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Southern Baptist Commission President: Christians Must Support Freedom for Other Religions

LTRP Note: As you read the article below by Christian News Network, which reports on how Christians are being accused (by the head of a Southern Baptist commission) of being intolerant of other religions – in particular, Islam – consider this statement by Mike Oppenheimer in his recent discussion on Chrislam:

Bigotry is part and parcel of Islam, as they have no allowance for other religions, even those they call “people of the book.” Tensions and violence have come from Islam itself, from all over the world. This reaches a level of absurdity and inanity that is beyond human comprehension when you factor in the Jews of whom Islam continues to make open war against, while their religious leaders openly and solemnly vow to eliminate and blow the Jews off the face of the map—not to mention how they label America the “Christian Satan” and wish upon us the same fate. . . .

America has always allowed all manner of religions to freely worship as they so choose in our country, including Islam. It is the Islamic countries, however, that strictly prohibit other religions to freely worship and do so under penalty of imprisonment and even DEATH! . . . Islam is the one that is intolerant; Islam is the one that has sown seeds of bigotry. . . .

It’s not even remotely, nor has it ever been, a matter of whether or not we respect Muslims, but more of a question of do Muslims respect us, or others for that matter? Do we see Islam granting equal rights to those who practice other religions in their own land? Of course not. In fact, in most Islamic countries other religions are OUTLAWED. . . .  We have freedom to worship any way we want to in America. Try to have the same freedom or promote an interfaith agenda in one of the countries in which Islam is the state religion. That is, if you live to tell and make it back in one piece. (Mike Oppenheimer from his booklet Chrislam: The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity)

It is worth noting that the symposium discussed below was also hosted by the Manhattan Declaration, which Lighthouse Trails warned about when it first came into existence four years ago, because of its emergent ecumenical leanings (see “Manhattan Declaration: “Perhaps Millions” Being Led Toward the New Age/New Spirituality”). This attack on Christianity, calling it intolerant toward other religions, is the “fruit” of the “new” Christianity that Christian leaders, such as the ones represented in the Manhattan Declaration, have rallied around during this past decade.

“Southern Baptist Commission President: Christians Must Support Freedom for Other Religions”

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

WASHINGTON – At a symposium hosted last week at Georgetown University by the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and the ecumenical Manhattan Declaration, Commission President Russell Moore explained his belief that Christians should support liberty for all religions–not just their own.

Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the ERLC served as host and moderator for the event, and fielded questions from various individuals pertaining to the persecution of Christians and the need to speak out in support of religious freedom.

“Are Christians at the forefront of religious freedom for all?” Walker presented to the group. “Do you understand the implications it must include our ‘other’?”

Russell Moore, the president of the Commission, then answered the question by stating that he believes Christians are guilty of only supporting freedom for their own religion. Click here to continue reading the CNN article.

 

News in Review with Understand the Times and Update on Rick Warren’s New Book - also New Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in 12 Strategic Cities

Rick WarrenLTRP Note: Worth noting, Rick Warren is coming out with a new book, The Daniel Plan, on December 3rd. He is co-authoring the book with two of the Daniel Plan New Age advocates, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman (see our related articles below UTT’s headlines for this week).

 

Weekly News in Review with Understand the Times, International

Related Articles on the Purpose Driven Movement:

 Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan – The New Age/Eastern Meditation Doctors Behind the Saddleback Health by Warren B. Smith

SPECIAL REPORT: RICK WARREN RETAINS UNBIBLICAL POSITION IN NEW 2012 EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE

News in Review with Understand the Times and Update on Rick Warren’s New Book - Also New Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in 12 Strategic Cities
Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation
Video: The roots and bad fruit of the Contemplative Spirituality “Centering-Prayer” movement
Letter From Focus on the Family Confirms Past Reports – They DO Promote Contemplative Spirituality
Judicial Commission Reprimands Christian Judge for Refusing to Officiate Same-Sex "Weddings"
Presbyterian Church USA Teams Up With American Islamists
Biola Conference Welcomes Ruth Haley Barton as it Continues Heartily Down Contemplative Path
BOOKLET TRACT PACK - 29 BOOKLETS FOR LIMITED TIME PRICE!
Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation?
New Spiritual Disciplines From Ancient Roman Catholic Sources
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Video: God Hasn’t Changed His Laws to Suit Men: B&B Owners Defend Denial of Room to Homosexuals
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Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation

“Many people have unwittingly become New Agers by simply seeking to improve their physical and mental health through meditation.” -  Ray Yungen

Two and a half years ago, Lighthouse Trails first reported on Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan health program. That initial article titled “Rick Warren’s New Health and Wellness Initiative Could Have Profound Repercussions on Many,”  said that Rick Warren was launching a “Decade of Destiny,” that would include focusing on health issues. Our article pointed out that the three doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman, whom Rick Warren had partnered with to help develop the Daniel Plan, were all strong advocates of eastern meditation and the philosophies that go with that. Consider the following three statements, one for each of the Daniel Plan doctors:

1. Dr. Amen is a proponent of tantric sex (the combining of sexual activity with mystical practices), which is probably the most extreme form of meditation.

2. In Dr. Hymen’s book, The Ultramind Solution, Hyman emphasizes meditation, saying that it doesn’t matter what religion one has to benefit from it (p. 322). Dr. Hyman suggests that “Mindful meditation is a powerful well-researched tool, developed by Buddhists” (p. 384).

3.  In January 2010, Dr. Oz brought a Reiki master onto his show to demonstrate Reiki and then ended the show saying,  “try Reiki” as the #1 “Oz’s Order.” It would make sense that Dr. Oz would tell his viewers to try Reiki – his wife is a Reiki practitioner.

If one needs more evidence to understand what these three doctors believe in and teach, see the article links below under Related Material. After seeing the evidence, there can really be no doubt that Dr. Hymen, Dr. Amen, and Dr. Oz each have a strongly devoted affinity to the practice of entering altered states of consciousness through meditation in order to attain to what is known as the “higher self” (i.e., the divinity within every person).

So a fair question to ask is just how much of this New Age spirituality has rubbed off onto Rick Warren and the Daniel Plan? Well, we think quite a bit has. We would like to offer a convincing example. On September 26th, on the Daniel Plan website (owned and operated by Saddleback Church), an article titled “How to Manage Your Stress in 76 Seconds” was posted. The information below should be read and watched with discernment and in no wise is an endorsement from Lighthouse Trails. On the contrary, the practice we refer to below, if practiced, could potentially lead to dangerous Kundalini experiences. But we find it necessary to post this information because this is the direction that much of the church is heading right now. Our urgency to warn outweighs our hesitation to post this. People’s lives and souls are at stake.

The Saddleback article on September 26th is written by Dr. Joel Kahn, who tells readers to practice a technique called the 4-7-8 relaxation breathing sequence. First giving the usual instruction for meditation to sit up straight, Kahn then proceeds to give the steps for this breathing exercise with a sequence of breath in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. The rest of Kahn’s article tells readers of the benefits of doing this relaxation exercise. But let’s take a look at a video by another advocate of the exact same method – the 4-7-8 sequence –  that gives more detail and explanation. As we stated a minute ago, because this is the direction the church at large is heading through the contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation) movement (and the Daniel Plan movement), we are compelled to show this with the hope it will unveil the true nature of this and other forms of meditation.

Daniel Plan

A photo from Dr. Joel Kahn’s website

The video below is by a man named Dr. Andrew Weil, a highly respected meditation proponent. He received his medical degree from Harvard University and is the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. Dr. Weil is not a fringe personality. (If you cannot see this video below, click here. Our report continues below this video with some vital information.

