Archive for the ‘The New (False) Spirituality’ Category
LTRP Note: The following news article is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of either the content or the source. It is no surprise to Lighthouse Trails that Walter Martin’s successor Hank Hanegraaff (host of the Bible Answer Man) has converted to the Orthodox Church (which is a bridge between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism). Several years ago, we saw something like this coming because of Hanegraaff’s embracing of Rick Warren, Richard Foster, and other ecumenical contemplative figures.
Hanegraaff admits that the Eucharist was instrumental in his conversion. According to the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is “the real Presence” of Christ in the sacraments which blasphemously contradicts Hebrews 10:10-12, recrucifying Christ. Many in the Orthodox Church embrace this view of the Eucharist as well though they may reject the term “transubstantiation.”1
Hanegraaff, a Reformed preterist, has also provided a platform for anti-Israel figure Stephen Sizer. According to apologist David Reagan,
The two foremost critics of Christian Zionism are Reverend Stephen Sizer, an Anglican priest in England, and Hank Hanegraaff here in the United States, known popularly as “The Bible Answer Man.” Both men are virulently anti-Semitic. Sizer has “marketed a nightmare version of Christian Zionism that paints all Christian supporters of Israel as reactionary and dangerous fundamental fanatics intent on bringing on Armageddon.” Hanegraaff bluntly asserts that “Israel is the Harlot of Revelation.”2
Something to consider that we will be developing at a later time: When a proclaiming Christian turns his back on Israel and the Jews and becomes puffed up as Romans 11 describes, we believe the Holy Spirit departs. When the Holy Spirit departs, a replacement is often sought, and this is where contemplative mysticism comes in to play. We have seen this time and again.
Proclaiming Christians who have turned against Israel saying that the church has replaced Israel should take heed and realize they have put themselves in great peril and at risk of becoming apostate.
Given the large audience of followers that Hank Hanegraaff has, we expect his conversion will lead many to follow suit in converting out of Protestantism.
“‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff Leaves Evangelicalism, Joins Eastern Orthodox Church”
By Brandon Showalter
An evangelical radio personality known as “The Bible Answer Man” and president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute was formally received into the Eastern Orthodox Church Sunday.
The Christian Post confirmed that Hank Hanegraaff was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Many evangelicals seek the early church; well here it is, in Orthodoxy,” he continued.
“I am sure some will be scandalized by Hanegraaff’s conversion but I hope at least some will wonder how someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as Hank could convert to Orthodoxy, and go to a Divine Liturgy to taste and see what it’s like.” Click here to continue reading. Below is a video of Hanegraaff talking about the Eucharist and the Orthodox Church to listeners.
- David Reagan, “Christian Zionism” (http://christinprophecy.org/articles/christian-zionism/).
The Catholic Church Continues Drawing In the “Lost Brethren” Through Eucharistic Adoration
Catholic Evangelization and the Role of the “Eucharist” in This End-Time Deception
By Will Maule
The graphic artist who played a central role in designing the cover for the controversial novel ‘The Shack’ has said he deeply regrets working on the project, now disagreeing with the book’s contentious theology.
“[O]ver 10 years ago, I was captivated by the story and felt honored to be part of the graphic creation of the book. I was so drawn into it, wanting to know the God it portrayed,” Dave Aldrich of Aldrich Design posted on Facebook. “The Shack’s story wonderfully painted this picture to me of an incredibly knowable and loving God, one full of forgiveness, but without being judgmental.”
Aldrich began to read Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and others, and quickly realized he was on a path to holding universalist beliefs. “I thank the Lord that He pulled me back from that edge,” Aldrich wrote. He realized that if God is full of love, he must also be a righteous judge. Click here to continue reading.
As we observe evangelical Christianity being drawn toward “the Mother Church” of Roman Catholicism, it is amazing to see how very few Christian leaders speak up about this. On the contrary, one after the next, Christian leaders are succumbing to this ecumenical, interfaith last-days apostasy of merging evangelicalism into the Catholic fold. Lighthouse Trails has reported on numerous examples of highly influential evangelical leaders heading in this direction: Rick Warren, Beth Moore, James Robison, and Ken Copeland to name a few.
Today, we received two different e-mails that provided information to show the continuance of this evangelical move toward Rome. In the first e-mail sent by Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa senior pastor Brian Brodersen was brought to our attention. Brodersen is beginning an online YouTube series called Things That Matter. In his introductory segment, he explains that this new show is going to help believers see “the bigger picture of Christianity.” He says that too often Christians focus on issues that are not important. As we listened to his words, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the words of emerging church pioneer, Leonard Sweet, when he said:
“Christ is in the Church in the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see the same sun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a much more magnificent way.” (Aqua Church, p.39, emphasis added)
Sweet was actually quoting Pierre Teilhard de Chardin when he said this as Warren B. Smith points out in his book, A “Wonderful” Deception. What is this “more magnificent way” to which Sweet refers? We know what Chardin means by this, and based on our research on Leonard Sweet and the emerging church, Sweet concurs with Chardin. The “more magnificent way” of seeing things is the paradigm shift that brings all religions together as one, removing all “barriers,” and ultimately leading man to believe he is Divine.
