Coming From the Lighthouse

                                   Printer Friendly Version (click here)  June 30, 2008

In This Issue -

C. P. Wagner Gives "Apostolic Alignment" to Todd Bentley

Brian McLaren: Hoping Obama Will Be Our Next President

James Dobson Rightly Defends the Unborn, Challenges Obama - But Focus on the Family Still Defends Contemplative

Todd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil"

On Meditating: Adjusted Living in a Maladjusted World

When Your Church Goes Astray

Alert: The Canadian Contemplative Youth Workers Conference

Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, and the Emerging Church

Summer/Fall 2008 Catalog

Announcing Summer 2008 Book Release

Publishing News

Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon

Book Spotlights










C. P. Wagner Gives "Apostolic Alignment" to Todd Bentley


According to a June 24th article by Charisma Magazine, C. P. Wagner, Rick Warren's advisor and mentor at Fuller Seminary 1 and leader of the International Coalition of Apostles, joined other charismatic leaders to attend a special service with Todd Bentley whom they "commissioned as an evangelist." The article, titled Leaders Commission Todd Bentley at 'Lakeland Outpouring', stated:

The ceremony, held in a 10,000-seat tent, took place after some charismatic leaders raised questions about Bentley's claims, methods and theology. They asked Wagner to oversee a dialogue, and he responded by organizing Monday evening's event so that Bentley could have more accountability--or what Wagner calls "apostolic alignment."

To read this entire article by Charisma, click here. Some of those in attendance, along with Wagner, were Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson (of Bethel Church in Redding, CA), and John Arnott (Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship).

To understand more about the background and beliefs of C. P. Wagner (and Rick Warren's ties to Wagner), read C. Peter Wagner Involvement In The Latter Rain by Sandy Simpson of Deception in the Church.

To understand more about the Latter Rain movement (originating in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1940s), which is a foundational movement for many of today's movements including the River Movement, Word-Faith, Kansas City Prophets, etc., read Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River.

Also read: The Silent Church by Warren Smith.


Brian McLaren: Hoping Obama Will Be Our Next President

On June 26th, an Associated Press article was released titled "Faithful in pews might not be voters in November." The article prompted a response by emerging church author/lecturer Brian McLaren. The article stated that Obama had "sent Brian McLaren, one of the country's most influential pastors, to meet with fellow evangelicals." McLaren corrected the article by stating on his website:

In case anyone caught Philip Elliot's AP story that mentioned me ... it was a good article, but not quite accurate ...Of course, we all know that I'm not one of the country's most influential pastors. Nor was I sent to meet with fellow evangelicals on Obama's behalf, although I'd be happy to share with anyone of any faith persuasion my hopes, concerns, and commitments regarding the presidential election.

McLaren concluded his comments by stating: "To say I was sent by Senator Obama wasn't accurate. To say I hope he will be our next president rather than Senator McCain is accurate."

McLaren stated that the Associate Press article erroneously called him one of the country's most influential pastors. But the AP article wasn't exactly wrong in one respect. While it is true that McLaren is not in a pastor's role presently, according to Time magazine, in 2005 he was named one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals - not a status easy to attain to. McLaren is certainly influential, thanks partly to Leadership Network and Jossey Bass publishers, who in 1996 agreed to put their efforts (and their money) behind some young emerging leaders, and McLaren was one of them. 1 To give the impression that he does not carry a lot of influence is inaccurate. Recently, McLaren spoke at a Willow Creek youth conference, giving him a stamp of approval by one of the nation's larger evangelical associations.

McLaren pointed out in his comments that as a pastor of a church he felt limited in expressing his political views.

Now as an author, I will continue to try to promote respectful dialog and responsible engagement. But I also feel more freedom - and responsibility - to speak more personally about my political commitments.

As pastor of a 501(c)3 (non-profit) church, McLaren (as is the case with all 501 (c)3 organizations) was not legally allowed to endorse or campaign for political candidates. With his new found freedom as an "author," he has made it clear, in more ways than one, that he wants to see Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

Note: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, LLC, and Lighthouse Trails Research Project are NOT 501(c)3 organizations and are not restricted from reporting the news or giving controversial commentary.


Non-Profit Ministries - A view of the future?

Other Names Surface from Secret Meeting with Obama

Barack Obama: "[W]e can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."

Obama Enjoys Support of New Generation of Christian Leaders

A Shocking "Confession" from Willow Creek Community Church

James Dobson Rightly Defends the Unborn, Challenges Obama - But Focus on the Family Still Defends Contemplative - "Please, Dr. Dobson, read this."

Several news agencies have reported on the comments that Focus on the Family founder James Dobson made about presidential candidate Barack Obama.1 Dobson, who said that Obama is "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to justify his own world view," has challenged statements made by Obama on his view of the Bible's moral role in our society. Dobson, who has been at the forefront in fighting against partial birth abortion, stated that Obama believes societal issues, such as abortion, should not enter the legislative arena because too many people don't believe it is wrong to commit abortion.

