LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH          April 17, 2018     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING
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The Conscious Discipline Program’s Link to A Course in Miracles and Mindful Meditation
conscious discipline

Conscious Discipline logo; used in accordance with the U.S. Fair Use Act for the purposes of critique and review.

By Lois Putnam

Conscious Discipline, the creation of Dr. Becky A. Bailey, is a program used in hundreds of educational settings the world over–Head Start, private schools, day cares, Montessori schools, Christian schools, public schools and more. This discipline program loudly touts its shift from a reliance on “fear to love,” and from “punishing to teaching.” Shockingly, this seemingly wonderful program is filled with principles and teachings directly out of the New Age “Bible” — A Course in Miracles! And here is how I found out:

While teaching in a public school preschool class I noticed a “S.T.A.R.” poster hanging on the board with the words beside each letter: “S-Smile.; T-Take a deep breath.; A-and; R-Relax!” Exactly what this star was a part of I had no idea. But, a red flag flew when I read the word: “breath!” Shortly after, I was in another preschool room with another “S.T.A.R!” Right there I was introduced to “The Conscious Discipline” program–yes, right there in a school in which I often teach. And, immediately I knew I had to find out more. Well, find out I did, and what I was about to discover would make me understand just how deceptive and how huge is the influence of this widely acclaimed program–Conscious Discipline!

Conscious Discipline Creator: Dr. Becky A. Bailey

Not long into my research I found out the Conscious Discipline creator Dr. Bailey was a very vivacious, gregarious long time educator, the author of fifteen best-selling books and a host of other materials. Her books alone were said to have a circulation of 1.2 million, while her SEL (social-emotional learning) program is purported to have impacted 15.8M children. 

Exploring the Conscious Discipline web site I found many videos and webinars made by Dr. Bailey, and her master teacher ambassadors in other parts of the country.  One video episode (9-29-2017) "Episode 005: The Power and Potential of Faith" done by Bailey and master teacher Amy Speidel especially sparked my interest.  I clicked on to listen.

In the podcast Speidel shared her personal story of resenting the fact that her parent's "God" made her feel like "a flawed person."  But once Amy had encountered Conscious Discipline, she knew she was an "inherently worthy person," and that her very "core was worthy."

Bailey shared how after giving one keynote address some came up to thank her surmising she spoke of Christianity, while others thought she upheld Judaism, still others believed she taught Buddhism, and one, well he thought, she referred to the "Twelve Step Program."  And said Bailey, "I said thank you."  To end she reiterated since we've moved from "fear to love" we must all "hold hands," in order to find "inner peace."
https://consciousdiscipline.com/podcast-episode005/

Conscious Disciple Book: I Love You Rituals

The I Love You Rituals is one of Bailey's most popular books--the book where she took well-known Nursery rhymes and action rhymes changing their wording to remove anything "fearful" and instead insert "love!"  

What was Bailey's intention in changing e.g. the Mother Goose rhyme as "The Old Woman in The Shoe" to "The Wonderful Woman"?  It is all part of the over all agenda of the Conscious Discipline to eliminate punishment, and to do away with seeing anyone as sinful, flawed, or in need of a Savior.  We must change ourselves says Bailey, and as we see our own goodness and love we'll see it in others as well.

Turning to the back cover I found a positive endorsement from the late Dr. Robert Schuller.  In fact Bailey had once been Dr. Schuller's Hour of Power guest where Schuller had called her "... my new friend Becky Bailey."  Seeing Schuller's name raised a big red flag for I realized that Schuller, as Warren Smith wrote, in his booklet Fearing God in A Fearless New Age (pp.5-6) celebrated Gerald Jampolsky's book Love is Letting Go of Fear when he featured New Ager Jampolsky at his Hour of Power. 

But, it was inside the beginning pages that I found the person who has most influenced Becky, and who transformed her life--and that person was a lady of whom Bailey writes,  "As I began my personal journey ... I was frightened of the present moment.  This understanding was inspired by the work, friendship, and love of Carol Howe.  The saying goes, 'When the student is ready the teacher appears.'  This was the case with Carol who is my teacher, mentor, and friend."  With Carol's help, Becky recalled, she'd learned to stay in the present moment relaxing and feeling loved while her fears melted away.
https://www.amazon.com/Love-You-Rituals-Becky-Bailey/dp/0688161170#reader_0688161170

Click here to continue reading.

(Lois Putnam is the author of various Lighthouse Trails booklets. The newest one on Mindfulness that she will be co-authoring will be released soon.)

