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November 15, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
In This Issue:
(Click Titles)

 

 Rick Warren Goes to Syria - Meets With Grand Mufti
 

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According to Syrian Arab news agency article, SANA, Rick Warren visited this week with Syrian political and religious officials. The article stated:

American Protestant Pastor Rick Warren on Monday said there was no peace in the region without Syria, noting that 80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong. Syria's Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun received the American Pastor in Damascus in which he referred to the importance of spreading culture of amity, peace and coexistence instead of the 'clash of civilizations'.

The article said that the Grand Mufti asked Warren to convey to the American people Syria's desire for peace. Warren, according to the article, told the Grand Mufti he admired Syria.


photo used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act

Further information:

American Personalities Criticize US Foreign Policy

Rick Warren and Ecumenism

Rick Warren Promotes Contemplative Spirituality

Interspirituality

 


 Will We Turn Our Eyes Again?
 

Click here to see picture.
1941 - The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al- Husseini, visits Berlin, meets with Hitler. (Photo from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum)


Special Note: A Christian man who called Lighthouse Trails told us a story about a church in Germany in the 1940s. A train track went by the church, and while the people were attending, they would hear the trains that were filled with Jewish families passing. When the screaming became too loud, the church members would sing louder so they wouldn't have to hear. Will we turn our eyes and ears again against the Jewish people?

Sing a Little Louder


 Robert Schuller, the Grand Mufti and Interspirituality
 

Robert Schuller and the Grand Mufti In light of the recent reports that Rick Warren is in Syria visiting with political and religious leaders, including Syria's Grand Mufti, it is worth noting that Robert Schuller (of Crystal Cathedral) also visited with the Grand Mufti of Syria (in 1999), with the hope of being instrumental in bringing peace to the world. In Schuller's biography, My Journey: From an Iowa Farm to a Cathedral of Dreams, Schuller says: "I was astounded to see how much my perspective had shifted. In my early years my world was Sioux County, Iowa, and the Dutch Reformed Church, but now I had a global awareness.... I was moving further and further into a mindset of religious inclusively." Schuller refers to a letter (and an invitation) he received from the Grand Mufti of Syria, who stated to Schuller: "I am grateful to have this opportunity to meet with you under the banner of faith and peace for humanity. My desire is to begin the new millennium... with new bridges of love and fraternity between all Muslims and Christians for the benefit of all mankind." In the book, Schuller says: "Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we're all doing God's work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we're laboring hand in hand to repair the breach" (p. 501). He adds:
I met once more with the Grand Mufti, truly one of the great Christ-honoring leaders of faith.... I'm dreaming a bold impossible dream: that positive-thinking believers in God will rise above the illusions that our sectarian religions have imposed on the world, and that leaders of the major faiths will rise above doctrinal idiosyncrasies, choosing not to focus on disagreements, but rather to transcend divisive dogmas to work together to bring peace and prosperity and hope to the world...." p. 502
Rick Warren shares Schuller's spiritual proclivities and has stated that he believes peace can come to the world (in fact a "second reformation") through a unification of the different faiths. Warren Smith discusses Schuller's reformation in his book, Deceived on Purpose: "In his 1982 book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller wrote: Our very survival "as a species depends on hope. And without hope we will lose the faith that we can cope" Smith connects some dots when he shows how New Ager Neale Donald Walsch (in his book Conversations with God) ties this "new reformation" to a world wide peace plan:
Prior to directly suggesting that Robert Schuller's theology of self-esteem could be the kind of "bridge" that could help humanity transition into the New Spirituality, Walsch's "God" formally presented his 5-Step PEACE Plan. The PEACE Plan is the proposed spiritual process that will help everyone move past "outmoded" beliefs and prepare the way for the New Spirituality. (from Deceived on Purpose)


 


 Erwin McManus & the Five Elements
 

Erwin McManus is an emerging church leader, author of The Unstoppable Force, and lead pastor and self-professed "cultural architect" of the Mosaic church in Los Angeles. He believes that the church needs to shape a cultural movement, an apostolic ethos. To create this apostolic ethos he has reinvigorated the five elements that come from ancient pagan spirituality.

The website http://theoriginsproject.org/ depicts these five elements.

WIND: Commission: Mission is why the church exists: People matter most. WATER: Community: Love is the context for all mission: Love permeates everything. WOOD: Connection: Structure must always submit to spirit: Passion fuels action. FIRE: Communion: Relevance to culture is not optional: Relevance communicates truth. EARTH: Character: Creativity is a natural result of spirituality. Character creates change.

On its face there is very little that is Christian about these five categories other than a few scattered biblical words. But McManus carries a mystique and awe about him as one of the vanguards of the emerging new face of the church, so this little "eccentricity" of the five elements is considered a new marketing gimmick for cutting edge neoevangelicalism. But there is much more to it than that. Read entire article, click here.


