HOME                  June 10, 2013

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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. We also post video clips from YouTube at times. Also please note, any advertising on YouTube videos is not in any way connected to Lighthouse Trails and is beyond our control, but we make every effort to use only video clips that have no obscene or vulgar content including in advertising.

Big Surprise – NOT! – “GLAAD Continues Push for Boy Scouts to Allow Openly Homosexual Leaders”

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

NEW YORK – A prominent homosexual advocacy group is continuing its push to end the ban on openly homosexual leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) states that while it applauds the recent vote to allow avowed homosexual youth as members in the Boy Scouts, it believes that the remaining ban on openly homosexual leaders should also be repealed. The organization has been using an online effort to prompt further changes in the Scouts.

“The Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay scouts, which is a huge victory for gay youth,” GLAAD writes on its website. “But gay scout leaders … are still banned from scouting. It’s time to keep up the pressure! GLAAD needs your help to make sure gay parents and adults are also able to participate.”

The group has been spearheading an effort since last year to urge the Boy Scouts to allow openly homosexual leaders following the dismissal of Jennifer Tyrell of Ohio, who was ousted from her position because her lifestyle conflicted with scouting policies. This past week, both GLAAD and Tyrell appeared at the Boy Scouts of America annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas to voice its opposition to the ban. Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network were also among those present. Click here to continue reading.

Video: Rob Bell Debates Homosexuality vs. The Bible

LTRP Note: The following is from Stand Up For the Truth radio program. We apologize for the occasion in the interview where Rob Bell swears. It is shortly after the 16 minute mark so you could mute the video at that point. We do believe this is an interview worth watching, however. We would like to point out also, for those who may think that Rob Bell is in a minority extreme group for thinking the way he does, that popular evangelical leaders such as Tony Campolo, Philip Yancey, Dan Kimball, and others have all played a part in bringing about this paradigm shift within evangelical Christianity. It’s not just Rob Bell and Brian McLaren (see our links below for related information)

Stand Up For the Truth ministries

Rob bell gets hammered in this must-see “Homosexuality vs. The Bible” debate between Bell and Andrew Wilson. The 20-minute segment aired recently on the U.K.’s “Unbelievable” Christian radio talk show.

(Caution: When pressured, Bell says the word, “Bull****” at about 16 minutes in. Watch at your own risk.) Click here for the source and to read more or if you cannot see the video below.

LTRP Related Articles:

We Said it Would Happen, and It Has – CNN: “At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students”

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Kids From Sexual Predators

No Hell Bell Comes Out in Support of Homosexuality, Tells ‘Narrow’ Christians to ‘Repent’

Blue Like Jazz Movie Hits Theaters – A Word About Blue Like Jazz, the Book

Video: Rob Bell Debates Homosexuality vs. The Bible
SPECIAL REPORT: Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path
How Will You Handle Hard Times Ahead?
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Elects First Openly Homosexual Bishop
Our Children – The Primary Target of the New Age One-World Religion
A LETTER FROM EMILY – NEW BRYCE HOME # 18 TESTIMONY – “The Great Works of God”
Coming to Christ Through Mysticism?
IRS also targeted Jewish groups
The Cloud of Unknowing – “Take a little word, and repeat it.”
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NEW FEATURED BOOKLET TRACT: Who Really Killed Jesus?
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2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

 
Who We Are
Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company and research project ministry. We work with a group of Christian journalists and authors, all who understand the times in which we live from a biblical perspective. While we hope you will buy and read the books we have published, watch the DVDs we have produced, and support our ministry, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, e-newsletter, and now our subscription based print journal. We pray that the books as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Contacting Us
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BOOKLET TRACTS

In January of 2013, we began publishing Print Booklet Tracts. Click the banner below to see what we have so far. More will be added regularly. These are specifically designed to give out to people.

BOOKLET TRACTS FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS
SPECIAL REPORT: Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path

The contemplative prayer movement is rushing into the evangelical/Protestant church, gaining more momentum with each passing day. Lighthouse Trails has established the fact that this is becoming a significant movement. Just since the beginning of 2013, we have shown numerous examples of Christian organizations and denominations that are now accepting contemplative spirituality. Some of those we have documented this year so far are: The Assemblies of God General Council 1;  Moody Bible Institute and Moody Radio 2;  Christian Missionary & Alliance 3; LeTourneau University 4; Association of Christian Schools International (ACS) 5; John Piper (Desiring God) 6; Timothy Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian) 7; Nazarene universities 8; Radio Bible Class 9; Native American Bible College 10; and Cornerstone University 11.

What we are about to share in the following report has shaken us because the implications are that the evangelical church is succumbing to an apostate mystical revolution, and a growing number of today’s Christian leaders are party to it either by way of promotion or by way of apathy.

First, as we have frequently pointed out, the contemplative philosophy says that the silence makes one a better Christian (i.e., more mature, transformed, deeper walk with God, etc.). But we can say with surety that it does not make one a better Christian; rather, it breeds within the practitioner interspiritual and panentheistic seeds of deception.  To be honest, if the silence did make one a better Christian, Lighthouse Trails wouldn’t have been created in the first place. If the contemplative ended up with a stronger, more solid view of the Christian faith – which is the Gospel  – we wouldn’t be concerned. But we have  shown repeatedly over the years that contemplative prayer is contrary to Scriptures and negates the need for the Cross. This mystical practice, rather than bringing about a turning to Jesus Christ through faith in Him, leads those participating to believe  they are already united with God. The fact that contemplative teachers almost uniformly are sympathetic to interspirituality (all paths lead to God) and panentheism (God is in all), indicates that they are actually in touch with familiar spirits (demons) and not the Holy Spirit.  God’s Spirit would lead one to the preaching of the Cross and justification by Christ alone. But what the contemplative comes out with is everyone is connected to God.  As we have shown time and again, through the writings of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, and many more contemplative advocates, this is what happens to their spiritual outlook.

As we explained in our May 22nd article, “Moody’s Pastors’ Conference Teaching Lectio Divina This Week”  we have been warning Moody Bible Institute and Moody Radio (owned by MBI) for seven years. Moody has rejected our warnings, has refused to accept our free, non-obligatory copies of A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, and has continued to promote contemplative spirituality. When you consider the significant influence that Moody has always had in the church, this cannot be ignored. Moody Radio is one of the largest Christian radio networks in America with 36 owned and operated stations, over 1500  outlets, and over 400 affiliate stations. 1  Moody Bible Institute is considered one of the most trusted biblically-based schools in the nation, and Moody Publishers (also part of MBI), in existence for over 100 years, has given itself the motto “The Name You Can Trust.”  So, undoubtedly, what they do and what they promote is going to make a difference in many many lives.

One of the long-standing Moody Radio programs is Midday Connection. Lighthouse Trails has addressed this program on a number of occasions because of the continued promotion of contemplative and emerging figures through interviews on the show. On Thursday, June 6th, 2013,  a Lighthouse Trails reader informed us that on June 3rd on the Midday Connection radio program, Moody hosts Anita Lustrea (with Moody since 1984) and Melinda Schmidt discussed Lustrea’s recent graduation from the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. According to the women’s discussion, Lustrea was awarded a 2-year Certificate in Spiritual Direction. On the program, Schmidt acknowledged that Lustrea would incorporate what she had learned over the past two years into Midday Connection, and Lustrea told the audience that Schmidt would be starting the same 2-year program this fall.