Some may say this is a stretch to suggest that Brian Brodersen is thinking this way just because he says “the bigger picture of Christianity.” But is it really a stretch? As we reported earlier this year, Brodersen recently came out publicly promoting the Alpha Course leader, Nicky Gumbel, who is practically in the arms of the papacy and will take millions of Alpha Course participants with him. It was no small thing that a leading Calvary Chapel pastor endorsed Gumbel and the Alpha Course (if you aren’t sure what to think about the Alpha Course, read our recent article by Mary Danielsen and Chris Lawson). While Brodersen is not proclaiming that man is Divine, whether he realizes it or not, he is helping to remove the barriers between evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.
What is this “bigger picture of Christianity” that Brodersen is talking about? Is he just talking about the Christianity that is beyond the Calvary Chapel borders? Of course not; that would be nothing new as many Calvary Chapel pastors, including CC’s founder Chuck Smith have acknowledged that the body of Christ includes believers outside of Calvary Chapel. Calvary Chapel has never claimed that the body of Christ was solely within their own walls. Time will tell what exactly Brodersen means by this “bigger picture of Christianity.” However, from our perspective, it stands to reason that Brodersen’s remarks would resonate with Rick Warren’s when Warren has stated on numerous occasions that Christianity does include the Catholic Church and that we should focus more on what we have in common than in what we don’t. In other words, the bigger picture of Christianity. That is what Warren means. In Brodersen’s Things That Matter segment, he expressed his concern that some in the body of Christ are focusing too much on “non-essential” issues. We are curious as to what those “non-essential” issues are, and we suspect one of those will be criticizing the Catholic Church.
The second e-mail we received today was regarding Calvary Chapel’s leading pastor Greg Laurie. The e-mail stated: “As a former attendee at Harvest Christian Fellowship [Laurie’s church], it saddens me that Pastor Greg gives validity to Mel Gibson. This post was on Pastor Greg’s Instagram.” The Instagram our reader was referring to shows a photo of Greg Laurie, his wife, and Hollywood actor Mel Gibson.
While this may seem to be of no significance at first glance, the message that Laurie included in his Instagram also stated: ” I have good news; this dynamic duo [Gibson and Randall Wallace] is working together on a follow-up of the epic film on the crucifixion of Jesus, The Passion. . . . I am really looking forward to a long-overdue movie about this topic from the man who created a whole new template for telling a biblical story on film, Mel Gibson.”
As veteran author and teacher Roger Oakland has documented in his book, Another Jesus, The Passion film was an attempt by Mel Gibson to “evangelize” evangelicals and drawn them “back to the Mother Church.” As Oakland pointed out, Gibson said:
The goal of the movie [The Passion] is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the “sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar–which is the same thing.”1
When Gibson says “the sacrifice of the altar,” he is talking about the Catholic Mass, which re-crucifies Christ repeatedly.
Oakland also wrote “The Passion of the Christ Motives Revealed” that brings out more evidence from Gibson himself that The Passion was intended to draw non-Catholics to the Catholic Church. Oakland stated:
The newly released “Definitive Edition” of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” confirms the film was produced with the specific purpose to promote a Roman Catholic agenda that would introduce viewers to the Roman Catholic “Mary” and the Roman Catholic “Jesus.”
One of the statements Mel Gibson made (brought out in Oakland’s article) regarding this Definitive Edition of The Passion was about Mary. Gibson stated: “[S]he was cooperating with this, salvific work. I tried to make that obvious.” You can read several other statements by Gibson with regard to his motive in doing The Passion in the article above.
Read this extract from Another Jesus titled “What Lies Behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ,” and you will see that The Passion was an effort to bring “modern audiences” into the Catholic fold. There’s little doubt that Greg Laurie knows of this information from Roger Oakland. Roger was virtually the only Calvary Chapel figure (when he was part of Calvary Chapel) opposing the raving support the evangelical church was giving The Passion when it came out, and he was severely criticized for his opposition; and at the 2005 Calvary Chapel senior pastor’s conference in Murrieta, California, with Chuck Smith’s permission, a copy of Another Jesus was given out to each pastor in attendance.
Laurie’s recent praise on Instagram of Mel Gibson and The Passion isn’t the first time Laurie has shown that he sees “the bigger picture of Christianity.” In 2015, he publicly promoted New Age Catholic Roma Downey.2 And in 2011, there was the LifeFest event where he had no problem sharing a platform with a Catholic priest as you can read in our article “Green Bay Catholic Priest David Ricken leads Mass at Lifefest Before Joint Worship with Greg Laurie” and Roger Oakland’s article “The Pope’s New Evangelization Program: Bishop Ricken, Greg Laurie and Calvary Chapel. ” And, of course, most recently, we reported on The Gathering 2016 taking place this fall where Laurie and other evangelical leaders are coming together in an ecumenical event that has at least one pro-Catholic speaker.
There are too many instances to ignore anymore where Christian leaders are saying OK to joining up with the Roman Catholic Church. And sadly, there is too much silence and apathy from the ranks of the evangelical/Protestant camp. Few voices are speaking up, and when those voices are silenced, all that will be left will be the bigger picture of a false Christianity.
