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Printer Friendly Version (click here) January 14, 2008

In This Issue -

Mark Driscoll Rejects McLaren But Embraces Contemplative

Christian and Secular Publishers on Contemplative/Emerging Frenzy

Moody Bible Institute Favors Mystic Henri Nouwen

College Alert: Palm Beach Atlantic University Promotes Contemplative/Emerging

Ken Blanchard Joins "The Secret" Team for Day Seminar

Rethink Defends Convergence of Leaders

Book on the Emerging Church Issues Warning Around the World

Announcing - Falling Sparrow book series

Publishing News...NEW IN 2007

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

 

 

 

 

Mark Driscoll Rejects McLaren But Embraces Contemplative

 

Since last Fall, when Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, denounced some of the teachings of emerging church leaders Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt at the Convergence Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, his talk has been the topic of many discussions across North America. People feel that such a denouncement by someone who had a role in the start up of the emerging church is very noteworthy. (1)

However, while Driscoll has placed himself in what he considers a more conservative and a biblical form of the emerging church, evidence shows that when it comes to the driving force behind the emerging church - mysticism - Driscoll embraces the same spiritual technology as McLaren and Pagitt.

A "Recommended Reading List" on Driscoll's website shows that Driscoll resonates with contemplative and emerging church leaders who teach and adhere to eastern-style meditation.

Some may feel that a disclaimer on the site releases Driscoll from any connection. The disclaimer states that "Mars Hill Church does not endorse every thought, idea, principle, and/or method of every single title or author on this list," but says the books are "good for those who read with discerning minds as they worship God in spirit and truth.... Our heart in having this list is to help people live for Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him as they are reaching their city with the gospel." Unfortunately, several of the titles are not at all "good for those who read" them, will not help them in their "worship" of God, and rather than help them "grow in their relationship with Him" will point readers toward a mysticism that runs contrary to biblical truth.

A complete list of the recommended books (about 85 altogether) has several titles in question (about 1/4 of the list). For instance, Driscoll includes three books by contemplative/centering prayer advocate Larry Crabb. In Crabb's book, The Papa Prayer, his propensity toward the mystical is quite obvious (see our report on this book). Crabb is a spiritual director for the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors). A statement in the AACC Code of Ethics shows how it is influenced by contemplative pioneer Richard Foster:

Although rooted primarily in an orthodox evangelical biblical theology, this Code is also influenced (according to the paradigm offered by Richard Foster) by the social justice, charismatic-pentecostal, pietistic-holiness, liturgical, and contemplative traditions of Christian theology and church history. (p.3, American Association of Christian Counselors, Code of Ethics)

In Crabb's book, The Papa Prayer, he says:

I've practiced centering prayer. I've contemplatively prayed. I've prayed liturgically....I've benefited from each, and I still do. In ways you'll see, elements of each style are still with me (p.9).

Speakers who the AACC uses at events would further confirm Crabb's affinity with contemplative and emerging spiritualities. Some of those speakers include: David Benner, John Ortberg, Gary Thomas, Leonard Sweet, and Dan Allender (Mars Hill Graduate School). All of these fall in the mystical/contemplative camp.

For those who may still have doubts as to Crabb's stand, a 2003 Christianity Today article titled "A Shrink Gets Shrunk," describes how Crabb moved his focus from psychology to "spiritual direction." The article says that Crabb "recites insights from an eclectic group of thinkers he drew on to come up with his model of direction." This group of thinkers includes an array of eastern mysticism proponents: Thomas Merton, Eugene Peterson, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, John of the Cross, Michael Card, and Buddhist sympathizer Peter Kreeft. 1

