HOME           December 17, 2013

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Letter to the Editor: The True Meaning of Titus 3:10

Dear Lighthouse Trails,

The word ‘heretic’ is the translation in a few English versions of a retiken in Titus 3:10 which literally means “factious, causing divisions.” As you do not appear to be calling for love, tolerance, peace, forgiveness, and unity, in simply following Jesus as Lord and master – but indeed attacking those who are; what does that word say about you?

Our response:

Titus 3:10: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.”

The greek meaning (1) for the word heretick or divisive is: 1)fitted or able to take or choose a thing (as in a sect) 2)schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine 3)heretic

Thus the meaning of this passage is talking about someone who separates himself by following a false doctrine, which leads to divisions. Titus 3:10 is not referring to believers who are defending the faith against false doctrine, but rather is referring to those who are leading many astray with false, heretical doctrines.

Time Magazine Names Pope Francis its "Person of the Year" – “Captured the Imaginations of Millions”

LTRP Note: After reading the article below by the Washington Post, please re-read some of the 2013 Lighthouse Trails coverage on Pope Francis. (See the links below the article.) When you consider that the new pope is contemplative, interspiritual, ecumenical, and soft toward the homosexual issue – basically, an emerging “progressive” pope – it’s no wonder Time magazine (which promotes all of the above) named Pope Francis “Person of the Year.”

By Lillian Cunningham
The Washington Post

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - DECEMBER 04: Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly audience on December 4, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. At the end of his General Audience Pontiff called on everyone to pray for a group of nuns taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in the ancient Christian town of MaÕlula in Syria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The red border of Time magazine will frame Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year, the magazine announced Wednesday morning. By the judgment of Time’s editorial staff, the pope — elected earlier this year after a surprise resignation by predecessor Pope Benedict XVI — was the most influential global newsmaker of the past 12 months. Earlier this week, Time narrowed the finalists down to 10, then five. Pope Francis ultimately won out over NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Texas senator Ted Cruz and gay rights activist Edith Windsor.

“[W]hat makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all,” Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias write in the cover story. “In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church.”

Coverage by Lighthouse Trails:

United Nations Chief Hails Pope Francis as “a Spiritual Leader of the World”

The Implications of Pope Francis Recent Remarks about Homosexuality and Abortion

Pope Francis calls for intensified dialogue with Muslims – Everyone “a brother or
sister.”

Pope Francis – Spiritually “Founded” on a Contemplative Tradition

Evangelical Leaders Luis Palau and Rick Warren Salute Pope Francis – What Are the Implications?

The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ

Letter to the Editor: Search for a Biblical Church Reveals Deceit and Deception

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

First, can I thank you for the excellent maintenance of keeping your finger on the pulse of the New Age and emergent Christianity. This is a critical issue that has been of serious concern for me since the early 1990s.

I am quite amazed that the process that is occurring in the traditional churches I saw happening in the Pentecostal church back in the 1990s . Almost like a trial run.

I wish to make comment on “How To Find a Good Bible Believing Church” on page 15 of your Research Journal.

My personal experience in searching for a biblical church is one of deceit and deception.

After attending one church a number of times, I wrote (a congregational) explaining the danger of the existentialist message preached and the dangers associated with Rick Warren.

I lovingly hand bound the letter as a book made 4 other copies for the elders in the church.

Never even got a response. He has a regular spot on the Christian radio station in my local area. (A Christian radio station that plays more worldly music than Christian. They argue that non Christians will listen to it and happen to hear a Christian message and be saved. I reason the opposite, that short of good Christian input these days, a young Christian turns to a Christian radio station expecting to hear Christian music, even though that is a topic in itself, and come across worldly music only to fall in love with godless bands and seek further worldly music and be drawn away from the faith instead.) A Christian Radio station tempting Christians into ungodliness.

I wrote to another church I visited (Baptist) who claimed they were not into Rick Warren, only to hear the entire message as a complete Warrenesk theology, speaking about the new missiology, the influences that surrounded Warren. Even quoting his favourite scriptures. The only thing that was neglected in the message was Rick Warren’s name. It was only that I had previously done the research on Warren and the Purpose Driven Life in the previous letter mentioned, that I could hear Rick Warren speaking from the pulpit.

The songs were also concerning. They were singing new songs I have never heard before which were very troubling to my spirit as one of them was about the New World Order coming.

Ouch.

So my family and I returned to our other congregation _________________.

Again they sell Rick Warren’s book in the back, and I kept hearing more and more echoes of his influence. Some years before the New Minister, the church underwent 40 Days of Purpose, which I was not involved in.

It got to the point where I had to write a letter to the minister as well about a sermon an assistant minister in the church preached and how much of it was using Purpose Driven Philosophy and numerous “techniques” to recruit to their cause.  Deception concealing non Christian sources by refraining from referencing them and letting the quote stand as truth when they were from Hindu’s.

I did get a decent response back explaining the minister was not fond of Rick Warren and were aware of the deceptions of mysticism are entering the church. That the minister’s sermon was discussed in Bible study groups and it was considered as seriously flawed and that the church only came short of publicly reprimanding him because he has only been preaching for a year. They admitted they had Warren’s book up the back but did not go to the extent of saying they would remove them.

Again it feels like the whole church environment is nothing but politics. Say what you need to to avoid difficulties and get to the next phase of change so to speak.

