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January 22, 2007
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There have always been attempts to silence truth. It happened in the Old Testament days when God's prophets were killed. It happened to the disciples after the resurrection and then to a long line of courageous believers throughout history who stood for the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

In a lesser way (I mean not yet with our lives), believers in the Western world are also being silenced when they attempt to defend the Christian faith in the midst of heretical teachings and false doctrines. We hear the stories every week. One evangelist told us that when he showed up at a conference (as one of the speakers), he was told, "Talk about anything you want, but don't say anything negative about Rick Warren." Another person told us that their pastor held up a copy of Ray Yungen's book to his congregation and said, "Do not read this book - it is a dangerous book." Again, another incident took place just this week with a Christian newspaper that lost the support of a long-standing mega-church when the publisher of the paper ran our story (Christian or Christ-Follower? ) warning about contemplative spirituality.

For us here at Lighthouse Trails, threats are issued (warning us to stop), untrue statements are posted on blogs and websites, and rumors of lawsuits find their way to our office. When we ask these people to show us where our documentation is faulty, there is silence.

The facts speak for themselves, and thus we continue (by the grace of God) to make them available for others to see. And we know that many of you are working hard also to warn, beseech, and plead with those for whom you care. May God strengthen you in your efforts, and may we remember those who have gone before us and paid a much higher price than we have had to pay - they paid with their lives. May we as Christians in this century stand in the strength of the Lord, according to His power and grace.

Will the Evangelical Church Help Usher in the "Age of Enlightenment" and the Coming False One?
 
by Ray Yungen

In the early twentieth century, a figure who would have a major impact on the Western esoteric movement came out of the occultic Theosophical Society. The actual coining of the very term New Age has been attributed to her writings. Her name was Alice Ann Bailey.

To occultists, the significance of the Alice Bailey writings has heralded anticipation of the appearance of a World Healer and Savior in the coming Aquarian Age (the astrological age of enlightenment and peace). This savior would unite all mankind under his guidance. Bailey termed him the coming one. This person was not to be the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Christians await the return, but an entirely different individual who would embody all the great principles of occultism, chiefly the divinity and perfectibility of man. One of Bailey’s followers wrote:

The reappearance of the Avatar [world teacher], by whatever name he may be known, has been prophesied in many religions as well as in the esoteric [occult] tradition. A major manifestation is expected in connection with the Aquarian age.

Interestingly, the apostle Paul declared one called "the man of sin, the son of perdition" would also proclaim himself to be God (II Thessalonians 2:3,4). I believe this coming Aquarian messiah will be the son of perdition spoken of by Paul in II Thessalonians. Furthermore, I am convinced the New Age movement is his spiritual platform. Too many things fit together for this to be just mere coincidence. Therefore, we must watch for the restructuring of our world by those who are preparing the way for his arrival and identity to be revealed.


Christianity Today Article Promotes Mystical Practices
 

In the current online edition of Christianity Today, an article by contemplative proponent Keri Wyatt Kent is instructing on the practice of lectio divina and breath prayers. As with most contemplatives, Wyatt Kent says that her prayer time was filled with too many "words," saying her time studying the Bible became "stale." She then explains how she found the solution to the dreariness of her spiritual life:

But just when exhaustion and guilt made me ready to give up, God brought some people and books into my life that showed me ways to put the quiet back into my quiet times, old ways to revitalize my relationship with him that were new to me.
In the article, Wyatt Kent does not tell who those "people" or "books" are, but she does admit she has been following certain "practices" for over ten years. She lists three of these practices as 1. Deep Listening (lectio divina) 2. Breath Prayers and 3. Being There.

Wyatt Kent does mention one author whom she looks to though - David Benner. Benner is the author of Sacred Companions (foreword written by Larry Crabb). In Sacred Companions, Benner favorably cites a who's who of contemplative spirituality including Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Alan Jones(who says the doctrine of the Cross is a vile doctrine), Henri Nouwen, Evelyn Underhill, Gerald May and many, many others. Benner proudly proclaims his contemplative proclivities.

While the Christianity Today article written by Keri Wyatt Kent does not give the names of the "people" she has gained spiritual insights from, it isn't too difficult to find out who these people are. In her book, The Garden of the Soul, Wyatt Kent favorably refers to and/or quotes Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, Ruth Haley Barton (whom she calls "one of my spiritual mentors," John Ortberg (saying his insights have been "tremendously helpful"), Richard Foster and several others.



Adventures in Odyssey Promoting Contemplative?
 
Is the Focus on the Family Children's Program Heading in the Contemplative Direction?

