In the fall of 2007,
Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman gave her testimony in front of a live
audience at Twin City Fellowship in MN. Lighthouse Trails is pleased to
announce this special presentation, which has an introduction by Olive
Tree Ministries director Jan Markell. This 70 minute long DVD is now
available. To obtain and for more information, please click here.
News & World Report: Identifying Move By World's Religions Toward
the December 24, 2007 issue of US News & World Report, the cover story reads: "A Return to Tradition - a new
interest in old ways takes root in Catholicism and many other faiths."
The article illustrates the move by many (in different religions and
denominations) toward "traditional practices." Some of these
practices include liturgical services and the Catholic eucharist.* Calling
this a shift in thinking, the article states:
But this shift extends beyond the Roman
Catholic Church. In Richardson, Texas, the congregation of Trinity
Fellowship Church participates in something that would have been considered
almost heretical in most evangelical Protestant churches five or 10 years
ago: a weekly Communion service.... Trinity Fellowship is not the only
evangelical congregation that is offering a weekly Eucharist, saying the
Nicene or Apostles' creeds, reading the early Church Fathers, or doing
other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high
Something curious is happening in the wide world of faith, something that
defies easy explanation or quantification. More substantial than a trend
but less organized than a movement, it has to do more with how people
practice their religion than with what they believe, though people caught
up in this change often find that their beliefs are influenced, if not
subtly altered, by the changes in their practice.
In other words, there is a move toward
practices that supersedes the beliefs of those faiths. And the article
suggests that those performing these practices may end up with changed
views and beliefs because of the practices.
Carl Anderson, the senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church, explained
that while he had depended on the seeker-friendly programs to build his congregation,
his church was hoping to "reconnect with the historical church."
Regarding Andersen's church, the article states:
Not surprisingly, that move [to the
traditional] was threatening to church members who strongly identify with
the Reformation and the Protestant rejection of Catholic practices,
including most liturgy.... Trinity reshaped its worship practices in ways
that drove some congregants away. But Anderson remains committed [to
With the emphasis on Catholic practices,
it is not surprising that the US News article brings in the emerging
You see this at work quite clearly in the
so-called emergent communities ... Brian McLaren, the popular author and a
founder of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md., recently left
the pastorate to talk and write about the emergent movement and other
developments in Christianity. While at Cedar Ridge, ... McLaren instituted
a Eucharistic liturgy and contemplative prayer retreats. And he appreciates
the role of tradition in the new self-organizing communities that are
sprouting up around the country.
Like McLaren, Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches From
the Emergent Frontier [March 2008] and national coordinator of Emergent
Village, talks about the postmodern aspects of the new traditionalism.
People of the postmodern mindset ... search for new forms of community.
[Jones says] "We are going to live in reconciliation with each other,
and traditional practices are what restore us and hold us together."
The significance of the US News &
World Report article is the fact that a major news magazine identifies
this move by most major religious groups today as mystical. But many
readers may not catch this because mystical practice is never discussed in
the article beyond the mention of McLaren's contemplative prayer retreats.
However, subtly it is. When it refers to "traditional practices,"
ones that Carl Andersen admits have driven some congregants away, he isn't
referring to evangelical or Protestant tradition. And when the article says
McLaren "appreciates the role of tradition," McLaren has proven
time and again that he isn't referring to biblical tradition when he says
"tradition." And when the article says that emergent leader Tony
Jones speaks of "postmodern aspects of the new traditionalism,"
he isn't talking about evangelical or biblical traditions. What are these
traditional practices? The article certainly leaves much to be desired in
coming up with an answer to that, but there are some key phrases in the
article that shed some light. Some of those phrases are:
* A "resurgent interest in traditional monastic and religious
* "Reading the early Church Fathers [which includes the Desert Fathers
and monastic mystics]"
* A growing appetite for something more than "worship that is a
glorified Bible class in some ways"
* Drawing on deep traditional resources
* Ancient liturgical practices
* Recapturing those traditions that modernizers dismissed as relics
* Reviving the old stuff and traditions in a creative way
* Active spiritual formation
Anyone who has studied contemplative spirituality will recognize these
phrases as part of that belief system, referring largely to drawing on the
mystical practices of the desert fathers and other mystical sources. This
"new traditionalism" is the framework for bringing in liturgy,
contemplative prayer, mysticism, and the Eucharist, all of which, at the
very least, point practitioners to Catholicism and ultimately an
interspiritual body. A key statement in the article is when it says that "it
has to do more with how people practice their religion than with what they believe." As is so prevalent within the emerging church
(including Purpose Driven), there is a de-emphasis on doctrine and
theology, and an emphasis on the experiential and contemplative practices.
As evangelical Christianity tears down historical barriers to Catholic
practices and beliefs, these elements will burst forth into our churches
unhindered and unrestricted. And the results will be devastating.
Just four miles from the Lighthouse
Trails office, there is a Catholic spiritual direction center. Their
bookstore is ample evidence of their outright New Age affinity. A good
example would be the book titled Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav,
which is consistently sold there. The book advises its readers to dwell in
the presence of their non- physical guides and teachers (familiar spirits).
