May 2, 2006
Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
|During the last couple weeks, we have discovered
a number of things: that one of the largest
Christian ministries is now promoting contemplative
authors through their magazine, that the
founder of a large denomination had a book
released in which some alleged mystery person
stuck in contemplative language unbeknownst
to the author, and that one of the most
respected, loved pastors in the country
has recently put out a CD series called
Meditation: The Power of Silence, and incidentally
this same pastor was listed on the Be Still
DVD as a supporter. On top of that, we viewed
a movie called Bee Season (starring one
of Hollywood's most popular actors), in
which a young girl is taught by her father
the art of mantra meditation and how to
go into a trance to become one with everything.
Then we were told that the Boy Scouts are
going to help churches build labyrinths,
and McDonald's Restaurant is incorporating
Yoga into their promotional materials.
About the only thing that didn't happen
in the world of contemplative these last
several days is this ... there were no major
Christian leaders shouting from the rooftops
... beware, for great delusion is coming
... and it's coming in the form of Eastern/New
the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter
times some shall depart from the faith, giving
heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."
I Timothy 4:1
| What Happened to the Calvary
Chapel Book, When Storms Come?
The book contains contemplative language
but apparently put in the book unbeknownst to
The founder of the Calvary
Chapel churches, Pastor Chuck Smith,
is known for his emphasis on expositional
Bible teaching. So it was quite a surprise,
when recently reading his 2005 book, When
Storms Come, to see Smith favorably
quoting the late Catholic mystic, Anthony
De Mello (p. 137).
De Mello wrote the contemplative classic
called Sadhana: A Way to God and
in that book says:
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. (A
Time of Departing, p. 75).
In another section of Smith's book, he
instructs readers to practice a "Spiritual
Exercise" that uncomfortably resembles
an Eastern style meditation exercise (pp.
102, 103). And yet in another section
of the book, there is mention of Jewish
Kabbalist (Jewish mystic) Lawrence
Hoffman who has strong interfaith
sympathies (p. 107).
We contacted Calvary Chapel last week and
talked to Pastor John Mann. He told us
that someone other than Pastor Smith had
done a final editing of the book and inserted
these comments unbeknownst to Chuck Smith.
When asked whether Chuck Smith would make
a public statement warning the Christian
community about the book, Mann said he
knew of no plans for that.
On pages 102 and 103 of When Storms
Come, readers are told there is a
"practical way" to alleviate stress in
our lives through a "spiritual exercise"
in which we are to "sit up so your spine
is straight, inhale slowly, relax your
muscles, then slowly exhale. Place your
hands on your lap with your palms up,
but make a fist as if holding on to something.
Imagine you carry all your anxieties in
your hands ... observe the rhythm of your
breath." While no mention of repeating
a word or phrase is made, using this type
of language could set the reader up to
be open and receptive to more blatant
and dangerous forms of these practices.
Basically a Christian shouldn't have to
practice some kind of technique to enjoy
the presence of God. (See Ephesians 2:18
and Romans 5:2) The whole rationale behind
the contemplative prayer movement is that
a Christian is somehow hindered or limited
in his or her access to God while in a
For the sake of the thousands of people
who may have already read Smith's book,
we hope that a public statement will be
made by Calvary Chapel to warn readers
about the book ... We also hope and pray
that Pastor Smith will let Calvary Chapel
pastors in his denomination know that
he stands against contemplative spirituality.
Incidentally, the foreword to When Storms
Come was written by Chuck Smith Jr.,
son of Pastor Smith. Smith Jr. is pastor
Beach, Calvary Chapel in California
and recently returned from a sabbatical
at a Catholic monastery. In Smith, Jr.'s
End of the World as We Know It,
he reveals his affinity with the contemplative
when he states:
More and more Protestant Christians - and
we are way behind the Roman Catholics
on this score - are discovering a new,
yet old way of reading the Bible: lectio
divina. The "divine reading" is
a simple method of listening to God
speak through the Bible to your heart
rather than your brain ... I doubt that
the current interest in Christian spirituality
is simply a fad.... Esther de Waal's The
Celtic Way of Prayer is one
of many books that offers spiritual
expression in a variety of paths that
have long been minimized or overlooked."
