LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH          August 27, 2018     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING
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Jack Phillips Again in Legal Trouble, This Time for Not Making Transgender-Themed Cake
Jack Phillips

(Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

By Michael Gryboski
Christian Post

Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who earlier this year won a United States Supreme Court case over his refusal on religious grounds to make a same-sex wedding cake, is back in court over his objection to making a transgender-themed cake.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Phillips, arguing that the Christian baker had been mistreated by Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission due to his sincerely-held religious beliefs.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal group that successfully argued Phillips’ case before the high court, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Phillips regarding the latest case. . . . . “The state’s continuing efforts to target Phillips do not just violate the Constitution; they cross the line into bad faith. This Court should put a stop to Colorado’s unconstitutional bullying.”Click here to continue reading.

‘They Hid It All’: Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report Says

Photo: Seducers Among Our Children; Crough

LTRJ Note: Children are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and molestation by people who are in some type of authority and trust in their lives. Make sure your church is a safe place for all children who attend. Detective sergeant Patrick Crough, author of Seducers Among Our Children, has given his life to defend children and fight against child exploitation.

By Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman
New York Times

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion. Click here to continue reading.

Related:

Click here for some very helpful advice on how to protect children from sexual abuse from Sergeant Crough.

Christians Doing Yoga – A Betrayal of the Cross . . . And What a Hindu Yogi Says

We posted the following article in 2007. It is written by Yogi Baba Prem, who is a Hindu Yogi, a Vedavisharada trained in the traditional gurukural system. Because Yoga is growing in popularity among Christians today, we decided to post this again. We hope that Christians who are considering Yoga will read this. And please read some of our own research and articles (see links below). Please share this information with any believer you know that is engaging in Yoga.

“There is no Christian Yoga.”
by Yogi Baba Prem

“It was quite astonishing to see on the flyer ‘Christian Yoga! This Thursday night. . . .’ I could feel the wheels spinning in my brain. ‘Christian Yoga,’ I thought. Now while Christians can practice yoga, I am not aware of any Christian teachings about yoga. Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! It is not a part of the Roman Catholic teachings and certainly not a part of protestant teachings. It is not found within the King James Version of the bible. It is a Hindu word, or more correctly a Sanskrit word from the Vedic civilization. So how did we get ‘Christian Yoga’?

“From this I could conclude that ‘Christian Yoga’ could only indicate one of two possibilities:” Read more …

Some of our research on Yoga:

A Former New Age Follower Talks About “Christian Yoga”

CHRISTIAN YOGA: Rooted in Hindu Occultism  

Reiki on the Rise in 2009

What a Hindu Professor Tells Lighthouse Trails About Yoga

Comments From Our Readers

The following are some of the comments that came in this past week from our readers regarding articles posted on our blog:

On Is God to Blame? The 20th Century is the bloodiest century of mankind to date. Wars, genocides, the Nazi Holocaust to name few. The sin of man is in all of it. Following a man or men that promises a better life for all their people. It leads to nothing but death and destruction. The German philosopher Nietzsche said their is no God. Where is he now? Our Father in Heaven sees mankind leading itself to death and destruction. Look to The Lord Jesus Christ. Behold now is the accepted time, Now is the day of Salvation. Jeffry

On T.D. Jakes' and Yoga: If she has studied yoga, she would know each poise represents a hindu deity. They teach that a cobra is at the base of your spine, but by practicing yoga it will elongate itself in your spine as your attain nirvana. Many yogis will say that a Christian should not practice yoga, nor call it Christian yoga because of the hindu teachings. Many leaders, I believe, have come to the point where they believe they are in God's good graces in every thing they do, so nothing is wrong if done in Christ's name. What an awakening they will have when they stand before our Holy God. I am deeply saddened that these people blindly follow Serita Jakes. Kal

On the Baker Jack Phillips: Liberals and atheists are purposely attacking all vestiges of godly living and biblical standards, dragging true believers to court and destroying Christian businesses. Satan-inspired attacks! My heart goes out to these godly business owners. I pray for them. Elizabeth