Other Catholic retreat centers reflect this view as well. One trappist
abbey features numerous titles - one called Living Buddha, Living Christ.
Our concerns are not based on
anti-Catholic bigotry or hyper-legalistic misinterpretations. We believe
anyone who takes the time to investigate these things will come to the same
So much is at stake here. In
addition to doctrinal conflict, it is an issue regarding a massive opening
to the realm of familiar spirits (Lev. 19:31). What really is alarming is
that the emerging church shares the exact same mystical approach that
produced the outright New Age acceptance one finds in these Catholic
It is very noteworthy that Tony Jones is mentioned in the US News article; in Jones' book, The Sacred Way, Jones takes a strong stand
for eastern/New Age style religious practices. Jones believes that the
"new Christians" will be mystics. This will fulfill the words of
mystic Karl Rahner who said the Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic ...
or he will be nothing. (1) And if the article in US News is any
indication, Rahner's vision of the future Christian will come to pass as
evangelicals and mainstream Christians fall in step with this paradigm
shift toward the "new traditionalism" and a mystical
University (AOG) Invites Contemplative Proponents to Conference
In March 2008, Southeastern University,
an Assemblies of God institution, will be presenting the 2008 National
Leadership Forum. The motto of the conference is "Igniting the Flame
of Servant Leadership." Those scheduled to speak at this year's event
include New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard, emerging church author and
pastor Erwin McManus, and Henri Nouwen proponent Kay Warren.
Other speakers include Colin Powell, Andy Stanley, and Jeb Bush. The three
day conference will cost between $600 and $700 per person.
Blanchard and McManus participated at last year's Leadership Forum at
Southeastern as did author and leadership trainer Laurie Beth Jones. Jones holds to New Age thought as
can be seen in her book Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom
for Inspired Teamwork. She says her personal mission is "to
recognize, promote, and inspire divine connection in myself and
It appears that Southeastern University is lacking wisdom when it comes to
protecting their students from the influences of the New Age. As another
example, while their school online bookstore offers a disclaimer, the store, which bears the university name, is loaded
with books on subjects such as Yoga, Reiki, Wicca, Tai Chi, Tarot Cards,
Witchcraft, and more. In addition, there are books offered of a
pornographic nature. While the university leaders may feel a one page
disclaimer is enough, the fact is SEU has placed its name on a website that
has New Age, occultic, pornographic, and homosexual material; and in so
doing they have put their students in harm's way.
Such conferences as Southeastern's Leadership Forum are occurring
frequently across North America with many of the same speakers sharing the
platforms. Leadership is the focal point. Willow Creek had their Leadership Summit this year with two of the speakers
that will attend the Southeastern event: Marcus Buckingham and Colin
Powell. In October, the Lead Like Jesus conference took place and included
several speakers that will participate at the Southeastern conference:
Erwin McManus, Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni. Worth noting is the
appearance of Kay Warren and Erwin McManus also at the upcoming Rethink Conference at Robert Schuller's Crystal
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Professor Earl
Creps Promote Contemplative Spirituality
Assemblies of God: Committed to Spiritual Formation,
Contemplative and Emerging
Christian Colleges That Promote Contemplative
Update on Anita Dittman
weeks ago, Lighthouse Trails author and Holocaust survivor Anita
Dittman suffered a severe heart attack. We asked you for your prayers.
Since then cards, emails, and letters have poured in to the Lighthouse
Trails office for Anita. And many have said they were praying for her.
Anita has now been released from the
hospital and is recuperating at home. She has read all the wonderful
emails, letters, and cards, and she has asked us to thank all who
wrote to her and prayed for her. She is very grateful.
Thank you and God bless you.
Jews, Muslims, Christians celebrate similar roots
by Katherine Mullen
The sight of Christians, Jews and Muslims seated together around dinner
tables gave the Rev. Gerry Hanberry, pastor at Glade United Church of
Christ, an idea of what the kingdom of God might look like.
"This is it," he said of the scene in front of him on Sunday.
Nearly 250 people gathered that night at the Lynfield Event Complex in
Frederick for "Hanukkah, Christmas & Hajj Festival," an
Hendi also has bigger plans for the interfaith dinner in 2008. He said he
hoped to expand the event next year to 500 people and to include all faiths
in Frederick County. The audience responded with much applause.
"This is the dream that will come true because God wants this to
happen," Hendi said. "We believe that tonight we stand, and
divided we fall." Click here to read the rest of this out-of-house article.
More on interspirituality.
Silently Retreating Mennonites
Recently, the MB Herald promoted
the Mark Centre, a discipleship
training centre that focuses on training for young adults (MBMS Trek Training)
and offers and facilitates leadership retreats. This same retreat centre (http://www.markcentre.org/) is also
endorsed by the BC MB Conference (here).
glance, this inviting place seems very Christ centered, as their mission is
'to lead people to intimate places with God where his voice can be heard'.
