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November 4, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
In This Issue:
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Brian McLaren - Rethinking the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
 

Definition of Preterism - The belief that all Bible prophecy (including Matthew 24) has already happened, including the second coming of Jesus Christ. Also called Covenant Eschatology or Fulfilled Prophecy. It is worth noting that many with the Dominionist and/or Preterist view point seem sympathetic to and accepting of contemplative spirituality.

The following is an interview that took place between Brian McLaren and the "Planet Preterist" website.

Excerpt from the interview:

Interviewer: I think many Christians within the Preterist movement are being deeply affected by your work and by what Emergent is doing across the world. Why do you think that your message appeals to so many of us?

Brian: First, it's encouraging to hear you say that it does. Theologies work as systems, don't they ... and they have a beginning, and middle, and an end, and the three are integrated into a single system. I think many of us are realizing that if we have one part mixed up, it will affect our understandings of the other two parts. I didn't start with any interest in rethinking eschatology, but of course eventually I had to realize that if I rethink one area, it will lead to rethinking other areas. I think many of us are in this kind of rethinking process - some starting from the beginning part by rethinking, perhaps, the relation of faith and science in relation to evolution and young-earth creationism ... some starting from the middle, as they re- examine what the gospel of the kingdom of God is supposed to mean, or the idea of integral or holistic mission ... and some starting from the end, re-examining eschatology. Wherever you start, you end up looking into the other areas too, I think....

Interviewer: As we are also trying to also put a new face on our own movement and transform it into "a new kind of Preterism," and move beyond the theoretical fundamentalism into the practical, tangible aspects of Christianity and the realized presence of Christ, we are encountering the same friction and opposition that perhaps you have already encountered when dealing with a target audience that sees all things in black and white. Do you have any advice for us on how to better build bridges and construct better channels of communication with other believers?

Brian: Again, I wish I did. I think you are very perceptive to put the focus on "the realized presence of Christ," because that is key. I also think you're perceptive to identify the underlying problem not as mistaken eschatology but as "theoretical fundamentalism" and "black and white" thinking. Sometimes I think that people who are thoroughly indoctrinated and habituated into this kind of system will not be able to break free from it without experiencing both psychological and social dislocation and disorientation. Click here to read more of this interview.

See also: Dominionism, Global Peace and Mysticism
Ignoring Eschatology


P.E.A.C.E. - Just for those who sign up.
 

Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan isn't for everyone - only for those who sign up for it. If your church has signed up for the Purpose Driven Peace Plan, please study the facts and make sure this is the direction you really want your church to go. Warren says that his peace plan, which will bring about a second reformation, includes those from other religions. This means that Jesus Christ cannot be at the center of Rick Warren's Peace Plan, at least not the Jesus of the Bible. Check out the documentation. It speaks for itself:

Quotes about the P.E.A.C.E. Plan: "Who's the man of peace in any village - or it might be a woman of peace - who has the most respect, they're open and they're influential? They don't have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they're open and they're influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that's going to bring the second Reformation."Rick Warren, May 2005, Pew Forum on Religion

"I am praying for a second reformation of the church that will focus more on deeds than words. The first Reformation was about beliefs. This one needs to be about behavior. ... We've had a Reformation; what we need now is a transformation."" Rick Warren, July 2005 at the Baptist World Alliance with Tony Campolo and Jimmy Carter

"I have two goals in my life. One is a reformation of the church in America and the other is a return of civility to society when people who disagree can still get along and like each other even if they disagree." Rick Warren on Larry King,12/2/05

The following is an excerpt from the promotional description on Rick Warren's website about the upcoming global P.E.A.C.E. Plan Seminar: "Rick Warren has said repeatedly, 'This is why God made me. Everything else I have done was simply preparation for the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.' If you choose to lead your church to participate in the P.E.A.C.E. Plan it will be a wild ride and an amazing spiritual adventure for your members as they get God's heart for the world, as God uses them to change lives, and together we bring global glory to God!"

A Quote from Orange County Register:
"Saddleback does control the PEACE platform. Although Saddleback says it will make training materials available to the general public at some point in the future, for now, the site is proprietary, which means that Saddleback does not permit nonmembers to view the site. (The Register was allowed to see the site only once, and in the company of a church staffer.)

"Church teams who want to use the materials must register (and attend a conference) under the PEACE program umbrella. Saddleback can, consequently, track and lay claim not only to the 142 PEACE teams that have gone on mission so far, but also to the potentially thousands that will do so in the future and that will become, in the process, indirect partners in the PEACE 'movement' -- and brand.... Saddleback may create a platform for both the kingdom of God and for itself." From New-media missionaries
THE EMERGENCE OF THE EUCHARIST IN THE EMERGING CHURCH
 by Roger Oakland

One of the common beliefs circulating amongst the supporters of the Emergent Church is a concept called "Vintage Christianity". According to this view, experiences effective in attracting Christians to come to church in the past should be reintroduced today in order to attract the postmodern generation who are hungry for experience. Dan Kimball, author of the book The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generation is one of the key proponents of this idea. He firmly believes that worship must play an important role to attract post-moderns into Christianity. In a section of his book subtitled "Truly worshipping in a worship gathering," he writes:

We should be returning to a no-holds- barred approach to worship and teaching so that when we gather, there is no doubt we are in the presence of God. I believe that both believers and unbelievers in our emerging culture are hungry for this. It isn't about clever apologetics or careful exegetical and expository preaching or great worship bands. ... Emerging generations are hungry to experience God in worship.
Rob Redman, author of The Great Worship Awakening: Singing a New Song in the Postmodern Church agrees with Kimball. He has noted that churches that provide a liturgical vintage form of worship are attracting the postmodern generation. He writes: Liturgical churches, particularly Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, report increasing interest in traditional liturgical worship among young adults. Redman notes that as the result of this renewed interest in liturgical worship, a "worship awakening" is now underway and Protestant worship services are beginning to incorporate liturgical worship practices. He states:
A common approach to the worship awakening among Protestant churches is to create a blended service combining older and newer liturgical elements and musical styles.
Click here to read this entire article.
 A Plea to Christian Leaders
Are Christian leaders responsible for whom they quote, endorse and promote? We believe this is a valid question that deserves an answer to the body of Christ. With publishers like Zondervan, InterVarsity Press, Baker Books and Thomas Nelson releasing one book after the next on contemplative and emerging spiritualities, the church is being put in harm's way with a tidal wave of dangerous and non-biblical teachings that ultimately leads to eastern mysticism and the New Age. Countless Christian authors and leaders have joined this wave, and when confronted or challenged, they expect there to be no criticism. This is wrong, and Lighthouse Trails joins many other believers in the body of Christ in saying so. We speak up, in spite of hate mail, hints of lawsuits, angry phone calls, because we see this onslaught as a direct attack against truth.

Here is just another example of what we are talking about. In Dr. Tim Clinton's November release (foreword by Tim LaHaye), Turn Your Life Around, Clinton thanks John Ortberg for being an "inspiration" to him and quotes Ortberg more than a half a dozen times throughout the book. Ortberg's strong promotion of contemplative spirituality is no secret - he co-authored a book with Ruth Haley Barton on the silence. So how could he be an "inspiration" to a book that is endorsed by leaders like Tim LaHaye (who wrote the foreword), Gary Smalley, Ruth Graham and Jerry Falwell? Incidentally, Falwell just recently endorsed Larry Crabb's contemplative promoting book, The Papa Prayer.

In Clinton's new book, he also favorably quotes Richard Foster (who teaches that God can be reached by anyone through contemplative prayer), Larry Crabb, Dan Allender, John Eldredge, Philip Yancey, Dallas Willard and Donald Miller. All of these mentioned promote contemplative. So why are trusted leaders like Graham, LaHaye, and Falwell doing this? Do they just not realize what contemplative is. We have sent most of these people copies of A Time of Departing, and it is not a topic that is under the rug anymore.

One of three things is taking place here. Either these supporting leaders do not know what contemplative is, or they know but do not think it is worth worrying about, or they know and they adhere to such beliefs. We know for a fact that many of them are well aware of contemplative spirituality, which means they are either indifferent to the controversy or actually see it as a valid spirituality. But isn't it time they came out publicly and stated their views? Isn't it time they either renounce contemplative and stop promoting it through their endorsements and quotes or admit that they have strong sympathies towards it. Isn't it time? ... Maybe they already have given their answer, and we just don't want to believe it.

SPECIAL NOTE: If any of the above mentioned leaders read this article and would like to understand our concerns (and the concerns of many other believers), please contact us, and we will send you a complimentary copy of A Time of Departing. We believe you will find the documentation solid and biblical.

 

 Teen Mania Introduces Kids to Contemplative-Promoting Speaker
 

Teen Mania's Fall 2006 "Battlecry Leadership Summit" will take place in several US cities this fall, and unfortunately one of the speakers is contemplative-promoting Jack Hayford. Hayford has been an ally with contemplative Richard Foster for some time now and has his endorsement on the back cover of Richard Foster's book, Streams of Living Water, in which Foster quotes panentheist Thomas Kelly as saying "Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center."

