Lighthouse Trails Research Project Header

Coming From the Lighthouse

Newsletter

August 6, 2007

Printer Friendly Version
This issue of Coming from the Lighthouse is a bit longer than usual. This is partly because we did not issue a newsletter last week due to the release of Faith Undone. The other reason is that contemplative (i.e., mystical) spirituality is pervading the church at an accelerated pace, and there are several important items to report on. With once-trustworthy ministries and leaders now embracing spiritual formation and what is referred to as the spiritual disciplines (terms to mean contemplative or mystical), children, teens, and adults all are put in harm's way. From Purpose Driven to Focus on the Family to MOPs, it appears that even the most conservative mainstream Christian groups are open to and frequently embracing the contemplative. Thus, this issue carries many articles that reflect this, with the hope some might be warned and with the documentation be able to keep their families from heading in this dangerous direction.

In This Issue -

Kundalini Energy (Serpent Power) Same as Contemplative Prayer ... Says Thomas Keating

Dan Kimball: Modern Day Christianity Needs Henri Nouwen and John Maxwell

Catholic Evangelization and the Emerging Church

Harry's Last Battle and Rowling's Beliefs

Alpha Course Leader Gives Thumbs Up to Emergent/Interspiritual Conference

Is Harry Potter the Son of God?...

More Evidence: Rick Warren Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

Harry, Yoda, and Yoga...

John Armstrong "Enjoys" Emergent Village Experience "Immensely"

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation

Tony Campolo's New Book - A Review

Rick Warren's "Fasting" Book Points to Mysticism and Interspirituality

Publishing News...- Faith Undone is Here!...

 

 

 

 

Kundalini Energy (Serpent Power) Same as Contemplative Prayer ... Says Thomas Keating

According to Thomas Keating, the father of the modern day centering (contemplative) prayer movement that is sweeping widely within evangelical circles, the silence or sacred space that is reached during contemplative prayer/centering prayer is the same state that is reached during what is called kundalini.

Catholic priest Philip St. Romain wrote a book called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality. Kundalini is based on the occultic chakra system where a supposed universal energy flows through a human being and through all of creation, uniting all and acknowledging divinity in all things and all people. Ray Yungen says kundalini is a "Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality" (ATOD, 2nd ed., p.46). In Hinduism, kundalini is called serpent power. Some of the symptoms include:

* Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.
* Pains in varying locations throughout the body.
* Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of body.
* Fast pulse and increased metabolism.
* Disturbance in the breathing--and/or heart function.
* Sensitivity to sound, light, smell, and proximity of other people.
* Mystical/religious experiences.
* Parapsychological abilities.
* Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, confusion
* Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss.
* Impaired concentration and memory.
* Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out.
* Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena.

Through practicing meditation, Romain came to depend on what he calls an "inner adviser" (spirit guide). Symptoms during his deep meditative experience included "prickly sensations on the top of his head" that would "fizzle with energy" (ATOD, p. 47).

Thomas Keating, who has inspired many evangelical contemplatives like Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster1, and Brennan Manning, 2 wrote the foreword to Philip St. Romain's book, and in it, Keating acknowledges that kundalini is the same as Christian contemplation. He states:

Since this energy [kundalini] is also at work today in numerous persons who are devoting themselves to contemplative prayer, this book is an important contribution to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition. It will be a great consolation to those who have experienced physical symptoms arising from the awakening of kundalini in the course of their spiritual journey ... Most spiritual disciplines world-wide insist on some kind of serious discipline before techniques of awakening kundalini are communicated. In Christian tradition ... the regular practice of the stages of Christian prayer ... contemplation are the essential disciplines...

Keating explains that the reason spiritual directors are needed is to help guide the Christian contemplative because of the powerful and dangerous nature of kundalini. He says that these "spiritual directors" may need to consult with "Eastern teachers in order to get a fuller understanding." Keating ends his foreword with:

This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.

It is disturbing to know that evangelical leaders, like Beth Moore, are touting Brennan Manning 3 whose spirituality is so influenced by mystics like Thomas Keating. Southern Baptist LifeWay Store Jim Shull said this of Keating when defending their promoting of him in their stores: "He has written books on contemplative prayer, but this does not make him a New Age sympathizer."4 When we realize that New Age and kundalini have the same premise (God in all, and God is all), then we can see how troublesome LifeWay's comments are. (Lifeway has since discontinued carrying Keating's book but to our knowledge has not retracted its statement about him. In addition, they remain in partnership with Leadership Network, which promotes both the contemplative and emerging church movements,5 and they continue offering mystical promoting books like Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson.6

Surely Thomas Keating's recognition that contemplative and kundalini are one in the same will convince even the most skeptical Christian.

