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What is Contemplative
the "New Science" Prove that
God is in All Things?
In a July 4th article in
the San Antonio Express-News, it features Thomas Keating, a
Catholic monk who has been instrumental in bringing contemplative
spirituality out of the monasteries to the layperson. In the article,
Keating conveyed what contemplative mystics have been saying for
centuries: mysticism is the common ground among all the world's
religions. This article illustrates why Lighthouse Trails is so concerned
about the huge role contemplative spirituality is now playing in
evangelical and Protestant churches. We believe that this will ultimately
lead to what the Bible calls the mystery of iniquity (i.e., the occult:
essentially the belief that man and God are identical). Thomas Merton,
another Catholic contemplative monk, put it this way: "The
contemplative experience is neither a union of separate identities nor a
fusion of them; on the contrary, separate identities disappear in the All
Who is God."1
The San Antonio article, "Monk says contemplative prayer like
'resting in God'" talks about the relationship between science and
religion, a topic that is slowly gaining momentum these days:
is discovering the oneness of the source of all the material universe as
we know it, and by the oneness that appears in all structural forms of
life and then the oneness that the spiritual practice of contemplative
prayer brings in recognizing our commonality, our common ground with all
other human beings and indeed all of nature.
When the article says
"the oneness of the source of all the material universe," it is
referring to what some are calling the "new sciences" or the
"spiritual sciences." This new science is hoping to convince
society that every cell in the universe is connected to one another and
that by practicing contemplative prayer (going into the silence) one will
awaken to realize this universal oneness.
It is coincidental that this article comes out the same time Lighthouse
Trails releases A "Wonderful" Deception by Warren
Smith. Smith identifies the character of this "new science" in
his new book. Smith asks what would rationalize Christian leaders to
embrace a "new worldview that would mesh Christianity with the New
Age/New Spirituality and other religions." He says the "answer
might very well come through the 'new science' and the 'new math'--quantum
physics, chaos theory, and fractal theory--the 'new science' attempt to
scientifically prove that God is not only 'transcendent' but also
'immanent'--that God is 'in' everything (AWD, p. 165).
The San Antonio article says that science and religion "have been at
one another's throats but that has begun to shift in the last generation
or two." But it predicts that: "it should shift a lot more as
one recognizes that science is speaking a language that is very similar
to that of the mystical experiences of all the world religions, and
mainly the sense of cosmic oneness and interaction and communication
beyond space and time."
The world's mystics would resonate with this belief that mysticism is the
commonality among all world religions. Even Tony Campolo suggested this
in his book Speaking My Mind when he said "a theology of
mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and
Islam" (see pp. 149-150). And of course Thomas Merton often spoke of
this common ground within all religious traditions. And as for New Agers,
this is one of their core "values." In the New Age book, As
Above, So Below, occultist Aldous Huxley is referenced regarding the
"Perennial Wisdom" that believes that "the metaphysical
(mysticism) unites all things together in all the world's religions"
There is a reason why practicing mysticism gives this sense of unity
within all religious traditions. It is because that place of silence or
the mystical altered state is actually a realm of familiar spirits (Leviticus
19:31 KJV). The very fact that mysticism unites all religions is
proof that mystical practices are not sanctioned by the God of the Bible,
who has clearly stated that there is only one path to God (Jesus Christ)
and that all the world's religions will never be united under this
true God. Rather, every knee will bow and be brought under submission to
the only true God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The gods of this world will
never be one or in unity with the true God. When Henri Nouwen, at the end
of a life of practicing mysticism said that he believed that Jesus wasn't
the only way to God and that he felt it was his mission to help people
find their own way to God, he was expressing the core perception of the
mystical view.2 As Warren Smith points out in A "Wonderful"
Deception, the rationale for this is stated by Nouwen when he said,
"The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who
dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being."
