Explosion - 17 Million Meditators!
Over the last five years, 7 million people have joined the
ranks of meditators.
by Ray Yungen and Lighthouse Trails Editors
In 2003, Time magazine reported (in a feature article on meditation) that 10 million
Americans practiced meditation. Now, four years later, Dr. Rick Levy, in his book Miraculous Health,
claims that number is now 17 million in the United States alone. This means
that since A Time of Departing came out, 7 million people in this
country have embraced the practice of meditation. Dr. Levy makes it clear
that the type of mediation of which he speaks is the eastern-New Age kind
as the essence of his book is that meditation is a door way to the
This is a very significant revelation to us at Lighthouse Trails because in
the Time magazine article it revealed that meditation had grown by
about 1/2 million people a year between 1993 and 2003. Now, it appears to
be growing at three and a half times that rate at about 1.7 million people
Keep in mind that we are not talking about people that have just embraced a
particular belief system intellectually or rationally. We are talking about
mystics, people who are in touch with the supernatural realm on a continuous basis.
We believe this remarkable acceleration is due to two factors.
First is the tremendous explosion of the interest in Yoga. Yoga, for those
that don't know, means union, as in the mystical sense, the union with the
divine or the Hindu concept of the divine. Most people may think it is just
stretching and a form of calisthenics but Yoga and meditation are supposed
to go together. You can't really have one without the other and still call
Secondly, and more important from the perspective of Lighthouse Trails is
the explosion of the interest in contemplative prayer, which is a
westernized form of meditation. We believe this can be contributed to the
rise of the Purpose Driven movement 1 and the emerging church movement. The emerging church
movement seeks to jettison the traditional doctrinal expressions of
Christianity and replace it with a more mystical experiential type of Christianity,
one that fits in well with the philosophy of interspirituality.
This acceleration is startling and very sobering. To us, it means that
everything we have been warning about over the past six years is moving at
a rate much faster than we realized. Also bear in mind that these 17
million people each have at least five or more family members, friends, or
co-workers that they can influence. Thus tens of millions of people in the
US could potentially be exposed to the practice of mysticism just by having
a close family member or friend who actually does it.
This also undoubtedly means that meditation is being practiced on a similar
scale in other Western countries. As Dr. Levy says in his book, what was
"fringe" 20 years ago is now mainstream--people have lowered or
dropped their natural reluctance to engage in a practice that was once
There is no turning back in the advancement of mysticism in the United
States and the Western world. Now the green light is on for the average
person. Meditation has lost its connotation as being silly nonsense for the
secular person and suspicious for the Christian.
Alice Bailey, the occultist
who coined the term New Age, expressed the goal for meditation to find its
way in the mass education. This goal has finally been fulfilled. And if
more dramatic elements of Bailey's prophecies are fulfilled next on
the horizon such as the revelation of the Coming One, then this
information is of vital importance to every Christian who cares about those
around him or her. In her book From Intellect to Intuition, Bailey
The education and reorientation of the advanced
human being [one who sees himself as divine] must find its place in our
mass education." She doesn't mean the public school system but the
media outlets of society in general. She adds: "Meditation. The
question naturally arises: 'Is that all?' And the answer is: 'Yes.' ... If
meditation is rightly followed, and if perseverance is the key note of the
life, then increasingly, soul [the divine self] contact is established....
The results of that contact work-out in self-discipline, in purification,
and in the life of aspiration and of service." (p. 61)
In other words once you hook up with your
higher self through meditation, then your role becomes that of meditation
evangelist to get others involved.
One thing is for certain, the public, both inside and outside Christianity,
has lost its fear of meditation. Those who realize the true nature of
meditation and its occultic manifestations will understand that this is
One meditation proponent confirms:
First and foremost, almost all mediums
agree on the significance and the importance of regular daily meditation.
This single practice, above all others, is no doubt the very shaft that
drives the wheel of development.2
17 million people are engaging in a
practice that is designed to put them in contact with spirit guides (i.e.,
familiar spirits) and thus are entering realms of which man has been duly
warned to abstain from: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits,
neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
2. Kathleen Vande Kieft, Innersource: Channeling Your Unlimited Self (New
York, NY: Ballantine Books, third printing, 1989), p. 114.
Student Stands Alone Against Emerging Spirituality
LTRP Note: The following letter is one we received from the mother of a young man who
attends a Christian university in the United States. For his protection and
privacy, we are omitting the name of the institution and using the name John in place of his own. This week we spoke to him via telephone; he told us
that many students at his school were attending churches that promoted
contemplative and emerging spirituality.
