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Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
March 2006
 

Contemplative spirituality has taken churches around the world by storm. This "new" spirituality is coming through many avenues: the seeker-friendly and church growth movements, the Purpose-Driven paradigm, colleges and seminaries, the emerging church movement and so on. Also called the Spiritual Formation movement, the results of this corruption of the true gospel are disastrous.

We hope this newsletter will help you defend the precious faith that is given to us through Jesus Christ, the Light of the world and man's only path to salvation.We also hope that pastors and other church leaders will see the danger and error of contemplative spirituality and return to the pure faith.

"[T]hat we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ ..." (Ephesians 4:14,15)

In This Issue
(Click Titles):
  • Christian Leaders Network Together in Dangerous Venture
  • RICK WARREN - Fundamentalist or Finagler?
    By Paul Proctor
  • Brennan Manning Copies Words of New Age Priest
  • INTERSPIRITUALITY WATCH ... National Prayer Breakfast
  • President of Fuller Seminary Willing to "Think About" Homosexual Marriages.
  • Awana Clubs
    Are they heading into the Contemplative Camp
  • Amazing Quotes
  • Wheaton College Promoting Contemplative Spirituality
  • Lighthouse Watch - Different Terms, Same Spirituality
  • Where is Your Kingdom - The Liberal Tendencies of Christian Leaders
  • Columnist Rips Evangelical Leaders for Becoming 'Trojan Horse' for the Left
  • Youth For Christ Teams Up With Youth Specialties and Contemplative Spirituality
  • InterVarsity Press Publishes New Age Contemplative Book
  • The Silence of Spiritual Formation
  • National Prayer Breakfast - Interfaith for the First Time
  • Lighthouse Trails Publishing Website Has New Look

  • RICK WARREN - Fundamentalist or Finagler?
    By Paul Proctor

    "Journalist, Paul Nussbaum recently sent shock waves through a segment of the Christian community after reporting the following comments from Pastor Rick Warren in The Philadelphia Enquirer:

    Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be 'one of the big enemies of the 21st century.'"
    Read entire article.


    Brennan Manning Copies Words of New Age Priest

    In Brennan Manning's 2003 book, Above All (foreword written by Michael W. Smith), Manning says the following:

    [T]he god whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger ...the god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased, is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist. (p. 58-59)

    Manning's statement is strikingly similar to contemplative William Shannon, who said in his 1991 book Silence on Fire:

    He is the God who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased .This God whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger ... This God does not exist. (p. 110, Silence on Fire)

    Manning and Shannon are not the only ones who write about God's judgment and Hell in such a manner. It is becoming increasingly popular and accepted by many Christian leaders to take this alternative view. Read the following remarks:

    • "Jesus' sacrifice was to appease an angry God. Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine."Alan Jones, Reimagining Christianity (p. 168) - Jones is a member of the interspiritual Living Spiritual Teachers Project

    • "You've heard me say many times that the greatest thing you can do with your life is tell somebody about Jesus ... if you help somebody secure their eternal destiny, that they spend the rest of their life in Heaven not Hell ...your life counts, your life matters because nothing matters more than helping get a person and their eternal destiny settled. They will be forever eternally grateful....And I've always said that that was the greatest thing you can do with your life. I was wrong. There is one thing you can do greater than share Jesus Christ with somebody, and it is help start a church."—Sermon from 11/2003 when Rick Warren Announced His Global Peace Plan to Saddleback.

    • "All hell is smaller than one pebble ... smaller than one atom."—Nicky Gumbel, creator of the Alpha Course

    • Chuck Smith Jr. answers the Question: Do Good People Go to Hell? His answer: "No one's doctrine is perfect. I suppose that in some ways, we are all as far from the truth as the Mormons are from orthodox Christian theology. We will not have to pass a doctrinal exam to enter the kingdom of heaven. But we will have to pass another type of exam (i.e., 2 Corinthians 5:10). Were we good people? Did we follow Jesus in His compassion to others?"

    • "What Paul is clearly saying is that if anyone is worthy of being saved, they will be saved. At that point many Christians get very anxious, saying that absolutely no one is worthy of being saved. The implication of that is that a person can be almost totally good, but miss the message about Jesus, and be sent to hell. What kind of a God would do that? I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say 'he can't save them.' I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved."*— Dallas Willard, Apologetics in Action

    • "The church has been preoccupied with the question, 'What happens to your soul after you die?' As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, 'Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die.' I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don't think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line." - Brian McLaren, emerging church leader, from PBS Special

    "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13,14)

    "[H]e who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.... Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved..." - Jesus (John 10)

    *While Willard goes on to say that anyone who is going to be saved has to be saved by Jesus, his earlier statements cause confusion and are ambiguous.


