HOME             November 12, 2012

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You will notice lately that we are posting quite a few articles regarding Lectio Divina. We are doing this for two reasons, one, that it is becoming very widely used within evangelical/Protestant circles, and two, because Lectio Divina is a gateway into outright contemplative meditation and contemplative spirituality. We hope you will take the time to read what we have written about it so that when your church, school, or ministry starts bringing it in, you will be prepared to explain to others why Lectio Divina can never be a part of true biblical Christianity.

Just this weekend we received yet another e-mail from someone telling us that a group she was involved with was introducing Lectio Divina to the group. In this instance, the group is the Southern Baptist International Mission Board's women's Bible study (see p. 4). Southern Baptist IMB is an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest evangelical denomination in the U.S. with nearly 16 million members.

To see just how popular Lectio Divina is, type "Lectio Divina" (using quotation marks) into Google's search engine, and you will get nearly 2 million hits. Incidentally, on the first page of those hits, you will find one for the American Bible Society, which devotes an entire page to Lectio Divina with "reflections" from a Catholic priest.

Contemplative mysticism pioneer Thomas Keating explains what Lectio Divina is not. It is not traditional Bible study, not reading the Scriptures for understanding and edification, and not "praying the Scriptures" (though "praying the Scriptures"can be a form of Lectio Divina when a single word or short phrase is taken from the Scriptures to repeat and focus on for the purpose of going into “God’s presence” or the "stillness" or "silence"). Keating says that Lectio Divina is an introduction into the more intense practices – contemplative prayer and centering prayer. (source)

Editors at Lighthouse Trails

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Note: Because we are a research ministry, we do post articles from various secular and Christian sources along with our own in-house articles if we believe our readers can benefit from the information.

Marijuana Legalization, Loss of Freedom, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage Win in the Election (The Continual Decline of America)

November 7th - LTRP Note: The following stories are from various news sources and are posted for informational purposes and not as endorsement for these sources.

Marijuana legalization passes in Colorado, Washington: NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the biggest victory ever for the legalization movement.

Same-Sex Marriage Wins on the Ballot for the First Time in American History: (Atlantic) — Last night’s election marks the first time in American history that a measure to legalize gay marriage has been passed by a popular vote. Prior to the election, the states (and District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage was legal had been made so by the actions of lawmakers and courts; voters, in all 32 times that measures to enable same-sex marriage had been offered on a state ballot, had voted them down.

Pro-Abortion President Barack Obama Defeats Mitt Romney: (LifeNews) — In a disappointing night for pro-life advocates, pro-abortion President Barack Obama defeated pro-life candidate Mitt Romney in the race for president. The results make it increasingly difficult that Americans will be able to end legalized abortion any time soon, be able to end taxpayer funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business, or approve new pro-life legislation in Congress.

10 dire consequences of Obama’s re-election victory (Natural News) — What does an Obama re-election mean for the next four years in America? Now that he’s in his second and last term, of course, Obama no longer needs to restrain his actions according to popularity. He can simply unleash any desirable executive order and rule by decree, bypassing Congress as he has frequently promised to do.

A Worthwhile Read: Regardless of the Election Outcome, A Post-Election Letter from 2008

LTRP Note: We originally posted this “post-election letter” 2 days after the 2008 election when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. As we have now come to another presidential election in America, regardless of the outcome tonight, this letter has some valuable and needed insights for those who are in Christ Jesus.

by Kjos Ministries

A New Day
A post-election letter by Kathy
((Taken from Kjos Ministries website)

Well, the vote is counted, and we have a new president. But Barak Obama is only the “President of the United States of America.”

I invite you all to look up to the throne of heaven, where the KING OF KINGS sits. He will never be ousted. He will never lose to an opposing side. He will never be successfully rebelled against, nor diminish in power, ability, wisdom and might. He remains the same.

In essence, for born-again believers, nothing has changed for us in our “real” world, a.k.a., the heavenly realm. This world and all that’s in it, with its lusts of the flesh and eyes, and the pride of life, are passing fancies, as mist blown away in the wind. For us who believe on Jesus Christ, and are born-again by His Spirit, we have an eternal inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Our “real home” is secure, free from pain, torment, upheaval, and it’s permanent.

And because we are children of a great King, we need not “change” nor be dismayed because of these new circumstances. We have the Comforter, Whom none other than our Lord and King has sent us — the blessed Holy Spirit sent to help us. We are not orphaned, abandoned, or alone. We are adopted, and our adoptive Parent, God our Father, provides very well for us. We have God’s Word in our hearts to strengthen and guide us. We have a never-ending supply of grace and enabling from on high!

Imagine! Paul wrote to to believers encouraging them to pray for those in authority, and Peter talked about those who disrespected “dignities” and what a no-no that was even though the apostles lived in a day when tyrants were governing!! It was no different then than we have now…yet the world was turned upside down by these devout and devoted people of God, by the power of His Spirit and grace given them, at such a time as that was!

All glory to God Who is ABLE to do such a mighty work in mere human flesh! It is a tribute to His grace and power, and He is the same today for as as He was for them! Hallelujah!

