Lighthouse Trails Research Project Header






Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
February 6, 2007
In This Issue  

Quick Links  

Where's Contemplative Being Promoted Lately?  

Contemplative and Emerging in the News  

Join our list  
Join our mailing list!

 

The Secret: "A New Era for Humankind"
 

The SecretLast year's film release, The Secret, makes no secret about it's intentions: to let the world know that humanity is on the brink of a new era. This new era will open up to humanity unleashed power, riches, creativity and all that we ever dreamed of. A "secret" that has been locked away for centuries is now available to all.

The film, available only on DVD or online, is promoted by celebrities like Oprah and Larry King, and in just a few days (Feb. 8th), Oprah will air a special about the film.

Such promotion has helped to make the film an incredibly popular one, as can be seen by Amazon ranking, which puts the DVD in the #1 position for DVDs. According to a News & Observer article, "'Secret' Spreads Around the World," 700,000 copies of the DVD have sold since its release last March.

News & Observer explains just how this "Secret" works:

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."

The film 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."

In the trailer of the movie, it begins by showing a genie from a lamp, who tells the beholder "your wish is my command." Research analyst Ray Yungen explains this concept:
[T]the genie represent[s] the Higher Self, who was reached through meditation by staring at the flame of an oil lamp. It was believed that a person could have whatever he or she wanted, once in touch with it. Our word genius comes from this Latin word for spirit guide and now means a person with great creative power.3
The premise of this is that we all have a divine essence within us, and we just need to get in touch with it. In other words, as panentheists teach, God is in all of creation, including all human beings, and once a person becomes aware of this, there are no limits to what he can achieve. Yungen elaborates:
Once a person merges with the Higher Self, he is on his way to empowerment, meaning he is capable of creating his own reality. Basically, all power is within the Higher Self, so when one is in tune with it, he can run his own show....

Metaphysicians believe that we all create our own circumstances anyway, so when we are guided and empowered by our Higher Self, we can consciously co-create with it.4
What is so alarming about The Secret is that it shares the same mystical view as the contemplative prayer movement, which is that all is one. The Secret film constantly makes reference to "the universal mind." This is the same mindset that Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Tilden Edwards had. Listen:
"The human family is one in God's spirit"--Edwards5

Thomas Merton said he believed that all religions share "the experience of divine light"6

Nouwen believed that "it is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is"7
The "universal mind" in The Secret is the same as the unity of all that exists and this is exactly what is found among the "Christian" contemplative masters.

With the church's fascination and embracing of meditation through the contemplative prayer movement (i.e., spiritual formation), the film further gives the green light to millions of Christians to be ushered deeper into mysticism. While less than a million people have thus far bought the DVD, everyone knows that when a product has Oprah's signature of approval on it, sales automatically soar to astronomical levels, and Christian women are a huge segment of Oprah's audience.

Without exaggeration, meditation is becoming an integral part of our society, in every facet: education, business, government, entertainment, health and religion. And with most Christian leaders promoting contemplative spirituality to at least some degree, Christendom is being affected dramatically. When Alice Bailey, who coined the term New Age and was instructed by her spirit guide, said that the age of enlightenment was going to come, not around the Christian church but rather through it, her "prophecy" may be coming to pass. Just last year, Fox Home Entertainment released a film called Be Still, an infomercial for contemplative prayer, in which numerous well known and highly respected Christian leaders took part. And nearly every major online Christian bookstore is selling books that promote New Age style meditation, which has a premise that all paths lead to God and divinity is within every human being thus removing the need for a Savior. If this promotion and embracing of meditation keeps up, then there really will be "a new era for humankind." But it will be an era that the Bible warns about when it says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons."

This week, when Oprah shows her special about the The Secret, please be praying that women (and men) watching this show will see this as further seduction into a mystical realm that is void of the gospel of the true God and Light, Jesus Christ.

Notes:
1.
http://www.newsobserver.com/105/story/538825.htm l 2. Ibid.
3. For Many Shall Come in My Name, 1st Ed.,p. 14.
4. Ibid., pp. 11-12.
5. A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 43.
6. Ibid., p. 60.
7. Ibid., p. 63.

