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July 5, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
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This week we received a letter from a man who has been a Christian for several years. However, in his attempt to draw closer to the Lord he became involved with contemplative prayer. With his permission, we present this candid and revealing letter to you. We pray this testament will open the eyes of many who may be presently heading down the contemplative path. And may God bless you as you hold on to and stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ in such days as these.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:14-17
Christian Man Practices Contemplative Prayer
 Practicing contemplative meditation drew this man towards the beliefs of Hinduism and other religions.

Dear Ray Yungen and Lighthouse Friends,

My deepest thank-you for this website and the book, A Time of Departing. I have been a born again believer for six to seven years now and a youth leader for two. I have passionately pursued Jesus through all of them. However, not always according to truth as you will hear.

Thomas Keating's book Open Mind, Open Heart introduced me to the form of contemplative prayer called centering prayer nine months ago.  I was captured by his deep insights, beautiful sounding wisdom, and impressive use of language. With hesitation, I began to practice centering prayer once or twice a day for about three months. I used the method Thomas Keating teaches by using a sacred word. This word was a symbol of my consent to (what I believed was) the Spirit of God and the Lordship of Jesus. My word was Abba. I repeated this word in silence to help me stop the normal flow of thoughts so my soul could rest in utter stillness, wide open to the presence (I perceived was God). This presence's comforting touch was beyond adequate expression at times. I was beginning to think Christians could not have this kind of deep intimacy with God apart from contemplative prayer. 

My experiences with centering prayer were powerful to me, so it seemed only logical to believe this was God's blessing upon it. I mean how could it be wrong if my intent was to be with Jesus and the Father in intimacy and be formed into Christ's image. What was my fruit? Increased gentleness began to enter my life as well as more patience, yet so did more openness to what I could learn from Catholic Mystics, Hindus, and Buddhists. I definitely did not deny Jesus was the only way to the Father, but I could have easily headed down that path. I also read from Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, St. Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, Sue Monk Kidd and others. I was clearly being swept up into their program for spiritual formation (into Christ likeness, as I perceived).

During this time, I had been visiting Lighthouse Trails website regularly. I now see that through its messages of warning about contemplative prayer, seeds of truth were being planted in me. At the time however, I  believed your apologists were missing the mark, yet I responded by seeking God for the truth, asking to be corrected and granted repentance if I was in the wrong. Then during my second time through Open Mind, Open Heart on page 127 I read, speaking of human nature: "This basic core of goodness is capable of unlimited development; indeed, of becoming transformed into Christ and deified."

I could no longer practice this prayer with a good conscience after reading that statement by Keating. Now about four months later I have just finished reading A Time of Departing which I received three days ago. I have gratefully accepted it's message.

I have been studying the Scriptures rigorously since stopping centering prayer and seeking to grow in hermeneutical integrity.  This study prepared me to hear with a sounder mind what you had to say. There is a theological principle in Deuteronomy 12:29-32.1 Please read it in context. God's word warns his people not to inquire of other religions concerning how they serve their gods and then do the same. We are not to worship the Lord our God the way other religions worship their gods because we will follow in their footsteps.  Even though I was trying to connect with Jesus in centering prayer, I was using eastern religious practices not taught in Scripture, and therefore, not in conformity with the gospel of Christ. These practices were clearly leading me away from Jesus. Validation of these practices can be read into Scripture, but not understood from Scripture by the Spirit of Christ. There is so much more to my journey to a faith based upon God's Word, but for now, I want to emphasize how thankful I am for Ray Yungen and Lighthouse Trails for your defense of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah!

From the state of Florida

1. Deuteronomy 12:29-32: When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, "How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise."

You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

Responses to Richard's letter.

Write a response to Richard's letter.

"Vessel of Peace" to Preach Purpose Driven in North Korea and Around the World
Rick Warren to Preach in Communist North Korea
By Sarah Price Brown
Religion News Service
"LAKE FOREST, Calif., June 27 - Evangelical pastor Rick Warren has been invited to preach this summer to some 15,000 Christians in North Korea, a communist country infamous not only for its nuclear threats but also for its religious persecution.

"Warren, author of the best selling book, 'The Purpose- Driven Life,' said he would make the trip as part of a nearly 40-day journey to meet with the leaders of 13 foreign countries.... 'God's using Rick Warren as a vessel for peace,' said Sue Foley, a photographer for [Saddleback] church."

Read rest of article by Sarah Price 
COLLEGE WATCH - Wheaton Continues Promoting Contemplative Prayer
In March 2006, we reported that Wheaton College was promoting contemplative spirituality. Many concerned Christians contacted Wheaton to discuss the matter. However, we are sad to report that the Spring 2006 issue of Wheaton's magazine, Wheaton (p.20+), has a feature article on contemplative prayer.

Wheaton professor James Wilhoit is quoted in the article as saying: "When you come to see that there is a divine transforming mystery calling you into relationship, it doesn't become a matter of practices, it becomes a matter of responding to that call." But that "divine transforming mystery" that contemplative prayer offers through the silence is not the mystery the Bible speaks of in Colossians 1 when it says the mystery of God is Christ in us (believers), the hope of glory.

The Wheaton article continues ... "Like his students, Dr.Wilhoit experienced his own 'contemplative conversion,' and says people interested in finding out more might turn to authors like Henri Nouwen, Richard J. Foster, and Wheaton alumnus, Dr. Bruce Demarest."

We predict that Christian colleges that plunge into contemplative will lead students to a widening of interspiritual and panentheistic viewpoints. We pray that the professors at Wheaton will realize this before too many more students are led astray.

