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August 25, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
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As more and more of Christendom is being enveloped in a spirituality that emphasizes the mystical and exalts experience over biblical truth, it is equally true that many believers are realizing what is taking place around them. We pray that Lighthouse Trails might be a useful service to those in the body of Christ who, with compassion and concern, are sounding the alarm to family, friends, and colleagues. God bless you as you stand firm in the faith, speaking the truth in love and strength, by His grace.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." I Peter 5:8-11

Rick Warren Distorts the Instructions of Jesus to Fit His Global Peace Plan
 

On August 17th, acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist Charlie Rose interviewed Rick Warren. You may listen to this broadcast by clicking here. (You will have to let this file load.)

In the interview, Rose and Warren discuss the Purpose Driven Life paradigm and its relation to Christianity in North America and around the world. Here are a few of the comments:

1. Rick Warren states there are over 2 billion Christians in the world, and says that this number includes hundreds of millions of Catholics.

2. Warren said that, with regard to his book, "I couldn't figure out why it became such a phenomena. I think now it was because God wanted to provide a platform for these other issues we care about." (Warren's 5 global giants)

3. "I've been taking people, irreligious people, people with no background in any kind of faith or they haven't been to church or synagogue or temple in forty years ... and we take them where they need to be.... My goal is to move the American church [away] from self-centered consumerism.

This interview showed very clearly Warren's dream to see Christians and Catholics join together, stating that "minor doctrinal differences" should not keep them separated. "What I am interested in is bringing the church together ... we are never going to agree on a lot of things, but I found we do agree on purpose." He talked about the purposes that all Catholics and Protestants agree on.

But as he has done so many times in the past, Warren took his ecumenism a big step further than just a union of Catholics and Protestants. As Warren did at the Pew Forum on Religion last year, he explained to Rose his "man of peace" concept and said that every village, every government, every place has a man (or woman) of peace: "The man of peace is open and influential ... and here's the other thing, the man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer ... could be Muslim, could be Jewish." Warren said that Jesus sent out his disciples to go find the man of peace in every village. He said Jesus sent them out to find people who would work with them on solving poverty, sickness and the other problems of the world.(He said that they did not have to agree with the disciples message or beliefs.) In the same vein, Warren said that we don't have to have the same religion or moral beliefs to work with people on poverty, disease, etc. As an example he said he just met with the President of the gay-activist group ACT UP, and asked him, "Eric [Sawyer], how can I help you get your message out?" Sawyer answered, "Use your moral authority." Warren then said to Rose, "I'm working with these guys ... I'm looking for a coalition of civility, which means let's get back to the original meaning of tolerance. (See our previous post on Rick Warren's "coalition of civility.")

Warren has made a terrible distortion of what Scripture actually says. Jesus told his disciples to go out and call people to repentance whereas Warren is suggesting that we are to ignore our differences (including moral differences) and work together for peace (peace was not a goal that Jesus gave the disciples but rather was a blessing the disciples could give to a house that received their message):

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.... Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!" Matthew 10:5- 15

"Who's the man of peace in any village - or it might be a woman of peace - who has the most respect, they're open and they're influential? They don't have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they're open and they're influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that's going to bring the second Reformation." Rick Warren, May 23, 2005, Pew Forum on Religion
Why Has Fox News Interviewed Rick Warren
So Much Lately?

 

Over the last several days, Fox News has highlighted Rick Warren on news articles and in television interviews. It was looking like a Rick Warren Week at Fox News. On August 11th, Fox headlines read, "Can Rick Warren Save the World?" A few days later another article read, Can Rick Warren Change the World? On August 17th, Fox's Bill O' Reilly interviewed Warren. To wrap up the week, Fox did a special presentation Sunday evening with Warren, discussing his global peace plan.

Calling him an "evangelical superstar" and an "inspiring figure" Fox brought Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life to the world's living room. No longer is Purpose Driven Life a program just for churches and Christians - with the help of Fox News, it is becoming a program for secular and religious alike.

Why has Fox News taken such a positive, supportive interest in Rick Warren and his book, The Purpose Driven Life? Is it possible it has something to do with the fact that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the owner of Fox News, is also the owner of HarperCollins/Zondervan, which is Warren's publisher? In a 2004 News Corporation Earnings Report, Harper Collins experienced a 57% increase in revenues largely due to "unprecedented sales of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren."