On the Baker Jack Phillips: Jack Phillips is anchored securely in his faith. He has God. God will see him through what ever the enemy via his minions brings his way. The tormentors and accusers exist in the only thing they know...darkness without hope. It's them who should be pitied and also prayed for. What a miserable dark existence as the clock ticks towards eternity, to be filled with continual drama, hate and angst towards what and who ever reminds them of that relentless irritating truth written on the hearts of every man ....it drives them crazy! they need to lash out at the nearest most convenient reminder and right now, that's the Christian man Jack ...hard working upstanding man. Proud to have him as my brother in Christ. God can turn any evil into something good for His Glory. To God be the glory! Grace

On RCC Sexual Abuse: This horrific abuse by R.C. priests has been going on for hundreds of yrs., and this church has always covered up these abuses and crimes. Even now the Pope refuses to follow the guidelines that were formed by a special task force on abuse by priests. Victims are finding no help from the Vatican. This abuse started when the R.C. church insisted that the priests not marry. The first R.C. priests were allowed to marry. As long as priests are forbidden to marry this abuse will continue. These priests need to go to jail. We need to protect our children and young adults from these predators. As a result of R.C. policies many lives are ruined or lost (suicide). My heart goes out to the victims! Elizabeth

On Journey Into Calvinism: If the "Brenda" that wrote this is reading the comments here, I would love to get in touch with you. I have a very similar experience with Calvinism. I was deceived for almost 20 years and out from under the bondage of Reformed Theology for 10 years now. Almost all of my friends are still Calvinistic though including my own husband. Thank you for putting down your experience in writing and sharing your journey. Valerie

On Journey Into Calvinism: “The stronghold of Calvinistic election was becoming nearly impregnable because the Word of God had been used to deeply imbed its deception.”  What an amazing statement! One could insert any heresy in the place of the term Calvinism and describe the process of deception. Cedric

On Journey Into Calvinism: Satan is so slick. He has the purpose of getting our eyes off of Christ, and onto ourselves. She was in despair as she constantly examined herself in order to be convinced that she was saved. This took her eyes off of her Savior! I’m so grateful that her eyes were opened. Jill

On Journey Into Calvinism: NO one reads the Bible by itself and comes away with Jesus ONLY dying for some or God pre choosing before Creation who specifically will be saved and who will spend eternity in flames. That has to be drilled into people by dishonest pastors and teachers. Ed

On Christians Doing Yoga: Welcome to the New Age emerging “church”...so sad...lack of discernment in modern churches. Increase the congregation size is all that matters to so many... Father GOD we ask that You awaken your people and remove the shackles from the eyes of so many. Ed P.

On Christians Doing Yoga: You do yoga to open your chakras which is a spiritual portal through which demons enter your body. All yoga stretches and exercises are used to do this because you do not just exercise your body but you place your body in different positions as spiritual worship to these demons who want to enter you body. It is NOT exercise but religious worship of demonic beings. Melissa

On Christian's Doing Yoga: Yoga means "unity"...with the Hindu god. The Hindu religion is anti-Christ. I'm sure it displeases our Lord Jesus when his followers align themselves with this practice. Most claim it's just stretching. But words mean something. If we started a popular stretching movement and named it the Antichrist exercise program, I wonder how many Christians would get on board with that. Mike

On Christians Doing Yoga: Sadly, I know plenty of people including a pastor who see nothing wrong with yoga. Apparently, some of us are a bit "legalistic" in the eyes of most. The crafty and deceptiveness of the devil, in his subtleties never ceases to amaze me. Same lie from the garden. " oh, come on it won't hurt you". Maybe because many within the church love themselves more than they should and idolozing our physique; it seems the Lord is just giving people what they want or giving them over to there desire. So very sad that Yoga and Christianity have nothing in common and should be something the average Christian should be able to discern, and yet, they simply cannot. It just grieves my heart. Melanie