LTRJ Note: Some who read this article and other similar articles by Roger Oakland and LT accuse us of “lumping” all Calvary Chapels together saying they are all bad. We find this line of reasoning troubling. Lighthouse Trails historically has challenged many denominations (and the leaders within those groups), Calvary Chapel being one of them. Because Calvary Chapel has claimed it is not a denomination, there has been this expected idea by some who contact us that they are so loosely connected to each other that one Calvary Chapel church should not in any way be implicated with other Calvary Chapel churches.But the fact is, if a church takes on a particular name for the benefit of being associated with that name or group, then it seems unfair to expect that no one associate them with that group. Does this mean that all Calvary Chapels are going astray because some are? Of course not. Just like not all Baptist or Nazarene churches are going astray because some are. Calvary Chapel, as a group or denomination, should not be singled out for undue criticism, but neither should it be excused from criticism. And if a church has the name and association of Calvary Chapel, then that church must bear some of the responsibility for the leaders of that group, just like any other denomination or ministry. While Lighthouse Trails does not say that a particular local church should break away from a denomination if some of the denomination is going astray (because that is a decision only that church can make), we do say that pastors and church members who see their group or denomination going astray should speak up, not be silent, and call out those who are leading their group toward apostasy. Roger Oakland and Chris Lawson, both long-time Calvary Chapel ministers/teachers, finally left the Calvary Chapel movement and speak about the problems within the movement in an effort to help Christians stay the course of truth. Lighthouse Trails supports their efforts.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
This commentary will be short. It will also be clear and to the point. There are three things I am compelled to share.
First, I am often accused of being a Calvary Chapel basher. Not so. For those of you who have read my biography, Let There Be Light, you know I first began working with Calvary Chapel in 1989 at Chuck Smith’s personal invitation. Chuck had asked me to bring my teachings on evolutionary thinking and the New Age (and how both were affecting the world and the church) to Calvary Chapel pastors. Thus, I moved my family from our farm in Saskatchewan to Southern California.
I had only been with Calvary Chapel less than a year when I began seeing serious problems within the movement. In my book, I described the situation:
From 1998 on, the battle I faced in southern California . . . only intensified . . . A number of things simply did not line up with my “farming” way of seeing things. Many times I was reminded of my dad’s famous statement: “The reason I am a farmer is that I would rather deal with nature than human nature.” This became etched in my mind over and over as I saw the signs of a Christian church being run more like a corporation than a New Testament church. . . . Since I had traveled throughout America and the world in Calvary Chapel circles since 1989, giving me opportunity to make observations, I didn’t have to be a forensic scientist to see when something was wrong. 
You can read more about my years at Calvary Chapel in Let There Be Light, but I bring this up because of being accused of only wanting to hurt Calvary Chapel. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve sometimes been asked, “Why did you stay so long at Calvary Chapel if problems began surfacing within the first year.” I explain this in my book:
Well, that’s simple—I truly was convinced God had brought me to Calvary Chapel to be a blessing, to teach those at Calvary Chapel about creation versus evolution and the ramifications of believing in evolution, and to help prepare and equip Calvary Chapel against spiritual deception and a great coming apostasy. With such conviction and my love for the Calvary Chapel pastors, I never felt the freedom to just walk away from the movement, at least not until I had done all I could possibly do. My farmer heritage gave me the tenacity to not give up, while the Lord in my life helped me to persevere. 
While I have been accused of being divisive and unloving, the fact is, to say nothing when people are in danger is the most unloving thing of all. Bottom line is, at Understand The Times, we have attempted to promote the truth, not just to Calvary Chapel but to the body of Christ at large. When light shines into the darkness, the darkness does not like the light. You will find this in the Bible where we read:
The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. (Job 18:6) Click here to continue reading and for endnotes.
Somewhat reminiscent of the cult-like individuals who contend that the holocaust in Germany never happened, Oprah Winfrey’s “Jesus”—the New Age Jesus of A Course in Miracles—would have everyone believe that the crucifixion never happened. As Christians around the world have celebrated Christ’s resurrection this weekend, Oprah’s “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles would have the world believe that “A slain Christ has no meaning.”1
In February 1992, Oprah’s enthusiastic endorsement of Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles sent Williamson’s book to the top of the New York Times best-seller list and officially outed the “Jesus of A Course in Miracles—one of the false christs that the real Jesus warned everyone to watch out for. The New Age Course in Miracles was reputedly channeled by “Jesus” through an atheistic woman in New York city in the late 1960s and into the early 70s. Today, A Course in Miracles is commonly referred to as the closest thing to a New Age “Bible.”
Oprah—who describes herself as a Christian—told her worldwide television audience on that February program that the teachings of A Course in Miracles could change the world. She said that Williamson’s book was one of the best books she ever read. She announced that she bought a thousand copies and that everyone in the studio audience would get a copy.
Oprah Winfrey talks of love and forgiveness but her “Jesus” denies the very Cross where love and forgiveness were extended to all mankind. The following are direct quotes from Oprah’s Course in Miracles “Jesus” in his denial of the reason people celebrate Easter—pretty much what you would expect from a false New Age “Christ”:
“This is Palm Sunday, the celebration of victory and the acceptance of the truth. Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God’s Son, but happily in the celebration of his release. For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain. A slain Christ has no meaning.” (A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Text, p. 425)
“In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and free from all the terror that kept it hidden. There is no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but in faith.” (ACIM Text, p. 428)
“The crucifixion did not establish the atonement; the resurrection did. Many sincere Christians have misunderstood this.” (ACIM Text, p. 36)
“For the undoing of the crucifixion of God’s Son is the work of redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value.” (ACIM Text, p. 209)
“Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious.” (ACIM Text, p. 37)
“The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.'” (ACIM Text, p. 52)
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.‘” (ACIM Text, p. 52)
“The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.” (ACIM Text, p. 237) (all emphasis added)
Note: It is interesting to note that Oprah Winfrey’s 2016 Super Soul Sunday on March 27th featured an interview with mega-church pastor Joel Osteen, who seemed only too happy to be used by Oprah on Easter Sunday to give her and her New Age Christ some semblance—no matter how thin—of Christian compatibility.2
- A Course in Miracles, p. 423
- See promotional video clip of Super Soul Sunday below.
Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” and the Emperor’s New Clothes (Booklet/article)
The subject of peace has been thought about, written about, and passed through the lips of countless people over the centuries. Human history has been racked by violence and unrest since the fall of man, making peace an evasive commodity that has only been known for relatively short periods of time.
We wanted to take a look at peace from a biblical perspective considering that the subject is being increasingly talked about in academic, political, and especially religious circles. Rick Warren, for instance, has been trying to implement and promote his P.E.A.C.E. Plan through his three-legged stool approach of melding the world’s religious, economic, and political forces into one. As he points out, just as a stool cannot stand unless it has at least three legs, he believes that we cannot achieve world peace without the blending and unifying of these three forces. The New Age movement also has a P.E.A.C.E. plan, and although the acronym utilizes different terms, the intents and goals are similar to those of the Purpose Driven Movement.
The Bible teaches that we are to, “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Paul’s choice of words here serve as a kind of hesitation in approaching the subject of peace because he knew in his own life what an evasive commodity peace can be. Paul’s mission was to preach the Gospel, but in so doing he recounts the perils that he faced to include receiving 39 lashes five times, being beaten with rods three times, and being stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:24-25). But this was no great surprise to Paul because God had said of him, “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we read of the lives of the other apostles, we learn that their lives were marked by suffering and hardship too. But the Lord had also prepared them for this in saying, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Jesus even went so far as to describe to Peter what kind of death he would suffer for the sake of the Gospel (John 21:18). Is it any wonder, then, if our lives are marked by hardships and misunderstandings and hostility.
However, in recalling the lives of the apostles and those who have suffered before us, a very important lesson can be learned here. What is being taught in many of today’s “new” Christianity churches is that our task is to build God’s kingdom here on earth and that Jesus will return once we have created a form of Utopia here. Similarly, the Catholic Church believes we will create a Utopia once the whole world unites in a devotion to Mary and the Eucharist; this world-wide devotion to the Eucharist will be their version of the second coming of Christ.
But as all of these churches unite in trying to bring their version of peace on earth, they are sadly mistaken and ignorant of what is clearly presented in Scripture. This ignorance of the Scriptures is really a matter of choice than anything else. Just as Peter was not happy to hear what sort of death he would suffer, the emerging religious leaders of today do not want to believe the bleak picture the Bible portrays of the world before Jesus’ return. But while Peter accepted Jesus’ words, these new Christianity emerging leaders have bent and twisted Scripture in such a way as to support this Utopian God’s-kingdom-on-earth-now theology.
Unbeknownst to the multitudes who are following these globalistic leaders, these current efforts toward global peace are paving the way for the Antichrist whom the Bible warns will implement a peace plan in the last days. Sadly, much of the church of today, as apostate as it has become, is becoming deluded and conditioned to receive this satanic world leader in much the same way that the churches in Germany were conditioned by anti-Semitic teachings prior to Hitler’s rise to power. Our leaders of today are becoming modern-day John the Baptists for the Antichrist.
While it is true that some of Bible prophecy can be difficult to understand, just a superficial reading of Matthew 24 or Luke 21 should make it abundantly clear that Jesus will return to a world of violence and chaos, not Utopia. But, here again these Scriptures have been twisted or ignored—by choice.
As for the Book of Revelation, some current-day Bible teachers believe that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation have already happened (preterism) (as the Catholic Church teaches) or that these events can be prevented (as the New Age and emerging church teaches) in much the same way that Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites was turned around. The sad difference is that while the Ninevites responded by repentance, our world is moving further away from godliness. Furthermore, the Book of Revelation depicts events as they will actually happen—not as they might or could happen—because John saw in a vision the future as it will be.
There is, however, God’s call today for repentance. There are Christian believers who have been trying to spread abroad God’s appeal for repentance and His warnings about the apostasy that has already come upon us. They have been warning that judgment begins in the house of God and that judgment is upon us now too. As we shall see, judgment on the world has only begun and will intensify in the future like birth-pangs on a woman in labor. Paul said, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).
It is rather uncanny how the world, in recent years, has witnessed so many natural disasters in the form of earthquakes, floods, and weather phenomena, while the mainstream news media has done so little to cover these events. In Japan, they had a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear holocaust with possibly millions seriously exposed to radiation in Japan while unknown quantities of contaminated water got dumped into the ocean, and radiation permeated our atmosphere on a global scale; yet the media had little to say about this either except to almost laughingly dismiss it by saying we are getting less exposure than we get from having an X-ray in the dentist’s office. The indifference is unbelievable.
Could it be this indifference we are witnessing is part of the world-wide delusion Jesus predicted would sweep the earth in the end times? Most Americans, in particular, are living in denial—unwilling to acknowledge the storm clouds looming on our horizon. Is it because we have known little of suffering, and those living today have never witnessed our shores being invaded by war? But America will know God’s judgment, and again the reason why we cannot see it is a matter of choice rather than looking at things realistically.
