A Special Note
Trails is a Christian publishing company. While we hope you will read the
books we have published, we also provide extensive free 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.
What is Contemplative
definition: contemplative spirituality: a
belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states
of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult
but often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative
spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).
spiritual formation: a
movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which
contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being
used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In
fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual
How Widespread Has Spiritual Formation Become? Read our list of ministries
that are promoting it. Please pray for the leaders of these groups
that their eyes may be opened.
Warren's Small Group Conference Speaker Says Small Groups Lead to
Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet, who will be training church leaders and
pastors at the 2008 Saddleback Small Groups
Conference in April, is accepted by Rick Warren as a trustworthy source
of Christian leadership. However, Sweet's view of the value of small groups
lines up more with the New Age and Alice Bailey than it does with biblical Christianity.
In his book, Quantum Spirituality, Sweet states:
The power of small groups is in their
ability to develop the discipline to get people "in-phase" with
the Christ consciousness and connected with one another.
What Sweet means by "Christ
consciousness" can be determined through his book, Quantum Spirituality.
For instance, in the Acknowledgements pages Sweet thanks the "New
Light leaders" whom he has followed in his spiritual journey. He names
interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The
Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey,
Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of
the major intellectuals in the New Age movement). In the Preface of Sweet's
book (p. 3), he (referring to other New Agers such as Gary Zukav) says:
"Unfortunately, little of this literature is known or celebrated in
the religious community." Zukav's book, The Seat of the Soul,
teaches people how to get in touch with their spirit guides.
Since the release of Quantum Spirituality in 1991, Sweet has never
renounced the spirituality of the book, and in fact offers a free online edition from his current website. This
means he still agrees with its contents.
A key to understanding Sweet's meaning of "Christ consciousness"
can be partly found in his reference on page 13 to Thomas Merton, whom he
quotes as saying:
We are already one. But we imagine that
we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.
And also in Sweet's TOE (Theory of
Everything) in which he believes that a "unifying principle"
binds all things together.
In February, Lighthouse Trails reported that the Saddleback Small Groups
Conference would be featuring Leonard Sweet as one of the speakers.1 The report explained that for many years Rick Warren
has resonated with Leonard Sweet, which was apparent in a 1994 audio series
the two did together, and also in a book written by Sweet (Soul Tsunami),
on which Warren wrote a front cover endorsement. Sweet's idea that the
power of small groups lies in their ability to develop the Christ
consciousness in participants is alarming, especially considering the
influence Warren has on hundreds of thousands of churches around the world.
In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen explains that occultist Alice
Bailey, who coined the term New Age, predicted a time would come
when new age philosophy would rejuvenate the Christian church:
eagerly foretold of what she termed "the regeneration of the
churches." Her rationale for this was obvious:
Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist,
as a voice crying in the wilderness [for the New Age], and as a nucleus
through which world illumination may be accomplished.
other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult [New Age] would
capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary
vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! (ATOD, p. 123)
whom Leonard Sweet has looked to for spiritual guidance is Matthew Fox,
author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. A brief look at Fox's
"cosmic christ," will help sum up why we believe Sweet's
teachings to small group leaders and pastors will not give them the
biblical Christ but rather a false "christ consciousness." From
is found in all creatures.... The Cosmic Christ is the "I am" in
Without mysticism there will be no "deep ecumenism," no
unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world's religious
traditions. Without this [mysticism] I am convinced there will never be
global peace or justice since the human race needs spiritual depths and
disciplines, celebrations and rituals to awaken its better selves.3
We need to become aware of the Cosmic Christ, which means recognizing that
every being has within it the light of Christ.4
2. Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (New York, NY:
Harper Collins Publishers, 1980), p. 154.
3. Ibid., p. 65
4. Steve Turner interviewing Matthew Fox, "Natural Mystic?" Nine
O Clock Service, March 1995, http://members.tripod.com/nineoclockservice/
State Schools Busing Kids to See Dalai Lama
March 30th, Lighthouse Trails reported that emerging church leaders
Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt would be speaking with the Dalai Lama at the Seeds
of Compassion event in Seattle, Washington on April 11th-15. The
following article is a follow up of that report.