See also:

Book Alert: Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson

In a Christianity Today article titled, "Shape-Shifting Leadership," featuring Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, and Leith Anderson, Kimball states:

I've read Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership a dozen times. It convicts me to the core about motives and the heart of leadership. But Henri was shepherding and loving a relatively few people. Leading a church that is growing, launching new ministries, and building multi-level leadership teams needs Nouwen, but also [John] Maxwell.1(see also Maxwell/Blanchard book)

Kimball is proposing that in order to be a successful, effective leader in today's church, we must combine the "heart" of Henri Nouwen with the leadership skills of John Maxwell. What is wrong with that?

We must first understand that Nouwen's "heart of leadership" is mystical. He says so himself right in the book that Kimball recognizes. In In the Name of Jesus, Nouwen states:

Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love ... For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required.

Moving "from the moral to mystical" is another way of saying that mystical experience is more important in leadership than doctrine or theology. Interestingly, Leith Anderson who contributed to the Christianity Today article with Kimball and Driscoll has stated virtually the same thing. Roger Oakland explains:

In 1992, Leith Anderson (Doug Pagitt's former pastor), currently the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke of this new emerging 21st century church. His views eventually
became set in stone as the emerging church has chosen experience over doctrine. Anderson reveals:

The old paradigm taught that if you had the right teaching, you will experience God. The new paradigm says that if you experience God, you will have the right teaching. This may be disturbing for many who assume propositional truth must always precede and dictate religious experience. That mindset is the product of systematic theology and has much to contribute ... However, biblical theology looks to the Bible for a pattern of experience followed by proposition. The experience of the Exodus from Egypt preceded the recording of Exodus in the Bible. The experience of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Pentecost all predate the propositional declaration of those events in the New Testament. It is not so much that one is right and the other is wrong: it is more of a matter of the perspective one takes on God's touch and God's truth.

Anderson is saying that the Word of God is still being written, and today's experiences can dictate what that Word is. (Faith Undone, p. 55,56)

Nouwen reveals what he means by "mystical" when he states: "The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God is active presence" (The Way of the Heart, p. 81).

Dan Kimball proposes that leadership must combine Nouwen's spirituality with John Maxwell's leadership skills. Someone who emulates such a combination is business guru and meditation promoter, Ken Blanchard. Blanchard sees great value in meditation and has endorsed and promoted avid meditators for over two decades. His current participation in the Hoffman Institute shows that he is still in support of such a philosophy.

This may come as a surprise to some, but Rick Warren (who has won the trust of hundreds of thousands of pastors and church goers around the world) shares Kimball's views. On his pastors.com website, Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus is a recommended book. (Nouwen devotes an entire chapter of that book to contemplative prayer.) And in a Saddleback training book, Soul Construction: Solitude Tool (p. 12), Nouwen is quoted as saying we need to set aside a "time and space to give God our undivided attention." Ray Yungen explains Nouwen's "space":

When we understand what Nouwen really means by "time and space" given to God we can also see the emptiness and deception of his spirituality. In his recent biography of Nouwen, God's Beloved, Michael O' Laughlin says:

Some new elements began to emerge in Nouwen's thinking when he discovered Thomas Merton. Merton opened up for Henri an enticing vista of the world of contemplation and a way of seeing not only God but also the world through new eyes. If ever there was a time when Henri Nouwen wished to enter the realm of the spiritual masters or dedicate himself to a higher spiritual path, it was when he fell under the spell of Cistercian monasticism and the writings of Thomas Merton.

In his book, Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic, Nouwen talks about these "new eyes" that Merton helped to formulate; he praises Merton who "had such an impact" on his life, being the man who "inspired" him greatly. But when we read Nouwen's very revealing account, something disturbing is unveiled. Nouwen lays out the path of Merton's spiritual pilgrimage into contemplative spirituality. Those who have studied Merton from a critical point of view, such as myself, have tried to understand what are the roots behind Merton's spiritual affinities. Nouwen explains that Merton was influenced by LSD mystic Aldous Huxley who "brought him to a deeper level of knowledge" and "was one of Merton's favorite novelists." It was Huxley's book, Ends and Means, that first brought Merton "into contact with mysticism." ... This is why, as Nouwen revealed, Merton's mystical journey took him right into the arms of Buddhism. (ATOD, 2nd ed., pp. 197)

If Dan Kimball's hope for the future of Christianity is realized, it will resemble the spirituality of Ken Blanchard (Nouwen's mysticism and Maxwell's leadership skills) who said that the Hoffman Quadrinity Process made his "spirituality come alive" (ATOD, p. 165). The Hoffman Institute is:

"... an organization that was founded by a psychic and is based on panentheism (i.e., God is in all) and meditation! In the book, The Hoffman Process, the institute's mystical perspective is laid out clearly:

I am you and you are me. We are all parts of the whole.... You can use a short meditation to remind yourself of this connection to all others in this world of ours.... As you breathe, feel that breath coming from your core essence ... When you are open to life, you start noticing the divine in everything. (ATOD, p. 165)

For more information:

They Like Jesus but Not the Church - A Closer Look at Dan Kimball's Book

 


Ken Blanchard: Promoting Buddhism and the New Age

What Did Henri Nouwen Really Believe?