This is very significant and troubling news to learn. The Christos Center teaching team consists of several ”spiritual directors” who have been trained at the interspiritual, panentheistic Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. The Christos Center emulates the same spiritual view and teaches the same mystical practices as Shalem.  The 2-year certificate in Spiritual Direction that Anita Lustrea received this year (and Melinda Schmidt hopes to receive in 2 years) is taught by these Shalem-trained spiritual directors from Christos.

In a brochure, advertising the Christos Center’s 2-year Certificate in Spiritual Direction, we see the name of the program is “Tending the Holy - Preparation for the Ministry of Spiritual Direction.” According to this brochure, study areas include: the Desert Mothers/Fathers, Spanish Mystics, Centering Prayer, The Contemplative Life, Solitude and Silence, Meditation, and so forth. For those who don’t know, “Centering Prayer” is the trademark of Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington, the two interspiritual panentheistic monks who have been instrumental in bringing mysticism to a broad audience.

One of the teachers for the Christos 2-year certificate program is Joann Nesser, who is also the founder of the Christos Center and holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Shalem Institute. Nesser is also a member of Spiritual Directors International and served on the SDI Coordinating Council for 6 of the early formative years. (source)  If you have followed Lighthouse Trails for a while, you will be familiar with the name Spiritual Directors International. In fact, the organization is mentioned in Ray Yungen’s A Time of Departing. On page 41, Yungen states:

One of the objectives of SDI is “Tending the holy around the world and across traditions.” A 2008 membership list showed 652 Episcopalians, 239 Presbyterians, 239 Methodists, 175 Lutherans, and a whopping 2,386 Roman Catholics; counting another forty or so “traditions,” the total was 6648. To show the nature of just what they mean by “across traditions,” the list included Buddhist, Gnostic Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Siddha Yoga, and even Pagan/Wiccan.*

This term “tending the holy” may have originated in 1992, when Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan composed a song for SDI titled “Tending the Holy.” Toolan is a prominent spokesperson for the music and prayer of the Taizé ecumenical/interfaith community from France. “Tending the Holy” is also the title of a 2003 book written by Norvene Vest, a book that was part of the Spiritual Directors International series. Vest is a founding member of the Center for Christian Spirituality-West and “a feminist theologian, emphasizing embodied, relational theology and images of the divine feminine” (the goddess within) (source). The full title of the SDI book is Tending the Holy: Spiritual Direction Across the Traditions. When it says “across the traditions,” it means across all the world’s religious traditions. The book is filled with quotes by and references to mystics from the world’s largest religions (e.g., Swami Muktananda, Swami Rama, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sri Chinmoy, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Thus “tending the holy” infers that the holy (or God) is in all the various religions (i.e., interspirituality). Thus, you can understand how troubling it is to see that Christos Center has adopted the term “tending the holy” for their 2 year program on supposed Christian spiritual direction, and Moody’s Anita Lustrea  has participated in this, hoping to pass on what she has learned to Moody listeners.

In Joann Nesser’s book, Contemplative Prayer: Praying When the Well Runs Dry, she describes her  journey into contemplative spirituality, which started first by meeting a woman who “converted to Hinduism” (Preface) whose meditation attracted Nesser. Nesser said, as so many contemplatives do, that her own faith in God was void of a relationship with Him. She found her answer first in a book by contemplative mystics and then at a Catholic retreat center. Almost without exception, contemplative teachers talk about a spiritual dryness they have. Rather than finding true and lasting fulfillment in receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and becoming born-again of the Spirit of God, they turn to mystical experiences, believing these are connecting them to God. This is what Nesser was led into. She began teaching others what she had learned:

After many years of attending silent retreats and practicing my own prayer, I like to say I accidentally began to lead retreats on prayer and became a spiritual director. Fearing I might be leading people astray, I sought out, and was blessed to find, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Shalem gave me the space and encouragement for my own deepening as well as the grounding I needed for leading others (Kindle Locations 74-76).

Nesser, who is currently one of the Henri Nouwen Society spiritual directors,  echoes the panentheistic mystics, such as Thomas Merton, when she states: “We are all dwelling places of God” (Contemplative Prayer; Kindle Location 294). When she says this, she doesn’t mean all Christians; she means all humanity as Henri Nouwen also believed.

The point we want to make here is that Anita Lustrea has received teaching and mentoring from those who are given over to beliefs that are more in line with New Age/Eastern mysticism than with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We don’t believe this is a sensationalistic or extreme statement as we have been able to clearly show over the last 11 years in ministry that the panentheistic and interspiritual roots of the contemplative prayer movement do not line up with the biblical message of the Gospel.

As a case in point to show that Anita Lustrea has absorbed the essence of her contemplative teachers, on June 3rd on Lustrea’s blog, she wrote an article titled “Walking the Labyrinth” encouraging the use of labyrinths. The labyrinth is a maze-like structure that has pagan roots and is today used primarily in contemplative settings (see Carl Teichrib’s excellent article on labyrinths). Even prior to Lustrea beginning the Christos program, she was drawn to contemplative: in at least one Midday Connection program, Lustrea had contemplative author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun as a guest speaker, and Lustrea talks about Calhoun in her own  book, What Women Tell Me. Lustrea tells how she met Calhoun during  a course called “Growing Your Soul” and how Calhoun taught her some of the contemplative “spiritual disciplines” (p. 125). In a Lighthouse Trails article, “’Spiritual Disciplines Handbook’ – Christian Organizations, Seminaries, and Ministry Leaders Incorporate This Mystical Primer into Christian Education,”   we show the heavy mystical propensities of Calhoun. We stated:

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun is a primer on contemplative mysticism, bursting with contemplative meditation instruction along with references and quotes by some of the movement’s most prolific mystics on the scene today. It’s a book one might expect to find on the shelves of a Catholic monastery, a New Age bookstore, or in an emerging church coffee house.

In her book, Calhoun acknowledges that a number of mantric-style meditation advocates have influenced her:

I would be remiss not to mention the spiritual tutors that I know only through books: Dorothy Bass, Eugene Peterson, Gerald May [Shalem], M. Basil Pennington, Phyllis Tickle . . . Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr . . . Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, St. Benedict, Julian of Norwich and many more. Their ideas, voices and examples have shaped my own words and experience of the disciplines. (Acknowledgment’s page)

How does someone with Calhoun’s propensities end up on a Moody Radio program? And where are the Christian leaders in all this? Do they realize that a mystical anti-Gospel spirituality has come into the church? Do they realize it has come into one of the most well-respected prolific ministries out there today? If they do realize it, do they understand the primary effect of it undermines the Gospel? We took a look on Moody Radio’s website at their ministry “affiliations.”  Of those affiliations, they state:

The ministry of Moody Radio isn’t an island. It takes many partnerships to make this ministry happen. Our relationships with other organizations are strategic, and without them this ministry would never reach to the areas it does.(emphasis added)

We were surprised to see the large number of these “other organizations” that help keep Moody going. The list included many of today’s most popular Christian leaders: Focus on the Family, David Jeremiah, the late Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Chuck Swindoll, Martin DeHaan (Radio Bible), Beth Moore, and Erwin Lutzer to name some. Worth noting, a large number of these affiliates (not all) have been the topic of Lighthouse Trails articles because of their promotion of contemplative spirituality. We find that disheartening. It’s as if the contemplative issue (i.e., mystical meditation) is not a worthwhile or relevant topic to even bring to the table!) And yet, as a LT Special Report in 2010 showed, even Christianity Today (who just also happens to be CP proponents) acknowledged that there was a controversy with contemplative prayer. In that report we stated:

In the August 2010 cover story of Christianity Today, the magazine has brought out two things that the major Christian media has thus far ignored – one, that Beth Moore, described as “the most popular Bible teacher in America”  by CT is a proponent of contemplative prayer, and two, that there is a debate over whether contemplative meditation is of Eastern religious origin or not. This Lighthouse Trails special report will look at . . .  the vital question as to whether contemplative prayer is indeed rooted in Eastern mysticism. 