Schools Busing Kids to See Dalai Lama"
Washington State public schools will be participating in the Seeds of
Compassion event taking place in Seattle, Washington in April. Lighthouse
Trails spoke with an assistant in the office of OSPI (Washington's Office
of the Superintendent of Public Instruction), who said that students from
all over the state of Washington would participate in the Seeds of
Compassion. She told Lighthouse Trails that some people think this is a
religious event but she said this was strictly about compassion.
The OSPI office sent Lighthouse Trails a copy of a letter they received from the Seeds of
Compassion inviting "16,000 young people and adults to attend
Children's Day in Key Arena" on April 14th. The letter also states:
Students, their teachers, support staff,
and school and district administrators are invited to attend and be part of
this historic day. Thousands more will join us from around the world via
the Internet. As a highlight, The Dalai Lama - recipient of the Nobel Peace
Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal - and other world leaders and
dignitaries will hear from
children and youth through a dialogue on kindness, empathy and compassion.
Lighthouse Trails spoke with someone in
the Seeds of Compassion office, who said that most of the public schools
would be participating and busing kids to the Children's Day event on the
14th. We asked whether parents would be going along with their children (as
young as 5 years old), and we were told only if they were helping to
chaperone the children. April 14th is a regular school day (Monday), and
students will be participating during school hours. We asked whether the
children would see and hear the Dalai Lama, and we were told yes, they
The OPSI promoted the Seeds of Compassion in January at the OSPI 2008
January Conference (see page 6 of the conference notes), where educators were
encouraged to have students participate in the Seeds of Compassion, What Does Compassion Look Like to YOU? art competition.
Click here to read our March
30th article referenced above.
Understand the Times Temporarily Shut Down
you have tried to access Understand the Times ministry website this past
week, you may have seen a notice from Google saying that Roger Oakland's
website may not be safe to visit. After some investigation by Understand
the Times, it was discovered that the security of the ministry website has
been compromised by sophisticated hackers. Understand the Times has
temporarily shut down its entire site and issued the following notice:
The Times regrets to announce that we have taken down our web site from the
Internet until further notification. Our site has been compromised due to
unauthorized access by individuals and/or organizations who have a plan to
discredit the ministry of Understand The Times. The site will reappear once
we are confident that our site has been made secure.
In the next day or two, we will have certain resources available. This web
content will be hosted on a different server, with a different hosting
company. As soon as possible we will have the store online with Roger's
commentary, the radio program (transcripts without audio) and the news
articles. Our store was not compromised, just our site. You will still be
fully secure with your credit card information.
Please pray for this process as well as protection for our website, as it
becomes available again. We would also ask you to pray for the ministry of
Understand The Times. Understand The Times will continue to be fully functional.
To be redirected to our temporary site please click here.
Roger Oakland - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Pierotti - email@example.com (technical information)
Erwin McManus' Awaken 2008 Speaker
Promotes Eckhart Tolle
Last week, the Awaken 2008 with Erwin McManus took place at William
Carey University in Pasadena, California. Many of the event speakers
(called "Thought Leaders") promote contemplative mysticism, but
one in particular, Mark Batterson, points readers on his website to Eckhart Tolle, a New
Age guru who is currently being heralded by Oprah Winfrey. Batterson says
that Tolle's book, Practicing the Power of Now, is
"instrumental in the way I think about life." His public reading
list includes several other New Agers and mystics: Jack Canfield, Daniel
Goleman (The Meditative Mind), Gary Thomas (Sacred Marriage, Sacred
Pathways), Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, and several
Other "Thought Leaders" at the Awaken 2008 who are contemplative
proponents were Willow Creek's Nancy Beach, Bill Hybels, Dan Kimball,
Erwin McManus, and Rick McKinley.
For those who do not understand the spirituality behind Eckhart Tolle,
please read Warren Smith's four part series and Ray Yungen's book, For Many Shall Come in My Name
In the Spirit: Church opens doors to yoga
Washingtonville - The only light inside St. Anne's Episcopal Church
this Monday night is that of a small lamp next to a CD player emitting a
composition of flute and electronic keyboard music.