The letter -
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
I just read your recent book review of The New Christians by Tony Jones.
I thank God for you every day and the work you are doing to expose these
My son is a student at _________ University. John has had to become an apologist against emergent
because several students don't know the dangers of it.
I am afraid that even if the university administration denies their
friendliness towards emergent, the students that attend churches in the
community will be bringing in the emergent virus, and unless the
administration openly discusses the dangers in chapel, where everyone is
required to attend daily, the emergent philosophy will be leaven, infecting
the whole lump.
John has spoken with some of the students in his dorm. Some of them don't
see the dangers of emergent, and some are agnostic about it because they
haven't heard of it until recently. John says he can foresee __________ University
becoming emergent-friendly by the time he graduates. He is starting to feel
like he is the only one speaking out against emergent. I have suggested
that he talk to some of his professors to find out what they know or
believe about it, and who may be willing to start a discussion group to
expose this false teaching, but he is hesitant because he doesn't want to
be marked as a "trouble-maker."
Have you been contacted by any of the faculty or staff at this university
who understands the dangers of this, and has supported your reporting of
this? If so, I was hoping they might be willing to be an advisor to
students like my son, who want to start a ministry, or at least an
informational/educational group to warn students about this.
John needs to find other like-minded Christians on campus to edify him; he
is starting to feel lonely.
The only reason John has been prepared to
contend for the Gospel is because of the treasures of information I
discovered on your web site three years ago. He has also been devouring
your valuable resources. If it wasn't for your answering the Lord's call,
our family would probably have been pulled into this two years ago, when our
church's newly-hired youth pastor gave my son a book by Brian McLaren book
and told him to consider this new way of thinking about church.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless your ministry.
A concerned mother
Richard Foster's Contemplative Prayer or Terror?
Prayer or Terror?"
by Roger Oakland
of contemplative prayer say the purpose of contemplative prayer is to tune
in with God and hear His voice. However, Richard Foster claims that
practitioners must use caution. He admits that in contemplative prayer
"we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm" and that
sometimes it is not the realm of God even though it is
"supernatural." He admits there are spiritual beings and that a
prayer of protection should be said beforehand something to the effect of
"All dark and evil spirits must now leave."1 Where in Scripture
do we find such a prayer? Where in witchcraft?
I wonder if all these Christians who now practice contemplative prayer are
following Foster's advice. Whether they are or not, they have put
themselves in spiritual harm's way. Nowhere in Scripture are we required to
pray a prayer of protection before we pray. The fact that Foster recognizes
contemplative prayer is dangerous and opens the door to the fallen spirit
world is very revealing. What is this--praying to the God of the Bible but
instead reaching demons? Maybe contemplative prayer should be renamed
While Foster has said repeatedly that contemplative prayer is for everyone,
he contradicts himself when he says it is only for a select group and not
for the "novice."2 He says not everyone is ready and equipped to
listen to God's voice through the "all embracing silence."3
This is amazing. Foster admits that contemplative prayer is dangerous and
will possibly take the participant into demonic realms, but he gives a
disclaimer saying not everyone is ready for it. My question is, who is
ready, and how will they know they are ready? What about all the young
people in the emerging church movement? Are they ready? Or are they going
into demonic altered states of consciousness completely unaware? Given
Foster's admission of the danger, he does great damage when he says:
"We should all, without shame, enroll in the school of contemplative
Foster's implication that some contemplative prayer is safe is terribly
mistaken. No contemplative prayer is biblical or safe--even the most mature
of the Christian mystical leaders proved susceptible to its demonic pull.
Thomas Merton at the end of his life said he wanted to be the best Buddhist
he could be. Henri Nouwen at the end of his life said all paths lead to
God. This was the spiritual fruit of their lives after years of practicing
[In relation to mysticism and contemplative prayer], the real question is
whether or not the realm of the silence is God's realm or Satan's--light or
darkness. The Bible tells us that Satan is very deceptive, and what can
often look good is not good at all:
no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the
ministers of righteousness. (II Corinthians 11:14-15)
word occultism means hidden or secret. There are two connotations to this.
The first level involves employment of these practices themselves.
Throughout human history, mystical techniques were used by only a small
number of persons. The terms esoteric and arcane are often used to signify
the fact that these practices have been traditionally concealed. Occult
methods almost always employ the use of altered states of consciousness
induced by prolonged focus and repetition--a practice that has largely been
unknown to many ... until now!
A second and perhaps more important concept agrees that behind the physical
world lies a hidden reality, and we can interact and have a relationship
with this hidden spiritual realm. Occult practitioners in every age and
every country agree that all of creation is connected together and God is
in all of creation--thus, all is God. These two definitions sum up
occultism succinctly. The contemplative prayer movement conforms to these
aspects of occultism to the letter.