On January 9th, Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey (their program for children) presented a show called "Solitary Refinement." Much like the recent Fox Home Video production, Be Still, "Solitary Refinement" is an infomercial for Contemplative Spirituality. Talking about going to monasteries to learn the disciplines of silence and solitude, getting rid of distractions and thoughts in order to hear God, the program makes references throughout that encourage children to practice the "spiritual disciplines," with a particular emphasis on the disciplines of silence and solitude. Anyone who has been researching and studying the contemplative prayer movement will understand the message in this presentation.

The original air date of this Adventures in Odyssey episode was 1996. This means that 11 years ago, long before contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) had become mainstream in Christendom, as it has today, Focus on the Family was already heading in this direction. Now over a decade later, they are reintroducing the episode to a new generation of children. Interestingly though, it first aired several years after Rick Warren said that the Spiritual Formation movement was a vital and needed wake up call to the body of Christ (see Purpose Driven Church).

Click here to listen to this 25 minute Focus on the Family program.

If your children listen to the Adventures in Odyssey, we encourage you to monitor this show as it may introduce your children to non-biblical spirituality.

Related Stories:

Focus on the Family Promotes Contemplative Authors

Be Still DVD - Advertising for Contemplative Prayer


AFA Removes "Mysticism" Category But Keeps Authors
 

This is a follow up from a previous report.


American Family Association has removed the "Mysticism" category from their Resource Center; however, the same authors who appeared under "Mysticism" have remained available to buyers and can be found in other categories on the store. Some of these authors like Evelyn Underhill and Jean-Pierre De Caussade can be found under the category Spirituality (in Spiritual Growth section). Others can be found throughout the Resource Center bookstore.

Evelyn Underhill was a mystic who believed that mysticism was the vehicle in which all religions could come into contact with the "Absolute" (God) however one perceived him to be. She states:
[T]hose who use the term "Mysticism" are bound in self-defence to explain what they mean by it. Broadly speaking, I understand it to be the expression of the innate tendency of the human spirit towards complete harmony with the transcendental order; whatever be the theological formula under which that order is understood. Whether that end be called the God of Christianity, the World-soul of Pantheism, the Absolute of Philosophy, the desire to attain it and the movement towards it-so long as this is a genuine life process and not an intellectual speculation-is the proper subject of mysticism. I believe this movement to represent the true line of development of the highest form of human consciousness. - Underhill, from Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness
Underhill's belief that mysticism united all the world's religious traditions and that "God" could be found at the center of it, is the core of contemplative spirituality. Tony Campolo (in his book, Speaking My Mind) recognizes this when he suggests that Christianity and Islam can come together by way of mysticism:
Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God ... I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?" (pp. 149-150)
But this presents a serious problem for the Bible believing Christian, for Scripture says that the only way to reach God is through a relationship with Jesus Christ:
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
Panentheists, like Underhill, would reject that.

Calvin Miller, another author who was on the AFA "Mysticism" category, is still on the AFA store. In fact, AFA is listing just about every book Miller has written. In Miller's book, Into the Depths of God, he clearly reveals his mystical proclivities. Quotes and references in the book offers a who's who of contemplatives: Thomas Merton, St. John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Ignatius, the Desert Fathers and more. Of centering prayer, Miller states:
Centering is the merger of two "selves"- -ours and his. Centering is union with Christ. It is not a union that eradicates either self but one that heightens both (p. 107.)
Miller also quotes Karl Rahner as saying: "The Christian of the future will either be a mystic or not exist at all" (p. 122). Rahner's statement may indeed become a reality if Christian leaders like AFA refuse to acknowledge the serious implications of allowing books promoting contemplative mysticism to flourish and grow in influence.

And when one realizes that contemplative is being heralded by influential Christians like Rick Warren and Brian McLaren (considered to be two of the most influential evangelical leaders today), then it is easier to see just how widespread this really is.

Yes, the "Mysticism" category is gone from the AFA website, but the contents of that category are not. It's kind of like a child who hides his peas under the edge of his plate, thinking he has them safely out of view.

It is puzzling to see that AFA does not take the spiritual persuasions of the books they sell and promote as seriously as they do the problems in the secular world. We wouldn't expect secular businesses like Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble to pull such books from their stock, but we would think one could expect more from Christian businesses and ministries - especially those who warn of dangers in the secular marketplace?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth....

