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August 11, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
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We have included yesterday's Special Report in this issue of our e-newsletter. It is alarming to realize that the two most influential evangelical pastors in North America (and perhaps in the world), are promoting a spirituality that is dangerous and very deceptive. May God help believers everywhere to see that contemplative/emerging beliefs are completely contrary to biblical Christianity, and may the true message of the Cross be preserved so that the unbelieving will hear the Word, repent and be saved.

"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." I John 1:5-7

Christian Leaders - Quoting Contemplatives
and Saying It Is OK

 

If you are someone who, on a regular basis, reads books written by Christian leaders, then you are probably well aware that many of those leaders quote contemplative authors. And many of those leaders defend their quoting of contemplatives, insisting that even if they may not agree with all that is said, it is worth quoting some of their material in favorable ways. But is it really worth taking the chance of misleading countless readers into believing that the writings of contemplatives are valid, meaningful and important to the spiritual life? If a Christian leader quotes favorably from a contemplative, without giving a strong and clear disclaimer that this author's writings are unbiblical and therefore heretical, then that Christian leader is bringing potential harm to a trusting reader, and ultimately allowing false doctrine into the church. Today, we have decided we are going to quote from some contemplatives to show why a disclaimer is necessary when quoting writing that is represented as Christian. We have chosen quotes from some of the most quoted contemplatives in the evangelical camp.

Disclaimer: The following quotes are given in order to show the contemplative and New Age sympathies of these writers and to present documentation that proves contemplative spirituality has no place in biblical Christianity and does in fact oppose the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Please read these with this in mind. If you know of a Christian leader who is favorably quoting these writers, please beseech them to add a disclaimer or better yet choose trustworthy and biblically sound sources from which to quote. Some of the most quoted contemplative authors:

Richard Foster

"Dom John Main understood well the value of both silence and solitude ... Main rediscovered meditation while living in the Far East." (Spiritual Classics - p.155)

"Contemplatives sometimes speak of their union with God by the analogy of a log in a fire: the glowing log is so united with the fire that it is fire ..."

"The wonderful thing about contemplative prayer is that it can be found everywhere, anywhere, any time for anyone. We become a portable sanctuary, so that we are living our life, wherever it is, aware of the goodness of God, the presence of God." (Be Still DVD)

"[W]e began experiencing that 'sweet sinking into Deity' Madame Guyon speaks of. It, very honestly, had much the same 'feel' and 'smell' as the experiences I had been reading about in the Devotional Masters" (Renovare Perspective, 01/ 1998)

Henri Nouwen

"Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God." (Sabbatical Journey, page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition

"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." (In the Name of Jesus)

"Prayer is soul work because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, ... It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is. (Bread for the Journey)

"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)

"The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being." (Here and Now, p. 22)

Gary Thomas

"It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing" (Sacred Pathways)

Sue Monk Kidd

"I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us ... When we encounter another person, ... we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there." (God's Joyful Surprise, pp. 228- 233) "We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth's holiness.... Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred.... Goddess offers us the holiness of everything." (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pp. 162-163)

This is just a small fraction of the writers our Christian leaders are favorably quoting from. They might as well be quoting from staunch, full- blown New Agers and pantheists. Actually, that might be safer, for at least those ones are not deceptively disguising themselves behind Christian terminology. If your pastor, leader or professor is quoting from "Christian" contemplatives, maybe it is time for us to tell them, "no more."

Other contemplatives who are frequently quoted by Christian authors and leaders in favorable ways:

Brennan Manning
Ruth Haley Barton

Teilhard de Chardin

Julian of Norwich

Leonard Sweet

The Cloud of Unknowing

For more information:

Amazing Quotes by Contemplatives

Quoting Heretics: The New Trend for Christian Authors

Quotes from Emerging Church leaders

Leadership Summit 2006 Speaker Promotes Eastern/New Age Meditation
 

"I attended a meditation-intensive day at an ashram [Hindu spiritual center]to support a friend. As I sat in meditation in what was for me an unfamiliar environment, I suddenly felt and saw a bolt of lightning shoot up from the base of my spine out the top of my head. It forced me to recognize something great within me ... this awareness of my own divinity." (from The Highest Goal, Michael Ray, foreword by Jim Collins, p. 28, 2005)

Jim Collins, the man who wrote the foreword for The Highest Goal will be one of the featured speakers at this year's Leadership Summit, hosted by Willow Creek. The conference will be attended by more than 70,000 Christian leaders, in over 130 locations.