Referring to this "Celtic spirituality,"
Smith, Jr. says: "There is something so
natural and appealing about this earthy,
practical spirituality that I find myself
wanting to adopt it in my daily routine"
(p. 104). But in the book, The Celtic
Way of Prayer, de Waal tells readers
to do the sign of the Cross and says:
... lectio, the monastic way of praying
with a phrase from Scripture, repeating
it, rocking it back and forward, letting
it move into the depths of one's own
self until it goes beyond words, into
silence, into contemplation.
The End of the World As We Know It is riddled with quotes by contemplatives
and New Age sympathizers, including Leonard
Sweet, whom Smith Jr. quotes twice from
Sweet's book Quantum
Spirituality. Sweet's book is
a handbook on interspirituality saying
that all things are interconnected (a
Buddhist/Hindu concept) to each other.
It is hard not to wonder what Chuck Smith
Sr. was thinking by having his son write
the foreword to this book, and hard not
to wonder if perhaps Smith Jr. is the
| Gimmie Yoga, a Burger and
New McDonald's "Happy
Meal" for Adults Offers Yoga.
Yoga, a Burger and Fries
This week I had yet another new
shock to the system. While standing in line
to order a Number 3 meal at the local McDonalds®,
I noticed an interesting new promotion that
is taking place. They now have Adult Happy Meal.
This is pretty cool because the kids always
got some pretty neat toys. The adult meal also
comes with a prize, but I was kind of shocked
when I found out what it is ... a DVD on Yoga.
on my bag for my Big Mac®, I found a handy URL
telling me more about this and I checked it
is what they say ...
Minutes of Sane
stressed? Try Yoga. It helps relax the mind
and rejuvenate the body and spirit. Plus, it's
great for improving flexibility.
exclusive McDonald's® Yourself!Fitness® Yoga
DVD offers four different 15 minute workouts
to help improve your mood and your energy level.
You can customize your Yoga workout by choosing
a language, difficulty level and your
area of focus – flexibility, stress relief,
balance or strength. (1)
eastern thought of New Age mentality is not
only entering the burger joints of
, but it has made
a strong entrenchment in a place not as suspecting
... our churches today.
Read entire article, Gimmie Yoga,
a Burger and Fries
Holocaust Remembrance Day
How one Jewish believer
escaped 'Hitler's Hell'
by Leo Hohmann
With all of the thousands of books out there
about the Holocaust, you might be tempted to
ask, why read another?
Indeed, there are countless works that document
the cruelty, the hate, the deprivation and death
inflicted by the Third Reich. Those such as
Eli Weisel’s "Night" provide a first-hand account
that is masterfully written but leave the reader
depressed, wondering why God abandoned His people
during this period of history.
But there is a book, Trapped
in Hitler’s Hell by Anita Dittman with
Jan Markell, that will sweep you into 1930s
Germany and back with your faith firmly intact...
Read entire book review by Messianic
|Henri Nouwen and His Buddhist
and churches use his materials and quote from
him. What did he really believe?
by Ray Yungen
An individual who has gained popularity
and respect in Christian circles, akin to that
of Thomas Merton, is the now deceased Catholic
theologian Henri Nouwen. Like Merton, Nouwen
combines a strong devotion to God with a poetic,
comforting, yet distinctly intellectual style
that strikes a strong and sympathetic chord
with what could be called Christian intelligentsia.
Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted
to his deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers
revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S.
Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second
only to Billy Graham in influence among them.Nouwen also attracts many lay people who
regard him as very inspirational. One person
told me that Nouwen's appeal could be compared
to that of motherhooda warm comforting
embrace that leaves you feeling good. Despite
these glowing attributes, several aspects of
Nouwen's spirituality have earned him a place
in this book.Unfortunately, this widely read and often-quoted
author, at the end of his life, stated in clear
terms that he approached God from a universalistic
view. He proclaimed:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus
came to open the door to God's house, all
human beings can walk through that door, whether
they know about Jesus or not. Today I see
it as my call to help every person claim his
or her own way to God.
