bring about new "truths" . . . truth is fluid.

To be interspiritual (all paths lead to God), to be panentheistic (divinity is in all), to reject God's Word, and to embrace mysticism is to be what Alice Bailey called a rejuvenated Christian, who is one who follows "another gospel" and "another Jesus" (II Corinthians 11:4).

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Related:

Donald Miller, the Emerging Church, and the Democratic National Convention

Obama Wows Iowa Meditators

Meditation: The heartbeat of a new kind of politics

Student Concerned Over Biola's Contemplative/Emerging Focus

Lighthouse Trails has written a number of articles in the past three years regarding Biola University, once a trusted and respected evangelical Christian school. Today, they are helping to lead the way in bringing contemplative mysticism and the emerging church into the Christian faith. Last week, Lighthouse Trails was contacted by a student at Biola, who shared deep concerns over what is being taught in class. This student shared many instances where the new spirituality is being taught to students there, and those students who oppose it are in a minority and are often reprimanded in one form or another when they speak up. Because we do not want to reveal the identity of this student, we will not be posting the letter, but the student has asked us to help get the word out about what is taking place at Biola.

Biola has been introducing students to contemplative spirituality through their Institute of Spiritual Formation and the Talbot School of Theology for some time. Speakers at their Christian Spirituality & Soul Care have included contemplatives Dallas Willard, Ruth Haley Barton, and others in the same camp.
2

The Journal of Spiritual Formation is one example of the continued spread of contemplative in Biola. The peer-reviewed journal began this past spring and will include the writings of contemplative authors.

Professors and other staff at Biola admit that they are influenced by contemplative writers. Matthew Hooper, Associate Dean of Campus Life, says Henri Nouwen is one of the people who has most influenced his life. 3 In the book of Nouwen's that Hooper lists, The Way of the Heart, Nouwen advises his readers: "The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God is active presence." It is Nouwen who said he was uncomfortable with those who say Jesus is the only way of salvation (Sabbatical Journey).

J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot (Biola) School of Theology, has written about contemplative and emerging philosophy in his book, The Kingdom Triangle (see our book review). In that book, Moreland says that spiritual formation is one of three essential components needed in Christianity. Moreland discusses the "true self" and the "false self." He echoes Thomas Merton and Martin Buber, both who had strong mystical propensities, and who believed we could attain to our true self (a perfect self) through mystical practices. Moreland encourages the writings (and practices) of St. Ignatius Loyola, saying such practices will help us to "cultivate the ability to discern the divine components" within us. And like most contemplatives, Moreland touts Henri Nouwen. Please understand the premise of the "true self" and the "false self" is: man is divine.

Katie Tuttle, Director of Commuter Life at Biola, names Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, and Brennan Manning as those who have most influenced her.4

And the list goes on as to professors and staff at Biola who are persuaded that contemplative is a legitimate Christian theology. It must be understood that where there is contemplative, there is emerging spirituality. They are connected at the hip, and the basic premises of each are the same: interspirituality, panentheism, and pantheism. In addition, the "Kingdom" theology and eschatology are also identical (see Faith Undone).

The letter we received from the Biola student addresses Biola's Intercultural Studies Program.

The student told us that in one course of this program, "Integration Seminar: Gospel and Culture," the following textbooks are used:

Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Missions by Dean Fleming

Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent J. Donovan (a Roman Catholic priest)

The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends by Michael Pocock

Theology in the Context of World Christianity by Timothy Tennent.

In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

To better understand what is meant by "contextualization, please read this excerpt from Roger Oakland's Faith Undone: Contextual Theology - Falling From Truth Through the Emerging Church

If you are a student at Biola, please contact Lighthouse Trails if you would like to receive a free copy of Faith Undone.

 

Darwin. From Physics to Metaphysics

by Roger Oakland

Evolution, according to its biological definition, is a mechanism that changes life through time. Although for years, many have used the idea of evolution to explain away God, there are many today who are saying, because of evolution, everything is God. This trend is obvious in Great Britain, the very country where Charles Darwin authored his theory - physics has turned into metaphysics? How is this possible?

Glastonbury is situated in the southern part of England. From antiquity, Glastonbury has been known as a mystical center where numerous people have made the claim they have encountered the spiritual realm. Many and fantastic are the legends, a mythology which is still alive and growing today. Every year people go there from all over the world seeking spiritual solutions to their physical problems.

I had the opportunity to visit Glastonbury in the spring of 1997 while I was in England. I had just spent a couple of days researching the life of Charles Darwin and investigating the impact this man had on so many lives. His message, centered on natural selection and survival of the fittest, still shapes the thinking of evolutionists today. His motive, a disdain for Christianity, provides the basis for the "scientific" view there is no need for the supernatural. Today, throughout England and around the world, numerous monuments erected in his honor called "natural history museums," project his beliefs as if he were God.