While Driscoll does not include The Papa Prayer in his list of books, this raises a valid question: Is it ok to promote some of the books by those who propagate mystical spirituality as long as those particular books don't? The problem this presents is that by placing these names in a "Recommended Reading List," with a weak disclaimer, this puts readers in harm's way. Secondly, whatever it was that Larry Crabb was teaching in his earlier books (that Driscoll recommends) has somehow led him to become a follower of Thomas Merton and other blatant mystics. Reading Crabb's books will catch trusting readers off guard and could ultimately lead them into the panentheistic spirituality of Thomas Merton. After all, that is where it led Larry Crabb. To substantiate this statement, in 2002 Crabb wrote the foreword to a book written by David Benner. Benner's book, Sacred Companions, openly promotes the teachings of Merton and is actually a who's who of mystical and panenthestic writings such as atonement denier Alan Jones (Reimagining Christianity), Thomas Keating and a host of like-minded writers. In that foreword, Crabb said something that was in a sense prophetic of the emerging church. He stated:

The spiritual climate is ripe. Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to abandon the old way of the written code for the new way of the Spirit (p. 9).

Benner's book is a manual for this new emerging way that throws out the old way (the biblical way). As an example of this, Benner praises a book by John Gorsuch titled An Invitation to the Spiritual Journey. Benner says, "This little book sparkles." In Gorsuch's book, the general gist of it is how mysticism is uniting all the world's religions. He makes specific reference to Swami Paramahansa Yogananda and comments that he was a great saint who brought many people to God. In the back of Gorsuch's book there are also Tibetan Buddhist meditations. Without a doubt, Gorsuch's book is a New Age book. It proclaims the validity of all religions and also that God is in everything and everybody. For Benner to say this book sparkles, means he embraces its views - more importantly, not just in an intellectual sense but in a mystical sense. So in essence, for Crabb to write the foreword to this book speaks for itself.

It is interesting that one of the points Driscoll has against Brian McLaren is McLaren's rejection of the atonement. Why interesting? In Driscoll's "Recommended Reading List," he recommends five books by Dan Allender. Allender, a promoter of the emerging church and contemplative prayer movement, is the president of Mars Hill Graduate School. One of the adjunct professors there is Brian McLaren, 2 and MHGS is a sponsor of McLaren's "Everything Must Change" tour. In case there is any question as to MHGS' stand on contemplative mysticism, here are a couple more examples. Their course, TCE 527 Kingdom of God, uses a text book by panentheist Thomas Keating, and their spiritual formation course uses a textbook by Catholic proponent Michael Downey.3 One Catholic news source describes Downey as "an expert in the subject of contemplative prayer, draw[ing] on the writings of America's great contemplative monk and author, Thomas Merton, to help us learn how to make contemplation a part of life." 4 A word search on MHGS search engine brings up favorable and supportive links to countless contemplative and emerging authors and teachers: Doug Pagitt, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Keating, McLaren - the list is extensive. Thus, it is not an exaggeration to say that Allender is an evangelist for mystical spirituality and emerging thought. Once again though, Driscoll says that these books help bring people closer to Jesus. We would contend that this is another Jesus and another gospel (II Corinthians 11:4) that these contemplatives draw people toward.

Another author Driscoll recommends is contemplative promoter Ken Boa. Boa, in his book, Conformed to His Image speaks favorably of the practice of lectio divina, turns to Richard Foster for guidance, references mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade, St. Ignatius Loyola's mystical practices, and favorably refers to and/or quotes Julian of Norwich, Thomas Kelly, Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating4 Driscoll is drawing his followers into the palm of contemplatives, who incidentally would share much of the same philosophies as McLaren and Pagitt.

Driscoll also recommends Brother Lawrence's book, The Practice of the Presence of God. In one edition of that book, Lawrence is said to have been "singing and dancing violently like a mad man" while in the presence of God (1977, Image Books, p. 34) (see A Time of Departing).

It makes sense that Driscoll has also included Essential Kierkegaard in his list. Soren Kierkegaard had an interest in mysticism as well. In a dissertation at Purdue University called "Faith and nothingness in Kierkegaard: A mystical reading of the God-relationship," the writer says of Kierkegaard: "[H]e has marked structural similarities to mystics such as [Miester] Eckhart, who is warmly received by the Japanese philosophical tradition, particularly in the writings of its Zen and Pure Land Buddhist representatives." (from chapter 2, Faith Undone by Roger Oakland) Oakland adds about Kierkegaard: "[Peter] Drucker attested to Kierkegaard's mystical affinities, saying he "stands squarely in the great Western tradition of religious experience, the tradition of ... St. John of the Cross," a mystic in the 1500s" (Faith Undone, p. 25).