Of all Americans, our Christian leaders should be seeing and hearing God’s warnings of impending judgment. But instead, they are shaking hands with the Devil and prophesying peace, purpose, and prosperity through unity and “community” to their congregations.
Sadly, our world will not know the lasting peace that our religious leaders are predicting—not until after Jesus Christ returns. Yet, God is offering peace and comfort to his own—to those who hear His Word and follow Him. But this peace is not to be found by pursuing our own dreams and goals but rather in seeking to know what God has planned for our lives. The reality is that much of the anguish we experience in life is when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped or expected. By contrast, Jesus’ apostles knew the peace of God because rather than living in the denial of the post-modern Christians of today, they abided in Christ (1 John 2:28) and fully embraced the lives that God had for them, even when they knew it could mean martyrdom.
Think again of the plight of Peter. Jesus had told him that he would suffer persecution and die a cruel death, yet we do not see Peter wringing his hands at every bend in the road wondering what horrors may await him around the next corner. Peter’s life was not one of denial or of fear, but of resolve; the same man who had denied his Lord three times made it his mission to walk with God no matter where that road took him. Consider the events of Acts chapter twelve. King Herod had just had James the brother of John killed by the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he had Peter arrested too (Acts 12:2-3). No doubt, Herod’s intention was to have Peter executed also; and from the believers, realizing the severity of the situation, “prayer was made without ceasing” (vs. 5). Meanwhile, Peter had no expectation that an angel would deliver him that night, yet he could sleep in such a dire situation. Peter had learned to entrust his life to the Lord—combining faith and yielding to the will of God—and his heart was ready for whatever awaited him. As the chapter closes, we learn that with the turn of events, it is King Herod who dies and Peter is free.
It seems that Peter was always learning lessons in life, and here we can see that he had learned to be at peace in even the most drastic of situations, leaving the outcome in God’s hands. In his first epistle, Peter shares this perspective:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. . . . Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:12,13,19)
Like Paul, Peter had learned to be content in every situation. It is the life available to all Christians who yield to God’s will, trusting Him to bring them through every situation. How alien to this way of thinking is the church of today where the expectation is that God will make things go our way—even to the point of achieving global peace and a Utopian society. These are things that Jesus never promised us and, in fact, warned would not happen. While Christian leaders of today are speaking of establishing God’s kingdom on Earth before Jesus returns, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36—emphasis added).
Should we not, as believers in Jesus Christ, be about our Father’s business? So while we should try to live at peace with all men, our objective should be to spread the Gospel to all mankind. When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he never used illustrations that support the kingdom-now teachings of today. Rather, He spoke of hidden things and small beginnings. There was the parable of the mustard seed, which has a small and humble beginning yet grows into a tree (Matthew 13:31-32). Then there is the parable of the leaven, which a woman “hid” in three measures of meal, yet it leavened the whole lump of dough (Matthew 13:33). We used to wonder what Jesus meant by these parables, but over the last several years we have become aware that while the apostate church has been very visible and trumpeting their attempts to bring about a world-wide “reformation,” simultaneously an unseen body of believers all over the world has been returning to their first love and walking in repentance. I am sure that it is to this body of believers that Jesus refers to as the kingdom of heaven—not the boisterous liberal body who will sacrifice the Gospel in their pursuit of peace.
Peace is one of those unusual commodities (though very valuable), which cannot be achieved through direct pursuit. When nations have walked in repentance and pursued righteousness, God has blessed them with peace. But when nations have become vile and unruly and exchange a pursuit for God for a pursuit of things, the aspiration for peace remains out of reach.
The kingdom of heaven is less visible in its pursuits because its goals are different than the earthly ones of the apostate church. Our commission is to spread the Gospel, and it is to this cause that we need to be faithful. The kingdom of heaven is less visible in another way too—it is something that works in the hearts of people bringing about change through repentance and godliness. Compare this with Rick Warren’s “new reformation,” which is based, by Warren’s own admission, by deeds rather than creeds. All are invited to this reformation, regardless of what anyone believes. But Jesus put it plainly when He said that a man’s actions, be they good or evil, proceed from what is in the heart. A reformation based on action that does not deal with the heart is futile indeed. In order to change our world into a better place, hearts would need to change. The only way our nation could have a turn-around at this point would be through widespread repentance, but how can this happen when even the church is not walking in repentance today?
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
Today, we often hear many Christian groups quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray . . . then will I hear from heaven . . . and will heal their land.” But there is a part of this Scripture that is usually ignored: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” All of the prayers for America by apostate leaders are in vain because these leaders (and their followers) have not even repented themselves. On the contrary, they continue to promote and exalt a kingdom-now, dominionist, mystical, experiential “gospel.” Just look how popular books like The Shack and The Purpose Driven Life have been with new ones like these on the horizon every day. These books make people feel good about themselves, but they do not bring the heart to repentance.
Unfortunately, the peace that our world desires will not be known because its pursuits are ungodly. For the true believer, however, peace is an achievable commodity. Jesus promised His disciples peace when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27—emphasis added). Notice that Jesus says two things here: First, the peace He gives is not like the peace the world gives. In other words, don’t pursue peace from the world. Secondly, Jesus speaks of the heart. Peace, for the Christian, is a matter of the heart. And, as I alluded to before, Christians with false expectations (who are living in denial) will be disappointed again and again and live lives of anguish. The Bible says that “fear hath torment” (1 John 4:18). But the disciples faced their fears; they acknowledged the fact that they would encounter persecution and hardships, then they entrusted their lives to God as unto a faithful Creator. After all, the God who made us is also able to take care of us. And He has promised to abide in us (I John 3:24) if we abide in Him.