Our mission is clear. By God’s grace and Spirit, we must pray still, just like we have been doing.

We give thanks in ALL things, for this is God’s will concerning us.

We keep praising and worshipping with all our hearts in sincerity, admiration, adoration, surrender to a great and Worthy Lord and King, Jesus Christ!

We grow in love and in grace daily in fellowship with the Lord and in His Word, and encourage each other daily, as we see these things coming.

We share our faith with as many people as we can, for the door of the ark is closing.

One last thought: Jesus said that He would come back. There are certain things that “must come to pass” before He does. Jesus told us about this Matthew 24, i.e. Are we at the place described in Revelation 10, where “a mighty angel, with one foot on the land and one foot on the sea….lifted up His right hand to heaven, and swore…there is no more time.”

We must remember, our Lord longs to set up His Kingdom of peace, He longs for us all to be together, He longs to put down all unrighteousness, and put an end to those things that have troubled the apple of his eye: His beloved people who know, trust and follow Him!

“Father, I will that where I am, there they be with me…. that they may see my glory.” John 17.

Maybe Jesus doesn’t want this great day to be put off much longer. It is His day, “The Day of the Lord!” I am not suggesting a day or time for Christ’s return. No man knows that. But we can seek for understanding of the season that we are in! I want to be saying, with the Spirit, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

We look up, for our Redeemer is coming.

May God Almighty, our great God and Father, and the Lord God and Reigning Sovereign King, King Jesus Christ, embolden, encourage, and equip you afresh today. May the mighty, irresistible power of the Holy Spirit dwell in you richly. I ask the Lord to renew each of you by grace, and to make each of you an honor and glory to Him each and every day, and to strengthen you in the blessed hope we have because of Jesus Christ and what He did for us all on Calvary!

In Christ Jesus,
Kathy

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1-2

(Taken from Kjos Ministries website

 

 

Marijuana Legalization, Loss of Freedom, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage Win in the Election (The Continual Decline of America)
A Worthwhile Read: Regardless of the Election Outcome, A Post-Election Letter from 2008
Henri Nouwen’s Affinity Toward Eastern Mysticism – A Valid Reason Why Christian Teachers and Leaders Should Not Promote Him
Christian or Christ-Follower – Two Terms with Different Meanings
What Happens to Kids When Homosexual Marriage is Approved
Plaster, Uniforms, Soccer Shoes, and Baskets – The blessings and the work in Suna and Rongo
When Hitler Was in Power
Letter to the Editor: Lectio Divina in South Africa Among Dutch Reformed – “Is there really a different way of reading the Word?”
Trevor Baker - The Blind are Living Proof That Jesus' Words Are True
The Angel of Light’s “Plan” for World Peace
A Native American True Story - He Wished to Leave the “Old Way” and Follow the Christian Way
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OUR COVERAGE ON LECTIO DIVINA

Letter to the Editor: Lectio Divina in South Africa Among Dutch Reformed – “Is there really a different way of reading the Word?”

When a Young Girl Meets a Mystic and Is Introduced to Lectio Divina

Multnomah University Teaches Lectio Divina in Chapel Throughout 2012

Biblegateway Teaches Readers “Lectio Divina” – a Dangerous Gateway to a New Spiritual Outlook

Preparing For Perilous Times and Finding God’s Peace in the Midst of Them

Letter to the Editor: Baptist Standard Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice

Benedict XVI: Encourages Contemplative Practice Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina: Leading Sheep to a New Level of Consciousness

The Roots of Spiritual Formation

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation & Lectio Divina

 
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Henri Nouwen’s Affinity Toward Eastern Mysticism – A Valid Reason Why Christian Teachers and Leaders Should Not Promote Him

At the end of his life, in the last book he ever wrote (Sabbatical Journey), Henri Nouwen said the following:

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.1

Even though such a statement does not at all fit within biblical Christianity, and in essence denies the very foundation of Christ’s work on the Cross, Henri Nouwen is touted as a great spiritual figure by countless Christian leaders, pastors, seminary professors, etc.

Even “America’s pastor” Rick Warren and his wife Kay have highly recommended the works of Henri Nouwen. And it is a rare Christian college or university that does not have at least one professor who uses books by Nouwen to teach his or her students (see our recent article on Multnomah University where professors acknowledge their affinity toward Nouwen). Some of the most respected Christian leaders (e.g., Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah) view Nouwen as someone who can be looked up to and admired greatly. Regarding Nouwen’s popularity, Ray Yungen says:

Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted to his [Nouwen's]deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S. Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second only to Billy Graham in influence among them.2

Why this appeal for Nouwen? Yungen explains:

Nouwen combines a strong devotion to God with a poetic, comforting, yet distinctly intellectual style that strikes a strong and sympathetic chord with what could be called Christian intelligentsia…. One person told me that Nouwen’s appeal could be compared to that of motherhood–a warm comforting embrace that leaves you feeling good.3

Let us examine what led Nouwen to come to his interspiritual, panentheistic sympathies.