Study Shows Americans Are Forgetting About the Holocaust

holocaustPhoto: Jews being put aboard a train heading to a death camp holocaust(photo from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; used with permission; used in Diet Eman’s book, Things We Couldn’t Say

LTRJ Note: During this week, Holocaust Remembrance week, we sadly learned about a study conducted showing that Americans are increasingly becoming more and more ignorant of the reality of the Holocaust, especially among the younger generations. As the article below points out, it won’t be too long before there are no more first-hand witnesses who remember what happened during the Hitler regime and Hitler’s efforts with his “final solution” to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Our own two Holocaust-survivor authors—Anita Dittman and Diet Eman—are now in their 90s. Anita was a Jewish Christian and a young girl in Germany when Hitler came into power in her childhood country. She spent her teenage years under Hitler’s persecution. Anita survived the Holocaust as did Diet Eman (who was a Christian resistance worker in her twenties in Holland during the war). While Anita and Diet have done everything they can to tell their stories these past several decades, they won’t always be here.

Shockingly, as the article below reports, the public schools in most states (all but nine) in America are no longer mandated to teach students about the Holocaust.

A fifth of millennials aren’t sure if they’ve ever heard of the Holocaust.

holocaust

Photo of Anita Dittman: Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune | https://www.albertleatribune.com/2015/04/trapped-in-a-nightmare/

By Courtney McGee
NBC News

In 1945, Sonia Klein walked out of Auschwitz. Every day of the 73 years since she has been haunted by the memory of what happened there, and the fate of the millions who never made it out of the Nazi death camps.

But Klein wonders, once she and the few survivors still alive are gone, who will be left to remember?

holocaust

Diet Eman

“We are not here forever,” said Klein, now 92. “Most of us are up in years, and if we’re not going to tell what happened, who will?”

Klein’s worries are borne out by a comprehensive study of Holocaust awareness released Thursday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which suggests that Americans are doing just the opposite. Click here to continue reading.

Related Articles:

Holocaust Remembrance – When Hitler Was in Power – by a Holocaust Survivor By Anita Dittman

Christians in Holland in 1941: “Should We Help Save the Jews?” (Obey God or Man) By Diet Eman

Letter to the Editor: Buddhist-Promoting “Convicts Bible” in Many Prisons

prisons

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I want people to know one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to witness to prisoners and where they get the idea of Buddhism from. I have a relative who is in prison for various offenses for 5 years. I have been trying to witness to him. In doing that , I sent him a Bible, a Bible Dictionary, and other materials in which he says they won’t let him have. They gave him a Bible from their library. In one of his letters, he wrote that he was interested in Buddhism and said it was such a peaceful religion. As I continued to read his letter, he mentioned a book he read in prison that he liked very much ; it is called We Are All Doing Time by Bo Lozoff. In doing research, I found out this book is called the “Convicts Bible.” I was shocked. I went on Amazon and was amazed in the comments section, which one should read to find out why they all love it so much, it has an almost 5-star rating. I could not find out how many books have been sold, but I did find that many state prisons are carrying it. It seems that most all the prisons, schools, nursing homes, churches, hospitals, political & businesses, and libraries are all promoting it doing Eastern practices, meditation, and Yoga; there is no place it has not infiltrated!

It is getting so that warning people about this is making us the crack pots. I can’t comprehend it. This generation is truly in trouble.

Blessings! (Psalm 111:10) All I can say is Lord come quickly, even so come quickly.

Human Kindness Foundation    Human Kindness Foundation » Prison Resources    Amazon.com We’re All Doing Time A Guide to Getting Free (8601406140974) Bo Lozoff, Dalai Lama Books

 

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Lighthouse Trails has gone to press with Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy. The book will be back from press by May 8th. You can pre-order your copy now, and we will ship it then. All back orders will be shipped first.

While this may be one of our most "controversial" books, we believe it is one of the most important books we have ever published. It is our prayer that this 128-page book will remind many people of the simplicity of the Gospel which has been offered to "whosoever" believeth on Jesus Christ.

 

 

The Conscious Discipline Program’s Link to A Course in Miracles and Mindful Meditation
Study Shows Americans Are Forgetting About the Holocaust
Letter to the Editor: Buddhist-Promoting “Convicts Bible” in Many Prisons
What Christian Leaders Need to Know – The Final Outcome of Practicing Contemplative Prayer

Letter to the Editor: Church Sends Out Letter Apologizing for Distributing Jesus Calling

Trevor Baker – Songs For a Troubled Church
Eight Years Later After Special Report on Christianity Today and the Contemplative Controversy - Christian Leaders Still Quiet, and Beth Moore Still Gets a Pass
Two New Releases: Chains Couldn’t Hold Me and Father ten Boom, God’s Man
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What Christian Leaders Need to Know – The Final Outcome of Practicing Contemplative Prayer

LTRP Note: With the majority of Christian colleges and seminaries now bringing in contemplative spirituality via Spiritual Formation programs, and with Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and Beth Moore endorsing the movement, and with countless pastors giving it a thumbs up to their congregations, isn’t it time professors, pastors, and leaders understand what the final outcome of contemplative prayer is? Isn’t it time they understand that leading Christians and church goers down this path is leading them away from the Cross, not toward it? At Lighthouse Trails, we believe it is beyond time for this understanding to occur.

One candle and Candles on old wooden background

 

By Ray Yungen

The final outcome of contemplative prayer is interspirituality. If you have truly grasped the portrait I have tried to paint in my books and articles, you have begun to see what this term signifies. The focus of my criticism of mystical prayer must be understood in the light of interspirituality.

