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Coming From the Lighthouse

Newsletter

Printer Friendly Version (click here) December 23, 2007

In This Issue -

US News & World Report: Identifying Move Toward Contemplative Spirituality

Southeastern University (AOG) Invites Contemplative Proponents to Conference

Update on Anita Dittman

Jews, Muslims, Christians celebrate similar roots

Silently Retreating Mennonites

Rick Warren Counsels Jews on Recruiting Congregants

Tony Blair Converts to Catholicism

The Testimony of a Former Catholic Nun

Publishing News

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

New Winter Catalog

 

 

Quick Links

 

Helpful Resources and Other Articles

 

Anita Dittman Testimony

The Story of Anita Dittman In the fall of 2007, Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman gave her testimony in front of a live audience at Twin City Fellowship in MN. Lighthouse Trails is pleased to announce this special presentation, which has an introduction by Olive Tree Ministries director Jan Markell. This 70 minute long DVD is now available. To obtain and for more information, please click here.

US News & World Report: Identifying Move By World's Religions Toward Contemplative Spirituality

In the December 24, 2007 issue of US News & World Report, the cover story reads: "A Return to Tradition - a new interest in old ways takes root in Catholicism and many other faiths." The article illustrates the move by many (in different religions and denominations) toward "traditional practices." Some of these practices include liturgical services and the Catholic eucharist.* Calling this a shift in thinking, the article states:

But this shift extends beyond the Roman Catholic Church. In Richardson, Texas, the congregation of Trinity Fellowship Church participates in something that would have been considered almost heretical in most evangelical Protestant churches five or 10 years ago: a weekly Communion service.... Trinity Fellowship is not the only evangelical congregation that is offering a weekly Eucharist, saying the Nicene or Apostles' creeds, reading the early Church Fathers, or doing other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high Episcopalian....

Something curious is happening in the wide world of faith, something that defies easy explanation or quantification. More substantial than a trend but less organized than a movement, it has to do more with how people practice their religion than with what they believe, though people caught up in this change often find that their beliefs are influenced, if not subtly altered, by the changes in their practice.

In other words, there is a move toward practices that supersedes the beliefs of those faiths. And the article suggests that those performing these practices may end up with changed views and beliefs because of the practices.

Carl Anderson, the senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church, explained that while he had depended on the seeker-friendly programs to build his congregation, his church was hoping to "reconnect with the historical church." Regarding Andersen's church, the article states:

Not surprisingly, that move [to the traditional] was threatening to church members who strongly identify with the Reformation and the Protestant rejection of Catholic practices, including most liturgy.... Trinity reshaped its worship practices in ways that drove some congregants away. But Anderson remains committed [to traditional practices].

With the emphasis on Catholic practices, it is not surprising that the US News article brings in the emerging church:

You see this at work quite clearly in the so-called emergent communities ... Brian McLaren, the popular author and a founder of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md., recently left the pastorate to talk and write about the emergent movement and other developments in Christianity. While at Cedar Ridge, ... McLaren instituted a Eucharistic liturgy and contemplative prayer retreats. And he appreciates the role of tradition in the new self-organizing communities that are sprouting up around the country.

Like McLaren, Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches From the Emergent Frontier [March 2008] and national coordinator of Emergent Village, talks about the postmodern aspects of the new traditionalism. People of the postmodern mindset ... search for new forms of community. [Jones says] "We are going to live in reconciliation with each other, and traditional practices are what restore us and hold us together."