Christianity Today hit the nail right on the head when it informed its readers that: “Critics argue that contemplative prayer is rooted in Eastern mysticism and thus not a practice that Christians should engage in.”

Lighthouse Trails is one of those unnamed “critics.”  And while the majority of Christian leaders are either promoting contemplative spirituality or just ignoring the issue altogether, our sense of urgency only heightens. Now, please listen to the following:

There is a term, which is called “Integral Spirituality.” It was coined by Thomas Keating. It’s also a term that is used by Buddhist-meditation figure, Ken Wilber. Basically, integral spirituality is the idea that the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious all unite together (through meditation) in order for a person to supposedly awaken to his true self or inner divinity. This is the essence of New Age/New Spirituality thinking, and it is the antithesis of the message of the Cross. You may be wondering how this ties with our current story. For more than 20 years, Keating and other like-minded people came together in what became known as the Snowmass Interreligious Conferences or Snowmass Dialogues. These gatherings were documented in a book titled The Common Heart: an experience of interreligious dialogue. The foreword of the book is by Ken Wilber, and the introduction is by Keating. In another book titled Spirituality, Contemplation, and Transformation, it discusses the Snowmass meetings. According to this book, a woman named Jeannette Bakke was one of a dozen organizing participants in the Snowmass Conferences in 2003. Please hear this: the work that Keating and Wilber are immersed in is about as interspiritual, panentheistic, and universalist as you are going to find. Jeannette Bakke is one of the teachers at the Christos ”Tending the Holy” 2-year Certificate of Spiritual Direction program! Can you see the seriousness of what is going on here? Women listening to Moody’s Midday Connection are going to be receiving spiritual “insights” from a woman who has been taught by Bakke and others like her! This is the theme of the Christos Center.

With these heavy things in mind, consider this closing statement by Ray Yungen.

The rise of centering (contemplative) prayer is causing many churches to become agents of transformation. Those who practice it tend to embrace a one-world-religion idea. One of the main proponents of centering prayer, Basil Pennington, had this revelation:

“It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different 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. . . . I think it has been the common experience of all persons of good will that when we sit together Centering we experience a solidarity that seems to cut through all our philosophical and theological differences.” (emphasis mine)

In this context, we may compare all the world’s religions to a dairy herd. Each cow may look different on the outside, but the milk would all be the same. The different religious groups would maintain their own separate identities, but a universal spiritual practice would bind them together—not so much a one-world church as a one-world spirituality.

Episcopal priest and New Age leader Matthew Fox explains what he calls “deep ecumenism”:

“Without mysticism there will be no “deep ecumenism,” no unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions. Without this I am convinced there will never be global peace or justice since the human race needs spiritual depths and disciplines, celebrations and rituals, to awaken its better selves. The promise of ecumenism, the coming together of religions, has been thwarted because world religions have not been relating at the level of mysticism.”

Fox believes that all world religions will eventually be bound together by the “Cosmic Christ” principle, which is another term for the higher self.

As incredible as this may sound, it appears to be happening now. The New Age is embedded in American religious culture far deeper and broader than many people imagine. If your concept of the New Age is simply astrology, tarot cards, or reincarnation, then you could easily miss the real New Age as it pulses through the religious current. If mystical prayer continues its advance, then we could one day see, perhaps sooner than we expect, many Christian churches becoming conduits of New Age thought to their membership.

 

*Information taken from the Spiritual Directors International website—”Demographics of our Learning Community.”

Related Information:

History of SDI

Moody’s Pastors’ Conference Teaching Lectio Divina This Week – And Seven Years of Warning by Lighthouse Trails Go Unheeded

The Moody Church of Chicago Welcomes Contemplative Advocate Larry Crabb As Guest Speaker

Moody Publishers Release Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer

An Epidemic of Apostasy – Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited

How Will You Handle Hard Times Ahead?

By Paul Proctor
Free-lance writer
Used with permission.

It’s time to prepare for hard times, my friends. And, if you’re a bible-believing, Christ-following Christian, I believe the coming years will be particularly troublesome. I say “bible-believing, Christ-following Christian” because our degenerating culture has all but stripped the biblical definition of the word “Christian” from today’s collective conscience so that it has lost much of it’s scriptural meaning, even among many of today’s attending church members.

The enemies of Christ have clearly risen to great power in this country and are, even as I write, busy endeavoring to finish off what remains of the church for the purpose of replacing it with a god and religion more suitable for global government. Though they may well in time take possession of the many debt-heavy mega churches and other grand houses of worship around the country in order to turn them into federally-subsidized community centers for faith-based social services, they won’t be successful at completely silencing or eliminating the true body of Christ who will likely be forced to abandon them in order to keep hearing and proclaiming God’s Word uncensored. Unless the Lord Himself intervenes to alter the current course of events, those now in power will most certainly rule over us for a season–and an arduous one at that.

Considering all the unbiblical as well as unconstitutional legislation, it’s looking more and more like faithful Christians could soon be viewed as enemies of the state for no other reason than having believed, proclaimed, and obeyed the Word of God. Not only is the church being attacked from without, it is also being undermined from within by charlatans who would transform it into something more spiritually pliable, socially useful and dialectically accommodating.

I believe Christians will again and again be called upon to choose whom we will serve in the coming days in ways that will bring more persecution and suffering than we are accustomed to, requiring a spiritual farsightedness and desire for the eternal things of God over the temporal rewards of this world.

We need to be ready. We need to be willing. And we need to be empowered, not by the mere passion of patriotic zeal, but by the Holy Spirit of God and His Word. It is not we against them – it is an angry and rebellious world against God, and we would do well to remember that when the devil comes knocking at our door demanding more tolerance, diversity and unity.

Vengeance is not ours – that belongs to the Lord, as He clearly states in His Word. Those who live by the sword will surely die by it – again, not my words – His.

When our Constitution and Bill of Rights are completely discarded for the New World Order, there will be no going back to the way things were. There will only be the Word of God to edify, encourage, inspire, and sustain us through the hard times ahead. Those who understand and appreciate the power of that Word know very well what I’m talking about. Those who don’t will ignore it at their own peril because to them, it is foolishness.

Best we get into His Word now more earnestly and take it to heart in preparation for a time when bibles are no longer allowed or even legal, than get caught spiritually ignorant and scripturally unarmed when temptation and tribulation come.

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)

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Elects First Openly Homosexual Bishop
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America elected its first openly gay bishop to a six-year term on Friday at an annual assembly in Southern California, officials said.

The election of Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin comes after the church’s controversial rule change in 2009 that allowed gays and lesbians to be ordained in the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination. More than 600 congregations have left the denomination since the change. . . .

