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August 23, 2011
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The Vineyard Movement Grabs Hold of Contemplative Spirituality

This week we received an e-mail from someone who asked us to check up on a workshop taking place at the Vineyard in Anaheim, California. Our reader shared her concern that this may be an emerging type workshop and that the church might be going in that direction.

Our Response:

“The Vineyard Movement Grabs Hold of Contemplative Spirituality”

The Vineyard movement was started in the 1970s by John Wimber (who had been a leader in the Friends (Quaker) church) after breaking off from Calvary Chapel where Kenn and Joanie Gulliksen had started the first meetings. Vineyard Anaheim is the “mother” or “flagship” Vineyard church, pastored today by Lance Pittluck. Regarding the  ”Spiritual Formation” workshop that our reader wrote to us about, on the church website, it states: 

We believe that every disciple is invited by the Holy Spirit into becoming conformed to the Image of Christ through the disciplines encompassed by solitude, silence, scripture-meditation and reflection. 

Vineyard Anaheim has turned to Richard Foster’s Renovare to bring these “disciplines” to their church members. Richard Foster, also a Quaker, is one of the pioneers in bringing contemplative spirituality to the evangelical/Protestant church and is a disciple of Thomas Merton. Foster believes that Merton tried to “awaken” God’s people (through mysticism)2 and that he “has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.3 Yet Merton’s panentheistic view (i.e., God in all) coupled with his strong affinity to Buddhism (he once stated: “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can”4) is contrary to the God of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Richard Foster so resonates with Merton that he includes him in his list of spiritual masters in his two books Spiritual Classics and Devotional Classics

It’s not just Richard Foster that Vineyard is looking to for “spiritual formation.” On the ”Pastoral Staff Recommends” page, there is a who’s who of contemplative mystics listed. Craig Lockwood, the pastor who will be heading up the Spiritual Formation program, includes Dallas Willard, Jan Johnson, Larry Crabb, Madame Guyon, Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Morton Kelsey, and Adele Calhoun on his recommended reading list. These are some of the “heavy weights” in the contemplative movement, and you can read about most of them in A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen or on our research site. Typical of the contemplative mindset, one of those listed, Morton Kelsey, stated: “You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity . . . I believe that the Holy One lives in every soul.”5 

In Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (which Lockwood recommends), Ahlberg Calhoun promotes mantra meditation, giving detailed instructions on several types of contemplative practices. In addition, she quotes from many New Age sympathizers and New Age contemplatives and encourages the use of centering prayer, breath prayers, contemplative prayer, labyrinths, palms-up, palms-down exercises, and recommends for further reading a plethora of mystics. One of those she lists is Tilden Edwards, the founder of the mysticism promoting Shalem Prayer Institute, who said that contemplative prayer is the bridge between Christianity and Eastern religion.6

An interesting name shows up on the “Pastoral Staff Recommends” page at Vineyard Anaheim – J.P. Moreland. The beliefs of Moreland have been discussed in a number of Lighthouse Trails articles regarding his contemplative views, but we didn’t realize that he attends Vineyard Anaheim. When we saw his name on the Pastoral Staff Recommends page, we called Vineyard and were told that Moreland attends Vineyard Anaheim and “sometimes speaks” there. Moreland, a teacher at Biola University and Summit Ministries (in Colorado) recommends a number of Dallas Willard books and The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. In that book, which is a primer on contemplative prayer, Nouwen 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’s active presence. 7

What Nouwen is describing here is mantra meditation (i.e., eastern-style meditation). Practicing mysticism is what led Nouwen to say near the end of his life:  

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.8 

By saying this, Nouwen illustrated the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality – panentheism (God in all) and interspirituality. This can be further proven by Nouwen’s strong affinity with New Age meditation proponent, Beatrice Bruteau where he called her a  “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness” (from Abba’s Child) . J.P. Moreland’s endorsement of The Way of the Heart will point Vineyard members to the same spirituality Nouwen came to  embrace.

In a book review of Moreland’s book Kingdom Triangle, he lays out a three-step process to bring about a kingdom of God on earth through spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer). This would resonate with what Vineyard is doing – turning to contemplative to accelerate their kingdom of God on earth goals.  

In Kevin Reeves book The Other Side of the River, Reeves addresses the spiritual viewpoints of John Wimber. Wimber said that the Western church needed to go through a major paradigm shift because of its resistance to the supernatural.9 Reeves explains some of Wimber’s ideas: 

 The old study and learn method (commended by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:13-16, and II Timothy 3:14-17) is no longer adequate. In fact, according to Wimber and a flood of Third Wave teachers, it never has been. Experience is what counts, they say, and all that head knowledge we’ve been accumulating all these years is a big waste of time. This teaching states that to really know God, His power and miracles, we need to shuck all that dead letter stuff and get into the life. 