Just what exactly is interspirituality? The premise behind interspirituality is that divinity (God) is in all things, and the presence of God is in all religions; there is a connecting together of all things, and through mysticism (i.e., meditation) this state of divinity can be recognized. Consequently, this is a premise that is based on and upheld by an experience that occurs during a self-hypnotic trance linking one to an unseen world rather than to the sound doctrine of the Bible.

It is important to understand that interspirituality is a uniting of the world’s religions through the common thread of mysticism. Wayne Teasdale, a lay monk who coined the term interspirituality, says that interspirituality is “the spiritual common ground which exists among the world’s religions.”1 Teasdale, in talking about this universal church also states:

She [the church] also has a responsibility in our age to be a bridge for reconciling the human family . . . the Spirit is inspiring her through the signs of the times to open to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Confucians, and indigenous peoples. As matrix [a binding substance], the Church would no longer see members of other traditions as outside her life. She would promote the study of these traditions, seek common ground and parallel insights.2 (emphasis mine)

An article in my local newspaper revealed just how well received interspirituality has become in certain circles. One Presbyterian elder who was described as a “Spiritual Director” made it clear when she said:

I also have a strong interest in Buddhism and do a sitting meditation in Portland [Oregon] as often as I can. I considered myself ecumenical not only in the Christian tradition, but with all religions.3 (emphasis mine)

There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling, and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. Sound doctrine must be central to this debate because New Ageism has a very idealistic side to it, offering a mystical approach to solve human problems. Everyone would like to have his or her problems solved. Right? That is the practical aspect I wrote about in the last chapter—a seemingly direct route to a happy and fulfilled life. However, one can promote the attributes of God without actually having God.

People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ. Then how can you be assured what you believe and practice is of God?

The Christian message has been clear from the beginning—God has sent a Savior. If man only had to practice some kind of mystical prayer to gain access to God then the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fruitless, hollow endeavor.

Sound Christian doctrine comes from the understanding that mankind is sinful, fallen, and separated from God. Man needs a saving work by God! A teaching like panentheism (God is in everybody) cannot be reconciled to the finished work of Christ. How could Jesus be our Savior then? New Age constituents will say He is a model for Christ consciousness, but the Bible teaches He is the Savior of mankind. Therefore, panentheism cannot be a true doctrine.

The problem is that many well-intentioned people embrace the teachings of panentheism because it sounds so good. It appears less bigoted on God’s part. No one is left out—all are connected to God. There is a great appeal in this message. Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach a universal salvation for man. In contrast, Jesus said:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Christ’s message is the polar opposite of these universalist teachings. Many people (even Christians) today think only a few really bad people will be sent to hell. But in Matthew, the words of Jesus make it clear that this just is not so.

While God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world, He did not say all would be saved. His words are clear that many would reject the salvation He provided. But those who are saved have been given the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18) making an appeal to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3). The Christian message is not samadhi, Zen, kundalini, or the contemplative silence. It is the power of the Cross!

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)

Yes, perishing, and not just unaware of their true self.

In an opinion poll, the startling results describe how Americans actually view God. Spirituality and Health magazine hired a reputable pollster organization to gauge the spiritual beliefs of the American public. This national poll revealed that 84 percent of those questioned believed God to be “everywhere and in everything” rather than “someone somewhere.”4 This means panentheism is now the more popular view of God. If true, then a high percentage of evangelical Christians in America already lean towards a panentheistic view of God. Perhaps many of these Christians are fuzzy about the true nature of God.

How could this mystical revolution have come about? How could this perspective have become so widespread? The answer is that over the last thirty or forty years, a number of authors have struck a deep chord with millions of readers and seekers within Christianity. These writers have presented and promoted the contemplative view to the extent that many now see it as the only way to “go deeper” in the Christian life. They are the ones who prompt men and women to plunge into contemplative practice. It is their message that leads people to experience the “lights” and the “inner adviser!”

Endnotes:

1.  Wayne Teasdale, “Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries: A Theological Reflection” (The Golden String newsletter, http://clarusbooks.com/Teasdale.html, accessed 10/2009).
2. Wayne Teasdale, A Monk in the World (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002), p. 64.
3. Jan Alsever quoted in Statesman Journal, January 27th, 1996, Religion Section.
4. Katherine Kurs, “Are You Religious or Are You Spiritual?” (Spirituality & Health Magazine, Spring 2001), p. 28.

(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

Letter to the Editor: Church Sends Out Letter Apologizing for Distributing Jesus Calling

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Our church sent out a letter to all the people in the church, apologizing for distributing the Jesus Calling book. I am writing to encourage others who are facing the grand task of defending the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints. To all who do so are often vilified and accused of being divisive even to the point of receiving character assassination. Often, illogical fallacies (ad hominem) or other factors irrelevant to the information at hand are used to stay off point or topic.  I have experienced this several times to one extreme or another and also to the blank stare on the other end of the spectrum.