Ordained in May 2011, Erwin said he waited years for the recognition and he brings a “deep faith in Christ’s presence in his church lived out in 20 years of parish experience blended with university and seminary-level teaching.”

Officials say the “partnered gay man” is also the first Native American to be elected. Erwin is part Osage Indian. Click here to continue reading.

Related Articles:

Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA) leader suggests Bible not the final authority  - from 2009

Outrage as US Lutherans Ease Rules on Pastors in Gay Relationships - from 2007

Our Children – The Primary Target of the New Age One-World Religion

By Berit Kjos
(From her new release, How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future!1—Adolph Hitler

The traditional Christian family has been a continual obstacle to the globalist vision of solidarity. . . . the United Nations and its mental health gurus have fought hard to eradicate those old “poisonous certainties” that stood in their way. . . . The results can be disastrous. Students trained to scorn God’s guidelines and conform to the crowd are . . . soon driven by evolving new notions that undermine all truth and certainty. 2—Carl Teichrib (research journalist)

 A counterfeit hope surges through our society today: We can do it! We can re-create the earth and complete the evolutionary process. When we eliminate national and spiritual barriers, we will be one. By becoming a part of the “cosmic” stream of consciousness around the world, we can become a superrace, the true global family of God.

The seeds of this utopian dream were sown by John Dewey. Nurtured by the warm friendship between humanist NEA and UNESCO, one-worldism sank its roots deep into every level of public education. The late Dr. Robert Muller, former Under-Secretary of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council, unmasked the movement’s spiritual nature in his book on global education, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality:

 On a universal scale, humankind is seeking no less than its reunion with the “divine,” its transcendence into ever higher forms of life. Hindus call our earth Brahma, or God, for they rightly see no difference between our earth and the divine. This ancient simple truth is slowly dawning again upon humanity . . . as we are about to enter our cosmic age and to become what we were always meant to be: the planet of God.3

 To “evolving” New Agers, the end goal of global oneness justifies any questionable ways or means. It is not surprising then to find classrooms teaching steps and carrying out curricula that work toward fulfilling this lofty vision. The formula that substitutes counterfeit values for God’s wisdom can also change the world: crush the old; then out of the ashes will rise a new earth—a world free from guilt, fear, oppression, and poverty. The time is ripe to buy the lie.

This transformation has vastly accelerated as millions around the globe await the New Age/New Spirituality world of harmony, love, and oneness—a world of evolved god-men all following the wisdom of Self. Discernment Research Group at the Herescope blog explains the crucial role that education (the transformation of it) plays in bringing this new world to the forefront:

 Education is a key vehicle to implement Robert Muller’s “vision” for a New Age. . . . [Muller’s] education curriculum served as a spiritual and political model, based on the metaphysical beliefs of Theosophy, for education reform in the United States and around the world. Muller’s spiritual framework was particularly appealing to globalists and futurists, many of whom were the architects of the transformation of education.4

A New World Religion

To inspire a consciousness explosion, many New Age leaders are determined to win a critical mass of minds. Children will be the prime target of the “missionary” efforts, and schools their greatest battlefield.

William Bennett exposes this ominous blend of public school curriculum, New Age spirituality, and cosmic dreams:

 Another legacy from the Age of Aquarius that has been enshrined in too many of our social studies curricula is a disturbing anti-rational bias. Curriculum guides for . . . global education are shot through with calls for “raised consciousness,” for students and teachers to view themselves “as passengers on a small cosmic spaceship,” for classroom activities involving “intuiting,” “imaging,” or “visioning” a “preferred future.”

 Two proponents of such curricula have offered a candid caution: “These exercises may seem dangerous to your logical thought patterns. For best results, suspend your judging skills and prepare to accept ideas that seem silly and/or impractical.” Well, if we’re going to give up critical judgment, we’d better give up the game of education altogether.5

While “raised consciousness” and “visioning” sound too mystical for admission into many schools, a new form of religious education does not. Teaching about the major world religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, the curricula emphasize the universal “truths” and historical values of each. That sounds fair and innocuous, until we remember that New Age globalism calls for a one-world religion—a persuasive union of all supposed paths to eternal life. Since biblical Christianity doesn’t fit the formula, some of these courses have—in the hands of “progressive” teachers—become a platform for criticizing Christian exclusiveness and promoting Eastern meditation. Speaking to many of the world’s religious and political leaders, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, articulated this New Age formula for spiritual oneness in a global community. Notice the apologetic and compromising version of “Christianity”:

 Behind [this resurgence of religions] lies a widespread pessimism about the future of humankind, and unsatisfied longing for alternative paths to salvation.

All the centuries that the Spirit of God had been working in Christians, He must also have been working in Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and all the others. . . . This will mean that some claims about the exclusiveness of the Church will have to be renounced.6

 In April of 1988, representatives of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism met with political leaders from over forty nations to “solve” the world’s problems. This Global Conference of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival was sponsored by the Temple of Understanding, a global interfaith organization, which was founded with the support of such dignitaries as the Dalai Lama, Indian Prime Minister Nehru, Eleanor Roosevelt, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI. The Temple is an inveritable “hotbed of international dialogue and outright promotion of Eastern mysticism,” working in a “consultive status” with the United Nations and offering interfaith programs for youth. Guest speakers have included such New Age advocates as Donald Keys, David Spangler, and Benjamin Creme (who has heralded the coming of Lord Maitreya, “The Christ,” for many years).7

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

 Just to show you what really lies behind the New Age plan for a coming “Christ,” listen to Benjamin Creme describe this “Messiah”:

 In the esoteric tradition, the Christ is not the name of an individual but of an Office in the Hierarchy. The present holder of that Office, the Lord Maitreya, has held it for 2,600 years, and manifested in Palestine through His Disciple, Jesus, by the occult method of overshadowing, the most frequent form used for the manifestation of Avatars. He has never left the world, but for 2,000 years has waited and planned for this immediate future time, training His Disciples, and preparing Himself for the awesome task which awaits Him. He has made it known that this time, He Himself will come.8

 The Bible tells us that one day, a man will come on the scene who will proclaim himself to be God and will demand that all of humanity worship him. Children throughout the world are being conditioned to accept him even now.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

The “Sin of Separateness”

Because unity is essential for creating a critical mass, many New Age leaders join in condemning the hindering influence of the church. Their objection? Its “negative energy” blocks the envisioned, long-anticipated evolutionary breakthrough. As you have seen, this belief has filtered into the classroom.

Thus, anyone who follows God becomes guilty of the only sins in the New Age: unbelief and separateness. Christians who refuse to share the global vision and join the evolutionary march will reap persecution as Scripture indicates (e.g., 2 Timothy 3:12). For Satan, the counterfeit angel of light, hates all who shine the true light of Christ into the world. The New Age book Spiritual Politics lays out the plan for the “Age of Aquarius” where all are united and all believe they are God. Unity among all humanity will be essential and non-negotiable, they believe, for this global unification and divinity realized to take place:

According to Ageless Wisdom, there really is only one sin—separateness. In the early years of World War II, Alice Bailey noted that we will achieve peace in the world only after we first create unity. . . . The persistence of war is more likely to spring from rampant nationalism, ethnocentrism, and intolerant religious fundamentalism–all extreme and separative attitudes.9

 God is not surprised at this diabolical deception. Long ago, He warned us that the Antichrist would one day rule the world and persecute Christians:

 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:7-8)

Meanwhile, God calls us to remain separate. As His holy people, we cannot join the forces of the Antichrist:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? . . . And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

 Since our children belong to God, He takes care of them. If they have to share in some of the persecution, He will be with them to protect, shield, and render unto them spiritual compensations that far exceed their physical suffering. Let Him encourage your family with these words:

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. . . . fear not, neither be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8)

 While world leaders seek “helpful” religions that serve their purposes, our gracious, almighty, and omnipotent Lord watches over those who have wholly put their trust in Him. Refusing to compromise, they walk the narrow road—but never alone. Their Shepherd walks with them no matter how rocky the road or lonely the miles.