My trip to Glastonbury and Stonehenge revealed another aspect of Darwinism that most "evolutionary biologists" are not thrilled to discuss. The idea of natural selection may have been designed to explain God away, but in reality, through time, it has been the catalyst which has created an environment which has done exactly the opposite. It seems there has been a major shift in thinking over the past few decades. Our present generation has become frustrated with believing in naturalism. Now they are willing to believe that anything and everything is God.

There is no question mysticism and superstition, which modern science was supposed to have eliminated has made a comeback in Great Britain. The shops in Glastonbury were filled with spiritual paraphernalia which would make one think we had returned to the pagan past.
Click here to read this entire article.

Related:
A Man, A Message, and A Motive

 

Divination Finds Further Expression in the Evangelical Church

by Eastern Regional Watch Ministries

Divination? Divination is condemned Scripture (Deut. 18:9-14; 2 Kings 17:17-18) and therefore a very negative term. But, divination in the evangelical Church? Has Plumbline crossed over the line or gone out of kilter on this topic? To put it in current parlance, this must be way "outside the box." Nevertheless ... I think you will come to agree that divination is definitely "inside the box," alive and well in many of our churches.

It will be necessary to define divination very carefully. In this issue I have invited Pastor Bob DeWaay to do this "heavy lifting" and focus on a correct, biblical definition of divination. In this introductory article I will try to give some historical context to the current expressions now making the rounds in churches. It is all basically one phenomena with minor differences and mutations.

Divination generally refers to attempts to learn "hidden things" that cannot be known by normal means. Divination falls into two broad categories: mechanical and internal. Mechanical divination uses physical means to acquire hidden knowledge. Examples of this include such things as gazing into crystal balls, examining the livers or other internal organs of animals, interpreting the way arrows land after being thrown into the air, and reading Tarot cards. The internal category, sometimes called "soothsaying," involves conjuring up a spiritual entity during a trance or an altered state of consciousness. Sometimes this spirit entity will appear as a person, no longer living, who returns and speaks words of wisdom. Sometimes the spirit who is "called up" speaks "through" a medium. In Acts 16:16 the slave girl had a "spirit of divination." (It is interesting to note that, because there was often trickery involved, in the first century the word used for divination was also broadly used for the act of ventriloquism.)

Whatever the category or method used, divination is an attempt to ferret out hidden (occult) information. The incursion of divination into the Church is of the internal rather than the mechanical category and its focal points are the visualization techniques employed in "inner-healing" and imaginative prayer. Click
here to read this entire article.

For more on Divination, click here.

 

Book Review on Faith Undone

Faith Book Review of Faith Undone by Roger Oakland
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9791315-1-6

Review by Alistair Montgomery
Dundee, Scotland
(written for the British Magazine The Sword )


August 29, 2008 - Faith Undone has been written to warn the Church about a phenomenon called "The Emergent Church." Like the warnings of the prophets, peoples' reaction to this book will vary from alarm through indifference to offence.

Although the book is written in a popular style to be accessible to non academics, it does contain footnotes detailing references so the reader may check the veracity of claims for themselves.

After the introductory chapter, the author traces the origins of the Emergent Church from as early as the 1950s describing how an American business guru influenced a group of church leaders in the 1980s, which in turn gathered and influenced a younger generation of pastors in the 1990s. . . . 
Click here to read this entire review.

 

Contemplative Conferences Coming Your Way

The following conferences will be taking place during the next 12 months. Each of these conferences has at least one contemplative- and/or emerging church-promoting speaker. The number of these contemplative conferences is increasing rapidly. Please warn your loved ones about these events.

Note: Contemplative speakers are in bold. For information on these contemplative/emerging-proponents, go to
our research site and use the search engine.

October 2008: Lead Like Jesus Revolution with Ken Blanchard, John Ortberg, George Barna, Nancy Ortberg, and Miles McPherson

October 2008: Group Life Conference with Mark Batterson, John Burke, and Miles McPherson

October - November 2008: National Youth Workers Convention with numerous contemplative/emerging speakers such as Duffy Robbins, Jim Burns, Maggie Robbins, Mark Oestreicher, Phyllis Tickle, Shane Claiborne, and Tony Campolo

November 2008: Lead Now Simulcast with Erwin McManus, Margaret Feinberg

December 2008: Reimagine Conference with Leonard Sweet and Sally Morgenthaler

February 2009: Focus on Marriage with Beth Moore, Gary Thomas, and Gary Smalley

February 2009: National Pastors Convention with Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, Bill Hybels, J.P. Moreland, Larry Osborne, Leighton Ford, Rob Bell, Ruth Haley Barton, Scot McKnight, and more.

June and July 2009: DCLA 09 with Shane Claiborne, Duffy Robbins, Frances Chan

For more "Conference Alerts," click here (scroll down page).

 

Kjos Ministries Excerpts on Things We Couldn't Say

Kjos Ministries has placed some excellent excerpts from Diet Eman's book, Things We Couldn't Say on their website.  It begins below:

 The Prison at Scheveningen
When I first arrived at the Scheveningen prison, I had to stand with my face to the wall.... I was ordered to undress, and they searched me, straight up and bent over. Thank God, I had got rid of everything. Then I was sent to cell 306 in the A-corridor, where I was the fifth prisoner in a one-person cell, three meters long and two meters wide.  ...there was only one bunk, a hard bed in the back with a thin mattress...
 