In 1982, Collins took Michael Ray's course, Creativity in Business. The course (and the book named after the course) "takes much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophy, mysticism and meditation techniques" (from the book). In one section of the book it talks about "your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide-an inner person who can be with you in life.... We meditate to unfold our inner being." The book also presents Tarot cards.

Collins was so inspired by Ray's course in 1982 that he wrote the foreword for Ray's 2005 book, The Highest Goal: The Secret That Sustains You in Every Minute. Collins says the book is "the distillation of years of accumulated wisdom from a great teacher." Collins says he discovered "the path to my highest goal" by reading the book. What is this highest goal that Michael Ray speaks of? Realizing the divinity within. And how is this realization obtained? Through meditation. In the book, Ray tells readers to "[p]ractice emptying your mind," "[e] xperience not thinking" and to "[m]editate regularly." Other quotes in the book include those of Eastern religion gurus such as Ram Dass, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Swami Shantananda.

For Willow Creek to include a speaker at the Leadership Summit who agrees with Michael Ray's Eastern/New Age philosophies on spirituality to the point of actually writing the foreword to this book, is almost unbelievable! Over 70,000 Christian leaders, in churches and auditoriums across North America, will be introduced to Collins at a conference that is advertised as offering "you and every leader on your team a place to rededicate yourselves to God's life-changing work." If the spirituality that Jim Collins promotes is a part of this "life- changing work," we fear it will not be God's work but rather that of deceptive doctrines of demons, and Michael Ray's "spirit-guide[s] " that take place.

Special Note: This news about Jim Collins' connection with Willow Creek (named recently as the most influential evangelical church) may be as significant as the news last year that New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard (with strong ties to the Hoffman Institute) signed on with Rick Warren to help implement the global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. And incidentally, both Collins and Blanchard have spoken with Mikhail Gorbachev and former President Bill Clinton in international leadership conferences. Their influence world-wide is tremendous. How is it that the two most influential evangelical pastors have each linked up with someone who is a promoter of Eastern style meditation and the New Age? Lighthouse Trails is confident that the facts speak for themselves, and we encourage you to check this out for yourself.

See below for further documentation:

Living Leadership

Living Leadership 2004

Defense Acquisition University

Create One

Earth-Friendly Vision



 

New Age Writer Found in Christian Circles
 

Sue Monk Kidd is a popular author, whose books are read by many Christians and used in many Sunday School studies. Her books are carried in countless Christian bookstores, and surprisingly are endorsed by and quoted from the most unlikely Christian leaders. Ray Yungen talks about Monk Kidd in his important book, A Time of Departing:

[Sue] Monk Kidd's spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book, When the Heart Waits. She explains: "There's a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that's only God ... the soul is more than something to win or save. It's the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us....

How did a Baptist Sunday school teacher come to believe that divinity is within all? [A]Sunday school co-worker handed her [Monk Kidd] a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.

What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd's worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings. She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: "I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us ... When we encounter another person, ... we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there." (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134- 135)

Dance of the Dissident Daughter, published six years after When the Heart Waits, shows clearly Monk Kidd's transition into goddess and panentheist spirituality, going so far as to say that God can be found even in excrement. In speaking about mysticism, she states:
As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess.... Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it's known as samadhi.... Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one.... The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things (pp. 161-163, Dance of the Dissident Daughter).

Perhaps what is so disturbing about this is the favorable quoting and endorsement of Monk Kidd's writings. For instance, Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) writes an endorsement on the back cover of When the Heart Waits, saying: "As I read her book, Sue Monk Kidd became a companion to me. I love having her walk with me on my journey." Since Peterson is also on the back cover of Richard Foster's contemplative book, Prayer Finding the Heart's True Home and Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel as well as on the board of advisors of Allelon with Leonard Sweet and Brian McLaren, his endorsement of Sue Monk Kidd probably shouldn't be too much of a surprise. But then there is David Jeremiah, who in his book, Life Wide Open, favorably quotes from Sue Monk Kidd's book, When the Heart Waits. While this was brought out publicly last year, Jeremiah still has made no public statement about his quoting Monk Kidd and about her beliefs. But that might be because he also quoted from other contemplatives and New Age sympathizers in his book, and to reject his quoting of Monk Kidd would mean he would have to reject many other comments in the book, thus negating the credibility of the book all together.