Like His faithful pilgrims through the ages, they know Whom to thank whether their days are filled with sunshine or rain, and freedom or restraints. Trusting His love and His faithfulness, they praise Him for His strength through life’s storms and for peace amidst problems. For He has promised never to leave them. So “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Our children are not immune to the world’s messages. They hear the same tempting voices, the same “positive affirmations” that others hear and follow. Concerned about their spiritual safety, our Shepherd reminds them:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:2-3)

 Unless we help our children build a mental framework and filter based on biblical truth, the world’s philosophies will squeeze them into its mold. Therefore, it is essential that they see God as the only ultimate source of wisdom, power, and triumph.

 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalm 18:2-3)

(Extract from Berit Kjos’ new release, How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception - chapter 7.)

Notes:
1. Adolf Hitler speech at the Reichsparteitag, 1935 (can listen on www.youtube.com).
2. Carl Teichrib, “Education for a New World” (Kjos Ministries website, http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/12/8-education.htm).
3. Robert Muller, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality (New York, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1982), p. 49.
4. “Muller’s Plan for a World Spiritual Renaissance & Education” (Herescope Blog, Discernment Research Group, October 30, 2005, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/10/mullers-plan-for-world-spiritual.html).
5. Raymond English, Teaching International Politics in High School (University Press of America, 1989), p. 9, citing William Bennett.
6. “An Emerging Coalition: Political and Religious Leaders Come Together,” A Special Report (North Bay, ON: The Omega Letter, November 1988), p. 2, citing Robert Runcie.
7. Ibid., p. 3.
8. Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2011), p. 47, quoting Benjamin Creme in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (North Hollywood, CA: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 30.
9. Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, Spiritual Politics (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1994), p. 147.

 
A LETTER FROM EMILY – NEW BRYCE HOME # 18 TESTIMONY – “The Great Works of God”

LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times have been working together in the Bryce Homes for Widows and Children in Kenya program for two and a half years now. If you would like to donate to this mission project, you can do so at the Understand the Times website. You can also visit the Missions for Truth website (a Lighthouse Trails site) to watch slideshows and read more about the project. Thank you to those who have supported these Christian families thus far. One thing you will notice in almost all of the photos of our Bryce Home widows and children - smiles. These Christian widows, while they have very little earthly goods, truly have the joy of the Lord.

The program has brought a big difference in my life, making others wonder of the great works of God. – Widow Emily from Kenya

Dear Donors,

I greet you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thank the Almighty God for you people because through you He brings  hope to the hopeless. Be blessed abundantly.

c1-Emily Bryce home #18 is so happy with donation of to her and she is so thankful for her to be included in the programm.

Emily, from Bryce Home #18, with some of the children she cares for.

I am a widow in Kenya and far away from America and the entire world. You take heart in the interest of my family – be blessed. I thank God for all these because all is happening through His grace.

My husband died in 2009, which left me with 6 children. It is true that I didn’t expect this to happen, but from April 2013, we started getting food donations: maize, beans, rice, sugar,   cooking  fat and bar soaps etc This has gone well with my family for both April and May. In May, on top of food donations, my family got blessed with clothes, both of which have really improved the health of my family. True to sound, it is a sign of relief. It is actually proved to us that God created man in His own image, and it is through His image that He reaches and touches the lives of others at the time of need.

Emily and the other fellow women,are finishing the baskets

Emily is also one of the women in Rongo who makes baskets to help support her family.

As families grow strong and healthy, keep warm in clothes, may they take the most important  task of embracing the gospel in the biblical way and testify proudly in the name of our Lord. I pray for long life, good  health , wider donation network, everlasting stability and true revelation of your effort in the gospel outreach so that you may continue with your vision for the hopeless in many parts of the world.

Yours faithfully,

Emily

LTRP Note: If you would like to purchase one of the baskets made by the Christian widows (including Emily) in Rongo, Kenya, visit our store page for the baskets. The women are receiving a fair market wage for their labor. It has made a tremendous difference in their lives. Click here for some photos of the widows basket program and to read some of the widows’ testimonies.

Coming to Christ Through Mysticism?

by Roger Oakland

The spiritual formation movement teaches that if people practice certain spiritual disciplines, they can become like Jesus and model their lives after Him. But being born again and having the indwelling of Christ is not a prerequisite. Neither is receiving Him as Lord and absolute Savior. What spiritual formation offers is an alternative to God’s plan of salvation revealed in Scripture.

Here is the problem: The spiritual seeker is looking for something to make him feel close to God. If he does not have the indwelling of the Lord, perhaps has never heard the message of repentance and rebirth, he will seek something to help him feel intimate with God. When he is introduced to meditation, which produces a feeling of euphoria and well-being, he mistakes this for the presence of God. And thus the foundation of his faith is not on Christ or the Word of God, but rather on this feeling. This would explain why so many teachers of contemplative and spiritual formation begin dropping the emphasis on biblical truth and distort the doctrines of the faith.

Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology of Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania, is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. His own testimony provides an example of someone who has not only embraced mysticism, but regards it as the avenue through which he considers himself born again.

In his book Letters to a Young Evangelical, Campolo shares his own personal testimony in a chapter called “The Gospel According to Us.” He begins the chapter the following way:

As you may know, most Evangelicals at some point make a decision to trust in Jesus for salvation and commit to becoming the kind of people he wants us to be.1

Campolo presents the details of his conversion experience. He begins by stating:

When I was a boy growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in West Philadelphia, my mother, a convert to Evangelical Christianity from a Catholic Italian immigrant family, hoped I would have one of those dramatic “born-again” experiences. That was the way she had come into a personal relationship with Christ. She took me to hear one evangelist after another, praying that I would go to the altar and come away “converted.” But it never worked for me. I would go down the aisle as the people around me sang … “the invitation hymn,” but I just didn’t feel as if anything happened to me. For a while I despaired, wondering if I would ever get “saved.” It took me quite some time to realize that entering into a personal relationship with Christ does not always happen that way.2

Now, it is certainly true that not all conversions are experienced by coming to Christ at an evangelistic crusade. However, it’s important to carefully consider how Campolo describes in this same chapter his personal conversion experience in light of Scripture. He continues:

In my case intimacy with Christ has developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholic mystics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time–sometimes as much as a half hour–to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter up my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.3

The purpose of repeating a mantra or focusing on an object or the breath is to remove distractions with the hopeful outcome of hearing God’s voice. Buddhists and Hindus practice the repetition of a word or phrase in their attempts to empty their minds and reach higher states of consciousness that reveal their own divinity. But nowhere in Scripture is such a practice recommended or suggested. In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Mantra-style meditation is actually divination, where practitioners perform rituals or meditation exercises in order to go into trances and then receive information from spiritual entities. Campolo elaborates on the fruit of mysticism, an atmosphere he calls “the thin place”:

The constant repetition of his name clears my head of everything but the awareness of his presence. By driving back all other concerns, I am able to create what the ancient Celtic Christians called “the thin place.” The thin place is that spiritual condition wherein the separation between the self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through and envelop the soul.4

This term “thin place” originated with Celtic spirituality (i.e., contemplative) and is in line with panentheism. Listen to one meditator:

I experienced a shift deep within me, a calmness I never knew possible. I was also graced with a sense of “oneness” with nature around me and with everyone else in the human family. It was strangely wonderful to experience God in silence, no-thingness.5

This “oneness” with all things is the essence of the ancient wisdom. Marcus Borg, a professor at Oregon State University and a pro-emergent author, also speaks of “thin places.” One commentator discusses Borg's ideas on this:

In The Heart of Christianity, Borg writes of “thin places,” places where, to use Eliade’s terminology, the division between the sacred and the profane becomes thin. Borg writes that he owes this metaphor of “thin places” to Celtic Christianity and the recent recovery of Celtic spirituality. As the following passage reveals, his understanding of “thin places” is deeply connected to his panentheism, his articulation of God as “the More,” and his–like Eliade–division of the world into layers of reality.6

Borg says these thin places (reached through meditation) are “[d]eeply rooted in the Bible and the Christian tradition,”7 but he, like others, is unable to show biblical evidence that God mandates meditation. In a later chapter [in Faith Undone] we will see, however, that Borg does deny such basic biblical essentials as the virgin birth and Jesus being the Son of God. Thin places imply that God is in all things, and the gap between God, evil, man, everything thins out and ultimately disappears in meditation:

God is a nonmaterial layer of reality all around us, “right here” as well as “more than right here.” This way of thinking thus affirms that there are minimally two layers or dimensions of reality, the visible world of our ordinary experience and God, the sacred, Spirit.8

Mike Perschon also found these thin places as he went into the silence:

We held “thin place” services in reference to a belief that in prayer, the veil between us and God becomes thinner. Entire nights were devoted to guided meditations, drum circles, and “soul labs.”9

I believe that Campolo, Borg, and Perschon each experienced the same realm in their thin places, but the question is, what is that realm? In another letter in his book Letters to a Young Evangelical, Campolo gives further instructions regarding how to have a “born-again experience”:

I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading the Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola…. Like most Catholic mystics, he developed an intense desire to experience a “oneness” with God.10

Campolo’s belief that you can be born again by experiencing a “‘oneness’ with God” while embracing the teachings of Ignatius of Loyola is preposterous. Ignatius founded the Jesuits with a goal of bringing the separated brethren back to the Catholic Church.11 He and his band of ruthless men would do everything possible to accomplish this goal. Several centuries have passed. Now that we are in the twenty-first century, his plan is becoming a reality.

Campolo calls Henri Nouwen “one of the great Christians of our time.”12 He obviously is very moved by mysticism, as was Nouwen, and he attributes this treasure to the Catholic Church. He explains:

After the Reformation, we Protestants left behind much that was troubling about Roman Catholicism of the fifteenth century. I am convinced that we left too much behind. The methods of praying employed by the likes of Ignatius have become precious to me. With the help of some Catholic saints, my prayer life has deepened.13…

It is interesting, yet very sad, that so many people today, like Tony Campolo, have spiritual lives grounded in mysticism. When a true relationship with Jesus Christ is non-existent in a person's life, mystical experiences appear to fill that spiritual void. The euphoria and bliss that meditation creates is thought to be the voice and presence of God. But in reality, these practices are tied to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism rather than to biblical Christianity. The Bible makes it clear that the only way to be born again is through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by faith. While being called Christian, these doctrines of ancient wisdom are anything but Christian. Let us remember Paul's stern exhortation and not exchange a true and wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ for one that can only lead to darkness:

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (I Thessalonians 5:5-10)

This is an excerpt from Faith Undone, chapter 7, “Monks, Mystics, and the Ancient Wisdom.”

Notes:
1. Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical (New York, NY: Perseus Books Group (Basic Books), 2006), p. 20.
2. Ibid., p. 25.
3. Ibid., p. 26.
4. Ibid.
5. Carol and Rick Weber, “Journeying Together” (Thin Places, April/May 2007, Year Eight, Issue Four, Number 46), p. 1.
6. Chris Baker, “A Positive Articulation of Marcus Borg’s Theology” (Sandlestraps Sanctuary blog, April 5, 2007).
7. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 2004), p. 155.
8. Ibid.
9. Mike Perschon, “Desert Youth Worker: Disciplines, Mystics and the Contemplative Life” (Youth Specialties).
10. Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical, op. cit., p. 30.
11. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), known also for his mystical experiences, now called The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. These are becoming increasingly popular within the evangelical spiritual formation movement.
12. Tony Campolo, Speaking My Mind, op. cit., p. 72.
13. Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical, op. cit., p. 31.

 


IRS also targeted Jewish groups

(NaturalNews - secular news source) President Obama’s second term thus far has been consumed in scandal, including new revelations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has, for years, targeted key conservative constituencies including Tea Party-related organizations for political considerations.

But in addition to conservative and Constitution-centric organizations, IRS officials have also targeted key Jewish groups, also for the same reason, National Review magazine and other media outlets have reported.

On Friday, May 10, Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division that handles non-profit groups, admitted that her agency was indeed targeting conservative groups and apologized.

“That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” she said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association. “The IRS would like to apologize for that.” Click here to continue reading.

The Cloud of Unknowing – “Take a little word, and repeat it.”

The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous monk, has passed under the radar of many church libraries,  Christian bookstores, and theological seminaries and colleges. But this book is a primer on mystical contemplative spirituality. Check your church library and see if this book is sitting on the shelves.

by Ray Yungen

To my dismay, I discovered ‘mystical silence’ is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence–the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:

Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply”sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.( Jager, Contemplation, p. 31)

Those with some theological training may recognize this teaching as the historical stream going back centuries to such figures as Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich. One of the most well-known writings on the subject is the classic 14th century treatise, The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous author. It is essentially a manual on contemplative prayer inviting a beginner to:

Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two … With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting. (Ken Kaisch, Finding God, citing The Cloud of Unknowing, p. 223)

The premise here is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced–the mind has to be shut down or turned off so that the cloud of unknowing where the presence of God awaits can be experienced. Practitioners of this method believe that if the sacred words are Christian, you will get Christ–it is simply a matter of intent even though the method is identical to occult and Eastern practices. (from A Time of Departing, p. 33)


To learn more, we recommend you read Castles in the Sand by Carolyn A. Greene.

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This week's limited-time Special Offer is: Buy at least one of our Booklet Track 20 Packs, and receive 17% off your ENTIRE order. The 20 pack is normally $24.95 (which is already a $12.05 savings from the full individual booklet retail price).With the 17% off, it reduces the pack to $20.70. Plus, anything else you buy at the same time, you will receive 17% off that too. Just use the promotional code 17OFF at the third step of check out.