 Wimber also first introduced into mainstream charismatic congregations the incredibly strange manifestations that are supposedly initiated by the Holy Spirit. Pogoing (jumping up and down in place), rippling on or under the skin, tingling, shaking, convulsions, uncontrollable laughter—many of the same kinds of manifestations traditionally attributed to demonic influence—have now attained prominence in River meetings. It is shocking and frightening to see the similarities between Wimber’s manifestations and what is called Kundalini, “a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality.” Here is a list of Kundalini symptoms: 

* 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. 10

What some may not realize is that many of these symptoms are also experienced during deep contemplative meditation. By combining the hyper-charismatic experiences with contemplative spirituality (as Vineyard is doing), the process of going into altered states of consciousness (i.e., demonic realms) is speeded up; and the voice heard, believed to be God, may not be Him at all. Reeves points out that Wimber was drawn to the writings of Agnes Sanford and Morton Kelsey. Did Wimber realize that Kelsey “equates the ministry of Jesus with shamanism, commends encounters with the dead as natural spirit-earth links, bases much of his book on paganistic Jungian psychology, and calls the atonement a “hypothesis developed” by the early church”?11

An article titled “Buried Seed: Spiritual Direction and the Vineyard Movement” written by a Vineyard “spiritual director” in New Zealand reveals the efforts by spiritual directors in Vineyard to integrate spiritual formation into the Vineyard movement. Just to show the lack of discernment that occurs by contemplative advocates, the author of the article lists Thomas Keating as a source he used to write the article. Keating, like Merton, is a panentheist and mystic Catholic priest.

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.

 Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences. 12

Our reader who sent us the e-mail inquiring about Vineyard Anaheim asked if there was any emergent connection to spiritual formation. We have always contended that they are basically the same thing (see Faith Undone). What’s more, on the recommended reading list of Vineyard Anaheim, senior pastor Lance Pittluck recommends Rob Bell along with several other contemplative/emerging figures (Nouwen, Sider, Manning, Miller, Boyd, etc). It is clear that Pittluck resonates with these people.

For those who wonder if the contemplative/emerging infiltration is confined to just Vineyard Anaheim, a Book Recommendations for Youth list on the main USA Vineyard website recommends emerging church favorites N.T. Wright, Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, and Shane Claiborne, and contemplatives Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Jim Burns, and John Eldredge.  Sadly, Vineyard youth are being introduced to these contemplative/emerging leaders. In addition, Vineyard has at least one leader who is designated to work with Vineyard churches in spiritual formation. And just as a sampling to show this is not an isolated situation, listed below are a few Vineyard churches that are incorporating “spiritual formation” into church life:

Vineyard City Church – Redding California’ (also links to the very contemplative/emerging Simpson College and Bethel Church in Redding)

 Live Oak Vineyard – Monrovia California (promotes New Age sympathizer Phyllis Tickle)

Friends Langley Vineyard – BC Canada

Vineyard Community Church – Cincinnati, OH

All this would leave little doubt that the Vineyard movement has hopped onto the contemplative/emergent track, seemingly full speed ahead.

Notes:

  1. Bill Jackson, The Quest For The Radical Middle: A History of the Vineyard, ch 3, p. 80.
  2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed, 2006), pp. 76-77, quoting Richard Foster at a seminar Yungen attended.
  3. Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Spiritual Classics (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2000), p. 17.
  4. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
  5. Morton Kelsey cited in Charles H. Simpkinson, “In the Spirit of the Early Christians.”
  6. Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980), pp. 18.
  7. Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991), p. 81.
  8. Henri  Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1998), p. 51.
  9. John Wimber: 1934-1997. Wimber’s “paradigm shift” is discussed and documented in several books and articles such as C. Peter Wagner’s Acts of the Holy Spirit (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2000), p. 123.
  10. Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), pp. 167-168.
  11.  Ibid, p. 169.
  12.  M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center  (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6.

 

 

The Vineyard Movement Grabs Hold of Contemplative Spirituality
MacArthur Says Emerging Church in “Disarray and Decline” – Evidence Shows Differently
Former Child Star Says Pedophilia No. 1 Problem for Children in Hollywood
Why crime plunged in the 17th century but is rising again in the 21st
The Demise of Mega Corporate Churches
Fear No Evil . . . Except
Efforts to Eliminate "Stigma" Against Pedophilia and Call it "Normal" Are Underway
The Desert Fathers - Borrowing From the East
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MacArthur Says Emerging Church in “Disarray and Decline” – Evidence Shows Differently

In a July 2011 article titled "Grow Up. Settle Down. Keep Reforming. Advice for the Young, Restless, Reformed" written by John MacArthur, he stated the following:

Five years later, the so-called Emergent Church is now in a state of serious disarray and decline. Some have suggested it’s totally dead. Virtually every offshoot of evangelicalism that consciously embraced postmodern values has either fizzled out or openly moved toward liberalism, universalism, and Socinianism. Scores of people who were active in the Emerging movement a decade ago seem to have abandoned Christianity altogether.