Standing next to the lamp on an exercise mat is Linda Dougherty,
instructing her students to bend forward with legs apart and arms
"Think: 'Oh God, let me bow down in front of you in honor of
you,'" she said.
Such pronouncements pepper the entirety of the 45 to 50-minute session of
bending, stretching and meditating that Dougherty teaches at the
Washingtonville church each week. It's part of a growing Christian yoga
movement that has recently entered our region, joining Eastern techniques
in health and spiritual fitness with the West's largest religion.
The rise of the trend in 2005 brought criticism from Christian and Hindu
purists, who believed the Indian spiritual roots of yoga were
irreconcilable with the West's religion.
Click here to read this entire article.
For more information on "Christian" yoga, see the following
Our research on Yoga
Yoga and the Body of Christ by Dave Hunt
Yoga Uncoiled by Caryl Matrisciana
The Great Heretical Idea: Oprah and Eckhart Do the New
by Warren Smith
"Get ready to be
awakened." - Oprah
"The twenty-first century will be the time of awakening, of meeting
The Creator Within. Many beings will experience Oneness with God and with
all of life. This will be the beginning of the golden age of the New Human,
of which it has been written; the time of the universal human, which has
been eloquently described by those with deep insight among you.
"There are many such people in the world now - teachers and
messengers, Masters and visionaries -who are placing this vision before
humankind and offering tools with which to create it. These messengers and
visionaries are the heralds of a New Age." - "God" Neale
Donald Walsch, Friendship With God
"...[T]his book itself is a transformational device that has come out
of the arising new consciousness. The ideas and concepts presented here may
be important, but they are secondary. They are no more than signposts
pointing toward awakening. As you read, a shift takes place within
"This book's main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to
your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift
in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken.... It will change your state
of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who
are ready. Not everyone is ready yet, but many are, and with each person
who awakens, the momentum in the collective consciousness grows, and it
becomes easier for others." - Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth
"Don't get attached to any one word. You can substitute 'Christ' for
presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or
the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference
between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling
divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas
presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence." - Eckhart
Tolle, The Power of Now
I stared at the huge stack of books in
the Barnes & Noble bookstore. The title of the book was A New Earth:
Awakening to Your Life Purpose. The title sounded like a new book by
Purpose-Driven pastor Rick Warren, but it was actually the latest selection
in Oprah's Book Club. A colorful orange and blue paper band around the book
invited the reader to "Join Oprah and Eckhart for a worldwide web event...
Every Monday night beginning March 3, 2008 for 10 weeks... Register at
Oprah.com/anewearth." A personal message from Oprah stated: "Get
ready to be awakened."
It was clear to me that Oprah was no longer content to just popularize New
Age beliefs, she would now teach them. This was a bold move by a woman who
was obviously willing to do everything in her power - which is considerable
- to convert the world to her New Age worldview.
With friend and New Age author Marianne Williamson simultaneously teaching A
Course in Miracles daily on Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio,
Oprah now offers two very public New Age classes. These classes are
teaching millions of people that the way to save themselves and the planet
is not by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but rather by
accepting "the Christ within." For someone who probably has an
aversion to traditional proselytizing, Oprah is giving new meaning to the
word "proselytize" as she continues to push her New Age beliefs
upon the world. But, in defense of her role as a New Age proselytizer,
Oprah would probably be the first to tell you - it's all for the good of
the world. She would also probably argue that what she is teaching is not
New Age, but a "New Spirituality." Curiously, that just happens to
be the same term that some emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren are
using as they introduce New Age ideas and language into the church.
Oprah can call her New Age teachings whatever she wants, but she and her
ever-growing band of New Age colleagues are still teaching that "we
are all one" because we are all "God" and
"Christ." As Marianne Williamson writes, "We are all one, we
are love itself. 'Accepting the Christ' is merely a shift in
The "shift" Williamson, Oprah and Tolle describe is
"awakening" to the "Christ within" and the "God
within." "Shift" is the key word. It means to move from one
position to another - as in shifting one's awareness away from the mind
and"ego" to the collective "Christ consciousness" or
"Christ within." And, as in shifting your belief in Jesus Christ
as Lord and Savior to a New Age belief in the "Christ within."