What has disturbed me the most is when I encounter “seasoned saints” and pastors who are void of discernment to the aberrant doctrines invading mainline Christianity today.

I would like to share three instances that I encountered in the past ten days. I was invited to a dinner with about 25 people, all Christians in attendance. After dinner, we were asked to share something the Lord did for us (testimony time.) One retired female church leader was elated to tell that “it was such a God thing to be able to give [her] daughter Priscilla Shirer’s DVDs/CDs as a gift” and that God was so kind to lead her to do so, so she could enter into deep prayer (contemplative.) Next a retired pastor gave his testimony that he was able to distribute many, many Jesus Calling books to many Christians and fellow pastors and how much of a blessing that little book has been to many of the saints! I did say out loud that Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer were into contemplative prayer, and the female leader who bought her tapes abruptly left. I later talked to another pastor about Jesus Calling, and he perfunctory condescended to listen later.

It gives me pause to think why these people do not want to know more about what a person is presenting to them or at least question it. One man at the dinner gave me his e-mail address, and I sent some information to him to which he did not reply. He was in a local Christian bookstore a few weeks later when I was there, and I had the information (three Lighthouse Trails booklets and “Another Jesus” Calling by Warren Smith) in my car. As I was leaving the store to get the material, I could hear the owner of the bookstore say, “I don’t want anyone in my store cutting up my books.” When I came back in, I said, “I am not disparaging your books (plural); I am trying to explain the errors in one book.” She then pulled a book from her shelf, and it was God Calling. I tried to tell her about that, but she pugnaciously said, “get out of my store and find somewhere else to tell.”

In your booklet (A Directory of Authors) on page 1, the author states:

It is no secret these days that Christian bookstores and ministry resource databases are often jam-packed with so-called Christian resources that are actually promoting anything but Christianity. Special care may be taken by bookstore owners and ministry leaders alike to ensure that ministry and business are “in order” but when a close look is taken, the sale of spiritually unsafe material abounds. Books rife with New Age occult teaching practices abound in many Christian bookstores, and many owners and managers are going to sell them regardless!

On page one of Warren Smith’s booklet Changing Jesus Calling, it states, “If you are more interested in protecting your product rather in protecting the truth, you do everything in your power to make these problems disappear.”

Encouragement to all—there are some who listen as you can see from the letter below! This letter was sent out to about 200 people in this particular church. Maybe some of them will listen also!

June (not real name)

The letter mailed out by June’s church, written by the men’s Bible study teacher:

Several months ago, a friend of mine came to my office with the little book titled God Calling in his hand to return to me. He confessed that he and his wife felt uncomfortable with the book. I basically blew him off because I had been reading this little book for years and never saw a problem or thought anything was wrong with the teachings of the book.

Recently, another friend [June] came to me with a very humble challenge and that was to research and read some information this person had concerning the book God Calling and also one of my favorite daily studies, Jesus Calling. I devoured the information over the next eight hours or so. As I was studying, I was also praying for God to give me an open mind and that I would allow His precious Holy Spirit to impress upon my heart the truth about these two books. When I finished, I felt grief.

I felt grief because over the years I have given many, many of these books to strangers, friends, and to you. This new understanding has made me review my library of books and destroy several books by authors I have had great respect and appreciation for; however, I now believed they have been teaching heresies. I was sucked in because I didn’t scrutinize their teaching against God’s Word.

I have thanked God for my Christian friends who have encouraged and challenged me to seek the truth concerning these books and my understanding of these false teachers. I want to ask your forgiveness for not having more wisdom in giving you these books. He has given us the mind of Christ and I feel ashamed, regretful, and ignorant for not seeing the truth in these books that I have been reading for so many years. But, I am excited about Jesus and knowing He will lead me in His truth and in the future hopefully I will have more discernment when reading.

I would encourage you to do your own research. Because of Google on the Internet, it really isn’t hard to find articles about such books and authors. . . . I pray that the Holy Spirit will deliver them to the truth before they add to the crowd in Matthew 7:21-23.

This awakening has made a major impact to my paradigm and has quickened my mind to my gullibility. It has also taught me to spend more time in God’s Word and less time reading what men/women have written about our Holy God.

Again, I ask your forgiveness and hope that you will seek out the truth for yourself. I love you guys.

___________

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

Trevor Baker – Songs For a Troubled Church

trevor_baker2In 2011, Roger Oakland introduced Lighthouse Trails to Trevor Baker and his music, and we’ve been listening to him ever since. Trevor sings about many of the things Lighthouse Trails writes about, and it doesn’t take too long listening to Trevor to know he’s a man after God’s own heart. A couple years ago, we asked Trevor if he could write a little something to our readers to tell them about himself. Here is what he had to say:

Twenty years ago, when the Lord first began giving me songs, I remember the struggle that went on within my heart. Lord, why am I always writing about the ugly side of religion and how people should run from the many spiritual gurus, both new and old, that seem to be untouchable and unquestionable kings and queens of the day?