Monk Kidd's work has been endorsed by other unlikely names. Moody Monthly, of her book God's Joyful Surprise, said, "... [Kidd] suggests some disciplines for cultivating an 'interior quietness' ... Her writing, well-balanced by the wisdom of writers like Brother Lawrence, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen, is alive with humorous anecdotes." Of the same book, Today's Christian Woman says "the message and challenge of the book is profound."

Want to Learn the Truth About the Emerging Church?
 
Many people think that the emerging movement was started by a bunch of disgruntled young people who want to be in a hip environment with couches and candles. Not so. The emerging church movement was started by Leadership Network (Bob Buford) in the mid nineties. At that time, Leadership Network hired Doug Pagitt, then brought on Brian McLaren and some others. If you want to really understand the truth behind the emerging church, spend some time on Leadership Network's website. Here are a few links to help you get around:

Alliance Partners of Leadership Network, includes Zondervan, Church Communication Network (CCN - Be Still conference), and Lifeway (Southern Baptist Convention - yes they support the emerging church movement too.

Leadership Network Archive Explorer Resources Archives

Also read our article: Leadership Network Launched the Emerging Church

MOVIE ALERT: Conversations With God
 

In the last couple years there has been an unusually high number of movies that have an obvious and clear New Age message. Indigo Children and Bee Season are two of those along with more recent releases such as The Shaggy Dog and Peaceful Warrior. Now, soon to be released (October), is Conversations With God, based on the very popular book series by New Age writer and actor Neale Donald Walsch:

August 8, 2006 -- (Los Angeles, CA) "Conversations with God" the book series that inspired and changed the lives of millions around the world is now a film that opens nationwide on October 27, 2006 (released by Samuel Goldwyn Films). Adapted from the books by Neale Donald Walsch, "Conversations with God" tells the true story of Walsch (played by Henry Czerny) who, at the lowest point in his life, asks God some very hard questions. The answers he gets from God/within become the foundation of the internationally acclaimed book series that has sold over 7 million copies and been translated into 34 languages. The film chronicles the dramatic journey of a down and out man who inadvertently becomes a spiritual messenger and best selling author. Read the rest of this article from Religion News Service
Neale Donald Walsch describes truth in his book, Communion With God, as something that is always changing: 'Truth is nothing more than a word meaning 'what is right now.' However, since conditions are always changing, changing conditions create changing truth'"Some of Walsch's "conversations with God" are:
God: Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good; only through that which you call the work of the devil that you can know and do the work of God. I do not love hot more than I do cold, high more than low, left more than right. It is all relative. It is all part of what is. I do not love "good" more than I love "bad." Hitler went to heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God. (RAW, p. 127)
To read more about Conversations with God, click here. Other New Age oriented movies that have surfaced recently are What the Bleep Do We Know? and The Celestine Prophecy (based on James Redfield's book). Our society is quickly becoming a New Age world where meditation, the god within, global unity, and all is Divine are concepts more and more people are coming to accept as truth. And unfortunately, through contemplative spirituality, this is also happening in Christendom.

Awana Club Now Featuring Book
by Youth Specialties Speaker

 

In February, we contacted Awana Club with concerns about their affiliation with and promotion of contemplative organizations such as Willow Creek, Youth Specialties, and Group Publishing. We later learned that there would be no changes made by Awana regarding these organizations. (You may read about this situation in our February news release.)

We have now learned that Awana is now featuring and offering a book by Saddleback Youth Pastor, Doug Fields (a regular speaker at Youth Specialties events). The book, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A personal and practical guide to starting right, is published by Youth Specialties and Zondervan. Inside the book are several sidebar commentaries by various people who promote contemplative and/or emerging spirituality: Tony Campolo, the late Mike Yaconelli, Rick Warren, Marv Penner (Briercrest Biblical Seminary, Canada, Duffy Robbins, Bo Boshers (leader at Willow Creek), and others, most of whom promote contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. It is important to remember that Youth Specialties has been working in conjunction with emerging church leaders for several years now and has a major role in the growth of this movement.