Lighthouse Trails believes that Dobson has been correct in challenging Obama regarding the defense of the unborn child. Standing against abortion is scripturally right to do. However, what is not scripturally based is Focus on the Family's continued defense of contemplative prayer. This past week Lighthouse Trails received a letter, written by Focus on the Family to one of our readers, regarding our past reports that they are promoting contemplative authors Gary Thomas and Richard Foster. The letter from Focus on the Family states:

With all due respect to the folks who write and maintain the "Lighthouse Trails" Web site, we have to insist that they are seriously misrepresenting our ministry's motives and purposes. Their assertion that Focus on the Family is "promoting" Contemplative Prayer and Spirituality is neither fair nor accurate. It is true that we have occasionally referenced speakers and authors who deal with subjects of this nature -  individuals such as Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Larry Crabb, and Beth Moore. But this, in our opinion, is not the same thing as "promoting" contemplative prayer. The truth of the matter is that we have far too much else on our plate to become involved in any such activity. The heart of our outreach is practical family ministry.

With specific reference to the work of Gary Thomas, you need to understand that, after a careful review, our staff has found nothing within the pages of Mr. Thomas's book, Sacred Parenting, that contradicts the Christian faith or Dr. Dobson's philosophy of child-rearing in any way. As a matter of fact, we feel strongly that this book will be a tremendous help and a great inspiration to those moms and dads who choose to take advantage of its message. This does not mean that we can be held accountable for the contents of Mr. Thomas's other writings. It should go without saying that Dr. Dobson does not necessarily endorse every opinion expressed by every author whose resources are distributed through our ministry.

On a more general level, we cannot go along with [the] unqualified assertion that "contemplative prayer" and "Eastern meditation" are necessarily one and the same. It is true that there is a form of "centering," "self-emptying," or "contemplation" specific to Hinduism and the other eastern religions which involves altered states of consciousness and which is essentially tantamount to a negation of the human personality. You are correct to insist that this is an unbiblical idea. You are seriously mistaken, however, in assuming that there cannot be other types of "contemplation" which are thoroughly consistent with the soul of Christian devotion and genuine communion with Christ. "Be still, and know that I am God," says the Lord in Psalm 46:10. How can one "be still" and listen to God's voice without first taking steps to eliminate inward "noises" and distractions? ...

In closing, I can assure you that no one here at Focus on the Family is promoting the practice of "chanting" a "mantra," after the fashion of the Zen masters. Nor are we necessarily advocating the teachings of any particular proponent of "contemplative prayer" (e.g., Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, or Henri Nouwen). All we are trying to say is that there is nothing unbiblical or anti-Christian about solitude, silence, and "meditative" prayer. Perhaps you can see the difference.... Tim Masters, Focus on the Family

This is the second letter we have seen from Tim Masters, who is in the Office of the Chairman of Focus on the Family.1 In the first letter (dated May 2006) written directly to Lighthouse Trails, Masters also defended their use of Gary Thomas' books as well as the contemplative "tradition." These letters are in response to our articles:

Focus on the Family Answers Lighthouse Trails -  May 2006
One Year Later - Focus on the Family Still Promoting Contemplative- May 2007
Serious Concerns for Focus on the Family's Marriage Conference - June 2008

In these Lighthouse Trails articles, we have addressed the position that Focus on the Family holds with regard to contemplative. Please refer to those articles to gain a better understanding. We would like to comment now on certain aspects of this second letter from Tim Masters:

First, when Masters says that Lighthouse Trails is "seriously misrepresenting our ministry's motives and purposes," the implication is that since their motives (and intentions) in promoting contemplative are good, their actions should not be questioned (i.e., if intent is good, practice and means are irrelevant). Ray Yungen discusses the concept of "intent" with regard to the contemplative prayer controversy:

One of the most common objections made by the defenders and admirers of Foster and [Brennan] Manning is that they are not really teaching Eastern mysticism, because their focus and attention is on the God of Christianity; they argue that their focus is for people to walk more closely with Jesus, not Shiva or Buddha, thus the teachings are westernized even though the practices are identical to the East. On the surface this may seem like a valid defense, but listen to the founder of the top contemplative prayer school in America (Shalem Institute), and see why this defense is precarious at best: Tilden Edwards explains, "This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality."