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The booklets are made with high quality gloss paper for durability and are 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" with a full color cover. They are well written and include endnotes, and some have appendixes. Here are the titles of the 20 booklet tracts:

1. "I Just Had a Vision!"
2. Setting Aside the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute
3. The Truth About Energy Healing
4. Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Should Christians Practice it?
5. Native Spirituality "Renewal" & the Emerging Church
6. 5 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Kids From Sexual Predators
7. The New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self
8. Who Really Killed Jesus?
9. The Labyrinth Journey
10. Can Cultures Be Redeemed?
11. My Journey Out of Catholicism
12. The Jesuit Agenda
13. Israel: Replacing What God Has Not
14. When Hitler Was in Power
15. The New Missiology: Doing Missions Without the Gospel
16. How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging into Your Church
17. 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer
18. Overcoming Obstacles to Trusting the Lord
19. Rick Warren's Daniel Plan
20. They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus

 

NEW FEATURED BOOKLET TRACT: Who Really Killed Jesus?

Who Really Killed Jesus? written by Tony Pearce is one of the Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tracts Who Really Killed Jesus? by Tony Pearce(we now have 20). The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Who Really Killed Jesus, click here.

Who Really Killed Jesus?
by Tony Pearce

Sadly for millions of Jewish people the idea that Jesus could be the one to bring peace and reconciliation seems ridiculous and offensive.

I used to visit a Jewish lady who was born around the beginning of the 20th century and brought up in a small town in Poland. Her first memory of the name of Jesus was when her parents told her to hide in a cupboard in their home because it was “Good Friday,” and on that day, the Roman Catholics would come out of their church services into the Jewish quarter to throw stones at the Jews “to avenge the death of Jesus.” Not surprisingly, it was hard for her to see Jesus as anyone who had an answer to anything. As far as she was concerned, Jesus was “someone who hated us and is responsible for our misery.”

The roots of this hatred go back a long way. John Chrysostom, considered a saint and church father who lived in the 4th century, wrote:

The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy and rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance and the Jews must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is incumbent upon Christians to hate Jews.1

When Constantine established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 312, he issued many anti-Jewish laws. Jews were forbidden to accept converts, while every enticement was used to make them forsake Judaism. At the Council of Nicea in 325, he said, “It is right to demand what our reason approves and that we should have nothing in common with the Jews.”

As Christianity in its Roman Catholic form became the dominant religion of Europe, those who rejected it became the forces of anti-Christ. The main group of rejecters was the Jewish people who therefore were considered by the church to be the “anti-Christ” suffering continual persecution. In Spain in 613, all Jews who refused to be baptized had to leave the country. A few years later the remaining Jews were dispossessed and given to wealthy “pious” Christians as slaves.

The first Crusade in 1096 saw fierce persecution of Jewish communities as the Crusaders began their journeys to the “Holy Land” to “liberate” it from the Muslims. They said, “We are going to fight Christ’s enemies in Palestine (i.e. the Muslims), but should we forget his enemies in our midst (i.e. the Jews)?” 12,000 Jews were killed in the cities along the River Rhine alone. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they massacred all the Jews and Muslims they could find.

In 1215, Pope Innocent III condemned the Jews to eternal slavery by decreeing:

The Jews against whom the blood of Jesus Christ calls out, although they ought not to be killed, lest the Christian people forget the Divine Law, yet as wanderers ought they remain upon the earth until their countenance be filled with shame. (Epistle to the Count of Nevers)

The first ritual murder charge against the Jewish community was in Norwich in 1144 when the Jews were accused of killing a Christian child at Passover time to drain his blood in order to make Passover matzos. This hideous and ridiculous charge has resurfaced time and again, most recently in the Muslim world, leading to massacres of the Jews. In 1290, King Edward I expelled all Jews from England.

In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition was directed against heretics—Jews and non-Catholic Christians. In 1492, Jews were given the choice of forced baptism or expulsion from Spain. 300,000 left penniless.

Martin Luther hoped initially he would attract Jews to his Protestant faith, understanding that they could not accept the superstitions and persecutions of Rome. But when they rejected his attempts to convert them, he turned on them and uttered words of hatred used word for word by the Nazis in their propaganda:

What shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of the Jews? First their synagogues should be set on fire. Secondly their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. Thirdly they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds. Fourthly their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more. Fifthly passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews. Sixthly they ought to be stopped from usury. Seventhly let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle and let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses. To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one, so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden—the Jews.2

In the late 19th century, the Russian Orthodox Church instigated the pogroms, violent attacks on Jewish communities of the kind portrayed in the film Fiddler on the Roof. They devised a solution to the “Jewish problem”—one third extermination, one third forcible conversion to Christianity, and one third expulsion.

Russian anti-Semites produced the libelous pamphlet, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion alleging a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. This fiction was treated as a proven fact by the Nazis and was part of their propaganda effort to prepare people for the “Final Solution,” the extermination of six million members of European Jewry in the ovens of the Holocaust. Today the same libel is being peddled in the Muslim world to whip up hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.

This brief history of Jewish suffering shows the terrible truth that most of it has been instigated by people who claimed to be Christians. The main accusation that has been brought against the Jewish people by the professing church is that “the Jews killed Jesus.”

Who says the Jews killed Jesus?
Back in 1978, I was working as a French teacher at the Hasmonean School, an Orthodox Jewish grammar school in north London. One day I was covering for an absent teacher, minding my own business while the class got on with their work. One of the boys put his hand up and said, “Please sir, I want to ask you something. You’re a Christian. Why do you Christians say we killed Jesus?”

I answered him as best I could, saying that I personally did not say this, but agreed that much of the professing church had done so because they did not really understand the faith they claimed to represent or who Jesus really was. This let loose an outburst of questions and comments from the boys on what was obviously an explosive issue to them. News of this discussion got back to the Rabbis in the school, and the next day one of them came to me and said, “Mr. Pearce, we know you are a sincere Christian and are friendly to our people, but please do not mention the founder of Christianity again in this school.”

As I prayed about it afterwards, I realized how much hurt there is in the hearts of Jewish people over the way they have been persecuted in the name of Jesus. I also became aware of how much deeper is Jesus’ own hurt over the cruel misrepresentation which has been given to the Jewish people by His supposed followers down through the centuries, leading to a massive wall coming between Him and His own people.

The very first verse of the New Testament tells us of the genealogy of “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). Throughout the New Testament, His Jewish identity is stressed. He was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21), brought up in an observant Jewish home (Luke 2:41) and learned the Torah3 from His youth (Luke 2:46-49).

He told a Samaritan woman that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22), and He kept the Jewish feasts (John 7:2, John 10:22). He told His disciples in their first preaching mission not to go to the Gentiles but “rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). Sure, He had fierce controversies with the religious leaders of His day, but so did the Hebrew prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and others.

Concerning the crucifixion, the New Testament does not put the blame on “the Jews” and certainly never even hints that succeeding generations of Jews should be persecuted on account of it. There is a problem with John’s Gospel in its use of the term “the Jews” to describe the opposition to Jesus, but an intelligent reading of the text shows that John is talking of the Jewish religious leadership, not the entire Jewish people.

John 5:18 states, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” Since the Gospel makes it clear that Jesus Himself (John 4:9) and the disciples are Jewish, the use of the term “the Jews” in John 5:18 and elsewhere in the Gospel cannot possibly mean the entire Jewish people. It means the Jewish religious leadership.