In Nouwen’s book, Sabbatical Journey (which was a diary or journal of what turned out to the be the last year of his life), Nouwen admitted he was listening to tapes on the chakras (which Reiki is based on) during that final year,4 and in that same book he discusses meeting a man named Andrew Harvey at a talk Harvey was giving. Nouwen said he was particularly attracted to this homosexual New Ager’s mystical affinities.5 It is Harvey who stated: “we are all essentially children of the Divine and can realize that identity with our Source here on earth and in a body.”6 Without a doubt, it is clear to see that Henri Nouwen concluded his life as one who had been affected by mysticism to the point it altered his spiritual outlook and gave him panentheistic propensities.

The fact is, Nouwen embraced this New Age spirituality after many years of drawing from the wells of mysticism. From his earliest writings, Nouwen was interested in Thomas Merton (whom he met once at the Gethsemani monastery in Kentucky), the Catholic monk who helped to bring contemplative spirituality out of the monasteries and into Christianity at large. After turning to mysticism himself, Merton came to believe that Divinity (God) dwells in all human beings.

In Nouwen’s earliest books, Intimacy (1969) and Creative Ministry (1971), he was already talking about Thomas Merton. In 1972, Nouwen wrote a book titled: Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic. Clearly, this little-known testament of praise for Merton shows Nouwen’s affinity to Merton’s mysticism. In the introduction of the book, Nouwen admits the “impact” Merton had on his life. In that book, Nouwen discusses a major turning point in Merton’s life when Merton crossed paths with a Hindu monk called Dr. Bramachari. “Merton wrote about him with much humor, great respect and deep reverence,” Nouwen states.7 Merton, who was seeking to be a mystic and at the time was studying many of the “great” eastern mystics, was told by Bramachari that he did not have to leave the Christian faith to become a mystic; it could be found, he said, within the walls of “the Christian mystical tradition”8 – that is “Christian” mysticism. Merton took Bramachari’s advice and became a pioneer in bringing mysticism to Christianity. Later, Richard Foster became Merton’s voice in the evangelical church.

After writing Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic, Nouwen went on to write several other books with the continued theme of contemplative spirituality. Two of the most popular ones today are The Way of the Heart (1981) and In the Name of Jesus (1989). It is this latter book that Rick and Kay Warren so highly recommend. In that book, Nouwen states that Christian leaders must move “from the moral to the mystical.”9 Rick and Kay may have learned about Nouwen from New Age sympathizer Robert Schuller who resonates with Nouwen as well, saying the students at Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership (of which Warren was one) had to “watch and listen to” Nouwen.10

In The Way of the Heart, Nouwen speaks of eastern-style meditation:

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.11

In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen discusses this “active presence” that Nouwen was referring to:

But what God’s “active presence” taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity. He wrote:

Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, … It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is.12

It is critical to note here that Nouwen did not say all Christians are one; he said “all is one,” which is the fundamental panentheistic concept of God–the God in everything unites everything. Like Thomas Merton, it was Nouwen’s intent to make mystical prayer a pervasive paradigm within all traditions of Christianity. He felt the evangelical church had many admirable qualities but lacked one vital one: mysticism. He sought to remedy this by imploring,

It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called….13

The doctrines (instructions) of demons (no matter how nice, how charming, how devoted to God they sound) convey that everything has Divine Presence (all is One). This is clear heresy, for that would be saying Satan and God are one also. If what Henri Nouwen proclaimed is true when he said, “We can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is,” then Jesus Christ and Satan are also united. That, my friend, is something only a demonic spirit would teach!14

For skeptics in Christian circles (professors, pastors, teachers, etc) who are touting and promoting the writings of Henri Nouwen, let it be known that you are promoting the writings of Thomas Merton–they are one in the same. They both believed in the importance of eastern-style meditation, and they both came to believe there were many paths to God and divinity dwelt in all things and people. Not only are Nouwen’s books evidence of this, but there is record of nearly thirty years of journals, articles, forewords to others books, talks, and interviews where Nouwen espouses the path of mysticism.15

In one of those forewords, a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, Nouwen stated:

[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian … Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.16

On the back cover of another book, Meditation, by Eknath Easwaran, a Hindu guru, Nouwen said: “This book has helped me a great deal.”

In spite of all this, many, many Christian figures and leaders point their followers, readers, students, and congregants to Henri Nouwen. Whether these leaders understand the true spirituality of Henri Nouwen or not, they are leading people to something that could ultimately develop within them great spiritual deception and for some, detrimental eternal loss.

Notes:
1. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51.
2. Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 61.
3. Ibid.
4. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 20.
5. Ibid., p. 149.
6. Harvey, The Direct Path, p. 34.
7. Nouwen, Pray to Live: Thomas Merton – Contemplative Critic, p. 28, (later called Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic – 1981).
8. Ibid., p. 29.
9. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus, pp 31-32.
10. Ford, Wounded Prophet, p. 35.
11. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 81, 1991 ed.
12. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, 1997, 1/15 & 11/16 readings
13. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 66.
14. Yungen, from chapters 3 and 7 of A Time of Departing.
15. Complete list of Nouwen’s published works.
16. Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living, pp. 2-3.