These rulers of the people speak partial truths to keep the money flowing in to prop up their man-made ministries where “self ” rules the day and Christianity is a business and an ego maker rather than what Jesus intended.

Jesus upset the tables of the money changers in the temple and then prayed, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).

So I have realized through the years that warning people about the big dogs that rule the religious landscape has left me with few friends. The thing I can’t escape though is the unmistakable peace I sense when God gives me a song and the tears I see in concerts of those rejected by the social religiosity of the day—misfits that have never been welcome throughout history.

My message is simple, go to the garden alone and walk and talk with Jesus, as the old hymn put it. A broken and contrite spirit He will not leave in distress in a church age that has lost its bearings. Jesus said we can come to him and cast our burdens on Him, and He will direct our steps through the religious mine fields and give us rest.

Most today, it seems, would rather line up to hear all of the religious superstars instead of going to the garden alone to receive real nourishment from the Lord. This, I believe, is one of the biggest contributing factors to the bankrupt society we see today.

While Lighthouse Trails does carry most of Trevor’s music CDs and DVDs, those who cannot afford these materials should visit Trevor’s website where you can get his CDs on a donation basis. Visit www.trevorbaker.ca where you can also listen to 30-second clips of all his songs. Trevor lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife Jennifer. They have two grown daughters and two granddaughters. Trevor travels extensively around North America singing at churches and conferences. You can contact him through his website if you would like him to sing at your church or group. See video below to watch Trevor in concert. Trevor sang for the 2017 Berean Call Conference in Bend, Oregon.

Listen to 30 second song clips from the CD, It’s All In Place (see lyrics to title song below).

It’s All In Place
© Trevor Baker 2010

If we didn’t see it coming we do now
It was quiet for some time
But now it’s loud
Like a train you faintly heard
So far away
The picture’s getting clearer
Everyday

The house of God
Where steeples used to ring
Has morphed into
A strange peculiar thing
The Lord said all these things
Would come to pass
But who knew it would happen
Quite this fast

Friends we knew
Who were so strong before
Now stand in line
At each new open door
Not questioning the outcome
Or the source
They can’t be deterred from heading
Down this course

The feelings this drums up
Can’t be described
Some days all you want to do is hide
I’ve been through my Bible
With a fine toothed comb
And all the signs are sayin’
Soon we’re goin’ home

Chorus

We’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
We’re going home
It’s time to grab your coat
The chances of the days extending
Are remote

They say that where there’s smoke
There’s always fire
You can tell the end
By what has happened prior
The Bible’s clear
On how things will unfold
And all these things
Have clearly been foretold

If the days were not cut short
None would be saved
And there’s little said
About the free and brave
The proud have all been given
Ample choice
Only the broken and the humble
Hear His voice

Chorus

And they’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
They’re going home
The ark’s about to float
Fulfilling every word
That Jesus spoke

Bridge

It’s countless all the names
That will be scratched
All because they lived
With strings attached

Chorus

But we’re going home
The signs are all in place
It’s moving quickly now
It’s picking up the pace
We’re going home
It’s time to grab your coat
The chances of the days extending
Are remote

If you cannot see the video below of Trevor Baker, click here.

Eight Years Later After Special Report on Christianity Today and the Contemplative Controversy - Christian Leaders Still Quiet, and Beth Moore Still Gets a Pass

LTRP Note: Recently, we have received a number of e-mails from a pastor's wife on the west coast who believes we have completely misjudged Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer when it comes to contemplative prayer. The pastor's wife says she understands what contemplative prayer is and that it is not biblical, but she says that Moore and Shirer have said or done nothing to show that they are proponents of it. In 2010, we wrote a special report titled "Christianity Today Treats Contemplative Controversy as Legitimate Issue in Cover Story About Beth Moore," where we showed that even the pop-Christianity magazine, Christianity Today acknowledged that a controversy regarding contemplative prayer did exist in the church today and that Beth Moore was part of that controversy. Below we have reposted our report. We must admit that after eight years, since the Christianity Today cover story came out, we are deeply saddened that Christian leaders still are not willing to bring this issue to the table. How many Christian leaders have you heard talking about the controversy of contemplative prayer?

The 2010 Special Report

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

Christianity Today hit the nail right on the head when it informed its readers that:

“Critics argue that contemplative prayer is rooted in Eastern mysticism and thus not a practice that Christians should engage in.”

Lighthouse Trails has always warned that contemplative prayer is in fact rooted in Eastern mysticism, with a heavy emphasis on the word “rooted.” In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, Yungen brings out that contemplative prayer was created by the Desert Fathers, a group of monks who lived in the desert during the early middle ages. Quoting Ken Kaisch, A Time of Departing reveals:

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them. (Finding God, p. 191).