It is for this very reason I have devoted an entire chapter of Faith
Undone to contemplative spirituality. Mystical practices have entered
the church through these ancient Christian mystics (ancient wisdom), and
they have become the driving force of the emerging church. (from chapter 6, Faith Undone by Roger Oakland)
1. Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home (Harper:
San Francisco, 1992, First Edition), p. 157.
2. Ibid., p. 156.
4. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco, CA:
Harper & Row, 1978 edition), p. 13.
Mennonites and the New Paradigm
Over Menno would like to alert concerned Mennonites to the following:
McLaren and Rene Girard to speak at upcoming Preaching Peace Conferences.
Peace, which draws on speakers from a variety of Christian backgrounds,
offers several nonviolent atonement seminars each year on topics ranging
from "Perceptions of God That Lead to Violence" to
"Restorative Justice as Forgiveness."
In 2008, prominent speakers such as author Brian McLaren, theologian Jurgen
Moltmann and (Rene) Girard will take part in some of the ministry's other
...Though most Anabaptist churches are familiar with the gospel of peace
already, Hardin said there is a need for renewal among Mennonites who have
been swayed by mainstream or fundamentalist ideas about politics, warfare
...Hardin said. "We are out there really looking to inspire . . . new
ways of thinking and being the church."
See conference details here:
interesting note here might be something else that Michael Hardin says
about these new ways of thinking in a recently published book endorsed by
emerging church leader Brian McLaren called Stricken by God?. This
book is an ecumenical collection of essays questioning the theory of the
sacrificial blood atonement as the church understands it. Click here to read more and for links.
Brother Lawrence Revisited
Nicholas Herman aka Brother Lawrence (abt 1610 to
1691)Nicholas (Brother Lawrence) was born in France, and when a young man,
fought in the Thirty Years War in which a near fatal injury to his sciatic
nerve left him quite crippled and in chronic pain. Nicholas received some
of his education from the parish priest he admired, and whose first name
was Lawrence. After leaving the army, Nicholas spent time living like the
early desert fathers, after which, he served as a footman in private
service before entering a monastery in Paris at mid-life. In this newly
established monastery, Brother Lawrence became the community cook. After 15
years, he changed to repairing sandals, but often returned to the kitchen
After his death, a few of Brother Lawrence's letters were published by
Joseph De Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, who had interviewed
Brother Lawrence when he was in his late fifties and in charge of upkeep of
100 pairs of sandals. The next year, when Beaufort published the letters,
he titled the small book, "Practice the Presence of God," and
added four conversations he had had with Brother Lawrence as an
introduction. Click here to read the rest of Part 1 as well as Part 2 and
Part 3 of Revisiting Brother Lawrence.
More Information on Brother Lawrence:
Brother Lawrence - Contemplative Monk
Christian Mystics of the Past
Rick Warren, Breath Prayers, and Brother Lawrence
BOOK REVIEW: The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning
by John Caddock
Little did I know when I began to read The Signature of Jesus the
time and effort that would be involved in understanding it. I am not a
theologian by training. My background is in technical management in
electronic component manufacturing. However, I stumbled onto something that
I became convinced was very dangerous and little understood.
One reading was not enough for me to understand The Signature of Jesus.
I found that it was like reading a book in a foreign language. I read many
new expressions like contemplative prayer, centering prayer, centering
down, paschal spirituality, the discipline of the secret, contemplative
spirituality, celebrating the darkness, mineralization, the Mineral Man,
practicing the presence, the interior life, intimacy with Abba, the
uncloistered contemplative life, inner integration, yielding to the Center,
the bridge of faith, notional knowledge, contemporary spiritual masters,
masters of the interior life, shadow self, false self, mysterium tremendum,
existential experience, and the Abba experience.1
I also encountered many writers I have never read before, including
Kasemann, Burghardt, Merton, Van Breeman, Brueggemann, Moltmann, Nouwen,
Steindl-Rast, Rahner, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and Camus.
I had to read the book three separate times before I was confident that I
understood what Manning was saying. I even read it a fourth time for good
Reading this book led me to read a number of other books and articles by
and about leading mystics/contemplatives. I learned about the heart of
Manning's message, centering prayer.
Ultimately I felt I had to meet the man. I attended one conference he
conducted. In addition, I purchased the tapes of another conference he
conducted and pored over them.