This means that, regardless of intent, Western mysticism, due to its common practices with the East, produces a passage into the understanding of Eastern spiritual concepts. Thus, if you practice Western yoga or pray the mantra, you go into the same trance as the East; if you open yourself, through this trance, to the Western spirit world, you end up in the same demonic realm or with gods of the East; then, if you open yourself to the demonic realm, you enter into the same realm of consciousness as the East where all is One and everyone and everything is seen as God - hence panentheism; finally, if you embrace panentheism, the Gospel loses its significance, and each individual feels persuaded to find his or her own way to God. What begins as a seemingly innocent "Jesus Prayer" [a contemplative practice] becomes a rejection of the Gospel. In other words, you can call a practice by any other name, but it is the same practice, hence the same results. For example, if you were to jump off a cliff with the intent to fly saying the word "fly, fly, fly" as you jump off and someone else jumped off the same cliff with the intent to hit the bottom saying "fall, fall, fall" as he jumps off, in either case both will hit the bottom. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in contemplative prayer, although the intent may be to honor Christ. (A Time of Departing, p. 86)

Secondly, Tim Masters has erroneously stated in his letter that Focus on the Family has "occasionally referenced speakers and authors who deal with subjects of this nature--individuals such as Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Larry Crabb, and Beth Moore." However, every day on their website, they are promoting Foster, Crabb, John Ortberg (also contemplative) and Thomas by selling books by Thomas and an H.B. London interview series on Spiritual Formation that includes Richard Foster, Larry Crabb, and John Ortberg. Even if they only mention these contemplative authors now and then, which is questionable, they promote these authors each and every day by selling them.

Thirdly, Masters makes the argument that pointing people to one book of an author (that may not have objectionable material) is ok and Focus on the Family cannot "be held accountable for the contents of Mr. Thomas's other writings." We have a case in point that shows why this line of reasoning is flawed: Just this past week, a woman who called Lighthouse Trails told us two family members had read one of Gary Thomas' books (one without contemplative content) and because of that reading (which their pastor had recommended to them), they picked up a copy of Thomas' book, Sacred Pathways. This gave them an interest in practicing mantra meditation as prescribed by Thomas in his book (repeat a word for 20 minutes to enter the silence). In addition to this timely call we received, think about this: in the back of Sacred Parenting are several full page advertisements for Thomas' other books. Two of them are Sacred Pathways and Sacred Marriage. And as we have stated numerous times previously, in Sacred Marriage Thomas points to a woman named Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and her book, Conjugal Spirituality, a book in which McPherson openly promotes and instructs on several types of mystical practices, including tantric sex (the mixture of mysticism and sexual activity). Sacred Marriage is carried on the Focus on the Family store. It is nearly horrendous to think that Focus on the Family is promoting a man (Thomas) who is leading Christian couples to Oliver McPherson! And for Focus on the Family to suggest they cannot be held accountable--that is preposterous--they are popular figures in the Christian church, highly trusted by families everywhere--they are accountable, whether they acknowledge it or not. There are those who may say that Lighthouse Trails is using guilt by association here regarding Thomas and Oliver McPherson, but that would be an inaccurate deduction--this case is guilt by promotion. In other words, Thomas read her book and found it useful enough (and nothing objectionable to warn against) to quote her a number of times in his book as well as quote her on his website.

Finally, when Masters makes reference to Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God" (a classic Scripture used by contemplatives), he is erroneous in his conclusion that this is instruction from God on engaging in the contemplative silence. A study of the context of that passage shows that it is actually an exhortation to God's people to trust in the Lord and not become overly distraught. In no way does it indicate we are to practice the kind of prayer that contemplatives tell us to practice. Furthermore, when Masters says that "steps" must be taken "to eliminate inward 'noises' and distractions," he has really hit the heart of contemplative spirituality: this is referring not to an outer quietness (turning off television, radio, etc.); this is referring to an inner stilling of the mind. This is classic instruction by contemplatives. The "steps" are a mantric-type method (centering, contemplative, breath prayers, etc). Interestingly, Masters says they are not "necessarily advocating" the teachings of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen, but by promoting Foster and Thomas, they are indirectly advocating the teachings of Merton and Nouwen.

Gary Thomas is a contemplative. To further illustrate this, he draws on the teachings of Basil Pennington. In fact, Pennington (along with Thomas Keating) is the one who coined the term centering prayer, a term which Thomas uses in Sacred Pathways: on one page alone in Sacred Pathways, he quotes Pennington a number of times. Pennington believes that Christians should use the wisdom of Eastern religions to deepen their spiritual lives and believes also that the Holy Spirit is the soul of humanity (see A Time of Departing). To support what we are saying, Lighthouse Trails received a call from woman who attends a large Nazarene church (Dobson's denomination) in Oregon. The woman informed us that they were doing mantra style meditation which they were drawing from Sacred Pathways by Thomas.

While James Dobson's challenge to Obama and his defense of the unborn child is admirable, Focus on the Family's insistence on defending contemplative is alarming. And as we have said before, this will have considerable spiritual and long term impact on many. And this is why we say, "Please, Dr. Dobson, read this." 