On the Baker Jack Phillips: So this is round 2? What's the reason trans folk went to his shop? I know the law has changed since the gay couple tried to have his cake and eat it too, but his religion has not. This is what the heathen don't understand: God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He's a Christian baker. When it comes to weddings, he can ONLY bake a cake for a man and a woman entering into Holy Matrimony! If freedom of religion is still in the constitution, then the now Infamous Christian Baker has a right to say "I'm sorry, but the answer is NO! I cannot lie to you by dishonoring God"! Shereene

Editor's Note: If you would like to leave comments about any of our articles, you may do so one of three ways: e-mail us a "letter to the editor" at editors@lighthousetrails.com; leave a comment on our blog at the bottom of any article (we publish most of them); or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Jack Phillips Again in Legal Trouble, This Time for Not Making Transgender-Themed Cake
‘They Hid It All’: Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report Says
Christians Doing Yoga – A Betrayal of the Cross . . . And What a Hindu Yogi Says
Comments From Our Readers

Yoga at T.D. Jakes’ Church . . . And the Rest of the Story

Is God to Blame?
One Woman’s Journey Into Calvinism
Letter to the Editor: Jesus Movement of 70s Not Same as Emerging Church Today
A Godless Righteousness in a Brave New World
Check Out Our Updated What is Calvinism? Pack
Leave a Review and Get a Discount Coupon and Check Out New Release
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Yoga at T.D. Jakes’ Church . . . And the Rest of the Story
Women at Potter's House Dallas engage in yoga exercises on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo credit: (Instagram/SeritaJakes)

photo: Women at Potter’s House Dallas engage in yoga exercises on Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo credit: Instagram/SeritaJakes)

In an August 13th Christian Post article titled “Serita Jakes’ Endorsement of Yoga at Potter’s House Sparks Debate,” popular pastor T.D. Jakes’ wife is reportedly promoting Yoga to congregants at Jake’s church. The CP article begins:

Serita Jakes, wife of popular televangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes, has reignited debate over the practice of yoga among Christians after she shared a series of photos showing members of a women’s group at The Potter’s House of Dallas enjoying a “taste of yoga” as a part of a healthy living endeavor. . . .

CP reports that Serita Jakes posted comments about Yoga in their church on Instagram, which CP states”sparked debate with critics saying it’s wrong for Christians to practice yoga.”

The CP article also quotes a “group of Christians who support yoga called Christians Practicing Yoga.” But what is most interesting about this article, from our perspective, is the following statement: “Well-known evangelical theologian John Piper expressed his opposition to yoga, calling it ‘antithetical’ to Christianity.”

The fact that Christian Post turns to John Piper to obtain a quote from someone who opposes Christians doing Yoga is yet another example of how Christian media, for the most part, is completely in the dark about the mystical paradigm shift that has occurred in evangelical Christianity, largely coming through the avenue of contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation); and ironically, the door that contemplative prayer opened is the door that is allowing Yoga into the church. If the Christian Post understood the dynamics (and the dangers) of contemplative prayer (and its strong connection, in nature, to Yoga), they wouldn’t turn to someone who promotes contemplative prayer (Piper) for a quote opposing Christians doing Yoga. It would be like someone willingly opening the door for a thief to come in and everyone blaming the thief but not the guy who opened the door in the first place. Like that guy, contemplative prayer is not being held responsible for its primary role in the crime.

To help substantiate what we are saying about John Piper, we refer you to a 2013 article Lighthouse Trails wrote titled, “John Piper Says No to Catholic Contemplatives But Yes to Protestant Contemplatives,” where Piper condemned “Catholic” contemplative prayer but endorsed “Protestant” contemplative prayer. In our article, we stated:

Piper says he is “ticked” with Christian seminary classes that turn “mainly” to the “mystical Catholic tradition in order to find this kind of depth and this kind of personal connection with the living God that is both rational and supra-rational and very mystical in its communion.” He adds, “You don’t have to embrace bad theology, namely Roman Catholic historic bad theology, in order to find amazing representatives of those who’ve known God at this level.” (emphasis added)

The obvious question that was not answered in this snippet is who does Piper believe are some of these “amazing representatives” who can teach us about “good” contemplative prayer? Thanks to our keen-eyed reader, who sent us a link to Piper’s church’s bookstore, we found that answer, at least in part — none other than Richard Foster, whose book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is being sold on the Bethlehem Baptist Church’s bookstore website. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is one of Foster’s primers on contemplative prayer. In that book, Foster tells us: “You must bind the mind with one thought” (p. 124). Foster’s advice echoes mystics such as Anthony DeMello as Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing (p. 75). Yungen warns that this binding the mind (getting rid of distractions and thoughts) is no different than classic Hindu meditation.