 

Catholic Evangelization and the Emerging Church

by Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
From Faith Undone:

For those who are not aware of the Catholic Church's New Evangelization program, let me provide a brief overview. The Catholic Church plans to establish the kingdom of God on earth and win the world to the Catholic Jesus (i.e., the Eucharistic Christ). This will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren) comes under the rule and reign of Rome and this Eucharistic Jesus.

The Eucharistic Jesus is supposedly Christ's presence that a Catholic priest summons through the power of transubstantiation, the focal point of the Mass. Many Christians believe the Christian tradition of communion is the same as the Catholic tradition of the Eucharist. But this is not so. The Eucharist (i.e., transubstantiation) is a Catholic term for communion when the bread and the wine are said to be transformed into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Catechism states:

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained."1

The host is then placed in what is called a monstrance and can then be worshiped as if worshiping Jesus Himself. The implications are tied directly to salvation itself. With the Eucharist, salvation becomes sacramental (participation in a ritual) as opposed to justification by faith in Christ alone, described in Galatians 2:16. While this mystical experience is a form of idolatry (as well as the very heart of Catholicism), there is a growing interest by evangelical Christians in this practice, particularly by the emerging church.

The Catholic Church leadership, concerned with apathy for the Eucharist within the Catholic ranks, is hoping to "rekindle the amazement"2 of the Eucharist through what is called their "New Evangelization program."3 With a two-fold purpose--to keep present Catholics and to bring evangelicals into the Catholic Church--church leadership has a plan to re-emphasize the Eucharist as the focus of the Catholic faith. By saying "rekindle the amazement," they mean bring out the mystical, supernatural element of the Eucharist.

All Catholics are expected to worship the host (Eucharistic Adoration of the transformed wafer), and church leadership says it is anathema (to be accursed) to reject this teaching....

While it is true that during the Reformation and Counter Reformation, many who refused to believe in transubstantiation were tortured and executed for their faith in the Gospel, time has a way of forgetting the facts of history.

In April of 2003, the pope wrote an encyclical promoting the "New Evangelization" program for the purpose of "rekindling amazement" for the Eucharist.4 Then in October of 2004, John Paul II initiated "The Year of the Eucharist" as part of his evangelistic plan to bring the world to the Eucharistic Christ. Following his death in April of 2005, Pope Benedict XVI picked up Pope John Paul's mission immediately. He called the "faithful to intensify" devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus, and said the Eucharist is the "heart of Christian life...."5

The New Evangelization program plans to revitalize the Catholic faith by reigniting strong interest in the Eucharistic Jesus. It is not just the pope who is enthusiastic about this--cardinals, bishops, and priests all over the world are joining in to help with the mission. Something very significant is happening. Eucharistic adoration is becoming the foundation for the new evangelization of the Catholic Church....

In speaking of the pope's view on the Eucharist, Protestant-turned Catholic Scott Hahn states:

The coming of Jesus Christ - what the Greek New Testament calls his "parousia"--is not simply some far-off event. It is his presence in the Eucharist. Fundamentalists reduce the meaning of "parousia" to Christ's coming at the end of time; but for the first century Greek speakers the word meant "presence." Catholic theology holds on to that original meaning.6

The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the Second Coming Catholic style. Unfortunately, many evangelical Protestants are not even aware of this....

While Eucharistic adoration contradicts biblical Christianity, a growing number of popular evangelicals (especially those leaning toward emerging spiritualities) seem to find no offense in such a doctrine. And with the increased acceptance of mysticism and an attraction to imagery within evangelical circles, it only makes sense that many evangelical Christians find nothing wrong with the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration. Such acceptance, however, is neutralizing former evangelical resistance to all things Catholic....