Christian or Christ-Follower – Two Terms with Different Meanings

Christian or Christ-follower. It’s a distinction that is being made more and more today, and often the latter term, Christ follower, is replacing the former term, Christian. Even many Christian leaders are making the switch. But just what does it mean? Emerging church leader, Erwin McManus says his “goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” In McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way, he talks about being “awakened” to a “primal longing that … waits to be unleashed within everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ.” McManus says that the “greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity [i.e., Christians].” A video on YouTube.com called “Christian No More” (by Christian Community Church) exemplifies this view by portraying those who call themselves Christians as shallow church-goers who wear suits and ties, have Christian bumper stickers on their cars and prefer the King James Version. This belittling video is evidence that it is increasingly more popular to call oneself a Christ follower rather than a Christian.

Interestingly, most of the leaders who seem to be downplaying the name Christian and promoting the appropriation of the term “Christ follower” are contemplative spirituality proponents. One contemplative advocate, Rick Warren, had the term throughout his former pastors.com website. Lee Strobel refers to it in his book Case for Christ (Student Edition), and Wesleyan pastor David Drury has a Christ-Follower Pop Quiz on his web site to help determine if you are really a “Christ Follower.”

This theme of anti-”Christian” sentiment is not going to disappear any time soon. In emerging church leader and labyrinth promoter Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, the idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions that they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term “Christian” (see The New Missiology).

So what’s the problem? So what if you want to be a Christ follower instead of a Christian. Well, the problem, when identified, will show you why the Spiritual Formation movement (which is promoted by Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, the emerging church, etc) is so dangerous and misleading.

Let us explain. If you have researched the teachings of contemplative authors, you may have noticed a common message. That message says: If you want to be like Christ, then practice these certain disciplines and you can be like Him. Chuck Swindoll bought into this when he wrote his book, So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There. But Swindoll exalts one particular discipline – the silence. In fact, he goes so far as to say you can’t become a deep, meaningful Christian without it. Beth Moore, in the pro-contemplative film, Be Still, says: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” And this is what contemplatives teach. The one common thread woven throughout spiritual formation teachings is that the silence and being a Christ follower are practically synonymous. You can’t have one without the other. And of course, this silence is induced through meditative practices such as centering prayer, lectio divina, etc.

So what we are witnessing is countless teachers, authors and leaders telling people they can become like Christ through a method that can be learned. teaches that anyone, not just believers, can practice contemplative prayer and become like Christ.

Now here lies the difference between a Christian and a Christ-follower. A person who is truly born-again has Jesus Christ indwelling him. Jesus lives inside that person. And it is His life in him or her that gives the power to become progressively more like Him (sanctification), as Paul said in his address to Corinthian Christians: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). The believer draws his strength and power from Jesus Christ (who indwells him), and he realizes his salvation and any good thing in him is from Christ; as the Scripture says: “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

But being born again or having the indwelling of Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite for the “Christianity” of today. Spiritual formation can be practiced by anyone. Jesus becomes a model or an example who can be followed and mimicked. For example, Ken Blanchard says Jesus is a perfect model to follow. That’s why he talks so much about leading like Jesus would lead. But Blanchard has shown time and again that he believes meditation is a key factor in becoming like Jesus.

While Jesus was and is a model, that wasn’t His primary mission. And when people refer to Him as a model, it is often because they see Him as a model for higher consciousness rather than the unique Son of God, Emmanuel (God with us) who came to die for us and be our Savior. And that’s what you find across the board in contemplative writings. Contemplative icons Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen saw Jesus in this manner. This is why Nouwen said it disturbed him when he heard people say Jesus was the only way. He said it was his mission to help people find his or her own way to God (see Sabbatical Journey). That’s also why he saw India as a source for many spiritual “treasures” for the Christian. 1 In an eastern religion like Buddhism, Buddha was a model where his followers were imitators of him. But in Christianity the Spirit of Christ indwells us through faith. So Jesus becomes more than a model; He is a living presence in us. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

This is actually the heart of the whole spiritual formation movement. It supposedly teaches you how to be like Christ, but the power to do this doesn’t come from Jesus Christ living in you (in fact that isn’t a requirement, according to Richard Foster) – but the power to change has to come from somewhere. Where? It comes from meditation! So anyone at all, from any walk of life, from any religion, can be a “Christ follower.” But this does not mean they have Jesus Christ in them. The contemplative prayer movement is misguiding millions into believing that if they practice certain disciplines they can be like Christ, thus securing their spiritual well being. They may come to believe that they have a christ consciousness and are Christ like, yet they do not have the actual power of Christ within. That power can only come from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18).

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come … Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:1,5).

The man who virtually wrote the book on the subject (Centering Prayer), Basil Pennington, made the point of what we are trying to say when he penned these words:

It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.