Another represented on Driscoll's list is author Gary Thomas. Thomas has been the subject of Lighthouse Trails articles for two reasons; one, because of his teaching on mantra meditation in his book Sacred Pathways, in which he states:

It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this:

Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing. (p. 185)

In addition, Thomas shares an affinity with a woman named Mary Oliver McPherson. This is quite significant, but most Christians don't realize it. In Thomas' book, Sacred Marriage (the one Driscoll recommends), he speaks favorably of McPherson several times. In McPherson's book, Conjugal Spirituality (the one Thomas references in Sacred Marriage), McPherson comes out as an advocate for tantric sex (the mixing of mysticism and sexual activity), as well as many other New Age and mystical practices (please read our report on this. Gary Thomas has proven himself as a staunch advocate for mystical practices time and again. As is the case with Larry Crabb, his books do not belong on a recommended reading list.

Others on Driscoll's list include: the late Robert Webber, emerging church author Donald Miller, Buddhist-sympathizer Peter Kreeft, and a book titled The Celtic Way of Evangelism.

Some may be asking, Why does it matter which books Mark Driscoll recommends? We believe it matters greatly. While Driscoll has announced that he rejects some of the more aberrant theologies of McLaren and Pagitt, to our knowledge he has never renounced contemplative mystical spirituality, which is the very heartbeat of the emerging church. And yet, a growing number of evangelical ministries are considering him a trustworthy source in spiritual matters (see below for a partial list).

It is essential to understand that beneath the surface of contemplative and emerging spirituality is a belief system that embraces a kingdom now, dominionist theology that says we should not think about a terrible end-time scenario for earth (Armageddon), a rapture that would remove believers prior to God's wrath on the earth, and a second coming of Christ who will establish the kingdom of God AFTER His return to a ill-fated earth. What many Christians do not understand is that such thinking lines up with New Age belief, and mysticism plays a huge role in their synopsis of the future for planet earth. When enough people begin meditating (a critical mass) and realize that all human beings and all creation are divine and one, then the earth can be healed from its corruption. As any bible believer can see, this is totally contrary to Bible prophecies about the end of the age.

As Roger Oakland wrote about in his article Bible Prophecy on Trial, many Christian leaders downplay and actually condemn those who study end-time Bible prophecy. Mark Driscoll is no exception. On more than one occasion, he has spoken negatively about those who want to talk about eschatology. On his website, he states:

We are not eschatological Theonomists or Classic Dispensationalists (e.g. Scofield) and believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation, because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us.

Driscoll backs up this view as can be seen on a YouTube session where Driscoll says those eschatology-minded Christians who come to his church are not welcomed there. In Driscoll's book (a title included in his "Recommended Reading List"), Confessions of a Reformissional Rev, Driscoll mocks the idea of a rapture for believers and a one-world government with an Anti-christ who makes people wear a mark to buy, sell or trade (pp. 49-50). He added that this kind of end-time "mission" was not a message from Jesus but rather one "concocted from a cunning Serpent."

The reason we bring up Driscoll's disdain for end-time perspectives is because there is a growing connection between those who resonate with contemplative spirituality and those who say we should not think about Bible prophecy in relation to the end times. While the reasons for this connection may not appear to be obvious at this point in time to many, we believe, as stated previously in this article, that mysticism plays a crucial role in what the Bible calls a great falling away (II Thessalonians 2). This why it is imperative that Christians take a critical examination of contemplative spirituality and ascertain for themselves as to its validity to the spiritual health of the body of Christ. The evidence is there for those who take the time to investigate. The ramifications of failing to do so could be absolutely enormous.