Todd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil"

by Berit Kjos

Back in the eighties I read The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen. For many years she was caught up in the occult, yet she believed that the "angels" who reached out to her were servants of God, not Satan. One of those "angels" sounds strangely similar to Bentley's "floating" angel, Emma:

[She was] beautiful with flowing hair and robes of shimmering dark blue spangled with tiny stars.... She took me by the shoulders and gently kissed me on the forehead.... "Welcome, my child," she said. Then she turned and floated back through the wall as she had come. I have never experienced such joy, such light and peace, such unspeakable ecstasy. I was on the right path at last.[2,p.83]

No, she was tricked! Masquerading as an "angel of light," Satan used her feel-good experiences to deepen the deception. Through those painful years, Johanna's "fellowship" with demons brought her indescribable depression and despair. The enchanting moments of light were fleeting, while fear and confusion darkened her days. She would continue to suffer under that cruel master until God set her free. But since that time, God has used her testimony as a much-needed warning. It calls His people to--

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph 5:8-11

Exposing the darkness can be costly. Church leaders who seek unity, popularity and unbounded fellowship are quick to label us intolerant and judgmental. But the cost is nothing compared to the genuine joy of serving our Lord!

Mesmerizing the masses

To alter her consciousness and connect with these entities, Johanna used meditation, visualization, concentration -- and the repetitive beat of a metronome. Bentley's tools are different but just as effective. Like tribal shamans (and like his own former world of "satanic music"), he uses loud rhythmic sounds (drums, etc.), then adds repetitious words and hypnotic music. Pastor Gary Osborne described it in his article, Bentley's "Revival" in Lakeland, Florida:

"The phrase 'stir yourselves up' was used repeatedly.... A woman led in prayer for the service and ... told the people to 'roar like a lion!' ... People everywhere shouted at the top of their lungs.... This same lady was jerking and twitching.... There was also much talk of 'birthing' and 'signs and wonders.'... People were swaying and dancing.... There was a very sensual spirit... People seemed to be in a trance all around me. If the worship leader said, 'raise your hands' everyone did so immediately. If he said, 'drop to your knees' they did.... The music had the people mesmerized....

"At about 8:30 PM... the music leader says, 'I'm feeling drunk.' He then tells the people to say to God, 'Intoxicate me, Lord.... Now the people are getting truly wild and the leader says, 'Scream!!!' and the people let out a yell.... Finally the worship leader falls to the floor himself...."

This manipulative process started up again the next evening. Finally, with the crowd thoroughly conditioned to "break out of the box" of Biblical order (1 Cor 14:40), Bentley took control. Wearing a t-shirt with the words, "Jesus Gave Me My Tattoos," he announced the presence of "great authority" in the building. "I speak creation," he declared. "I speak new hearts, new livers into existence tonight....'" Click here for links, citation and to read this entire article.

Related research on the Bentley revival.


On Meditating: Adjusted Living in a Maladjusted World

by Larry DeBruyn

One writer describes the "silence" of mystical prayer: "When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness . . . the profound mystical silence . . . an absence of thought."[1] In his new book Life with God, Richard Foster describes Spiritual Disciplines to be activities Christians engage in so that they might become the athletae dei, the athletes of God. Foster pairs some of the disciplines to be, "fasting and prayers, study and service, submission and solitude, confession and worship, meditation and silence . . ."[2] Both authors associate spirituality with contemplative prayer, meditation, and silence. These aspects of spirituality do seem to connect with one another. But biblically, do they? Does the Bible ask us to approach God through a spirituality of silence?

To answer the question, we must go to the Old Testament where, especially in the book of Psalms, meditation, which contemplative spiritualists presume should be silent, is portrayed as a path to quality living, both spiritual and material. For example, the first Psalm exclaims, "How blessed is the man who . . . [delights] in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night . . . And . . . whatever he does . . . prospers" (Psalm 1:1-3; See 119:15, 23, etc.). In that meditation appears to be such an important avenue to "blessing," it would be well to understand from a biblical perspective what the activity is, and its relation, if any, to silence.
Click here to read this entire article.


When Your Church Goes Astray

 LTRP Note: These two comments we received recent in our "Guestbook" say so much about what many believers are going through today in their churches.

Letter 1
At first I ignored things I saw on here, things people were linking. I decided to come again to this site after my husband and I just began to feel we weren't being fed in our church. We had experienced many changes from the church "catch phrase" including transform to every single ministry being revamped (except maybe the music ministry which had already been somewhat modern to begin with). Our church is very missional, and that seemed so right to me. I wanted my children to grow up with a heart for people around the world, the idea of going and making disciples seems good and I do not think it is wrong. However, I am now seeing that we are not really as much about pure missions as we are about following this plan and meeting the needs of "emergent youth."
When I really began to search things out, I found that most all of our books or curriculum for adults/youth/children is from Saddleback or Willow Creek. Our pastors are following the likes of Dallas Willard. I began looking at sermon notes and we have the lessons on the global PEACE plan and transformation. We've not been openly promoting contemplative prayer yet, but I believe it's because the pastors realize the church hasn't gotten far enough into it to swallow that one whole yet.