However, we contend that the emergent/emerging church is not in decline or dead by any means. In the following report, we are going to take a look at the main defining points made in Roger Oakland's book, Faith Undone, on the emerging church. We will examine these points to see whether they are still in existence within the evangelical/Protestant church today.

One of the important things about Faith Undone is that it defines the emergent/emerging church in a broader scope than many critical books on the emerging church have done. One of the most important aspects of the emerging church is its embracing of contemplative mysticism. And yet three of the books we know of which are said to be great exposes on the emerging church do not even mention this aspect. That is like telling someone what the ingredients of a strawberry ice cream sundae are but omitting to tell them that it includes ice cream. Yes, mysticism is the driving force behind the emerging church. Ironically, John MacArthur's article states that a huge number of young people are turning to Calvinism instead of the emerging church. But perhaps he does not realize that there is a huge portion of Calvinism that is now beginning to embrace contemplative mysticism. Some call it the New Calvinism, but we call it just another form of the emerging church. It isn't a name that makes the emerging church emerging - it's the "ingredients." Let's take a look at what these ingredients are and see whether they are in "disarray and decline." Each of the 13 points below (each an element of emerging spirituality) is derived from Roger Oakland's book, Faith Undone and is followed by our brief commentary as to whether that pont is no longer valid:

1.  A New Kind of Christianity: Leaders of the emerging church say drastic changes must take place because the church can no longer be effective with old ways and an old church. We need a new kind of Christianity if we are going to make a difference in people’s lives and the world around us.  (Faith Undone, chapter 1)

Comment:Is this idea gone? Not by a long shot. Just take a look at Christian conference and book titles. They call out for change, awakening, reformation, a new way of doing things. This emerging church attitude that everything has to change is here to stay. (eg.

2. The Pioneers of the Emerging Church - Who were they and have they declined today?: Chapter 2 of Faith Undone identifies some of the key players in the birth of the emerging church: Bob Buford of Leadership Network, Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Peter Drucker, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball, Tony Jones, Chris Seay, Leith Anderson, Bill Hybels, Leonard Sweet, Erwin McManus, Youth Specialties, Zondervan, and Jossey Bass publishers. (Faith Undone, chapter 2)

 Comment:Are these names now in disarray and decline? Or as MacArthur put it "fizzled out or openly moved toward liberalism, universalism, and Socinianism"? Well, a few of the names above have certainly moved fast forward toward liberalism, universalism and Socinianism - McLaren, Pagitt, and Jones. But the rest of these names are still leading figures in the emerging church movement and are actively promoting contemplative spirituality (with the exception of Drucker who is dead), the "energy" that drives the emerging church.

3. A “New” Faith for the 21st Century: The Word of God is under attack. According to emerging church leaders, the Bible is not so much for truth and doctrine as it is for hopes, ideas, and participation. In other words, don’t use the Bible as a means of theology or absolute truth and standards by which to live; rather than the Bible molding the Christian’s life, let the Christian’s life mold the Bible. (Faith Undone, chapter 3)

Comment: The attack on the Word of God has not subsided at all. Leonard Sweet says that Christians spend too much time on "doctrine" and beliefs; Rick Warren says that Christians spend too much time thinking about Bible prophecy and Christ's return; new Bible versions are completely distorting the Word of God; millions of Christians are racing to buy the latest Bible-mocking books such as The Shack. More and more Christian leaders are rejecting what the Bible says about homosexuality (a symptom of the emerging church) - this attack on the Word of God has not subsided in the least - on the contrary, it is gaining momentum. Phyllis Tickle (an author published by Baker Books) says that the Bible is a nice poetic book but it is certainly not some kind of authority in our lives. J.P. Moreland says Christians are too committed to the Bible. And, once again, we consider all of these names as emerging as they all promote contemplative mysticism and a kingdom of God on earth  now view.

4. Riding the Emerging Church Wave: How far is this new kind of church willing to go to reach its objective? Emerging church proponents say there is a new wave taking place, and we have to hop on. The wave is a Vintage Christianity, which in reality is an experience-based religion. Experiences must be implemented in order to attract both Christians and non-Christians alike; we must appeal to this postmodern generation with its hunger for experience, rituals, and mysticism. (Faith Undone, chapter 4)

Comment: It is almost needless to say that experience-based Christianity is alive and "well" in the church. No decline here.