At the time, the city of Alexandria, close to where the Desert Fathers existed, was a stronghold of Eastern mysticism through the connection of King Alexander’s link to India. It is believed that the Desert Fathers utilized Eastern style meditation practices (i.e., mantra meditation), but instead of using Hindu or Buddhist mantras, they tailored this Eastern style prayer to their Christian beliefs, using “Christian” mantras. As an early treatise on contemplative prayer written by an anonymous monk, The Cloud of Unknowing, describes:  “Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . . With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting.” This is why all the major icons of contemplative prayer (Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, etc) echo the same spiritual perceptions as Eastern meditation practitioners. Thomas Merton said as he was leaving on a trip to South Asia to address Hindu and Buddhist monks: ” We left the ground– I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wandering … I am going home, to the home where I have never been in this body. ” (Merton’s Asian Journal, pp. ). Henri Nouwen echoed this when he said that Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Muslim (i.e., Sufism) religion offered many treasures for the spiritual life of the Christian (in the foreword of Thomas Ryan’s Disciplines for Christian Living).

For those who are still skeptical, the co-founder of one of the largest centers for teaching contemplative prayer, Tilden Edwards of The Shalem Institute, said that contemplative prayer is “the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality” (Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18). How much more clear can this be? We could go on and on to verify the link between Eastern religion and contemplative spirituality. We have documented over 200 pages in A Time of Departing, not to mention article after article with continued documentation.

Returning to Beth Moore, while it may come as a surprise to many Christianity Today readers that Moore is being identified with contemplative “mysticism,” it is no surprise to Lighthouse Trails because in the spring of 2006, Moore was included in our coverage of a Fox Home Entertainment film titled Be Still, an infomercial for contemplative spirituality.  Shortly after the DVD was released, Lighthouse Trails spoke with Moore’s personal assistant who said that Moore did not have a problem with Richard Foster or Dallas Willard’s teachings. To reiterate this, Living Proof Ministries issued a  statement a few weeks after the release of the DVD that stated: “[W]e believe that once you view the Be Still video you will agree that there is no problem with its expression of Truth.” Living Proof offered to send a free copy of the DVD to anyone who receives their email statement and wishes to view the DVD, saying that, “[I]t would be our privilege to do this for you to assure you that there is no problem with Beth’s participation in the Be Still video.” This statement was issued because several women contacted Moore’s ministry after reading the Lighthouse Trail report on the Be Still DVD.

In the Be Still DVD, countless enticements, references, and comments clearly show its affinity with contemplative spirituality. For instance, Richard Foster says that anyone can practice contemplative prayer and become a “portable sanctuary” for God. This backs up other statements by Foster over the course of the past thirty years in which he believes that even a non-believer in Christ can participate in the “spiritual discipline” of silence and have an encounter with God. The assumption by all mystics is that God dwells in all people, and meditation will help them to realize their own Divinity. This panentheistic view of God is very typical for contemplatives. As Ray Yungen points out, those who practice contemplative prayer begin to view God through panentheistic (God in all) and interspiritual (all is united) eyes. Thomas Merton, whom Foster has admired publicly for many years, believed that all human beings have divinity within, and this divinity can be accessed through contemplative prayer, thereby making the Cross of Jesus unnecessary for union with God. We believe that the reason for this change in spiritual outlook for those who continue practicing contemplative meditation (i.e., mantra-like meditation) is that these altered states of consciousness actually engage the practitioner with demonic realms leading to spiritual deception.

The underlying theme of the Be Still DVD is that we cannot truly know God or be intimate with Him without contemplative prayer and the state of silence that it produces. While the DVD is vague and lacking in actual instruction on word or phrase repetition (which lies at the heart of contemplative prayer), it is very misleading, to say the least. What they don’t say in the DVD is that this state of stillness or silence is, for the most part, achieved through some method such as mantra-like meditation. The purpose of the DVD, in essence, is not to instruct in contemplative prayer but rather to make you and your family hungry for it. The DVD even promises that practicing the silence will heal your family problems.

The thoughtful and discerning Christian needs to ask whether the Be Still DVD is an accurate “expression of Truth,” as Beth Moore says it is, and is there truly “no problem with Beth’s participation” in this project? Considering the fact that Christianity Today calls Moore “the most popular Bible teacher in America,” these are fair questions to ask. Moore has the potential of leading  millions of women in a spiritually dangerous direction. Those women in turn will bring this mystical teaching home to their husbands, children, and churches. In the Be Still DVD, Moore states: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” Moore says that it is not possible to “truly know” that He is God without “a stillness.” She is not talking about a quiet place to pray and spend time in God’s word, but rather she is talking about a stillness of the mind – this is what contemplatives strive for – unless you practice this stillness of the mind, your relationship with the Lord is inadequate. According to Beth Moore, you don’t even know Him in the way you should.