I think the advice given in “How To Find a Good Bible Church” was good but at the end of the day, if we do not understand the topic at hand we are prone to deception because we cannot trust anyone to admit anything. It is about getting people in the door these days, not the telling the truth.

In the Glorious name of Salvation

Shawn (not real name)

Time Magazine Names Pope Francis its "Person of the Year" – “Captured the Imaginations of Millions”
Letter to the Editor: Search for a Biblical Church Reveals Deceit and Deception
Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event
Dear “Contemplative Christian”: Are you the victim of seducing spirits?
Winter Offering for Bryce Homes in Kenya - Still in Need
News in Review From Understand the Times
Rick Warren’s New Book, The Daniel Plan, Receives Media Blitz—But Book Does Double-Speak on Eastern-Style Meditation
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Embracing Contemplative Shows Ill Effects at Moody Bible Institute in Ecumenical “Road to Rome” Event

For over seven years now, Lighthouse Trails has followed Moody Bible Institute’s continued promotion of contemplative spirituality. Although the organization has denied that they are promoting contemplative, the evidence has consistently existed. Those who have a good understanding of contemplative spirituality are aware of the inevitable outcome for followers of contemplative. This outcome is a change in spiritual attitude that leads to the following – ecumenism (a joining together of all religious traditions, in particularly Catholicism first, then Islam),  interspirituality (all paths lead to God), panentheism (God is in all), and eventually universalism (all are saved, regardless of belief – thus no need for the Cross).

We had hoped that at some point leaders and professors at Moody would seriously examine the contemplative issue and come to the conclusion that they do not want to go in that direction. Sadly, the indications of that happening are non-existent, and the probability of the complete embracing of contemplative spirituality is fast increasing. A case in point occurred just this month when the school allowed an ecumenical/road to Rome  event to take place on campus, where it was reported that over 300 people showed up, most of them being MBI students.

Moody

(Photo above: Second from left: Professor Litfin, 3rd from left: John Armstrong, 4th from left: Robert Barron)

On December 3rd, emerging church figure John Armstrong (a convert from traditional evangelicalism to emerging) and Catholic priest Father Robert Barron spoke at a gathering at Moody Bible Institute. The event was presented by the Moody Student Theological Society. It was not broadcasted, and Moody’s website doesn’t seem to show anything about it so we have had to gather information from various other sources, including the Moody Student Theological Society’s Facebook page, which carries information about the event, which was called the ”Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue.” (Photo from the “Dialogue”: 2nd from left: Liftin, next: Armstrong, next: Robert Barron)

We were first alerted to the ecumenical ”dialogue” by a Lighthouse Trails reader, who stated:

Heads up to things stirring at Moody Bible Institute. (Also, please read this blog entry about it:  http://www.revangelicalblog.com/blog1/?currentPage=3   from Dec. 4, titled, “Can We Learn from Rome? Maybe… (A Reflection on Ecumenical Unity). This is by that young man I have mentioned to you before, who rubs elbows with Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jim Wallis, et. al.

The blog entry mentioned by the LT reader was written by a senior at Moody Bible Institute (MBI). On the post, he has this photo of the Vatican:

Moody

The MBI student states:

As I myself have been in the process of rediscovering the beauty of the ancient Christian tradition [contemplative] offered to us via the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and even Anglican versions of faith, I have also felt a tugging and noticed a trend of millennial evangelicals to convert to Catholicism- returning to Rome, if you will.

It is not our intention to draw attention to or scrutinize this student. Our issue is with MBI’s leadership and professors. We believe this and other students at Moody who are being drawn to contemplative . . . and Roman Catholicism  . . .  are merely reflecting the sympathies they have witnessed at Moody from professors and others in leadership. For instance, on John Armstrong’s website, he talks about his invitation to the “Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue” and points to one of the MBI professors:

Our dialogue tomorrow will begin with a welcome by a Moody student leader which will be followed by an introduction given by our moderator, Dr. Bryan Litfin (Ph.D. in the field of ancient church history at the University of Virginia). Dr. Litfin is a professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute. Bryan is also a first-rate patristics scholar and has often encouraged Christian dialogue as a part of his teaching. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers–An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007). Fr. Barron and I will each speak for about ten minutes and then we will field questions from the students.

We decided to spend $13.99 to buy an e-book copy of Liftin’s book, Getting to Know the Church Fathers – an Evangelical Introduction. A better title for this book might be Why Evangelicals Should Not Think Too Lowly of the Catholic Church. Liftin says that the benefit of studying the “church fathers” is to ”help us get in touch with the general thrust of the Christian faith”  (Kindle Locations 389-390, Baker Publishing Group). But from Liftin’s book’s point of view, the benefit of studying the church fathers is to see some good in the Roman Catholic church. Here’s one example in Liftin’s book where he whitewashes and minimizes the heretical teachings of Roman Catholicism:

[M]any Catholic teachings must be understood as continuous historical developments out of earlier thought. For example, though the theology has changed from biblical times, the breaking of bread and drinking of wine in the Mass is an evolution of the love feasts of the early Christians, for whom the elements represented the Savior’s body and blood just as they still do for Catholics. Likewise, recitation of the Lord’s Prayer is an ancient habit still practiced today. And there are not a few doctrines held by the Roman Church which every orthodox Protestant would hold as well. (Endnote section, #20, (Kindle Locations 4084-4088).

The MBI student (mentioned above) goes on to say:

The Catholic Church offers much of what many millennial Protestants are longing for – liturgy, artistic expression, scholarship, ancient tradition, and a robust and deeply rooted theology [i.e., the Desert Fathers and contemplative spirituality]. Rome offers one, united Christian body with many stripes, styles, and theological variations contained within one communion. And with the Roman Catholic Churches recent moves for ecumenical unity with the Eastern  church and a number of Protestant traditions, it seems to me that perhaps a return to Rome may be in some millenial Evangelicals future.

The MBI student expresses his own hope for the future:

My hope and prayer is that in the coming years, Evangelicals, Mainliners, Catholics, and Orthodox will find more and more common ground on which we can work together to expand the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that God would continue to cause us to rethink, reform, and renew our faith traditions and insodoing help us refine them to reflect more clearly the face of Jesus Christ- our common Lord and Savior.

When you consider that Moody has been promoting the contemplative tradition for so long and the Catholic Church uses contemplative prayer as a catalyst to bring in new converts, it makes perfect sense that a student attending Moody for three and a half years could say something like this.

In 2007, Moody posted a response to our criticisms that they were promoting contemplative. In that statement (which still sits on their site), they deny the allegations. But take a look at some of the related links we have provided below to see that indeed they have been promoting contemplative and continue to do so.

One person who would have been very upset about the recent “Evangelical and Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue” held at Moody is Harry Ironside, who was the pastor of the Moody Church (which also now promotes contemplative via its inclusion of sermons by contemplative/Spiritual Formation leader Larry Crabb [1]) from 1930-1948. He stated:

Every Roman Catholic priest will tell you that all  the claims of the Church of Rome stand or fall with the doctrine of the real  presence of Christ in the Mass. If the bread and wine used in the Sacrament of  the Mass, when consecrated by the priest, are changed in some mysterious way  into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ so that the  communicant receiving the bread actually takes into his mouth and eats and  digests the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ-if this is  true, then the Church of Rome is the true church of Christ and every one of us  should be members of it. But if it is false, if it is absolutely opposed to the  teaching of the Word of God, then the Church of Rome is an apostate church and  every faithful believer should come out of her in order that he might not be  held accountable for her sins.

It was because the great reformers of the sixteenth  century saw this clearly and were assured in their own hearts that the doctrine  of the Church of Rome in regard to the Eucharist or the Mass was absolutely  opposed to the Word of God and was not only blasphemous but idolatrous, that  they came out in protest against that apostate system and they won for us at  tremendous cost of Christian blood the liberty that we now possess. And yet we,  unworthy children of such worthy sires, are frittering away our liberty and we  are allowing our children to be ensnared again by this evil system from which  our fathers escaped with such tremendous effort. (From Ironside’s “The Mass Versus the Lord’s Supper”)

What is happening in the evangelical/Protestant church today is significant and utterly devastating. The contemplative issue has not at all been addressed by Christian leadership but rather the majority of Christian leaders have either embraced it or ignored it. To really understand where this is all going, consider these words by Ray Yungen who is talking about Thomas Merton here:

In a letter to a Sufi [Islamic mystic] Master, Merton disclosed, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana.” So what is fana? The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult defines it as “the act of merging with the Divine Oneness.”

Merton saw the Sufi concept of fana as being a catalyst for Muslim unity with Christianity despite the obvious doctrinal differences. In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:

“Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.”

To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:

“Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas … in words [doctrine] there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution…. But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light [i.e., contemplative] … It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.” (emphasis added – quoted from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., pp. 59-60)

In other words, through mysticism, the world’s religions can come together and all can be one/unified. But, doctrines like the atonement, according to Merton, stand in the way and are “of little value.”

The Bible says in the last days there will be a harlot church. We are watching its formation right now; the tragedy is Christian leaders don’t even see it happening. And sadly, like so many other Christian campuses, Moody Bible Institute is falling into step with this apostasy.

If you have not read Roger Oakland’s recent article The New Evangelization From Rome or Finding the True Jesus Christ, we recommend you do to better understand the role that the Catholic church is playing in this apostasy.

Related Information/LT Coverage on Moody:

Concerns Grow as Moody Presses Forward Down Contemplative Path

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

 

Dear “Contemplative Christian”: Are you the victim of seducing spirits?

by Ray Yungen

I once heard a radio interview with Richard Foster that revealed the high regard in which many influential evangelicals hold him. The talk show host made his own admiration obvious with such comments to Foster as, “You have heard from God . . . this is a message of enormous value,” and in saying Foster’s work was a “curriculum for Christ-likeness.” I found this praise especially disturbing after Foster stated in the interview that Christianity was “not complete without the contemplative dimension.”1 Of course, my concern was that Foster’s curriculum would result in Thomas Merton-likeness instead.

When I look ahead and ponder the impact of [what I am saying], unquestionably there are some very sobering considerations. The contemplative prayer movement has already planted strong roots within evangelical Christianity. Many sincere, devout, and respected Christians have embraced Thomas Merton’s vision that:

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.2

A statement like this should immediately alert the discerning Christian that something is wrong. It is the Gospel that saves mankind, not the silence. When Merton says “save,” he really means enlighten. Remember, Merton’s spiritual worldview was panentheistic oneness.

Some will see [what I am saying] as divisive and intolerant—especially those who share Merton’s view of the future. Pastors may be set at odds with one another and possibly with their congregations; friends, and even family members may be divided on the issues of contemplative spirituality. Nevertheless, having weighed the pros and cons, I am prepared to receive the inevitable responses from fans of these contemplative mentors. And although I sincerely feel goodwill toward those I have critiqued, I am convinced the issues are of vital importance, leaving me compelled to share them regardless of the cost.

After taking an honest look at the evidence, the conclusion is overwhelming that contemplative prayer is not a spiritually-sound practice for Christians. The errors of contemplative spirituality are simple and clear for the following three reasons:

• It is not biblical.
• It correlates with occult methods (i.e., mantra, vain repetition).
• It is sympathetic to Eastern mystical perceptions (God in everything; all is One—Panentheism).

These are well-documented facts, not just arbitrary opinions. Furthermore, the contemplative prayer movement is uniform, indicating a link to a central source of knowledge. Based on the above facts, we know what that source is.

The apostle Paul warns us of seducing spirits in his first letter to Timothy: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (I Timothy 4:1)

The operative word here is “deceiving” or seducing which means to be an imposter or to mislead. It is plain to see a real delusion is going on or, as Paul called it, a seduction. How then can you tell if you are a victim yourself? It is actually not that difficult.

The doctrines (instructions) of demons—no matter how nice, how charming, how devoted to God they sound—convey that everything has Divine Presence (all is One). This is clear heresy—for that would be saying Satan and God are one also (i.e., “I [Lucifer] will be like the Most High,” Isaiah 14:14). If what Henri Nouwen proclaimed is true when he said, “[W]e can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is,”3 then Jesus Christ and Satan are also united. That is something only a demonic spirit would teach!

An even more subtle yet seductive idea says: Without a mystical technique, God is somehow indifferent or unapproachable. Those of you who are parents can plainly see the falsehood of this. Do your children need to employ a method or engage in a ritual to capture your full attention or guidance? Of course not! If you love your children, you will care for and interact with them because you are committed to them and want to participate with them. The same is true of God’s attention towards those He has called his own.

And, we must not forget the most decisive indication of the Deceiver’s handiwork: the belief or doctrine in question will undermine the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as both God and man and His atoning work on the Cross. The apostle John brings out this distinction with clarity in his first letter:

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:2-3)

It is evident then, that the whole idea of a Christ consciousness where we all have divinity, is completely unbiblical in that it negates who Jesus was and what He came to do.

The central role of a shepherd is to guide and direct the sheep. The sheep know the voice of their Master by simply following Him in faith (John 10:14-18). The Shepherd does not expect or desire the sheep to perform a method or religious technique to be close to Him. He has already claimed them as His own.

Remember! Religiosity is man’s way to God while Christianity is God’s way to man. Contemplative prayer is just another man-inspired attempt to get to God.

When we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit—thus we receive God. Christians do not have to search for some esoteric technique to draw closer to God. The fullness of God has already taken residency in those who have received Christ. The Christian’s response is not to search for God through a method but simply to yield his or her will to the will of God.

When looking at principles like these, Paul’s warning becomes clear. A seduction will not work if we are wise to the ways of the seducer.

Christians must not be led purely by their emotions or a particular experience; there must be ground rules. A popular saying is: “You can’t put God in a box.” That is correct in some ways, but it’s not true if the box is the Bible. God will not work outside of what He has laid down in His message to humanity.

The answer to the contemplative prayer movement is simple. A Christian is complete in Christ. The argument that contemplative prayer can bring a fuller measure of God’s love, guidance, direction, and nurturing is the epitome of dishonor to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. It is, in essence, anti-Christian.The late Dr. Paul Bubna, President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, wrote in an article, “Purveyors of Grace or Ungrace”:

Knowing Christ is a journey of solid theological understanding. It is the Holy Spirit’s illuminating the Scriptures to our darkened minds and hearts that give birth to the wonder of unconditional love.4

The contemplative message has seriously maligned this wonderful work of God’s grace and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who guides the Christian into all truth. Those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them do not need the silence. It is one thing to find a quiet place to pray (which Jesus did) but quite another to go into an altered state of consciousness (which Jesus never did). The Christian hears the voice of Jehovah through the Holy Spirit, not through contemplative prayer. Again, Jesus made it clear He is the one who initiates this process, not man:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17)

Scripture instructs us to “try the spirits” (I John 4:1). Let’s test them, using Richard Foster’s teachings. In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Foster devotes a number of pages to what he calls the biblical basis for this form of prayer. He makes reference to many instances throughout the Bible where God talked to people,—in other words, encounters between man and Divinity. But Foster then jumps straight into contemplative prayer, leading the reader to think this is how it is done when, in fact, he has not really presented a biblical basis for using the repetition of sacred words at all. He looks to the contemplative mystics to legitimize his teachings when he writes:

How sad that contemporary Christians are so ignorant of the vast sea of literature on Christian meditation by faithful believers throughout the centuries! And their testimony to the joyful life of perpetual communion is amazingly uniform.5

That is the problem. The contemplative authors are “amazingly uniform.” Even though they all profess a love for God and Jesus, they have each added something that is contrary to what God conveys in His written word.

Contemplative mystic John R. Yungblut penned the following observation that rings true for almost all such contemplative practitioners. He concludes:

The core of the mystical experience is the apprehension of unity, and the perception of relatedness. For the mystics the world is one.6

Panentheism is the bedrock of the contemplative prayer movement; therefore, the establishment of whether or not it is biblically valid is imperative.

Foster also believes, that God’s ability to impact the non-contemplative Christian is limited. Foster expresses:

What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.7

But the Trinity already has an inner sanctuary in every Christian. It is being in Christ (via the Holy Spirit) that allows every believer to receive guidance and direction.

Furthermore, when Richard Foster cites someone like Sue Monk Kidd as an example of what he is promoting (as he does in his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home), it is reasonable to expect that if you engage in Foster’s prayer methods, you will become like his examples.

Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book When the Heart Waits. She explains:

There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [not just Christian] that’s “only God” . . . the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us.8

Sue Monk Kidd, an introspective woman, gives a revealing description of her spiritual transformation in her book God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved. She shares how she suffered a deep hollowness and spiritual hunger for many years even though she was very active in her Baptist church.9 She sums up her feelings:

Maybe we sense we’re disconnected from God somehow. He becomes superfluous to the business at hand. He lives on the periphery so long we begin to think that is where He belongs. Anything else seems unsophisticated or fanatical.10

Ironically, a Sunday school co-worker handed her a book by Thomas Merton, telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.

What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.11 She ultimately came to the mystical realization that:

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.12

One could come to Monk Kidd’s defense by saying she is just referring to Christians and non-Christians sharing a common humanity and the need to treat all people well. Yet, while respecting humanity is important, she fails to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians thereby negating Christ’s imperative, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), as the prerequisite for the indwelling of God. Her mystical universalism is apparent when she quotes someone who advises that the Hindu greeting namaste, which translates, I honor the god in you, should be used by Christians.13

Monk Kidd, like Merton, did not join a metaphysical church such as the Unity Church or a Religious Science church. She found her spirituality within the comfortable and familiar confines of a Baptist church!

Moreover, when Monk Kidd found her universal spirituality she was no teenager. She was a sophisticated, mature family woman. This illustrates the susceptibility of the millions like her who are seeking seemingly novel, positive approaches to Christian spiritual growth. Those who lack discernment are at great risk. What looks godly or spiritually benign on the surface may have principles behind it that are in dire conflict with Christianity.

Since the original edition of A Time of Departing came out [in 2002], two major discoveries have come to my attention. First, Sue Monk Kidd has become a widely known author. She has written a bestselling book titled The Secret Life of Bees, which has sold millions of copies. Her latest book, The Mermaid Chair, is also on the bestseller list. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I found even more profound evidence that my conclusions about her worldview were right. It seems that just a few years after she had written the book I’ve quoted, she wrote another book on spirituality. This one was titled The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. If ever there was a book confirming my message, this book is it.

In her first and second books, Monk Kidd was writing from a Christian perspective. That is why the back cover of God’s Joyful Surprise was endorsed by Virtue, Today’s Christian Woman, and (really proving my point) Moody Monthly. But with her third and fourth book, Monk Kidd had made the full transition to a spiritual view more in tune with Wicca than with Christianity. Now she worships the Goddess Sophia rather than Jesus Christ:

We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything.14

There is one portion in Monk Kidd’s book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that, for me, stands out and speaks right to the heart of this issue. I want my readers to grasp what she is conveying in the following account. No one can lightly dismiss or ignore the powers behind contemplative prayer after reading this narrative:

The minister was preaching. He was holding up a Bible. It was open, perched atop his raised hand as if a blackbird had landed there. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority.

I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling, and it spread out from the core of me like a current so that my skin vibrated with it. If feelings could be translated into English, this feeling would have roughly been the word no!

It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.15

If Foster uses these kinds of mystics as contemplative prayer models without disclaimers regarding their universalist beliefs (like Sue Monk Kidd), then it is legitimate to question whether or not he also resonates with the same beliefs himself. At a Foster seminar I attended, a colleague of his assured the audience that when they were in this altered state, they could just “smell the gospel.” Based on the research of this movement, what you can smell is not the Gospel but the Ganges [River]!16 (To better understand the contemplative prayer (Spiritual Formation) movement, read A Time of Departing.)

Notes:

1. Interview with Richard Foster, Lou Davies Radio Program (Nov. 24, 1998, KPAM radio, Portland, Oregon).
2. Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer (New York, NY: Image Books, Doubleday Pub., 1989), pp. 115-116.
3. Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey.
4. Dr. Paul Bubna, President Briefings, C&MA, “Purveyors of Grace or Ungrace,” March 1978.
5. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Franciso, CA: Harper, 1988), p. 19.
6. John R. Yungblut, Rediscovering the Christ (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1991), p. 142.
7. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1988), p. 20.
8. Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1990), pp. 47-48.
9. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1987), p. 55.
10. Ibid., p. 56.
11. Ibid., p. 198.
12. Ibid., pp. 233, 228.
13. Ibid., pp. 228-229.
14. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), pp. 162-163.
15. Ibid., p. 76.
16. The Ganges is a famous river in India, thought to have holy powers but is actually very polluted.

 
Winter Offering for Bryce Homes in Kenya - Still in Need

Last week, Lighthouse Trails released an appeal to our readers for the Bryce Homes for Widows and Children in Kenya to raise at least twelve thousand dollars to build desperately needed latrines for the homes and also to move one of the Bryce families out of the slums of Nairobi (the only Bryce family in Nairobi) and to a rural setting many miles from Nairobi. Because we did not reach our goal last week, we are posting the appeal again below. It is not our intent to put pressure on anyone to give, but we thought perhaps there could be some who either did not receive or read the appeal or forgot about it. We are very grateful for all of the Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times readers who have been supporting the 20 Bryce Homes in Kenya these past two years since the program was launched.

2013 Winter Offering For Widows and Children in Kenya

In 2011, Lighthouse Trails partnered with Understand the Times to launch the Bryce Homes for Widows and Children in western Kenya. Roger Oakland, founder and director of Understand the Times (UTT), traveled to the region to meet with Pastor Achilla and Pastor Nelson, who were to become the Kenya directors for this missions project. Several Bryce Homes were started right away as Roger witnessed the extreme impoverished conditions under which these Christian families were living as victims to national poverty, AIDS, disease, and sickness.

orphans-waiting

This is one of the grass-roof huts that one of the Bryce families was living in before UTT built new homes. During heavy rains, the inside walls and floor got very wet.

Florence-fire

The condition of one of the widow’s houses before UTT replaced it with a new home.

We are blessed to say that as of the end of 2013, there are now twenty Bryce homes established in Kenya. All of the parents in these homes are committed believers in Jesus Christ. Sixteen of the homes are run by widows with both their own children and orphaned children; and four of the homes are run by husband and wife teams (Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter, the accountant and treasurer). The Bryce Homes program is run under the auspices of Understand the Times, International, which is a non-profit organization that has Bryce Homes in several other countries as well. Lighthouse Trails has focused primarily on helping to support the Bryce Homes in Kenya as we had originally come into contact with Pastor Achilla and the community of brothers and sisters there and introduced them to Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, who, after traveling there on a scouting trip, decided to add this region to the already established Bryce Homes program.

The response from Lighthouse Trails readers has been remarkable. The donations coming from LT readers have helped provide the needed funds for Understand the Times to build 10 new homes (more still needed) replacing very dilapidated ones, feed, on a month-to-month basis, the mothers (and the 4 fathers) and children of all the Kenya Bryce homes, purchase school uniforms (something required in Kenya for children going to school), install new cook stoves and chimney pipes into the new homes (replacing open fire pits on the floor), paint the new houses inside and out, buy new clothing and bedding and some furniture for the homes, and pay for emergency medical needs.

This is one of the new homes.

This is one of the new homes plastered and painted inside and out, with chimney and cookstove.

agnes-son

One of the Bryce Home boys

When we launched the program in 2011, we held a special December offering at Lighthouse Trails, and the response was overwhelming (in a good way). It allowed immediate emergency food to be sent to the families (many of whom were eating just one meager meal a day at that time) and also the construction of new homes for some of the most dire situations. From there, both UTT and LT donors have continued helping to support the Bryce Homes in Kenya.

Just a side note, but an important one, Lighthouse Trails also launched a program, which we call the Widows Basket Project. About one dozen widows in the area (not all Bryce widows) are making hand-braided baskets, selling them to Lighthouse Trails at a fair market price, and we in turn are selling them to our customers (all money goes into production costs and widows’  pay). The baskets are beautiful, and it is our hope that this will spawn future projects where these families can start businesses to support themselves.

WINTER OFFERING

 This brings us to the present and the reason we are reaching out to our readers with this winter offering appeal. Our first phase for the Bryce Homes in Kenya is completed in that all of the current Bryce families have suitable housing, adequate food, clothing, and bedding, and safe and healthy cooking stoves. There are also some agricultural activities taking place with some of the families who live on enough land and have nearby water supplies to grow some of their own food.

Front view. One is a washroom. The Bryce latrines will have two doors, not three.Our next phase is a vital one for the health and wellbeing of the families, and that is latrines. In sixteen of the Bryce homes, there are no latrines (outdoor toilets and washrooms), which means that the health of the children and widows is greatly compromised. The structure you see above is a photo of the proposed latrines for our Bryce families. The photo to the left is a view of the front. One room is a washroom. The Bryce latrines will have just two doors, not three.

The cost to construct each latrine is $480. This will mean a needed total of $7680 for all sixteen latrines although in six of the homes the hole has already been dug, which will bring the cost of those six latrines down to $350, leaving the total at $6900.Side view of the latrine

Side view of a latrine

 

If our Winter Offering raises more than $6900, it has been decided that a well will be built for two of the more remote Bryce Homes to share – the homes of Widow Lewnida and Widow Alice. Between the two homes, there are 13 children. With a well, the two families would be able to grow some of their own food, raise some chickens and perhaps goats (for milk). The cost to build the well is $1000 plus a few hundred more to build a pump house and holding tank.

CONCLUSION

To all of the Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times readers who have donated to the Bryce Homes in Kenya, the Bryce families and the LT and UTT staff say thank you. And please know, this is not just a mission project for the physical needs of these brothers and sisters – it is an effort in helping to raise up children who will love the Lord, understand the times in which we live, and serve Him wholeheartedly when they become adults. Through Roger Oakland’s discipleship when he travels to Kenya and also materials sent from both UTT and LT, the pastors and the widows are learning about the Word of God and about spiritual deception and how to avoid it. They in turn are teaching the children the ways of God through His Word by the Holy Spirit.

If you would like to donate to our Winter Offering, there are three ways you can do that. Please designate that the donation is for the “Winter Offering,” which will guarantee it is used for the needs we have discussed above. If donations happen to exceed those needs, Every penny of all donations go directly to the work in Kenya. The donations are tax deductible through UTT. Thank you from all of us at Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times. Be sure and watch the slideshow below.

THREE WAYS TO DONATE (choose one):

1. Through the Understand the Times website (you can use Paypal or your credit card – choose from one of the donate buttons). You can designate the donation on the paypal website. (Note: when using Paypal, remember to designate the donation for “Winter Offering” where it asks for “Special Instructions.”

Donate_Button

 2. Mail donation checks or money orders to either location below.

P.O. Box 27239
Santa Ana, CA 92799 USA
(800) 689-1888

P.O. Box 1160
Eston, SK
Canada S0L 1A0
306-962-3672

3. For your convenience, donations can be called in to the Lighthouse Trails office. We will take your credit card information and process the donation through UTT. You can call our toll free number at 866-876-3910.

Below are some recent group photos of the various Bryce Homes in Kenya:

Bryce Home Group photos of Suna area.Widow Agnes was away,because she lost her brother's wife,so went for the burial#14 's two of her children went to vist their gramm

Widows Terry, Benta, Effie, Benedetta, and Mereza and some of their children

 

Bryce Homes

Widows Alice and Lewnida with their children

Bryce home group photo,they are so happy# 9 and 10.Some of the children were around by the time we went to take photos.

Two widows and their children

 

SAM_5602

Donate_Button

News in Review From Understand the Times

 

Rick Warren’s New Book, The Daniel Plan, Receives Media Blitz—But Book Does Double-Speak on Eastern-Style Meditation

On Sunday, December 1st, 32 million homes (and 63 million readers)in America received the following issue of Parade newspaper-insert magazine:

rickwarren-parade-small

The subtitle on the cover of this issue of the “most widely read magazine in America”2 reads: Rick Warren—One of America’s most influential pastors delivers a life-changing message on the connection between getting healthy and doing good. You’ll find Rick Warren showing up in quite a few other places of late as his new book, The Daniel Plan (based on his Daniel Plan diet plan), hit the streets on December 3rd.

The Parade article boasts of the “collectively dropped 250,000 pounds” the Saddleback congregation has lost since it began The Daniel Plan. The article also says that they did this with the help of three doctors: Dr. Amen, Dr. Hyman, and Dr. Oz. The article doesn’t, however, talk about what else the Saddleback dieters have lost—which would be any semblance of spiritual discernment that they might have previously had. That might sound like an overly-strong and critical statement to those who don’t have all the facts, but as we have reported on for nearly three years now, Rick Warren, unfortunately, compromised the spiritual well-being of his congregation when he teamed up with Amen, Hyman, and Oz, all of whom are eastern-style meditation advocates.

If you have read any of our coverage on The Daniel Plan, you will understand exactly what we mean. Here is a list of some of the stories we’ve done on Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan:

Podcast by Chris Lawson and Ray Yungen: Warning About New Age Influences in Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan

Understanding the Occultic Nature of Tantric Sex (The Practice Promoted by Dr. Amen – Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Doctor)

Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation

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

Another Reason Why the Daniel Plan is Dangerous – Rick Warren’s Dr. Mark Hyman Points Followers to the Dalai Lama

Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” currently recommends hypnosis, Eastern/new age meditation

Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” Doctor Oz Will Lead Mass Hypnosis on TV

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

Rick Warren Speaks Out Against Those Warning the Church of Meditation

Rick Warren’s New Health and Wellness Initiative Could Have Profound Repercussions on Many

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailNow what about Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan released by the publisher of Warren’s other books, Zondervan (the book is co-authored by Warren, Dr. Amen, and Dr. Hyman? For untold reasons, Dr. Oz is not one of the authors of the book, although he is mentioned in the book. There’s no doubt that Oz is the strongest public adherent for New Age practices, and perhaps Warren decided he was too much of a high profile New Ager to include in the book. But keep in mind that Amen and Hymen are not too far behind. Amen promotes tantric sex, and Hyman is connected to a shamanic organization called FourWinds (“where modern science meets ancient wisdom“).  So excluding Oz from Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan book isn’t very impressive.

One has several buying options that Zondervan has provided: The Daniel Plan book (Kindle and hardcover), The Daniel Plan Journal (Kindle and hardcover), The Daniel Plan Study Guide (Kindle and Paperback), The Daniel Plan DVD Study, The Daniel Plan Cookbook (due out in April 2014, written by Warren, Hyman, and Amen), The Daniel Plan Study Guide with DVD, The Daniel Plan Church Campaign Kit (due out 12/23/13), an mp3 and CD Daniel Plan, and the Spanish edition El Plan Daniel: 40 Dias Hacia Una Vida Mas Saludable.