While Rick Warren is promoting both the emerging church and contemplative spirituality and making efforts to bring about an ecumenical unity that may succeed beyond measure, the question must be asked, is Fox News being used as a catalyst for Purpose Driven and thus contemplative spirituality (a New Age, anti-biblical belief system that ultimately denies the gospel message of the Cross)?

Interestingly, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation also owns Fox Home Entertainment, the makers of the recent Be Still DVD, which is an infomercial for contemplative prayer. (See Murdoch's News Corporation.) And thus this leads us to another question ... is Rupert Murdoch's corporation intentionally trying to bring contemplative spirituality to the world at large, or is it merely trying to capitalize on the popularity of this mystical, New Age movement, without realizing the implications? Either way, for a corporation whose yearly revenues are in the billions, much can be and is being done to escalate this spirituality, bringing it to the masses from North America to the rest of the world.



BACK TO SCHOOL - Is Your College Student Safe?
 

Pretty soon, it is back to school, and thousands of teens and young people will be flooding the doors of Christian colleges and seminaries. For nearly five years now, we have been researching Christian colleges and seminaries, have spoken to countless professors and several presidents and have found that most of these higher education institutions are either heading into or are already saturated with contemplative/emerging spirituality. From recommended booklists to classroom-required textbooks to Chapel speakers to college-sponsored conferences, the schools are endorsing, promoting, and teaching this New Age, anti-biblical belief system. On our Contemplative Colleges page, you can see the many we have already listed. The list continues to grow as contemplative spirituality races into and overtakes much of Christendom. We have provided this list as a warning and resource for parents and students.

If you are getting ready to send your student to a Christian college or seminary, please take some time to find out whether that institution will be promoting contemplative prayer and the emerging church. If they have a Spiritual Formation program, find out which books are going to be used. (See below for a list of some of the more popular contemplative authors used in colleges and seminaries.)

Christian Colleges That Do Not Promote Contemplative/Emerging: If you know of a Bible-believing Christian college or seminary that does not promote contemplative or emerging and does not have a Spiritual Formation program, please drop us an email and tell us the name of the institution. We would like to post some of these on our research site. A few that we know of are:

Corban College (formerly Western Baptist College - Oregon)

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (Minnesota)

Bob Jones University (South Carolina)

Calvary Chapel Bible College (California)

Each of the schools listed above do not have a Spiritual Formation program, nor do we know of any promotion of contemplative prayer or the emerging church within the school. They also do not promote Purpose Driven materials, which are a catalyst for contemplative spirituality. 

Does Southern Baptist Lifeway Stores Promote Contemplative Spirituality & the Emerging Church
 

Recently, we received the following email: "You make mention that LifeWay Christian Resources and/or Stores (Southern Baptist) is also behind the emergent church movement. Where are you getting that from?" So we can set the record straight, we are providing the following documentation that shows Lifeway's promotion of both contemplative and emerging:

Perhaps the most indicting piece of documentation is Lifeway's "alliance partnership" with Leadership Network (the organization that launched the emergent church movement in the mid-nineties)and to this day promotes the movement. For Lifeway to be partnered with Leadership Network is a bold statement that is louder than words.

In addition, Lifeway Stores is carrying books by emergents Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt as well as New Age sympathizers Ken Blanchard and Laurie Beth Jones. Add to this books by contemplatives Richard Foster and Gary Thomas and pantheists Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington. On their best selling list is Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz and Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life. Now some may say that they carry all "Christian" books. No, that is not true. A quick check in their database reveals they do not carry Ray Yungen's A Time of Departing! Could that be because this is the book that exposes the very movements Lifeway is so clearly promoting?

Lifeway Christian Resources (which owns Lifeway Stores) is a hub for emerging/contemplative resources with articles by Brian McLaren, and ones speaking favorably about Leonard Sweet (including Lifeway's recommendation for Sweet's books) and Rob Bell.

Also see: Lifeway Stores Carrying Be Still DVD

Update: Lifeway Stores Removes 14 Books on Yoga and Other Eastern Practices
BOOK WATCH: Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with your Students
 

Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli If your church's youth pastor is using this book to get ideas on how to run a Christian youth group, he will end up getting a heavy dose of contemplative spirituality, which unfortunately and most likely will be passed on to the kids in the group. When we spoke with the book's author, Mark Yaconelli, via email in 2003, and asked him if he taught a type of prayer that required the repeating of a word or phrase, he acknowledged that yes, this was indeed what he taught.