Another major contemplative promoter stated:

The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian, but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions.– Tilden Edwards

These two men have both been leaders of the contemplative prayer movement for decades. And it is important to note that evangelical leader Richard Foster endorsed Edwards’ book, Spiritual Friend, from which this last quote came (see back, Celebration of Discipline). Both Pennington and Edwards would call themselves Christ followers, following in the same spiritual path as Jesus Christ followed. But as you can see, both Pennington and Edwards do not accept the view that believing the gospel is a vital prerequisite for having a relationship with the living God. Otherwise they would not have said the above. With this mindset, the message of the cross is rendered useless. And so the question that we must ask ourselves is this: Will we, who have Jesus Christ living in us, call ourselves Christians? Let those of us who name the name of Christ, stand and say, yes, we will be called Christians.

For a complete analysis and documentation of contemplative spirituality and its infiltration into Christendom, we encourage you to read A Time of Departing.

What Happens to Kids When Homosexual Marriage is Approved

By Charles Butts
OneNewsNow

With four states voting on marriage issues today, the National Organization for Marriage has issued a warning about what happens when homosexual “marriage” is approved.

In their campaigns, activists have claimed that approval of homosexual marriage and transgender issues will not change how children are taught in public schools. But the National Organization for Marriage indicates that is not true.

One example recently surfaced at the elementary and middle schools of Gorham, Maine, where the school’s civil rights team hosted members of a group called PRYSM (Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine) for its “Diversity Day,” where presenters offered vivid descriptions of homosexual conduct. Click here to read more.

 

 

Plaster, Uniforms, Soccer Shoes, and Baskets – The blessings and the work in Suna and Rongo

The latest news in from our mission work in Kenya. Check out the slideshow below. If you would like to help support the 15 Bryce Homes (over 110 children), please visit our mission site: www.missionsfortruth.com or visit Understand the Times. The project is being supported solely by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails readers. To see a photo of all the 15 Bryce families in Kenya, click here.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
When Hitler Was in Power

by Anita Dittman and Jan Markell
(authors of Trapped in Hitler’s Hell)

Adolf Hitler came to power because the confused and senile President Hindenburg permitted it. In the early 1930s, Germany was in the throes of the economic depression that had begun on Wall Street in October 1929. The depression’s effects had been felt in Germany almost immediately; by 1933 nearly one third of the country was unemployed.

During the 1930 elections, the Nazis made the most noise because they were violently anti-communist and had the backing of wealthy German industrialists. Scoring giant gains in the Reichstag, Germany’s legislative assembly, their representation jumped from twelve to one hundred and seven.

By 1932, the Nazis had become even stronger as they rallied around the leadership of Adolf Hitler. With his staff, Hitler traveled to every village and hamlet to gain votes, his unemployment bandwagon gaining so much support that the Nazis more than doubled their parliament seats.

Then Hitler was offered the German vice-chancellorship peacefully and legally. He refused. He wanted nothing short of the chancellorship, which would give him power almost equal to Hindenburg-s. Later in 1932, he was offered the full chancellorship, with limited conditions. Again he held out, protesting the conditions.

By then Germany’s streets were loud with riots and political fights. Brown-shirted Nazis fought all opponents–particularly left-wing ones–openly in the streets as well as in dark alleys.

Finally in January of 1933 Hitler was made the chancellor of a coalition government; Hindenburg, nearly eighty-five and no longer able to read, remained president. A torchlight parade was held on January 30th. A new era of history had opened–the era of the Third Reich. German democracy was dead. But with nearly six million unemployed, Germany had only a lukewarm devotion to democracy anyway.

The Nazi appeal contained a lot of idealism. The idea of living in a strong, virile country appealed to everyone, particularly the young. Everyone was wide open to the propaganda that assured relief from depression, inflation, and other tremendous hardships, and Nazism promised a near-welfare state.

Hitler was totally underrated by his opponents. The Communist and Social Democratic parties felt sure his incompetence would quickly be revealed and that the Nazis would topple with little impact. Hardly anyone expected the Third Reich to burn its swastika across Europe’s landscape…. (From Trapped in Hitler’s Hell)

Related:

Deception, Lies and Disinformation by Berit Kjos

 

Letter to the Editor: Lectio Divina in South Africa Among Dutch Reformed – “Is there really a different way of reading the Word?”

LTRP Note: For an understanding of Lectio Divina, please refer to several links below this Letter to the Editor and our comments.

Good day,

I live in South Africa and even here the Dutch Reformed church is doing the contemplative route.

Some writers have even written some books on the subject in which they actually encourage their members to explore that route!

I put an enquiry to one of the blokes on this subject and he explained as follows:

(trying a translation from Afrikaans)

. . . In the years after Christ ascended to heaven, there were actually two ways of reading the Bible…

The school of Antioch read it as a historic/grammatical narrative and the school of Alexandria took the more ‘spiritual’ route of reading.

Both ways are/were apparently valid.

The Antioch model ensured that God’s Word was read with intellectual integrity and the Alexandrian model ensured that it was read as God’s Word. (i.e. meditative and contemplative reading)

From the 12th century onwards, universities then created a platform on which the Word could be challenged or critiqued which led to the questioning of the “Godly Dimensions” thereof . . . Lectio Divina was then neglected and by now starting the Lectio Divina method, the idea is to reclaim the ‘Godly Dimensions” of the Word!!”