In Doug Pagitt's 2003 book Church Re-imagined, he describes his initial attraction to rituals associated with the Eucharist:

The first day of Lent this year brought the first Ash Wednesday gathering in our church's history and in mine.... Until this point, Ash Wednesday had not been part of my Christian faith experience. Not only had I never applied ashes to anyone's forehead, but I had also never had them applied to mine. After this experience I wondered how I could have celebrated 19 Easters as a Christian without this tremendous experience.7

Scot McKnight, another emerging church influencer, is professor of religious studies at North Park University and on the Coordinating Group for Emergent Village.... McKnight is the author of The Real Mary and The Jesus Creed. In referring to an Anglican service, McKnight speaks of the Eucharistic focus. He states:

[T]he point of an Anglican gathering on a Sunday morning is not to hear a sermon but to worship the Lord through the celebration of the Eucharist... First some scripture readings and then the sermon and then some announcements and then the Eucharist liturgy--with everyone coming forward to kneel and participate - publicly--in the body and blood.8

McKnight says that "the Eucharist profoundly enables the grace of God to be received with all its glories and blessings."9 No doubt, McKnight will have an impact on those in the emerging church movement, and his views on the Eucharist will rub off. He is a popular speaker at many events including Willow Creek's Small Group Conference and the National Pastors Convention. Both of these events reach the postmodern generation. (See Faith Undone for other examples of evangelical leaders showing tolerance toward the Catholic Eucharist, one of which is Rick Warren.)

The late Robert Webber was very influential in closing the gap between Eucharistic adoration and the evangelical church. A document he authored called "A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future" states: "We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in ... Eucharist."10 Two well-known evangelical publishers, Baker Books and InterVarsity Press (both of which now publish emerging church authors) sponsored the document as did Christianity Today. The AEF, which the document is called, is endorsed by various emerging church leaders such as Brian McLaren who calls it "a preaching resource" that "emphasize[s] the importance ... of Advent or Lent."11

Participants of the AEF include numerous Christian seminaries like Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, Dallas Theological Seminary, and pastors from many different denominations including Nazarene, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Reformed, and Baptist. ...

To those who traditionally haven't had much ritual in their lives (i.e., Protestants), the ambience of the Mass would have great appeal because of its religious novelty--thus the interest in the Eucharist by those who promote contemplative spirituality. And for many Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented), in, and of itself, is not a mystical experience. However if the contemplative dimension is added, one actually can enter the mystical realm. On the surface, this phenomenon seems complex, but once we begin to understand mysticism, it all makes sense. Within the contemplative prayer realm, the meditator is actually getting in touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many raised in the Catholic Church, with the relatively recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic Church sees this as a way to recover its robust state of previous decades....

Right now, some may be asking, is the physical presence of Jesus held inside the elements of the Eucharist? Or as some evangelicals and emergents have suggested, is there a special presence and power in the Eucharist? The answer to both is a resounding no! Jesus Christ indwells the heart of every person who is born again and who belongs to Him by faith through grace. He promises never to leave or forsake us, meaning that His presence is in our lives at all times. We are not required to partake in a ritual to experience His presence, nor is He confined in benign, lifeless wafers and wine (or juice). As Jesus said:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit [spiritual as opposed to physical], and they are life. (John 6:63, emphasis added)

Jesus said this in response to his disciples' confusion over His statement "my flesh is meat indeed" (vs. 55). Paul adds further clarity in writing to the Romans that all we need to do is call upon the true Jesus, and He is there:

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:8-13)

At this point, we see the great chasm that separates Catholicism from the light of the Gospel--a light the reformers saw, for which many of them gave their lives. They recognized that participation in the sacraments is not what saves people.

[T]he Catholic's New Evangelization is no small issue. Darkness has crept over the Christian church the same way an avalanche sweeps down a mountain. Every day new unsuspecting victims are being swept away and buried. And the role the emerging church plays in bringing this about is something that should alarm every discerning Christian. (From Faith Undone, excerpts from chapter 8)

To read more about the emerging church, read Faith Undone - to be released August 1st, 2007.

Notes:
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1374, page 383.6
2. H. J. Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of The Council of Trent (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1978), page 79, Canon 1.
3. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "The New Evangelization" (http://www.ewtn.com/new_evangelization/Ratzinger.htm).
4. Zenit: The World Seen From Rome, "Why the Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To Rekindle Amazement," cited April 17, 2003, http://www.zenit.org.
5. "Pope Benedict calls on faithful to intensify devotion to Eucharistic Jesus," http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3686.
6. Interview with Scott Hahn, "Eucharist in the Pontificate of Benedict XVI" (Pontifications, June 12, 2005, http:// catholica.pontifications.net/?p=940).
7. Doug Pagitt, Church Re-Imagined, op. cit., p. 103.
8. Scot McKnight, "An Anglican Service" (Jesus Creed blog, http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2258).
9. Scot McKnight, Turning to Jesus, (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002 edition), p. 7.
10. Robert Webber, "A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future" (Online at: http://www.aefcall.org/read.html.
11. Brian McLaren, "The AEF Document as a Preaching Resource" (From the AEF Call website: http://www.aefcall.org/documents/TheAEFDocumentasaPreachingResource_000.doc).


For more information on the "New Evangelization" program of the Catholic church and the move toward the mystical:

"Catholic, other religious leaders, laity try silence when peace talks fail"
from Understand the Times (July 23rd, 2007).