 How interesting that Dr. Weil, clearly an “expert” in the field of meditation, admits that all breathing techniques (including those used in Yoga) come from India (i.e., Hinduism). Lighthouse Trails has been trying to tell Christian leaders that for 11 years now! And contemplative prayer is in the same category as “breath” prayers, and both are spiritually dangerous. Ray Yungen elaborates:

When we compare meditation techniques used in stress reduction with the type of meditation used in New Age spirituality, it is easy to see these practices as basically the same. Both methods use either the breathing technique or mantra exercises to still the mind. Unknown to most people, a blank mind in a meditative state is all that is necessary for contact with a spirit guide.

An example of this is found in John Randolph Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation and initiate of the December 31 World Healing Day Meditation. Price became involved in New Age metaphysics through just such a meditative encounter. He reveals:

“Back when I was in the business world, the American Management Association put out a little book on meditation, which indicated that meditation was a way to attain peace of mind and reduce stress in a corporate environment. So I decided I’d try it . . . I discovered how to come into a new sphere of consciousness. Consciousness actually shifts, and you move into a realm you may not have even known existed.”1

As one meditation teacher explains:

“It is more than a stress reducer. It is the vehicle all religions use to impart the esoteric knowledge of their own mystical tradition.”2

Thus, many people have unwittingly become New Agers by simply seeking to improve their physical and mental health through meditation. Two examples on this issue are comments made by two authors who honor the higher self view of man, Joan Borysenko and Ann Wise. Borysenko, a medical doctor, revealed:

“I originally took up secular meditation for its medical benefits and in time discovered its deeper psychological and spiritual benefits.”3 

Ann Wise, who works in the corporate field to improve decision-making abilities for business people, makes an identical observation:

“Those who initially participate in this work purely for enhancements to their productivity in the corporate world are often startled and pleased by what one VP called “the value and inevitable focus on spirituality that evolved from the work.” . . . I often find that individuals who began brainwave training [meditation] for a specific, objective purpose also become quickly interested and involved in seeking higher levels of spiritual consciousness.”4 (from A Time of Departing, pp. 98-100) 

What this means is that the people at Saddleback and the people who are participating in the Daniel Plan have been introduced to a meditation practice that can potentially turn them into New Agers! And remember, in the New Age, there is no room for the Cross at Calvary because the higher self takes the place of a need for a Savior.

Incidentally, some people may think that the term “spirituality” means Christianity, but that is not it. When the term spirituality is used, it is referring to the idea that God is in everyone (ie., the higher self).

Daniel Plan

Dr. Amen, Dr. Hymen, Rick Warren, and Dr. Oz

September 26 2013 isn’t the first time the Daniel Plan website brought in the 4-7-8 meditation technique. It was introduced to the Daniel Plan on October 14th 2012,

One more thing you should know – on December 3rd, Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan, will be released. The co-authors of this book are Dr. Hymen and Dr. Amen. As we stated earlier, Dr. Amen is an advocate of tantric sex; and Dr. Hymen is connected to a shamanic organization called Four Winds (“where modern science meets ancient wisdom“).   

By all appearances and logic, it looks like Rick Warren is going full speed toward the New Age/New Spirituality with the throttle fully engaged.

Related Material and Documentation:

Emanuel Swedenborg’s Occultic Beliefs Influence Rick Warren’s Health Advisor and Now the Christian Church

A Visit to Rick Warren’s Health Seminar – The Unfolding of a Global New Age Plan

Rick Warren Speaks Out Against Those Warning the Church of Meditation

Saddleback’s Response to Criticism Over Daniel Plan – An Unscriptural Paradox!

Changing Science, Changing Mind – Healthcare More Than You Bargained For

NEW PRINT BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan – The New Age/Eastern Meditation Doctors Behind the Saddleback Health

 

Video: The roots and bad fruit of the Contemplative Spirituality “Centering-Prayer” movement

By Chris Lawson (Spiritual Research Network)

Note from Chris Lawson: These videos (links below) briefly express years of my own research observations about the influences and dangers of mystical (and occult) based literature and teachings being embraced by many popular Christian leaders and authors today.

My purpose in making this video is to show firsthand – with books from our SRN research library – some of the deeply problematic roots and bad fruit of the Contemplative Spirituality “Centering-Prayer” movement. Click here for source of this video.

 
Letter From Focus on the Family Confirms Past Reports – They DO Promote Contemplative Spirituality

Note: Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a list of “Focus Reviewed” and approved contemplative authors as well as a list of FOF contemplative resources they have produced. Anyone seeing this list will not be able to say that Focus on The Family does NOT promote contemplative spirituality.

 [I]f you were to jump off a cliff with the intent to fly saying the word “fly, fly, fly” as you jump off and someone else jumped off the same cliff with the intent to hit the bottom saying “fall, fall, fall” as he jumps off, in either case both will hit the bottom. – Ray Yungen

Recently, Lighthouse Trails received a letter from one of our readers who sent us a letter she had received in 2012 from Focus on the Family after she inquired about their views on contemplative spirituality. On a number of occasions in the past, Lighthouse Trails has issued reports showing Focus on the Family’s promotion of contemplative spirituality. In more than one instance, Tim Masters (in the Office of the President), on behalf of Focus on the Family,  has written to Lighthouse Trails and/or LT readers expressing the organization’s acceptance of contemplative spirituality. Below is the letter sent out in 2012, which appears to be even more dedicated to a contemplative stance than in earlier letters (FOF 2008, FOF 2006) We have highlighted areas of the letter we feel are worth reading. With regard to Mr. Master’s argument of intent versus method, please refer to Ray Yungen’s article “Contemplative Prayer – Does Our Intent to Find Jesus Justify the Method?,” which addresses this argument. And with his argument that contemplative prayer is not the same as eastern style meditation, please read our article, “Will Assemblies of God Leaders Ignore Contemplative Evidence? ” and our booklet tract: 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer?

Focus on the Family “Reviewed” and approved contemplative authors (“This resource has been reviewed by Focus on the Family and found to be consistent with its philosophy and standards”). The names below are on our 100 top Contemplative Proponents list. (we didn’t list all the names from our 100 list that are being promoted by FOF):

 Richard Foster

Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God)

Brennan Manning

Calvin Miller

Dallas Willard

Dan Kimball

Books on Lectio Divina

Eugene Peterson

J.P. Moreland

John Ortberg

Jan Johnson

Ken Blanchard

Keri Wyatt Kent

Larry Crabb

Laurie Beth Jones

Leighton Ford

Leonard Sweet

Mark Driscoll

Mindy Caliguire

Ruth Haley Barton

Tricia Rhodes

FOF contemplative “Resources” that they use (“This resource was specially created by Focus on the Family for its unique message and life impact.”):

 Gary Thomas

Bono

John Ortberg

Ken Blanchard

Related Articles:

Focus on the Family Gives Bono a Platform – Another Example Where 2 +2 Don’t Add Up

50 Top Organizations With a Significant Role in Bringing Contemplative Spirituality to the Church

Letter to the Editor: Saddened and Alarmed at Focus on the Family’s Promoting Contemplative Spirituality

Judicial Commission Reprimands Christian Judge for Refusing to Officiate Same-Sex "Weddings"

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

Judge Tabor (photo)

OLYMPIA – A Christian judge in Washington was recently reprimanded by the state Judicial Conduct Commission for refusing to officiate same-sex ‘weddings.’

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor had made met with court employees following last year’s election, which legalized the practice in Washington, and informed his colleagues that he did not feel comfortable with performing homosexual ceremonies. An attendee of the meeting leaked Tabor’s comments to reporters, who in turned contacted the judge for further explanation.

Tabor reiterated that he did not wish to participate due to “philosophical and religious reasons,” and advised that his decision was a personal conviction and not the official position of the court. He stated that he believed that as long as other judges were in place to officiate the ceremonies, that he could choose to decline. Judges are not required to perform weddings, but should they choose to avail their services to the public, Washington state bars justices from turning away homosexuals. Click here to continue reading.

