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April 28, 2008

In This Issue -

Todd Bentley and Contemplative Meditation

Reiki News magazine Identifies Seven Successful Reiki Centers - Rob Bell Connection

EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) Turns to Contemplative Resources

William Carey Institute Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

2008 National Day of Prayer Promotes Contemplative Prayer Resources

Warren Smith, Ray Yungen Speaking at Calvary Chapel Conferences this Summer

Entire country gets purposeful for 40 days

Parent Alert: Do You Know Where Your College Students are Attending Church?

Alpha Course Added to Spiritual Formation List

Publishing News

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

Book Spotlights



Quick Links


Helpful Resources




A Special Note

Lighthouse 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 Spirituality?

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 formation movement.

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.


Todd Bentley and Contemplative Meditation

LTRP Note: Many people have been inquiring about Todd Bentley and the "revival" that is taking place in Florida right now. The following information will show Bentley's spiritual resonance with a man named Sundar Singh (1829-1929). At one point in Bentley's ministry, he had a vision of Sundar Singh - this vision greatly influenced Bentley. According to a biographer of Sundar Singh, Singh spent much of his Christian life in deep trance-like states communicating with spiritual beings:

We know he had long hours of meditation ... Also he had days of silence.... One day ... he was in the woods praying.... Suddenly his spiritual eyes were opened and he saw the glories of the spirit world. After that he had visions from time to time. Later on the visions came as often as ten or twelve times a month and he then had long talks with the beings of that world. 1


It is believed that Sundar Singh was a universalist (all are saved) based partly on statements he made, like the one below (from his own book):

However bad and evil-living a man may be, there is in man's nature a divine spark ... this spark of the divine is never extinguished ... If this divine spark or element cannot be destroyed, then we can never be hopeless for any sinner... The Creator Himself will not destroy it (man's soul)... even though many wander and go astray in the end, they will return to Him in Whose image they have been created; for this is their final destination (from his book, Meditations on Various Aspects of the Spiritual Life in the chapter "Finally All Men Will Return to God).


We hope the following article will provide documentation regarding Todd Bentley's spirituality.



Todd Bentley and Contemplative Meditation
by Wolf Tracks (from a sheep who weeps)

Why would God give his children a vision of a contemplative who combined the East and West in his meditative disciplines? Is this where Todd Bentley's ideas about visions, spirituality, and 'soaking' prayer are coming from?

Has anyone ever heard of Todd Bentley's strange vision? You can read about it here:


This is what he saw:
" a vision, the Glory Cloud of Revelation descending upon the church. It was also during this time of prayer that God took me in a vision to what I believed to be the Himalayan Mountains. I saw an Indian man with a turban on his head and heard the whisper of the Spirit say, "This is Sundar Singh. I am releasing anointing of revelation like this." I had no communication with this old saint, nor did he say anything to me. The experience lasted only a moment...."

And this is the revelation he learned from the man with a turban:


Sundar Singh spent at least two hours daily in reading the Scriptures, meditation and prayer. He would arise at 5:00 am and finish by 7:00 or 8:00 depending on what his schedule was for the day. He often spent the whole day or night in prayer. His discipline was to read one chapter of the Bible, rapidly at first reading, then to return to reread passages or verses that were more suggestive to him. These he would linger with and meditate on for as long as it was fruitful for him to do so. Next, he would enter into a period of "recollection" for twenty minutes or so. This was a time of silence, in which he would allow the Lord to speak to him in some way. With his own mind and heart quieted, he opened his mind and his heart to hear what the Lord would have to say to him or just simply enjoy companionship with his Lord. Often this period of silence would extend into a deeper state called "contemplation" in which he enjoyed complete rest and refreshment in the love of God.

Often during times of contemplation, he entered into experiences of ecstasy. Click here to read this entire report.

Related Information:

Following the Tracks - from Abbotsford to Lakeland - Part 1

Following the tracks - from Abbotsford (BC) to Lakeland and Around the World - Part 2


To understand the Word-Faith movement, the Latter Rain movement, the Apostles/Prophets movement, etc., read Kevin Reeves apologetics biography,  The Other Side of the River (see chapter 1).