Some people may accuse Lighthouse Trails and those with similar concerns
of being narrow and legalistic, but those who look at this rationally and
straight on, if they are being honest, would have to see that there is a
distinct opposition to these two views (preaching of the Cross versus God
in everyone). In Christianity, the message is believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and thou shall be saved. Nouwen's view is God dwells in
everybody's heart from the moment of birth just because they are human.
If that is the case, why believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior? That
is why Nouwen (as are other contemplatives today) was so lackadaisical about the Gospel. In other words, it made Nouwen uncomfortable. Of
course, it made him uncomfortable--because it rejected what he believed
about the human condition!
We believe this "shift" that the San Antonio article is talking
about could be the very thing that Scripture warns against when it
states: "Now 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) As the world
"shifts" toward the common belief that humanity (and all
creation) is united through a divine, cosmic, "scientific"
energy that the new scientists will say exists in all things, and as much
of Christianity heads that way too through the contemplative prayer
practices, Bible-believing Christians must continue to warn their loved
ones of this very real and fast-moving spiritual deception.
For more information on this topic, read A "Wonderful" Deception by Warren
Smith. To understand the contemplative prayer movement (i.e., spiritual
formation), read A Time of Departing.
1. Brother Patrick Hart-Editor, The Message of Thomas Merton, op.
cit., p. 200. (quoted in A Time of Departing, chapter 4)
2. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51.
3. Warren Smith, A "Wonderful" Deception," 2009, p.
63, citing Henri Nouwen, Here and Now , 1997 edition, p. 22
Leader, Doug Pagitt, Postpones Political Campaign
LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS COMMENTARY
Doug Pagitt, one of the original "Emergent" leaders from Leadership
Network, announced last fall that he would be running for office in the Minnesota State
Legislature, but has now announced that he will be postponing his
political campaign until 2012 because of lack of financial support.1
Pagitt is the author of several books, all propagating emerging church
ideologies. 2 He is also known for his embracing of Yoga and
other eastern-style meditation practices and beliefs. And in the book he
co-edited with Tony Jones, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, he provided the
basic New Age/New Spirituality concepts of the emerging church. These
views are consistent throughout his other books. For instance, in his
book, Church Re-Imagined, Pagitt makes the following statement:
"God also invites us to be re-created and to join the work of God as
co-(re)creators" (p. 185). This is indicative of a belief system
that teaches that God is in all things; thus, since God is in us
(all of humanity), we are equal to God and co-creators. This, of course,
is a deceptive (not to mention absurd) idea, since man is incapable of
creating even a speck of dust. Nevertheless, this is classic
As we have reported in the past, we believe that the emerging church
voters played a significant role in the election of our present White
House administration. And we believe that Christian leaders such as Rick
Warren and Bill Hybels (to name a few) were instrumental over the past
decade in giving "life" and momentum to this emerging church
movement. In addition, a concerted effort to confuse, manipulate, and
instill guilt on evangelical, pro-life voters was instigated and
successful. With the help of figures like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and
Tony Jones, winning over the youth was essentially "a piece of cake."
And with the help of Tony Campolo, Rick Warren, and a number of others,
taking a hold of the older generation was also quite easy. Our present
political scene is the aftermath of these efforts.
With these things in mind, Lighthouse Trails is grateful that emerging
church leader and mover Doug Pagitt will not be running for office in
2010. But believers should keep in mind that efforts are already underway
and will continue to convince more and more of our society that biblical
standards should be laid aside for the common good of all people. And do
not forget that our Adversary has a particular group of people he targets
more than any other ... the Bible-believing Christian who defends the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Politics or no politics, he hopes to make this
group ineffective, afraid, confused, and deceived.
As the emerging church seeks to exalt uncertainty and doubt (of biblical
truth primarily) and introduce mystical practices as the correct path to
truth, let us who know Him as Savior and Lord not lose heart nor grow
weary in well doing. By His grace and His strength, let us stand.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a
man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh
shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in
well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians
Emerging Church Confusion - What Does it Really Mean?