Even though we cannot and will not know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, Jesus did instruct us to observe the seasons. Right now, we are at that place Jeremiah speaks of where he says, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). In a time when pastors should be leading their churches in repentance and evangelists calling our nation back to righteousness, we have peace plans underway. The future of our nation and our world is bleak, so we should not be offering false assurances that will only be dashed to the ground.
The Bible offers peace for the true believer, but it is a peace that transcends what the world has to offer. Looking to the world for peace will only lead to disappointment. The peace God gives is of the heart, and it does not depend on our circumstances. It results from looking reality in the face but then looking to God and keeping our eyes on Him—trusting Him to deliver us and keep us under the shadow of His wings.
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:2-4)
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NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints by Cedric Fisher is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints, click here.
The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints
Orthodox Bible-believing Christians do not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.1—From an eye-witness account of the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions
In the wake of a brutal execution of Christians at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in October 2015, the Obama administration announced the appointment of a new czar position to supposedly battle domestic terrorism. According to one report:
[T]he new position within the Justice Department—yet to be filled—will focus on investigating lone-wolf domestic terrorists or “extremists.” The person who heads this new effort will target extremists who plan mass shootings, hold racist, bigoted or anti-government views or see themselves as “sovereign citizens.”2
However, many analysts are concerned that this new czar’s purpose will be to also identify and target conservative Christians and believe this decision could easily amount to an attack on freedom of religion and a dramatic escalation of the soft persecution streaming non-stop from the Obama administration. Actions like these appear to be intimidating conservative Christians into silence and obscurity so as not to be identified and harassed by Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue service, and so forth.
Bryan Fischer of OneNewsNow wrote that the president’s new terror czar position is an example of his “abiding hostility to people of Christian faith.”3 Further, Fischer wrote:
If you are a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ, your president believes you are a potential domestic terrorist.4
Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that conservative Christians are a threat to national security. It is a fact that they do not commonly vote democrat and that they are vocal about Obama’s destructive and anti-Christian policies.
The fact is, there is a war against Bible-believing Christians on the horizon. And until we acknowledge it, we are not going to fully grasp how essential it is to prepare and remain prepared for a brutal period that is rapidly approaching. There has always been a satanic war against God’s people. However, in the United States, we have become complacent, and like the frog in the boiling water, it has crept up upon us, and most won’t even realize it has happened until it is too late. We have lived in relative peace, and up until a couple of decades ago, enjoyed a fair amount of respect from the secular world.
That has changed radically. We are now in an increasingly hostile environment, and it is getting more antagonistic. Most true Christians that I am acquainted with are well aware of the frontal assaults from the secular realm and the openly heretical forays by emissaries of Satan in the religious realm. But most of them have not recognized the danger much closer to them. Certainly, the unified and unifying world religions despise true biblical Christianity. But it is a mistake to view those entities as being outside the scope of our associations.
For example, the rhetoric of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions (which took place in Salt Lake City in October of 2015)has been espoused within mainstream and emergent Christianity for a significant period. Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and even Rick Warren (to name a few) have written or expressed virtually or literally the same agenda. It is all about ecumenism, everyone in harmony, world peace, and the need for a “New Christianity.” But an eye witness at the 2015 Parliament succinctly described the underlying purpose of this New Christianity (i.e., New Spirituality):
The Parliament of the World’s Religions has an agenda and they are now very open about it. It is now an outright attack on the Christian church and the Word of God. . . .
They are not afraid to say that “an orthodox Bible believing Christian does not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.” It was in our face. This Parliament is a sort of coming out of the closet for them.5
The New Christianity/New Spirituality is the great and final apostasy—rank rebellion against the nature of God while at the same time re-identifying and glorifying the nature of Satan.
Most members and ordained ministers in denominations have not yet realized that the war has spread much closer to home. The satanic spirit inspiring the Parliament of the World’s Religions is motivating the New Age moles that have invaded Christianity. Evidence of that influence is now apparent in leaders of denominations. When a denominational leader supports New Age heretics, invites New Age gurus to speak at denominational functions, recommends heretical books as sound doctrine, then Satan has invaded and overthrown Christian leadership. To treat it as simply another disagreement or denominational dispute is farcical. One cannot hope to fight this spiritual war by the means commonly used to solve disputes between two born-again believers.
