LTRP Note: The following letter to the editor is posted with permission. It is written by a graduate student of a Christian university. We find the professor’s remarks to this student provocative, especially considering what we discovered after reading the professor’s post. Please see our comments after the two posts below.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am a graduate student at GCU [Grand Canyon University] in a biblical doctrine program. I had begun a new class in Hermenutics.
My pastors at church told me of your website, and I kept you in mind. A topic on spiritual formation came up recently, and I provided a link to your website on the topic. My teacher gave me a harsh grade and comment. Seems they are onto you!
Please see attached screenshots of what took place.
[From the student]:
[From the professor]:
Lighthouse Trails Statement:
We’d like to begin this statement in response to the professor’s comments by telling of an incident that happened several years ago. A radio host we had worked with at that time was contacted by two Ph.D theologians from Canada. The two men had read the book we published by Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, and told the radio host that Ray Yungen had taken things out of context to make his points. The editors at LT asked the radio host if it would be OK for us to contact the two men. When we were granted permission to do that, we wrote to them, and respectfully asked them if they could give us one or two examples of where the book had taken things out of context. They could not provide any examples. We knew they would not be able to because we had gone through the manuscript with the utmost care, checking the context of every quote in the book against the original source. And to this day, we have not yet had anyone show us where we have taken a quote out of context in that book or any other that we have published.
The Grand Canyon University professor has accused Lighthouse Trails of “not” being “recognized in the scholarly community as credible.” We are assuming he means the Christian scholarly community. And yet, over the years, we have had numerous men and women with doctorate degrees and numerous pastors tell us that our work is indeed credible. For example, we once received a phone call from Dr. James Diehl (former General Superintendent of the Nazarene Church) who told us that A Time of Departing was excellent and that the message in it was vital. In addition, the first edition of A Time of Departing was endorsed by Dr. Robert Wright (Corban University), Dr. Donald Whitney (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Dr. Peter Jones (TruthxChange), and Dr. Wayne House (Faith Evangelical College and Seminary).
As one last example, Dr. James Maxwell, the now-retired president of Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa spoke several times with Lighthouse Trails editors, praising the work that was being done. He also wrote an article that is online titled The New Spirituality, where he warned about the things that LT has warned about, and he referenced Lighthouse Trails in that article.
We have given these examples to show that there are those who have credentials who have backed up the work of Lighthouse Trails. But, as much as we appreciate those who have doctorates who have shown support, we’d like to quote author and lecturer Roger Oakland, when he spoke about “credentials.” He stated, “Credentials, for many, mean credibility. If you don’t have credentials, it doesn’t matter what facts you present. Facts are secondary.” That statement is true for many, but at Lighthouse Trails we have always believed that facts (and the Word of God) come before credentials. (source)
What We Found at the GCU Library
In the comment above by the professor at GCU, he advised his students to use “recognized sources from the GCU library” saying that “discernment sites do not qualify.”* So let’s take a look for a moment at the GCU library.
To start with, there are 35 books by or about the Catholic mystic, Thomas Merton, including Merton’s books Zen and the Birds of Appetite, New Seeds of Contemplation, and The Way of Chuang-Ztu. Merton became a mystic and a panentheistic who stated in his writings that God is in everyone.
There is a book by the mystic Meister Eckhart, titled Breakthrough, Meister Eckhart’s creation spirituality, in new translation / introd. and commentaries by Matthew Fox. Matthew Fox is a mystic who explains in his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, that every human being is Christ.
There are 170 listings of books with the word “Zen” in the title as well as Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May and over 80 books promoting Yoga (such as Rāja-yoga, or conquering the internal nature by Swami Vivekananda).
The GCU library essentially has books by just about every mystic Lighthouse Trails has ever written about: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Evelyn Underhill, Daniel Goleman, Hildegard of Binge, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Henri Nouwen, M. Scott Peck, the Desert Fathers, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Aquinas, Emanuel Swedenborg, Richard Rolle to name a few.
In addition, the GCU library has all kinds of books, too many to number, written by emergent/contemplative authors such as Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Dan Allender, Richard Foster, David Benner, and Marcus Borg.