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (II Timothy 2:15, 19)


Rick Warren Recommends Contemplative Conference
 

In Rick Warren's January 10th, Ministry Toolbox newsletter, he is recommending the National Pastors Convention 2007. The convention is put on by Zondervan publishing and sponsored by InterVarsity Press and Leadership Journal (Christianity Today). The pastors convention has consistently been a conduit for contemplative and emergent spiritualities. In the past, Yoga workshops and labyrinths, as well as contemplative sessions, have been part of the event. This year, along with many workshops on the silence (i.e., contemplative), there will also be an an enneagram, which is a "system of spiritual psychology based on an ancient Sufi typology of nine personality types or primary roles with the recognition of one's type tantamount to a spiritual awakening" (from Alternative Health Dictionary). In the following video clip, Catholic priest William Menninger explains how an enneagram is a universal tool that can be used by anyone in any religion to have a spiritual experience.

Speakers for this year's event include some of the strongest promoters of Eastern mysticism (i.e., contemplative) and the panentheistic emerging church belief system. The list of speakers is long, and you will no doubt recognize many names: Brian McLaren, Ruth Haley Barton, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle, Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll and Eugene Peterson. Gary Thomas will be teaching a workshop called "Sacred Pathways," named for his book in which he tells readers to repeat a word over and over for 20 minutes. Labyrinth and lectio divina proponent Dan Kimball will be doing a workshop titled "They Like Jesus, But Not the Church" (from his new book - see our article Christian or Christ Follower).

Rick Warren has been promoting contemplative spirituality at least as far back as his first book, Purpose Driven Church, when he said that Richard Foster's Spiritual Formation movement was vital and needed for the body of Christ.1 Since then he has consistently endorsed, promoted and encouraged contemplative as well as the spirituality and leaders of the emerging church movement. While some may feel this is not all that significant, we believe it is crucial. 400,000 churches have participated in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven program. Countless pastors and church leaders around the world receive his newsletter each week. Week after week, month after month, they are being introduced to a dangerous belief system by someone they trust who is encouraging them to follow a new kind of Christianity (Warren calls it a new reformation). Unfortunately, it is a kind that will ultimately negate the Cross and lead followers after seducing spirits.

When the Orange County Register just finished a 20 week series on America's Pastor, they ended the series with the title: "Can Warren change the world?" We at Lighthouse Trails have a different question: "Will Rick Warren help bring the world into mystical, interspiritual unity through contemplative spirituality?"


A PURPOSE DRIVEN PLAN
 
by Roger Oakland

Have you noticed that Christianity is undergoing a major transition? "Purpose Driven" pastors are producing "Purpose Driven" churches that are filled with "Purpose Driven" believers. Further, the gospel message that reminds man their need for a Savior has been replaced by the idea that the kingdom of God can be established on earth by human effort. Why is this?

Christianity has always undergone times when new ideas, trends or fads are promoted in the name of Jesus Christ. While proponents of these ideas claim they have discovered a new formula or plan that will produce a new and better brand of believer, we must always test these ideas authored by man with the Scriptures.

In the past, many genuine believers have been led astray, believing that the "new enlightenment" was the ultimate answer to the world’s problems that had previously been hidden in the Bible until recently uncovered or rediscovered.

However, the Bible commands that faith in God must be based on the Word of God. When man’s word does not line up with God's Word, we should always stick with God's Word.

History reveals this has not always been the case for many sincere professing Christians. Numerous are the examples of spiritually shipwrecked churches and families who followed spiritual leaders who led unsuspecting believers away from the Scriptures.


Amazing Quotes
 
Popular Christians Talk About Mantra Meditation

"In my case, intimacy with Christ has developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholic mystics call 'centering prayer.' Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time-- sometimes as much as a half hour -- to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter up my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say." -- Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical, 2006

"Choose a sacred word or phrase. Consistently use the same word throughout the prayer. Begin silently to repeat your sacred word or phrase" Mark Yaconelli, Youth Specialties National Pastor's Convention


Christian Yoga: Rooted in Hindu Occultism
 
(from Spiritual Research Network - Scotland)

The number of people today, including Christians, that are involved with yoga is absolutely astonishing. Yoga, once considered by the western world to be a Hindu spiritual practice for attaining of occult enlightenment (Self-Realization), has now been thoroughly integrated into the western world- and into compromised churches. In fact, in many churches today, to proclaim about yoga what it really is - an eastern occult practice rooted in paganism - is tantamount to committing linguistic suicide. Calling yoga by its true colors and telling people what it is really designed for is simply not "politically correct" anymore. It seems that people no longer value how a common dictionary defines yoga.


"Most Influential Christians" Promote Contemplative
 
According to poll by Church Report magazine ...