Many reading this may be asking, is there any other evidence as to where Moore really stands with regard to contemplative. The answer to that may at least partially be found in a book she wrote in 2002 called When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. In a section about “Unceasing Prayer,” Moore states:

I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence [a Carmelite mystic who said he “cried out, singing and dancing  violently like a madman” when he went into the “presence”1], who called praying unceasingly practicing God’s presence. In fact, practicing God’s presence has been my number one goal for the last year. (p. 109)

Moore says: “A head full of biblical knowledge without a heart passionately in love with Christ is terribly dangerous–a stronghold waiting to happen. The head is full, but the heart and soul are still unsatisfied” (p. 60). This language is very indicative of contemplatives and echoes Richard Foster who said we have become barren within or Rick Warren who says the church is not fully mature without spiritual formation ala Foster and Willard (i.e., contemplative prayer)  (The Purpose Driven Church, p. 126-127 ). However, all of this talk leads one to think that the Word of God is little more than a philosophy and needs the help of contemplative prayer to be effective at all. The insinuation is that the Holy Spirit is dormant and ineffective without this vital stimuli.  Contemplatives are making a distinction between studying and meditating on the Word of God versus loving Him, suggesting that we cannot love Him or know Him simply by studying His Word or even through normal prayer–we must practice contemplative to accomplish this. But the Bible makes it clear that the Word of God is living and active, and it is in filling our minds with it that we come to love Him and know Him, not through a mystical practice that is never once mentioned in the Bible, except in warnings against vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7) and Old Testament warnings against seeking to make contact with the spirit world or going into altered states of consciousness (Deuteronomy 18:11).

In Moore’s book, she makes frequent references to contemplative pioneer Brennan Manning, stating that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” (p. 72). This is indeed a troubling statement made by “the most popular Bible teacher in America.”  No doubt, many of the women who follow Moore, in reading her comments about Manning and her quoting of him have turned to the writings of Manning for further insights. Why wouldn’t they when their favorite Bible teacher speaks so highly of him? When they do turn to him, they will find that Manning is a devout admirer of Beatrice Bruteau, founder of  The School for Contemplation. Bruteau wrote the foreword to a book called The Mystic Heart by New Age mystic Wayne Teasdale, a book that actually lays out that contemplative prayer will unite Christianity with all the world’s religions at a mystical level. And yet, in Manning’s book, Abba’s Child, he says that Bruteau is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”  Manning  backs his love for “contemplative consciousness” by stating the following:

[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer. (The Signature of Jesus, p. 212)

Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as “Abba, I belong to you.” … Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often. (SoJ, p. 218)

When distractions come, … simply return to listening to your sacred word…. [G]ently return [your mind] to your sacred word. (SoJ, p. 218)

[E]nter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard. (SoJ, p. 218)

This is the contemplative prayer that Beth Moore is promoting – Manning’s contemplative prayer. Furthering Beth Moore’s great admiration for Manning, she quotes him from his book Ragamuffin Gospel calling the book “one of the most remarkable books” (p. 290) she has ever read. But it is this very book that reveals Manning’s true affinity with contemplative spirituality. In the back of the book, Manning makes reference to Catholic priest and mystic Basil Pennington saying that Pennington’s methods will provide us with “a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God.” However, most assuredly Pennington’s methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions. In his book, Finding Grace at the Center, Pennington says:

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices. (from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p.64, quoting Finding Grace at the Center, pp. 5-6)

Pennington also says that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the human family (Centered Living, The Way of Centering Prayer, p. 104).

In Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning cites Carl Jung as well as interspiritualists and contemplative mystics, Anthony De Mello (see note below), Marcus Borg (denies the Virgin birth and Jesus being Son of God), Morton Kelsey, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Annie Dillard, Alan Jones (who denies the atonement), Eugene Peterson, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. This is a list of mystics that any discerning Bible teacher would never point followers to either directly or indirectly!

For Moore to call Manning’s book “remarkable” and to say his contribution to this generation of believers is “a gift without parallel” leads one to conclude that Beth Moore has absorbed Manning’s spirituality. And if that is the case, which we believe it to be, then Moore, as nice and well intentioned as she may be, has become another conduit for a panentheistic spirituality.

What makes the Christianity Today’s August issue noteworthy is that this is the first time to our knowledge since the beginning of Lighthouse Trails in 2002 where a major Christian media has publicly recognized that there is a “debate” going on about contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation). While they did not identify  Lighthouse Trails as one of the “critics” of this debate, nevertheless they have  helped to bring it to the table and give it a broader platform. We would like to note here that over the past eight years thousands of believers have contacted Lighthouse Trails and do see what is taking place. This is not just something that only a handful of people see, albeit a minority in the church.

Lighthouse Trails sincerely implores Beth Moore and all Christian leaders going in the contemplative direction to take an honest look at the evidence that contemplative prayer IS rooted in Eastern mysticism. Nothing else explains the affinity that so many practitioners have for Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism. As Merton told a Sufi teacher, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana” (Thomas Merton, My Brother, Pennington, p. 115). Fana is the same as Hindu Samadhi and Buddhist nirvana. Merton went on to explain how mystical meditation even eclipses the need to believe in Jesus’ atoning and saving work on the Cross. To the Sufi teacher, Merton stated:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy [“the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption,” said the Sufi teacher] is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light, . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam. (Merton and Sufism, p. 109)

It is essential to grasp the significance of what is being said here: Merton believed that the doctrines that are the essence of Christianity (such as atonement and salvation) were irrelevant and actually, if taken seriously, were an  impediment to religious unity. The complete union of all the world’s religions cannot be accomplished  without a form of mysticism within Christianity-that form is contemplative prayer, the very thing that a growing and large number of Christian leaders are propagating today!

It is this that motivates Lighthouse Trails to continue issuing a warning. We are not haters, as some have supposed; in fact we love people,( including those who promote contemplative prayer) and feel compelled to warn them about the spiritual land mines buried within the mystical paths on which they have embarked.

Footnote:

1. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, translated by John Delaney, Image Books, 1977, p. 34


Note: The writer of the Christianity Today article, “First Came the Bible,” is Halee Gray Scott, a writer and a faculty member at Wesley Seminary and A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Talbot School of Theology, where her research interests include leadership development and spiritual formation.

Many of the quotes in this report are taken from A Time of Departing.

Click here for information on A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen.

Also read: Richard Foster and the Be Still DVD

Quote by ANTHONY DEMELLO ON CONTEMPLATIVE SILENCE:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28.

 

Two New Releases: Chains Couldn’t Hold Me and Father ten Boom, God’s Man

Lighthouse Trails is pleased to announce the release of two new books.

Chains Couldn't Hold MeOur first release is Chains Couldn’t Hold Me, a biography written by discernment researcher and author Cedric Fisher. This is a heart-tugging, hard-to-put-down book that readers will be influenced by in a profound way and will not forget for a long time.

Description: A Memoir of Loss and Mercy | Cedric Fisher was the third of three boys born poor, dirt poor, to transient parents in Texas in 1949. Like many other nomadic, impoverished, post-depression families, his mom and dad followed jobs wherever they could find them. Soon, there were three daughters added to a family already struggling just to find enough food to eat for each day and a shelter to sleep in for the night. In time, the family settled in Oklahoma where life only got worse as Cedric’s dad drank and flew into fits of rage. Cedric, his brothers, and his mother suffered at the hands of this violent man. After the sixth child was born, the law chased Cedric’s dad out of town, leaving an already stressed mother to work in order to provide for her family. In her own desperate way to keep order, she continued the beatings that the boys had endured under their father’s hands. “I’ll whip you till the blood runs down your heels!” she would scream as she chased a terrified four-year-old Cedric through the house.

Living near the city dump, rarely having clean clothes to wear, plus having poverty and abuse written all over his face, Cedric became the object of severe bullying and ridicule at school. Between the beatings at home and the cruel treatment by both students and teachers, Cedric was convinced he was no good. When he reached his teen years, he decided to show them they were right, becoming as bad and tough as he could be. If his life had any purpose, it was the pursuit of one goal—getting as far away as possible from all his troubles.

Cedric landed in adulthood taking all the pain, rejection, and anger with him as he desperately sought to develop a successful music career. Trying to drown out the nightmares from his childhood, he turned to alcohol, drugs, fighting, and wild behavior—a deadly mixture. Before long, he was on a fast track to prison or an early death. Chains Couldn’t Hold Me is the story of one man’s search for identity and peace amidst turmoil and despair and how everything changed when given one last chance.

BOOK INFORMATION:
212 Pages | Softbound | Photos
ISBN: 978-1-9424233-1-7 | Retail Price: $14.95
Qualifies for quantity discounts
Available through Lighthouse Trails and most major book outlets
ORDER BOOK OR SEE MORE INFORMATION

 

Father ten Boom, God's ManOur second book release is Father ten Boom, God’s Man written by Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. This endearing and inspiring book will give you a wide glimpse of the life of a man who was wholly dedicated to serving the Lord and loving people. His life-long commitment to his wife, his children, and other believers and his willingness to share the Gospel and God’s love with the Jews and with those in his community are a testimony that should not be forgotten. This book can help believers today in their own walks with God by illustrating what God can do through just one man who has surrendered his life to His Lord.

Description: The Story of Corrie ten Boom’s Father And How He Inspired Her Life

Casper ten Boom knew what it meant to work hard, go without, and suffer loss. But the hardships of his life only strengthened his dedication to serving the Lord, loving people, and devoting his heart to his wife and children. He opened the doors of his watchmaking shop and home at 19 Barteljorisstraat in Holland to anyone in need and became a respected and admired leader in the community.

Through his love for the Lord, Casper showed his family how to live a life fully surrendered to and trusting in the Almighty God. In his eighties, during the Nazi occupation in Holland, that relationship with God led Casper down a path where he and his family would be asked of the Lord to risk everything—even their lives.

In Father ten Boom, God’s Man, Corrie has captured the essence of her father’s life and how through wisdom, honor, integrity, and faith, he inspired those who knew him to live that same devoted fruitful life.

BOOK INFORMATION:
160 pages | Softbound | Photos
ISBN: 978-1-942423-3-0-0
Qualifies for quantity discounts
Available through Lighthouse Trails and most major book outlets
ORDER BOOK OR SEE MORE INFORMATION

 

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