5. Ancient-Future Worship: The emerging church embraces multi-sensory worship. While many are bewildered why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries, setting up prayer stations with candles, incense, and icons, the promoters of the emerging church movement say they know exactly what they are doing by practicing mysticism through music, rituals, and worship and offering stimulating images for a spiritual experience. Leaders of the emerging church say the ideas and beliefs of the early church fathers (100 AD to 600AD) are important and these teachings from the past will bring spiritual transformation and success to churches in the 21st century. (Faith Undone, chapter 5)

Comment:Interest in the "ancient" fathers or the desert fathers is on the rise. Even conservative Christian schools are emphasizing them. Lectio divina (from the desert fathers and other ancient mystics) is practiced widespread now. And ancient-future worship is too. The writings of the late Robert Webber, known mostly for his efforts to bring about ancient-future worship, are found in large numbers of Christian colleges and seminaries in their worship or music department courses.

6. When West Meets East: Contemplative spirituality (i.e., mysticism) is to the emerging church what the wind is to a sail boat. Without it, there is no momentum, and it is woven into the very fabric of the emerging church’s ambiance. In order to understand why this is so important, we must first understand the dynamics of contemplative spirituality. (Faith Undone, chapter 6)

Comment: Contemplative spirituality is promoted by the majority of Christian leaders and Christian publishers  today. We wish it were the case that it was in "disarray and decline," but that simply is not the case. Faith Undone names the names of those you will find in Christian university classrooms and on the shelves of countless Christian pastors: Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, Thomas Keating, and Julian of Norwich. "Christian" Yoga, also discussed in Faith Undone, has increased in popularity in church settings, as well.

7. Monks, Mystics, and the Ancient Wisdom: The emerging church is embracing contemplative spirituality and what is called the ancient wisdom. While appearing to be Christian because of the altered terminology, in actuality, it is occult based and New Age. (Faith Undone, chapter 7)

Comment:The new monks and the new mystics are those emerging figures who are part of the emerging church and who push this "vintage" mystical Christianity. There are too many to mention, but a few are Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, Marcus Borg, J.P. Moreland, and Klaus Issler. Incidentally, in relation to MacArthur's article, the Reformed movement that he talks about has its own new mystics and monks (e.g. Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller, etc.).

8.The Evangelization of Eucharistic Adoration: The Roman Catholic Church has a plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth and win the world to the Roman Catholic Jesus—the Eucharistic Christ. It is believed the “triumph of the Eucharist” will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren) come under the rule and reign of Rome and the Eucharistic Jesus. The presence of “Christ” in the Eucharist is the second coming, Roman Catholic style. The emerging church is a bridge to Rome. (Faith Undone, chapter 8)

Comment:The infiltration that the Catholic church (and it's Eucharistic evangelization) has made and is continuing to make  into the evangelical/Protestant church is astounding. This Road to Rome is one of the major earmarks of the emerging church. Thus, to say this effort is in disarray and decline is showing a great lack in discerning the times in which we live.

9. The Kingdom of God on Earth:The Bible says that Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom when He returns to Earth. But today a theology called Kingdom Now or Dominionism is permeating the walls of Christianity, and the emerging church movement is taking this heretical belief full speed into the next generation. With the idea that the church can establish the Kingdom of God before Christ returns and essentially turn our world into a Christian world, this belief system has literally changed the way countless Christians view the world and go about their Christian living. What most of them don’t realize is this Kingdom of God on Earth mindset is an all out effort by Satan to merge together the religions of the world and thus negate the gospel message. (Faith Undone, chapter 9)

Comment: As we have shown in recent articles (see one), the kingdom of God on earth/dominionist movement has not only not gone away - it is beginning to show up in denominations and groups that at one time denounced these unbiblical teachings.

10. The Undoing of Faith:The fruit of the emerging church includes: changes in views on sexuality (e.g., homosexuality acceptance), the desire by emerging leaders to stop identifying with Christianity, eradicating the gap between good and evil (the very goal of Satan’s religion, the New Age), and developing a new missiology which says keep your own religion, just add Jesus. This truly is the undoing of Christian faith. (Faith Undone, chapter 10)

Comment: Take a close look at the new missiology showing up in major Christian mission organizations, such as YWAM, and you will not be able to say that it is on the decline. And see how the "new sexuality," which includes tantric sex, has found its way into evangelical circles. Gary Thomas, one of evangelical's most popular authors, promotes a tantric sex advocate (he promotes contemplative prayer too in another of his books) in his widely read book, Sacred Marriage.