Contemplative Youth Ministry is published by Youth Specialties and Zondervan, the leaders in contemplative/emerging book publishing and has a foreword by Anne Lamott. In an article titled "Ancient- Future Youth Ministry" written by Yaconelli, he states the following: "It's Sunday just after 5 p.m. in the youth room at Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church in San Anselmo, California. Seven adults are sitting around a "Christ-candle" in the youth room. There's no talking, no laughter. For 10 minutes, the only noise is the sound of their breathing." ... (Read more ...) On Yaconelli's website, Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project, he gives detailed instructions on centering prayer.

For further information:
A review of this book.
Research on Mark Yaconelli and The Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project.
Contemplative Prayer: The Heart of Mysticism by Pastor Gary Gilley

Churches and organizations that are selling and/or promoting this book:
Willow Creek
Homeschooling Supply
Mennonite Church of Canada
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (IN)
Bible.com
YWAM


Left Behind Game To Be Released Soon
 

"LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 23, 2006-- After more than four years of business and product development, Left Behind Games Inc. (OTCBB:LFBG) will release in 6 days, the fully playable Beta Demo of the company's highly anticipated product, LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces. Left Behind Games expects this first product to perform well, reaching gamers, moviegoers and readers of the popular Left Behind book series, which have sold more than 65 million books to date, and have been translated into more than 30 languages. "We expect to distribute more than a million Beta Demos to gamers online, as well as to ministry and church organizations interested in the inspirational content," said Troy Lyndon, chief executive officer, Left Behind Games." Read this entire news article.

Click here for the CRS Left Behind Games database. 

New Agers and Contemplatives Speak About Mysticism
 

"I would like to explore what I call interspirituality: a crossing-over boundaries that mysticism makes possible and concrete.... [t]he spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions." Wayne Teasdale (who coined the term interspirituality)

"[M]ysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam." Tony Campolo, Speaking My Mind

"The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics: it is no accident that both traditions use the same word for the highest reaches of their respective activities ... occultism is defined as the science of mystical evolution; it is the employment of the hidden (i.e. occult) mystical faculties of man to discern the hidden reality of nature, i.e. to see God as the all in all." Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism

"Mysticism is the awakening to and cultivation of transcendental consciousness. It is unitive awareness. All forms of mystical wisdom are unitive, that is, non dual. This is a significant point of convergence among the religions themselves." Wayne Teasdale

"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." Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus (Recommended by Kay Warren)

"I built myself a prayer room—a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns..."Mike Perschon, Youth Specialties Magazine, December 2004

"This mystical stream [contemplative prayer and other monastic traditions] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality." Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (recommended by Richard Foster)

Zondervan and the 2007 National Pastor's Convention - Pulling Out All the Stops
 

The 2007 National Pastors Convention (presented by Zondervan publishers) carries a heavy-weight line up of speakers. >From Ruth Haley Barton to Brian McLaren, next year's convention will not be lacking in New Age sympathizing, meditation promoting speakers. John Burke, president of Emerging Leadership Initiative, was recently a speaker at the Ancient-Wisdom Conference, and says this of the church of the future:
What do a Buddhist, a biker couple, a gay-rights activist, a transient, a high-tech engineer, a Muslim, a twenty-something single mom, a Jew, a couple living together, and an atheist all have in common? They are the future church in America! Most of them are in their twenties or thirties and became followers of Christ in the past five years. Many are now leading others in our church.
Emergent leaders Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, and Doug Paggit are on the speakers list as are other emerging/contemplative promoting authors such as Robert Webber (Ancient-Future Worship), Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God), and Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways). Of Eugene Peterson, Stuart Briscoe and Phyllis Tickle, Zondervan says:
Meet this year's sages! These wise, experienced ministry leaders will be onsite and readily available to meet with you and your team by appointment. They're coming to answer your hard questions regarding real-life ministry issues and in turn give insight into what has helped them run the race well for so many years.
Unfortunately, the answers that this long line of speakers at the 2007 convention will be offering, will point participants to a spirituality that shuffles off the gospel message of Jesus Christ and introduces a sensual, demonic belief system that will bring much harm and damage. We hope you will be able to convince your pastor and other church leaders that this is not an event they should attend.