The significance of the US News & World Report article is the fact that a major news magazine identifies this move by most major religious groups today as mystical. But many readers may not catch this because mystical practice is never discussed in the article beyond the mention of McLaren's contemplative prayer retreats. However, subtly it is. When it refers to "traditional practices," ones that Carl Andersen admits have driven some congregants away, he isn't referring to evangelical or Protestant tradition. And when the article says McLaren "appreciates the role of tradition," McLaren has proven time and again that he isn't referring to biblical tradition when he says "tradition." And when the article says that emergent leader Tony Jones speaks of "postmodern aspects of the new traditionalism," he isn't talking about evangelical or biblical traditions. What are these traditional practices? The article certainly leaves much to be desired in coming up with an answer to that, but there are some key phrases in the article that shed some light. Some of those phrases are:

* A "resurgent interest in traditional monastic and religious orders"
* "Reading the early Church Fathers [which includes the Desert Fathers and monastic mystics]"
* A growing appetite for something more than "worship that is a glorified Bible class in some ways"
* Drawing on deep traditional resources
* Ancient liturgical practices
* Recapturing those traditions that modernizers dismissed as relics
* Reviving the old stuff and traditions in a creative way
* Active spiritual formation

Anyone who has studied contemplative spirituality will recognize these phrases as part of that belief system, referring largely to drawing on the mystical practices of the desert fathers and other mystical sources. This "new traditionalism" is the framework for bringing in liturgy, contemplative prayer, mysticism, and the Eucharist, all of which, at the very least, point practitioners to Catholicism and ultimately an interspiritual body. A key statement in the article is when it says that "it has to do more with how people practice their religion than with what they believe." As is so prevalent within the emerging church (including Purpose Driven), there is a de-emphasis on doctrine and theology, and an emphasis on the experiential and contemplative practices.

As evangelical Christianity tears down historical barriers to Catholic practices and beliefs, these elements will burst forth into our churches unhindered and unrestricted. And the results will be devastating.

Just four miles from the Lighthouse Trails office, there is a Catholic spiritual direction center. Their bookstore is ample evidence of their outright New Age affinity. A good example would be the book titled Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, which is consistently sold there. The book advises its readers to dwell in the presence of their non- physical guides and teachers (familiar spirits). Other Catholic retreat centers reflect this view as well. One trappist abbey features numerous titles - one called Living Buddha, Living Christ.

Our concerns are not based on anti-Catholic bigotry or hyper-legalistic misinterpretations. We believe anyone who takes the time to investigate these things will come to the same conclusions.

So much is at stake here. In addition to doctrinal conflict, it is an issue regarding a massive opening to the realm of familiar spirits (Lev. 19:31). What really is alarming is that the emerging church shares the exact same mystical approach that produced the outright New Age acceptance one finds in these Catholic retreat centers.

It is very noteworthy that Tony Jones is mentioned in the US News article; in Jones' book, The Sacred Way, Jones takes a strong stand for eastern/New Age style religious practices. Jones believes that the "new Christians" will be mystics. This will fulfill the words of mystic Karl Rahner who said the Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic ... or he will be nothing. (1) And if the article in US News is any indication, Rahner's vision of the future Christian will come to pass as evangelicals and mainstream Christians fall in step with this paradigm shift toward the "new traditionalism" and a mystical spirituality.

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*The Eucharist refers to the height and focus of the Catholic Mass in which it is believed that the sacraments become the actual body and blood of Jesus.

Related Stories:

Evangelical Christians Combine Contemplative Mysticism with Catholic Eucharist

THE EMERGENCE OF THE EUCHARIST IN THE EMERGING CHURCH

Also read A Time of Departing and Faith Undone to understand this situation more fully.

Southeastern University (AOG) Invites Contemplative Proponents to Conference

In March 2008, Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God institution, will be presenting the 2008 National Leadership Forum. The motto of the conference is "Igniting the Flame of Servant Leadership." Those scheduled to speak at this year's event include New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard, emerging church author and pastor Erwin McManus, and Henri Nouwen proponent Kay Warren. Other speakers include Colin Powell, Andy Stanley, and Jeb Bush. The three day conference will cost between $600 and $700 per person.