End of translation . . . this as true as I could get it.

Question . . . how could we as children of God ever have missed this (tongue in cheek) and is there really a different way of reading the Word?

God’s Word is His Word, and we read it as it stands, right, with recognition of the metaphors that is used? ( maybe I am missing something)

Your comments on this will be appreciated, since people just accept this and follow as it is fine!

If you do challenge them on this, you are in the wilderness and should wake up and smell the roses [they say] . . .

Thank you.

Regards,

J. _______

OUR COMMENTS

Dear J.,

The contemplative prayer movement (i.e., spiritual formation movement) has found its way into virtually every Christian denomination throughout the world. Thank you for reporting on what is happening in South Africa with the Dutch Reformed.

In your letter, you ask, “how could we as children of God ever have missed this . . . ?.” That’s a good question. If Lectio Divina and other contemplative practices were so utterly vital to sustain our relationship with Christ (some Christian leaders state we must have the “stillness” to really know God), how is it that no where in the Bible is there any indication at all that we are to use God’s word as a tool to go into a state of silence to reach “‘Godly dimensions’ of the Word.”

If indeed such practices were vital for the Christian believer, surely Jesus Christ or the apostles (especially the apostle Paul) would have explicitly instructed us on this. In Ephesians 2, we are told that the “saints” (i.e., “the household of God”) are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” and that it is through Christ that we become a “holy temple in the Lord . . . for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (vs. 19-22). But the contemplative prayer movement says we must draw from the ancient Catholic mystics and desert fathers in order for us to become all that Christ desires for us. Basically, the foundation that was laid out in Scripture (which is the Gospel) with Christ as the chief corner stone (the sacrificial Lamb for our salvation) was not enough, but the foundation of the ancient mystics is laid down instead. And as Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing, one mysticism proponent admits that the practices these earliest monks drew from were so strongly similar “to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East” that “the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing form the East or a spontaneous rediscovery” (ATOD, 2nd ed., p. 42).

With Lectio Divina (as with other contemplative practices), the Word of God is used as a tool to perform a ritual that will bring on a mystical experience. A word or phrase from a passage of Scripture is turned into a mantra-like practice, where it is repeated over and over. No longer do the words have the meaning they were intended by the authors (the apostles and prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit) but rather an experience to “feel” closer to God is sought.

The contemplative says we must seek after a “deeper” relationship with God. But for the born-again believer who has been united with Christ through faith by His grace and “sealed” for the “day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30), a method or ritual is not needed to draw near to the Lord for He is already in our hearts established and “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10). That is the main theme of A Time of Departing (Ray Yungen’s book) that simply being indwelt by the Holy Spirit and being in the body of Christ is all that is necessary to fulfil your relationship needs for God. There is no esoteric tradition that will give you more of the Holy Spirit.

In answer to your question, no, we as believers did not miss anything. Contemplatives such as Richard Foster say that Christians are missing something, that our lives are empty and lacking in vitality, and thus we need, they say, these meditation techniques. But if we truly do have a relationship with Jesus Christ, if we have allowed Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, then He promises to live in our hearts and commune with us. Surely, if we needed to repeat words and phrases over and over in order to have that fellowship with Christ, He would, at some point, have told us in His Word and laid out these contemplative instructions. But rather, the Word tells us that His “grace and peace” have been given to us ”through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord and that His “divine power” has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” and that through ”exceeding great and precious promises” we can be ”partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).

The biblical way to draw near to God is one in which the work has already been done at the Cross and is offered to “whosoever believeth,” with a free and clear invitation of communion with God, a communion that is ours for the asking. The contemplative way to “draw near to God” is riddled with man’s efforts, mystical eastern practices, altered states of consciousness, an eventual change in attitude toward the atonement, an exaltation of man (as having divinity), and a growing view that the Bible is more of a ritualistic tool and a poetic piece of literature rather than an authority (unchanging, solid, and trustworthy) for our spiritual lives. Simply look at the views of the emerging church (which is propelled by contemplative prayer) to see the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality. Or consider what the occult prophetess Alice Bailey said,

It is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the Christian Knower with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to the same efficacy [efficiency] of method.

Or the words of Thomas Merton’s biographer and advocate, William Shannon:

If one wants to understand Merton’s going to the East it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.

Simply put, what these quotes reveal is that these “dimensions” of God are not really dimensions of God at all, but pathways to the mystical occult practices and teachings of the East. Ironically, Lectio Divina will lead practitioners away from the very thing it claims to embrace: the Word of God.

Thus, as believers, let us reject this practice, and let us cling to and “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Related Information:

Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice

When a Young Girl Meets a Mystic and Is Introduced to Lectio Divina

Biblegateway Teaches Readers “Lectio Divina” – a Dangerous Gateway to a New Spiritual Outlook

Trevor Baker - The Blind are Living Proof That Jesus' Words Are True

Trevor Baker, Canadian song writer, singer, and defender of the faith sings “Living Proof.” Here are the lyrics below. You can listen to 30 second clips of this song and other songs from his album, The Lonely Road by clicking here.