11. A Slaughterhouse Religion?:If someone said that emerging church leaders don’t like the Cross, many would cry out, “Yes, they do. I’ve heard them talk about Jesus and the Cross.” But while this may be true, there is an underlying theme building momentum in the emerging church that says, “Jesus going to the Cross was an example of sacrifice and service that we should follow. But the idea that God would send His Son to a violent death for the sins of mankind—well that is not who God is. He would never do that!” This mindset negates the very atonement on which biblical Christianity rests. (Faith Undone, chapter 11)

Comment: The saddest emerging church symptom of all is this sometimes subtle denouncement of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the Cross by emerging writers, and it has rarely been addressed publicly by Christianity's major leaders. Christian leaders are ignoring (or promoting) those who make this devastating proclamation. If they are ignoring it and remaining silent then they are part of the problem. One thing for sure, the attack against the message of the Cross has not diminished, and it never will until Christ returns to set things right.

12. A New Reformation?: The nature of the emerging church’s new reformation is anything but new, and when it comes to pass could bear violence and persecution on those who defend the Bible as the true and literal Word of God.  (Faith Undone, chapter 12)

Comment: Once you realize that the emerging church movement actually began in the Garden of Eden when Satan deceived Eve and thus brought about the fall of man because of sin, and once you realize that Satan hates Jesus Christ (and His sacrifice on the Cross) and hates His church, you will see that the assault against those who name the name of Christ will never be in decline until Christ returns. Rick Warren talks about a new reformation, one that will include all religions. But this new reformation that is coming about will not include biblical Christians.

13. End-Time Deception: The Bible says that in the last days Satan will deceive the whole world with doctrines of demons and seducing spirits. The question must be asked, is the emerging church spirituality part of this great falling away? And just what are the earmarks of a church that has become part of this end-time deception? (Faith Undone, chapter 13)

Comment: We are living in a time of great spiritual deception. It's not just the world that is spiritually blind - vast numbers of proclaiming Christians, who are following leaders they shouldn't be following, are completely unaware and uninterested in understanding the times in which we live and in wanting to recognize spiritual deception.

To John MacArthur, we beseech you to reconsider your public statement that the emerging church is in "disarray and decline." This misleading statement will give many a false sense of security and will also keep many from being able to spot a dangerous spirituality that may be in their very midst. We urge all Christian leaders to do what the old saying suggests: "Speak the truth and shame the devil." Or as the Bible says: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3).  And do not forget Paul's warning about spiritual deception: "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11: 15-16).

A final note to our readers:

Those who have followed our commentaries, reports, and books on the emerging church over the last several years may recall one more key element of this movement - evasiveness. Emerging leaders, though getting bolder, have been careful to present their heresies in a most subtle manner. Names and terms are frequently changing (such as emergent, emerging, and so on), even though the belief is still the same. This is why we must insist that the emergent/emerging church is not dead. Some use the age-old method of using questions instead of declarative statements - hath God said . . . ? Often, you will hear statements like, "Would a loving God send people to Hell?, would a loving God send His own Son to die on a Cross?, did God really mean this or that?  While such noncommittal questions cloak many a wolf in sheep's clothing, the destructive force is evident to us at Lighthouse Trails as we receive so many letters, calls, and e-mails relating stories of young people who have been snatched away from the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The spiritual battle is not over, and this is not the time to feel at ease and thereby lay down the "sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). Rather, let us be diligent and prayerful for our "adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).


A few of our articles showing that emerging is on the incline in the evangelical church:

Contemplative Spirituality Lands on Charles Stanley’s In Touch Magazine . . . Again

Mennonite Brethren Youth Hear Emerging Author Shane Claiborne

The New Look of Christian Missions

Students Fight for Homosexual Rights on Christian Campuses . . . And Emerging Church Leaders Must Share Blame

Book review: Love Wins by Rob Bell – Mocking Truth: Rob Bell’s False Hope, Worldly Heaven, and Earth-Based Hell

Will the Evangelical Church Help Usher in the "Age of Enlightenment" and the Coming False One?

Former Child Star Says Pedophilia No. 1 Problem for Children in Hollywood

By STEVEN BAKER and DAVID WRIGHT
ABC News

Corey Feldman has no idea what it’s like not to be famous. After all, he starred in a McDonald’s ad when he was just 3 years old.

“I literally was famous before I knew my own name,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ “Nightline.”

The ad led to roles in films such as “Stand By Me,” “Goonies” and “License to Drive.” He was a household name before he could read.

“I knew … to respond to Corey, but I didn’t know how to write it; I didn’t know how to spell it,” he said.

But being famous and underage, he said, caused serious damage to him and his friends, including loss of innocence and a lost childhood.

Feldman blamed the adults around him, not just those looking to profit from charming children, but also some with far more sinister motives. Click here to continue reading.