Pope's message for World Youth Day 2008: Seeking a new "Pentecost"

 

Harry's Last Battle and Rowling's Beliefs

by Berit Kjos

In spite of this unbridgeable chasm between occultism and Christianity, Joanne Rowling insists that she is a believer. She has kept the details of her faith a secret, explaining that such information would disclose the mysterious ending of her popular story. So when asked if she was a Christian, she gave this answer:

"Yes, I am, which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books."

Now that the final book is out, there's no need to guess. We know the end of the story --one that apparently corresponds to the author's beliefs. So what does it tell us?

Harry willingly gives his life. Responding to a message he magically received from Hogwarts' former Headmaster Dumbledore through Professor Snape's memories, the young wizard walks unarmed up to the evil wizard Voldemort, who points his wand at him and projects a killing curse. Harry falls down, apparently dead.

He awakens in a large, ornate room. Noticing his own nakedness, he wishes to be clothed -- and some fitting clothes magically appear. Then Dumbledore (who died in the previous book) arrives and praises Harry for his courageous sacrifice.
Click here to read more.

Also see our database of articles on Harry Potter.

 

Alpha Course Leader Gives Thumbs Up to Emergent/Interspiritual Conference

On August 3rd, Todd Hunter, the USA Alpha Course president, issued an email promoting the October Soularize event in the Bahamas (see email). The Soularize conference is featuring several emerging church speakers as well as contemplative/eastern-style mysticism proponents Brennan Manning and Richard Rohr. Rohr's spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Matthew Fox who believes in pantheism and panentheism.

Hunter, who was formerly the national director of Vineyard movement USA, is no stranger to contemplative spirituality or the emerging church, but most Alpha participants are probably unaware of this. He has worked with Richard Foster's Renovare in various settings,1 and his own blog backs up his sympathies toward spiritual formation2. In an interview titled "Alpha and the Emerging Church - Oil and Water?", Hunter explains that the Alpha Course could be very appealing to the emerging church. In a 2006 Christianity Today Q & A, Hunter tries to show Alpha's relevancy to the post-modern world and the emerging church. 3

What many people may not realize is that the speaker line up at Soularize 2007 represents the type of spirituality that runs contrary to what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan monk and Catholic priest, is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. In January 2008, he is presenting the Jesus and Buddha Awakening Seminar. In addition, Rohr is a major advocate for interspirituality through mantra meditation.

Other speakers at Soularize include several emergent leaders, two of which are Karen Ward and Mark Scandrette. Faith Undone discusses both of these emergents: Karen Ward, a minister in Washington, rejects the biblical view of the atonement and refers to it as at-one-ment, meaning all is one and unified together as she describes. Occulist Alice Bailey referenced at-one-ment when she said all humanity is equal with God (Faith Undone, p. 216). Mark Scandrette, a contributing author of the new book by Baker/Emergent An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, believes that all things are interconnected - his writing emulates Leonard Sweet's Theory of Everything, in which a new kingdom is arising, one that will bring all humanity and all creation into unity with God. Scandrette refers to this as "integrative theology" (p. 27 of the Manifesto). For more information on integrative or integral theology, see the work of Buddhist proponent Ken Wilber (but please view this site with caution and discernment).

In view of the fact that so many in mainstream Christianity use the Alpha Course and see it as a trustworthy program for spirituality, the implications of Todd Hunter's endorsement and promotion of Soularize are staggering. If the spirituality represented at Soularize could be indicative of the future of Alpha, this could potentially mean that millions of people could be introduced to these dangerous forms of spiritual practice.

 

 

More Evidence: Rick Warren Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

 Issue 321 of Rick Warren's weekly e-newsletter to over 400,000 church leaders shows further indication that the Purpose Driven movement promotes and stands by the emerging/contemplative church. As has been reported and documented many times in the past, Rick Warren is one of the major catalysts of the emerging church movement as well as the contemplative prayer movement. Some of this documentation includes his 2003 endorsement and participation in Dan Kimball's book, The Emerging Church and his 1995 participation with New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet in an audio series called Tides of Change as well as Warren's 1999 endorsement of Sweet's emerging book, Soul Tsunami, just to name a few.

This week's newsletter has an article titled "Surviving Life as a Pastor's Spouse" by Pete Scazzero's wife, Geri. While the article is benign, Warren's reference to Pete Scazzero's book at the end of the article is not. The newsletter states:

Geri Scazzero directs large group events and the marriage ministry at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, N.Y. She is a certified Pairs trainer and speaks, along with her husband Pete, to pastors, leaders and their spouses across North America on integrating the groundbreaking principles found in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Nelson, 2006).