 


 COLLEGE WATCH: Patrick Henry Bringing in Contemplative Through Spiritual Formation
  2016 Update: Some time after this was posted Patrick Henry contacted Lighthouse Trails and said they were removing all references to Spiritual Formation and contemplative spirituality from their campus.

Another Christian college is promoting contemplative spirituality. Patrick Henry in Virginia is introducing contemplative to students through their Spiritual Formation Groups. The two readings that stand out among the others are Richard Foster's Devotional Classics and Robert Webber's "Ancient-Future Time, Forming Spirituality."

Richard Foster is the author of the very popular book, Celebration of Discipline. The book that Patrick Henry is using, Devotional Classics, contains a who's who of contemplative (i.e., mystical) spirituality. Of the book, Foster says: "These fifty-two selections have been organized to introduce readers through the course of one year to the great devotional writers." Who are these "great devotional writers" that Foster admires and now Patrick Henry students will be introduced to? A few of these 52 writers are Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Evelyn Underhill, George Fox, and Madame Guyon. Many of these 52 writers are panentheistic, meaning they believe (or did believe when they were alive) that God was in all things. Listen to the words of one of authors, Thomas Kelly: "Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center... And He is within us all" (from Testament of Devotion).

Interwoven in the writings of these 52 authors are numerous other recommendations, many of which are mystics. Patrick Henry students are going to get more than a mild dose of contemplative through their Spiritual Formation Groups, particularly through Richard Foster's Devotional Classics. Brother Lawrence is another one of the writers in Foster's book. In Lawrence's book, The Practice of the Presence of God (1977 edition), it says he danced violently like a mad man when he went into this "presence."

In the section of Foster's book written by Evelyn Underhill, under "Excerpts from the Essentials of Mysticism," Underhill tells readers to prepare "the consciousness for the inflow of new life" (p. 114). And in the section by Madame Guyon (both women were mystics), Guyon tells readers the way to get rid of distractions (to prepare to enter the silence) is to "withdraw from your mind!" (p. 323) Thomas Merton (another one of the authors of the book) knew exactly what this withdrawing of the mind was all about. In fact, he said he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who dropped LSD because all they had to do was turn to contemplative to get the same results. (see interview with Matthew Fox) Foster, in this same section of the book (Guyon) gives instruction at the end of the chapter called "Suggested Exercises." He tells readers to "pray the Scripture" and use that as a tool to "focus on God's presence." And of course, for those who have studied the contemplative prayer movement in depth know that this is exactly what contemplatives do - they use the Bible (or other books) as tools of divination, whereby they manipulate the words, go into meditative trances and believe the voice they hear in that presence is the voice of God.

Patrick Henry's Spiritual Formation Groups are also using Robert Webber's materials. Webber, director of Ancient Future Worship, is a strong supporter of contemplative spirituality.

Is Patrick Henry going to continue in this direction? Only time will tell. But based on our research of many, many Christian colleges, once contemplative gets a foot in the door, it is pretty tough to stop it from flooding in. In the Patrick Henry Catalog, it is a little worrisome to hear that part of the school's vision is to "aid in the transformation of American society" (p. 11), especially when considering that if this "transformation of American society" is going to take place through the screen of contemplative spirituality, the end result will not look anything like Christian. On the contrary, it will rather resemble a unified world religion in which meditation is the glue that holds it all together.

On page 12 of the catalog, it says: "Patrick Henry College has been, to use a popular phrase, 'purpose- driven' from its inception." Those who have read A Time of Departing know that Rick Warren is a strong promoter and endorser of contemplative and emerging spiritualities. To be "purpose-driven" today could be a detriment to any Christian college. If it is true that PHC hopes to "remain true to the Word of God (p. 13), then they will halt their Spiritual Formation program before it is too late.

 


 A True Shepherd of the Church Warning About Contemplative
 US Pastor Suffers Major Heart Attack While in Hungary

Pastor Larry DeBruyn of Franklin Road Baptist has been an outspoken voice, one of the few, on the dangers of contemplative spirituality. His articles have hit the nail on the head many times as he has shared how mysticism is entering the church. Two weeks ago he left for Lithuania and Hungary to share with pastors there these doctrines that are heading their way. Even though he had not been feeling too well before leaving and though the speaking schedule was somewhat grueling, he knew he needed to share with these pastors. On November 8th, Pastor DeBruyn suffered a serious heart attack and is now in a Hungary hospital in intensive care. We ask that you would please pray for this courageous brother who has chosen the less popular road of defending the faith in a time when most well-known Christian leaders have chosen the broader road of success and popularity.