For more information:
Our research on the National Pastors Convention  
Rick Warren - Seeking Unity to Reach "Critical Mass"
 

According to news reports about Rick Warren's participation at the Ecumenical and Interfaith Pre-Conferences (for the International AIDS Conference), Warren stated: "We are here at these conferences to say to fellow Christians that we believe the Church needs to take the lead in the greatest health concern on the planet." He said that Christians need to come together on this. However, over the past couple years, Warren has laid the ground work to show that this coming together does not just mean for Christians. He is talking about crossing all barriers - religious, political and other - so that the world's people will be unified to fight the giants of poverty, corruption, ignorance and sickness. At one conference he said that every village has a man or woman of peace, who might not necessarily be Christian and could possibly be Muslim, and that person would help to implement the global P.E.A.C.E. plan in their part of the world. At the AIDS conference in Canada, Warren said he is "pressing for a 'coalition of civility,' where diverse groups can disagree without being disagreeable or denouncing one another, and seek unity without requiring uniformity in order to reach critical mass."

Critical mass. What does this mean? While this is a scientific term, when speaking of populations of people, it is referring to "an explosion in global consciousness capable of 'touching' or transforming all of humankind." The idea is that when a certain critical number of people all share the same awareness, then change can come to all people's thinking because of the critical mass. A critical mass does not have to be a majority if it is a powerful enough mass, but unity is essential - and so is meditation. Listen to this excerpt from A Time of Departing:
"Dr. Rodney R. Romney, former Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Seattle, is a person frequently quoted as an example of a New Age Christian. He very candidly revealed what was conveyed to him in his contemplative prayer periods. The 'source of wisdom' he was in contact with told him the following:
I want you to preach this oneness, to hold it up before the world as my call to unity and togetherness. In the end this witness to the oneness of all people will undermine any barriers that presently exist.
Could this be a familiar spirit speaking here? Jesus Christ did not teach that all people are one. There are the saved and the unsaved. And Jesus Christ is the catalyst for this distinction."
Rick Warren is suggesting that we need to have a critical mass and that for that to happen there must be a crossing of all barriers - unity is a must!

Click here to read more of this article. 

Overlake Church and the Revolution Conference
 

Recently we were contacted by a member of Overlake Church in Redmond, Washington who shared with us concerns about Overlake's affinity with contemplative and emerging spiritualities. Overlake Church is a non-denominational church that states it "believes the Bible to be divinely inspired and inerrant." However, this November they will be hosting the Revolution Conference, which will feature Brian McLaren and other speakers who promote the emerging church and contemplative spirituality. The conference is for "Young (18-35)/emerging leaders, practitioners of all ages and pastors looking for validation, acceptance, hope and partnership." Workshops will offer an array of topics on the emerging church and contemplative spirituality.

An interview introduction with two of the speakers says the following:
Christine Wicker and Helen Mildenhall used to be dedicated church goers. They have both left the building and the religion called Christianity. Why? What was it about our religion that made life less abundant and more difficult for them? Why do they still find themselves interested in Jesus? What do they think we could do to improve?
Partners of the event include the contemplative George Fox Evangelical Seminary and Mars Hill Graduate School.

For more information:

Brian McLaren: On Heaven, Hell and the Cross

Our Research on Brian McLaren

Christian Musician John Michael Talbot and Thomas Keating
 

"EUREKA SPRINGS -- Father Thomas Keating, OSCO, noted Trappist monk, abbot, author and founder of the centering prayer movement, presented a Contemplative Prayer Retreat Aug. 11-13 at the Little Portion Retreat and Training Center near Eureka Springs." Read the rest of this article.
See our research on Christian musicians promoting contemplative.


PURPOSE DRIVEN WATCH - Weekly Newsletters Continue to Aid the Spread of the Contemplative/Emerging Message
 

In virtually every issue of Rick Warren's weekly e-newsletter, sent out to pastors and church leaders around the world, there is promotion of and endorsement for contemplative/emerging spirituality. This week, Issue 273, there is an article titled "The Message: Born from a pastor's heart" written by Eugene Peterson. The article is actually adapted from Peterson's recent release, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading.

Also in this week's Pastor's newsletter is an interview with meditation promoting Jim Collins.

For further research:
Willow Creek Leadership Summit Brings in Jim Collins

Research on The Message

 

 

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