With her New Age classrooms on satellite radio, and now on the Internet,
Oprah apparently feels an urgency to teach everyone how to "awaken"
and make this "shift" to the "Christ" within. With her
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) kicking in next year we can expect to see her
New Age views showcased on an even grander scale.
In her first class with Eckhart Tolle, Oprah asked if people had experienced
the "shift" while reading Tolle's book, A New Earth. The
question reminded me of Werner Erhard's New Age EST program in the 1970s
that taught this same idea of shifting one's perception, and then similarly
asking - "Did you get IT?" Obviously, there is pressure to
"get IT" - to feel the shift: Oprah felt the shift - did you? Are
you understanding this new [age] way of looking at yourself and the world?
Or, are you being blocked by your mind and your ego from seeing this New
Spirituality that can save our planet? Keep logging onto our classes. Keep
reading Tolle's book -you'll 'get it.'
Years earlier, when launching the New Age movement publicly with her book The
Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson introduced this concept of the
"shift," connecting it to the mystical ideas of Teilhard de
Chardin - the father of the New Age movement - "whose new perspective
would trigger a critical contagion of change" which would result in
the "rapid transformation of the human species, beginning with a
vanguard" of emerging leaders. She explained how scientist-philosopher
Thomas Kuhn coined the term "paradigm shift" to describe "a
distinctly new way of thinking" which entailed accepting new truths.
When"the new paradigm gains ascendance" and "a critical
number of thinkers has accepted the new idea, a collective paradigm shift
has occurred." Ferguson said the "shift" would result in a
"new knowing" of the occult world called an"awakening"
of "deep inner shifts."
Evolve or Die
Tolle's book A New Earth - like A Course in Miracles and other New
Age teachings - exploits the idea that the world is at a crisis point and
insists that we must "spiritually evolve" as a species to avoid
personal and planetary disaster. According to New Age leaders like Tolle,
spiritually evolving means "shifting" or converting to the
heretical belief that we are all "God" and that we are all
In both his book and his class with Oprah, Tolle reiterated the words that
New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard was given by her New Age "Christ"
- "evolve or die." In other words, don't feel any pressure,
but if you don't "shift" your point of view, and "get
it" that "we are all one" and that "we are all
God," our planet will probably be destroyed and our human species will
Tolle and Oprah stayed away from the harsher aspects of this "evolve
or die" dictate in that first Internet class. Hubbard, however, has
made it clear that in the future, those who refuse to make the
"shift" by seeing themselves as "God" will be
eliminated by something called "the selection process."
Hubbard, who is highly respected by her New Age colleagues, claims that her
"Christ" has laid out an Armageddon alternative peace plan to
save the planet. This peace plan is predicated on accepting the
"shift" in consciousness that Oprah and Tolle (and other New Age
leaders) are teaching - the "shift" to the Christ within.
Hubbard's New Age view of the future inspired her to be one of the
co-founders of the World Future Society and she is currently listed as a
member of its Global Advisory Council. Emergent leader at the
"vanguard" of church "transformation," Brian McLaren,
has also written about an Armageddon alternative  and just happens to
be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming World Future Society's
Surprised by the Truth
In describing their New Age/New Spirituality "shift" and the
necessity for everyone to spiritually evolve, Eckhart Tolle erroneously
states that once you "awaken" to your Christ-consciousness and
your own godhood, the shift is "irreversible." What he
neglects to take into account is that there are large numbers of us who
formerly made the "shift" to these New Age beliefs only to
discover - by the grace of God - that we had been greatly deceived by these
New Age teachings. The Bible proved itself to be true as it exposed the New
Age/New Spirituality for what it was - a lie. It was very humbling for us
to realize that the Bible was true after all, and our New Age beliefs were
wrong. God was God and we were not. Jesus was the one and only Christ.