Related Article:

Judge punished for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies

Presbyterian Church USA Teams Up With American Islamists

By Ryan Mauro
The Clarion Project

(an out of house news source not related to Lighthouse Trails – posted for informational and research purposes)

The Church is an official interfaith partner with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities and supporters of Sharia for America.

A writer giving soft treatment to Islamists wouldn’t be a new development, but Ben Daniel isn’t just any writer. He’s the pastor of a church and his book was published by the Presbyterian Church USA. This church of 1.8 million has become an ally of Islamists.

Pastor Ben Daniel leads Foothill Presbyterian Church of San Jose and his book, The Search for Truth About Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction, was released on March 25 by the official publisher of the Presbyterian Church USA.

His book “explores what he calls ‘the American cult of fear,’ particularly as it relates to the rise of Islamophobia in the United States.”

Islamists have used the term “Islamophobia” to gain political influence and bash opponents – including ant-Islamists Muslims — long before the 9/11 attacks. Now, even Muslims are speaking out against the abuse of the term. Click here to continue reading.

Related Resource:

The Last Days, Islam & Israel: Conflict of the Ages by Mike Oppenheimer

Biola Conference Welcomes Ruth Haley Barton as it Continues Heartily Down Contemplative Path

On October 16th, Biola University hosted its Torrey Conference 2013, and contemplative teacher Ruth Haley Barton was scheduled to be a featured speaker at the event. This does not come as a great surprise to the editors at Lighthouse Trails because Biola has been going down the contemplative path for quite sometime. But because there are still so many who do not know there is a crisis happening at Christian colleges and seminaries, Lighthouse Trails continues issuing the warnings. And there are Christian parents who are paying large amounts of money to send their children to these schools, thinking their children are going to be drawn closer to the Lord and the truth of His Word. But for most kids going to Christian colleges today, they are going to be handed a college diploma that has been obtained through the filter of contemplative spirituality. Such is definitely the case with Biola University.

It was just earlier this year that we brought to our readers attention the Assemblies of God invitation of Ruth Haley Barton to the AG General Council conference. We wrote articles explaining the spirituality that Barton embraces and passes on to thousands of Christian pastors and church leaders. Sadly, our warnings fell on the deaf ears of AG leaders, and Barton’s invitation remained intact. In fact, AG General Superintendent Dr. George Wood defended the invitation publically and expressed his relaxed views about contemplative spirituality. You can read the coverage we did on that situation by clicking here. 

One of the main points we want to get across - something we have worked very hard at explaining clearly over the years - is that contemplative prayer is essentially the same mystical practice that takes place in occultism, the New Age, and eastern meditation. While intent may be different (contemplatives say they want to reach God), the methods are virtually the same, and the results are identical. In this particular article, “Lighthouse Trails Statement to Assemblies of God Response Regarding Invitation of Ruth Haley Barton,” we answer these important questions: 1. WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER AND EASTERN MEDITATION? 2. WHERE DID CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE COME FROM? and 3. WHAT IS THE PROOF THAT CONTEMPLATIVE IS OCCULTIC?

As for Ruth Haley Barton, we have given ample evidence to prove that she is a bi-product, if you will, of the spirituality of contemplative panentheistic mystics Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr, and Tilden Edwards. And the fact that she is now being welcomed so readily by evangelical denominations (Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, Wesleyan, etc.) shows just how integrated contemplative spirituality has become in the evangelical and Protestant church.  

As we stated earlier in this article, we are not surprised that Biola has invited Ruth Haley Barton to the Torrey Conference. We first wrote about Biola University’s contemplative leanings in 2006 in an article titled “The Shape of Things to Come: Biola University Embraces Contemplative Spirituality.” And in that article, we pointed out that Biola had invited Barton to speak at an event. In that 2006 article, we stated “Biola University, the traditional virtual bedrock of conservative Christian higher education, has opened itself to influences that would have its founders turning over in their graves.”