Blanchard and McManus participated at last year's Leadership Forum at Southeastern as did author and leadership trainer
Laurie Beth Jones. Jones holds to New Age thought as can be seen in her book Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork. She says her personal mission is "to recognize, promote, and inspire divine connection in myself and others." 1

It appears that Southeastern University is lacking wisdom when it comes to protecting their students from the influences of the New Age. As another example, while their school online bookstore offers a disclaimer, the store, which bears the university name, is loaded with books on subjects such as Yoga, Reiki, Wicca, Tai Chi, Tarot Cards, Witchcraft, and more. In addition, there are books offered of a pornographic nature. While the university leaders may feel a one page disclaimer is enough, the fact is SEU has placed its name on a website that has New Age, occultic, pornographic, and homosexual material; and in so doing they have put their students in harm's way.

Such conferences as Southeastern's Leadership Forum are occurring frequently across North America with many of the same speakers sharing the platforms. Leadership is the focal point. Willow Creek had their Leadership Summit this year with two of the speakers that will attend the Southeastern event: Marcus Buckingham and Colin Powell. In October, the Lead Like Jesus conference took place and included several speakers that will participate at the Southeastern conference: Erwin McManus, Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni. Worth noting is the appearance of Kay Warren and Erwin McManus also at the upcoming Rethink Conference at Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral.

Related Research:

Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Professor Earl Creps Promote Contemplative Spirituality

Assemblies of God: Committed to Spiritual Formation, Contemplative and Emerging

Christian Colleges That Promote Contemplative

 

Update on Anita Dittman

Two weeks ago, Lighthouse Trails author and Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman suffered a severe heart attack. We asked you for your prayers. Since then cards, emails, and letters have poured in to the Lighthouse Trails office for Anita. And many have said they were praying for her.

Anita has now been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home. She has read all the wonderful emails, letters, and cards, and she has asked us to thank all who wrote to her and prayed for her. She is very grateful.

 

Thank you and God bless you.

 

Jews, Muslims, Christians celebrate similar roots


by Katherine Mullen
Gazette.net

The sight of Christians, Jews and Muslims seated together around dinner tables gave the Rev. Gerry Hanberry, pastor at Glade United Church of Christ, an idea of what the kingdom of God might look like.

"This is it," he said of the scene in front of him on Sunday. Nearly 250 people gathered that night at the Lynfield Event Complex in Frederick for "Hanukkah, Christmas & Hajj Festival," an interfaith dinner....

Hendi also has bigger plans for the interfaith dinner in 2008. He said he hoped to expand the event next year to 500 people and to include all faiths in Frederick County. The audience responded with much applause.

"This is the dream that will come true because God wants this to happen," Hendi said. "We believe that tonight we stand, and divided we fall."
Click here to read the rest of this out-of-house article.

More on interspirituality.

 

Silently Retreating Mennonites

by Roll Over Menno

Recently, the MB Herald promoted the Mark Centre, a discipleship training centre that focuses on training for young adults (MBMS Trek Training) and offers and facilitates leadership retreats. This same retreat centre (http://www.markcentre.org/) is also endorsed by the BC MB Conference (here).

At first glance, this inviting place seems very Christ centered, as their mission is 'to lead people to intimate places with God where his voice can be heard'. If you look closer, it soon becomes apparent that those who spend time there may be given a heavy dose of contemplative spirituality.

Besides offering various retreats and spiritual direction sessions with qualified spiritual directors, there is also a romantic getaway for married couples that features "an informal chocolate fondue upon arrival, breakfast in bed, a group spiritual listening exercise." As well as monthly spiritual direction, the Mark Centre offers a complimentary 30 minute listening experience; "a session with a ... staff member who leads you through a "Lectio Devina", a scripture reading practice that invites you to meet God personally and receive from him."  Click here to read more.

 

Rick Warren Counsels Jews on Recruiting Congregants

Christian Today

by Jennifer Riley, Christian Today US Correspondent

Megachurch pastor Rick Warren attended a large Reform Jewish gathering last week to share tips on how to build a community.

Warren - who saw his church expand from just seven people meeting in his house to 22,000 people worshipping in an expansive treasure island-like campus - said the key to holding onto visitors was involving them in a small group.

