LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH          February 12, 2018     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING
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Moody Publishers in 1995 Drops The Light That Was Dark by Warren B. Smith – Says New Age Not An Issue Anymore

In 1992, Moody Publishers published Warren B. Smith’s autobiography, The Light That Was Dark. The book chronicled Warren’s years in the New Age movement and then he and his wife (Joy) becoming believers in Jesus Christ. While The Light That Was Dark was selling well amidst Warren being interviewed on over 250 radio and television shows (interestingly only one by Moody), three years after the book was released, Moody pulled the book off the market telling Warren that the New Age was not an issue any longer.* That was 27 years ago. Fast forward to today – and where is Moody Publishers and the church at large in relation to the New Age movement that Moody said was no longer an issue that needed to be addressed in the church?

The first edition of The Light That Dark by Warren B. Smith – published by Moody Publishers in 1992

Sadly, Moody has maintained their stance on not warning about the New Age movement and in fact has helped to allow New Age spirituality into the church via authors who promote Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality), which is a disguised version of New Age beliefs. While you will find books by contemplative authors such as Priscilla Shirer, J.P. Moreland, and Anita Lustrea being published by Moody, you will find rarely (if any) a book by Moody since Warren’s book was pulled that is warning about the New Age and its infiltration into the church. Thanks to Moody and most of the other medium-to-large-sized Christian publishers, scores of books promoting contemplative spirituality have flooded the Christian market. And that has brought the New Age into the church. Yet, Moody and other publishers insist that the New Age is not an issue any longer.

If you don’t believe this has happened, visit your local Christian bookstore where you will find too-many-to-count authors and books promoting the Spiritual Formation movement. See the list below for some of the names that grace the shelves of Christian bookstores.

When Warren Smith became a born-again Christian, he realized the movement in which he had been involved—the New Age movement—was insidious, dangerous, and highly deceptive and was initiated and led by demonic entities (something the Bible warns about). Through his study of the Scriptures, Warren knew this movement was going to be the vehicle in which the world would be deceived into accepting and embracing an antichrist who would proclaim himself to be God. It is this message of warning that Warren brought through The Light That Was Dark and his subsequent writings. And it is this message of warning that Moody Publishers said was no longer relevant.

While the term “New Age” is not directly promoted in the church, the beliefs of the New Age certainly are. The question is, why are Christian publishers, leaders, pastors, and professors saying there is no issue here?

Click here to see some of the Contemplative Authors You Will Find in Christian Bookstores (taken from Chris Lawson’s booklet A Directory of Authors: Three NOT Recommended Lists)

“Despite Widespread Claims” – “Meditation Does Not Make You a Better Person, Study Finds”

LTRP Note: Posted for informational and research purposes.

By Francesca Marshall
The Telegraph (UK)

Meditation does not make you a better person according to a new study despite widespread claims that meditation can make you calmer and more compassionate towards other people.

Researchers have found that despite popular beliefs that meditation can make people more compassionate and less aggressive the evidence for this is limited.

The research by scientists at Coventry University in the UK, Massey University in New Zealand, and Radboud University in the Netherlands, reviewed 22 studies involving 1685 people to investigate the effect of various types of meditation. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

“Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?” by Ray Yungen

(photo by bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

Making Life in the Lab

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International

During the dark ages, people believed non-living materials could become life by a spontaneous process. They foolishly believed that garbage had the potential to turn into maggots, flies, and rats. This was proven false when the Italian physician Francesco Redi performed his famous experiment. He covered some garbage with a very fine gauged screen separating the flies and rats so that were not able to infest the garbage.

Redi’s simple experiment proved that life could not arise from non-life spontaneously. This became the prerequisite for the important Law of Biology that states all life comes from pre-existing life.  

Later in history, Darwin and other evolutionary biologists modified Redi’s law by stating life originated spontaneously from non-life in the distant unobservable past. These scientists believed that billions of years ago, in some unknown place, in some unknown way, non-living molecules assembled by chance to form the first cell which then became the mother of all life.

Of course, this has never been duplicated in the lab. It is important to note that in spite of the lack of documentation scientists who believe in evolution still have the faith to believe this is how life originated. According to the Bible, God is the creator of life and that life perpetuates from generation to generation by the process of reproduction.

Sometime ago, I read an interesting article that appeared in the Orange County Register titled “Scientists nearly ready to create artificial life.” [1] If you overlook the significance of the headline, then the first paragraph of the article should provoke an alarm. This is how the article began:

More than 3.5 billion years after nature transformed non-living matter into living things, populating earth with a cornucopia of animals and plants, scientists say they are finally ready to try their hand at creating life. If they succeed, humanity will enter a new age of “living technology” harnessing the power of life to spontaneously adapt to complex situations that currently defy modern engineering abilities. [2]

If this sounds like something out of a Frankenstein movie, let me remind you. I am quoting from an article that makes reference to current plans conjured up by scientists living in the 21st century. However, the author of the article noted there are some who have concerns. He stated: “While some experts see this new technology as providing unlimited benefits, others worry about the moral appropriateness of man-made life and the introduction of new species.” [3]

Or consider reservations expressed by a researcher from Los Alamos National Laboratory regarding this new technology:

It’s certainly true that we are tinkering with something very powerful here. The more powerful the technology you unleash, the more careful you have to be. [4]

So, take a moment and consider the following question. Do you place your faith and trust in scientists who are attempting to play the role of God? They may have the knowledge to make it possible to tinker with genetic information, but do they have the wisdom to do so? Will the Creator who created all life as we read about in the book of Genesis ignore what is happening, or will He respond?

I am willing to make a prediction. If scientists continue down this road by formulating new kinds of life by defying God, there will be consequences. In the book of Revelation chapter 16 verse 17 we read, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Click here for endnotes and to continue reading.

Is Your Church Getting Stronger or Weaker?

By Judson Casjens

Recently, I read the following letter:

I was saved in 1973, and I have seen dramatic changes in Bible-believing churches over the past 44 years, and in the vast majority of cases, the changes have been for the worse.

Everywhere I go, I see churches getting weaker rather than stronger. I am talking about weaker in biblical preaching, weaker in clear reproof of sin and error, weaker in Bible knowledge, weaker in holiness, weaker in separation from the world, weaker in [true worship], weaker in discipleship, weaker in passion for Christ,  weaker in evangelism, weaker in  zeal for world missions. I see the weakness in pastors, in the old people, in the homes, and in the youth. [letter slightly edited]

So my question to those reading this is, is your church getting stronger or weaker?

And this question poses other questions, such as: what is the criteria by which one even begins to assess the strengths or weaknesses of the local church? This is the time of annual meetings, elections, and budgets. In typical fashion, the reports all strive to show increases in some fashion or form, more people, money, missionaries, and even projects completed, anything that might demonstrate progress over last year. Yet in all this, I would venture to say that few, if any, of the questions posed below are even brought up, much less discussed.

Part of the reason for this lies in the inability of most believers to recognize true spiritual fruit, maturity, what “grieving” the Spirit of God looks like, and how genuine love and growth in knowledge and discernment evidences itself. Yet the direction for each local church is clear; consider:

. . . and some as pastors and teachers, [WHY?] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.—Ephesians 4:11-13 [And what does that look like?]

And there is a negative component to this as well for we read immediately following in verse 14:

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.

Did you get the importance of this statement? If the first is taking place, in reality (i,e., “as a result”), the local believers (which in fact are the local church) evidence this by not being tossed about by the waves and winds of false teaching, and by the trickery, craftiness, and deceitful scheming of men. In other words, the very purpose of verses 11-13 is so that verse 14 doesn’t occur! Are we evaluating this in our meetings? How and by which methods will this determination be made? Isn’t this just as important as all the other categories, seeing it has fundamentally to do with evaluating the spiritual health of the church?

In the last year alone, I have personally heard (in a good church) those considered to be fine upstanding believers endorse and/or defend the Catholic Church, the writings of Paul Young (The Shack), and devotional books such as those by Sarah Young (Jesus Calling) and in all cases giving a bypass to each one’s erroneous teachings. This isn’t even getting into the entire contemplative mess along with ecumenism that has so infiltrated evangelicalism; nor are we considering here the inroads of other pagan philosophies.

By way of contrast, the apostle Paul, in his writings, always dealt with error and encroaching worldliness, but tragically these aren’t the sort of measures typically brought up in annual meetings. And so, we become content with increased numbers of various sorts, budgets, church attendance, Sunday School attendance, and numbers of missionaries supported along with plans for next year’s spending.

It isn’t that the other normal annual questions aren’t relevant; it’s that, by and large, they don’t address or in any way measure true biblical spiritual health. If we are going to measure spiritual health by larger numbers in giving and people, the Mormons, Catholics, and Muslims would seem to hold the keys.

(photo by bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

Moody Publishers in 1995 Drops The Light That Was Dark by Warren B. Smith – Says New Age Not An Issue Anymore
“Despite Widespread Claims” – “Meditation Does Not Make You a Better Person, Study Finds”
Making Life in the Lab
Is Your Church Getting Stronger or Weaker?
Canadian Government Says Lighthouse Trails Transgender Booklet "Hate Propaganda" - Will Not Allow It In Their Country

Younger Generation of Christians Reading Marcus Borg – What Did He Believe?

Letter to the Editor: The Handwriting on the Wall . . . and Rightnow Media
Moody Bible Institute—Trying to Hold on to a Biblical Heritage While Riding the Wave of the Emerging Church
Lighthouse Trails Mails Materials to Moody Bible Institute Board Members and Trustees
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Canadian Government Says Lighthouse Trails Transgender Booklet "Hate Propaganda" - Will Not Allow It In Their Country

Transgenderism and our childrenOn January 29th 2018, Lighthouse Trails released a new booklet titled Transgenderism and Our Children, written by LT authors Maria Kneas and Lois Putnam. The booklet describes the transgender issue and how it is affecting children. While the booklet does say that transgenderism is not God’s will for any human being, there is no language in the book to incite hate against transgenders.

The day after the booklet was released, one of our Canadian customers ordered 101 copies to be shipped to Canada. We began processing the order for shipping when we remembered reading about new Canadian laws on transgenderism. We pulled the order and began researching the matter. Here is what we learned:

According to a ruling in June of 2017, transgenders are now considered a protected people group in Canada:

The Canadian Senate passed Bill C-16 by a 67-11 vote. The bill adds prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act, amends the criminal code to extend protections against hate speech and allows judges to take into consideration when sentencing whether a crime was motivated by hatred of the victim’s gender identity or expression. (source)

The bill became law on June 19, 2017 in Canada.

We learned also that Canadian customs has the right to seize any material that would be classified as hate propaganda and that because of the new law, material that speaks against transgenderism would fall into the hate propaganda category. This is described in Memorandum D9-1-15, which can be read on the Canada Border Services website.

Memorandum D9-1-15 defines what is hate propaganda as:

Goods that incite or promote hatred against an identifiable group, by incorporating some or all of the following allegations, may be prohibited as hate propaganda:

(a) allegations that an identifiable group is to blame for serious economic or social problems;

(b) allegations that an identifiable group manipulates media, trade, finance, government or world politics to the detriment of society;

(c) allegations that an identifiable group is inferior or superior to another group; and/or

(d) allegations that an identifiable group weakens or threatens society, in whole or in part.

Because transgenders are now considered an “identifiable group” in Canada, and because our booklet does suggest that transgenderism will weaken our society and bring much harm to our children if it is introduced to them in school, our booklet would fall within the parameters of hate propaganda in Canada.

There is a clause in Memorandum D9-1-15 that states:

Goods that may constitute hate propaganda, through their willful promotion of hatred, will not be classified under tariff item 9899.00.00 if the goods are found to:

(a) communicate statements that are established to be true;

(b) predominately express, in good faith, an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;

(c) be relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which is for the public benefit and, on reasonable grounds, are believed to be true;

What this above section means, according to the Memorandum, is that under certain circumstances (e.g, opinion based on a belief in a religious text), those distributing “hate propaganda” will not be prosecuted under the criminal code, but the material is still deemed hate literature and will not be accepted into Canada.

Because it seemed that Memorandum D9-1-15 might allow for the freedom of expression and opinion if it is in a religious context, we made a phone call to the Canadian Customs office in Ottawa, Ontario to gain clarification and spoke to a Canadian customs officer who handles questions about the new laws on transgenders. We explained that the booklet did not incite hate but was warning about the dangers in teaching children that transgenderism is normal and healthy. The officer told us that the way to tell if a particular literature would be deemed hate literature was to substitute the word in question (transgender) with the name of a particular race of people, for instance, black people. So, in other words, if our substitution said that African American people were a danger to society, that would be considered hate propaganda (which we would agree with). So according to this test, if literature says that transgenderism is a danger to society, then it too is considered hate propaganda.

Our conversation concluded with the customs officer saying we are welcome to send our material to Ottawa for review, but he believed with what we told him that our booklet would not be allowed into Canada as it would be definitely considered hate propaganda.

First of all, we find it very disturbing that transgenders and homosexuals have been placed in the same category as people groups, such as African American people and Jews, who have truly been persecuted and hated for merely being whom God created them to be.

While we do not condone hateful and cruel behavior to any group, including transgenders and homosexuals, it is wrong that society (and especially our children) must submit to the demands of groups whose sexual preferences are contrary to God’s Word. Those groups should not be placed in the same category as ethnic or race groups.

What’s more, while laws should protect every citizen from cruel and hateful actions against them (and in all Western societies, laws are set up that way to do that), the Canadian government has set a precedent that eliminates the freedom of speech in societal issues that should be allowed to be debated.

Where will this stop? There are people who want laws created to protect those who practice bestiality (sex with animals) and those who want to have sex with children. Will we be told it is hate propaganda to speak up against child molesting? And what about the freedom of religion? Christians believe that man is sinful and needs a savior and that the only Savior man has is Jesus Christ. Will it soon be considered hate propaganda to send Gospel literature to Canada because the Gospel rejects all other forms of salvation? Will the day come when Bibles (except for loose inaccurate paraphrases) will not be accepted either?

With all this said and in view of our findings, some Lighthouse Trails booklets and books will no longer be allowed to cross the Canadian border from the U.S.

We know that what we are seeing happen in Canada is just a foretaste of what is going to happen throughout the world, and it is just a matter of time before it will happen in the United States. Already we have people in this country who have been sued and even gone to jail for refusing to bake wedding cakes for homosexual weddings or refusing to take photographs of homosexual ceremonies.

The handwriting is on the wall, and as one of our authors said this week when he learned of the Canadian law – “and so it begins.”


LTRJ Note: After posting this article, we received the following e-mail from one of our Canadian readers:

I read online the article on the transgender issue here in Canada. I was shocked, and I cried. I knew this was coming but-now my concern is . . . will you still be able to send your products up here to Canada? Your ministry has help me so much and also it has helped me help others by sharing books and booklets. It’s ministries like yours and others that God has blessed to help others. I sure hope you can still send up here. May God continue to bless and guide you. S.A.

Our comment: While Lighthouse Trails will not be able to send any more material addressing the homosexual or transgender issue to Canada via print materials, we will continue providing our discernment/Gospel material to our Canadian and other international readers. On societal issues such as the ones mentioned above, we know this is the way the world system will continue going. But when it comes to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and to warning the body of Christ of impending danger through false teachings that undermine the Gospel, we will, by His grace and provision, do all we can to stand and help spread the truth throughout the world. There may come a time when we are told to stop spreading this Truth, and at that time, we must obey God rather than man. May He help us all who love Him to live in the world but not of the world and to always be faithful to that which we are called.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Younger Generation of Christians Reading Marcus Borg – What Did He Believe?

LTRP Note: Last week, a Lighthouse Trails reader called our office, wondering about Marcus Borg because one of her grown sons was reading Borg. This tells us that the younger generation of Christians is gleaning from the earlier writers of the emerging church. Certain leaders tried to convince the church that the emerging church had just been a fad and was dead, but we knew this wasn’t true. Last week’s phone call reminded us of this once again. Parents and grandparents, find out what books your young adult children are reading.

By Roger Oakland

Marcus Borg (d. 2015) is a former professor in Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and the author of several books, some of which are Jesus and Buddha, The God We Never Knew, and Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But not Literally. . . . [H]is thinking has greatly influenced the emerging church movement and its leaders. Brian McLaren says he has “high regard”1 for Borg; the two of them once participated in a summer seminar series at an interspiritual center in Portland, Oregon.2 Rob Bell references and praises Borg in Bell’s still-popular book Velvet Elvis.3 Walter Brueggemann,  professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary and one of the contributors for Richard Foster’s Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible, considers Borg an essential part of the emerging spirituality. Brueggemann states:

Marcus Borg is a key force in the emerging “new paradigm” of Christian faith.4

Marcus Borg and Rejection of Major Biblical Tenets

Borg explains in his book The God We Never Knew that his views on God, the Bible, and Christianity were transformed while he was in seminary:

I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product, the product of two ancient communities, biblical Israel and early Christianity. As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God. . . . I realized that whatever “divine revelation” and the “inspiration of the Bible” meant (if they meant anything), they did not mean that the Bible was a divine product with divine authority.5

This attitude would certainly explain how Borg could say:

Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world.6

If what Borg is saying is true, then we would have to throw out John 3:16 which says God so loved the world He gave His only Son, and we would have to dismiss the theme of a blood offering that is prevalent throughout all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, it is clear:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)

But Borg rejects this emphasis:

To think that the central meaning of Easter [resurrection] depends upon something spectacular happening to Jesus’ corpse misses the point of the Easter message and risks trivializing the story. To link Easter primarily to our hope for an afterlife, as if our post-death existence depends upon God having transformed the corpse of Jesus, is to reduce the story to a politically-domesticated yearning for our survival beyond death.7

What is behind this mindset of Borg’s? Listen to one New Ager describe what underlies this line of thought:

Jesus was an historical person, a human becoming Christ, the Christos, is an eternal transpersonal condition of being. Jesus did not say that this higher state of consciousness realized in him was his alone for all time. Nor did he call us to worship him. Rather, he called us to follow him, to follow in his steps, to learn from him, from his example.8

Marcus Borg and Mystical Prayer

Marcus Borg is also someone who resonates with mystical spirituality understands the popularity of mystical prayer. He states:

In some mainline denominations, emerging-paradigm [contemplative] Christians are in the majority. Others are about equally divided between these two ways of being Christian.9

Borg  also speaks of “thin places.” One commentator discusses Borg’s ideas on this:

In The Heart of Christianity, Borg writes of “thin places,” places where, to use Eliade’s terminology, the division between the sacred and the profane becomes thin. Borg writes that he owes this metaphor of “thin places” to Celtic Christianity and the recent recovery of Celtic spirituality . . . his understanding of “thin places” is deeply connected to his panentheism, his articulation of God as “the More,” and his—like Eliade—division of the world into layers of reality.10

Borg says these thin places (reached through meditation) are “[d]eeply rooted in the Bible and the Christian tradition,”11 but he, like others, is unable to show biblical evidence that God mandates meditation. Thin places imply that God is in all things, and the gap between God, evil, man, everything thins out and ultimately disappears in meditation:

God is a nonmaterial layer of reality all around us, “right here” as well as “more than right here.” This way of thinking thus affirms that there are minimally two layers or dimensions of reality, the visible world of our ordinary experience and God, the sacred, Spirit.12

Endnotes:

1. Statement by Brian McLaren on McLaren’s website: http://www.brianmclaren.net:80/archives/000201.html, “What about other websites?”
2. The Center for Spiritual Development, 2006 Summer Seminar called “The Church in the 21st Century” where Brian McLaren and Marcus Borg were two of the speakers, http://www.center-for-spiritual-develop ment.org/DVDCatalog.html.
3. Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), pp. 180, 184.
4. https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062269973/convictions
5. Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew (New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1998), p. 25.
6. Ibid.
7. Marcus Borg, “Easter About Life, Not Death” (Washington Post/Newsweek “On Faith” column, April 7, 2004, http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/marcus_borg/2007/04/easter_not_about_death_but_lif.html).
8. John White, (Science of Mind, September 1981), p. 15.
9. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2004), p. 7.
10. Chris Baker, “A Positive Articulation of Marcus Borg’s Theology” (Sandlestraps Sanctuary blog, April 5, 2007, http://sandalstraps.blog spot.com/2007/04/positive-articulation-of-marcus-borgs_05.html.
11. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity (New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 2004), p. 155.
12. Ibid.

(The above are combined extracts from Roger Oakland’s book, Faith Undone.)

Photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marcus_Borg_speaking_in_Mansfield_College_chapel.JPG, used with permission from photographer.

Letter to the Editor: The Handwriting on the Wall . . . and Rightnow Media

To Lighthouse Trails and readers:

As I stood at the bedside of my dad in a hospital, in shock at his unexpected passing, I looked up at the wall, and there on the whiteboard was written, “Last rites- 2:00 pm.”

I had spent two and a half months visiting daily in the hospital while my dad struggled in intensive care.  Though I was raised Catholic, I had become a Christian when I was a teenager and always hoped I would have an opportunity to tell my dad about salvation.

handwriting

A hospital labyrinth in MN

During the time I spent visiting my dad at the hospital, which was several hours from my home, I had started reading my long-neglected Bible more diligently to fill the long evenings.  During the day, I wandered around the hospital or sat in the waiting room when I was not allowed to wait in my dad’s room.  As I walked around the hospital, I noticed a Muslim prayer room, a Catholic prayer room, an Indian spirituality room, a labyrinth designed into the pattern of a carpet in a large public area, a Sikh memorial room, a poster for Meditation – but nothing that could be connected to my Protestant faith, but indeed, I no longer knew with certainty what I believed.  I had been following every wind of doctrine for so long that confusion had replaced conviction. If my dad had wanted to know about salvation, I am not sure I would have been able to explain it clearly.

After my dad passed away, I was frustrated and distraught. When I got home I kept reading my Bible.  One of the first things I tried to figure out was salvation. It had come to be more complicated than simply trusting that Jesus paid my debt and I was to believe in Him. I had to get back the simplicity that was in Christ.  Now that I was beginning to understand my Bible better, when I was able to attend church again, church started sounding funny.  I was hearing words like sacrament, Listening Prayer, Lent, social justice and Mother Teresa.  Since I was raised Catholic, some of these were familiar words, and some of them were words I learned later were associated with Catholicism. After a while, I went in to see the pastor of our Christian and Missionary Alliance Church and asked him, “How come so many Catholic things are coming into the church?” I tried to explain my concerns but he did not seem to understand.

I started taking my Bible to church and following along, something I had not done for many years – and something that was normal to me years ago now felt awkward.  It seemed most people did not carry a Bible anymore.  Now I noticed that occasionally the Bible was not used at all in services or perhaps for only one or two verses.  I started researching nearly every name, every book, and every event that the church promoted.  The pastor said, “We do Listening Prayer.” I started warning people not to do it when I found out its association with eastern mysticism and contemplative prayer.  That resulted in the leadership asking my husband and I to humbly resign from teaching Sunday school.

handwriting

Rightnow Media logo (used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act)

Then at some point, I noticed that the pastors started promoting Rightnow Media, an online resource described as the “Netflix of Christian Bible study,” which proclaimed it was “revolutionizing ministry in over 15,000 churches.” Every Sunday at church, it is advertised on the overhead and also verbally on occasion. From what I understand from their website, churches subscribe to it, pay their subscription according to the size of their church, and customize it so their congregation can only access what the pastors want them to see.  I researched some of the speakers advertised on Rightnow Media and noticed many of them were people that discernment ministries warned about such as Rick Warren, several IF:Gathering speakers including Ann Voskamp and Shawna Niequist, Beth Moore, Gary Thomas, Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, John Piper, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Andy Stanley, etc.

Rightnow Media also has a series called Hearing God. Although the title says Dallas Willard, the speaker in the session is Richard Foster who heavily promotes contemplative prayer. Rick Warren has a platform at Rightnow Media as well.

Churches seem to be accepting Rightnow Media in droves if my searches to see which churches have offered it are any indication.

Then last month the church started advertising a one-day streaming “Work as Worship Retreat” on February 23, 2018.  As usual, I started researching the speakers.  The first one on the list was Patrick Lencioni. His biography on Rightnow Media did not indicate anything unusual, but I checked out his YouTube videos, and one of the first things he says is that he is a practicing Catholic.  I then learned he also cofounded an organization called “The Amazing Parish.”  On that website, he prays to Mary, and in one of the Amazing Parish’s videos by Jeff Cavins called Compelling Formation, Mr. Cavins refers to the Ignatian Spiritual practices of the Examen and Lectio Divina ( starting about the 22 minute mark). [LT Note: Patrick Lencioni is also a frequent speaker at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summits.]

I also came across another name on Rightnow Media, Chris Lowney. He is on one of their pages called “Centered” with no warning that he is a Catholic and also has Jesuit training. But I found this page, also called “Centered” with Chris Lowney on a decidedly Catholic website, and it plainly says he is Jesuit trained. He also teaches Ignatian business principles.

statue of mary

Catholicism is so very opposite of true Christianity.  If one is a true student of the Catholic Church, then Mary is elevated to the status of Jesus as co-mediatrix; The Pope’s word is elevated above the Word of God; and people canonized by the Catholic Church and called saints are called upon in a Catholic’s prayer – all so very opposite of true Christianity. I wonder if many of the Protestant and evangelical churches using Rightnow Media realize it is slipping in Catholic teachers (not to mention the contemplative/emergent teachers).  We, as Bible believers, are exhorted to “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

By the time I had seen the handwriting on the wall, it was too late for my dad.  In the book of Daniel, Chapter 5, when King Belshazzar drank from the vessels taken from the temple and then praised the gods of silver and gold, in that same hour, the fingers of a man’s hand wrote upon the plaster of the wall, and by then, it was too late for Belshazzar, and he lost his life that night. My hope is that people will see the writing on this wall.  I am not saying it is too late now – but the Bible says there is coming a time when it will be too late (Isaiah 55:6).

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:10-11; see also Isaiah 55:6)

The Bible gives us warning about false teachers many times:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.(2 Timothy 3:13)

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

But we have no excuse for not knowing the truth.  We have the Bible:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21)

We are warned in the Bible that that deception will happen. And it is happening all around us; but God has given us “the weapons of our warfare” (2 Corinthians 10:4), the Rock upon which to stand (Psalm 18:2), and the armor to battle against it (Ephesians 6:11-20).

Rightnow Media is mixing grievous errors with truth then feeding it to gullible sheep, promoting it as quality teaching, and somehow convincing churches to subscribe. It allows the pastors to adjust what their flock can access so that the flock can feed on the proper denominational nutrition when they come to feed at its trough. Their presentation is high quality, catchy, enthusiastic, and very hard to discern where it goes wrong. Parents are happy because now they feel their children can have access to biblical programming that the parents do not have to monitor. My hope is that Rightnow Media will be exposed mostly so that people do not blindly trust its teaching.

Rightnow Media is part of the deception, but it is simply another piece of the puzzle in a web of deception.

 

Moody Bible Institute—Trying to Hold on to a Biblical Heritage While Riding the Wave of the Emerging Church

Several years ago, Rick Warren said something that still haunts us—leaders of the new purpose-driven, emergent “Christianity” will have to wait until resisters either leave or die before the plan can be fully implemented. In other words, they are going to eventually accomplish what they are trying to do—revamp Christianity into a “new” spirituality that will be all-inclusive, ecumenical, mystical, and with a new gospel message. But before that can happen, those who are resisting and opposing this new “Christianity” will have to be out of the way (either through getting old and dying or somehow being coerced into leaving the churches).

From the cover of Warren B. Smith's booklet on Leonard Sweet

From the cover of Warren B. Smith’s booklet on Leonard Sweet

In thinking about Moody Bible Institute and the current shake up going on there (e.g., the president and COO recently resigned), Warren’s words have come to the forefront of our minds again. Moody is struggling. According to an article in the Christian Post, Moody has shut down their Washington state campus and an extension site and let go of one third of their faculty. One can only guess what’s going on behind the scenes as Moody leadership and trustees aren’t offering many answers these days.

Moody, once considered a stalwart institution to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (named after the great evangelist D.L. Moody), began caving in to the “new” spirituality several years ago (as documented by LT), allowing contemplative, emergent influences into the school. Maybe they thought if they became culturally relevant, cool, hip, contemplative, and missional, they could continue being successful and on top of the Christian college scene. But, like the puppy with a bone in his mouth and looking at his reflection in the water hoping to have the other bone too, Moody may end up losing everything all together because they wanted both worlds—a reputation of biblical integrity and at the same time acceptance by the new and popular emergent Christianity. Maybe trustees of Moody believed Rick Warren’s co-comrade in all-things-emergent, Leonard Sweet, when Sweet said “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”

In 1995, Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did an audio series called The Tides of Change. In the audio, they spoke of “new frontiers,” “a new spirituality,” and “waves of change.” A few years prior to The Tides of Change, Sweet wrote a book called Quantum Spirituality. This book reveals the nature of Sweet’s spiritual affinities as he talks about “christ-consciousness” and a “New Light” movement. Ray Yungen discusses Quantum Spirituality:

In [Quantum Spirituality], Sweet thanks interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey, Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of the major intellectuals in the New Age movement) for helping him to find what he calls “New Light.” Sweet adds that he trusts “the Spirit that led the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.” . . .  Sweet disseminates line after line of suggestions that the “old teachings” of Christianity must be replaced with new teachings of “the New Light.” And yet these new teachings, he believes, will draw from “ancient teachings” (the Desert Fathers). This “New Light movement,” Sweet says, is a “radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.”