The hardest thing is now sitting in church when there is a nugget of truth, and realizing that it's not enough. I felt this Sunday while we were singing about Satan being vanquished and Jesus being King that I was in a room full of wonderful people who were just as I had been a few months earlier, a room full of people following our pastors right wherever Rick Warren or Dallas Willard prescribe. I cried, I prayed for their eyes to be opened. I prayed for my pastors. We have to decide if we will stay and try to educate, or if our children will be at risk if we do stay. We love those people, you know. We really do. They have been our family for several years, and we're not church hoppers, we're loyal. Well, first off we have to be loyal to the King, and so now we wait on the Lord to see what He would have us to do. My heart is broken.

Letter 2
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is in reference to the post below (see Guestbook - entry from 6/22/08) - about worshipping God and not the Bible. :)

I am so interested in this site. I went to a church for 4 years where they were starting to infiltrate with The Purpose Driven Church methods - we went to Saddleback on 3 different occasions to conferences. I went to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa...and I was quite used to that 'non-denominational' way . . . and I still am.

As time wore on, my Dad and I were getting quite skeptical of this Purpose Driven idea....we believed that as Christians, our purpose is to spread the Gospel - not growing your church into a mega-chapel where money flows, and what not. So, yes, as Christians, we do have a purpose - and our purpose should be getting out the good news of Jesus Christ - not what Rick Warren or any of his followers are exuding.

As we looked back, upon our practical excommunication from our old church, we see that it was run very much like that of Jim Jones and the Jonestown /Guyana Tragedy....from the late 70s. It was quite bizarre - the similarities.

We are in a Calvary Chapel now....and we've been there for 10 years. We have never been steered into building the church and numbers, and such....our church has grown because people are hungry for the gospel.

God bless you all for proclaiming the truths and for proclaiming Jesus Christ! See you in Heaven! :)
Southern California

A note from Roger Oakland (taken from Faith Undone, p. 228): "There are still pastors and churches dedicated to proclaiming the truth. Find out where they are and support them. If you are in a location where this does not seem to be possible, seek out materials that are available from solid Bible-based Christian ministries and hold Bible studies in your homes."


Alert: The Canadian Contemplative Youth Workers Conference

If you go to the Mennonite Brethren Conference (Canada) website and click on 'Ministry Quest' or 'Canadian Youth Workers Conference' you will find yourself on the website of the Canadian Youth Workers Conference which is going to be held in Toronto Dec. 4-7, 2008. This conference is put on by Youth Specialties and Canadafire.

[I]f your church is sending its youth leaders and workers to this convention, perhaps they need to be warned that instead of being grounded in biblical truths, they may be getting a large does of ecumenical, monastic, emerging, contemplative spirituality and bringing it back to the teenagers in their care.
Click here for links and to read this entire report.


Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, and the Emerging Church

LTRP Note: Leadership Network was the launching pad for the Emergent group (McLaren, Jones, Pagitt, etc) in the 1990s. Bob Buford, the founder and leader of Leadership Network, is also one of the members of the New York Leadership Center's "National Advisory Team", of which we reported on yesterday regarding Greg Laurie's involvement. Another member of this advisory team is New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard. Thus, four proponents of the emerging movement are on this team together: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Ken Blanchard, and Bob Buford. Roger Oakland, in his book, Faith Undone, discusses Buford and the Leadership Network:

Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, and the Emerging Church
by Roger Oakland

To understand the significance of Leadership Network's role in the emerging church, we need to look briefly at the structure and makeup of that organization, which began in 1984 by Bob Buford. At the time, Buford was the owner of a successful cable television company in Texas. With the help of Harold Myra and Paul Robbins of Christianity Today, Buford introduced Leadership Network as a "resource broker" to churches, hoping to help leaders of "innovative churches" connect.1 However, Leadership Network was not the sole inspiration of Buford. Even before he began the organization, he was consulting with business/management guru, the late Peter Drucker.