"We believe congregations have to grow large and small at the same time," Warren said Thursday, according to the San Diego Union--Tribune newspaper. "We don't really feel like people are in the congregation until they're in small groups."

The "Purpose-Driven" pastor spoke to thousands of Jewish leaders Thursday night at the Union for Reform Judaism's biennial convention in San Diego.
Click here to read the rest of this article.

More on Warren's ecumenism

Also see: A bridge over other waters by Mike Oppenheimer

 

Tony Blair Converts to Catholicism

 USA TODAY

LONDON (AP) - Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who generally kept his religious views private while in office, has converted to Catholicism, church officials said Saturday.
Blair, who had long been a member of the Church of England, converted to the Catholic faith during a Mass held on Friday night at a chapel in London, the Catholic Church said.

"It can be confirmed that Tony Blair has been received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor," the head of the church in England and Wales, the church said in a statement.

"I'm very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church," the statement quoted Murphy-O'Connor as saying.
Click here to read this entire article.

Related News:

To understand the significance of this and other conversions to Catholicism, read Another Jesus by Roger Oakland.

 

The Testimony of a Former Catholic Nun

by Mary Ann Collins

I joined the Roman Catholic Church because I was looking for God. I entered the convent because I wanted to be close to God and to serve Him with radical devotion. But it wasn't until after I left Catholicism that I found the kind of relationship with God that I had been looking for all along....

I started out as a "liberal" intellectual who was prejudiced against Christianity. I had been taught to believe that Christians were gullible people who were either stupid or uneducated. I was basically an agnostic who didn't know or care whether God existed. For me, the idea of God was irrelevant. I looked to science, psychology, and politics to save mankind from its problems.

During my senior year in high school, I fell in love with a young man who was a devout Catholic. That was my first encounter with someone who strongly believed in God. I may have met Christians before that, but they didn't make their Christian beliefs known to me.

This young man prayed. He loved God. He was a man of principle and integrity. His life was guided by his religious beliefs. He had hope. He had a kind of compassion and respect for people that I had not seen before. There was something different about him. I didn't know what it was, but whatever it was, I wanted it. I figured that it had something to do with his religion, so I started taking instruction in Catholicism. The young man moved away and I didn't see him again, but I continued studying Catholicism. Click here to read this entire story.

 

Publishing News  - December Offer

During the month of December, Lighthouse Trails Publishing is offering a special opportunity. Normally, we give a 40% discount for 10 or more copies of the same title. For December, you may order a mixture of 10 books on the titles we publish.  Click here for more information. We hope this will help to get some of these books into the hands of your loved ones.

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The Story of Anita Dittman on DVD NEW DVD: The Story of Anita Dittman - a 70 minute DVD presentation of Anita Dittman, which took place at Twin City Fellowship in MN in October. Click here for ordering information. This is also available in CD (audio).

 

THREE WAYS TO ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:

 

2. Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910

 

Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more copies

 

We ship within 24 hours of receiving order.

Lighthouse Trails books are also available to order from most bookstores (online and walk-in). If your local bookstore isn't carrying one of our titles, you can ask them to order it  for you.

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For information on our 1st 2007 spring release, The Other Side of the River, click here. 

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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Note: Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company. While we hope you will read the books we have published, we also provide extensive 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.

 

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 newsletter@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.

 

New Winter Catalog

The Lighthouse Trails Winter/Spring 2008 catalog is now available. If you are a LT customer, you have probably now received a catalog in the mail. If you are not a customer and would like a free catalog mailed to you, please send your address to catalog@lighthousetrails.com.

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These two important books expose the truth about contemplative spirituality and the new age.

A Time of Departing
and
For Many Shall Come in My Name

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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

 

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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.

Some of the topics this book addresses:

Word Faith movement
Holy Laughter
"Slain" in the Spirit practice
Emphasis on humanity of Jesus over Deity
Gifts & Calling for the unbeliever?
Experience versus Scripture
Repetitive chanting & singing
Paradigm shift
Understanding true worship

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