Reiki News magazine Identifies Seven Successful Reiki Centers - Rob Bell Connection

The Reiki News Magazine is a prominent publication that represents Reiki masters around the world. The Spring 2008 issue of Reiki News has an article titled "Reiki Centers: How Seven Owners Achieved Success." One of the seven featured is the Dominican Center at Marywood (DCM) in Michigan. Roger Oakland, in his emerging church expose, Faith Undone, discusses Rob Bell's connection to the Marywood center. In view of the fact that Reiki is an occultic practice, and considering that many Christian churches (and even many Christian high schools) turn to Rob Bell's spirituality (through Velvet Elvis and Noomas), it is vital to understand this connection. Oakland explains:

On March 19, 2006, Bell unveiled a little more about his spiritual beliefs. He invited a Dominican sister to speak at his church. He said as he introduced her, "I have a friend who has taught me so much about resting in the presence of God."1 During the service, Bell and the sister led the congregation in various meditative exercises.

The sister who spoke at Mars Hill during that service is from the Dominican Center at Marywood in Michigan where a wide variety of contemplative/mystical practices are used and taught.2 One of the practices at the Center is Reiki (similar to therapeutic touch). The belief behind Reiki is that everything in the universe is united together through energy. In Japan, the word reiki is the standard term for the occult (or ghost energy). It is ghost energy because when Reiki is practiced, spirit guides are reached. William Lee Rand, the head of the International Center for Reiki Training, states:

There are higher sources of help you can call on. Angels, beings of light and Reiki spirit guides as well as your own enlightened self are available to help you.... The more you can open to the true nature of Reiki which is to have an unselfish heart centered desire to help others, then the more the Reiki spirit guides can help you.3

Reiki is becoming very popular in the Western world. In the United States alone, there are now over one million Reiki practitioners.4 If Reiki gains a foothold into Christianity, Rob Bell's statement "We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion"5 could be very accurate in the sense that Eastern religion (i.e., mysticism) is quickly becoming a qualifier for mainstream Christianity. (Faith Undone, p. 111)

1. Quote from the March 19, 2006 service at Mars Hill. Audio file of this service was available on Mars Hill website:
2. See Dominican Center at Marywood:
3. William Lee Rand, "Developing Your Reiki Practice" (International Center for Reiki Training,
4. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed.), p. 13.
5. Andy Crouch citing Rob Bell, "Emergent Mystique" (Christianity Today, November 2004).


EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) Turns to Contemplative Resources

 In March of 2007, Lighthouse Trails reported that the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) was bringing contemplative into the denomination through their American university, Trinity International University. We reported that TIU had partnered with the contemplative based Spiritual Formation Forum.

As is so often the case when an organization heads down the contemplative path, EFCA is now incorporating contemplative authors into their resources. On the national EFCA website, under "Ten Leading Indicator Resources," EFCA includes books by Bill Hull, Dallas Willard, Rick Warren, and Pete Scazzero, all of whom are proponents of contemplative spirituality.

Bill Hull, of Choose the Life Ministries, will also be one of the speakers at this year's EFCA Leadership Conference. Hull promotes both contemplative and emerging. In his book, Choose the Life (foreword by Dallas Willard), he has an endorsement on the back cover by Brian McLaren and tells readers to study the mystics. In Hull's 2006 book, The Complete Book of Discipleship, Hull favorably references and quotes several contemplative/emerging proponents and recommends books by Henri Nouwen, Brian McLaren, Larry Crabb, Ken Boa and Richard Foster. He also points readers to the Desert Fathers and the new monasticism that is currently being touted by several emerging church leaders.

Pete Scazzero, also on the EFCA list of resources, promotes contemplative/emerging spirituality as well. In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (see our report), Scazzero not only favorably points to contemplatives like Nouwen, Foster, and Merton, but he quotes or/and references several New Age style mystics like Meister Eckhart, Daniel Goleman (scientist who studies and promotes Buddhist meditation), M. Scott Peck, Basil Pennington, and Tilden Edwards. All of these resonate with panentheistic (God in all) views.