In many ways, John is the most Jewish of the Gospels showing the connection between Jesus’ teaching and Jewish festivals and customs. In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear who is responsible for His death:

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18)

The implication of this is clear. Jesus Himself takes responsibility for His own death. It happens at the time and manner of His choosing, in order that He might fulfill the Father’s will by dying as the sacrifice for the sins of the world and rising again from the dead to give eternal life to those who receive Him. No human being, Jewish or Gentile, has the right or the power to take Jesus’ life from Him against His will.

This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 53, which states concerning the sufferings of the Messiah, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10). In chapter six of my book, The Messiah Factor, we look at the different arguments about this prophecy, but taking the view that it is about the sacrificial death of the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus, the responsibility for the Messiah’s sufferings is placed on God Himself. “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him” means that Jesus was put to death to fulfill the will of God.

The Gospels take up this idea as we see Jesus submitting Himself to the will of God in order to redeem the world. He prayed in Gethsemane:

O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39)

“This cup” refers to the suffering which He knew lay ahead. It was necessary for Him to go through this suffering in order that He might be “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

According to the Book of Hebrews, those who believe come to “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). The blood of Abel spoke of vengeance for Cain’s sin of murder (Genesis 4), but the blood of Jesus speaks of mercy and forgiveness.

Wrong church teaching however has turned this on its head and used the verse in Matthew’s Gospel, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25), to claim that the suffering of the Jewish people is the result of a self-inflicted curse and even that Christians are therefore justified in persecuting the Jewish people in Jesus’ name.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus Himself prayed from the cross, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), thus expressing God’s will that even those responsible for the death of Jesus, whether Jewish or Gentile, should find forgiveness through His name. Do we base our theology on the words of an enraged crowd or on the words of the Lord Jesus?

The answer to Jesus’ prayer was to be found not long afterwards through the preaching of the Apostles. Peter did place human responsibility for the death of Jesus on those who had called for Him to be crucified:

The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3:13-15)

This was not to say that every Jew alive was responsible, because Peter himself was Jewish as were all the followers of Jesus at that time. It was certainly not to say that subsequent generations of Jews who had no connection with the decision to call for Jesus’ death were responsible. It was to say that there were people alive, who were actually listening to Peter speak at that very moment, who were responsible.

But even to them there was a message of hope and forgiveness. Explaining the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter said:

And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. (Acts 3:17-19)

The people who called for the death of Jesus were responsible for the miscarriage of justice that took place. However, they were ignorant of the spiritual meaning of it, hence Jesus’ words, “They know not what they do.” The purpose of the preaching of the Apostles was to tell them why Jesus died and rose again and to show them how they too could find forgiveness and eternal salvation by repenting of their sin and believing in His name.

As all the people hearing this message and the many thousands who responded to it in the early chapters of Acts were Jews, Jesus’ prayer for the forgiveness of those who had Him crucified was being answered. It is clear that the message of the Gospel was from the beginning intended to be “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [Gentile]” (Romans 1:16).

Both Jews and Gentiles had to make a choice, whether to believe in the salvation offered by the Messiah or to reject it. Of course, many Jewish people did reject the apostles’ message, exactly as happens when the same message is presented to people around the world, to whichever race they belong. There was a division amongst the Jews of Jesus’ day about Him between those who were for Him and those who were against Him. Exactly the same division takes place today among all people of the world wherever the Gospel is preached.

The statement that really tells us who was responsible for the death of Jesus is to be found in Acts 4:24-28:

[The apostles] lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

In this prayer all categories of people are implicated, Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. The Gentiles are actually mentioned before the people of Israel, therefore they have no right to claim any superiority or judgmental attitude towards the Jews. It is clear that the physical act of crucifying Jesus was carried out on the orders of the Roman governor, by Roman soldiers in the Roman way. Strangely, no one has ever suggested that the Italians killed Jesus and should be placed under a curse because of this!

All this happened “to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done,” in other words to fulfill the predetermined plan of God. So again, the ultimate responsibility for the death of Jesus rests with God Himself in order to fulfill His purposes.

Any persecution of the Jews by the churches is a terrible distortion of the truth and a betrayal of the real Messiah Jesus. Unfortunately, the church did the exact opposite of what Paul taught in his letter to the Romans, where he spoke of Israel and the Jewish people being the root, which supports the “olive tree.” By this he meant that the Christian faith is based on the revelation given to the world through the Jewish people in the Jewish Bible and fulfilled in the Jewish Messiah. His message has been communicated to the Gentiles by His Jewish disciples who wrote the New Testament. Therefore, if Christians want to have true spiritual life, it is essential to acknowledge the debt they have to Israel and to repay that debt with love for the Jewish people.

In Romans 11, Paul makes it clear that whether the Jewish people accept Jesus or not, they are still “beloved for the father’s sakes” (i.e. the patriarchs of Israel and the covenant God made with them). He goes on to say that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [irrevocable]” (Romans 11:28-29). On this basis, Christians have a responsibility to love the Jewish people and treat them with justice and kindness, no matter what they believe about Jesus. Significantly, Paul wrote this letter to Christians living in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire and the city that was to dominate Christendom in the following centuries.

What went wrong? As the church became dominated by large numbers of Gentiles joining it, Jewish believers in Jesus became a minority. The Christians began to move away from the pattern of living given them by Jesus and the Apostles, forming a religious institution which bore little resemblance to the original model given in the New Testament. They also wanted to ingratiate themselves with the Roman authorities who were hostile to the Jewish people following the failed Jewish revolts against Rome in 70 and 135. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Roman Catholicism emerged as the dominant force in Europe, and the Bishop of Rome became the Pope, taking on much of the power and character of the Roman Emperor (even one of his titles—Pontifex Maximus). This produced a tragic distortion of the Christian message dominated by a corrupted clergy with vast wealth at its disposal, exploiting and corrupting the people of Europe in the name of Christianity.

How different it would have been if the Roman church had paid attention to the letter to the Romans! As the church lost its understanding of the Jewish people, it became cut off from its roots. Therefore the fruit it produced was not the fruit of the Holy Spirit—“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23)—but the works of the flesh manifested in the cruel and corrupt church of the Middle Ages and beyond.

When I was a student, I remember seeing a film of Bernard Malamud’s book, The Fixer, which made a great impression on me. In this story, Yakov Bok, a Jew living in Tsarist Russia is wrongly accused of murder and imprisoned. The case is a typical example of the anti-Semitism rife in Russia at the end of the 19th century. The authorities involve the Russian Orthodox Church in their interrogations of Bok, by trying to force him to convert to Christianity. They give him a New Testament to read, which he does. When the Russian Orthodox priest comes to interrogate Yakov to find out what he has learned from the New Testament, he states simply, “Jesus is Jewish. So whoever hates the Jew hates Jesus.” This is absolutely true, and hatred for the Jews demonstrates a spirit of force, tyranny, and prejudice which is the absolute opposite of the true spirit of Jesus the Messiah.

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Notes:
1. John Chrysostom (c307-407), “Homilae Adversus Iudaeos.”
2. Martin Luther, (1483-1546), the founder of the German Reformation, Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.
3. Torah—the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch. Considered by Judaism to be the most important section of the Bible and read in its entirety in the Synagogue every year.

A Question and Answer—The question was put to Tony Pearce: Do you believe that the Jewish people need salvation through Jesus Christ and thus need evangelizing. Tony answered by stating: Jesus is the Savior who fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. Whether Jewish or Gentile, one must accept salvation through Jesus the Messiah!

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