Related News:

The Emerging Church movement calls for biblical scrutiny by Missourians by Roger Moran

Bible Prophecy on Trial by Roger Oakland

LTRP 2006 article titled "Mark Driscoll and Acts 29 Network - Promoting Contemplative" (The links to the contemplative books on the Acts 29 website have since been removed. However, those authors share the same spiritual proclivities as the ones discussed in this current article.)

Christian and Secular Publishers on Contemplative/Emerging Frenzy

When it comes to publishers, there is no question about it - contemplative prayer and emerging spirituality are on their minds, both the secular and the Christian ones. 2007 saw the release of numerous titles that fall within this category. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of the ones that have caught our attention, and they may cross the paths of you or your loved ones as well. We list these for the purpose of warning.

Solo by Eugene Peterson - NavPress

Punk Monk: New Monasticism and the Ancient Art of Breathing by Pete Greig - Regal Books

 

Kingdom Triangle by J. P.Moreland - Zondervan


Sex God by Rob Bell - Zondervan

An Emergent Manifesto of Hope by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones - Baker Books (Emersion)

Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren - Thomas Nelson

Water from a Deep Well by Eugene Peterson (foreword) and Gerald L Sittser - InterVarsity Press

Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches by Robert Webber, Mark Driscoll, Dan Kimball, et al - Zondervan

They Like Jesus but not the Church by Dan Kimball - Zondervan

The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch with Leonard Sweet (foreword)

The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice by Tony Campolo - Jossey Bass

Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus by Mark Scandrette - Jossey Bass


Coming in 2008

A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive-and-well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in us All by Doug Pagitt - Jossey Bass

Christ of the Celts by J. Philip Newell - Jossey Bass

The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier by Tony Jones - Jossey Bass

A Heretic's Guide to Eternity by Spencer Burke (The Ooze) - Jossey Bass

The Promise of Paradox by Parker Palmer - Jossey Bass

Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity by Richard Smoley - Jossey Bass

See also:
"Christian" Publishers that publish contemplative/emerging books

 

Moody Bible Institute Favors Mystic Henri Nouwen

Leaders at Moody Bible Institute have adamantly insisted they do not promote or endorse contemplative spirituality. And in spite of repeated promotion of contemplatives, such as Larry Crabb, Dallas Willard, Keri Wyatt Kent, and Richard Foster, they have publicly stated they are against contemplative. Lighthouse Trails offered on more than one occasion to send faculty and staff complimentary copies of A Time of Departing to help explain the dangers of this mystical belief system. That offer has not yet been accepted.

Now, to kick off the new year, MBI's "Today in the Word" January 5th and January 9th editions are favorably referencing mystic Henri Nouwen. 1, 2

The quote by Nouwen on both days is taken from his book In the Name of Jesus:

Henri J. M. Nouwen's book, In the Name of Jesus, has many insights into leadership and humility, and we're quoting it a second time (see Jan. 5): "[Christian leadership] is not a leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest....

Whoever at MBI quoted Nouwen from his book perhaps did not read the section in the book called "The Discipline: Contemplative Prayer" where Nouwen says: "For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required" (p. 32). Since the faculty and staff at MBI find it perfectly acceptable to quote from someone who believed that Jesus was not the only path to God (which Nouwen said), in hope that we might be able to persuade some MBI students who may read this column, the following is a statement by Ray Yungen about Henri Nouwen:

Unfortunately, this widely read and often-quoted author, at the end of his life, stated in clear terms that he approached God from a universalistic view. He proclaimed:

Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God. (Sabbatical Journey, p. 51)

Nouwen's endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, "This book has helped me a great deal" (Easwaran,Meditation)

Nouwen also wrote the foreword to a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, in which he says:

[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian ... Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book. (Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living, pp. 2-3)

Nouwen apparently took these approaches seriously himself. In his book, The Way of the Heart, he advised his readers:

The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God's active presence.(p. 81)

But what God's "active presence" taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity. He wrote:

Prayer is "soul work" because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, ... It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is. (Bread for the Journey, 1/15/97 & 11/16/97)

It is critical to note here that Nouwen did not say all Christians are one; he said "all is one," which is the fundamental panentheistic concept of God--the God in everything unites everything. Like Thomas Merton, it was Nouwen's intent to make mystical prayer a pervasive paradigm within all traditions of Christianity. He felt the evangelical church had many admirable qualities but lacked one vital one: mysticism. He sought to remedy this by imploring, "It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called." (The Way of the Heart, p. 66)

One of the most classic examples I've ever encountered that reveals Nouwen's spiritual mindset is from his autobiographical book, Sabbatical Journey. In it, he speaks glowingly of his encounter with author and lecturer, Andrew Harvey, in April of 1996. Nouwen exclaimed, "I had the deep sense of meeting a soul friend [mentor]." (p. 149)

What makes this comment so revealing about Nouwen's belief system is the fact that Harvey is a world-renowned advocate of interspirituality through mysticism. He has written thirty books on this subject, one of which bears the following declaration that sums up the meaning of this term:

When you look past the different terminologies employed by the different mystical systems, you see clearly that they are each talking about the same overwhelming truth - that we are all essentially children of the Divine and can realize that identity with our Source here on earth and in a body. (Harvey, The Direct Path, p. 34)

It is important to note here that Andrew Harvey is one of the teachers in ... the Living Spiritual Teachers Project. The project's main goal is to promote mysticism as a bridge to interspirituality. Members include Catholic and Buddhist nuns and monks as well as Zen masters and the best selling New Age author, Marianne Williamson.

A skeptic might respond with the comeback that Nouwen liked Harvey as a person, but didn't necessarily agree with his views. Nouwen himself put this possibility to rest when he said:

Before driving home, Michael, Tom and I had a cup of tea at a nearby deli. We discussed at some length the way Andrew's mysticism had touched us." (SJ, p. 149)

The ramifications of Nouwen's thinking are truly alarming and are foretold in I Timothy 4:1: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving [seducing] spirits and doctrines of demons." Yungen connects the dots:

The operative word here is "deceiving" or seducing which means to be an imposter or to mislead. It is plain to see a real delusion is going on or, as Paul called it, a seduction. How then can you tell if you are a victim yourself? It is actually not that difficult.

The doctrines (instructions) of demons--no matter how nice, how charming, how devoted to God they sound--convey that everything has Divine Presence (all is One). This is clear heresy--for that would be saying Satan and God are one also (i.e., "I [Lucifer] will be like the Most High," Isaiah 14:14). If what Henri Nouwen proclaimed is true when he said, "[W]e can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is," (Bread for the Journey, op. cit.) then Jesus Christ and Satan are also united. That is something only a demonic spirit would teach!

An even more subtle yet seductive idea says: Without a mystical technique, God is somehow indifferent or unapproachable....

And, we must not forget the most decisive indication of the Deceiver's handiwork: the belief or doctrine in question will undermine the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as both God and man and His atoning work on the Cross.

For MBI to give such credence to Henri Nouwen really doesn't make any sense. Nouwen's propensity for the mystical elements of spirituality, with panentheistic overtones, are quite evident when one studies his writings. Even one of his biographer's noted that Nouwen was enamored with Sri Ramakrishna who believed that all the world's religions were valid revelations from God. Yet Nouwen esteemed him as an important spiritual figure (from Wounded Prophet).

There is ample evidence to show why Henri Nouwen cannot be considered a trustworthy source for biblical Christianity. Is it that MBI does not want to look at the evidence because they are attracted to the same spirituality as Nouwen, Crabb, Foster, and Kent? If this is not the conclusion that we should reach, then what is it? That's the question. What conclusion should we draw?

Notes:
Quotes by Ray Yungen take from A Time of Departing, 2nd edition.