In the New Age category, GCU library has books galore. Books by: Swami Venkatesananda, Ramakrishna, Swami Abhedananda, Helena Blavatsky (founder of Theosophy and pioneer in the New Age movement), and Jon Kabat-Zinn were just a few of the New Age authors that line the physical and digital GCU library shelves.
The question we have for this professor, with his loose-ended advice to students to turn to “recognized” resources in the GCU library, is how in the world are students going to be able to decipher which books are credible and which aren’t? It seems rather unfair and unbalanced for a professor to condemn and harshly grade a graduate student who suggests to his fellow students to consider Lighthouse Trails for resources (which are well written and well documented) all the while pointing students to a library that is literally saturated with books and resources that can hardly be considered trustworthy and certainly don’t fall within the realm of scholarly and credible (especially from a biblical point of view).
P.S. As for the professor’s remark that some discernment sites promote “hateful attacks on fellow Christians,” we issue the same challenge we did so many years ago to the two theologians from Canada: Please show us where Lighthouse Trails has done this, for the indirect insinuation in his remarks is that LT is part of that group of sites that promotes hateful attacks.
*Many times, as in this case, those who try to discredit Lighthouse Trails suggest that we are merely a blog or a website. Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Inc. is a publishing house and research ministry that has been in existence since 2002, is incorporated (since 2017) in the state of Montana, and is recognized in the Christian Writer’s Market directory as a legitimate publisher. Besides, it is illogical to suggest that something cannot be credible if it is “just a blog or a website.” Information, be it from websites, books, newspapers, blogs, or magazines, is not credible because of the venue in which it is presented but is credible if it is accurate and properly documented.
LYNN ELAINE JOSLIN
All higher education students: Never be afraid to boldly tell the truth. The fields are white. Hungry teenagers and some older folks are thirsty for the Word and ripe to receive Christ. I went to a junior college in California that was rated highest academically. To give you an idea of the real curriculum, Ouija boards were played in literature classes. One Christian who was taking a Bible as Literature class failed her mid-term for writing that the person of Satan was real. I would sit an an empty table in the break room that sat 10 and would ask the LORD to have anyone come to my table who had business with Him. Soon my table would be full of people and sometimes standing 3 rows deep discussing Scripture the Gospel and Jesus. My instructors often opposed to Christianity gave me several opportunities to present the true Christ of the Bible.
William – good for you. Stand up for what’s right and true! Especially when it’s hard and difficult. That’s when it makes the biggest impact. I’m so proud of you, I praise God for you and your righteous heart. It’s fake news at it again and it’s all for personal gain. How sad. You’re stronger than any of that. Love you, brother! So proud of you, keep fighting the good fight. You’re so loved.
What are Ennegrams? Thanks.
Lighthouse Trails Editors
Debbie, your family member gave as examples some New Age practices but clearly does not understand that “Christian” spiritual formation is just as New Age but is disguised in Christian language so is presumed to be Christian. If your family member is willing to read A Time of Departing, we will be happy to send him or her a free copy. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with an address.
I have a family member that attended GCU for at least 3 years, maybe 4. I have been a LT reader for many years, and know of your Spiritual Formation articles. After viewing GCU’s website, and noticing that Spiritual Formation exists there, I sent him a link to one of your SF articles, and told him about your ministry, while encouraging him to be aware. Here is his reply: “I also looked more into “spiritual formation” since you mentioned it. I’m finding two polar opposite understandings of this term. 1. It sounds like the Light House article as well as a few other articles out there understand outlandish practices which are not direct biblical practices by any means, such as “mandala exploration, shakras, massages, etc.” 2. However, in a Christian School, particularly GCU, the definition of “Spiritual or Christian Formation” has to do with spiritual disciplines such as: prayer, reading Gods word, silence, worship, service, personal reflection, Christian community, secrecy of good deeds, sabbath, and fasting. The latter is something you’d be learning about and forming habits of in a “Christian Spiritual Formations” class I assure you. ” A very undiscerning, worldly school, indeed.
Nancy, I wrote a long letter of concern and dismay to the Prez of B. and never received a reply from him. I cannot believe that this University that started out so strong could end so far from the truth of God!