There are a number of things we could say about The Daniel Plan book (such as Warren’s use of The Message “Bible“), and perhaps we will at another juncture in time. But what we want to point to presently, we find is extremely important. As is so often the case with Rick Warren (and other Christian leaders in today’s world), he has spoken out of both sides of his mouth in The Daniel Plan with regard to meditation. First, early in the book, Warren makes a strong statement against mantra-style meditation. He says:

In many ways, biblical meditation is the exact opposite of eastern or New Age meditation, which is about emptying your mind and repeating a single word or mantra. In contrast, biblical meditation means taking a verse of the Bible, such as a promise or a command or a story, and seriously pondering its meaning. You think through the implications for and application of God’s truth to your life. This is the kind of meditation that David referred to when he repeatedly said, “I meditate on your Word day and night” (see Psalm 1: 2; 119: 148, etc.). (Kindle Locations 842-850)

Anyone reading that would think the author of this paragraph was clearly against eastern-style meditation and contemplative prayer (which is the repeating of a word or phrase to enter a “silent” state of mind). When we read this paragraph from the book, we grew very suspicious because Rick Warren has been promoting eastern-style meditation authors for years (such as his endorsement and promotion of Gary Thomas and his book Sacred Pathways, in which Thomas says the following:

It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing.(p. 185)

Repeating a word or phrase for twenty minutes is classic transcendental meditation. Sacred Pathways is currently on the Saddleback website listed as a recommended book by Kay Warren (a multitude of other  books by contemplatives (e.g., Nouwen, Manning, Foster, Willard, Calhoun, Yancey, Ortberg) are in that same resource section of the website).

And, as we pointed out above, Warren’s very own three Daniel Plan doctors are teachers of meditation, and in fact, the Saddleback Daniel Plan website has, on different occasions, promoted New Age type meditation. See our article that gives one example: “Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan Accelerates – Tells Followers to Practice 4-7-8 Hinduistic Meditation.”

This is why it is very strange that Warren gives a warning about meditation in his Daniel Plan book. A little later in The Daniel Plan, the confusion begins. Warren says:

Decades of research have shown that prayer calms stress and enhances brain function. Dr. Andrew Newberg at Thomas Jefferson University used brain SPECT imaging to study the neurobiology of prayer and meditation in those that dedicated time to those disciplines regularly. He found distinctive changes in brain activity as the mind went into a prayerful or meditative state.2837).

When one hears talk of how prayer and meditation help to calm stress, this is almost always referring to the practice of meditation wherein the participant either repeats a word or a phrase or focuses on an object or the breath. In this particular case in The Daniel Plan, the paragraph above is footnoted to the following:

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “Prayer May Reshape Your Brain … And Your Reality,” NPR, 20 May 2009. http:// www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104310443 D. S. Khalsa, D. G. Amen, A. Newberg, et al., “Kirtan kriya meditation and high resolution brain SPECT imaging,” accepted by Nuclear Medicine Communications, June 2010. Andrew Newberg, “The Effect of Meditation on the Brain Activity,” AndrewNewberg.com, http:// www.andrewnewberg.com/ research.asp (Kindle Locations 5240-5244).

One of the things this footnote material references is “kirtan kriya meditation” (i.e., sa-ta-na-ma meditation). Stand Up For the Truth radio has an article titled “WARNING:  Kundalini Yoga’s ‘Highest Mantra Meditation.’” The article states that “one [ meditation practice] coming onto the scene is being touted as the greatest Kundalini Yoga Meditation, called Kirtan Kriya.” The article explains the various steps in kirtan kriya meditation, which are the typical steps in any form of eastern meditation.

Remember, the purpose of eastern-style meditation is for one to find his divine true self (the God within). We believe that when one practices meditation and goes into altered states, he or she encounters demonic or familiar spirits in these altered states, which, yes, have the ability to give them “benefits” (at least for a while). After all, Satan is an angel of light and his minions are ministers of righteousness—they can come across as good. But what one eventually gets is a complete spiritual makeover and a new set of spiritual beliefs. These new beliefs are interspiritual and panentheistic—thus the antithesis of what the Bible presents.

Right after this section of The Daniel Plan, where kritan kriya meditation is footnoted, Warren states:

Besides growing your relationship with God and building a foundation for spiritual health, prayer offers many health and stress-relief benefits. Physicians Larry Dossey (Healing Words), Dale Matthews (The Faith Factor), and others have written books outlining the scientific evidence of the medical benefits of prayer and other meditation. Some of these benefits include reduced feelings of stress, lower cholesterol levels, improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, fewer headaches, relaxed muscles, and longer life spans. (Kindle Locations 2853-2858).

Larry Dossey happens to be listed in our new Booklet Tract by Chris Lawson titled A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists) under the New Age Authors section. The names listed under that section are all advocates and/or teachers of mantra style meditation (the earmark of New Age). When Dossey “and others” write about meditation, they are talking about outright New Age meditation (even if they don’t call it “New Age”). So while Rick Warren gives a warning earlier in his book about mantra meditation, he basically mocks his own warning later in the book by pointing readers to someone like Larry Dossey and kritan kriya meditation. He doesn’t only mock his own warning—he dismisses it as well as leaving the reader to think that his warning is not that important but just a side-step opinion (take it or leave it—there’s better stuff to come). One thing we have learned about Rick Warren over the past decade is he is a pastor of confusion. In one venue, he will say one thing, and in another venue, he’ll say the complete opposite. His double-minded speaking has left for many an open door for spiritual deception.

In the Parade magazine article, it has a photo of Rick Warren and six other Saddleback members who have participated in The Daniel Plan diet. Of those seven pictured, it states: “[T]hey’re all believers in the faith-based, holistic wellness program Warren outlines in his new book, The Daniel Plan.” And you can be sure that with the highly successful marketing techniques that Zondervan and Warren have frequently used, millions of others will be believers in The Daniel Plan too.

 

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