Ironically, while John Piper rejects the “Catholic” contemplatives, Foster does not. In Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster quotes and references several, including Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Madame Guyon. With this in mind, we must reject the notion that John Piper is adequately distinguishing between bad Catholic contemplative prayer and good Protestant contemplative prayer. As we have always affirmed, there is no good contemplative prayer. And important to note, Thomas Merton was one of the significant figures in bringing contemplative meditation to the forefront, and Richard Foster is nothing less than a Merton disciple. 

When Piper publicly interviewed Rick Warren in 2011, he showed his support for the Purpose Driven pastor’s doctrine when he stated: “At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound.”(1) This caused much dismay for those who understand the underlying beliefs of “America’s pastor.” Rick Warren is a strong advocate and promoter for contemplative mystics (such as Henri Nouwen) and the spiritual formation movement (the vehicle through which contemplative is entering the Protestant church).(2) So with John Piper’s embrace of Warren coupled with his apparent acceptance of Richard Foster, Piper students should be asking some prudent questions of their teacher. They should also dismiss the notion that we can distinguish between good and bad contemplative prayer. There is no such thing.

The point here is this: It doesn’t make any sense for Christian media to go after  T. D. Jakes’ wife for promoting Yoga if they are going to give a pass to Christian leaders who are promoting contemplative prayer. The list of the leaders who are promoting contemplative spirituality (either directly or by proxy) is so long, it would be easier to give a list of those who don’t (that would be a really small list). It is frustrating to see this Christian Post article on Yoga, knowing that Christian Post has promoted, for a very long time, Christian leaders such as Rick Warren who consistently promote contemplative prayer. We are just wondering when the church is going to take a serious look at the contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation) movement in an honest, responsible, and biblical manner.

As for Yoga in the church, the CP article states that what T.D. Jakes’ wife posted “sparked debate.” Really? Where is the debate in the larger influential circles of Christianity on “Christian” Yoga? There should be debate (rather protesting) against Yoga in the church. But where is it? What we do see is that Yoga is becoming more and more the norm in evangelical churches. While many pastors may not give endorsements for Yoga at the pulpit level, their wives, daughters, and other women in their congregations are doing Yoga regularly (and probably reading Jesus Calling and The Shack in between their Yoga sessions).

There are strange things going on in the evangelical church today—and some of the things that matter most (because they relate to the tearing down of the Gospel itself) are being completely ignored. We remember back in 2003 when Rick Warren said that the contemplative prayer movement was a “hot topic” and in 2010 when Christianity Today said it was a controversial issue, but what we don’t remember is when Christian leaders, Christian media, Christian publishers, and Christian pastors actually believed that.


Note: Lighthouse Trails receives regular phone calls and e-mails from Christians who tell us that their churches are now including Yoga sessions or that many of the women in their churches attend community Yoga sessions. If you are not sure why Yoga is not compatible with Christianity or why contemplative prayer is not biblical, please refer to some of the resources linked to below.

Related Information:

Resources to understand the dangers of Yoga

Articles to read and/or print on Yoga

Resources to understand the dangers of contemplative prayer

Articles to read and/or print on contemplative prayer

Is God to Blame?

By Tony Pearce

During the 1970s, my wife, Nikki, and I used to go and talk to people involved in left-wing political groups about our faith. We made friends with some Jewish socialists who invited us along to a meeting of Young Mapam, a socialist Zionist group. The speaker was a man called Hyam Maccoby who gave a talk on Jesus as a Jewish revolutionary leader against the Romans. We pitched into the discussion afterwards, and some members of the group then invited us along to another meeting where they were going to read pieces of literature which meant something to them.