Hate Crimes Bill Passes House - Christian Leaders Partly
Christian Leaders Giving Mysticism to Our Youth
by Ray Yungen
The cover of the
July/August 1999 issue of Group Magazine, a leading resource
magazine for Christian youth leaders, featured a teenage girl, eyes shut,
doing contemplative prayer. The article, "Ancient-Future Youth
Ministry" begins by declaring:
Sunday just after 5 p.m.... Seven adults are sitting around a
"Christ-candle" in the youth room. There is no talking, no
laughter. For 10 minutes, the only noise is the sound of their breathing
... now it's 7 p.m.--one hour into the night's youth group gathering.
There are 18 senior highers and five adults sitting in a candlelit
sanctuary. A gold cross stands on a table.... They're chanting the
"Jesus Prayer," an ancient meditative practice.1
The article discusses two
Christian organizations, Youth Specialties and San Francisco Theological
Seminary (Presbyterian Church, USA), which teamed together in 1996 to
develop an approach to youth ministry that incorporates contemplative
practices.2 Mark Yaconelli, son of the former director of Youth
Specialties, the late Mike Yaconelli, was hired to direct the project,
which was called the Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project. The
article is very open to the fact that sacred word repetition was at the
heart of this project. These two organizations sponsored the project in
sixteen churches of various denominations. The article reveals that, in
all sixteen test congregations, middle school and senior high youth
"were eager to learn contemplative spiritual practices."3 One
of the church's associate pastors even went so far as to say, "We
shouldn't be surprised it's working so well. It's kind of a no-brainer.
If you make the space, the spirit will come."4 According to the
project's mission statement, this model will soon be "made
immediately available to youth ministries nationwide."5
Just how widespread did this become? In 1997, the Project received a
grant from the Lilly Endowment to test a "spiritual formation
ministry leaders were trained to meet regularly for faith sharing,
contemplative prayer, and communal discernment ... communities were then
encouraged to begin forming young people in contemplative understanding
through silence, solitude, and a variety of contemplative exercises....
Spiritual formation tracks, based on the experience of the Project, were
implemented at youth ministry conventions and conferences.... National
news services such as the Wall Street Journal, Knight Rider
News Service, CBS radio and ABC World News Tonight all ran stories on
various aspects of the Project.6
Since this project began,
Youth Specialties has become a driving force, having a major impact upon
evangelical youth work throughout North America, hosting several annual
events including the National Youth Workers Convention, the CORE, and the
National Pastors Convention [now run by Zondervan]....
Mike Yaconelli's attraction to and acceptance of contemplative prayer was
very similar to the story of Sue Monk Kidd. In his book, Dangerous
Wonder, Yaconelli relates how lost he had felt after twenty-five
years of ministry. In his "desperation," he picked up a book by
Henri Nouwen (In the Name of Jesus) [the same book Kay and Rick
Warren recommend] and said he heard the "voice of Jesus ... hiding
in the pages of Henri's book" and found himself wanting "to
start listening again to the voice of Jesus."7
In Nouwen's book, we can find the method that led to Yaconelli's claim to
a newfound voice of Jesus:
the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn
to listen again and again to the voice of love and to find there the
wisdom and courage to address whatever issue presents itself to them ...
For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement
from the moral to the mystical is required.8
Nouwen believed that
wisdom and courage were found in that place of silence, when in reality they
are found in God's Word. Yaconelli took Nouwen's admonition to heart and
began promoting that prayer method through his own organization.