Hayford's affinity for contemplative is even more apparent when he endorsed the back cover of John Michael Talbot's 2005 book, The Way of the Mystics. Of the book, Hayford says:
John Michael Talbot is a faithful worshiper of our Savior, whose music and meditations not only refresh many, but whose witness reminds us of the breadth of the scope of vital, living witness throughout the whole Body of Christ, and how much we who love Jesus Christ have to give to each other of our mutual growth and benefit.
But those "meditations" of Talbot are centered on Eastern mysticism as is apparent in his book, The Way of the Mystics. In the book, Talbot writes about 12 or so past mystics, including St. Anthony (a desert father), Hildegard of Bingen, Ignatius of Loyola, George Fox and Thomas Merton. Of Merton, Talbot writes: [O]nce Merton was established in the silence, solitude, and seclusion of Gethsemani, his inner mystic and his inner muse began working overtime to create a vast outpouring of books" (p. 217). That "outpouring" showed very clearly that Merton, who said he was impregnated with Sufism, had become completely immersed in mysticism and the belief that God dwelled in all human beings. Talbot shows equal admiration for a woman named Hildegard of Bingen. According to New Age mystic Matthew Fox, Hildegard "represents the big link between Christian spirituality and pre- patriarchal spiritualities (goddess spirituality)" and that she is called the "Grandmother of the Rhineland mystic movement, a movement of creation-centered spirituality" (from Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen).

John Michael Talbot's affinity to mystical practices is no secret. He says: "I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga" (A Time of Departing, p. 10).

When Jack Hayford says that Talbot's meditations "refresh many," one can only wonder if Hayford himself has indulged in these meditations. And with Hayford's obvious attraction to contemplative through his endorsement of both Foster and Talbot, will he bring this influence to countless young people at the Battlecry event?

We hope that the other speakers, including Pastor Tommy Barnett, will warn the youth attending to stay away from the spirituality that Jack Hayford is so readily promoting. And once again, we ask, why are Christian leaders turning away from biblical integrity and following hard after a sensual, New Age spirituality while leading so many on this dangerous trail?

Worth noting, Benny Hinn is one of the speakers at the upcoming King's Seminary (Hayford's seminary) Autumn Leadership Conference. Hayford, who is the current president for the Foursquare Church denomination, is bringing much harm to many by leading people to the teachings of Hinn and Talbot.

In addition to Teen Mania bringing in Hayford, their emphasis on turning Christian kids into "warriors" lines up with Erwin McManus' Barbarian Way and Kids in Ministries' Jesus Camp. Dressing kids in army fatigues and having them chant things like, We are warriors, is not indicative of biblical Christianity that Jesus Christ or the disciples taught. Now with the coupling of militancy and mysticism, the possible results should cause alarm and deep concern.

For related information:
Red Moon Rising: An Army of Young People with a "Violent Reaction"

Foursquare Church, the Lake, Promoting Contemplative and the Emerging Church

Jesus Camp, Film Reveals the Mystical and the Militant, Not Biblical Christianity

Dominionism, Global Peace and Mysticism

David Jeremiah and the Barbarian Way

MARCUS BORG on Biblical Literalism
 "Biblical literalism has become a major intellectual stumbling block for millions of people . . . ."

The following article, from the Miami Herald is about New Age sympathizer and meditation promoting Marcus Borg. While Borg makes no apology, or secret, about his non-biblical views, his books are sold in Christian bookstores, and he is admired and promoted by popular Christians such as Brennan Manning (in Ragamuffin Gospel) and Brian McLaren. Online Christian bookstores like Lifeway Stores (Southern Baptist) and ChristianBook.com carry his books. And now the news article:

"A Radical Spin on the Life of Christ"
BY ALEXANDRA ALTER (Miami Herald)

"Marcus Borg, a professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University and renowned Jesus scholar, advocates a radical reinterpretation of the Christian faith -- one that rejects traditional views of Christ's virgin birth and resurrection.

"Revising the popular understanding of these key Christian tenets is essential to the future of the church, says Borg, who will speak about moving beyond Biblical literalism during a three-day lecture series at Coral Gables Congregational Church next Friday-Sunday. Read more...

 
What is Meditation?
 by Ray Yungen

See Part I of this paper on the New Age by Ray Yungen.

What is meditation? What exactly is meditation? The meditation many of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation does just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to "still" the mind by putting it in pause or neutral. An analogy would be turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond by damming the free flow of water. This is the purpose of New Age meditation. It holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. The following explanation makes this process very clear:

One starts by silencing the mind--for many, this is not easy, but when the mind has become silent and still, it is then possible for the Divine Force to descend and enter into the receptive individual. First it trickles in, and later, in it comes in waves. It is both transforming and cleansing; and it is through this force that divine transformation will be achieved. (from Holistic Health magazine, Winter 1986)

This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where your mind dwells on a subject. The way New Age meditation works is that an object acts as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty - silent.