Altogether I spent hundreds of hours trying to understand what Manning is
saying. Why did I do this? Well, I began this study because three Free
Grace Christian leaders whom I know endorsed Brennan Manning in his earlier
book, The Ragamuffin Gospel. These men are bright, well educated,
experienced in ministry, and heads of major works. Yet I had read a
cautionary review of that book, and I wanted to read Manning for myself.
I continued the study because what I found frightened me and because I felt
others needed to be warned. The teachings of Manning are very dangerous.
There is a seductive quality to his writings. He reports grappling with and
overcoming fear, guilt, and psychological hang-ups and difficulties,
including alcoholism. He gives the impression that he has a very intimate
relationship with God and that he has insight to a super spirituality. He
regularly meditates and reports having many visions and encounters with
God. He is an extremely gifted writer who is able to tug at the emotions of
the reader while at the same time introducing ideas that the reader would
immediately reject if they were not cloaked under this emotional blanket .Click here to read this entire article.
For further research:
Brennan Manning and Contemplative Prayer
has a way of bringing about change. Gradual indoctrination takes place over
time and eventually brings about a significant shift. Unfortunately, it has
happened to Christianity too. For those of us who have lived on this planet
for a half a century or more, the changes we've experienced are phenomenal.
Yet we wonder how our world could have changed so much without many
I became a Christian in the late '70s. For me, it was like a light coming
on in a dark room. I could see reality for the first time. As an
unbeliever, I had been locked into a world of materialism, evolutionism,
and secularism. When the grace of God drew me to the Word of God, I
experienced an awakening. From the moment I was converted, I was able to
see God's plan to save mankind in contrast to Satan's plan to deceive the
In the early '80s, I became aware of a major shift in thinking that was
sweeping the Western world. Religious pagan practices of the past, once
relegated to a world of darkness, were now being embraced as the ways and
means of ushering in an age of enlightenment. Instead of physics, it was
metaphysics. Rather than believing in God, people were following men who
said they were gods. Instead of worshipping the one true God who created
everything, they were worshipping everything the Creator had made. All was
God, and even man could become god. Every method and therapy imaginable
imported from Hinduism, Buddhism and every form of Eastern mysticism
suddenly was in vogue. The age of enlightenment had arrived, we were told.
So now that we are into the third millennium, it is interesting to look
back. What happened, how did it happen, and what might lie ahead? These are
questions that Scripture can answer. Reading through the Old Testament, a
pattern emerges. In short, when human beings turn away from God, they will
worship anything and everything as God, even themselves. Satan has a master
plan to lead man away from God.
There are many verses that can help us understand why Eastern mysticism is
gaining a stronghold worldwide. Pay attention to God's warning to Israel
through the prophet Isaiah:
house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be
replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and
they please themselves in the children of strangers. (Isaiah 2:5-6)
The Bible explains how God's chosen people were seduced into darkness by
embracing doctrines of demons from the "east" in the past.
In the early '80s, it became apparent to me that Eastern religion was being
widely promoted in the West as something new. While New Agers were
enthusiastically advocating yoga, meditation, crystals, spirit guides, and
chanting mantras as the ways and means to achieve global consciousness and
enlightenment, professing Christians that I knew could see Satan's
strategy. No Bible-believing Christian would ever fall for such deception!
At least that was the way it was twenty-five years ago. Today it is
becoming increasingly common to hear about churches promoting Christian
yoga or Christian leaders suggesting the best way to enhance one's prayer
life is by getting in tune with God through repeating a mantra. What was
once described as New Age and occultic is acceptable now in some Christian
What has happened? Has God changed His Word, or has the Christian departed
from it? Or is it possible that Satan has duped Christians and lulled them
to sleep? Anyone who cares to do the research will find that yoga and its
connection to Eastern religion remains the same. Linking oneself with the
universal energy is still its goal. A Christian can believe that yoga is
for health and well being if he or she wants, but the facts have not
The amazing thing to me is how quickly Christianity has changed in such a
short period of time. Why has this happened? Does it have something to do
with the undermining of the Word of God? Christians seem to have joined
hands with the New Age, and we now have a New Age Christianity the Bible
has always warned us about.
Straying away from the God of Scripture to follow other gods is an
abomination unto the Lord, and it will be judged. There is not one verse in
the Bible that supports a New Age Christianity. (from Faith Undone, pp. 92-94)
National Pastor's Convention Starts Today - Could Lead Pastors
in Wrong Direction
National Pastor's Convention begins today (Feb. 26th) in San Diego.