 

College Alert: Palm Beach Atlantic University Promotes Contemplative/Emerging

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a Christian college in Florida. Their "Guiding Principles" statement says:

Founded under the providence of God with the conviction that there is a need for a university in this community that will expand the minds, develop the moral character and enrich the spiritual lives of all the people who may come within the orbit of its influence, Palm Beach Atlantic University shall stand as a witness for Jesus Christ, expressed directly through its administration, faculty and students.

However, as is the case with so many Christian colleges today, PBA has begun to incorporate contemplative/emerging spirituality into their school.

Several courses at the University use textbooks by contemplative and/or emerging church authors such as their Urban Christian Leadership course UCMS2003 that includes a textbook by Brian McLaren (More Ready than you Realize). PBA's School of Ministry courses SOM 2043 and SOM 2413 include contemplative prayer and emerging church textbooks Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard, and In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen (also used in ORL5103 and MIN4403). MLS (Ministry Leadership Studies) uses Nouwen's Wounded Healer, Cross Cultural Studies (CCS4003) includes Alan Hirsch's Forgotten Ways (foreword by New Age proponent Leonard Sweet). Biblical Studies (BIB-SOM4033) is using J.P. Moreland's book Kingdom Triangle (where his mystical propensities clearly show up). PBA's Lifetime Fitness 1091 course uses a textbook called Get Fit, Stay Fit, which has numerous favorable references to Yoga and other eastern-style meditation techniques.

Where does Palm Beach Atlantic University stand when it comes to the emerging church? A clue to that answer can be found at the PBA Men's and Women's Conference taking place on January 16th. Pastor Scott Baugh of Florida's The Journey church will be one of two featured speakers. On Baugh's
church website, he says his favorite books are: The Jesus I Never Knew (Philip Yancey), Blue Like Jazz (Don Miller), and Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell). All three of these fall in the contemplative/emerging camp.

Finally, students at PBA will be introduced to more contemplative/emerging spirituality through the University's chapel program. A calendar for 2008 shows other events that would fall into this category such as "Serve God, Save the Planet"1 and Evangelical/Catholic Dialogue2

Christian parents looking for a solid, Bible believing college to send their kids to should use caution and discernment when choosing a school. PBA appears to be falling into step with countless other Christian learning institutions that are jumping onto the contemplative bandwagon.

Update: Christian Research Service has informed us that in addition to promoting contemplative/emerging spirituality, Palm Beach Atlantic University is also teaching yoga classes. From the PBA website: "The fitness center is the most popular part of the Greene. Stocked with top-of-the-line cardio machines, machine and free weights, the fitness center helps enhance physical fitness and wellness. A variety of classes such as kickboxing, Pilates, abs, and yoga stretch are also provided for members. Numerous alumni, community individuals, and employee families purchase memberships to the facility each year to enjoy its outstanding equipment, cleanliness and friendly environment" (http://www.pba.edu/visitors/campus-services/greene.cfm?renderforprint=1).

See also http://www.pba.edu/visitors/campus-services/greene.cfm

Related stories:

Southern Baptist Convention 'List of Colleges and Universities' Contains Schools Promoting Yoga/New Age

Will Prairie Bible Institute Ignore Contemplative Problem?

Just How Far Has Biola University Gone Into Contemplative

Wheaton College Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

Contemplative colleges database


 

 

Ken Blanchard Joins "The Secret" Team For One Day Seminar

Popular speaker and author for Christian conferences, Ken Blanchard, will be joining members of the New Age, occultic book/DVD project The Secret on January 19th for a one day seminar titled "Your Best Year Ever."

The Secret focuses on the "law of attraction" and was produced by Australian-born screenwriter and producer Rhonda Byrne, who after a series of setbacks in her own life, discovered that past personalities like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln and others had this secret knowledge, and Byrne came to believe that it "was part of every religion, including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism."

One news source describes the film:

In the film, viewers learn to ask for what they want. And, if they believe it, they will receive it.