The Berean Call Says AFA Did Not Do the Right Thing Regarding Bookstore Complaints
 

On February 1st, The Berean Call issued the following statement:

When the American Family Association was challenged for having a Contemplative/Mystical category at their Family Resource Bookstore, they removed the category, but kept the books and placed them in other categories. As another ministry previously reported [on 1/11/07] :

Under 'Mysticism,' authors include mystics: Jean-Pierre De Caussade, St. John of the Cross, Evelyn Underhill, Calvin Miller, and many, many others with panentheistic persuasions. In Miller's book, Into the Depths of God, he states:

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-defense 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.-- Evelyn Underhill, from Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness
When well-meaning Christians (wittingly or unwittingly) enter into practices or teachings which are contrary to the Word of God, and therefore counterproductive to the cause of Christ, our love for them compels us to share our perspective with them. Those who expressed their concerns to the American Family Association did the right thing. The AFA did not. - The Berean Call


Rick Warren Says He Practices Silence and Solitude
 

In the January 31st issue of Rick Warren's e-newsletter, his feature article is titled, "How to Dream Bigger." Warren gives eight steps on how to "help you find God's dream for your life." While the premise behind what Warren and Bruce Wilkinson refer to as "God's dream" is faulty and unbiblical, this article focuses primarily on Step One of Warren's plan. He states:

Open your mind to God. If you're going to do this, you've got to be quiet before the Lord. Schedule times of silence, of solitude. For many of you, God can't give you a dream because you won't sit down and shut up! You just need to be quiet before him. You start by getting God's perspective on your life. (emphasis mine)
Warren states that he went through this step (and the other seven steps) to develop "God's dream for Saddleback." But it is in step one that shows the heretical nature of the Purpose Driven mindset. Although this step may sound legitimate at first glance, Warren's idea that God "can't" give us something unless we engage in certain steps or a formula actually belittles God in the sense that it implies he is impotent unless we do these things. And just what are these things? Silence and solitude.

Now some may say that Warren doesn't mean practicing contemplative prayer or going into an altered state of silence to hear from God when he says silence and solitude. But based on Warren's own words, he does indeed mean just that! In a previous Lighthouse Trails article, "Is Rick Warren Promoting Contemplative Prayer? ," we show Rick Warren's strong affinity and promotion of contemplative spirituality from as far back as his 1995 book, The Purpose Driven Church , when he said the Spiritual Formation movement (ala Richard Foster and Dallas Willard) had a "vital message for the church," and has "given the body of Christ a wake up call" (p. 127).

Since 1995, and through many various means, Warren has consistently promoted contemplative spirituality.1 For example, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, Warren tells readers (of which now number in the tens of millions) to practice breath prayers (pp. 89, 299) and as an example refers to a Benedictine monk, Brother Lawrence. In Lawrence's book, The Practice of the Presence of God, it says he "danced violently like a mad man" when he went into this "presence." 2 This could be indicative of someone who is practicing deep mantra meditation where such behavior often takes place. 3

Warren has backed up his public promotion of contemplative time and again through book and article endorsements, statements made by himself, and teachings that come out of Saddleback. This is all documented on our research site and in our books. And in light of his spiritual proclivities, this current article by Warren, "How to Dream Bigger," when he recommends practicing the silence and the solitude, should alarm any discerning believer.

To anyone who has studied New Age or metaphysical literature, the common theme is that one can't hear the higher self unless he or she goes into the silence. It is very disturbing that Rick Warren uses the same terminology (and we believe practice) as New Age followers. There may be an explanation for this. According to Robert Schuller, Warren was tutored by him and was greatly impacted by Schuller's ministry. And yet Schuller is a profound advocate of mantra meditation. Listen to a few of his statements:
The most effective mantras employ the "M" sound. You can get the feel of it by repeating the words, "I am, I am," many times over.... Transcendental Meditation or TM... is not a religion nor is it necessarily anti-Christian. (Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking, pp. 131-32)
"Shh! Quiet. Be Still. Whisper. Here God's Spirit speak to your inner ear. Relax and let God reshape your soul.... Move into mighty moods of meditation. Draw energy from centers of sacred solitude, serenity, and silence.... Find yourself coming alive in the garden of prayer called meditation Prayer: My Soul's Adventure with God (p. 141).
Someone could say that Schuller isn't talking about New Age meditation but this next statement puts that to rest.
Yes the New Agers have grabbed hold of meditation. Eccentric religionists and far out psychological therapies have taken off with it ... Hey, Christian! Here me! Let's not give up the glorious God-given gift of meditation by turning it over to those outside our faith! Meditation not only offers the opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation, it can help make our stressful, overloaded lives more peaceful and productive" (p. 151).
What Schuller is saying is why should they have it (meditation) and not us; but meditation is what makes them New Agers! Schuller picked this up from Norman Vincent Peale who was heavily influenced by Unity Church, a denomination that adheres to the core beliefs of New Age spirituality. And in turn, Rick Warren most likely got it from Schuller.