The book that EFCA is using by Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church, is of the same caliber, pointing to several eastern-style meditation teachers, including Anthony De Mello. Of mantra meditation, De Mello states:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on.1

Some may wonder why we at Lighthouse Trails are so concerned about contemplative spirituality. After all, some may ask, isn't it bringing people closer to God? We believe the answer to that is no. The mystical states that are achieved through contemplative prayer initiate practitioners into the realm of familiar spirits, and when one repeatedly spends time in this silent state, it does not take too long before he or she begins to adopt panentheistic (believing that God is in all) and pantheistic (believing that all is Divine) affinities. And when these beliefs are embraced, the doctrine of redemption through the Cross is discarded (see Sue Monk Kidd for a prime example).

If EFCA and other Christian organizations continue down this present path of Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative/emerging), then the words of occultist Alice Bailey may come true, when she said:

The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages ... the new religion [will] restore the ancient spiritual landmarks, to eliminate that which is nonessential, and to reorganize the entire religious field--again in preparation for the restoration of the Mysteries. These Mysteries, when restored, will unify all faiths.2

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul indicates there will be a great falling away before the day of the Lord. He also makes clear what this falling away will be to. He calls it the mystery of iniquity. We at Lighthouse Trails believe that Alice Bailey's "mysteries" and the "mystery of iniquity" are one and the same. In light of this, for those who think our criticisms are too harsh or unfounded, if you grasp the reality of this, you will see what motivates us to take the action we do.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition ... For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. (2 Thessalonians 2: 3,7)


1. Ray Yungen, quoting De Mello in A Time of Departing, p. 75 (Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28).

2. Alice Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarcy (Albany, NY: Fort Orange Press, 1976, 5th printing)


William Carey Institute Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

 Is the William Carey Institute in Canada promoting contemplative spirituality? It appears the answer is yes. The Institute, located in Vancouver, BC, offers "creative learning experiences that equip church congregations and individual Christians in their ministry, personal development, and spiritual formation." 1

The Institute's Centre for Spiritual Formation is providing various contemplative experiences, including lectio divina, which will be offered in a spiritual formation seminar this summer. 2 David Benner will be the facilitator for the event. Benner's book, Sacred Companions, openly promotes the teachings of panentheist Thomas Merton and atonement denier Alan Jones (Reimagining Christianity), Thomas Keating and a host of like-minded writers.

What's more, in Benner's book, he praises a book by John Gorsuch titled An Invitation to the Spiritual Journey. Benner says, "This little book sparkles." In Gorsuch's book, the general gist of it is how mysticism is uniting all the world's religions. He makes specific reference to Swami Paramahansa Yogananda and comments that he was a great saint who brought many people to God. In the back of Gorsuch's book there are also Tibetan Buddhist meditations. Gorsuch's book proclaims the validity of all religions and also that God is in everything and everybody. For Benner to say this book sparkles, means he embraces its views - more importantly, not just in an intellectual sense but in a mystical sense.

Juliet Benner will be a speaker at the Carey Institute spiritual formation seminar also. Juliet is a spiritual director and a member of Spiritual Directors International. SDI is an interfaith association that promotes eastern-style mysticism and panentheism.

On the William Carey Institute website, it gives an endorsement by Basil Pennington for Benner: "Dr. Benner shares his lived experience in a way that opens for the reader the possibility of a true transformation." But when Pennington says "transformation," he is talking about a transformation of consciousness that takes place when one practices eastern-style meditation. Pennington states:

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.(Centered Living, p. 192)

In Ray Yungen's book, A Time of Departing, he discusses Pennington:

In the book Finding Grace at the Center [by Pennington and Thomas Keating], the following advice is given: "We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible ... Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices ..." Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer. (p. 64)

At the William Carey Institute seminar this summer, Benner will be using his book, Surrender to Love, in which he quotes and references several panentheist mystics.

Click here to view other articles on Christian colleges that are going down the contemplative path.