The concern is that the "groundbreaking principles found in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" are contemplative principles as we reported in November 2006. Scazzero's book favorably quotes and/or references some of the most blatant mysticism proponents such as Meister Eckhart, Daniel Goleman(scientist who studies and promotes Buddhist meditation), Thomas Merton, Tilden Edwards, and several others. The book also promotes contemplative practices such as centering, lectio, and going into the silence.

While Warren promotes Pete Scazzero's book in a round about way (through Scazzero's wife's article), he nevertheless does promote the book and points people to it as "groundbreaking." Warren calls it groundbreaking because he knows that contemplative is a "hot topic," which he told Lighthouse Trails in 2003 (see p. 143 ATOD, 2nd ed.
).

In this week's e-newsletter, Warren makes other references to show his support for contemplative/emerging spirituality. A reference to Focus on the Family's contemplative proponent H.B. London is one, and a write up about the upcoming Catalyst Conference, which will feature emerging/contemplative speakers, is another.

 

Harry, Yoda, and Yoga

by Marsha West

Quicker than you can say "Quiddich" a wizard's broomstick rocketed to the sky and inscribed a smoke trail message for all the world to see... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ... has arrived! The long-awaited book was released at the stroke of midnight on July 21, putting an end to the suspense. The Potterites, under Harry's spell for 10 years, now know his fate.

Parents waited in long lines with their youngsters for hours on end so that little Danielle would have first crack at reading the seventh and final book in J. K. Rowling's phenomenally successful Harry Potter series.

Not surprisingly, Deathly Hallows broke sales records becoming the fastest selling book ever, selling more than eleven million copies in the first twenty-four hours following its release. Bookstores offered HP parties to promote the book. Some provided magicians and face painting and handed out goodie bags to their customers. Barnes & Noble in Augusta, Maine held a "Midnight Magic Costume Party" to introduce youngsters to the occult. According to Mike Hein of the Christian Civic League of Maine, "the store held fortune telling readings in its 'Children's Department,' surrounded by children's books and literature. The store employee who read the childrens' fortunes used 'Gypsy Witch' tarot cards which were created by noted French mystic Madame Lenormand in 19th century Europe."

Nothing like learning about the tools of the occult before you're even old enough to attend "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

No question some parents are OK with exposing their adolescents to occult indoctrination. Perhaps they rationalize that children need to be exposed to new and diverse things. Moms and dads in Augusta, Maine must of thought Madam Marmalade's tarot card reading would be a "good experience." Visiting a fortuneteller makes one more "well rounded."
Click here to read the rest.

For more on Harry Potter and the occult, click here.

 

John Armstrong "Enjoys" Emergent Village Experience "Immensely"

Recently, Emergent Village held the Midwest Emergent Gathering. Speakers included the typical emerging church comrades: Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and an array of other emergents. One speaker though would not be considered a typical one - John Armstrong, a professor at Wheaton College and Christian author.

For people who are familiar with Armstrong, hearing him talk so favorably about the recent Midwest Emergent Gathering, will be disquieting to say the least. It certainly has been a surprise to us at Lighthouse Trails. And here is why: Emergent Village (the emerging church web presence) is immersed in mystical spirituality and the New Age (ancient wisdom). This is a fact that we have documented many times. Some may suggest that Armstrong is not aware of the dangers of mysticism (i.e., contemplative) or of New Age spirituality. But nearly seven years ago, before Lighthouse Trails existed, we had met Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing. At that time, he was carrying around an unpublished manuscript of his book. By happenstance, Armstrong was in Ray's hometown (Salem, Oregon) and met one of the editors of the manuscript who handed Armstrong a copy of it. He promised to read it. A few weeks later, I received an email from Armstrong saying that if Ray would remove chapter 6 of the book (titled "The End of the Age"), he would ask Harvest House publishers to publish it. After prayerful consideration, Ray decided that chapter 6 must remain. But even though Armstrong was not going to help with the book at this point, he said that Yungen was right-on in his deductions of contemplative prayer, and he found the book to be exceptional. Shortly thereafter Lighthouse Trails was birthed and A Time of Departing was published. Click here to read this entire article.

 

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation

This past spring NavPress released My First Message by Eugene Peterson. The book is meant to be a child's first Bible. A product description of the book suggests that the contemplative practice called lectio divina is being utilize. It states:

My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids uses the time-tested practice of lectio divina (or "spiritual reading"), a simple but powerful practice used by Christians for centuries to deepen their devotional lives. It is based on four key elements: reading the Bible, thinking about what it means, praying in response to what it says, and living out the truth.1 (This section is taken from the book - p. 5.)

Lectio divina is indeed powerful, as are other contemplative practices, but it will not "deepen" the devotional lives of children. On the contrary, it will introduce kids to a spirituality that could produce detrimental results on practitioners. Friar Luke Dysinger, a present-day monk at Saint Andrews Abbey, describes lectio divina this way:

Choose a text of the Scriptures ... Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a beloved 'prayer word' or 'prayer phrase' they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as 'centering prayer' makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina....