In Chuck Swindoll's book, So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There, Swindoll differentiates between silence and solitude. Solitude, he says is the outward quietness (e.g., sitting by a quiet stream, finding a quiet place in the house with no phone or tv). Solitude as described like this is good. But as Swindoll explains, the silence is a "stillness" of the mind, or as Ray Yungen puts it, putting the mind in neutral. But this cannot be accomplished without some type of repetition or intense focusing so as to induce a self-hypnotic state. The "Christian contemplative" believes this is done in order to hear God. Swindoll, in his book (p. 65) says: "I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without the stillness and silence." He says this shortly after he quotes Henri Nouwen from his contemplative primer, The Way of the Heart.

Rick Warren believes this too; as he states in his article, this type of prayer is needed for "God to open your mind" for the purpose of receiving information (a dream) from Him. But it is our contention that this is no different that divination (warned against in the Old Testament) in which a method or formula is practiced in order to receive some information. And for that reason, Rick Warren's Purpose Driven ideas should be avoided at all costs.

It is interesting to note that in this issue of Warren's newsletter, he posts an article by Focus on the Family's H.B. London, who is a strong supporter of Richard Foster's contemplative teachings. So Warren's own newsletter proves exactly what he means when he says silence and solitude.

Notes:
1. Please refer to chapter eight, "America's Pastor," in A Time of Departing for a more in depth look at this or/and go to our research site.
2. Brother Lawrence, translated by John Delaney, The Practice of the Presence of God, Image Books 1977 edition, p. 34.
3. See God's of the New Age video by Jeremiah Films for examples of this.


"Reformed Worship" magazine promotes Taize'
 

Taize worship serviceReformed Worship, a publication of Faith Alive Christian Resources CRC (Christian Reformed Church) Publications, is carrying an article on their website that promotes the practice of Taize' worship. The article, "How to ... Plan in the Style of Taize," says that the students, faculty, and staff of Calvin Theological Seminary spend time together once a week in "contemplative services" in "the manner of the Community of Taize'."

Taize is a form of contemplative worship that incorporates mystical practices and interspiritual beliefs as this article describes:

"Short chants, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character," the brothers explain in a brief introduction printed in the paperback songbook. "Using just a few words, [the chants] express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being." See whole article.
For those who may wonder if Calvin Theological Seminary's Taize' is the same as the Taize' in France, the article provides a link(to learn more) to Taize' community in France.

This article in Reformed Worship is just another indication that contemplative spirituality is no respecter of denominations. Nearly all are affected and influenced.

Note: The Reformed Worship article mentioned above is from a 2002 edition. However, because Calvin Theological Seminary is still promoting contemplative and still carries this article online, their 2002 affinities do not appear to have reversed regarding contemplative. See their "MA in Worship at Calvin Theological Seminary" as an example of this.

National Pastor's Convention Starts This Week
Promoting Contemplative
 

Zondervan's National Pastor's Convention began this week. The event will be attended by many pastors and church leaders, but unfortunately participants will get a heavy dose of contemplative and emerging spiritualities. Please see our updates on this event:

Mark Driscoll Recommends Contemplative Authors/Participates at Emergent Event

Rick Warren Recommends Contemplative/Emerging Conference

BEWARE: Christian Conferences in 2007 Including Contemplative Promoting Speakers

Our Research on this topic.


Brian McLaren Included on New Age Vision Project
 

On a website called The Vision Project the motto reads: "Something Wonderful is Trying to Happen to and Through Humanity." A brief description explains:

The Vision Project is a gathering of the visions of people from many walks of life, nations and races, some well-known and some not. Letting these visions play through your mind and heart will change you. You will no longer wonder if we are going to make it, and you will be better able to see how.
The site lists who they consider those visionaries who fulfill the goal of seeking planetary peace and unity. People we would expect to find on such a list like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Andrew Cohen, Jean Houston, and Robert Muller are predictably there. The "visions" of these and other New Agers on the list involve the earth reaching a point where man realizes his divinity within and that he is a co-creator and the master of his own destiny. What these visions do not incorporate though is the idea of a single Savior and a planet full of wretched sinners who desperately need this Savior for salvation from eternal hell.

