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"From the Lighthouse" Newsletter

                      Printer Friendly Version (click here)     July 6, 2009

In This Issue - click choice

Will the "New Science" Prove that God is in All Things?

Emergent Leader, Doug Pagitt, Postpones Political Campaign

Christian Leaders Giving Mysticism to Our Youth

Only One Freedom ... To Die

Please Pray for Missionaries in Honduras

A "Wonderful" Deception NOW AVAILABLE

Lighthouse Trails New Catalog

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What is Contemplative Spirituality?

Will 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:

Science 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" (pp. 2-3).

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.

Notes:

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
 

Emergent 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 emerging/contemplative thinking.

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 6:7-9

Related Information:

Emerging Church Confusion - What Does it Really Mean?

Hate Crimes Bill Passes House - Christian Leaders Partly to Blame 

 

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:

It's 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 model." Furthermore:

Youth 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:

Through 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 movement--spiritual adultery.

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 Christianity.

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.

Notes:

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
5. Ibid.
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


The 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

"They're 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 month."

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. . . .

The 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.

Mother 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

Click here to read about the Honduras situation.

 

A "Wonderful" Deception NOW AVAILABLE

NOW AVAILABLE

A "Wonderful" Deception by Warren Smith

The further New Age implications of the emerging Purpose Driven movement

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 it. 

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 "in" everything
*How Rick Warren continues to align himself with New Age sympathizers
*How attempts have been made to discredit critics of the Purpose Driven movement
*How the best-selling novel, The Shack, fits into the "wonderful" deception
*Ten scriptural reasons not to be connected with the Purpose Driven movement

Book Information:
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
Softbound, 232 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-9824881-0-2
Retail: $14.95
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?

 

Lighthouse Trails New Catalog

Lighthouse Trails Publishing's new product catalog has gone to press. If you are on our customer database, you will be receiving a copy by mail in mid-July. It is also posted now online at: www.lighthousetrails.com/2009catalog.pdf.

 

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2009 New Releases

Emerging Church
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Yoga
Remembering the Holocaust
Falling Sparrow Biographies
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