Follow up: In the course of being taken by ambulance to the hospital, Pastor DeBruyn's heart stopped seven times. Doctors now say that about 40% of his heart was damaged. But we have a wonderful God. Sunday morning his wife (who flew there to be with him) wrote us this:

LARRY IS IN A PRIVATE ROOM OUT OF INTENSIVE CARE. HE WAS SITTING IN A CHAIR AND HIS SPIRITS ARE GOOD. IN FACT, KYLE SAID THAT FIRST HE QUOTED 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9; THEN, HE BEGAN TALKING ABOUT CHRISTIAN ROCK AND ROLL AND CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY. SO, I THINK HE IS ON THE MEND. THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS.
We praise God that though for Larry to depart to be with the Lord would be his gain, it would be a tremendous loss for the body of Christ and for many who have yet to hear the Word and become part of that body through faith in Jesus Christ. Larry DeBruyn is an inspiration to us - may his courage to speak the truth even when it is unpopular to do so and his determination to continue in spite of personal loss be an encouragement to those who read this who also defend the faith. We know that many of you have suffered ridicule and unkindness as you have sought to warn your pastors, family and friends about contemplative spirituality (and the avenues through which it is entering, e.g., Purpose Driven and the emerging church). Let us remember that while many Christian leaders, pastors, and teachers have been led astray, there are pastors out there who are the true shepherds of the church. We are very grateful for Pastor DeBruyn and for any pastor or teacher who defends the precious faith in difficult times as these. Let us remember the words of encouragement by Paul:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. I Corinthians 2:1-5

Some of Pastor DeBruyn's articles on contemplative:

Breath Prayers and Rick Warren

Contemplative Prayer and the Lord's Prayer

Can yogic practices be integrated with the Christian faith?

Be Still



 


 BOOK ALERT: Conformed to His Image by Ken Boa
 

Conformed to His Image by Ken Boa
The title of Ken Boa's book, Conformed to His Image, is taken from the Scripture Romans 8:29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." However, before believers delve into this book with the hope it will show them how to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, an examination of this book is needed.

In Boa's book, in a section on lectio divina, Boa recommends turning to Richard Foster for further guidance. He suggests readers use Foster's book Devotional Classics, which is a collection of 52 writers (more than half of them mystics).

Boa quotes Foster throughout the book, and he quotes several other contemplative promoting authors too. While Boa gives a limited warning about heavy duty mystics/panentheists like Matthew Fox and Meister Eckhart, his promotion of Richard Foster and other contemplatives makes those warnings rather innocuous. It's kind of like telling a teen to stay away from heroin but go ahead and use cocaine. And in some ways it is even more dangerous because the one (Eckhart and Fox) is so obvious to many, but the other (Foster) appears to be completely harmless because it is enveloped in Christian veneer. Boa references mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade's book Abandonment to Divine Providence, referring to the "sacrament of the present moment", a concept often used to encourage people to enter the silence.

In addition to referencing Richard Foster several times, Boa also favorably references: Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence, Bill Hull, Larry Crabb, and Ignatius of Loyola. Of the latter, Boa says: "The spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola incorporate these and other meditative techniques."

The book also favorably refers to and/or quotes Julian of Norwich, Thomas Kelly, Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating, all of which had or have panentheistic views. Of Keating and Merton, Boa says that thanks to them the "ancient practice" of lectio divina has been reintroduced to both Catholics and now Protestants. Merton is referred to several times in the book.

For those who wish to become "conformed to the image" of Jesus Christ, Ken Boa's book is not a good place in which to turn. By reading and following the advice of his book, one could end up being more conformed to the image and spirituality of Thomas Merton, who said he wanted to become the best Buddhist he could be and said he was impregnated with Sufism (Islamic mysticism).

 


 Does the Church Have a Future?
 

"Does the church have a future in our generation? ... I believe the church is in real danger. It is in for a rough day. We are facing present pressures and a present and future manipulation which will be so overwhelming in the days to come that they will make the battles of the last forty years look like child's play." Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the 20th Century-- 1970

"The liberal theologians in their stress on community speak and act as though we become Christians when we enter the horizontal relationship of community.But this is totally the wrong starting-point. If this were so, Christianity would have no more final value than the humanistic community." Schaeffer

"Whenever men say they are looking for greater reality, we must show them at once the reality of true Christianity. This is real because it is concerned with the God who is there and who has spoken to us about Himself, not just the use of the symbol 'god' or 'christ' which sounds spiritual but is not. The men who merely use the symbol ought to be pessimists, for the mere word god or the idea god is not a sufficient base for the optimism they display.... "This is the kind of 'believism' which is demanded by this theology.... It is no more than a jump into an undefinable, irrational, semantic mysticism." Schaeffer, from The God Who is There


 


 YOUTH FOR CHRIST - Still Using the Labryinth
 

According to the international Labyrinth Society, a labyrinth is "a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity." In addition, they are also a tool used to practice contemplative spirituality; the objective, to connect with the Divinity within. Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries says: "Walking the labyrinth has become a popular spiritual exercise across the country and around the world. I first read of it in Leadership Magazine, a Christian publication and became a bit concerned; since looking into it further I'm definitely concerned."