It sounds simple enough, but here's the catch: If you're cynical, sad, depressed and resigned that nothing will change, nothing will. Thoughts are so powerful, the teachers insist, that you attract what you think about, even if you don't want it. Get it?1

It's these "teachers," both ones from the past and present day ones, that The Secret uses to reveal this hidden knowledge. Present day teachers include Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), John Gray (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus), and an assortment of philosophers, writers, and visionaries who share their insights on The Secret:

"We have a magnificent inner calling, vision, mission, power inside us that we are not honoring and harnessing," says philosopher and "Secret" teacher John Demartini in a recent telephone interview. "This movie brings it to the forefront that we can [harness that power]."2

Larry King calls the DVD the "most profound information he has run across in 40 years."

While most people may view the new DVD promoted heavily by Oprah as a safe and effective method to reach their goals and aspirations, what they do not know may hurt them spiritually. Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret, is a disciple of a couple named Jerry and Esther Hicks. In the Acknowledgements of The Secret, Byrne thanks the Hicks and "the teachings of Abraham." Abraham is a group of spirit guides that Esther Hicks channels for guidance on spiritual issues. On their website, they state:

Abraham, a group of obviously evolved teachers, speak their broader Non-physical perspective through the physical body of Esther [Hicks]. Speaking to our level of comprehension, from their present moment to our now, through a series of loving, allowing, brilliant yet comprehensively simple, recordings in print, in video, and in sound - they guide us to a clear connection with our Inner Being--they guide us to self-upliftment from our total self [god-self].

Take a look at the book that influenced The Secret, The Law of Attraction by Jerry and Esther Hicks. The foreword is written by New Age guru Neale Donald Walsch.

The Secret is the basis for the upcoming "Best Year of Your Life" conference, and it is unfortunate that two popular leaders in Christian circles will be joining The Secret team as speakers at the event - New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard and pastor and speaker Miles McPherson. Blanchard has a long history of promoting the New Age and eastern style meditation. And yet, Christian leaders like David Jeremiah, Max Lucado, and Rick Warren have considered Blanchard someone they can promote.

For Blanchard to team up with The Secret teachers for this seminar is quite disturbing and can potentially lead many Christians into thinking that there is nothing harmful about The Secret. This conclusion could be detrimental. Quotes at the end of the book (The Secret) reveal a spirituality that Lighthouse Trails has frequently warned about. Listen and decide for yourself:

"We are the creators not only of our own destiny but also of the Universe ... We are all connected, and we are all One" (p. 175).

"No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life" ( p. 183).

"You are God in a physical body ... You are all power ... You are all intelligence ... You are the creator" ( p. 164).

For more information on The Secret:

Erwin McManus: The secret behind The Secret

The Secret: A new era for humankind

 

Rethink Defends Convergence of Leaders

In November, a press release was issued regarding the Rethink Conference, scheduled for January 17-19 at Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral. The release defended the convergence of a large number of leaders, including many evangelical leaders. 

 

However, what the press release failed to say is that a high percentage of the speakers promote eastern-style meditation and/or contemplative spirituality. This means that the Rethink Conference, which is said to offer new methods of handling the future, will be a potential platform for mysticism and New Thought (New Age) ideas. Click here for more information on Rethink.

 

Book on the Emerging Church Issues Warning Around the World

After just five months since its release date, Faith Undone has traveled around the world and now has 20,000 copies in print, with over 16,000 either sold or given away. The book makes a well-documented and serious case against the emerging church movement, showing that it is far more than the discontent grumblings of young people looking for answers but is in fact a calculated device by the devil to undermine the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Grounded in a centuries old mystical approach, this movement is powerful yet highly deceptive. The path that the emerging church is taking is leading right into the arms of an interfaith perspective that has prophetically profound ramifications. Behind this new kind of church is a well-designed strategy and maneuver by the prince of this world to literally take apart the faith of millions. For a detailed chapter by chapter synopsis, click here.