Related:

Read: The Color of Pain: Boys who are sexually abused and the men they become by Gregory Reid

72 charged in probe of child sexual abuse network

“A Slap in Face to Victims” – Catholic Priest Admits to Abusing Children; Refuses to Give Up Priesthood

“Teg Haggard Story Will Raise Serious Questions For All”


Why crime plunged in the 17th century but is rising again in the 21st

by Berit Kjos
Kjos Ministries

The world is changing fast. A massive shift from the guidance of a Bible-based conscience to a mindless pursuit of corrupt “thrills” has been fanning the flames of this transformation for years. The following news items let us glimpse the dark consequences:

“In Philadelphia, a group of 20-40 youths went on a rampage…resulting in 59 people being beaten and briefly hospitalized. …a mob ran through the Wisconsin State Fair at closing time, beating up people at random. In London, citizens have been besieged by three straight nights of hellish rioting [that] spread to other parts of the nation.” (Weapons of Mob Destruction)

“‘We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong,’ [Prime Minister] Cameron said….’Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivized…’ Young people who watched Cameron speak appeared unimpressed.” (Riot-hit UK must reverse `moral collapse’)

In her recent article titled, “How the liberals ruined Britain,” Melanie Phillips adds these insights:A spreading addiction to depraved entertainment has magnified this moral revolution. The rest of this article explains why this is happening and how we can prepare for the challenges ahead.

“The violent anarchy that has taken hold of British cities is the all-too-predictable outcome of a three-decade liberal experiment which tore up virtually every basic social value. The married two-parent family, educational meritocracy, punishment of criminals… and many more fundamental conventions were all smashed by a liberal intelligentsia hell-bent on a revolutionary transformation of society.

“Now we can see what they have brought about in the unprecedented and horrific scenes of mob violence, with homes and businesses going up in flames, and epidemic looting. …These youths feel absolutely entitled to go ‘on the rob’ and steal whatever they want. ….

“What has been fuelling all this is not poverty…but moral collapse. What we have been experiencing is a complete breakdown of civilised behaviour ..and at the very heart of these problems lies the breakdown of the family. … [T]here are whole areas of Britain…where committed fathers are a wholly unknown phenomenon…. It’s a world without any boundaries or rules. A world of emotional and physical chaos.”  Click here to continue reading.

The Demise of Mega Corporate Churches

This is a time in history that every professing Christian leader and pastor should take very soberly. It is a time for true humility and true repentance. If there is not humility and repentance, Christian pastors and leaders need to know – your sin will indeed find you out.

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International

For some time, Understand The Times has been warning pastors of churches that were formerly considered to be Protestant and evangelical about the spiritual deception that is currently underway and seducing them into the One World Religion. As time has passed, it seems that these leaders no longer consider themselves Protestant or evangelical. They are ecumenical. Instead of protesting against the rule of Rome, they are now actually partners with Rome and even promoting a globalist Dominionist plan to transform the world in what they believe is a great revival or great awakening. While many innocent sheep follow these pastors and leaders and do not realize what is happening, the Lord is calling watchmen and watchwomen to sound the alarm. The question is, how many are listening?

These watchmen and watchwomen are concerned about apostate leaders who should know better, but they are saying and doing nothing to warn about the apostasy. In fact they are promoting apostasy as if it is not happening. While the sheep may consider their leaders to be supporters of the gospel and therefore evangelical, it is apparent one cannot be on the road to Rome and also be promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ that we find in the Scriptures. Either you are for Jesus Christ and against apostasy, or you are against Jesus Christ and for apostasy. Ecumenism and joining hands with the world religions is not of God. There is one God, Jesus Christ our Creator and our Redeemer.

As time passes, there are fewer warning about how close we are to the demise of biblical Christianity. Many who once were blowing the trumpet have now either gone to sleep or they have forgotten what they once believed to be important. The Counter Reformation started by Rome and the Jesuits continues today unnoticed by the apostate churches that are uniting with Rome for many different reasons. They have lost their way as they have been sidetracked by a number of things – love of money, power, and prestige. They have even changed their view on the Word of God and what it teaches about the return of Christ. Some pastors say that Jesus did not even warn about apostasy as a sign of His soon return. They claim that a P.E.A.C.E. Plan and a One World Religion is much more important and we should spend our time and energy working together to solve our social problems. Click here to continue reading

 

 

Fear No Evil . . . Except – by Corrie ten Boom

From In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom
(released 2011 by Lighthouse Trails Publishing)

A child is not fearless, contrary to what his parents may think at times. A child is often a bundle of unexpressed fears, unknown terrors, and shadowy worries. I was afraid of the doctor’s office, my family’s leaving me, and the mystery of death.