One of the prisoners, Lies Karel, was a nurse who had done a lot of good Resistance work before she was arrested, I eventually grew to trust her, though at the very beginning I trusted no one. I had heard that there would be informers, and there were criminals in the prison too, not just political prisoners....

On the nights the guards brought Jews in, we always heard the children crying all through that place. It was bad enough for us to have to suffer through a place like Scheveningen, but it was terrible to hear those poor, innocent children crying.
 
...our only light other than a small lamp was the daylight that came in through a very small window up high toward the ceiling. ... The prison stood in the
dunes, right at the end of the last road of The Hague... at the North Sea, where the constant rush of waves could be a consolation, as could the cry of the seagulls.... In the middle of all the suffering, it seemed pure, untouched....

About quarter to six or so the guards would start yelling in the corridors, waking us up. They would open the door just a bit, and each of us would be given a little bucket of water, the size that children play with on the beach - five of them per cell, We had no washcloths, no towels, and no soap; we simply had to splash the water on....

...some of us scratched marks into the wall to count the days we were there, The others would keep an eye on the door, stand against it to cover the peephole.... I had managed to save a bobby pin in my hair when I was arrested, and I used it to scratch a Bible verse into the wall, It was a verse that always brought me comfort, even though I had no idea what would happen to us: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end."...
 
Then lunch finally came. It was something like soup... a mishmash of something boiled in water. Prisoners were cooking it, and they did their very best, but it was awful....
 
[One day] the guard told us that those in our cell would get an opportunity to take a shower.... When I got to that shower, a guard gave me a half-inch piece of something that looked like brown putty -- only stone hard. That was the soap. And I received a rag: it looked to me like be a bath towel a hundred years old, all frayed and limps but I didn't care because finally I was going to get a shower. When I stand under the warm water, I thoughts it will be wonderful.
 
I undressed and stepped in, and just at the moment I began to turn the handle, I heard a loud voice: "Get out. Get back to the cell! You're finished." I never got a drop of water on me! It was a game -- a psychological trick.
Click here to read the rest of this excerpt  from Things We Couldn't Say.

 

New York Teachers Learn Yoga to Enhance Classroom

Out of house article

Nicole Lee
Democrat & Chronicle

Over the summer, through a Global Literacy workshop, the teachers learned to look at the world through a new lens. . . .

Students should be taught to question and understand divergent views, which is why the Greece school district offers Minerva's Global Literacy training, said Jennifer Gkourlias, the district's director of Social Studies & World Languages. . . .

The workshop used a version of the Gita, the religious text of the Hindu faith, which recounts the journey of Krishna and his cousin Arjuna to find peace amid the chaos affecting them and their families. By teaching Arjuna to rid himself of the desires of the heart while simultaneously engaging in action, Krishna, considered the Supreme Being, helps his cousin understand the complexities of human thought. . . .

Fairport teachers also examined Western classical and Indian classical music, and did yoga exercises.

Posing as trees, the teachers stood on one leg and bent their second leg until the sole of the foot touched the knee of the straight leg. Once balanced, the teachers formed their arms into a diamond above their heads.

More than just an attempt to twist the body into a pretzel, yoga connotes the union between the soul and spirit, said Preethi Govindaraj.
Click here to read this entire article.

 

Christian Resistance Book - A Must Read


Things Lighthouse Trails Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Things We Couldn't Say by Diet Eman.

This is the true story of Diet Eman, a young Christian woman who joined the resistance movement in the Netherlands during WWII. Together with her fiance' 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 fiance', and several in their group are arrested and sent to concentration camps-many of them lose their own lives.
Hein Sietsma and Diet Eman

A time in history that should not be forgotten. A story that will inspire Christians to live more courageously and stand for what is right, doing so by the power and grace of God.

Table of Contents
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
ISBN 978-0-9791315-7-8
$14.95 Retail * 352 pages * Softbound
Photos * Illustrations

For more information: www.lighthousetrails.com
Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910 (M-F/8-5)
Or order from your local bookstore.

 

Important New Series on the Emerging Church

Emerging Church Series by Roger Oakland The new 4-DVD Emerging Church series by Roger Oakland is now available.

Based on Faith Undone: the emerging church - a new reformation or an endtime deception, each DVD is 70 minutes long and features lecturer and author Roger Oakland of Understand the Times. This is a hard-hitting expose' of the apostasy entering the church through the emerging church, Purpose Driven, contemplative, etc. It provides a solid and convincing defense of the biblical Christian faith, which is under attack today. (Filmed in 2008)

For information and/or ordering for individual DVDs,
click here.

Lighthouse Trails Publishing
To Order: www.lighthousetrails.com
Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910
*************
Click here to read: Synopsis of DVD series

 

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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. The first issue of the print newsletter has not yet been issued.

 

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

Trapped 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 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.

Faith Undone by Roger Oakland 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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