See also:

Report on Wheaton College

Research on Wheaton's promotion of contemplative

Other Christian colleges that promote contemplative
Are Christians in China Going to Embrace the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan?
According to a June 27th article, the seventh Chinese Congress on World Evangelization (CCOWE) has invited Rick Warren to be one of the featured speakers. The conference will take place in Macau on July 17-21 and will include a workshop on the Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Related Information:

P.E.A.C.E. Plan

New Age peace plans similar to Purpose Driven peace plan

7th Chinese Congress on World Evangelization Marks 200 Years

See article below for a related story.
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization to Host 7th Chinese Congress
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (see Lausanne Covenant) will be presenting the 7th Chinese Congress this year. The Lausanne Committee website states:
Since 1974, leaders have come together under The Lausanne Covenant to debate and discussion [of] issues ranging from ministering to specific ethnic groups to evangelism and social responsibility.
This coming together of leaders now includes Rick Warren who will be a speaker at this year's Chinese Congress. With Rick Warren's promotion of Spiritual Formation, contemplative and emerging, this will mean that world evangelism may take on the characteristics that will lead millions of people throughout the world into mysticism and the New Age.

According to a document on the Lausanne website, "the Lausanne Movement was born out of the First International Congress on World Evangelization called by evangelist Billy Graham held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July 1974." In a 2004 report, the Committee said they were bringing together "younger emerging leaders" from around the world and that "Transformation was a theme which emerged from the working groups ... We pray for peace and reconciliation and God's guidance in how to bring about peace through our work of evangelization."(see report)

For more research on Lausanne:

The Call to Global Oneness

The World Christian Movement

Kjos Ministries Research Database on Lausanne

Evangelicals and New Agers Together
 Contemplative Prayer and the Lord's Prayer.

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Between contemplative spirituality and biblical Christianity there reside watershed distinctions between first, the definition, and then, the practice of prayer. Simply stated, prayer is talking to God. In speaking to God, believers are free to disclose their hearts' deepest longings and vexations to him, including their feelings, fears, secrets, sins, praises, petitions, doubts, complaints, troubles, and more, the prayers of Jesus and the saints in the Bible providing example.

In openness and integrity of soul, these conversations with the Father, however limited by human language and self interest on our part, are mediated by Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit to the personal God who hears, sympathizes, and understands when by faith, and sometimes amidst life's sorest trials, his children talk to him (see Eph. 6:18; 1 Jn. 2:1; Rom. 8:15, 26-27). As the author of Hebrews encourages us, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need" (Emphasis mine, Heb. 4:14-16).

Within evangelicalism the contemplative prayer movement is now affecting this mediated understanding of prayer. The narrator in the "Be Still" DVD states that, "Contemplation is different from other types of Christian prayer." In explaining how this form of prayer differs from traditional prayer, Richard Foster says, "Contemplative prayer is listening prayer. It is attentiveness. . . . It's being all ears to what the Father has to say to us." He then quotes Nicholas Grou who requested, "O divine master, teach me this mute language which says so much." In this manner of praying, the communication that transpires is unmediated. Contemplatives feel themselves to be contacting God directly. There is no need for the advocacy of the Lord Jesus Christ or the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The desired communication is soul to Soul, the human with the Divine.

But reflect for a moment upon this definition of prayer. Mute means "refraining from speech or utterance." Language is defined as, "communication by voice" with "conventional meanings." This "mute language" therefore seems as oxymoronic as esoteric. Nevertheless, Foster and other contemplatives promote that to attain higher communion with God, Christians should engage in a form of speech which is no speech. Read entire article, "WHEN YOU PRAY, SAY . . ." 

Holistic Spirituality -
A Different Term, the Same Thing

 The term is popping up everywhere. Is it is just another avenue through which contemplative and emerging spiritualities are entering the church?

More and more, the term "holistic" is being used in conjunction with spirituality and the gospel. What are some of the things being said about holistic spirituality?

Let Holistic Christianity enlarge the horizons of our journey into God and guide us on the contemplative path. A resource rich in wisdom.Endorsement of Holistic Christianity: The Vision of Catholic Mysticism

As we engage with a range of issues from economics, justice, racial partnership, ecology, sustainability, spiritual formation, and holistic disciple-making, we will need insights that are drawn both from what has been known as 'the left' and 'the right,' and other perspectives that haven't even shown up on that line.—Brian McLaren, from Emergent Reactions, Spring 2006

Start teaching and preaching a holistic Gospel. —Lance Witt, Saddleback pastor of Spiritual Maturity(promotes contemplative, from Mobilizing the Local Church to Execute the P.E.A.C.E. Plan

The holistic gospel of Christ shall bring about renewal of individual life, church, society, as well as a throughout cultural renewal. Ultimately, the gospel will be spread unto the ends of the earth, leading to the restoration of all nations.Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

The Academy for Spiritual Formation is an experience of disciplined Christian community emphasizing holistic spirituality -- nurturing body, mind, and spirit. The program is meant for all those who hunger for deep spiritual experiences.— Upper Room Academy for Spiritual Formation (creators of Walk to Emmaus)


Recently, Calvary Chapel leadership made statements at both their annual pastor's conference as well as on their website and in letters to pastors, saying that Calvary Chapel, as a movement, will no longer support or promote Purpose Driven or emerging and contemplative spiritualities. Many have asked us for a follow-up to our past news reports on this. The following links should offer some helpful information:

Lighthouse Trails Reports on Calvary Chapel:

Outside Articles and News on Calvary Chapel:

SPECIAL NOTE: Contemplative and Purpose Driven Books Still on Calvary Chapel Resource List: