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Letter to the Editor: More Concerns Re: Calvary Chapel Pastors and Discernment Ministries

LTRP Note: We are posting this, not to single out Calvary Chapel as this is a problem in most denominations today, but rather to once again illustrate why discerning Christians (like many of you who read LT) are having such a hard time in their efforts to warn the church about spiritual deception and apostasy.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

ccAs always, there are very useful reports and links on Lighthouse Trails that expose false teachers, bad churches and bad books among many other things.  I was interested in the article about Calvary Chapel and how Chuck Smith appreciated Lighthouse Trails ministries.

I sent Lighthouse Trails links to the Calvary Chapel I attend when I first started going there 2 years ago in regard to Brian Brodersen among other things, and people there jumped down my throat and said that you [Lighthouse Trails] should go and speak to the person first before putting out warnings about them.  This, as we know, is not always possible and anyway, it’s unlikely that Brian Brodersen, Rob Bell, Rick Warren, Billy Hybels etc are going to listen to anything.  As we also know, God gives people over to deception and prevents them from hearing the truth as it says in scripture. [See LT article addressing Matthew 18 below.]

My pastor subsequently subscribed to Lighthouse Trails, but his sons (one is a Calvary Chapel Pastor in another church and the other is his Assistant Pastor) do not like Discernment Ministries and think they “have no love.” They have not had to confront anything bad,as I have, and I would even say they haven’t had to contend for the faith.  They do not understand how damaging bad doctrine is to Christians and how it can destroy people’s faith and lives, hence Galatians 1:8.

My pastor had to go to a meeting last week in regard to Brian Brodersen, and he asked me to pray for him. I don’t know what I’d do if either of his sons were my pastors as they are adversant to Discernment Ministries.  You were right in saying that many are not like Chuck Smith.

Thank you for all your hard work, and as we are in the last days, Mathew 24 is relevant now, with the first thing Jesus saying to, “Take heed, not to be deceived . . .

Blessings and prayers,


(Used with permission)

Related Article:

“Three Vital Questions to Navigating Discernment: 1) Should Christians Expose Error? 2) Matthew 18 3) How Should the Christian Contender Speak and Behave?”



Christian Prisoners in U.S. Reach Out to Lighthouse Trails for Encouragement

Prison barsLTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails receives a growing number of letters from those who are incarcerated in U.S. prisons. The men and women who write all profess their faith in Jesus Christ, having become believers while in prison. In almost every letter we receive, the prisoner tells us that false doctrines (ecumenism, Purpose Driven, seeker friendly, contemplative, emerging, etc.) are rampant within the prison in which he or she resides. We know that Purpose Driven made big inroads into the prisons beginning some years ago when Chuck Colson and Rick Warren made plans to team up and bring Purpose Driven to prisons across America. In most of the letters we receive, there is a sense of deep concern expressed for the spiritual well being of fellow inmates in a growing apostate atmosphere (much like the letters and calls we receive from those in the “outside” world). Lighthouse Trails does what we can to encourage and support these prisoners by sending materials as we are able to.

Harry Ironside gave a sermon (that can be watched –  see below) about the servant, Onesimus, who worked for Philemon and who after stealing from his master, fled and eventually ended up in prison with the apostle Paul who led the man to the Lord. It’s a beautiful account of the Gospel wherein Paul writes to Philemon and asks him to forgive his servant, receive him back into his household as now a brother, and charge the offense to Paul’s account.

Let us remember those believers who are imprisoned, having once walked in darkness but now, by His grace and mercy, walk in the light of our Savior.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Dear friends in Christ,

I am an inmate in the ________________Department of Corrections, and I came to know Christ while I was in prison. My Dad was a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching pastor who started many churches while I was growing up. He believed that salvation came through none other than Jesus Christ and not by any works that we have done or can do.

When I left home, I began rebelling against what I had been taught and slowly began to move into the area of witchcraft. After coming to prison, I became a full-fledged Wiccan High Priest. I have enclosed a copy of a Gospel tract that I wrote which is a very condensed version of my testimony of the saving power of Jesus Christ and the ability of Jesus Christ to take the lowest sinner and make him into a man of God.

At first, the Prison Chapel had many services that preached the Bible and Salvation through Christ alone. Sadly, those services, though they have the same name, no longer preach that. Now, it is we are all one with contemplative silence and a new spirituality, which is not new but are old Pagan practices I left. At this point, I cannot find any services offered in the Chapel that are Bible-believing churches that teach that Christ is the only way to salvation. They all include some form of the New Age Spirituality, and I do not know what to do. There are few, if any, who agree with me, and I am sorely criticized for not following in this “new awakening.” None listen to my warnings.

I want to give my strongest thanks for being a light in the darkness. This newsletter was sent to by some friends who also believe as I do and who are vigilantly proclaiming Jesus Christ.

In Christian love and grace,


To view the video sermon by Ironside, click here.


(Photo of bars from bigstockphoto; used with permission.)


Matthew 5:3-12 In Light of the News

Matthew 5:3-12

By Maria Kneas

In light of the news, Matthew 5:3-12 comes to mind.

When we feel overwhelmed and know things are happening that are too big for us to handle, then we are “poor in spirit” (verse 3)

We have lots of reasons for mourning these days (verse 4). I mourn for this nation. And for the children who are being morally corrupted by our public schools. Some schools are pushing homosexuality and transgender on children as early as kindergarten. Plus many public schools have been pushing occultism for years, including teaching children how to cast spells.

“Meek” means “strength under control” (verse 5). This is a gentle lion, as opposed to a helpless mouse.

We are seeing so much shameless lying and twisting and corruption and perversion and depravity that the extent of it and the depth of it is mind boggling. And it just keeps increasing. And, therefore, we are having more and more reasons to “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (verse 6).

As the people around us get stressed out, then we will have more and more reasons to need to be merciful to them (verse 7).

And of course, depending how things go in this nation, we may find ourselves literally being persecuted because of our faith.

Matthew 5:3-12

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Considering the times in which we are living, it would be good to take these verses to heart. And to take God at His Word. Jesus knew what He was talking about, even though we can’t fully see it yet.

(Maria is a Lighthouse Trails author of several books and booklets.)

(Photo from bigstockphoto; used with permission.)




Letter to the Editor: More Concerns Re: Calvary Chapel Pastors and Discernment Ministries
Christian Prisoners in U.S. Reach Out to Lighthouse Trails for Encouragement
Matthew 5:3-12 In Light of the News ?
Concerned Woman Addresses Local School Officials About Mindfulness Meditation and Children

Jesus Calling – New Age “Messages”: Sarah Young’s Contemplative Prayer Method Identical to Passive, Telepathic-Psychic Literary Mediumship!

Setting Aside the Power of the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute
Pew Research Survey Finds: “Religious Aspects of Christmas Are Declining in Public Life”
Recognize Any of These Names? They Are Bringing in the New Spirituality Into the Church.
NEW BOOKLET: Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line of Truth
Leave a Review and Get a Discount Coupon and Check Out New Release
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Concerned Woman Addresses Local School Officials About Mindfulness Meditation and Children

On November 15th, Lighthouse Trails posted an article titled “What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and Mindfulness Meditation”which stated that a woman who called the LT office shared her concerns about her local public school that was going to be bringing in a program to teach children mindfulness meditation. The woman was being given a 5-minute slot of time to talk at an upcoming school board meeting. The woman did speak to the school board, and with her permission, we are posting her talk below. We hope you will find this helpful in your own efforts to protect children in schools, churches, ministries, and organizations (all places you will find mindfulness meditation being promoted).

Children and MindfulnessThe Talk

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for this time to speak. My name is __________. I reside at _____________________, USA.

You have heard a persuasive sales pitch [for mindfulness meditation]; the pros of the purchase have been highlighted, the cons minimized or ignored. You are about to sign on the dotted line when your friend quietly utters the words “buyer beware.” You hesitate because those words are causing you to mentally tap the brakes and slow down! You wonder, “Have I carefully and thoroughly examined and tested this purchase? If not, the consequences can be great: hidden defects; lack of quality; poor performance.” You drop the pen and walk away, giving the purchase more time to consider.

I wish that the district had had a friend utter those words to it before it signed on the dotted line and purchased mindfulness. Right now, mindfulness is like a new car sitting in the district’s parking lot; people are standing around admiring it, but I am standing in the crowd, looking at it with a critical eye, knowing things that I hope will cause you to reconsider your purchase before you fuel it up and get it on the road!

Mindfulness is the car that has yet to be road tested here, but with a shiny paint job. Enthusiastic supporters have presented it a secular, harmless practice for health and wellness, pointing to claims of studies and sharing anecdotal stories that make you eager to try it. Like the paint job, it looks so good! However, mindfulness is not secular, has not proven harmless but sometimes dangerous, and its effects on neurophysiology, largely uncharted.

Mindfulness is not secular. Research shows mindfulness is a Buddhist meditation exercise. Historically and presently, it is bound to the religious context of Buddhism which teaches of the divine within encountered via such practices that alter one’s state of consciousness. To engage in mindfulness is to engage in a religious practice. Many are unaware that it is such as the man credited with bringing it to the U.S. packaged it so as not to offend or arouse Western sensibilities.

Directing staff and students to participate in a religious exercise is a violation of their civil and religious liberties. The ACLU writes, “Teachers and school administrators, when acting in those capacities, are representatives of the state, and in those capacities, are themselves prohibited from encouraging or soliciting student religious . . . activity.”

Mindfulness has not proven harmless; respected sources list possible dangerous effects. Author Mary Wylie writes, “. . . meditation isn’t without risks of its own. [It has been] marketed as a kind of warm bath for the psyche . . . [but] meditation has a shadow side, familiar to experienced meditation teachers but almost never mentioned in the popular media—that is, the not uncommon tendency of some people when they begin practicing in earnest to freak out (lose ego boundaries, hallucinate, relive old wounds and traumas, experience intense fear . . . as well as exhibit strange physical symptoms, like spasms, involuntary movements, hot flashes . . . [ etc.] These effects are well documented in Buddhist texts as stages along the long, hard path to inner wisdom . . .” Published findings by Brown University include negative impacts to sleep patterns, appetite and weight, hypersensitivity to light and sound, and an inability to return to normal work or function, to name a few.

The effect of mindfulness on neurophysiology is largely uncharted. Author Wylie writes, “. . . [meditation is] in fact, a far deeper, more complex, and less well-understood process than many people realize.” The district has acted outside of its purview by making a diagnosis of student body health as a whole, then prescribing a one-size-fits-all remedy in the form of mindfulness.

The new car—mindfulness—is a lemon; it looks good, but tests show otherwise. Mindfulness is a religious practice that the district cannot legally impose on others. The district cannot guarantee that participants will not experience undesirable effects from it. For these reasons, I urge the district to park the car mindfulness in a garage, close the door, and lose the keys.

I would like to make a copy of my remarks with sources and references available to the board.

Thank you for your attention.


Resources Cited and Used

“Meditation.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,
22 July 2004. Web. 15 November 2017.

“Mindfulness.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,
22 July 2004. Web. 15 November 2017.

“How the Mindfulness Movement Went Mainstream—And the Backlash That
Came With It.” Alternet. Mary Sykes Wylie. Web. 29 January 2015.
Accessed 15 November 2017.

“Joint Statement of Current Law on Religion in the Public Schools.” ACLU.
Web. Accessed 15 November 2017.

“The Dangers of Meditation: It Can Actually Lead to Insomnia, Fear, and
Hypersensitivity to Light.” Daily Victoria Allen. Web.
24 May 2017. Accessed 15 November 2017.

“What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and
Mindfulness Meditation.” Editors. Lighthouse Trails Research. Web.
15 November 2017.

(Photo from bigstockphoto; used with permission,)

Jesus Calling – New Age “Messages”: Sarah Young’s Contemplative Prayer Method Identical to Passive, Telepathic-Psychic Literary Mediumship!
Chris Lawson Talkiing about Jesus Calling

Chris Lawson

LTRP Note: The following is an introduction to Part 8 of Chris Lawson’s audio presentation on Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. 

By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network

Click here to listen to or download part 8.

Currently being broadcast on Radio Refuge (Nov/Dec 2017), each trailer episode is ten minutes in length and includes a short content overlap to assist new listeners. This discernment teaching message is also available as one lengthy audio under the title, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling Messages Compared to Spirit Channeled Messages (See episode menu).

Note for Jesus Calling devotional readers: This series includes direct quotes from the Jesus Calling author Sarah Young, from her personal interviews with news correspondents. These quotes are then compared to definitions from The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary (June G. Bletzer, Ph.D.).

Other Materials from Chris Lawson

 The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction

A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists)


Setting Aside the Power of the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute

By David Dombrowski

If I were to say to you that much of the church today has set aside the power of God, would you be shocked? After all, we live in a time where having the power of God in your life is a major theme preached from pulpits across the country. And book after book, sold in massive quantities, pour off the presses promising a special connection or intimacy with God that will revolutionize your life and make it more dynamic. Yet, I believe I can prove that in fact, the power of God is being laid aside, and I will tell you how.

Back in the late 1990s, our family was visiting various churches in search of a new home church, and we noticed how many pastors would begin their messages with a Scripture but then launch into a lengthy talk that can best be described as a teaching based on behavioral psychology. For many sitting in the pews, this type of message had much appeal as the seeker-friendly movement was really taking off, and teachings about building relationships seemed more paramount than building a relationship with God based on the Word of God. At any rate, the preaching of the Gospel seemed to be held in second place, thereby creating a condition in the church where conviction of sin and the preaching of the Cross waned, while teachings appealing to the masses became more palatable and popular. Increasingly, it became a capital sin to offend your audience in a seeker-friendly church, and seeing as the preaching of the Cross is an offense to those who are perishing, the Gospel was seldom heard in these churches that were increasing in numbers—of which many were still unsaved. A case in point that illustrates this is a couple who attended Saddleback Church for years, but the wife was troubled by the fact that her husband did not know the Lord during that entire time. Then they started attending a church that preached the Gospel on a regular basis, and the husband got saved in the first two weeks. Yet Saddleback and the Purpose Driven movement have grown exponentially over the years. Ironically, for that couple, hearing the Gospel for two weeks, beyond saving the soul of that husband, did more to enhance their marriage relationship than hearing a social gospel for years. Suffice it to say, there is an unusual power to transform lives for the better when the Cross is preached and the doctrines of repentance, justification by grace through faith, and being born and renewed of the Holy Spirit are expounded upon. But, then again, the preaching of the Cross is offensive to those who are perishing.

The Uniqueness of Christianity
Let us pause for a moment and think about what makes Christianity uniquely different from the world’s religions. Christianity teaches that man is sinful and God is holy; consequently, man is unable to save himself. Heaping up good deeds does not atone for the fact that man’s sin has separated him from God. Then Jesus came as a sin offering to atone for sin, thereby eliminating our separation from God. As we receive Him by faith as our Savior, our sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit indwells and transforms us where we can rightfully say we have been born again. Jesus then has Lordship over our lives as we continue to trust and yield our lives to Him (we will say more about that later). But the religions of the world all teach the opposite—that man is basically good and has the power within himself to live a life pleasing to God, and thereby through his good works is able to save his own soul. Unfortunately, when the preaching of the Gospel was set aside in favor of a more seeker-friendly social gospel, it seems that the armor of the church was also laid down, and much of the false teaching of the world’s religions crept in.

Whatever happened to the Christian church? Those of us who are old enough to remember can recall the unrest of the 1960s including the Viet Nam War and the Hippie movement. It was an era of a lot of experimentation not only with drugs but with eastern religions and varied lifestyles. Then came the Jesus Movement where many lives were transformed under the preaching of the Gospel. Many people forsook their old lives and habits. All over the land, the phrase “praise the Lord” could be heard, and Bible prophecy was so popular back then as countless numbers were considering that we could be in the last days. Yet, over time, the joy and excitement of that new era waned, but I have not heard an explanation why. Most likely, the answer does not lie in any one thing, but one thing in particular happened, and that again is the laying aside of the Gospel. Perhaps multitudes of believers, in the exhilaration of the times, had a sense that their needs and expectations would be met by the Lord.

Didn’t the Gospel Work?
But then stories of woe began to emerge at the tail end of the Jesus Movement. Many who had come to the Lord began to return to their old ways and habits. Some went back to drugs, others to deviant lifestyles. Others, who thought they would find sure victory in the Lord, found that they lacked the power within to overcome their life-controlling and destructive habits. Also, you would hear stories . . . like the one where a trusted Sunday-school teacher had been molesting kids. And, those bound by pornography never forsook it, or they returned to it.

Now the question is, if all of these negative things were happening or beginning to happen again, who or what was to blame? It seemed that multitudes had given the Gospel a good shot, but for many it was not working.

Let me tell you, there is a great undoing effect to those who try to live as Christians but find they are living in defeat. Then, too, hearing story after story of Christians, many of whom you may have known personally, falling to a defeated lifestyle is also most disconcerting. In either case, the conclusion for many must have been that the Gospel was not working—that it was powerless to transform lives. Hence, the preaching of the Cross has been stilled. It has been estimated that at least fifty percent of American pastors view pornography (largely on the Internet) on a regular basis. These estimates may in fact be quite conservative when we consider how many are probably too ashamed or afraid to admit their addiction. Pastors with life-controlling habits such as this are also often faced with a dilemma of who to look up to for help as they are supposedly at the top rung of the ladder and expected to live flawless lives. Then, when they go to preach on Sunday morning on the power of the Cross, they find that they cannot because they know their lives are marred by defeat. Likewise, the wives of these pastors go through an incredible hell as they feel both challenged and insulted by something that has now robbed them of their husbands’ affection and devotion. One thing I might say in passing is that years ago I heard there was an agenda among the communist party to destroy our nation, not by warfare, but from within by corrupting our morals largely through pornography. Now if the communist party has not attempted this, then Satan certainly has, knowing that the husband is a key figure and a prime target in destroying the family unit.

What we find then is that the Gospel, both for pastors and their congregations, seemingly is not working. The natural recourse for this would be to blame God, but rather than do this, other avenues of finding victory in God are being explored. The fact of the matter is that once the Gospel has been determined to be powerless, there is a scrambling for answers and new teachings. Hence, with this in mind, one can see why such a flood of new teachings has cropped up today—whether it be practicing eastern mysticism via contemplative prayer, the re-emergence of the spiritual disciplines of the Desert Fathers, or the varied teachings of the emerging church.

Brian McLaren, in his endorsement on the back cover of Alan Jones’ book, Reimagining Christianity, has this to say:

It used to be that Christian institutions and systems of dogma sustained the spiritual life of Christians. Increasingly, spirituality itself is what sustains everything else. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality.

These are the words of an emerging leader pointing to the work of another emerging leader and, in a nutshell, telling us that the power of the Gospel is dead, and we need to explore other options. And the options most commonly turned to are New Age and eastern meditative practices. What you get from these teachings is that in the core of every human being is a “divine center” (i.e., God himself), and if you tap into that through meditation, you will find your own divinity and have limitless power. Sadly, what Brian McLaren has to say in the above quote has become the running orders of many Christians who have forsaken dogma (doctrine) for experience. Rather than seeking sound teaching, they seek an experience or “anointing” that works for them and empowers their lives. But, all the while, as they are engaging in experience-based “Christianity,” they are becoming further removed from the truth of Scripture.

There Is Power
The Bible affirms that there is power for the believer. David sang these words after being delivered from the hand of Saul: “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33). In Psalm 62, David sings, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” (Psalm 62:11). Then in Psalm 68, David says, “O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people” (Psalm 68:35). Without question, Scripture
declares overcoming power to God’s people; but then why are God’s people lacking it and looking for it now?

We don’t need to search very far for the answer to that question, for the answer can be found in the words of Paul:

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

Then in his Gospel, John says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). From both of these Scriptures, it is clear that God gives power to the believer for holy living—but that power is found in the Gospel to those who believe it.

Apparently, what has happened in the church is that there has been so much failure that believers have reckoned the Gospel to be power­less and have looked essentially to “other gods” for help. Jeremiah speaks of our day when he says:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. (Jeremiah 7:23–24)

Regardless of what our natural instincts may tell us, God has declared that His overcoming power is to be found in the Gospel. Yes, a struggle may ensue for a period of time, but that is all the more reason to hold fast to the Gospel because only in it can true and lasting victory be found.

In Romans chapters 7 and 8, Paul describes the inner turmoil that may ensue in a person’s life as he struggles with sin. Theologians speculate if Paul was speaking of his own struggles, and if so, before or after his conversion. I believe that Paul was writing of both our struggles and his own struggles both before and after conversion. And the lesson learned is that once we become believers, we cannot go back to trying to live in victory in the flesh; just as it did not work before conversion, it will not work now. This is what is happening in the church today, and it will fail because victory can only be found in the power of the Gospel. We can never live an overcoming life in the flesh (i.e., our own strength). Our power and might is found in the Lord, and that is why Paul directs us in Romans to live in the Spirit:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

And this is all a part of the Gospel message because when we receive Christ at conversion by trusting in His atoning work as a free gift, God imparts His Holy Spirit to us (Romans 8:9), and we are born again or “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6). The life of the Christian means death to self (the flesh) but also new life in the Spirit that enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Have you ever wondered how you can bear the fruit of the Spirit if your life is not em­powered and directed by the Spirit? Each day we need to give Jesus Lordship over our lives—and that means that just as we trusted Jesus to save us on the day we came to Him we need to trust Him to guide our steps as we commit our way to Him. In other words, just as we trusted Christ to save us on the day we received Him, we need to continue to trust Christ to complete His work in us. Remember that we were purchased by God through the death of His Son, so our lives are no longer our own, but we belong to Him.

Cling to the Gospel
If you are a Christian and your life is full of struggle, do not forsake the Gospel, but cling to it more fully knowing that you are not strong, but God is strong. Whether it be facing temptation or being chased by life’s circumstances (as David was chased by Saul), our power and victory is found in the Lord only and not in ourselves. Do not ask the Lord to help you live the Christian life, but allow Him to live the Christian life in and through you. Eastern mysticism and the New Age teach that in the center of our being we will find God (and become God-like or Christ-like); Christianity teaches that in the center of our being we find a heart that is utterly wicked and deceitful. Have no dealings with the old nature, but be renewed in the Holy Spirit. Remember that God promised to make a new covenant with us, not written on stony tablets but engraved on our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10). This New Covenant has the power to transform the human heart. Before Jesus went to the Cross, He spoke of this when He said, “this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). In other words, Jesus was leaving a testament or will that would take effect after His death—with His own blood serving as the stamp or seal validating that will. It is interesting to note that if you take your Strong’s Concordance and look up the Greek word for “covenant” (like the one used in Hebrews 8:10 above) and compare it with the Greek word for “testament” (like the one just used by Jesus), it is exactly the same Greek word. Jesus’ death on the Cross was not only that perfect sacrifice for sin, but it also sealed the covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31 and repeated in Hebrews 8:10 that God would write His laws on our minds and hearts. This is the marvelous transformation that so many people are looking for but think the Gospel is too weak to provide; yet it is the only sure and true way to holy living. The Gospel is that new covenant, and it is available to us when we acknowledge that apart from Him we can do nothing. Jesus said:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

So, if we abide in the Vine (Jesus) we will be victorious in our quest to live the Christian life. Have nothing to do with substitutes to the Gospel message. God saves and transforms people His way and not our way. Any other way is futility and idolatry.

We are living in a time of mass deception and delusion. If you were to fall off a cliff and only had a rope to hold you, would you not hold onto that rope more tightly? That is what we must do with the Gospel. Jesus’ death on the Cross purchased our salvation; we have also been bought by His blood, sealed in a new covenant, and His indwelling presence empowers us to live the Christian life. There is no other power to save!

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

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come. (Psalm 71:18)

Pew Research Survey Finds: “Religious Aspects of Christmas Are Declining in Public Life”

christmasLTRP Note: The following out of house news story is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the content or the source.

Pew Forum on Religion

As long-simmering debates continue over how American society should commemorate the Christmas holiday, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most U.S. adults believe the religious aspects of Christmas are emphasized less now than in the past – even as relatively few Americans are bothered by this trend. In addition, a declining majority says religious displays such as nativity scenes should be allowed on government property. And compared with five years ago, a growing share of Americans say it does not matter to them how they are greeted in stores and businesses during the holiday season – whether with “merry Christmas” or a less-religious greeting like “happy holidays.”

Not only are some of the more religious aspects of Christmas less prominent in the public sphere, but there are signs that they are on the wane in Americans’ private lives and personal beliefs as well. For instance, there has been a noticeable decline in the percentage of U.S. adults who say they believe that biblical elements of the Christmas story – that Jesus was born to a virgin, for example – reflect historical events that actually occurred. And although most Americans still say they mark the occasion as a religious holiday, there has been a slight drop in recent years in the share who say they do this. Click here to continue reading.

(Photo from bigstockphoto; used with permission.)


Recognize Any of These Names? They Are Bringing in the New Spirituality Into the Church.

The New Spirituality in the Church

Compiled by Chris Lawson

Each of the following authors professes to be Christian and/or uses biblical terminology in his or her writing, yet promotes at least one of the following serious false teachings: contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), the emergent, progressive "new" spirituality, the seeker-friendly, church-growth movement (e.g., Willow Creek, Purpose Driven) and/or Yoga.


Abbott, David L.

Adams, James Rowe

Allender, Dan

Arico, Carl J.

Armstrong, Karen

Artress, Lauren

Assagioli, Roberto


Babbs, Liz

Bakker, Jay

Barton, Ruth Haley

Bass, Diana Butler

Batterson, Mark

Baxter, Mary

Bell, Rob

Benner, David

Bennison, John

Bentley, Todd

Bickle, Mike

Bjorklund, Kurt

Blanchard, Ken

Boa, Kenneth

Bolger, Ryan

Bolz-Weber, Nadia


Bordenkircher, Susan

Borg, Marcus

Bourgeault, Cynthia

Bronsink, Troy

Brother Lawrence

Brueggemann, Walter

Bruteau, Beatrice

Buchanan, John M.

Budziszewski, J.

Buford, Bob

Burke, Spencer


Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg

Caliguire, Mindy

Campbell, Joseph

Campolo, Bart

Campolo, Tony

Canfield, Jack

Card, Michael

Carroll, L. Patrick

Chalke, Steve

Chalmers, Joseph

Chinmoy, Sri

Chittister, Joan

Claiborne, Shane

Coe, John

Coffin, William Sloane

Collins, Jim

Crabb, Larry

Cron, Ian

Crossan, John Dominic

Crowder, David


De Mello, Anthony De Waal, Esther

Demarest, Bruce

Dillard, Annie

Dowd, Michael

Dykes, David R

Driscoll, Mark

Drury, Keith

Dyckman, Katherine Marie


Edwards, Gene

Edwards, Tilden

Egan, Harvey

Epperly, Bruce

Evans, Rachel Held


Felten, David

Fleming, Dave

Flowers, Betty Sue

Ford, Leighton

Fosdick, Harry Emerson

Foster, Richard

Fox, George

Fox, Matthew

Friend, Howard E., Jr.

Funk, Mary Margaret


Garrison, Becky

Geering, Lloyd

Gibbs, Eddie

Gire, Ken

Goleman, Daniel

Goll, James

Graham, Dom Alfred

Greig, Pete

Griffin, Emilie

Griffiths, Bede

Gru, Jean-Nicholas



Haas, Peter Traban

Haight, Roger

Haliczer, Stephen

Hall, Thelma

Hansen, Mark Victor

Hays, Edward

Hazard, David

Healey, Charles

Hedrick, Charles

Hildegard of Bingen

Hipps, Shane

Holmes, Emily

Hougen, Judith

Humphreys, Carolyn

Hunard, Hannah

Hunt, Anne

Hunter, Todd

Hybels, Bill


Ignatius Loyola, St.

Issler, Klaus


Jager, Willigis

Jenks, Gregory C.

Johnson, Jan

Johnston, William

Jones, Alan

Jones, Laurie Beth

Jones, Tony


Kaisch, Ken

Keating, Thomas

Kelsey, Morton

Kent, Keri Wyatt

Kidd, Sue Monk

Kimball, Dan

King, Mike

King, Robert H.

Kraft, Robert A.

Kreeft, Peter


L’Engle, Madeleine

Lamott, Anne

Law, William


Madigan, Shawn

Main, John

Manning, Brennan

Martin, James

Mattioli, Joseph

Matus, Thomas

May, Gerald

McColman, Carl

McKnight, Scot

McLaren, Brian

McManus, Erwin

Meninger, William

Meyers, Robin R.

Miller, Calvin

Miller, Donald

Moon, Gary

Moore, Beth

Moore, Brian P.

Moran, Michael T.

Moreland, J.P.

Morganthaler, Sally

Mother Theresa

Mundy, Linus

Muyskens, John David


Newcomer, Carrie

Norris, Gunilla Brodde

Norris, Kathleen

Nouwen, Henri


Ortberg, John


Pagels, Elaine

Pagitt, Doug

Palmer, Parker

Paloma, Margaret M.

Patterson, Stephen J.

Peace, Richard

Peale, Norman Vincent

Pennington, Basil

Pepper, Howard

Peterson, Eugene

Piper, John

Plumer, Fred

Pope Benedict XVI

Procter-Murphy, Jeff


Rakoczy, Susan

Reininger, Gustave

Rhodes, Tricia

Robbins, Duffy

Robbins, Maggie

Rohr, Richard

Rolle, Richard

Rollins, Peter

Romney, Rodney

Ruether, Rosemary Radford

Rupp, Joyce

Russell, A.J.

Ryan, Thomas


Sampson, Will

Sanford, Agnes

Scandrette, Mark

Scazzero, Pete

Schuller, Robert

Selmanovic, Samir

Senge, Peter

Shannon, William

Shore, John

Sinetar, Marsha

Sittser, Gerald

Smith, Chuck, Jr.

Smith, Elizabeth

Smith, James Bryan

Southerland, Dan

Spangler, Ann

Spong, John Shelby

St. Romain, Philip

Stanley, Andy

Steindl-Rast, David

Strobel, Kyle

Sweet, Leonard


Talbot, John Michael

Tasto, Maria

Taylor, Barbara Brown

Teague, David

Thomas, Gary

Thompson, Marjorie

Thresher, Tom

Tiberghien, Susan

Tickle, Phyllis

Treece, Patricia

Tuoti, Frank

Twiss, Richard


Vaswig, William (Bill)

Virkler, Mark

Voskamp, Ann


Wallis, Jim

Wakefield, James

Ward, Benedicta

Ward, Karen

Warren, Rick

Webber, Robert

Wilhoit, James C.

Willard, Dallas

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan

Winner, Lauren

Wink, Walter

Wolsey, Roger

Wright, N.T.


Yaconelli, Mark

Yaconelli, Mike

Yancey, Phillip

Yanni, Kathryn A.

Yarian, Br. Karekin M., BSG

Young, Sarah

Young, William Paul

Yungblut, John R.


Zeidler, Frank P.

This list is from Chris Lawson's booklet A Directory of Authors: Three NOT Recommended Lists. The booklet can be read online or purchased and contains two other lists.

NEW BOOKLET: Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line of Truth

NEW BOOKLET: Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line to Truth by Cedric Fisher and Nanci Des Gerlaise is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Circle Making and “Prayer Circles Versus The Straight Line to Truth,” click here.

Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line to Truth

Circle Making and 'Prayer Circles'By Cedric Fisher and Nanci Des Gerlaise

In 2011, a book titled The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Washington, D.C. pastor, Mark Batterson, was released and marketed as a new way to pray. Batterson says his book is inspired by a legendary Jewish sage, Honi, the Circle-Drawer, who lived centuries before Christ. The mystic sage, purported to be skilled at praying for rain, drew a circle about himself and declared he would not move until it rained. The story ends with the rain falling.

The premise behind Batterson’s The Circle Maker (which has become a very popular book) is that if we draw circles around important things in our lives, including our prayers, we will receive great blessings. Batterson explains:

Over the years, I’ve drawn prayer circles around promises in Scripture and promises the Holy Spirit has conceived in my spirit. I’ve drawn prayer circles around impossible situations and impossible people. I’ve drawn prayer circles around everything from life goals to pieces of property.1

Batterson says that drawing “prayer circles” isn’t “some magic trick,”2 but he admits that even if it is not necessarily God’s will that you get something, the prayer circles can still give you things you want:

Drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills. And until His sovereign will becomes your sanctified wish, your prayer life will be unplugged from its power supply. Sure, you can apply some of the principles you learn in The Circle Maker, and they may help you get what you want, but getting what you want isn’t the goal; the goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams He wants for you.3 (emphasis added)

Reading Batterson’s circle-making formula for getting prayers answered is reminiscent of the still-popular book that hit the evangelical market in 2000, The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson. Researcher and author Mike Oppenheimer, in his expose of Wilkinson’s book, says:

From the start of the book, the reader is being offered a method for success in his spiritual life by one daily prayer. . . . Wilkinson thinks he has discovered something he wants to share with all. If we’ll just pray the prayer of Jabez, word-for-word, every day for a month, we’ll see God’s blessing and power in our lives. To Wilkinson, the answer isn’t found in any choice of God of when or how He is to answer Jabez’s prayer. The key is that Jabez learned the right formula for asking things of God. Wilkinson implies a cause and effect action that is guaranteed—ask this way and wait until you see the results!4

As one commentator recognized, The Prayer of Jabez was really fulfilling a lustful desire of man—to be like God:

Unfortunately, this book is one indicator of the condition of the church today; it reflects the desire for many to share in His glory, just like Adam and Eve did 6,000 years ago. Today, we don’t want to submit to God; we want to be God.5

The repeated prayer in The Prayer of Jabez is really no different than the idea behind the prayer circles in The Circle Maker. Man develops a formula to get what he wants, and God must now answer these requests or prayers.

The Circle Maker describes the legend of Honi in 1 BC where the land was subjected to a drought. In the excerpt below, Batterson says:

With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred and eighty degrees. Two hundred and seventy degrees. Three hundred and sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn.6

Sure enough, it rained, and Batterson states, “The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol.”7 Whether God brought rain in answer to Honi’s prayers or not, we will not try to speculate, but what Batterson has done in his book is turn “circle making” into a practice and a ritual (based on drawing circles) that will supposedly bring great results in a person’s life like it did with Honi.

Interestingly, the word circle is only used once in the King James Bible, and there is no precedent whatsoever in the Bible that we are to draw circles in order to have our prayers answered. On the contrary, there are countless examples in pagan, wiccan, and New Age literature that refer to circles. If drawing prayer circles is such a wonderful God-inspired idea, how is it that Satanists and those in the occult consider circles a major part of their belief system? Could it be that the church is merely imitating an occultic practice? And if drawing circles was an important and needed component for the Christian believer to have an effective prayer life, then why is it that neither the disciples nor Jesus gave any instruction on drawing prayer circles? Surely they would not have left out a vital and successful component to getting prayers answered by God.

Circles and Native Spirituality
By Nanci Des Gerlaise

As a Cree Native American, I recognize the connection between Batterson’s circle making and Native Spirituality (a mystical New Age belief system). While Batterson doesn’t talk about Native Spirituality in his book, his “circle making” is a way that conditions Christians to more readily accept Native Spirituality and the New Age whether Batterson intends it or not. Everything in Native Spirituality is done in circles because the “power of the world” works in circles, so everything is deemed circular, from childhood to worship. As the moon, sun, and earth are all round, so it is said that all circles attract a spiritual energy as does symbolic expression. The circle that the medicine wheel represents is an integration of energy and matter, as well as spirit and man, so as to achieve a greater spiritual understanding and creation. Some segments of Native Spirituality involving circles are: round dances, talking circles, pipe ceremonies, drums, four quadrants (north, south, east and west), seasons, and life of man.

In this section of this booklet, I would like to give you some background of the Native American medicine wheel because circles, such as what Batterson is promoting, are becoming very popular within the Christian church, and Christians need to understand the nature of what they are involving themselves.

Native Americans developed the concept of the medicine wheel to illustrate their belief that life is a circle—from birth to death to rebirth—and to act as a guide to understanding self, creation, and their duties. Everything within the wheel is interrelated, and the goal is that these interconnected elements are in balance with each other. Important ceremonies always take place within a circle.

circlesFour is a significant number within Native Spirituality—four directions, four winds, four seasons, four elements, and so forth. Hence, the wheel has four quadrants, which move in a clockwise direction because that is the sun’s direction.

There are numerous interpretations and uses of the wheel, but the following is the one my own family used (I am the daughter and granddaughter of medicine men). We believed our spirit keeper was the grizzly bear—

In the center are the creator and the individual. East represents beginning or birth, spring, and where the sun rises and is symbolized by the eagle as spirit keeper. The next quadrant, the south, is the mental area, representing the teenage years and symbolized by the buffalo as spirit keeper. The west represents the emotions as well as the season of fall and is symbolized by the grizzly bear. The north represents the spiritual self and is symbolized by the wolf.

Francis Whiskeyjack, a Cree elder and expert on the medicine wheel states:

As we share in this circle with others, we are asking the Creator, the healer, to heal us. We are asking our spirit guides, the helpers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, to pray for us, to be mediators and to help us.8

The wheel summarizes their earth-centered faith and reveals a system of interaction of animistic, pantheistic, and spiritualistic beliefs in their search for spiritual wholeness.

This is only a brief summary of a very complex teaching that has had a strong influence for centuries among Native American peoples.

Contrary to this view, however, the biblical view is linear. That is, it views human life as having a beginning and an end. From the creation to the return of Jesus Christ, from the fall of man in Genesis to the new Heaven and the new Earth, God reveals in the Bible a linear history filled with purpose: to create and save a new people for Himself. The medicine wheel (or the circle) indicates that there is no beginning and no end to the existence of a man or other created beings. But we know from Scripture that carnal man does indeed have a beginning (birth) and an end (death). Likewise, in linear fashion, those who are written in the Book of Life will live eternally in Heaven based on the finished work at the Cross by Jesus Christ while everlasting separation from God awaits those who reject Christ.

The medicine wheel is used to make contact with the dead, with spirit guides, and with the “great spirit.” But the Bible is clear that man has only one mediator between himself and God:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Prayer Circles, Small Groups, and “Revival”

An article written by the late apologist and researcher Ed Tarkowski gives some interesting insights about Christians participating in prayer circles. It should be noted that, in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with meeting in small groups or joining hands with other believers while standing in a circular formation. However, such practices should not be applauded as divine remedies or special formulas for success. While these practices may be perfectly benign, in the wrong hands, they can accomplish much evil—especially considering that they may have the appearance of godly endeavors. This is what happened in numerous cases during the charismatic renewal movement. At first, it may sound extreme to criticize people holding hands, standing in a circle, and praying, but after reading Tarkowski’s material, you may be able to understand and agree with his concerns:

[T]he Charismatic Renewal brought prayer circles into widespread use through the ecumenical prayer meetings begun after Vatican II, and they were part of the early empowering of those people used to get this whole thing headed in the “right” direction. The Shepherding Movement was then introduced by Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, Joe Garlington, Larry Tomczak and others. In the 1970s, many of these men traveled to our town and across the country to hold huge meetings to instill the idea of accountability within the small groups. What all this led to, of course, was demon-energized groups being brought into accountability to men while the word of God was twisted, laid down, compromised, and changed.9

As we have witnessed compromised Christian leaders putting an emphasis on small groups, unity, revival, and accountability to the leaders, what Tarkowski is suggesting makes sense. He continues:

There is a current move to link all of these small groups into a Global Prayer Circle for the sake of demonstrating unity in “Jesus” throughout the world. Christians may think that this unity would concern Christianity alone, but it does not. What is in view is all the religions of the world participating in a unified prayer circle formed around the globe. . . . [Prayer circles] will be one of the energizing tools used to maintain control and bring in the final evolution of this beast, a world church. The intimate sharing of small prayer groups will turn into Big Brother knowing all about each member. Groups will be shepherded into a global community living under a system of controlled accountability to man. The New Age consciousness of unity in diversity, as well as peace based not on God’s word, but on a universal set of values, will finally be realized by this global entity.10

Popular prolific New Age sympathizer, Leonard Sweet, reiterates this in his book Quantum Spirituality when he states:

The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people “in-phase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another.11

This “Christ consciousness” of which Sweet refers to is the belief that all humans are indwelt with divinity (i.e., that God is every man—panentheism).12

It is also vital to realize that much of what we have in the church today is a refocusing of values. While genuine revivals of the past were characterized by repentance and faith in the Gospel—where turning to Christ and living for Him became the focus, much of today’s revival is riddled with formulas for self-accomplishments and success. Rather than endeavoring to find in Christ all that is needed for godly living, a host of formulas are being offering—as if rubbing the right lamp might bring the genie out of the bottle.

In the fall of 2016, a number of Christian leaders came together for an ecumenical event titled The Gathering: A Solemn Assembly. A promo piece for the event stated:

Whenever a solemn assembly or sacred gathering has been called in Scripture, it has usually been called by those in leadership—whether that be a priest, prophet or king—and it has usually been called for leadership first. Even in America, our historical records verify that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day has placed a heavy emphasis on gathering in smaller groups for fasting and prayer which then led to larger gatherings and greater change.13 (emphasis added)

One of the speakers at The Gathering event was Ann Graham Lotz. In 2016, she sent out a letter to her followers telling them about the mystic sage Honi and how he drew a circle, then prayed for rain. In her e-mail, she said:

It is said, and recorded by the Jewish historian, Josephus, that in response to Honi’s third prayer, a long, soaking rain began to fall that ended the three-year drought. Honi had prevailed in prayer. As I look ahead into 2016, I feel compelled to draw a circle around this city, this state, this nation . . . and pray! Until God answers. Do the same. Please. On this first day of the New Year, draw your own circle. Then pray for everything that’s inside of it.14

While we are not implying that Ann Graham Lotz is now practicing a mystical prayer practice by saying what she did, we find it troubling that a national Christian leader is urging Christians to draw circles based on the legend of an ancient mystic.

Today, there is much talk in the church about unity and revival. The consensus is that we cannot have revival unless we all come together (all meaning evangelicals and Catholics, and in some cases, people of all religions), laying down our doctrinal differences. This is a disconcerting thing because doctrine is the framework of our biblical Christian faith.

The Circle Maker and Mystical Prayer

Coupled together with this emphasis on ecumenical revival is a mystical spirituality that helps to expedite the momentum. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson helps to accentuate this by convincing people that if certain rituals or methods are performed, then things can be changed. In his 2017 book Whisper: How to Hear God’s Voice, Batterson continues with this mystical focus (i.e., contemplative spirituality). In one section, he gives a lesson on Lectio Divina, a practice that involves taking a word or phrase from Scripture and repeating it slowly, which is said to facilitate hearing God’s voice (in reality, Lectio Divina is a gateway practice to full-blown eastern-style meditation; Lectio Divina uses the Bible as a tool to find a mantric word or phrase). Batterson explains what happens when meditation like this is practiced:

If we slow our minds down, we enter a state of relaxed alertness that produces alpha waves between eight and thirteen cycles per second. Those alpha waves are amplified by closed eyes, which might be a physiological argument for praying and meditating that way.15 (emphasis added)

Researcher and author Ray Yungen discusses the alpha waves in his book A Time of Departing (which identifies and critiques contemplative spirituality:

When I hear a Christian talking like this [about alpha waves], it creates a very deep concern within me for that person because I know what is meant by “alpha.” In Laurie Cabot’s book, Power of the Witch, alpha is a term she uses extensively to mean meditation or the silence. In fact, she makes no secret of it but confides:

“The science of Witchcraft is based on our ability to enter an altered state of consciousness we call ‘alpha.’ In alpha the mind opens up to nonordinary forms of communication, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. Here we also may experience out-of-the-body sensations and psychokinesis, or receive mystical, visionary information that does not come through the five senses. In alpha the rational filters that process ordinary reality are weakened or removed, and the mind is receptive to nonordinary realities.”16 (emphasis added)

Cabot further says of the alpha state:

Alpha is the springboard for all psychic and magical workings. It is the heart of Witchcraft. . . . Mystics in every religious tradition speak of alpha states of consciousness and the lure of Divine Light, although they do so in their own metaphors and images. In their own ways they have learned how to enter alpha as they pray or worship. They learn how to become enlightened.17

Some reading this might say, wait a minute, Mark Batterson is not promoting witchcraft. Maybe not knowingly, but this is exactly what is being promoted by him and others who are teaching their followers to engage in mystical prayer practices.

At one time, Batterson had a recommended reading list on his website that included the books by several New Age and meditation advocates. Of one of them, Eckhart Tolle’s book, Practicing the Power of Now, Batterson claimed it was “instrumental in the way I think about life.”18 Batterson no longer has that page on his website, but there’s been no public denouncement of the New Agers he was recommending (as a Christian pastor). And with knowing what The Circle Maker and Whisper promote, one cannot help but wonder how much influence these mystics have had on Mark Batterson.

A Straight Line to Truth

Christ taught His disciples and followers how to pray through the example of several prayers, none of which contained circle praying (e.g., Luke 11:1-4; John 17). Elijah is presented in the book of James as an example of how to pray with faith. No circles were mentioned. Elijah did not draw a circle around himself when he prayed. He simply bowed down, put his face between his knees and prayed. He did not insist on anything or inform God how he (Elijah) wanted the rain to fall.

The reality is that although Mark Batterson insists we should pray to God, his circle-making practice is similar to that of witchcraft. And by pointing to Honi the mystic, he further validates that: what Honi did was draw a circle around himself, which is exactly what a worker of magic or a witch would do as is described in the following:

[M]agic circle is a circle (or sphere, field) of space marked out by practitioners of many branches of ritual magic, which they generally believe will contain energy and form a sacred space, or will provide them a form of magical protection, or both. It may be marked physically, drawn in salt or chalk, for example, or merely visualised. Its spiritual significance is similar to that of mandala and yantra in some Eastern religions.19

There was a time when churches believed that lifting up Jesus Christ, preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word, and simply being God’s unique and godly people would draw individuals to the meetings.

That method began to gradually disappear when gimmicks to draw crowds became popular. Ministers thought that eating their lunch on top of the church building would draw people to Christ. Other churches put on pew-packing contests, and large prizes were given to the ones who could fill the most pews with the most people. The gimmickry grew in proportion with the mimicry of truth and godliness. In spite of copious and polemic warnings by men of God who knew the consequences of such shenanigans, they continued to work at increasing the numerical value of church attendance until it became the primary focus. A rancid pragmatism developed that many churches now use to justify whatever it takes to get people through the doors. They drew a circle around secular marketing techniques and took them in.

Is love truly the motivation of the present paradigm of circle drawing? Let’s consider the ramifications. Numerous churches and even denominations have drawn circles around false teachers, New Age teachers, gurus, mystics, those of false religions, cults, evolutionists, and secularists. Not only have they taken them in, but they have even set them before congregations to present their heresies.

I remember a time when most ministers would not accept vain honor and glory. It appears that now they draw a circle around the accolades and adoration of the masses and take it in. They grovel in it as if it is a godly benefit. They have also drawn circles around much of the world system’s entertainment methods and musical genres and have taken them in.

Preachers now perform rather than preach under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They appear more as entertainment icons, stand-up comedians, and secular motivational speakers rather than men of God. They have no brokenness or contriteness, no passion for truth or sincerity, nor are they led by the Holy Spirit, who always points to God’s Word and the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Their churches musical offerings are more like secular music concerts. So much carnality is involved, one has to wonder if it is possible for participants to worship God in Spirit and truth. The truth is that these churches have drawn a circle around the spirit of the world and have taken it in.

It is not circles that people need, but rather, what God offers them: a relationship with His Son—no gimmicks, no magic, no trickery—no circles. God offers the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ to all those who make a straight line to His throne of grace and to His everlasting truth.

For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. (Psalm 33:4)

To order copies of Circle Making and “Prayer Circles Versus The Straight Line to Truth,” click here.


1. Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Epub edition, 2011), Kindle location 82.
2. Ibid., Kindle location 89.
3. Ibid., Kindle location 91.
4. Mike Oppenheimer, “Praying Like Jabez?”
5. Bill Koenig, “Prayer of Jabez: The New Christian Mantra.”
6. Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, op. cit., Kindle location 37.
7. Ibid, Kindle location 63.
8. Francis Whiskeyjack, “The Medicine Wheel.”
9. Ed Tarkowski, “Prayer Circles: Tools of Empowering Intimacy/Accountability Groups.” Note: We thank Warren B. Smith for bringing this article by Tarkowski to our attention.
10. Ibid.
11. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints, 1991), p. 147. For a documented report on the spirituality of Leonard Sweet, read Warren B. Smith’s booklet Leonard Sweet—A More Magnificent Way of Seeing Christ?
12. Read Warren B. Smith’s booklet Be Still and Know That You Are Not God.
13. The Gathering.
14. Ann Graham Lotz,
15. Mark Batterson, Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God (New York, NY: Multnomah, imprint of Crown Publishing Group, 2017, Kindle Edition), p. 74.
16. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed., 2006), pp. 176-177, citing, Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, 1989), p. 173.
17. Power of the Witch, Ibid., pp. 183, 200.

To order copies of Circle Making and “Prayer Circles Versus The Straight Line to Truth,” click here.


By Cedric Fisher
IF It Is of God: Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering
The Unacknowledged War and the Wearing Down of the Saints
Faith Under Fire: Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
Can Cultures Be Redeemed?
Native Spirituality and the Emerging Church

For a complete listing of booklets and other resources by Lighthouse Trails, visit or call 866-876-3910.



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If you have ever purchased or been given any Lighthouse Trails products, we invite you to leave a review (or reviews) on our Lighthouse Trails store site. If you do, you will receive a 10%-off coupon that you can use on your next purchase at Lighthouse Trails. Even if you don't plan to buy anything on the store, we hope you will still consider leaving a review (or reviews) as this helps readers when they can read what other people have to say about our resources.

Leaving a review is easy. Just visit our store, use the search engine to find a particular product. When you get to a product page, you will see a box that says "Rate This Product!" You will have to have an account to rate any product, but that is easy too. Just click this link to create an account.

Thank you in advance,

The Editors at Lighthouse Trails


Supporting Lighthouse Trails

SUPPORTING LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS: For those who would like to support Lighthouse Trails, we always appreciate both your prayers and your giving. And for those who have faithfully done that over the years, we thank you with all of our hearts. We know that some people may have the impression that Lighthouse Trails does quite well financially because we sell products that we publish and because our resources have had such a far reach; but, the truth is, other than a small salary for each of our two main editors - Dave and Deborah Dombrowski - and royalties for our authors, it takes everything made through sales to keep Lighthouse Trails operating. Publishing, at least for small presses such as ours, is rarely a high-profit business. It would take a best seller to see that, one that the masses of people love. And because we are not just a business, but even more so a ministry, we keep our prices as low as we can, give away many resources, and have also made much of our material available for free on the research site and blog. That's not how big corporations run things as that would hurt the bottom line (profit), but we see the needs out there, and we trust God to keep us going as long as He sees fit.

It is our prayer that we will faithfully be humble servants of the Lord’s work for years to come should the Lord tarry. If you would like to donate to Lighthouse Trails, you may send a donation by mailing it to: Lighthouse Trails, P.O. Box 908, Eureka, MT 59917. Or you may call 866/876-3910. There is also a donate option on our store website. (There is also a PayPal option on that page.)

Lighthouse Trails is not a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, so your donations will not be tax deductible.


Lighthouse Trails Research Journal

The Lighthouse Trails Research journal is a 32-page subscription-based journal mailed to your home, office, or church and can be ordered at any time during the year. Your subscription (which will entitle you to a full twelve months of journals-6 issues) will start when you subscribe. Click here to read more information or click here to sign up. Subscription rate: $15/year (6 issues) for U.S.; $29 for Canada; $42 for other international. (There is no added postage charged for the journal - the mailing costs are worked into the subscription fee.)

When you sign up, you will receive the most current issue of the journal at the time you subscribe. Click here to subscribe now. You can order past subscriptions for $3.

You may purchase subscriptions for friends, family members, pastors, etc. Just put that person's name in the ship to area when ordering online.

Call 866/876-3910 or e-mail

To order single past issues, click here.

For various addresses, just order single subscriptions,or mail in the addresses and payment.

NOTE: This subscription-based journal can be used in addition to this free e-newsletter you are getting in your e-mail box (the e-newsletter will continue to be sent out 2-4 times a month via e-mail at no charge). (view sample issue of print journal) It's never too late to subscribe for the print journal - anytime is fine.



If you are a subscriber to our print journal, click button to renew:




If you are a subscriber to the lighthouse Trails Research Print Journal, it may be time for you to renew your yearly subscription. To RENEW your yearly subscription ($15/year), click here. You can renew your subscription at any time. Just indicate on the store which month you want the renewal to start. If you can't remember when you subscribed, we'll double check when you renew and make sure the renewal starts on the right date. If you have any questions, you can call us at 866-876-3910 or e-mail at You can also renew by mail (see address at bottom of page), by fax (406-889-3633), or by calling.

Note: This notice does not pertain to this e-newsletter you are reading. The e-newsletter is free and requires no subscription.

Click button to renew your subscription for the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal.


To subscribe to the journal, click here.


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Lighthouse Trails Research Project | P.O. Box 908 | Eureka | MT |59917 | 406-889-3610


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