According to the Awana website, "Awana is the leading ministry to help local churches reach children and youth for Christ." However, if they continue going in the contemplative/emerging direction, it may not be the biblical Jesus Christ that is being offered to kids and youth but rather another Christ and another gospel. We hope and pray they will understand how vital it is to stay away from those who teach and promote contemplative spirituality and who are engaged with the emerging church movement.

Contemplative Terms, and What They Mean
 

Ancient Wisdom The supposed laws of the Universe that, when mastered, enable one to see one's own divinity- another word for metaphysics or occultism.

A Thin Place Where the space or distance (spiritually speaking) between heaven and earth, God and man is very small. This thin place is supposed to be achieved through meditative prayer by anyone.

Centering/Centering Prayer Another term for contemplative meditation (going deep within your center). A type of meditation being promoted in many mainline churches under the guise of prayer.

Contemplative Prayer Going beyond thought by the use of repeated words or phrases.

Desert Fathers Monks who lived as hermits beginning around the third century who first taught the practice of contemplative prayer.

False Self The false self is the ego or personality that is observable by others. One rids oneself of the false self to find the true self through mantra-meditation. New Agers would consider people like Buddha, Ghandi, and even Jesus Christ as examples of people who found their true self.

Higher Self Supposed God-self within that New Agers seek to connect with through meditation. Also called the Christ-self or True-self.

Jesus Prayer A popular version of this prayer is Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, often abbreviated to Jesus.

Labyrinths A maze-like structure that is used during contemplative prayer in order to center down and reach the divinity within.

Lectio Divina Means sacred reading. In today's contemplative movement, it often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over again.

Mantra Word or words repeated either silently or verbally to induce an altered state of consciousness.

Meditation Meditation is practiced by all major world religions and is often described as an essential discipline for spiritual growth. Yet, like mysticism, there is great diversity in the practice of meditation. While some see mediation as simply spending time thinking quietly about life or about God, others use meditation techniques to experience altered states of consciousness that allow them to have esoteric experiences. In addition, meditation is promoted in secular society for the personal benefits of health, relaxation, and improved productivity.

Sacred Space Either a physical spot where one goes to engage in a mystical practice or the actual silence or the state of being during the mystical experience.

Spiritual Formation The teaching and application of the spiritual disciplines.

The silence Absence of normal thought.

Spiritual Director One who promotes or trains people in the spiritual disciplines including the silence.

Click here for more contemplative terms.



 

CAUTION: 2006 National Youth Workers Convention
 

This year's Youth Specialties-hosted National Youth Workers Convention (taking place in October and November in various locations) will include a labyrinth ("meditative words and music to guide you on a one-hour reflective journey"), and a huge speakers list that includes several contemplative/emerging promoting authors including Dan Kimball (The Emerging Church), Fil Anderson (Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers), Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God),and Mark Oestreicher (President Youth Specialties - says Christianity is an Eastern religion). Emergent leader Tony Jones and Tony Campolo as well as representatives from two mega churches, Wooddale Church (MN) and Saddleback Church, will also be featured. See our research on Youth Specialties .

American Bible Society Emerging Links Still Online
 

This is a follow up to our July 24th and July 28th posts on the American Bible Society's promotion of emerging and contemplative. Please see those posts for background information.

Although the main page for the For Ministry Authentic section is gone, many many of the pages with the emerging/contemplative links are still online, most of which means they can still be accessed through search engines and cached files. We hope ABS will remove all of these links. See the following:

Postmodern Ministry

Alternative Worship

Small groups, Cell groups, House churches

Prayer

Youth and Youth Ministry

Discipleship, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Renewal

What Ever Happened to Eerdman's Publishers?
 

Eerdmans Publishing Company began in 1910, and its motto, is "The finest in religious literature." In 1998, Eerdmans Publishing Company released a book by John P. Newport titled, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview. This resource is "a comprehensive study of the impact of New Age beliefs on contemporary culture - and on Christianity itself" (back cover). But it looks as though editors at Eerdmans forgot the warning of the book that they released just eight years ago. Today, Eerdmans is publishing an array of books that promote the New Age, contemplative and Eastern religions. Take a look at this sampling:

Between Two Souls: Conversations with Ryokan

Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for EverydayLiving


Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men


The Way of Jesus


Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope



 

 

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