This event has a large number of speakers, most of whom promote
and church leaders who are going to attend the 2008 National Pastors Convention, which is presented by
Zondervan Publishing and InterVarsity Press, should think twice about
going. After travel expenses, ticket, lodging and food, the cost for the
event for one pastor could easily run over a thousand dollars. In light of
the speakers who will be teaching, and other events being offered, this may
prove to be an unfruitful way to spend so much money, and may even be
Speakers at this year's event include some of the most blatant proponents
of contemplative spirituality and the emerging church, which in many cases
also means having a propensity toward Catholic mysticism and
interspirituality. Some of these speakers include: Ruth Haley Barton, Tony
Jones, Erwin McManus, John Ortberg, J.P. Moreland, Calvin Miller, Scot
McKnight, and Dan Kimball. Chuck Colson, co-author of the ecumenical
Evangelicals & Catholics Together document will also be speaking.
Emerging church favorite Phyllis Tickle (who once called Brian McLaren the
next Luther) will be a speaker at the event as well. 1 A number of other speakers also fall into the
Extra activities offered at the convention, in addition
to seminars by the speakers, include "Christian Yoga" presented by Shelly Pagitt (wife
of emerging church leader Doug Pagitt), New Age sympathizer Rob Bell's Nooma films, opportunities to be instructed
by "spiritual directors" (those who teach contemplative
spirituality), and prayer Labyrinths.
Critical concern courses will offer "Practicing the Presence of Jesus:
A Spiritual Retreat" by Mark Yaconelli, who once revealed to
Lighthouse Trails that he taught mantra meditation in his classes. Popular
teachers Henry Cloud and John Townsend (CCN) have found a teaching place at
the convention too in a critical concerns course called
"Revolutionizing Group Life in the Church." Having these two
mainstream speakers will give much credibility to the event in the eyes of
many. Dan Kimball will teach a course named after his book They Like
Jesus but not the Church (see review).
To help prepare pastors and leaders for the convention, an over-night,
pre-event pastors retreat will take place at the Mission San Luis Rey retreat center. A description of
the retreat explains:
This National Pastors Retreat provides
leaders with a safe place to be honest about the challenges of spiritual
leadership, to experience spiritual rhythms of solitude, prayer, and
community, and to deepen their understanding of leadership that flows from
one's authentic self [not Jesus Christ]. Led by The Transforming Center
leaders Ruth Haley Barton and Joe Sherman, this retreat offers a meaningful
introduction to the community, spiritual rhythms, teaching themes, and
guided experiences that will come to characterize National Pastors Retreat.
Ruth Haley Barton, who helped to create
the spiritual formation curriculum (with John Ortberg) for Willow Creek
church teaches the fundamentals of contemplative spirituality to thousands
of pastors and leaders at her Transforming Center. Something that is vital to
understand is that Barton was trained at the Shalem Prayer Institute. This center was founded by
Tilden Edwards who boldly proclaimed that Christians who exclude eastern
spiritual practices from their prayer life impoverish their spiritual
resources (Living in the Presence, p. 18-19).
Zondervan's National Pastors Convention will mislead many unsuspecting
Christian pastors and leaders. Unfortunately, by the time they've each
spent hundreds of dollars for the event and are packed and ready to go
there, most of them will not have read this article and may become caught
in the web of deception that is woven throughout the contemplative prayer
movement and the emerging church and for which Zondervan and InterVarsity
Press have become evangelists.
Non-Emergent Christian Camp for Kids Looking for Summer
Good Tidings Bible Camp,
located in the Catskill Mountains of upper state New York, is a Christian
Bible camp that has determined to stay true to the gospel message of Jesus
Christ and does not incorporate contemplative or emerging spirituality into
its programs or camp life. Every summer, Good Tidings brings in teens from
New York city for two-week-long camp sessions. Many of the youth
attending have never been outside the city before. The camp provides many
activities such as horseback riding, hiking, swimming, and much more, as
well as evangelistic teaching from the word of God.
*** Good Tidings is
looking for college-age counselors for this summer's camps, which will go
from the end of June through August. If you are interested in finding out
more about being a camp counselor this summer, please contact Good Tidings
program director, Brianna Morgan at: email@example.com.
Special Note: Lighthouse Trails
bookstore is carrying the retail
edition of Deceived on Purpose and The Light That Was Dark,
both by former New Age follower, Warren Smith. Wholesale orders for these
two books can be ordered through Bookmasters.
THREE WAYS TO ORDER
DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:
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orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more
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and wholesale orders within 24 hours of receiving order.
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for small retail orders: 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. While you may have to wait longer to receive your order,
the advantage of ordering through bookstores is that you will have no
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.
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
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
you would like to receive the Coming
from the Lighthouse newsletter in print form by mail, please
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be
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