Then turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the 'still, small voice' of a word or phrase that somehow says, 'I am for you today ...Next take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas.

Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.

This practice has become extremely popular in today's Christian youth organizations and programs. Youth Specialties, a world renowned Christian organization, instructs young people and youth workers to incorporate lectio divina into their prayer lives. In their magazine, Youth Worker Journal, they describe lectio divina this way:

This is a fancy Latin term for 'sacred reading' and has also been called 'meditation on the Word.' Sacred reading is the practice of reading scripture slowly in a spirit of contemplation. The goal isn't exegesis or analysis, but allowing God to speak to us through the word. Christians often refer to the Bible as God's love letter to mankind, and when we take the time to read it as such, we are practicing sacred reading."

The article then exhorts readers to:

Take a short passage and repeat it over and over again aloud. With each repetition, remove extraneous words until you've broken the passage down to one thought. An obvious example is John 14:27, which could easily be broken down to the word 'peace.'

In light of NavPress' PrayKids magazine where contemplative prayer is encouraged, it makes sense that they would publish Peterson's contemplative promoting Bible for kids, but it is tragic to think of how many children could be drawn into a spiritual camp that ultimately negates the gospel and takes practitioners into what contemplative father Thomas Keating calls kundalini (serpent power),3 a Hindu term for the deep trance state that meditators experience. While Richard Foster himself admits that this type of prayer can be very dangerous, (see RAW, p. 144, citing Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home) it is a mystery then why contemplatives would want to teach this to children.

In the PrayKids magazine, NavPress says:

Contemplative prayer is a form of meditative prayer that focuses on communing with God. Although sometimes confused with its Eastern (and non-Christian) counterpart, true Christian meditation has been practiced since Bible times.

Typically, we have found that if something sounds eastern or mystical, it's because it is eastern or mystical. Eugene Peterson's book rings of the mystical, and we hope parents will avoid putting their children in contact with it. In a way lectio divina could be legitimately considered a gateway mystical practice, the same way marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs such as heroin or meth.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42

For more information:

Eugene Peterson, The Message and Contemplative Prayer

Special News Alert: New York Times Article Shows Kids Are Learning to Meditate in Schools

Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey - Promoting Contemplative?

Sad News for Preschool Children - MOPS heads contemplative

Awana Embraces Contemplative
 

 

Tony Campolo's New Book - A Review

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

 
Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling have recently co-authored a book titled, The God of Intimacy and Action. The "intimacy" to which they refer is experiencing closeness to God by engaging ancient spiritual and mystical practices, while the "action" refers to evangelism and advocacy of causes on behalf of the less fortunate in society. In the authors' view, mystical intimacy stimulates and facilitates Christian advocacy. Private spiritual experiences enhance public societal engagement. Through practicing spiritual disciplines of ancient Catholicism, mystical experiences, according to the authors' thesis, become essential for and foundational to the engagement of social justice for all. As to the possible downside of mystical intimacy, the authors seemingly write of "action" to mute criticism that engaging in mystical practices leads devotees, as typically has been the case, to disengage from society and retreat into monasteries. According to the authors, mystical experiences should not have that effect. Click here to read the rest of this article.

 

Rick Warren's "Fasting" Book Points to Mysticism and Interspirituality

 In Rick Warren's August 1st newsletter, there is an article by Presbyterian USA minister, Lynne Baab. Her book, Fasting, is also featured in the newsletter. In the article, Baab calls fasting "an ancient spiritual discipline" and when we fast we "clear away distractions." She says, "We need all the help we can get to keep our lives centered on Christ and to clear away the clutter so we can pray and listen to God."

What the article doesn't say is that Baab is a proponent of contemplative spirituality, and as most contemplatives believe, the most effective way to "clear away distractions" is through an eastern-style meditation practice (e.g., centering, lectio, breath prayers, etc.; in other words repetition on one thing). Does Baab promote that kind of prayer? The answer to that can be partly found in the book Rick Warren lists. While Fasting by Lynne Baab cites the usual Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen, Baab takes the reader right into a host of mystics and panentheists. In the back of the book, under "A Few Wonderful Books on Prayer," Baab recommends several advocates of mysticism like Richard Foster, Jan Johnson, Tony Jones (emergent leader), and Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God.