    INTERSPIRITUALITY WATCH ... National Prayer Breakfast

    The following is an excerpt from an article written in February about the evangelical National Prayer Breakfast:

    "WASHINGTON — The annual National Prayer Breakfast will be co-chaired by Sen. Norm Coleman, the first time in memory that a Jew will lead the gathering, and at a time when some rabbis have expressed misgivings about what they see as the event's overtly Christian tone." Read entire article


    President of Fuller Seminary Willing to "Think About" Homosexual Marriages.

    "During a recent show on gay marriage, Tippett interviewed two evangelical Christians, Richard J. Mouw and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, said he was willing to think about civil unions for gays but could not reconcile himself to church marriages."


    Awana Clubs
    Are they heading into the Contemplative Camp

    Awana Clubs has been a respected and trusted Christian organization for many years. Countless children have been Cubbies and Sparkies and have memorized Scripture through the program.

    With so much of the church heading into the contemplative/emergent camp, also known as the spiritual formation movement, what a tragedy it would be to see Awana being sucked into this also. Few things are stable these days ... is Awana the next to cave in?

    Recently, it was brought to our attention that Awana's Kevin White sent out a notice to an undisclosed number of Awana youth leaders, letting them know about the Willow Creek Association's Student Ministries/Next Gen Leadership Conference (which took place 2/27-3/2). The notice encouraged leaders to attend and told them where they could register.

    In doing further research, we have found that Awana Clubs' connections to contemplative/emerging is not just with Willow Creek. Please see our February 23rd press release for more information on this.


    Amazing Quotes

    "We have promoted an unbiblical message that becoming born-again is the answer to everything. It's not. It changes your eternity, but it doesn't change your sexual behavior, for instance. The gospel does not always have the answer for modern-day dilemmas."—Bruce Wilkinson (author of Prayer of Jabez)

    "Spiritual ecstasy. The third phase of contemplative prayer ... a supernatural trance state ..."—Charisma magazine, Oct. 2004

    "The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart."—Henri Nouwen

    What works for me is a combination of disciplines: I do yoga, tai chi which is a Chinese martial art and three kinds of meditation—vipasana, transcendental and mantra (sound) meditation.—Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul


    Wheaton College Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

    According to their mission statement, Wheaton college "exists to help build the church and improve society worldwide by promoting the development of whole and effective Christians through excellence in programs of Christian higher education."
    And yet, evidence is ample to show that Wheaton has headed toward contemplative spirituality (the Spiritual Formation movement). For instance, on February 6th, the college held an evening session called The Nature of Spiritual Formation: A Conversation. Speakers included Glandion Carney from the Renovaré Ministry Team (Richard Foster's organization). Closing prayer was done by Brother Roger of Taize, an interspiritual, contemplative organization.


    Aside from special events such as this, Wheaton's website has over 150 documents on Spiritual Formation, 27 listing for contemplative, and over a hundred documents on Emerging.

    Wheaton promotes contemplative author, Calvin Miller (Into the Depths of God), as well as Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and David Steindl-Rast in their SPIRITUAL FORMATION (Evan. 516) course. Their Evangelism 542, Strategies for Contemporary Evangelism, promotes the Emerging Church and contemplative spirituality, using books by authors such as Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet. This spring, in their CE 323 Dynamics of Spiritual Growth course, professor James C. Wilhoit will be introducing students to "Christian Spiritual Formation," which will include teaching lectio divina. Textbooks will include Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline and Henri Nouwen's The Way of the Heart. Part of Wilhoit's instruction is: "Read Richard Foster’s chapter on 'Unceasing Prayer' in Prayer, follow his suggestions for developing a breath prayer, pray it throughout the day."

    With Christian colleges holding courses such as this, it is no wonder that many of today's young pastors are going contemplative.