If this mystical paradigm shift comes to complete fruition, what will the
Christian of the future be like? If Christians develop into the spiritual
likeness of Henri Nouwen, we will find them meditating with Buddhists as
Nouwen did--which he called "dialogue of the heart."9 We will
also find them listening to tapes on the seven chakras10 (which Reiki is based
on) as Nouwen did, and above all we will find them wanting to help people
"claim his or her own way to God"11 (universalism) as Nouwen
did. Nouwen wrote that his solitude and the solitude of his Buddhist
friends would "greet each other and support each other."12 In
this one statement lies the fundamental flaw of the contemplative prayer
Buddhism proclaims there is nothing outside of yourself needed for
salvation. One Buddhist teacher wrote, "The Buddhist approach states
that what is ultimately required for human fulfillment is a perfection of
being that is found in who we already are."35 A Christian is one who
looks to Jesus Christ as his or her Savior, so to honor the Buddhist
approach is to deny the One who gave Himself for us. It is logically
impossible to claim Christianity and Buddhism as both being true, because
each promotes an opposite basis for salvation. Jesus said, "I am the
door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:9). You
cannot love and follow the teachings of both Buddha and Jesus--for in
reality the choice is either trusting in a self-deity or trusting in
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The only way Nouwen's contemplative prayer could support the Buddhist
view is if it shares the same mysticism ... I believe the facts speak for
themselves. Once this becomes clear, it is easy to see also that this is
the same mysticism many seek to emblazon on the heart of evangelical
The question may arise--how can credible Christian organizations justify
and condone meditative practices that clearly resemble Eastern
meditation? As pointed out earlier in [A Time of Departing],
Christian terminology surrounds these practices. It only takes a few
popular Christian leaders with national profiles to embrace a teaching
that sounds Christian to bring about big changes in the church. Moreover,
we have many trusting Christians who do not use the Scriptures to test
the claims of others. Building an entire prayer method around an
out-of-context verse or two is presumptuous, at best. Now more than ever,
it is critical that Christians devote themselves to serious Bible study
and discernment regarding this issue.
1. Mark Yaconelli, "Ancient Future Youth Ministry" (Group
Magazine, July/August 1999, http://www.ymsp.org/resources /ancient_future_article.html), pp. 33-34.
2. The Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project (history page, http://www.ymsp.org/about/history.html, accessed 1/2006).
3. Mark Yaconelli, "Ancient Future Youth Ministry," p. 39.
4. Ibid., p. 39
6. The Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project
7. Michael Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder (Colorado Springs, CO:
NavPress, 2003, revised edition), p. 16.
8. Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus, pp. 6, 31-32.
9. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p.20.
10. Ibid., p. 20.
11. Ibid., p. 51.
12. Ibid., p. 20.
13. Reginald A. Ray, "Understanding Buddhism: Religion Without
God" (Shambhala Sun Magazine, July 2001, http://www.shambhalasun.com/Archives/Columnists/Ray/july_01.htm), p. 25.
(Excerpt from chapter 9, A Time of Departing, 2nd edition)
Only One Freedom ... To Die
following is from Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman's book Trapped in
Hitler's Hell. Anita was a young Christian Jew in Germany when World
War II began. It was her faith in Christ, and the Lord's mercy, that
sustained her during the war years, but she (along with all other Jews in
Germany at that time) was stripped of something that most North Americans
have always had ... freedom.
From Trapped in Hitler's Hell
here!" I gasped as I burst through the door. "The passports and
visas are here."
"Oh, thank You, Jesus," Mother exclaimed softly. Even my sister,
Hella, showed unusual emotion. Mother tore open the envelope and looked at
the enclosed official forms, but her wonderful anticipation diminished as
she read them. Her joy turned to a painful realization that only one of us
had received a visa and a passport.
"Only Hella's papers are here," Mother sighed. "But they
insist that your's and mine will be here by the end of August. At least
Hella can go free, Anita. We must rejoice for her and trust God some more
for you and me. We can meet Hella in London."
"Mother, Jesus won't let us down," I replied. "Pastor Hornig
says we please Him the most when we have faith in Him. See what an
opportunity we have to have faith in Jesus, Mother?"
The corners of her mouth smiled weakly as she set Hella's paper aside.
"I'm learning to trust Him, Anita."
Since Hella would leave on August 31st, we frantically made preparations
for her departure. Pastor Hornig gave her some money, surely taking food
away from his family's table. We wondered if God was delivering Hella first
because her faith was so small that she could not endure any more waiting.
A faint signal on our radio from an underground station told us Hitler was
on the move and might invade Poland any day. During the week, we'd been
having mock blackouts in Breslau, which according to Mother spelled war.