Nollie’s nightgown was my contact with security. We slept in the same bed, and I can remember clinging to Nollie’s nightgown as long as she would allow me. Poor Nollie, when she would try to turn, she would be anchored by my little fist clasping her tightly.

One time, Mother took Nollie and me to visit a woman whose baby had died. I wished Nollie had been allowed to wear her nightgown on that journey, because I needed desperately to hang onto it.

We climbed a narrow staircase and entered the poorly furnished room of one of Mama’s “lame ducks” (the name we children had given to her protégées). Although we often did not have sufficient money for ourselves, Mother always found someone who was in greater need.

In that shabby little room was a crib with a baby inside. It didn’t move at all and its skin was very white. Nollie stood next to the crib and touched the baby’s cheek.

“Feel that,” she said to me, “it’s so cold.”

I touched the little hand and then ran to my mother and buried my face in her lap. I had touched death for the first time, and it seemed that the impression of cold remained with me for hours and hours.

When we returned home, I ran up the narrow stairs to my bedroom and leaned against the antique chest of drawers. There was an enormous fear in my heart—almost terror. In my imagination, I pictured the future in which I saw myself all alone, my family gone, and I left desolate. My family was my security, but that day I saw death and knew they could die, too. I had never thought about it before.

The dinner bell rang downstairs, and I was so grateful to go to the big oval table, get warm again, and feel the security of being with my family. I thought how stupid the grown-ups would think I was if I told them about the fear which was still in my heart.

I ate dinner quietly that night, which was not easy when you are in the midst of such a lively family. Our dinner table spilled over with conversation.

After dinner, Father took the Bible, as he always did and began to read the lines from Psalm 46:2:

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.

I sat up straight in my chair and stared at my father. I didn’t know much about mountains, living in flat, flat Holland, but I certainly knew a lot about fear. I thought Papa must have known exactly what my problem was that night.

My faith in Papa, and in the words he read from the Bible, was absolute. If they said not to fear, then God would take care of it. I felt secure again. (from chapter 2 of In My Father’s House)

 

Efforts to Eliminate "Stigma" Against Pedophilia and Call it "Normal" Are Underway

By Dr. Judith Reisman
WorldNetDaily

Alfred Kinsey’s ongoing sexual anarchy campaign has no end in sight.

Matt Barber, associate dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and I attended the “B4U-ACT” pedophile conference Aug. 17. To eliminate the “stigma” against pedophiles, this growing sexual anarchist lobby wants the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to redefine pedophilia is a normal sexual orientation of “Minor-Attracted Persons.”

Adhering to the Kinsey principle of lulling “straights” into a false sense of security, pedophile dress was largely conservative – short hair, jackets, some ties and few noticeable male ear piercings.

Matt Barber and I sat in the back of the meeting room among roughly 50 activists and their “mental health” attending female enablers. “Pedophilia, Minor-Attracted Persons, and the DSM: Issues and Controversies,” keynoted “Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., as founder, National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.”

However, the sex clinic was initially founded by John Money, Ph.D., to give judges “leeway” to keep child molesters out of jail. Money (deceased), a pedophile advocate, also called for an end to all age-of-consent laws. Dr. Berlin was his disciple.

In 1973, our “post Kinsey era,” a small APA committee of psychiatrists, quite terrified by homosexist public harassment, agreed to rely on Kinsey’s fraudulent human sexuality “data” to redefine homosexuality as normal, removing it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of mental disorders. Click here to read more.

To learn more about Alfred Kinsey and his significant and damaging role in sex education and prevention of child abuse, watch The Kinsey Syndrome.

The Desert Fathers - Borrowing From the East

by Ray Yungen

Catholic priest William Shannon in his book, Seeds of Peace, explained the human dilemma as being the following:

This forgetfulness, of our oneness with God, is not just a personal experience, it is the corporate experience of humanity. Indeed, this is one way to understanding original sin. We are in God, but we don't seem to know it. We are in paradise, but we don't realize it.1

Shannon's viewpoint defines the basic underlying worldview of the contemplative prayer movement as a whole. One can find similar quotations in practically every book written by contemplative authors. A Hindu guru or a Zen Buddhist master would offer the same explanation. This conclusion becomes completely logical when tracing the roots of contemplative prayer. Let us look at the beginnings of this practice.