 

Falling Sparrow - Two true stories

Announcing 

Lighthouse Trails Publishing's Falling Sparrow series

 

Two new books (both true stories) added to our Falling Sparrow collection:

 

East Wind by Ruth Hunt:

Nine years in a Soviet prison camp would seem an eternity to most of us. For Maria, it was an investment in eternity. This is the true story of Maria Zeitner Linke-a story of survival and courage in the death camps of Stalin's Gulag after World War II. But more than that, it is the story of how one woman turned her sorrow into an opportunity for growth, ministry, and strengthened commitment to Jesus Christ. In nine years, Maria moved through six different camps, including the infamous Buchenwald, which the Soviets had taken over from the Nazis after the war. In the process, Maria touched the lives of many people and helped them turn their own mourning into dancing. This book, which will remind many readers of the works of Corrie ten Boom and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, offers encouragement and hope to anyone who has ever wondered, "How would I react if my faith were really put to the test?" It comes to terms with the true meaning of "practicing patience in tribulation."

 

The inspiring and captivating true story of Diet Eman, a young Dutch woman who, with her fiance' Hein Sietsma, risked everything to rescue imperiled Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II. Throughout the years that Diet and Hein aided the Resistance their courageous efforts ultimately saved the lives of hundreds of Jews.

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the entire Falling Sparrow series.

 

Publishing News

NEW IN 2007 - Lighthouse Trails released four new books in 2007: Faith Undone, For Many Shall Come in My Name, The Other Side of the River, and Another Jesus. In addition, we now have a DVD/CD of Anita Dittman telling her Holocaust experience to a live audience. This is one story you will want your family to hear.

 

We also have added several items by other publishers/producers to our online store. Each one was carefully selected and has the same high quality as our own Lighthouse Trails products:

 

1. Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged by Caryl Productions (DVD)

2. Messages from Heaven by Jim Tetlow (DVD)

3. Yoga and the Body of Christ by Dave Hunt (Book)

4. Yoga Uncoiled by Caryl Productions (DVD)

5. Gods of the New Age by Caryl Productions (VHS)

6. Hidden Heroes by Windbourne Productions (DVD)

 


THREE WAYS TO ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:

 

2. Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910

 

Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more copies

 

We ship within 24 hours of receiving order.

Lighthouse Trails books are also available to order from most bookstores (online and walk-in). If your local bookstore isn't carrying one of our titles, you can ask them to order it  for you.

 

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SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BOOKS:

Lighthouse Trails Publishing now has sample chapters available online for most of the books we publish. We believe you will find each of these books to be well-written, carefully documented, and worthwhile. Click here to read some of the chapters.

 

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Note: Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company. While we hope you will read the books we have published, we also provide extensive research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, and newsletter. We pray that the books as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

 

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

If you would like to receive the Coming from the Lighthouse newsletter in print form by mail, please send an email to newsletter@lighthousetrails.com. Be sure and include your mailing address in the email. We will be issuing a printed newsletter several times a year for those who prefer that over the email edition or for some reason need both.

 

 Both email and printed editions will be free.

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These two important books expose the truth about contemplative spirituality and the new age.

 

 

A Time of Departing
and
For Many Shall Come in My Name

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HOLOCAUST: LEST WE FORGET

 

A true story that will change your life and challenge your faith ...

"Will sweep you into 1930s Germany and back with your faith intact ... [Trapped in Hitler's Hell] carries a stark message for today's Western Christian ... will refocus your priorities and recharge your spiritual life."-Leo Hohmann, Read entire review at The Messianic Times   Trapped in Hitler's Hell

See all books and DVDs on the Holocaust

 

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The Other Side of the River by Alaskan Kevin Reeves

 

  When mystical experiences and strange doctrines overtake his church, one man risks all to find the truth ... a true story.

 

 

Read more about this important book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the topics this book addresses:

Word Faith movement
Holy Laughter
"Slain" in the Spirit practice
Emphasis on humanity of Jesus over Deity
Gifts & Calling for the unbeliever?
Experience versus Scripture
Repetitive chanting & singing
Paradigm shift
Understanding true worship

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