Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am a believer in Christ and consider myself a defender of the Faith. I live in a small town in ________ and attend a tiny Free Methodist church. I do not consider myself Free Methodist, nor does my husband, but we feel we have been given a unique opportunity to serve our community along with the body of Christ.
I am very bothered by the fact that our church prints an excerpt from Jesus Calling in every bulletin. I have gone to the pastor as well as an elder. My husband has also spoken against it. I have offered up resources, such as “Another Jesus” Calling, in defense of my view, and they have been rejected. I really believe the pastor believes us but doesn’t want to offend the person who writes the bulletin. Also, as in most churches, the emphasis is on growth not truth.
My husband and I have decided to hold a biblical study in our home. The study will be on discerning today’s times. If we were going to start with six classes (of triage for today’s church), what topics would you most recommend? Please suggest resources. We are looking for resources that are written in simple format, not catering to intellectuals. Something that will get right to the strongest biblical point. The members of the church we attend don’t even know what the New Age is (and I wouldn’t know myself if it weren’t for God using Caryl Matrisciana’s materials in my life.)
Elizabeth (not real name)
If you are going to do six classes, we would recommend the following, in this order. These are five booklets and then a DVD series at the end. Next to each booklet is the name of a book by the same author for a more extensive study in each subject:
1. The New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self by Ray Yungen (for more in-depth study: For Many Shall Come in My Name: It is important to first help people understand the big picture of what the New Age is and what meditation is. This booklet can help set the ground work.
2. Five Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer by Ray Yungen (for more in-depth study: A Time of Departing): This study will show what contemplative prayer is, will show that it is the same as New Age meditation, and will also show how it has come into the church.
3. How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging Into Your Church by Roger Oakland (for more in-depth study: Faith Undone): A lot of Christians think they know what the scope of the emerging church is, and just as many don’t know anything about it all all even though they may be surrounded by it). This study explains the most important aspects of the emerging church.
4. Be Still and Know That You are NOT God by Warren Smith (in-depth study: A “Wonderful” Deception)
5. Oneness vs. Separation Heresy Now in the Church by Warren B. Smith (for in-depth study: False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?)
6. For your final class, it might be a very good idea to present some of Caryl Matrisiciana’s Wide is the Gate series. The first one covers contemplative spirituality and the “new” spirituality (e.g. contemplative, New Age, emerging). The second one covers Reformed Theology; and the third one covers the NAR and Dominionism. There is a fourth one that deals with anti-Semitism, Replacement Theology, and “Christian Palestinianism.”
For additional materials on edification and biblical exhortation, we would recommend the following booklets:
Faith Under Fire by Cedric Fisher
Three Vital Questions to Navigating Discernment by Harry Ironside and Paul Proctor
Progression to Deception by Gregory Reid
The Unseen Foe Behind Rising Evil and Putting on the Armor of God by Berit Kjos
The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. Plan by David Dombrowski
Watchful and Discerning Through It All by Warren B. Smith
(illustration from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)