“Livin’ Proof”

You’ve heard all the sayings, they’ve been ’round for years
Some folks make you laugh so hard, you can’t hold back the tears
Some are more sobering; you wonder if they’re true
But they’re for someone else and not for you

There’s the one about the guy who can’t see the forest for the trees
His corn flakes box is not quite full; who writes these?
Stop him please.
But there’s a few found in the Bible, not so easy to discard
I think it’s cause the words cut to the heart

They speak of danger and avoiding man-made lies
They mostly fall on deaf ears, not too many folks get wise
I guess they’re ever learning but never coming to the Truth
Folks in church today are livin’ proof

Jesus had a few like that, and He nailed it pretty good
After all, He’s God, – if He doesn’t know who would?
He talked about a people who would meddle with His plan
They’d never bend their will yet they claim to hold His hand

I can’t help but wonder what went through His mind
As He offered sight to a people who said
“no, we’re happy blind”
He watched them turn away and make a God
to suit their needs
It’ll get worse as time goes on, my Bible reads

They won’t see the danger; they’ll fall for man-made lies
It’s hard to understand why these people don’t get wise
If they’re ever learning then they should know what to do
You’d really think by now they’d have a clue

They’re livin’ proof that Jesus’ words were true

The Angel of Light’s “Plan” for World Peace

By Tamara Hartzell
Author of In the Name of Purpose


An Interfaith Kingdom of World Servers Working Together as ONE

Our enemies in the Angel of light’s realm have been working long and hard at fulfilling his Plan. They are achieving marked success in enticing the world into his counterfeit kingdom and its (New Age) New Spirituality that appears as “light” and “peace.” As mentioned earlier (see chapter six), Alice Bailey (A.A.B.) was approached by the spirit world to detail “the Plan” in writing. These writings are the basis for the descriptions of this counterfeit kingdom “of God” and its Plan to use world service to bring interfaith unity and “peace” to the world. As is to be expected, these enemies commonly twist Scripture after the pattern of the father of lies, who has been twisting God’s Word since the Garden of Eden. Also not surprisingly, their deceptions twist the nature and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and reveal an ongoing hatred for His true followers and Word.

“I [Djwhal Khul] … have a vision of the Plan … Through the cooperation of A.A.B. I put this plan – as far as was possible – before you, calling your attention to the New Group of World Servers.…

“[T]he vision is a vision of group work, of group relationships, of group objectives, and of the group fusion to the larger Whole.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul1

“[T]here is a group of human beings, integrating now … upon whom is laid the burden of leading humanity. They are starting movements that have in them the new vibration, they are saying things that are universal in their tone, they are enunciating principles that are cosmic, they are inclusive and not exclusive, they do not care what terminology a man uses; they insist that a man shall keep his own inner structure of truth to himself and not impose it on any one else … they demonstrate the universal light, they are servers … Click here to continue reading.

A Native American True Story - He Wished to Leave the “Old Way” and Follow the Christian Way

Written in the late 1800s by Egerton Ryerson Young
(author of Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires)

I was interrupted one day while sitting in my study by the quiet entrance of a stalwart Indian whom I had not seen for a year. I had met him the previous summer in his own wigwam on the banks of a beautiful lake a couple of hundred miles north. After a few words of kindly greeting I asked about his family, when, to my surprise, he exclaimed, almost passionately, “Missionary, my heart is sad, and I have come to ask you to get me a wife from one of the Christian families of your village.”

Somewhat annoyed, I said: “Do you not know that I do not believe in a man having two wives at the same time? When I visited your wigwam and had religious services among your people last summer I thought you had a very good wife and a pretty babe, and that you were very fond of them.”

“Yes,” he said, passionately; “all true, missionary!” and then his spirit broke, and he wailed out, “Non pimatissit!” which means, “Not among the living.”

This is the pagan Cree Indian way of referring to the death of friends. Having none of the consolation which Christianity gives in reference to death, the very word itself is to them one of such terror that they seldom utter it. When obliged to speak of those that are gone they use the Cree phrase non pimatissit— not among the living. Shocked at this sad news, and pitying the poor fellow, we made him sit down with us to tea, and then after a while we got him to tell us his sad story. He said:

“Missionary, a short time after you left us I started from the place where you had met our people on the Burntwood River to go far away to my own hunting-grounds to catch beaver. I pitched my wigwam on the bank of a fine large lake in which there were plenty of fish, and there I left my wife and babe and my wife’s mother. They had every thing they needed to make them comfortable. There were fish in the lake and rabbits in the woods. With plenty of food in the wigwam I left them light of heart, for I was glad to see them so well. The last thing I saw of them was the baby laughing in the hammock and my wife sitting beside him and busy making the new white fish net for the fall fishing. I went up the lake for some miles until I reached a large stream that flowed down into the lake. As I had seen before this time plenty of signs of beaver up this creek I went up it a few miles and there set my traps. I hunted around for a few days and did very well. Then I packed up my furs and beavermeat, and started on my trip home. My load, which I carried on my back, supported by the carrying-strap from my forehead, was heavy, but my heart was light, for I had been successful as a hunter, and then I was also on my way to see my wife and baby boy. I hurried along on the side of the stream until it entered into the lake, and then I turned to walk along the shore. I had not gone very far before I was surprised to find lying in the water at the edge of the lake the body of a large dead reindeer. I examined him to see if he had been shot, but instead of any bullet marks I found that he had been badly cut about his head with an ax. As he was not fit for food I left him there for the wild beasts to eat and hurried on toward my wigwam. I had not gone very far before I found on the shore one of my canoes badly broken. This very much surprised me, and so I hurried on faster than before, for my heart began to feel strange and heavy; and there was reason for it, missionary, for I had not gone on much farther before I found at the shore in the water the bodies of my wife, babe, and wife’s mother. They were cold and dead, although there were no wounds on their bodies. They had been drowned all drowned.”

The poor fellow had been able to control himself fairly well up to this point while in his simple yet eloquent manner he had told his pathetic story. But here even the Indian’s stoical nature was overcome, and his heart was stirred to its depths by the memory of his great loss. So for a time in a hushed silence my sympathetic wife and I sat with him until he had mastered his emotions and could proceed with his narrative. He said:

“I carried the bodies home to my empty wigwam, and as they lay there so still I could but think of how different when I left them a few days before. I hurried away to the wigwams of some of my people miles away, and they came to see me in my sorrow and helped me to bury my dead.”

In answer to our questions as to his impressions or ideas as to the manner in which his loved ones had met their death he said nobody had seen how it happened, as all the people were in other places, hunting or fishing, but he and his relatives had talked it over, and they had all come to one mind about it. And this was how they thought it happened: The women in the tent must have seen that large reindeer swimming in the lake, and, being anxious to kill him, they had launched the canoe to go after him. As there were sometimes gray wolves or other wild animals prowling about they were afraid to leave the baby behind, and so they took him with them in the canoe. They only took with them their paddles and a couple of axes.

The reindeer has good lungs, and so he can swim high in the water, and sometimes he will make a desperate fight, even in the water, for his life. So it seemed in this case that, while the women succeeded in so striking him in the head with their axes as to mortally wound him, he succeeded in breaking the canoe, perhaps with his hind feet, for they are able to kick very savagely, even when swimming. The result was, the boat sank, and the women becoming entangled with their clothing, and perhaps trying to save the baby, all were drowned together.

We listened to the recital of this sad story, and would not have been human if we had not been moved by it and also by the simple, pathetic way in which he tried to tell us how he felt when he reached his wigwam and found the fire out, the hammock empty, and the wooden needle still dangling in the last mesh of the net which his wife had been weaving ere she had doubtless hurried out to try and show how bravely she and her mother could kill the deer. We kept the poor fellow all night, and in the morning were better prepared to sympathize with him in his desire to obtain a wife than when he had in such a strange way referred to the matter the previous evening at the beginning of our interview.

“Why,” I said to him, “have you come hundreds of miles for a wife? Why did you not go to Nelson River, or to some other place nearer to your home?”

His prompt answer was: “Because I want a Christian wife. I am convinced that what you told me is true. I am trying to believe in your religion and know more about the true God and his Son, and as you can only come once or twice a year to teach us and preach to us I thought a good Christian wife might help me along in the good Christian way.”

Still anxious to draw him out, for I saw that I had here a man of more than usual character and thoughtfulness, I said: “But I cannot forget that although I manage to get down once or twice a year by canoe or dog-train to visit your people, and they have always received me kindly and listened very attentively to what I say, yet it is only a very short time since they began to hear about the true way, and many of them are still pagans; so you see there might be a good deal of fear that if a Christian young woman went to live there they would persuade her to return to the old Indian way.”

“No, no!” he said very earnestly. “We have all lost faith in the old way, and she would be able to help us to be good Christians all the sooner.”

So, after my good, judicious wife and I had listened to the story and talked the matter over, we thought of a family where there were several marriageable daughters dependent on a sickly father, one of whom we thought would make this fine-looking fellow a good wife and help him to be a Christian. Soon after, I escorted the suitor over and introduced him to the family, and had him tell his story and plead his loneliness and make his promise of how good and true he would be. As it did not take Rebekah long to make up her mind, in the ancient primitive times, to consent to be the wife of Isaac, and to start off on a long journey, so it was here. A few days after there was quiet marriage in our little church and a happy wedding-feast. Then the bride and the bridegroom embarked in their birch canoe for their far-distant home. With machine-like precision their paddles rose and fell together as they rapidly propelled their beautiful craft along. We could not help but breathe the prayer that their lives might move along in equal unison. If so, they were assured of many days of sunshine.

I visited them years after. They are consistent Christians, as well as the majority of the Indians in that section of that vast country.

(Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires, pp. 302-306, Lighthouse Trails)

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