The intensity of that war and the extent of its progress is seen by the fact that the World Parliament of Religions, the Federal Government, highly popular and influential Christians including denominational leaders, and the Roman Catholic Church appear to have come to an agreement. They agree that Bible-believing Christians (and Jews) are the source of all the world’s ills. Their consensus is that the exclusivity of biblical Christianity (i.e., Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and man is not God but a sinner) is a hindrance to achieving world peace, global unity, climate control, hunger and disease management in third-world countries, harmony between religions, emotional well-being of licentious individuals, population control through abortion and euthanasia, genetic research using aborted babies, the advancement of science to “prove” evolution, and virtually every immoral issue and problem in the world. The solution cannot be arrived at without the elimination or eradication of true Christianity. As the eye witness at the Parliament states, according to the new spirituality view, “[t]he Christian orthodox view of Heaven and Hell will no longer be tolerated as they say it divides humanity.”6 One Parliament speaker, Salih Sayigan from the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, stated:
[E]xclusiveness leads to violence when we say you get to go to Heaven and you end in Hell; then we have a problem when you exclude you sow seeds of extremism.7
The plan to rid the world of these biblical “extremists” will be by incremental oppression in various forms. In a number of Muslim nations, they are well beyond increments. They brutalize, rob, rape, imprison, and murder Christians. The violence they use to remove Christian influence is justified as a means to solve violence. In other words, if they murder all the Christians, then they won’t have to murder anymore. That is the pragmatic premise of the coming brutal persecution. The slaughter of the Jews by Hitler was presented as necessary to peace, prosperity, and superiority. People believed that when the killing was done, there would be an end to any further killing in the Utopia achieved. They would simply need to endure the inhumanity for the chance at a world wherein inhumanity did not exist.
Of course, evil cannot solve evil. The killing cannot and will not end with the death of all Christians and Jews. Some other faction of society will be deemed a roadblock to progress, and the killing will resume. Evil must metastasize everywhere it infects and gains control. It can no more be a means to the development of peace than rape is a means to developing love. The war against Christians has but one purpose and that is to destroy God’s people and thereby eliminate godliness from the earth. It is Satan’s ploy.
Hasn’t the time come to identify the ones compliant with Satan’s goals? They do not appear as devils. There are no horns, no fangs, no foaming mouths, or other diabolical features. They appear as benevolent and gracious people. Their personalities are charismatic. Their rhetoric is engaging. Their leadership is diplomatic, for the most part, and they fit confidently (or seemingly humbly) into their esteemed positions. It is difficult to look beyond the image of such individuals, their smiling faces, considering their position, hear their gregarious and congenial words, and recognize the cleverly disguised malevolence. But it must be done. Until they are properly identified, evil will operate successfully and unabated through these people.
At this point, I am not certain that the evil can be stopped or even slowed down. The degradation of the secular and religious realms may be too far gone to reverse or much less halt. And after all, the Bible tells us such days are coming. However, there remains a reason to make the effort. There are still professing Christians who have not entered apostasy but have no idea, for various reasons, what is taking place within and outside the walls of Christianity. Warning them about the intense and clever deception is still viable. It is for that purpose we must continue to try.
But if we have any hope in us of rescuing these unknowing Christians, we who see and understand the times in which we live (because of the grace of God), we must get off the fence. We must speak out, write, pray, and stand without wavering when evil is present. The time is long past to enjoin the battle. Whatever it costs, we must stand up for God and His truth, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and expose the apostasy as the deadly spiritual plague it is. It threatens to destroy our children and our grandchildren from the newly born to the youth battling through the public education system while besieged by a torrent of satanic influences. Entire churches and even denominations are being vacuumed into its inescapable bottomless chasm.
It is a huge battle, but we must believe in the omnipotent God who will assist us. You may ask, “How can I ever stand strong in such a battle as this? I am too weak for something of this magnitude.” Yes, you are and I am, but He tells us in His Word the solution:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The Great Shut-Down
Not long ago, social media (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.) presenting end-times information was bustling with activity. Eschatological and discernment posts were peppered with thousands of favorable commentaries. Now, most of the ones I’ve checked have incurred a significant drop-off in views, likes, comments, and shares. The most popular ones are receiving only a few hundred views and some less than a hundred. It is as if a switch was flipped and people are staying away from information deemed “negative.” The blogs and pages maintaining viewership are the ones presenting heresy or benign information.
Why are people shunning the news of a perilous time arriving? Are they rejecting portents of a harsh period because they no longer believe them to be true? No, I don’t think so. I believe it is what I call the Great Shut-Down. I’ve been expecting it to manifest—it has finally arrived. The Great Shut-Down is the point when negative information overload reaches a saturation point. People can only take so much bad news, especially those who are spiritually weak or have not been conditioned to receive harsh truth.
Futurologist Alvin Toffler labels the phenomenon in secular society as “future shock” syndrome. Toffler postulates that future shock is the result of people witnessing and feeling the effects of sudden negative changes in society. The lack of response from any authoritative source can cause them to feel helpless and hopeless. They reach the point where they no longer have the will to resist or even complain. Obviously, the secular faction is not looking to Christianity for hope. However, many professing Christians seem to be experiencing a lack of hope as well.
Sociologist and philosopher Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) observed that the collapse of European society by modernity dramatically affected Christianity. He observed that once “the collective force so vital for the life of a society was no longer generated,”8 faith in God declined. Harsh burdens and stresses prevented the people from sensing God’s presence. This resulted in replacing faith with belief in social justice and science. In other words, “the social milieu that supported Christianity disappeared, leaving Christian faith, values, and thinking without any social foundations to give them life.”9
Consider the situation today. Evidence suggests that Christianity is disintegrating from the inside out. Christian leaders are allowing (either through their silence or their promotion) millions of Christians to be introduced to heretical doctrines and practices. The effects of this landslide of heresy are pushing biblical Christianity into obscurity.10 One of the heresies that has made major inroads is contemplative spirituality (a mystical spirituality often introduced through Spiritual Formation programs).11 It is going unchecked and virtually fully ignored by almost every Christian leader, spreading throughout Christian colleges, seminaries, ministries, and denominations rapidly. People don’t realize that by embracing such a belief system, they are, in effect, rejecting the biblical concept of God’s nature because the two oppose each other. And the results of this are rejection of love for truth and unbridled acceptance of heretical and cultural trends.