Drucker was born in 1909 in Austria and over the course of his life rose to a position of great respect for his contribution to management and business. He died in 2005 at the age of 95, but his influence lives on, not only in the business world but in the religious world as well.
Bob Buford has often publicly expressed his deep admiration for Drucker. Of him, Buford says:

Peter Drucker is the "intellectual father" of most all that guides my approach to philanthropy. I've long since ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter.2

In 1988, four years after launching Leadership Network, Buford sought out Drucker, asking him to:

...lend his name, his great mind, and occasionally his presence to establish an operating foundation for the purpose of leading social sector organizations toward excellence in performance.3

Buford had a high esteem for the elder mentor, saying Drucker was "the man who formed my mind."4

With Drucker's influence and Buford's devotion to Drucker, Leadership Network was bound to succeed. By this time in his life, Drucker had indeed built a "name" for himself and few would argue that his "great mind" and "presence" would be a tremendous asset to any company.

Peter Drucker and Mysticism
If we want to grasp the philosophy and ideologies of Leadership Network, we need to examine Drucker's beliefs. Remember, Buford said he had "ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter." And while Drucker no doubt brought his business sense to the Leadership Network table, his spiritual overtones were prevalent as well; and they were passed on to Buford, who in turn passed them on to the emerging church.

Something that would turn out to be extremely significant in the long run was Peter Drucker's attraction to mystics. In particular, he was greatly influenced by existential philosopher and mystic Soren Kierkegaard. According to a New York Times article, "A Man's Spiritual Journey from Kierkegaard to General Motors," Drucker was "bowled over" by the writings of Kierkegaard. Drucker called him a "prophet"5 and being so impressed with Kierkegaard, he "studied Danish in order to read Kierkegaard's yet-untranslated works."6 Drucker said Kierkegaard's "religious experience" was "meaningful for the modern world in its agony."7
In a dissertation at Purdue University, called "Faith and nothingness in Kierkegaard: A mystical reading of the God-relationship," the writer said of Kierkegaard:

[He] has marked structural similarities to mystics such as Eckhart, who is warmly received by the Japanese philosophical tradition, particularly in the writings of its Zen and Pure Land Buddhist representatives.8

Drucker attested to Kierkegaard's mystical affinities, saying he "stands squarely in the great Western tradition of religious experience, the tradition of ... St. John of the Cross,"9 a mystic in the 1500s.

For those who wonder if Drucker's interest in mysticism and Kierkegaard influenced Bob Buford, we can turn to Buford's autobiography, Halftime. In the book, Buford favorably quotes Kierkegaard a number of times and refers to others with mystical persuasions. And on his website, Buford endorses a man named Jim Collins,10 who took a course by Michael Ray called Creativity in Business in 1982. The course (and the book named after the course) takes "much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophies, mysticism, and meditation techniques."11 The book talks about "your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide--an inner person who can be with you in life" and says, "We meditate to unfold our inner being."12 The book also presents Tarot cards. Collins calls the course "profoundly life changing" and says he "would not be where I am today, with the wonderful life I've been given, without that course."13

Collins was so inspired by Ray's course that he wrote the foreword for Ray's 2004 book, The Highest Goal. In that book, Ray tells readers to "practice emptying your mind,"14 "experience not thinking,"15 and "meditate regularly."16 Other quotes in the book include those of Eastern religion gurus such as Ram Dass, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Swami Shantananda.

Buford's website not only carries an endorsement for Jim Collins but also a number of articles by or about those who promote mysticism as well.17 Clearly, Drucker's interest in mysticism rubbed off on Buford.

The Emerging Society of Peter Drucker
Long before Leadership Network even began, Peter Drucker was writing about emerging spirituality. In his 1957 book Landmarks of Tomorrow, the introduction titled "This Post-Modern World" states:

At some unmarked point during the last twenty years we imperceptibly moved out of the Modern Age and into a new, as yet nameless era. Our view of the world [has] changed.... There is a new spiritual center to human existence.18

What Drucker called the "Post-Modern World" had already started, as he saw it. In fact, he was formulating ideas that would be integrated into what would become the emerging church fifty years later. Listen to a few of his statements:

We thus live in an age of transition, an age of overlap, in which the old "modern" of yesterday no longer acts effectively ... while the new, the "post-modern," ... effectively controls our actions and their impact.19

[W]e still need the great imaginer, the great creative thinker, the great innovator, of a new synthesis, of a new philosophy.20

This is a new view, different alike from the traditional.21

Words like "purpose," "emergence," "new frontiers," and "disciplines," fill the pages of Landmarks of Tomorrow. These terms (and concepts) are often used by many of today's [emerging] Christian leaders [including Rick Warren]. When Drucker states "we will create a new philosophy--a fresh way of looking at the world,"22 it sounds very much like what is said today by those in the emerging church.