If those books are part of the “selection” in the GCU library, it should be renamed the “New Age/Mysticism” library. It represents near absolute-zero on the Christian discernment scale. The professor should re-visit the Old Testament lesson in 1 Kings 3, where Solomon could ask anything of God (think of that — what would YOU want??), and of all the things imaginable in this world, he requested a discerning heart: “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil”. Guess what? His request pleased God so greatly that Solomon not only received what he asked for, but also good things that he had not requested! Maybe folks at the GCU library should do the same. Every teaching (from a Christian perspective) must be held up to God’s Word, examined, and REJECTED if it’s at odds with it — we’re commanded by God in numerous places throughout the NT to do exactly that. Maybe it’s also time for Christians to stop being lured into the secular world’s tricks: that includes the word/label “hate” — which is nothing more than a psychological tool designed to shut up the opposition. Too often we “play the game” and fall into the trap of conflating “disagreement” with “hate”. The two are not synonymous.
William — In case you are still reading here, I just read your comment of a week ago (this is my first time back since then) and am praying for you. I’m so sorry things have gotten to this point. The Lord prophesied all these things would happen, but it is still mind-boggling when professed believers are so brazen in their disobedience to the Lord. God bless you, dear brother, with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. 🙂
TO William: Do not be discouraged, stay in the Word, Pray as we will for YOU. Think, of those who have stayed faithful to The Lord Jesus, for say…..70 years, how must they feel? Develop a mindset to not to be discourage. What is going on is “Man” made. What happens when things are Man Made? Only God can bring these things to an end! I find by knowing there will be a rapture, we need to live as if it were today! MY Comfort.
Short and to a Point. I am not sure if this was mention in all the encouraging notes above, no time to read them all: LHT does pass all writing and research through SCRIPTURE. When in Doubt, check it out. This (GCU) is not the only Christian so called, University to fall to the the weakened mushy warm message/teaching. Scrape further and you might find out there is no Challenge to the True Gospel being presented to the campus as Money and Ecumenical diversity would be insulted. I too have done research of another University, and to the credit of LHT; I needed them!
A sign of the times for sure. Thank you so much for the article. We are here in Washington state, just South of Seattle. If anyone else, who is discerning is from this area, please let me know. Thank you so much.
With regard to T.I. Miller’s comment about having a thought too horrible to believe, that the nation could become completely reprobate soon, here is a scripture I came across in my reading today: “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law” Psalm 119:53 And what is taking place is truly horrifying, from the New Age literally exploding on the scene to the killing of the unborn and newborn infants. The early Christians rescued babies that had been left outside to die of exposure or to be meat for wild animals, by the Romans. We are there again, only now there are laws in Canada that prohibit even the peaceful protest near abortion clinics.
Thank you all and LHT for the support. I had no idea it was this bad. I read the school’s doctrinal statement and thought I was in good hands. Apparently that statement is worthless. It is extremely sad to see this happening. I had no intention of going into the ministry, I just wanted to keep growing in truth and study myself approved. However after realizing how bad the teaching is, I feel I have no other choice. I wish God would send someone else but i just don’t see enough people stepping up. Last week I got a big promotion and raise at work but i couldn’t care less. All I am able to think about is how perilous the deception has become. I am truly grieved, please pray for me.
The comment about America going down the Romans 1 road bears witness with my spirit. I have felt astonished as each day passed last year, 2018 seemed like a year so dark, it was like a darkness that could be felt. People are being conditioned to receive the Antichrist and the strong delusion, its almost here. The wholesale slaughter of the unborn is something celebrated now. I am writing from Canada and we are way ahead of the United States on these issues. Someone stated in a recent news article I read, commenting on our times, “Its 1984 and its voluntary”. I pray every day that our dear Lord will come soon and take his remnant to be with him. I agree, the true believer will be singled out, hated with a pure hatred and persecuted as evil proliferates and is even upheld and protected.
Praise God for your ministry. There was a reason God Himself raised you up!!! 🙂 these things have been foretold and so they shouldn’t really be a surprise to us….nevertheless they do bring a deep sadness. We have to continue, no matter what, it’s what we are called to do. Blessings and shalom to you our true brothers and sisters in Yeshua.