2008 National Day of Prayer Promotes Contemplative Prayer Resources


Heart's Cry The National Day of Prayer has once again chosen Heart's Cry by Jennifer Kennedy Dean as one of this year's featured books. Kennedy Dean writes about the "listening prayer" in chapter 11 of her book. Here are some excerpts:

"God calls us to silence, inner as well as outer. He invites us to listening prayer [contemplative prayer] ... in the inner sanctuary of our souls.... Listening prayer is the ground from which spoken prayer grows. Spoken prayer will not reach its fullness unless it is born in listening prayer" (p. 127).

"The place of His presence is within you. You will find Him at the center of your being.... God has things to tell you.... Something you didn't know before?.... When we learn the art of silence, then we create the setting in which God can reveal to us His secrets.... We are not programmed for silence. It does not come naturally to sit quietly in God's presence without words. Listening to God is a learned discipline" (pp. 128-129).

"[T]o find a way to center your thoughts on God. As you visualize the presence of God, visualize yourself in that presence .... In His presence, I feel the need to empty myself. I visualize placing things on His altar" (p. 129).

In the back of Dean's book, she recommends two other books she wrote for more information on "listening prayer." In one of those books, Riches Stored in Secret Places
2, Dean references panentheist Thomas Kelly about four times. It is Kelly who said that within every human being is a divine center, a holy sanctuary (from A Testament of Devotion). Dean quotes Kelly in his chapter called "The Light Within," in which Dean refers to the "secret sanctuary" (p. 43). This "secret sanctuary" Kelly is speaking of is the "abiding Light behind all changing [life] forms." Kelly says: "In that Current we must bathe. In that abiding yet energizing Center we are all made one" (p. 38)." In referring to this "secret sanctuary," which Kelly says is in all of life, Dean tells readers to use "the meditative exercises" in her book. Some of the techniques Dean refers to are lectio divina and visualization (though she does not call them this, but she describes them).

Unfortunately, the National Day of Prayer website is pointing to other contemplative resources as well. On the "Prayer Movement Links" page, they include a magazine called Pray Magazine. This is a publication put out by NavPress and has been promoting contemplative spirituality for some time. In fact, NavPress also publishes a similar magazine called Pray Kids, where kids are told to practice contemplative prayer, including lectio divina.1 NavPress has actually become one of the more influential Christian publishers when it comes to contemplative spirituality. One of their books, When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson is a case in point.

In the past, the magazine, (Pray) that the National Day of Prayer is recommending to participants has carried articles promoting such things as labyrinths and lectio divina as well as contemplative teachers like Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and Henri Nouwen.

Discipleship Journal (another NavPress publication) also promotes contemplative spirituality. In an article titled The Listening Side Of Prayer , the author states:

I have learned to hear His voice through listening prayer-what some call contemplative prayer ... I slowly inhale, saying to myself Jesus' name, and with each exhalation I release a fear or worry that is on my mind. Then, I continue to think on Jesus' name, yet each time I exhale I think on a characteristic of Jesus.

Another Discipleship Journal article instructs on lectio divina. 2

Below is contact information if you wish to speak with NDP to share your own concerns about their promotion of contemplative prayer.

National Day of Prayer Headquarters
National Day of Prayer Task Force
P.O. Box 15616
Colorado Springs, CO 80935

Phone: (719) 531-3379
Fax: (719) 548-4520



Warren Smith, Ray Yungen Speaking at Calvary Chapel Conferences this Summer

#1 Warren Smith, author of Deceived on Purpose and The Light That Was Dark, will be a featured speaker at the 2008 Senior Pastors Conference in Murietta, California this coming June. This conference is the annual pastors conference for Calvary Chapel Senior pastors.


#2 Warren Smith will join Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My Name, for the Pastors and Leaders Conference in Johnson County, Kansas on August 7th. The theme of this conference will be "The Shepherd and the Watchmen."


Both Smith and Yungen have written extensively on the New Age/New Spirituality, documenting how it is coming into the church through various avenues such as Purpose Driven, the emerging church, spiritual formation, and more.