Some say that those who are warning about contemplative spirituality and it's invasion into Christendom are alarmists, that it really isn't as bad as we are making it sound. Well if the Church Report poll (where over 200,000 voters responded), which names the "50 Most Influential Christians" is any indication, contemplative spirituality is being promoted by some of Christendom's top leaders.

Below is a list of those "Most Influential Christians" who are contemplative proponents:

#3: Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Church)

#5: James Dobson (Focus on the Family)

#8: Leonard Sweet (Soul Tsunami and Quantum Spirituality)

#10: Rob Bell (Mars Hill Bible Church)

#12: Erwin McManus (The Barbarian Way)

#13: Robert Schuller (Crystal Cathedral)

#16: Rick Warren (Saddleback Church)

#27: Chuck Swindoll (Insight for Living)

#28: Jack Hayford (King's College and Seminary)

#33: Max Lucado (Upwords)

#44: Beth Moore (Living Proof Ministries)

Related Stories:

"50 Most Influential CHURCHES" - Many Promoting Contemplative

Time Magazine - 25 Most Influential Evangelicals


Nazarene Superintendent Praises "A Time of Departing"
 
But Denomination's Schools Sinking into Contemplative

Dr. Jim Diehl is one of six General Superintendents of the Nazarene Church of America. Three years ago Dr. Diehl called Lighthouse Trails Publishing because he had just finished reading A Time of Departing. He told us he believed the book was excellent and that the message in it was vital. We told him at that time that some of the Nazarene colleges were inviting contemplative speakers to address the student bodies. Today, the Nazarene colleges and universities are sinking deeper than ever into contemplative. We are saddened that professors and college presidents within the Nazarene church do not share Dr. Diehl's appreciation for our warning against contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation).

Below is some documentation on one of the Nazarene universities.

Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho is a perfect example of the direction Nazarene colleges are heading. Under the School of Theology and Christian Ministries, NNU lists several ministries they are affiliated with at various events. Last September, Brennan Manning was a guest at the College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. In October, NNU participated in the Missional Leaders in an Emerging Culture Conversation at the Nazarene Theological Seminary (in which there was a workshop on the Eucharist). In June last year, NNU participated at the "Allelon Ministry in a Postmodern Context Conference with Brian McLaren," and in February, they participated in the "Renovare Spiritual Formation Conference" (Richard Foster).

Northwest Nazarene's Call to Ministry program tells those who sign up that they must read Henri Nouwen's book, Can You Drink the Cup?, and in November, NNU professor Dr. Mark Maddix "facilitated a weekend Spiritual Formation workshop ... The workshop explored both a wide variety of spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, lectio divina, and solitude." 1(about 1/6th down page)

In addition to NNU participating in events with Brian McLaren and Brennan Manning, promoting Henri Nouwen and lectio divina, Leonard Sweet was a chapel speaker in 2005. CE 513 Topics in Postmodern Ministry, (Tim Milburn includes textbooks by Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz).

Over the past couple years, our research shows that Nazarene colleges, seminaries and universities are introducing students to the New Age and mysticism through their spiritual formation programs.


Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard - It Really Did Happen
 

As many of you may remember, Rick Warren announced his P.E.A.C.E. Plan to Saddleback church in November 2003. During that sermon, he said that New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard had "signed on" to help with the peace plan. Then in 2005, Lighthouse Trails came out with a report titled: Rick Warren Teams Up With New Age Guru Ken Blanchard! Rick Warren wrote to us after that and denied that Blanchard was going to be working with him on the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He also told us that Blanchard was a new Christian insinuating that is why he has consistently endorsed and promoted the New Age for twenty years.)

However, when Warren told us these things, he knew they weren't true. How do we know that? Take a look at this transcript of a conversation Warren and Blanchard had at the 2004 Lead Like Jesus conference.


Driscoll Participates at Emergent Event
 
And Recommends Contemplative Authors

Emerging church leader Mark Driscoll, who claims to have distanced himself from the emergent movement (which has a premise immersed in mysticism/contemplative) recommends his readers turn to contemplatives like Gary Thomas (who tells people in his book Sacred Pathways to repeat a word of 20 minutes) and Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline). Some Christian leaders have defended Driscoll's supposed turn away from emergent. And yet, Driscoll is a scheduled speaker at the upcoming National Pastors Convention, which is a significant promoter for contemplative and emerging spiritualities.

For documentation, see:

Driscoll Talks on the Spiritual Disciplines

Mark Driscoll on Silence

Mark Driscoll: Emergent or Not?

Mark Driscoll Speaker at the emergent National Pastors Convention 2007


 

 

 

 

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