Drucker felt a strong bond not only with Kierkegaard but also with a panentheist/mystic named Martin Buber (1878-1965), who embraced the teachings of Hasidism (Jewish mysticism).23 Buber believed that "a divine spark"24 exists within every human and within everything in creation. He spoke of the relationship, which "must exist between individuals and everything on the planet."25 In his book Between Man and Man, Buber further expresses his views of mysticism:

Since 1900 I had first been under the influence of German mysticism from Meister Eckhart [a mystic] ... then I had been under the influence of the later Kabalah [Jewish mysticism] and of Hasidism.26

In Landmarks of Tomorrow, Drucker referenced Buber when he stated:

Mankind needs the return to spiritual values, for it needs compassion. It needs the deep experience that the Thou and the I [from Buber's book, I and Thou] are one, which all higher religions share.27

In addition, one of Drucker's biographers said that Drucker "[drew] upon the wisdom of the philosopher Martin Buber,"28 and another writer said that Drucker "was a student of Buber's at the University of Frankfurt."29

Drucker's attraction to the mystical did not end with his fascination for Buber and Kierkegaard. In 1990, Drucker established the Leader to Leader Institute, an interspiritual thought forum, which to this day includes Buddhist sympathizers, globalists, evangelicals, and New Age sympathizers.30

Drucker's philosophy of gathering together ideologies from great thinkers was not something he saw as contrary to his ideas of religion. He believed that "people's needs" supersede "doctrine" or "institutional structure."31 This view of minimizing doctrine would become one of the earmarks of the emerging church, which in reality was to be a testing ground for high-tech marketing skills, business management techniques, and an experience-based religion; but its foundation is flawed with a non-biblical, mystical premise.

A "Mega" Paradigm Shift
When Bob Buford gathered the initial group of young emerging leaders, one of those he chose was Doug Pagitt, a youth pastor from Wooddale Church (a Minneapolis megachurch). Leith Anderson (Pagitt's pastor) had already been helping set the tone for the emerging church. In Anderson's 1992 book A Church for the 21st Century, he said a paradigm shift was needed:

The only way to cope and be effective during this period of structural change in society is to change some of the ways we view our world and the church. It is what some call a paradigm shift--a new way of looking at something. Such a shift will allow us to view our changing world with new perspective. It is like a map. Old maps from 1950 may have sufficed before the construction of interstate highways and the expansion of major cities, but new maps are needed now. Likewise, we need a paradigm shift for the future.32

This idea of a paradigm shift would become an integral element of the emerging church. Webster's Dictionary defines paradigm as "a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind."33 Thus, paradigm shift is a shift or change from the present framework. Anderson, Buford, and Drucker all played a role in bringing this about.

While Leadership Network was the catalyst that initially launched the emerging church, many other ministries and organizations have helped to fuel it. One of the major catalysts is Rick Warren. Warren's support for Buford and Leadership Network goes back many years. Warren endorsed Buford's 1994 book, Halftime, calling Buford a "rare individual."34 But perhaps more important is the fact that Warren shared Buford's great admiration for Drucker. At a 2005 Pew Forum on Religion gathering called "Myths of the Modern Mega-Church," Rick Warren stated:

I did a series of lectures for the faculty in the Kennedy School ... I started with this quote from Peter Drucker: "The most significant sociological phenomenon of the first half of the 20th century was the rise of the corporation. The most significant sociological phenomenon of the second half of the 20th century has been the development of the large pastoral church--of the mega-church. It is the only organization that is actually working in our society."

Now Drucker has said that at least six times. I happen to know because he's my mentor. I've spent 20 years under his tutelage learning about leadership from him, and he's written it in two or three books, and he says he thinks it's [the mega-church] the only thing that really works in society.35

Incidentally, not only does this quote reveal Warren's devotion to Drucker, but it also shows why Drucker became involved with Leadership Network. Buford's goal was to be a resource to the megachurch, because he saw it as a highly influential instrument for societal changes. Perhaps it was Drucker who convinced Buford to start Leadership Network in the first place.
Warren's view that Buford was a "rare individual" was mutual. Buford reciprocated the admiration when he described Warren and Bill Hybels (Willow Creek) as "change makers" in "the early days of Leadership Network."36 As for Willow Creek's role with Leadership Network, Buford states:

The first Foundation conference was held in Dallas and was the beginning of a partnership between Bob and Linda, Leadership Network and Willow Creek Community Church.37

Willow Creek's partnership with Leadership Network has proven to be very helpful for the emerging church shift. Through Willow Creek's various well-attended conferences, and with their endorsements and promotions of books, leaders like Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Erwin McManus have been able to further propagate the emerging spirituality message.

In this fast moving paradigm, Rick Warren recognizes Leadership Network's role in the success of the emerging church. In one of Warren's e-newsletters, it reveals: "Leadership Network bills itself as the advance scout for the emerging church.'38 (from chapter two of Faith Undone by Roger Oakland)

Concluding LTRP Note: Today, Leadership Network, while having minimized its relationship with the original Emergent group, is still promoting the spirituality behind the emerging church.