There was no universal "Christ-consciousness" or "Christ
within." We were amazed to discover that there really was a deceptive
spirit world and an actual devil; that we really were sinners that needed
to be saved by Jesus Christ. What we came to understand was that the whole
New Age plan to save the world was part of the very deception that Jesus
warned would come at the time of the end (Matthew 24). We were stunned by
the truth of the Bible and shocked at our own gullibility to have believed
that we were "God" and "Christ." We had been very
sincere about our New Age beliefs, but we were sincerely wrong - as are
Oprah and Tolle.
The New Age paradigm "shift" is a deceptive device that is being
cleverly used by a very real spiritual Adversary who is out to deceive the
world. One of the definitions of "shift" in Webster's Dictionary
is "a deceitful scheme or method; a trick." The New Age/New
Spirituality "shift" advocated by Oprah and Tolle is such a
"shift." It is, in every sense of the word, diabolically
(See Part II, Part III, Part IV.)
1. Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (New York: Plume, 2005), paper band encircling book.
2. Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God: an uncommon dialogue (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1999), p. 295-6.
3. Tolle, The New Earth, p. 6-7.
4. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.
5. Brian McLaren, quote cited in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland
(Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails, 2007), p. 11.
6. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles
of A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. 32.
7. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social
Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), pp.
8. Tolle, A New Earth, p. 21. Barbara Marx Hubbard lecture at Texas
A & M University, September 11, 2002, information taken from The Aggie
Daily, September 12, 2002. Warren Smith, Reinventing Jesus Christ: The
New Gospel (Ravenna, OH: Conscience Press, 2002), pp. 16, 19.
9. Smith, Ibid.
10."WorldFuture 2008: Seeing the Future Through New Eyes," World
Future Society conference brochure, http://www.wfs.org/March
11. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth
that Could Change Everything (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2006),
12. Tolle, The New Earth, p. 7.
13. Websters New World Dictionary (New York: Websters New World
Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the
Purpose-Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing
Grace and Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel
See Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.
Originally posted through Discernment Ministries
What would Jesus think about "the shift" to
by Pastor Larry DeBruyn
this inter-advent age--the time between Jesus' Incarnation and Second
Coming, or Parousia--Jesus and John warned that false prophets would arise
preaching the doctrine of replacement christs (Matthew 24:5, 23-24; 1 John
2:18). As Jesus' coming draws nearer, and as pictured by the image of
Messiah's birth pangs, we can expect that oracular announcements of
anti-christs by the false prophets will multiply and proliferate. Some of
these false messiahs will even work deceptive "signs and wonders"
(Mark 13:8, 21-22). During this age Jesus warned: "Then if any man
shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there
shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the
very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say
unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the
secret chambers; believe it not" (Matthew 24:23-26, KJV).
There can be no greater proliferation of the anti-christ doctrine than
belief systems which teach everybody's a christ. Among a host of others,
Eckhart Tolle, best selling author whose writings Oprah Winfrey highly
recommends, teaches that all humanity is indwelt by an immanent
christ-spirit. He has stated, "Jesus speaks of the innermost I am, the
essence identity of every man and woman . . . Some Christian mystics have
called it the Christ within . . ." In an earlier writing, he also
stated: "In you, as in each human being, there is a consciousness far
deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. . . . it is the
Christ within, or your Buddha nature." Statements like Tolle's are
all over the Internet. Everybody's a christ--they just haven't realized it.
To experience "christness," New Age prophets tell us that a shift
in consciousness is needed. So we ask, what would Jesus think (WWJT) about
such teaching? Before attending to "WWJT," we should know
something of the overall New Testament presentation of Christ. Click here to read this entire article.
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:
2. Toll Free Order
Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for
orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more
We ship both retail
and wholesale orders within 24 hours of receiving order.
BOOKSTORES AND OUTLETS
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.
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 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.
important books expose the truth about contemplative spirituality,
spiritual formation, and the new age.
A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My
HOLOCAUST: LEST WE FORGET
A true story that will change your life and challenge your faith ..
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
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
Find out the truth about the emerging church
and the avenues through which it is entering Christianity.
Faith Undone by Roger Oakland
Find out more about the book that tells it like it