Incidentally, Biola is also engaging with contemplative author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun as you can see from this Biola page that has two videos of  talks at Biola by Calhoun.  Calhoun’s book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, shows her strong propensities toward a number of eastern style mysticism advocates such as David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Keating, Basil Pennington, and Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute). You can read our review of Calhoun’s book here.

Biola has also welcomed the teachings of the recently late contemplative pioneer Dallas Willard (see Biola video here) and has resonated with and encouraged the teachings of Peter Drucker (see video here).  Others who have spoken at Biola are meditation proponent Ken Blanchard (here), emerging church teacher Shane Claiborne (here), and lectio divina instructor, Joanne Jung (here) to name just a few.

If you know someone who is attending Biola University, please deliver to them a sober warning about what he or she could encounter while attending Biola. To see the Lighthouse Trails list of contemplative colleges, click here.

Related Articles:

Biola’s New Gay and Lesbian Student Group – A “Fruit” of Their Contemplative Propensities?

Book Warning: Kingdom Triangle by Biola Professor J.P. Moreland

Biola Magazine Managing Editor Admits Biola Promotes Contemplative Spirituality

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Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation?

LTRJ Note: In conjunction with this article below, you may wish to read this also: "Letter to the Editor: The Affects of “Spiritual Formation” in a Christian Church."

Is your church involved in a Spiritual Formation program? If so, you might want to ask the question, what does Spiritual Formation look like? It’s a fair question, and one, that if not asked, could end up surprising you when your church changes in ways you never imagined.

In a 2002 Christianity Today article, it stated: “Spiritual Formation is in.” The article reveals who is largely responsible for starting the movement:

Now many evangelical seminaries offer programs in spiritual formation. Renovare, which Richard Foster and others founded in 1989 to cultivate spiritual formation (especially among evangelicals), today offers retreats and resources worldwide.

Foster began his organization Renovare in 1989, but 11 years earlier (1978) his book Celebration of Discipline first came out, and that has been a Spiritual Formation primer ever since.

The Christianity Today article defines Spiritual Formation as:

Formation, like the forming of a pot from clay, brings to mind shaping and molding, helping something potential become something actual. Spiritual formation speaks of a shaping process with reference to the spiritual dimension of a person’s life. Christian spiritual formation thus refers to the process by which believers become more fully conformed and united to Christ.

Such a definition would hardly send up red flags. But what this definition excludes is how this “process” of conforming and uniting to Christ takes place, and who is eligible to participate in such a process.

The “how” is done through spiritual disciplines, mainly through the discipline of the silence. The silence is an altered state that is reached through mantra meditation, breath prayers, or some other meditative practice. The idea behind it is that if you go into this silent state, you will hear from God, and He will transform you to be like Christ. The “who” (who can practice these disciplines and become like Christ) is anyone (according to Foster and other proponents of Spiritual Formation). A Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, even an atheist — anyone at all can benefit from the spiritual disciplines and become like Christ (the question is which Christ).

According to Rick Warren, the Spiritual Formation movement is a “wake up call” and a “valid message” to the body of Christ. 1He acknowledges that Richard Foster is a key player in the movement. Brian McLaren, a leader in the emerging church movement, names Richard Foster as one of the “key mentors for the emerging church.”2It is noteworthy that McLaren and Warren (two of the most influential figures today3) each recognize Foster’s role and contribution. Two and two do add up here. McLaren sees Foster’s mystical affinities, and that’s why he says Foster is a key mentor – mysticism is the energy behind the emerging church movement. Without it, there would be no emerging church. Rick Warren considers Foster’s spirituality important because Warren too adheres to the mystical.  Thus, these two heavy-weight “evangelicals” see mysticism as crucial for their agendas.

So just what does Spiritual Formation look like? That’s easy. Richard Foster has the answer to that. When he told Ray Yungen several years ago that Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people, what he meant was that Thomas Merton saw one element missing within Christianity – the mystical element. Merton had learned from a Hindu swami named Dr. Bramachari that Merton could obtain mystical properties from Christians like the Desert Fathers – he didn’t need to leave his own tradition.

merton_dali

Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama

But Merton realized that most Christians didn’t know about this. So, he set out to bring mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer) to the Christian world. However, Merton died an early death in 1968 and was unable to accomplish his goal. But somewhere between 1968 and 1978, Richard Foster picked up the mantle of Thomas Merton and carried it forward. Now today, tens of thousands of churches, maybe even yours, are going forth with Thomas Merton’s message of Spiritual Formation. But in essence they are going forth with the Hindu message of: God is in all things (panentheism), and God is all things (pantheism). Such a message contradicts the Gospel message of Jesus Christ – that man is sinful, he is heading for eternal destruction because of sin, and he needs a Savior, and that Savior is God (i.e., Jesus Christ) who paid the price for us with His shed blood.

Just remember, when you find out that your church is going to do a Spiritual Formation program, think about these words by Thomas Merton:

The most important need in the Christian world today is this inner truth nourished by this Spirit of contemplation . . .  Without contemplation and interior prayer the Church cannot fulfill her mission to transform and save mankind. (cited in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 129)

I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us . . . When we encounter another person . . .  we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there. (cited in ATOD, 2nd ed., p. 169)

This “Spirit of contemplation” is what fuels the Spiritual Formation movement. Merton believed that God dwelled in all people – Richard Foster believes this too. The question you must ask yourself is, do you believe that also? If not, then Spiritual Formation does not belong in your church or in your family’s spiritual structure.

For more information on Spiritual Formation:

Spiritual Formation research

For documentation of the quotes in this article and for further information on contemplative spirituality, read A Time of Departing

New Spiritual Disciplines From Ancient Roman Catholic Sources

by  Roger Oakland  

Promoters of the emergent conversation say we are on the verge of an era that promises renewed spiritual awareness. “Spiritual disciplines” are being touted as the avenue to a “spiritual reformation” that will take Christianity to a new and higher level of spirituality drawing all participants closer to God.

Books published by major Christian publishers written by well known authors are plentiful on this topic. For example, J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler are both professors at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in southern California. Moreland is professor of philosophy. Issler is professor of Christian education and theology. Navpress published a book they co-authored titled The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life. On the back cover, the following statement is made:

Authors J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler illustrate how we are happy only when we pursue a transcendent purpose - something larger than ourselves. This involves a deeply meaningful relationship with God through a selfless preoccupation with the spiritual disciplines. The Lost Virtue of Happiness takes a fresh look at the spiritual disciplines, offering concrete examples of ways you can make them practical and life transforming.

The title gives a good overview of what the book is about. Moreland and Issler believe they have rediscovered important spiritual principles that have been lost. If you follow these principles and they become part of your everyday Christian life, you can be transformed. Click here to read this entire article.

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Video: God Hasn’t Changed His Laws to Suit Men: B&B Owners Defend Denial of Room to Homosexuals

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

In an interview [see below] this week on British television, a Christian couple defended their decision to deny a room to two homosexual men—even though it ended up costing them their livelihood.

As previously reported, Peter and Hazelmary Bull of Cornwall, England are selling their business, which also served as their home, after legal costs and harassment from homosexual advocates drove them to close their doors.

The situation at issue occurred in 2008, when Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy reserved a double room, but was turned away by the manager when he discovered they were homosexuals. Chymorvah Hotel does not allow unmarried couples–homosexual or heterosexual–to share a room. Click here to continue reading and watch video below. If you cannot see the video below, click here.

Letter to the Editor: Concerned That His Church is Not Testing All Things When it Comes to Jesus Calling

Jesus CallingGood Morning to you: 

I just have to say how thrilled I was to open Lighthouse Trails yesterday and read the blog about Warren B. Smith’s upcoming book.  God’s timing is always perfect.  Now, please indulge me a few moments to explain.  I had first heard about  Sarah Young’s book in my church; a somewhat naïve woman thought it just so wonderful.  Well, doing what we are commanded to do, I went home to “Test all things”; needless to say, this book didn’t pass the test.  I sent the woman a link to the page with a critique/review of Sarah’s methods in writing this book. 

Having a church sister buy into this book was troubling, however nothing compared to what happened at my church in ___________.  We are having a “revival” this week, and the evangelist speaking got to the point of sharing how he and his wife do a daily devotional.  He then reached inside his suit pocket and pulled “Jesus Calling” out and commenced to spout its wonderful content, all the while not knowing anything of how it was written, the book that inspired her to write this, or the methods contained therein (extra-biblical, divine revelation).  I can’t imagine anyone in this day and age being so deceived; needless to say, I am not attending this revival for several different reasons, but mainly because the lack of discernment by this evangelist. 

  Keep up the good work, Blessings to you and yours.

J. _______

Dear J.

Thank you for your letter, one that is similar in nature to many we have received about Jesus Calling. So many of our readers have contacted us and told us that they have been given copies of Jesus Calling to be used as a daily devotional. Just how popular is Jesus Calling? In a recent Christianity Today article, it states:

Jesus Calling

Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling

As of this summer, Jesus Calling had sold 9 million copies in 26 languages, and Publishers Weekly reported that it remained the No. 5 bestseller of the first half of 2013—for all books, not just Christian ones: It outsold Fifty Shades of Grey.

That means that likely well over 10 million people have read Jesus Calling (people share books with others) thus far. The Bible tells us to ”try”/test the spirits to see whether they are of God (1 John 4:1-5). Surely, with a book as frequently read as Jesus Calling, it is prudent and biblical to examine it closely.  Below is an excerpt from Warren B. Smith’s book “Another Jesus” Calling:

In the Introduction to Jesus Calling, Sarah Young said that she had been inspired to receive personal messages from “Jesus” after reading a book called God Calling. I remembered God Calling because it was a book I had when I was involved with New Age teachings. I found it troubling that Sarah Young had been inspired by a metaphysical book like God Calling. So that afternoon after purchasing Jesus Calling at the Christian bookstore, I also bought a copy of God Calling at a used bookstore. I would later find out that God Calling was being featured along with Jesus Calling in another local Christian bookstore. . . .

Because Jesus Calling contains personal “messages” that Sarah Young says were given to her by Jesus Christ, it is important to determine if these messages were really from Jesus. Are they consistent with the teachings of God’s Word? Is anything new or questionable being subtly introduced? In short, can we trust Jesus Calling as a godly devotional book? . . .

What our spiritual Adversary doesn’t want people to know is the . . .  subtle deception that is going on in the world and in the church right now. A deception in which voices purporting to be “Jesus,” “God,” and the “Holy Spirit” are speaking directly to people through books, as well as in their quiet times of meditation, contemplative prayer, and yes—”Practicing the Presence.” A deception which brings us back to what the real Jesus was warning about in Matthew 24 regarding the end times. . . .

Our spiritual Adversary’s plan from the start has been to cleverly establish a counterfeit Christ that gradually introduces new revelations and new teachings and a New Age/New World Religion solution to a troubled world desperately looking for answers. His patient but steady attack on the church has increased greatly over the past several decades. According to Scripture, his deceptive plans will culminate with the greatest identity theft of all time. He will present himself to the world as Christ. Literally fulfilling the meaning of the term Antichrist, he will come in the name of Christ but will actually oppose Christ and everything the true Christ stands for. (from “Another Jesus” Calling)

Related Letter:

Letter to the Editor: Jesus Calling Reminds Reader of Walsch’s Conversations With God

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