Every year around this time, Lighthouse Trails presents its Year in Review. Over the next few days, we will be posting our top stories from different categories from 2017. This is an opportunity to read stories you may have missed and also to get a wide-lens glance at important things happening in the church and the world from a discernment and biblical point of view. As always, our primary focus at Lighthouse Trails is the Gospel. We hope this Year in Review will point readers to that very message.
Our first category is Letters to the Editor. Throughout the year, we receive many letters to our editors. When we post them, they become a source of encouragement, understanding, and even direction for our readers as many are going through similar experiences. The following 10 letters from 2017 are in order of date posted.
Saturdays are good because I pick up Joan [not real name], a family member and go early to the Farmers Market. I went into the house, and Joan, who is close to 50 years old, excitedly showed me some Disney character socks she purchased for her friends and herself. They depicted the Evil Queen and two other Characters from that movie. We got in the car, and I noticed she had on her Evil Queen shoes and socks. The conversation goes to Christmas gifts, and she said her 11-year-old son says he wants an X Box so he can play games.
Back in the early 1990s, my family was able to relocate to a small town in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. We had previously been members of an independent Bible church in Florida. Among our first priorities after settling in was to find a similar church that preached the Word and was focused on missions. We found a very small Christian and Missionary Alliance Church that at the time had only about 30 members with a very young pastor that had just graduated from seminary.
When I met my husband in 2005, I was attending a nondenominational church while he attended a local megachurch. During our attendance at his church, it was discovered that sexual sin was being allowed by the leadership among servers in the children’s ministry, so we went back to what had been my home church. What happened there turned out to be the test of our Christian lives.
You may recall previous e-mails from me about the state of some Calvary Chapel fellowships here in the UK. It would appear that the majority are maintaining links with Brian Brodersen’s new CCGN including our pastor. I made mention that our pastor is very unhappy with organizations such as yourselves and questions your ability to be truly discerning. He wrote an article criticizing people whom he says have “isolated themselves” and others from the body of Christ by doing something he calls “association fallacy.”
Bethel has gotten more sophisticated with their lingo and presentation of some rehashed Latter Rain heresies and “revival” pep-speak, but the calculated supposed “upgrade” that has escalated in the past few years has been an attempt to repackage their same old “kingdom-now,” Christian dominionism,” 7 mountain mandate,” into more palatable, mainstream language.
A while back I alerted you to the fact that Awana was joining forces with Josh Griffin who was the youth pastor for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. Josh Griffin is also associated with Youth Specialties, an organization that promotes occult [contemplative] practices to youth. Unfortunately, Awana is continuing down the emergent road. Here are some examples:
I was born into a devout Catholic family and culture, knowing only one non-Catholic family until I entered high school. As a baby of just a few weeks old, I was baptized by sprinkling with water. My parents, who simply knew no better just as I did not for so many years, believed that this baptism meant that I was “ born-again.” I went to a Catholic school where I counted an old Franciscan priest as a dear friend. So devout was I that I consistently went to novenas, nine-day prayer vigils to honor Mary. On Saturdays, it was customary to go to weekly confession (now called the sacrament of penance) where I would confess my sins, whether venial (minor) or mortal (punishable by hell) . . .
I was born and raised Roman Catholic. My parents were not especially religious but they raised us (nine children) on Christian principles such as being kind and considerate of others and to follow the Ten Commandments. I attended mass regularly on Sundays and Holy Days according to church rules. But I always knew something was missing.
I was a cultural Christian, and I was baptized in the Baptist church that I was raised in. I was not born again. Sadly, it was departing from the faith; however, God used my evil for good. I was convinced that I was a Christian until I was convicted of my sin by the Holy Spirit. No one was present in my living room except the two of us. I was driven to my knees in repentance and pleading for a Savior.
I could have just as easily kept attending and kept up the appearance of acting like a Christian. I fear for the millions in this boat who are represented in Matthew 7: 21-23.
In regards to the first article in this week’s newsletter, I have run into this constantly. You probably don’t remember me, but I needed info 8 to 10 years ago on the Emergent Church movement and you sent me two books free of charge. I am very thankful for that. I didn’t want my ministry to go into discernment ministry, but that is a huge part of it now. I understand why now as things have gotten much worse. Discernment ministers are treated as outcasts, and it gets very lonely.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)