Throughout the book, Sweet favorably uses terms like Christ consciousness and higher self and in no uncertain terms promotes New Age ideology: “[Quantum Spirituality is] a structure of human becoming, a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience.” (from A Time of Departing)

A few years after Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did The Tides of Change, Warren endorsed the front and back cover of Sweet’s book, Soul Tsunami. Of Sweet’s book, Warren said: “suggests practical ways to communicate God’s unchanging truth to our changing world.” However, the “practical ways” that Sweet shares in the book include a labyrinth and visiting a meditation center. Sweet also says in the book, “It’s time for a Post Modern Reformation,” adding that “The wind of spiritual awakening is blowing across the waters.” He says that times are changing and you’d better, “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die” (p. 75).

In 2006, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled “Purpose Driven Resisters—Must Leave or Die.” Here’s a portion of it:

The phone calls and emails started coming in about three years ago. Sometimes the caller was in his mid-eighties, sometimes the caller was crying. But all of them had the same kind of story to tell – when their churches decided to get involved with 40 Days of Purpose, everything began changing and when they questioned these changes, they each soon found themselves silenced, ostracized, and eventually without a church to attend. Now today, nearly five years after Purpose Driven Life was released, thousands of believers are scattered throughout the world, having been ridiculed and demoralized for even just the slightest questioning of the Purpose Driven program. In one email we received, the young man was handed a letter from his pastor. The letter had been written by a Saddleback field representative who told the pastor to do what he had to do to get rid of those opposing the new program.

According to Rick Warren, these people are resisters and are standing in the way of Purpose Driven progress. In a June 14th article written by Rick Warren on his website (“What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau?” ), Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time . . . and in many cases it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren stated:

“If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it’s been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it’s been plateaued for 20 years, you’ve got to set in for the duration! I’m saying some people are going to have to die or leave.

“Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.”

For Warren to couple his statement about dying or leaving with a statement about God killing off a million people is ignorant at best, subliminal at least. Coupled with his mention of 40 years in the desert and Warren’s teaching that God always did good things in numbers of 40, Warren’s intention in this statement seems obvious. In addition, the concept of get with the program, change or die is very common in New Age circles, that those who don’t get on board (or ride the wave as Leonard Sweet puts it), will have to die. Listen to the words of renown, New Ager Barbara Marx Hubbard:

“Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose. . . . All who choose not to evolve will die off.” . . .

In The Tides of Change, [Sweet and Warren] make it clear that those who don’t ride this new wave will not make it.

But, what does it really mean to “make it”? Does drifting into apostasy mean that one has made it? In God’s eyes, we are successful when we follow Him and adhere to His Word.

Will Moody “make it”? Time will tell, but the Bible is clear that we cannot serve both God and man. It won’t work. Like the majority of Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities today, Moody has been trying to hold onto their old heritage of biblical solidarity while grabbing hold of the new fast-moving postmodern, progressive “wave.” But while holding on to both, each going in the completely opposite direction, the results tragically may be an entire tearing apart that will be beyond repair. Wouldn’t it be nice (to say the least) if Moody would jump off of that fast-moving wave going toward apostasy and return fully to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”?

Lighthouse Trails Mails Materials to Moody Bible Institute Board Members and Trustees

Last week, Lighthouse Trails mailed out a package to 15 board members and trustees of Moody Bible Institute. The package contained a copy of two books: A Time of Departing and Faith Undone along with two booklets: A Serious Look at Richard Foster's School of Contemplative Prayer and Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? The short cover letter to each person stated:

For many years now, our ministry has been concerned about Moody’s increased incorporating of what is called Spiritual Formation. The reason for our concern about this spiritual belief system is explained in the two books we are sending you, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen and Faith Undone by Roger Oakland. In light of the current dishevel at Moody, we hope and pray you will read these books as we believe their contents will provide some answers. We are also sending two of our booklets that may be helpful as well.

Please join us in praying that the recipients of these materials will read them and come to understand the deception that is in the church today.

 

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A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, the book set we just sent to board members and trustees at Moody Bible Institute, have done what no other two books have done - exposed the underpinnings of the contemplative prayer (i.e., Spiritual Formation) movement and the emerging church. If you have not read these books, or if know someone who has not read these books but needs to, this is a great opportunity to get the set. This week, we are offering the two books together for a total of $14. That's like getting one of them free.

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You may think you know what the emerging church and Spiritual Formation are all about, but they are much broader than most people realize. One of the key people in this deception is Rick Warren, and both books give ample documentation on the role that he and many other leaders play as this end-time apostasy unfolds.

 

 

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