And these are “fellow Christians”, eh? With friends like these, who needs enemies? They are becoming really brazen these days. First they admit that you are a “discernment ministry” (as though there’s something wrong with discernment — reminds me of the warning in Isaiah 5 about “calling good evil”), and then THEY attack YOU, claiming you attack others — which you don’t; Godly warnings of false teachings are not attacks on people. Sadly, they have exposed themselves as having No Discernment (witness the many unbiblical, ungodly books in their own library) and also No Love for other Christians (you). I pray that sincere Christian students at GCU will have the discernment that William has (Bravo, William!) and find another college/university that truly honors God and His Word.
Bravo for Lighthouse Trails! The Church needs your valuable work. Keep publishing the light into the darkness. Carl
T. I. Miller
Yesterday New York legally made abortion legal at any age pre and post birth. Post birth because if a child survives the attempted murder and exits the womb alive the doctors can finish it off . The law makers cheered when the governor signed it into law. The I read this article along with so many others about departing from the the faith for another gospel for another Jesus for another god. Just look at how far America has departed from God already. The left has turned evil into good overnight. A horrible thought crossed my mind. A thought to horrible to believe. It is as if America is on the verge of rushing headlong down the Romans 1 path to a reprobate depraved nation. A depraved nation that may soon legalize the all out zealous persecution and prosecution of Christians for rejecting new age globalism. Millions on the left seem to crave the idea of wearing the mantel of mystery Babylon. God forbid.
Thank you again for a timely message. It’s very sad that people just don’t want to hear the truth. And it’s even sadder when supposedly christian professors do not teach the truth.
I’m shocked, shocked to read that gatekeepers and philosopher kings are controlling the narrative!
The professor stated that “Lighthouse Trails is a discernment site” which would be the very reason they would not be the prescribed tools to use. In order for proper indoctrination to take place, discernment must not be used. Unfortunately the professors advice was not credible, I hope the student realized that.
Bravo! Lighthouse Trails does not have to defend itself from such an institution. It seems like they fell into the “Canyon” long ago. Another one for the list folks, if it’s not already on it. Good to pray although it seems like many of the modern day downgrade perpetuators are hard of hearing. Most likely to following after their own lusts. ~Study on, stand tall, and look toward a higher calling.
So sad. No wonder these “Christian colleges” are churning out church leaders who abandon the Bible and follow the mystical slippery slope to destruction. Keep up the good work, Lighthouse. We need you.
What this is, is more of the same strategy: If they don’t like it, even if it’s true and real, they call it ‘fake’ news. If it is false, but they like it, they call it ‘credible.’ It all boils down to where their loyalties lie. This is the truth, but they don’t want to face the facts so they turn to lies and deception. Those books in their library are all the proof anyone needs, and this line is the grand giveaway: a university that “serves a variety of faith traditions”… What faiths are they talking about? Definitely not Biblical Christianity! And they make the hateful attacks against and slander those who defend it.
Biola University is the same. I work there and they also use Ennegrams. Could you please publish an article about Ennegrams to warn believers? Thanks so much!
So-called “Christian” colleges, seminaries, and universities are doing all they can to stifle students’ ability to discern truth, because in most instances, the school is feeding them error. Sadly, it seems most of the Christian schools are no better than the secular schools – they are indoctrination centers where free thought is outlawed.
Thank you Lighthouse Trails for the “excellent” work you do in helping “Believers” to ‘rightly handle the Word of Truth’, as they (believers) study the Holy scriptures
It looks as though William is more discerning than his teachers, Good job, William!! I hope that he never loses that discerning spirit trying to please his teachers. Perhaps William now has a decision to make, since obviously he won’t be able to print any papers using any authors from LHT and only can use the schools preferred library, that library being chocked full of deception. Pray William that the Lord guides you into what He would have you do now. He knows the way you should go. The only people who fear discernment sites are those with no discernment. I happen to love LHT and tell anyone I can about you. You have so much information on your site about so many false teachings and really well written articles and books by some very good authors that have spent a lot of time researching their books that if it weren’t for the age we are in (coming closer to Christ’s return) that I believe Christian’s would be flocking to your website for information. As it is we are seeing the apostasy happening, people would rather believe in myths and turn away from the truth, having their ears tickled, very sad times we are living in. Every one of us must be on the alert so we don’t fall for the very same deceptions that many have fallen for already!
Thank you for publishing this article…. the “church” has been so deceived , apostasy abounds and it seems discernment is sorely lacking ! Praise God for your ministry; keep fighting the good fight! Prayers, Sandy