To the surprise of some, but not to this writer, emerging church leader Brian McLaren is on this list of planetary visionaries. Many may think there has been some mistake. After all, a couple years ago Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential evangelical Christians.1 And he frequents the chapel services of many Christian colleges and seminaries. And yes, his books are in most Christian bookstores.

Brian McLaren may or may not know his name is on this website. But that is not the point. What is significant here is that New Age proponents view his spiritual proclivities as similar to their own. After studying McLaren's teachings for some time now, we would have to agree ... his vision belongs on the list. McLaren, who has in the past questioned the idea of God sending His Son to a violent death on a Cross calling it and hell "false advertising for God," has consistently taught ideas that do indeed line up with a New Age vision of humanity realizing its divinity within:
[O]ne of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus' teaching then--I won't say, the only, and I certainly won't say even the primary--but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn't come like the kingdoms of the this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, the doctrine of hell basically says, no, that that's not really true. That in the end, God gets His way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination, just like every other kingdom does. The cross isn't the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.2
To back up McLaren's rejection of the message of Christ's atonement through blood, McLaren endorsed the back cover of Reimagining Christianity by Alan Jones. In this book, Jones calls the doctrine of the Cross a vile doctrine.3

The Vision Project chose a few other names that keep popping up in Christian circles. Bono, for instance, is listed as is Richard Rohr and David Steinl-Rast, these two latter names being major proponents for mantra meditation (i.e., contemplative spirituality). You will more and more find these two names showing up on the shelves of Christian bookstores and in Christian colleges as is with McLaren.

The Vision Project is registered to Vox Sophia Publishing, the publishing arm of The School of Ageless Wisdom in Arlington, Texas, USA, focusing on the teachings of occultist Alice Bailey.It is Bailey who, through her channeled work, said that the age of enlightenment (when all realize their divinity) will not come to the earth around the Christian church but rather through it. And that is something to think about.

Related Information:

Brian McLaren Calls Hell and the Cross "False Advertising for God"

Brian McLaren, Emerging, But into What?


The Dirty Little Secret About Many Christian Online Bookstores
 
by Paul Proctor - News With Views

What they don't tell you about their problematic publications

The purpose of our efforts to reveal some of the unfortunate items being offered for sale in many of today's online Christian bookstores is not to condemn their owners or operators but rather to raise awareness of an old and reoccurring problem in the industry itself and in the process, warn unsuspecting Christians of the dangers lurking within these seemingly innocent outlets before they or their children find out by accident.

Again, this problem is not new. And, the dirty little secret about the filth and heresy being marketed in a lot of Christian bookstores is this: Even after customers and critics complain and questionable titles are removed, more often than not, they come back. This allows the bookstore owner to repeatedly say: "We removed those books" without ever mentioning that they might someday return or maybe already have. Clever, huh?

So, just because the junk goes away for a while, that doesn't mean it will stay away.

But, in all fairness, it's also quite common for once- blocked books to reappear for sale in their online stores without their knowledge.


Last Days Bible Conference with Ray Yungen
 

Ray Yungen will be speaking at the Last Days Bible Conference in Calgary, Alberta this coming April. If you live in that area, we hope you can make it to hear him talk about contemplative spirituality.

Ray Yungen, author, speaker and research analyst has studied religious movements and the contemplative prayer movement for more than twenty years. He is the author of A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My Name. His exuberance for life and his love for Jesus Christ and for people are evident in his writing. Mr. Yungen resides in Salem, Oregon.


Missionary Highlight
 

For the past four years, Chris and Jennifer Lawson have been missionaries in Scotland, serving the Lord there in several capacities. Due to illness in the family, the Lawson's are moving back to the US this spring. Please pray for these faithful servants who have poured their lives out sacrificially to the body of Christ as well as to those who have not yet heard or received the Good News.

Check out their website, Scotland Missions, for news, photos and articles. And if you would like to help this missionary family at this time, click here.


Publishing News
 

We will be going to print with The Other Side of the River this week. Please pray for us as we wrap up the editing of this important biography by Kevin Reeves from Alaska.



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.


Editors - Lighthouse Trails Publishing
Lighthouse Trails Research Project

Phone: 503/873-9092
Fax: 503/873-3789

Bookmark and Share