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.
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
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
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):
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).
hope the following article will provide documentation regarding 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
Has anyone ever heard of Todd Bentley's strange vision? You can read
about it here:
THE GLORY CLOUD OF REVELATION & PROPHETIC MANTLES - PART 2: CONCLUSION
BY TODD BENTLEY, FRESH FIRE MINISTRIES 1
This is what he saw:
"...in 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:
THE CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATIVE TRADITION (LECTIO DIVINA)
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
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).
News magazine Identifies Seven Successful Reiki Centers - Rob Bell
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
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
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: http://www.marshill.org/teaching.
2. See Dominican Center at Marywood: http://www.dominicancenter.com/BodyWork/432/.
3. William Lee Rand, "Developing Your Reiki Practice"
(International Center for Reiki Training, http://www.reiki.org/ReikiPractice/PracticeHomepage.html).
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,
EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) Turns to
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
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
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
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
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.
here to view other articles on Christian colleges that are going down the
2008 National Day of Prayer
Promotes Contemplative Prayer Resources
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.
"[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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Rick Warren Distorts the Instructions of Jesus to Fit His
Global Peace Plan
Rick Warren Calling for Reconciliation Between Religion and
Parent Alert: Do You Know Where Your College Students are
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
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.
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:
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
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).
Alpha's Godfather: Unearthing the Core of Sandy Millar
The Gospel According to Alpha
The Dangers of the Alpha Course
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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