Without a doubt there would be a countdown from freedom for us before the
war began. Only our trust in Jesus kept us calm.
August was slipping away so quickly, with no word yet. Each day's mail
brought only disappointment. Thus, the day of Hella's departure produced a
mixture of emotions: We were happy for her, but also conscious that our own
papers had not arrived. As we bid her farewell, our tears of joy for Hella
were mingled with tears of fear and confusion.
"Hella, you must thank Jesus for your freedom," I insisted.
"He has worked a miracle for you." Hella nodded, but her heart
had not mellowed toward Christ.
"We will meet you in London soon," Mother said as she embraced
Hella, "and our prayers will be with you every day. Pastor Hornig's
contact in London can be trusted. You do whatever they say, but don't send
any mail to us here in Germany. We'll probably meet you within a
The antiquated train gave a sharp whistle. Our goodbyes were short, for we
were sure we would soon be reunited. Pushing forward to board the train
were hundreds of frightened, fleeing people--people thankful for a new
lease on life, but riddled with fear for loved ones being left
behind--sometimes their whereabouts being unknown.
We all embraced one more time, and Hella turned and boarded, waving an
enthusiastic goodbye to us. I took Mother's hand as we watched the rest of
the crowd board. A few minutes later the train jerked forward, then it
chugged away until it was out of sight, but we could see its thick, black
smoke dotting the horizon.
The next day Germany invaded Poland. Also on that day the German borders
were closed, and Germany thereafter refused all mail from England. Our
visas and passports were to come from England; they were in the mail but
never made it to us. Two days later, on September 3, 1939, England and
France declared war on Germany.
Mother and I were trapped in Hitler's hell. But the trap had begun to close
for us six years earlier, when I was a small child. . . .
dance was beautifully performed by six-year-old Anita Dittman. Her skill
and grace at ballet far exceed her years. Nevertheless, we Germans no
longer wish to be entertained by a Jew.
read the review to me from a morning paper she had found lying on the
street. Her words, though spoken in hushed tones, reverberated throughout
the house. They fell on my unbelieving ears and caused an instant flood of
tears--tears of a child too young to grasp the meaning of such a word as
anti-Semitism. All I knew was that my dream of growing up to become the
world's best ballet dancer had just been shattered. It didn't matter that
we didn't understand why we were being persecuted. Jews, along with
communists and other anti-Nazis, were not allowed to question it. Soon we would
have only one freedom: to die. (taken from chapter one, Trapped in Hitler's Hell)
Today Anita (82) lives in Minnesota and still speaks to groups about her
experience during WWII.
Please Pray for Missionaries in Honduras
A "Wonderful" Deception NOW AVAILABLE
A "Wonderful" Deception by
The further New Age implications of the emerging Purpose Driven
Five years after writing Deceived on Purpose: the New Age Implications
of the Purpose Driven Church, former New Age follower Warren Smith
continues to reveal how Christian leaders--wittingly or unwittingly--are
leading the church into a spiritual trap. And while biblical prophecy is
being minimized and explained away, an unexpecting powerful
spiritual deception is being used to prepare the world--and the
church--to accept a New Spirituality and a false New Age Christ. This
book explains how all the puzzle pieces are in place for the "strong
delusion" described in 2 Thessalonians. A "Wonderful"
Deception pierces right into the heart of this deception while
preparing believers in Jesus Christ to effectively stand against
Some of the key areas this book addresses:
*How a "broad way" Christianity is deceiving
many in the church
*How the "new science" will try to prove that God is
*How Rick Warren continues to align himself with New Age sympathizers
*How attempts have been made to discredit critics of the Purpose Driven
*How the best-selling novel, The Shack, fits into the
*Ten scriptural reasons not to be connected with the Purpose Driven
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
Softbound, 232 Pages
Quantity Discounts Available
To order. (All backorders have
now been shipped.)
Table of Contents, Preface, and Introduction
DEBUT ARTICLE: Will the "New Science" Prove That God is "in" All Things?
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