Nouwen's endorsement of a book by Hindu
spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, teaching
mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic
sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated,
"This book has helped me a great deal."Nouwen also wrote the foreword to a book
that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality,
in which he says:
[T]he author shows a wonderful openness
to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem
religion. He discovers their great wisdom
for the spiritual life of the Christian ...
Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from
spiritual traditions other than his own. He
brought home many treasures and offers them
to us in the book.
Nouwen apparently took these approaches
seriously himself. In his book, The Way of
the Heart, he advised his readers:
The quiet repetition of a single word can
help us to descend with the mind into the
heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens
us to God’s active presence.
But what God’s "active presence" taught
him, unfortunately, stood more in line with
classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity.
Prayer is "soul work" because our souls
are those sacred centers where all is one,
... It is in the heart of God that we can
come to the full realization of the unity
of all that is. (emphasis mine)
Read Entire Article, Henri Nouwen
|Focus on the Family Promotes
|In the latest issue of Focus on the Family magazine, author
and contemplative Gary Thomas writes about
marriage. Thomas, author of Sacred Pathways,
promotes contemplative prayer in that book
by telling readers to "choose a word ...
as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat
the word silently in your mind for a set
amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until
your heart seems to be repeating the word
by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily
as breathing" (A
Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 152).
In addition to the article by Gary Thomas
in the FOF magazine, one of Thomas' books, Sacred
Parenting, is advertised.
Last week, we contacted Focus on the Family
to share our concerns over their promotion
of those who teach contemplative prayer.
However, we have not heard back from anyone
at their office regarding this matter. We
also contacted Focus on the Family several
months ago to let them know that their name
was listed on the Lead Like Jesus (Ken Blanchard)
list of Board Members but we did not hear
back from anyone then either. We also contacted
them about their promotion of Richard Foster's
book, Celebration of Discipline,
but we did not hear back from anyone.
Reemerging of the Emerging
We know from the Scriptures
that Satan’s plan is to deceive the whole world.
His objective is to blind the minds of the unbelieving
and to recruit those who have believed to become
part of his agenda to set up an end-times delusion.
by Roger Oakland
Do you recall what Paul said would happen to the
early Christian church? This is what he said:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all
the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made
you overseers, to feed the church of God, which
he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know
this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves
enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also
of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them.
A brief overview of church history reveals Paul’s
prophetic warning was fulfilled. He said it would
happen and it happened. Numerous church leaders
emerged during the first to the third centuries.
The foundational principles of the Scriptures
were ignored and many followed the experiential
teachings of men who claimed they had discovered
new and innovative methods to get in touch with
So, in other words, an emerging church growth
movement began to emerge or should we say diverge.
The reason for this is simple.
We know that God’s Word is light. When we begin
to replace the Word of God with enlightenment
by the words of man, we have a perfect formula
for returning to darkness. The mystics (we often
call them the church fathers) added ideas to Christianity
that cannot be found in the Bible - a recipe for
Jude also warned about the coming apostasy in
the early church. He said certain men had crept
in unawares because error was not being corrected.
How tragic, then and now.
Now, let’s bring this up to date. The latest wave
of church growth methodology today is the Emerging
Church. By the way, you should know that many
of the ideas being promoted originated when present
day church leaders studied the methods that emerged
in the first to third centuries after Christ.
These leaders say we need to reincorporate their
ideas if we are going to have successful churches
in the 21st century.
But, just a minute! If the emerging church of
the past was based on extrabiblical revelation
and experiences that led to such ideas that Mary
was much more than what we read about in the Bible,
and that the presence of Jesus can be conjured
up from a wafer by a priest, shouldn’t we be somewhat
concerned? Do you recall that many of the reformers
were tortured and killed because they refused
to accept emerging church doctrines?
Rather than reviving the teachings of the monks
and early “church fathers,” I believe we should
pray that such practices be exposed rather than
embraced. While proponents of the Emerging Church
believe they are getting closer to God, they are
not paying attention to the Word of God.
The last days will be characterized by doctrines
of demons who lead sincere Bible-believing Christians
astray.The present day Emerging Church Movement
has that potential.
Read Entire Article: Reemerging
of the Emerging Church by Roger Oakland