Concurrently, there is a steady flow of negative information about the shenanigans being foisted on society by the courts and the federal government. There is ObamaCare, IRS scandals, executive orders circumventing Congress, the aberrant and oppressive SCOTUS ruling against Christianity, the Nuclear Treaty with Iran, and a porous border with Mexico. Adding to that disheartening list is the news of terrorists beheading those who profess to be Christians (among other atrocities), the Umpqua Community College massacre, a growing hatred around the world toward Israel, the Kim Davis saga, and attacks on Christian businesses that decline to support homosexual marriage. Combined with the Benghazi scandal, the Common Core invasion of public education, concerns about the next presidential election, an undependable and shaky economy, the nationwide genuflection of the Catholic pope, the burdens and stresses thus created go beyond comprehension, nearly crushing all hope.
Additionally, psychological secular studies concerning the effects of watching cable news indicate it produces “negative mood experiences.”12 Many professing Christians have been daily cycling through a spectrum of negative experiences including anxiety, sadness, anger, disgust, discouragement, fear, and even depression from cable news and radio talk shows. This constant flow of bad news about secular and religious events, along with the many warnings about encroaching heresy, the great apostasy, and the dark and deadly period ahead, has brought many Christians to a shutting-down state.
I personally believe one factor that has initiated this shut down is the highly publicized supposed “prophecies” based on the “blood moon” theories. People have had their emotions manipulated one too many times. It was after that fiasco was proven false that I really noticed the shut-down.13
Shutting Down or Staying Alert?
Whatever the cause, shutting down is the worst thing a Christian can do at this point of time. Instead of shutting down, believers need to be selective about what they are putting into their minds and spirits. Being informed is essential to being prepared. Shutting down will not prepare one to endure the harshness of the tough days ahead. It’s one thing if believers are focusing on their relationship with the Lord and want to spend less time on the Internet and watching TV. However, the temptation for many (and I have seen it already) will be to shut down by engaging in entertainment media and outlets of benign and mundane information. Rather than adjusting with balance, they are going into denial, choosing to believe we have lots of time before our society, as we know it, collapses. That’s the “Ostrich Complex,” and professing Christians with the Ostrich Complex will pay a severe price for what they are enjoying now.
As painful and frightening as it is to accept, I believe we are on the verge of a global government and religion that will be very brutal to true Christians. It will take more than a sabbatical from bad news and ominous warnings to prepare for enduring life in such an environment.
Satan, the enemy of our souls, is working overtime right now to “wear out the saints” (Daniel 7:25), but I cannot exhort you enough, this is not a time when born-again believers in Christ can afford to be worn down, bury their heads, and become apathetic toward what is happening around us. For those who cave in to that temptation of apathy, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to stand when things get truly harsh. The time to prepare is long past, but it’s still not too late. The first step is to wake up and accept truth. It is time to gather and store “oil,” the substance that keeps our light shining. In order to keep that flame lit and not allow it to become a flickering flame on a wick in a near-empty reservoir, we must put into action our confession of faith in Christ. He promises to sustain us as we abide in Him.
In conclusion, it is essential for preparation and subsequent endurance that we acknowledge the spiritual war in which we find ourselves, that we do not shut down our senses because of negative information overload, and that we do not live in a bubble of false security.
May we also remember that this home on earth is not our final destination. We have a home where God dwells in righteousness. Nothing in this life is worth forfeiting the opportunity to live in that eternal kingdom with Him. If we are going to defeat the forces of darkness that seek to minimize our efforts and diminish our faith, we will have to fight, “not as one that beateth the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26) but as informed and equipped saints of God. We must not deceive ourselves and think we can be both complacent and effective all at the same time.
Instead of shutting down, let us look up. Genuine blessed hope is the buffer for the stress of perilous times. It can only be had with a sincere relationship with Christ, a strong knowledge of His Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (who “shall teach you all things; John 14 :26). That is the only focus that makes sense in this period of encroaching darkness. As the psalmist so well stated, let us hope in His mercy, rejoice in Him, and trust in His holy name.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.—(Psalm 33:18-21)
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1. Lynette Irwin, “Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015: An Eyewitness Account” (Herescope Blog: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/10/parliament-of-worlds-religions-2015.html).
2. Leo Hohmann, “New Obama Czar Will Hunt ‘Right-Wing’ Extremists” (WorldNetDaily, 10/15/2015, http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/new-obama-czar-will-hunt-right-wing-extremists).
3. Brian Fischer, “Obama: Christians Threaten Nation” (Guest Columnist, OneNewsNow, October 16, 2015, http://www.onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2015/10/16/obama-christians-threaten-nation).
5. Lynette Irwin, “Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015: An Eyewitness Account,” op. cit.
7. Ibid, citing, Salih Sayigan, Department of Theology, Georgetown University.
8. Paul Carls, “Émile Durkheim” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/durkheim), section: c. The Death of the Gods.
10. For extensive documentation on the compromise of Christian leaders, visit www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com.
11. Read A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen to understand contemplative spirituality.
12. Graham C.L. Davey, “The Psychological Effects of TV News” (Psychology Today, June 19, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201206/the-psychological-effects-tv-news).
13. See “Four Blood Moons Are Coming” by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15326.
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