In this report, we would like to draw your attention to two other authors that Baab recommends: David Steindl-Rast and Thomas Ryan. Both men are Catholic priests and both are staunch supporters and teachers of panentheism (God in all) and mystical meditation. While some skeptics may be saying right now, just because Rick Warren recommends Baab's book, which recommends these authors, that doesn't implicate Rick Warren. Really? When 400,000 pastors and church leaders get Warren's weekly newsletter, the likelihood that at least a few thousand of them will pick up a copy of Fasting based on Warren's promotion of it is probable. And some of those may see the recommended names at the back of the book and turn to these authors for deeper teachings. So yes, Warren's recommendation of this book does indeed implicate him. But he has been doing this for over a dozen years now at least as far back as Purpose Driven Church when he said that Richard Foster's spiritual formation movement was a valid message for the church and a wake up call (see ATOD, chapter 8).

But while Rick Warren has been consistent in promoting contemplative spirituality, he has taken this recent promotion to a new level by indirectly pointing people to David Steindl-Rast and Thomas Ryan. Ryan, a Catholic priest, is also an avid Buddhist promoter, typical for Christian contemplatives. In one article (click here), he is described as a "certified Kripalu Yoga instructor" who teaches Yoga to Buddhists. Ryan is known for his interfaith, interspiritual ecumenical efforts 1. Interestingly, Henri Nouwen (also touted by Warren) wrote the foreword for one of Ryan's books: Disciplines for Christian Living. Nouwen explained:

David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic priest (who was also a close friend and confidant of Thomas Merton), is of similar spiritual persuasions as Thomas Ryan. Steindl-Rast's view of the Cross and the atonement is anti-biblical and heretical. In a book he co-authored titled The Ground We Share, he states:

Unfortunately, over the course of the centuries, this [Christianity] has come to be presented in almost legal language, as if it were some sort of transaction, a deal with God; there was this gap between us and God, somebody had to make up for it-all that business. We can drop that. The legal metaphor seems to have helped other generations. Fine. Anything that helps is fine. But once it gets in the way, as it does today, we should drop it. (from ATOD, p. 70)

He is referring to the atonement here (Christ's substitutionary death on the Cross for our sins) and he echoes many of the emergents on this issue (see Faith Undone, chapter 11).

It is obvious that Lynne Baab sees these authors we've just quoted as being valuable, otherwise she wouldn't recommend them. This is not guilt by association--this is guilt by promotion and endorsement. In conclusion, the question must be asked, Should a book such as Lynne Baab's be in a newsletter that represents itself as advancing Christian orthodoxy? If Rick Warren is successful in his efforts, then the church in the future will resemble the spiritual dynamics of Thomas Ryan and David Steindl-Rast.

 

Publishing News  - Faith Undone is Here!

  

Lighthouse Trails Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Faith Undone by Roger Oakland. 

 

Is the emerging church movement just another passing fad, a more contemporary approach to church, or a bunch of disillusioned young people looking for answers? In fact, it is actually much broader and is influencing Christianity to a significant degree. Grounded in a centuries-old mystical approach, this movement is powerful, yet highly deceptive, and it draws its energy from practices and experiences that are foreign to traditional evangelical Christianity. The path that the emerging church is taking is leading to an interfaith perspective that has prophetically profound ramifications.

Discusses the following:

1. Ancient rituals and practices brought back to life

2.The Eucharistic Evangelization

3.The emerging road to Rome

4.Contemplative spirituality and mysticism

5.The emerging church's view of Hell and the Atonement

6.How the emerging church considers biblical prophecy and the future of planet Earth

7.The key catalysts of the emergent church

8.Purpose Driven ecumenism: Part of the emerging church's new reformation

9.How emerging spirituality is altering missions and evangelism

10.Understanding the emerging church in light of Bible prophecy

 

Retail price: $12.95

262 Pages

ISBN: 978-0-9791315-1-6

Click here for more information and a chapter by chapter synopsis of Faith Undone.

 

THREE WAYS TO ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:

 

2. Toll Free Order Line: 866/876-3910

 

Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more copies

 

We ship within 24 hours of receiving order.

This book will also be available to order from most bookstores (online and walk-in) by mid-August. If your local bookstore isn't carrying Faith Undone, you can ask them to order it  for you.

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ORDERED THIS BOOK, AND IT HAS BEEN ON BACKORDER, all backorders have now been shipped.

 

Lighthouse Trails Publishing's 2nd spring release, For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen is now here.

For more information on this book, click here.

 

* * * *

For information on our 1st 2007 spring release, The Other Side of the River, click here. 


 

SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BOOKS:

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.

 

* * * *

Note: Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company. While we hope you will read the books we have published, we also provide extensive research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, and newsletter. We pray that the books as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

-

-

 

-

-

 

 

-

-

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 the books we publish...

 

-

-

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the topics this book addresses:


Word Faith movement
Holy Laughter
"Slain" in the Spirit practice
Emphasis on humanity of Jesus over Deity
Gifts & Calling for the unbeliever?
Experience versus Scripture
Repetitive chanting & singing
Paradigm shift
Understanding true worship

Bookmark and Share