But while there are Christians like Oppenheimer who believe the labyrinth is not a practice that will lead people closer to God, many churches and Christian ministries see nothing wrong with the practice at all. The United Kingdom branch of Youth for Christ is one of those groups, offering an online labyrinth for youth(se e YFC labyrinth). (The labyrinth takes time to load. Please use caution when viewing this as there is a hypnotic effect that can take place; we share this so parents can see what their youth are being introduced to.)

With Youth For Christ (USA) teaming up with Youth Specialties, sponsoring their events, it isn't really any wonder that they would incorporate the labyrinth into ministry the same as Youth Specialties does. But countless young people are being ushered into New Age spirituality, while their parents think they are safe in the hands of churches and youth ministers. Youth for Christ is also a partner with Richard Foster's With God Conferences.


Contact Information:

President Dan Wolgemuth
PO Box 4478
Englewood, CO 80155-4478
303/843-9000 Phone


 


 ALERT: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference
 

On December 7-9, the Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future conference is being held at Northern Seminary in Illinois. According to Northern, the purpose of this "historic" event is to give "a challenge issued for evangelicals to rediscover their common mission and be energized by the Holy Spirit for ministry!" In a Christianity Today article, where the conference is featured, it states: "In light of these challenges, we call evangelicals to strengthen their witness through a recovery of the faith articulated by the consensus of the ancient church and its guardians in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation, and the evangelical awakenings."

Who will be some of those who will help evangelicals deal with these "challenges"? At the conference, speakers include Brian McLaren and Robert Webber (Ancient Future Worship), both whom heavily promote contemplative and emerging spiritualities. While there have been plenty of conferences with McLaren and other contemplative/emergent speakers, what makes this conference unique is the combination of both emergent leaders (McLaren and Webber) and long standing evangelical organizations like InterVarsity Press, Baker Books and Christianity Today. While all three of these have published quite a few pro- contemplative books/articles, teaming up with Brian McLaren is a bold step.

Brian McLaren, who has clearly shown his affinity towards a "new kind" of Christianity, one that goes beyond the borders of biblical Christianity, shares the spiritual sympathies of panentheist Marcus Borg and Tony Campolo.

Resources on the event website (see below) include Ruth Haley Barton's Transforming Center and the Alban Institute.

To some, this may seem like just another report on another contemplative issue; however, what is taking place at this conference and what it represents is the future face of the new evangelicalism that is here to stay, and the glue that holds this new face together is mysticism and panentheism, both of which negate the message of the Cross. In fact, something that has unveiled itself within these circles in recent days is the idea that a truly loving God would never send His Son to a violent death on a Cross. God just isn't like that.

In a document that organizers title The Call, one can view the various components of this calling. Part of this includes the section on the call to Spiritual Formation. The contemplative nature of this conference as well as the document that Christians are being asked to sign (The Call) is somewhat concealed with Christian terminology. However, when the outer layers are peeled away, you will see this is nothing more than the spirituality we have so often described. And now that mainline organizations like Christianity Today and InterVarsity Press have come out of the closet and joined forces, the escalation of contemplative (which will eventually lead to one unified religion throughout the world - one that rejects the true gospel) will be unstoppable. We pray and hope that many believers will see this and do what they can to warn others.

Check out the AEF Call website for further information. Complete Speaker List

 


 CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY - THE LATEST 'CHRISTIAN' CRAZE
 by Paul Proctor, News with Views

The greatest danger to the church today is not the atheist, the agnostic, the liberal, the humanist, the Marxist or even the Muslim extremist, but rather the "Christian" who subtly blends truth and lie resulting in a designer deity and discipline that finds common ground with the very enemies of Christ so as to become modish and marketable to the mainstream.

When one leavens the Christian faith with New Age teachings and practices, the result is a sacrilegious synthetic that is every bit as damning as the New Age itself, minus the stigma, rendering it more perilous than its predecessor precisely because of its churchy disguise. By way of the Hegelian Dialectic, many professing Christians are now embracing and promoting the hottest new hybrid to hit the church today, called "Contemplative Spirituality," that brings certain beliefs and practices from Eastern Mysticism into otherwise Christian worship to effectively permit, provide and promote what biblical Christianity does not.

Thesis (Christianity) + Antithesis (New Age) = Synthesis (Contemplative) Click here to read more of this article.


 



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