If you look closer, it soon becomes apparent that those who spend time
there may be given a heavy dose of contemplative
offering various retreats and spiritual
direction sessions with qualified spiritual directors, there is also a
romantic getaway for married couples that features "an informal
chocolate fondue upon arrival, breakfast in bed, a group spiritual listening exercise."
As well as monthly spiritual direction, the Mark Centre offers a
complimentary 30 minute listening experience; "a session with a ...
staff member who leads you through a "Lectio Devina", a scripture
reading practice that invites you to meet God personally and receive from
him." Click here to read more.
Rick Warren Counsels Jews on Recruiting Congregants
Jennifer Riley, Christian
Today US Correspondent
pastor Rick Warren attended a large Reform Jewish gathering last week to
share tips on how to build a community.
Warren - who saw his church expand from just seven people meeting in his
house to 22,000 people worshipping in an expansive treasure island-like
campus - said the key to holding onto visitors was involving them in a
"We believe congregations have to grow large and small at the same
time," Warren said Thursday, according to the San Diego Union--Tribune
newspaper. "We don't really feel like people are in the congregation
until they're in small groups."
The "Purpose-Driven" pastor spoke to thousands of Jewish leaders
Thursday night at the Union for Reform Judaism's biennial convention in San
Diego. Click here to read the rest of this article.
More on Warren's ecumenism
Also see: A bridge over other waters by Mike Oppenheimer
Tony Blair Converts to Catholicism
LONDON (AP) - Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who generally kept
his religious views private while in office, has converted to Catholicism,
church officials said Saturday.
Blair, who had long been a member of the Church of England, converted to
the Catholic faith during a Mass held on Friday night at a chapel in
London, the Catholic Church said.
"It can be confirmed that Tony Blair has been received into full
communion with the Catholic Church by Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor," the head of the church in England and Wales, the
church said in a statement.
"I'm very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church,"
the statement quoted Murphy-O'Connor as saying. Click here to read this entire article.
To understand the significance of this and other conversions to
Catholicism, read Another Jesus by Roger Oakland.
The Testimony of a Former Catholic Nun
by Mary Ann Collins
I joined the Roman Catholic Church
because I was looking for God. I entered the convent because I wanted to be
close to God and to serve Him with radical devotion. But it wasn't until
after I left Catholicism that I found the kind of relationship with God that
I had been looking for all along....
I started out as a
"liberal" intellectual who was prejudiced against Christianity. I
had been taught to believe that Christians were gullible people who were
either stupid or uneducated. I was basically an agnostic who didn't know or
care whether God existed. For me, the idea of God was irrelevant. I looked
to science, psychology, and politics to save mankind from its problems.
During my senior year in high school, I
fell in love with a young man who was a devout Catholic. That was my first
encounter with someone who strongly believed in God. I may have met
Christians before that, but they didn't make their Christian beliefs known
This young man prayed. He loved God. He
was a man of principle and integrity. His life was guided by his religious
beliefs. He had hope. He had a kind of compassion and respect for people
that I had not seen before. There was something different about him. I
didn't know what it was, but whatever it was, I wanted it. I figured that
it had something to do with his religion, so I started taking instruction
in Catholicism. The young man moved away and I didn't see him again, but I
continued studying Catholicism. Click here to read this entire story.
Publishing News - December Offer
During the month of December, Lighthouse Trails Publishing
is offering a special opportunity. Normally, we give a 40% discount for 10
or more copies of the same title. For December,
you may order a mixture of 10 books on the titles we publish. Click here for more information. We hope this will help to get some
of these books into the hands of your loved ones.
NEW DVD: The
Story of Anita Dittman - a 70 minute DVD presentation of Anita Dittman,
which took place at Twin City Fellowship in MN in October. Click
here for ordering information.
This is also available in CD (audio).
THREE WAYS TO ORDER
DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING:
2. Toll Free Order
Quantity Discounts: 40% off retail for
orders of 10 or more copies, 50% off for international orders of 10 or more
We ship within 24
hours of receiving order.
Trails books are also available to order from most
bookstores (online and walk-in). If your local bookstore isn't carrying one
of our titles, you can ask them to order it for you.
* * * *
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.
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
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.
Newsletter in Print - Coming Soon
you would like to receive the Coming
from the Lighthouse newsletter in print form by mail, please
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be
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Both email and printed editions
will be free.
New Winter Catalog
Lighthouse Trails Winter/Spring 2008 catalog is now available. If you are a
LT customer, you have probably now received a catalog in the mail. If
you are not a customer and would like a free catalog mailed to you, please
send your address to email@example.com.
The Other Side
of the River by Alaskan Kevin Reeves
experiences and strange doctrines overtake his church, one man risks all
to find the truth ... a true story.
of the topics this book addresses:
"Slain" in the Spirit practice
Emphasis on humanity of Jesus over Deity
Gifts & Calling for the unbeliever?
Experience versus Scripture
Repetitive chanting & singing
Understanding true worship