1. Bob Buford, Game Plan (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1997), pp. 169-170.
2. "Drucker's Impact on Leadership Network" (Leadership Network Advance, November 14, 2005,
3. Bob Buford from his website, Active Energy, energy .net/templates/cusactiveenergy/details. asp?id= 29646 &PID = 207602.
4. Bob Buford, Halftime (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), dedication page.
5. Peter Drucker, "The Unfashionable Kierkegaard" (1933:
6. Peter Steinfels, "A Man's Spiritual Journey from Kierkegaard to General Motors" (New York Times, November 19, 2005).
7. Peter Drucker, "The Unfashionable Kierkegaard," op cit.
8. Jack E. Mulder, Jr., "Faith and nothingness in Kierkegaard: A mystical reading of the God-relationship" (Soren Kierkegaard) (Dissertation at Purdue University, 2004,
9. Peter Drucker, "The Unfashionable Kierkegaard" op. cit.
10. Bob Buford endorsement of Jim Collins at
11. Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, Creativity in Business (New York, NY: Broadway Books, 1986), back flap.
12. Ibid., pp. 37, 142.
13. Jim Collins endorsement of Creativity in Business, from Creativity in Business website:
14. Michael Ray, The Highest Goal, (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc, 2004), p. 92.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Bob Buford's website,
18. Peter Drucker, Landmarks of Tomorrow (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1959), p. ix.
19. Ibid., p. x.
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid., p. 21.
22. Ibid., back cover flap.
23. Several of Martin Buber's writings and books reflect his embracing of both Hasidism and mysticism in general. A few of those are: Ecstatic Confessions: The Heart of Mysticism, Tales of the Hasidim, Hasidism and Modern Man.
24. Martin Buber, The Way of Man (New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 1964, 1994 Citadel Press edition), p. 5.
25. Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, "Birthday of Martin Buber" (Spirituality and Practice, http://www .spirituality and
26. Martin Buber, Between Man and Man (New York, NY: Routledge Classics, 2002, first published in 1947), p. 219.
27. Drucker, Landmarks of Tomorrow, op. cit., pp. 264-265.
28. John E. Flaherty, Peter Drucker: Shaping the Managerial Mind (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1999), p. 258.
29. Michael Schwarz, "Early Influences upon Peter Drucker's Perception of 'the Public Interest'" (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 2002,
30. Leader to Leader Institute, Thought Leaders Forum:
31. Peter Steinfels, "A Man's Spiritual Journey from Kierkegaard to General Motors," op. cit. ("The future was with 'pastoral churches,' he argued, ones that put a higher priority on answering people's needs than perpetuating some specific doctrine or ritual or institutional structure.")
32. Leith Anderson, A Church for the 21st Century (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1992), p. 17.
33. Webster's Dictionary:
34. Rick Warren's endorsement of Bob Buford's book Halftime, 2nd page of endorsements in front of book.
35. Rick Warren, "Myths of the Modern Mega-Church" (Event hosted by the Pew Forum on Religion, 2005), see transcript:
36. Bob Buford, information gathered at
37. The Foundation Conferences:
38. Quote from Rick Warren's e-newsletter, issue 46, April 3, 2002,


Summer/Fall 2008 Catalog

The Summer/Fall 2008 Catalog is now available online. We hope you will find our selection of books and DVDs helpful and relevant.


If you are a Lighthouse Trails customer, you will be receiving a copy of the catalog via U.S. mail in 2-3 weeks. If you have never ordered from us before and would like to have a copy of the catalog sent to your home, please send your name and mailing address to: Please write "catalog" in the subject area of your email to us.  


Announcing Summer 2008 Book Release: Things We Couldn't Say

Lighthouse Trails Presents:


Things We Couldn't Say by Diet Eman - August 2008

This is the true story of Diet Eman, a young Christian woman who joined the Christian resistance movement in the Netherlands during WWII. Together with her fiancé and other Dutch men and women, "Group Hein" risked their lives to save the lives of Jews who were in danger of becoming victims of Hitler's "final solution."

Things We Couldn't Say is an endearing and moving love story that occurs in the midst of extreme danger and often unbearable circumstances and loss. Before the war ends, Eman, her fiancé, and several in their group are arrested and sent to concentration camps - many of them lose their own lives.

This story will help us remember a time in history that should not be forgotten and will inspire us to live more courageously and stand for what is right, doing so by the power and grace of God. Things We Couldn't Say is a powerful illustration of II Corinthians 12:9, which states: "And he [the Lord] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Things We Couldn't Say
ISBN 978-0-9791315-7-8
Retail $14.95, 352 pages
August 2008


Publishing News



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We ship both retail and wholesale orders within 24 hours of receiving order.

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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 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, especially now in light of the Todd Bentley "revival" in Florida.

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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