    Related Information:
    More on Wheaton College
    Other Contemplative Promoting Colleges


    Lighthouse Watch - Different Terms, Same Spirituality

    Here is a sampling of contemplative spirituality language. New terms are popping up every day, but they are all part of the same spirituality:

    * Ancient Wisdom
    * Sacred Space
    * Spiritual Formation
    * Experiential Prayer
    * Taize Worship
    * The Silence
    * Spiritual Disciplines
    * Breath Prayers
    * Lectio Divina
    * Centering Prayer
    * Spiritual Directors
    * Labyrinths
    * Practicing the Presence of God



    Where is Your Kingdom - The Liberal Tendencies of Christian Leaders

    "[S]everal notable evangelicals, including Rick Warren, have now signed on to the pagan left's environmental agenda by joining the Global Warming Initiative. Even though many conservatives found it somewhat strange and out-of-character, Warren's liberal tendencies didn't come as all that much of a surprise to those of us who, for years, have rebuked him and warned others of his Purpose Driven pretense; theories, techniques, philosophies and practices that have been liberal all along. ..." From Where is Your Kingdom, by Paul Proctor


    Columnist Rips Evangelical Leaders for Becoming 'Trojan Horse' for the Left

    "A Christian columnist says groups that back abortion rights and same-sex "marriage" are funding the new evangelical climate initiative signed by Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren and more than 80 other Christian pastors and leaders." Read Entire Article by Jim Brown, Columnist Rips Evangelical Leaders for Becoming 'Trojan Horse' for the Left


    Youth For Christ Teams Up With Youth Specialties and Contemplative Spirituality

    This summer, in two locations (DC and LA), a Youth Specialties and Youth For Christ hosted event will take place - DCLA.

    The event is geared for middle high and high school students and will allow students to "experience intimate worship, relevant training, and interaction with thousands of other students that will lead to life-changing impact."

    Just how will this "life-changing impact" happen? To begin with, "training" will include the use of a labyrinth.

    Speakers for the events include Youth Specialties President, Mark Oestreicher, and Doug Fields, Youth Pastor of Saddleback Church.

    More on Youth Specialties


    InterVarsity Press Publishes New Age Contemplative Book

    Last fall, InterVarsity Press released a book called Spiritual Disciplines by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. The book is clearly promoting New Age mantra meditation and quotes from several New Age sympathizers and New Age contemplatives.

    More Information on Christian publishers.


    The Silence of Spiritual Formation

    Spiritual Formation is just another term for Contemplative Spirituality. The idea behind Spiritual Formation is that we need certain practices and disciplines in order to be like Christ. One of those disciplines is the practice of the silence. And as many contemplatives teach, anyone can practice entering the silence and get results. While the entire premise of the Spiritual Formation movement is flawed through and through (according to Scripture), let us look primarily at the discipline of the silence.

    Please note that another one of the spiritual disciplines is solitude, which is often described by contemplatives as an outward quietness, a getting away from distractions such as television and the telephone. Silence, on the other hand, is described as a stilling of the mind. As Ray Yungen puts it, it is like putting the mind in neutral. Witches call this the alpha state and Laurie Cabot, a well-known witch, calls it the heart of witchcraft.

    Our minds cannot naturally go into a neutral or thoughtless state without the help of either drugs or some kind of repetitive practice—thus the reason contemplatives use lectio divina, breath prayers or a mantra to enter their silence or alpha state.


    National Prayer Breakfast - Interfaith for the First Time

    "King Abdullah II of Jordan quoted from the Bible and the Koran in a brief speech to a lunchtime crowd of 2,000 mostly evangelical Christians yesterday, [2/2/06] invoking 'our Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage' and urging moderates of the three great religions to unite."

    "At this point in history, our service to God, our countries and our peoples demands that we confront extremism in its myriad forms," he told listeners at the annual National Prayer Breakfast luncheon at the Washington Hilton.

    "To overcome this common foe, we must explore the values that unite us, rather than exaggerating the misunderstandings that divide us."
    Read Entire Article, Jordan's King Urges Moderates to Unite


    Lighthouse Trails Publishing Website Has New Look

    Now in our 5th year, Lighthouse Trails Publishing and Lighthouse Trails Research Project exist to be a service to the body of Christ. By the grace of God, we have been able to publish several titles these past few years and develop a research website that has over 320 pages and 10,000 links. Each of our books has an important and relevant theme to believers while also presenting the gospel message throughout the pages.


    Christian Leaders Network Together in Dangerous Venture

    The Church Communication Network (CCN) is a network of many of today's top Christian leaders. A list of Ministry Partners includes ministries such as Focus on the Family, Moody Publishers, Campus Crusade for Christ, Joni Eareckson, and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), with speakers that include David Jeremiah, Beth Moore, and Dr. Erwin Lutzer.