English mystic Brother Mandus wrote of his adventure into these realms in his book This Wonderous Way of Life. He spoke of being "fused in Light" which he described as "the greatest experience of my life" which gave him "Ecstasy transcending anything I could understand or describe."

In order to grasp what this movement really entails the reader must understand what was happening to Brother Mandus. He wasn't merely believing something on the intellectual level, he was undergoing a supernatural encounter. In truth, he had created a mental void through meditation and a spiritual force had filled it.

The two most common methods used to induce this "thoughtless" state are breathing exercises, where attention is focused on the breath, and a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without thinking about what you are focusing on. Repetition on the focused object is what triggers the blank mind.

Just consider the word mantra. The translation from the Sanskrit is man, meaning "to think," and ti-a, meaning "to be liberated from." Thus, the word means "to be freed from thought." By repeating the mantra, either out loud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The same is true with rhythmic breathing. One gradually tunes out his conscious thinking process until an altered state of consciousness comes over him.

I recall watching a martial arts class where the instructor clapped his hands once every three seconds as the students sat in meditation. The sound of the clap acted the same as the breath or a mantra would - something to focus their attention on to stop the active mind.

Other methods of meditation involve drumming, dancing, and chanting. This percussion-sound meditation is perhaps the most common form for producing trance states in the African, North/South American Indian, and Brazilian spiritist traditions. In the Islamic world, the Sufi Mystic Brotherhoods have gained a reputation for chanting and ritual dancing. These are known as the Whirling Dervishes. Indian Guru, Rajneesh, developed a form of active meditation called dynamic meditation which combines the percussion sound, jumping, and rhythmic breathing. From Ray Yungen's book, For Many Shall Come in My Name

Next: Part III The Higher Self



WARNING: Christian Publishers Continue Publishing Contemplative Books
 

One of the most dangerous places for a Christian believer to go today is a Christian bookstore. But while Christian bookstore owners and buyers are responsible and lacking discretion for stocking their shelves with popular, fast selling titles that compromise the gospel, many of the largest Christian publishing houses are even more guilty for publishing the books in the first place at the expense of biblical integrity and Christian virtue. Below is a list of contemplative titles by some of the largest Christian publishers. We provide this partial list to warn believers of book titles that may be dangerous to their spiritual well-being.

Zondervan:
Sex God by Rob Bell

S.H.A.P.E. by Eric Rees

Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference by Philip Yancey

Praying the Names of Jesus by Ann Spangler

Thomas Nelson:
Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus

How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life by Mark Victor Hansen

Yoga for Christians by Susan Bordenkircher

Speaking My Mind by Tony Campolo

Baker Books:
Emergent Manifesto by Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt

The Divine Embrace by Robert Webber

Sacred Listening by James Wakefield

Preaching by Calvin Miller

InterVarsity Press:
The Garden of the Soul by Keri Wyatt Kent

Sacred Companions by David Benner

Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

Meditative Prayer by Richard Foster
Solitude and Silence by Jan Johnson

Bethany House:
Into the Depths of God by Calvin Miller
The Soul at Rest by Tricia Rhodes

NavPress:
When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson

Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice by Dallas Willard and Jan Johnson

Divine Intervention by Tony Jones

The Message, Remix: Pause by Eugene Peterson

For more on Christian publishers who publish contemplative books, click here



 

   Taize - Another Avenue Through Which Contemplative is Entering the Church
 

Taize Community in FranceTaize Community is an international, ecumenical community in France. Taize Worship is practicing the silence with icons, candles, incense and prayer stations, and is a very contemplative/Buddist oriented community attracting young people from around the world.

As an article on Taize worship explains:
Short chants, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character," the brothers explain in a brief introduction printed in the paperback songbook. "Using just a few words, [the chants] express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being.
While it is apparent that Taize is rooted in Eastern mysticism, it is equally apparent that it is being incorporated more and more into Christendom. Below are some examples of Christian ministries and schools that are introducing people to Taize worship.

Columbia Bible College (BC, Canada)

Eastern Mennonite University (Virginia)

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Wheaton College

Youth Specialties

Seattle Pacific University (Washington)

Renovare (Richard Foster) - page 2

 

New Book and DVD at Lighthouse Trails Publishing
 

Another Jesus by Roger OaklandWith the recent reports by Roger Oakland, showing the connection between the Catholic Eucharist and the emerging church, Lighthouse Trails has decided to carry Oakland's book, Another Jesus? The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization. We are also offering the 1 hour DVD with the same title. We believe that this information is vital.

To order these items, click here. 

 

 

 

 

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