In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They are known to history as the Desert Fathers. They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks who promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. One meditation scholar made this connection when he said:

The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East ... the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.2

Many of the Desert Fathers, in their zeal, were simply seeking God through trial and error. A leading contemplative prayer teacher candidly acknowledged the haphazard way the Desert Fathers acquired their practices:

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.3

Attempting to reach God through occult mystical practices will guarantee disaster. The Desert Fathers of Egypt were located in a particularly dangerous locale at that time to be groping around for innovative approaches to God, because as one theologian pointed out:

[D]evelopment of Christian meditative disciplines should have begun in Egypt because much of the intellectual, philosophical, and theological basis of the practice of meditation in Christianity also comes out of the theology of Hellenic and Roman Egypt. This is significant because it was in Alexandria that Christian theology had the most contact with the various Gnostic speculations which, according to many scholars, have their roots in the East, possibly in India.4

Consequently, the Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere--anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus. A current practitioner and promoter of the Desert Fathers' mystical prayer still echoes the logical formulations of his mystical ancestors:

In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions ... What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent ... this is important to remember in the face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly defining them. If we view the human family as one in God's spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising ... selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.5

Do you catch the reasoning here? Non-Christian sources, as avenues to spiritual growth, are perfectly legitimate in the Christian life, and if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will actually impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the Desert Fathers. So as a result, we now have contemplative prayer. Jesus addressed this when he warned His disciples: "And when you pray, do not
use vain repetitions, as the heathen do." (Matthew 6:7)

It should be apparent that mantra meditation or sacred word prayer qualifies as "vain repetition" and clearly fits an accurate description of the point Jesus was making. Yet in spite of this, trusted evangelical Christians have often pronounced that Christian mysticism is different from other forms of mysticism (such as Eastern or occult) because it is focused on Jesus Christ.

This logic may sound credible on the surface, but Christians must ask themselves a very simple and fundamental question: What really makes a practice Christian? The answer is obvious--does the New Testament sanction it? Hasn't Christ taught us, through His Word, to pray in faith in His name and according to His will? Did He leave something out? Would Jesus hold out on His true followers? Never!

Understanding this truth, God has declared in His Word that He does not leave it up to earnest, yet sinful people, to reinvent their own Christianity. When Christians ignore God's instructions in following Him they end up learning the way of the heathen. Israel did this countless times. It is just human nature.

The account of Cain and Abel is a classic biblical example of spiritual infidelity. Both of Adam's sons wanted to please God, but Cain decided he would experiment with his own method of being devout. Cain must have reasoned to himself: "Perhaps God would like fruit or grain better than a dead animal. It's€™s not as gross. It's less smelly. Hey, I think I will try it!"

As you know, God was not the least bit impressed by Cain's attempt to create his own approach to pleasing God. The Lord made it clear to Cain that God's favor would be upon him if he did what is right, not just what was intended for God or God-focused.

In many ways, the Desert Fathers were like Cain--eager to please but not willing to listen to the instruction of the Lord and do what was right. One cannot fault them for their devotion, but one certainly can fault them for their lack of discernment.

Notes:
1. William Shannon, Seeds of Peace, p. 66.
2. Daniel Goleman, The Meditative Mind 1988, p.53.
3. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, p.191.
4. Father William Teska, Meditation in Christianity , p.65.
5. Tilden Edwards, Living in the Presence , Acknowledgement page.

Reminder: Lighthouse Trails Titles Available through Most Bookstores

Just as a reminder, the books and DVDs that are published directly by Lighthouse Trails Publishing are available to order through most online and walk in stores. Even if a particular bookstore does not actually carry one of our titles in their stores, a store can order a title for you through SpringArbor or Ingram (or directly from Lighthouse Trails). Libraries can order our titles from Baker & Taylor (or directly from Lighthouse Trails). Ordering through a bookstore may take a little longer to get, but you won’t have to pay shipping costs this way.  Below is a list of the titles published by Lighthouse Trails available to order through stores. Also click here for ISBN numbers, authors, prices, and release dates.

Tapestry: The Journey of Laurel Lee

Trapped in Hitler’s Hell

A Time of Departing

Laughter Calls Me

The Other Side of the River

For Many Shall Come in My Name

Faith Undone

Another Jesus?

Things We Couldn’t Say

Standing Fast in the Last Days

La Fe Desechada

Castles in the Sand

The New Face of Mystical Spirituality – The Emerging Church & Interspirituality

The New Face of Mystical Spirituality – Contemplative Prayer

The New Face of Mystical Spirituality – The Invisible Denomination

Good News in the Badlands: Americana Gospel Folk Music

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

The Color of Pain: Boys Who Are Sexually Abused and the Men They Become

Strength for Tough Times: Encouragement from God’s Word

Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires

In My Father’s House

Stolen from My Arms

Let There Be Light

Also, the following items are on sale this week at Lighthouse Trails.

SECONDS: Books that are slightly damaged

SPECIAL OFFERS: Including our "Box of Books" special

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ALL SALE ITEMS: All items that are marked down from retail price

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