Entire country gets purposeful for 40 days

Outside News Source

Mission Network

Rwanda (MNN) - For the first time, an entire country is taking part in Purpose Driven Ministries' Forty Days of Purpose. Entire cities in the U.S. have taken part, but Rwanda will officially be the first country.

Forty Days of Purpose is an evangelism and discipleship effort. The movement is tied to the church-based P.E.A.C.E. plan projects going on in individual churches.

The global P.E.A.C.E. plan was announced by Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Ministries in 2005. It stands for: Promoting reconciliation, Equipping servant leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation.

Forty Days of Purpose kicked off in Rwanda with a traditional celebration. Warren spoke as well as Rwanda's President Kagame. Kagame praised the P.E.A.C.E. .plan which helps bring together the talents of the public, private, and faith communities.
Click here to read this entire article.

Related Stories:

Rick Warren Distorts the Instructions of Jesus to Fit His Global Peace Plan

Rick Warren Calling for Reconciliation Between Religion and Politics


Parent Alert: Do You Know Where Your College Students are Attending Church?

Lighthouse Trails Research has provided extensive information on Christian colleges that are promoting contemplative and emerging spiritualities. Many parents we have spoken with have either pulled their young college students from those schools or at the very least warned their children of the dangers. But parents also need to find out where their students are attending church, while they are away at college.

When parents send their children off to college, often far from their homes, they are relieved when their students tell them they are attending church every week, sometimes even twice a week. However, Lighthouse Trails has confirmed that in many of these school settings, a large number of the students are attending pro-contemplative/emerging churches.

Often professors and school administration are not aware that such a high percentage of the student body is attending churches that teach contrary to biblical doctrine. And if that is the case, most likely parents aren't aware either. If you have children attending college (secular or Christian), please ask them where they are going to church and find out what that church is teaching.




Alpha Course Added to Spiritual Formation List

 Lighthouse Trails Research has added the Alpha Course to its Spiritual Formation list. This list is comprised of Christian organizations that are promoting Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality). It is the hope of Lighthouse Trails that believers can be made aware of this fast growing spirituality that negates biblical Christianity because of its mystical, panentheistic roots.

In an article titled "The Power of Alpha," it states that USA Alpha president Todd Hunter is "excited about the marriage of spiritual formation and evangelism that Alpha brings." Regarding spiritual formation, Hunter states

You've probably heard me articulate my vision to connect evangelism and spiritual formation into a seamless whole.... This requires what my friend Richard Foster is calling "The With-God Life." Come to the International Renovare Conference and you will hear Richard, Dallas Willard, and others discuss The With-God Life. These are my favorite teachers I personally go anywhere, anytime to interact with.

On Hunter's blog where he made this statement, he also invited visitors to attend a special lunch with Brian McLaren (already past).1

In addition to Hunter's hope to use Alpha as an avenue for spiritual formation, the following statement on another Alpha site backs this up:

My Anglican friends in England are very enthusiastic about the Alpha conference. At a time when many are seeking spiritual formation in the context of congregational life, the Alpha conference format has the potential to meet those expectations."2

To understand the foundational problems with Alpha and to see its New Age implications, please examine our research on the Alpha Course. Much of this research comes from the tireless efforts of Dusty Peterson and Elizabeth McDonald, who have provided extensive documentation on Alpha (including their book, Alpha, the Unofficial Guide).

Related Articles:

Alpha's Godfather: Unearthing the Core of Sandy Millar

The Gospel According to Alpha

The Dangers of the Alpha Course


Publishing News




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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 shipping charges.






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


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Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

If you would like to receive the Coming from the Lighthouse newsletter in print form by mail, please send an email to 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.


Book Spotlights


Book Spotlights

These two 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 Name

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

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

See all books and DVDs on the Holocaust

The Other Side of the River The Other Side of the River by Alaskan Kevin Reeves  

When mystical experiences and strange doctrines overtake his church, one man risks all to find the truth ... a true story. Read more about this important book.

Faith Undone by Roger Oakland 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 is.


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