    Add to that list New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard, of Lead Like Jesus, the emerging-church promoting SonLife Ministries, Larry Crabb of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Thomas Nelson Publishers (who just released Yoga for Christians), the Alpha Course, and Willow Creek Association, and you have a high-powered, influential network of Christian leaders, most of whom are promoting contemplative spirituality to varying degrees. But then it really shouldn't be any surprise. On the CCN website, "Spiritual Formation," which is a disguised term for contemplative spirituality, is included as one of CCN's key areas of interest and need for today's church. That would explain why Rick Warren is listed as one of the CCN speakers also—Warren calls the Spiritual Formation movement a valid message and a wake up call to the church.1

    To better understand the reason for concern, let's look at some of the individual ministries that make up CCN:

    As we have shown in the past, Ken Blanchard promotes the New Age and contemplative spirituality through the many book and organization endorsements he has given to numerous New Agers, Buddhists, psychics, and so on. His own comments and his close affiliations with New Age organizations over the last twenty years up until the present have no doubt misled many sincere people who were searching for the truth.

    Thomas Nelson Publishers is quickly joining the fiasco. This year they released a book called Yoga for Christians. The name says it all. They have also recently published Chuck Swindoll's book, So You Want to Be Like Christ, a book that clearly shows Swindoll's recent persuasions towards the contemplative.

    Alpha Course North American president Todd Hunter has joined the emerging church/contemplative ranks as is clear to see by his partnering with Richard Foster's Renovare and promoting authors such as Brian McLaren. Hunter's own blog is filled with references to the emerging church, Youth Specialties, and more.

    The Church Communication Network isn't shy about promoting contemplative prayer. Coming up this month is the "Be Still" event, sponsored by CCN. As you may have guessed, the Be Still conference is about Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality). From the CCN website: "How can we be still enough to find Christ in the midst of all the noise and distraction of our 24/7 culture? Invite your congregation to the inspirational CCN special event, BE STILL, and discover the joys of increasing intimacy with God that can be found in contemplative prayer." That intimacy will be taught by none other than Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Richard Foster (who said we "should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer"2) advocates Thomas Merton's teachings, even though Merton likened contemplative prayer silence to an LSD trip.3

    In case you are wondering if this Be Still conference is an isolated event, here are a few other connections between CCN and the New Age/contemplative. On March 7th, CCN hosted "The Integrity Simulcast. Speakers included Bill Hybels of Willow Creek and Ken Blanchard. You may remember Blanchard's endorsement of the book called What Would Buddha Do At Work, in which Blanchard said, "Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I ... invite you to begin your journey to enlightened work." But what you may not know is that Blanchard is still endorsing this type of work, such as his January 2006 endorsement of Jon Gordon's New Age book, The 10-Minute Energy Solution.

    Other CCN events have included "Developing Leaders in a Postmodern Culture" with emerging church leader, Erwin McManus and Rex Miller (author of The Millennium Matrix), "Worship in the Emerging Church" with Dan Kimball, "Spiritual Disciplines for Leaders" with Richard Foster and John Ortberg, and the list goes on.

    Many of the largest Christian ministries have partnered with CCN. More are sure to join. This makes for an incredibly powerful and influential network. The question must be asked, with so much power and so much unity in the midst of such deception, what is going to happen to the pure gospel message of Jesus Christ and to those believers who are trying to defend the faith? Many of the ministries mentioned above have already been moving into the contemplative direction for some time. Campus Crusade, for instance, offers a labyrinth experience on their Global Prayer Movement website. Networking only serves to increase the momentum that ministries are moving in. Perhaps it is time to question whether these leaders are still indeed the trustworthy leaders of the body of Christ. If these people want to continue to be referred to as our Christian leaders, then their foremost effort should be in promoting and preserving the integrity of the gospel. Contemplative spirituality has consistently proven to be a compromise of the gospel. Perhaps it is time for believers everywhere to stand and say, I will not adhere to a network of leaders that promotes a spirituality that masquerades as an angel of light.

    1. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, Zondervan, 1995, p. 126- 127.

    2. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, Harper & Row, 1978 ed. p. 13.

    3. Conversation between Matthew Fox and Thomas Merton from interview with Fox and Nine O Clock Service



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