One of the readings was from a book by Elie Wiesel (d. 2016) called Night about his experiences in Auschwitz. After the reading, someone asked us, “Where was God when the six million were killed?” I really did not know what to say, and so I went away to read Night for myself and think through the issues involved.

My first reaction after reading Night was, “How can I who was born when these events were already history, who has no trace of Jewish blood in my veins, presume to write about an experience so terrible, so far removed from my own experience of life and so painful to the Jewish people?” The answer which came to me was clear: “If you have no answer to the questions raised by this book, how can you claim that Jesus is the answer?”

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

The most eloquent statement of this despair is to be found in Night when the author, as a child, views Birkenau, the reception center for Auschwitz, for the first time:

Flames were leaping from a ditch, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load—little children. Babies! Yes, I saw it—saw it with my own eyes . . . those little children in the flames. (Is it surprising that I could not sleep after that? Sleep had fled from my eyes).

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. . . . Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget those things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.1

So where was God? When such appalling evils take place, is it still possible to believe in the concept of a just God, of a God who loves and cares about humanity? Facing this question is more than just an academic exercise. Cruel dictatorships, concentration camps, torture, and utter wickedness still hold sway in many parts of the Earth, and the Bible warns that in the last days evil men will grow worse and worse and that the whole world will ultimately come under the power of the Antichrist of whom Hitler was a major forerunner.

Who Was Responsible?

The first question which must be asked is, “Who was responsible for creating the death camps and the Nazi terror—God or man?” In Night, Elie Wiesel describes the pious Jews in the camp holding services to worship God on Jewish holy days. This caused him to rage against God for allowing these death camps to exist. (As a point of information, the view expressed here represents Elie Wiesel’s reaction as a child to the horrors he was witnessing. Later as an adult, he maintained his belief in God.):

Thousands of voices repeated the benediction; thousands of men prostrated themselves like trees before a tempest.

Blessed be the name of the Eternal!

Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days? Because in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death?2

Painting by Titian of Cain and Abel (public domain)

This is a very understandable reaction to the enormous suffering of the camps. God is supposed to be in control of the universe; one finds oneself the victim of unbelievable wickedness and cruelty. God appears to be doing nothing about it; therefore, God must be responsible for the evil or just indifferent and powerless.
However, God did not create Auschwitz or any factories of death. People did, people who were motivated by Nazism, an ideology which expressed in its ideas and practice a rebellion against God on a hitherto unknown scale in human history. God did not create Auschwitz; He created human beings perfect, to live in peace and harmony with God and each other. However, since the Fall (Genesis 3), sin has reigned over the human race, and the hostile power of Satan has influenced humanity to rebel against God and disobey His commandments. We have come a long way from Cain taking Abel into the field to murder him to the concentration camps and the frightful weapons of destruction of our time. Nevertheless, the principle remains the same, and the problem remains the same—sin in the heart of human beings. As the Bible says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:21-23)

For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. . . . Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known. (Romans 3:9-12, 15-17)

Twentieth-century history testifies absolutely to this analysis of the human condition. It is significant that such an extreme manifestation of the evil in the human heart took place in a century which began with many people putting their trust in the innate goodness of humanity, the perfectibility of human nature, and the coming of a Golden Age of peace, prosperity, and tolerance through advances in science, education, and politics. What is more, it took place in a country whose contribution to European culture was enormous and which had produced some of the leading 19th century writers and philosophers, many of whom rejected God and placed their trust in man’s ability to save himself through his own efforts. If anything, the Nazi Holocaust should make us lose faith in this kind of optimistic humanism rather than the God of the Bible. This is the implication of the foreword to Night in which the French writer, Francois Mauriac writes about trainloads of Jewish children he saw being taken away from Paris during the Nazi occupation:

The dream which western man conceived in the 18th century, whose dawn he thought he saw in 1789 [the French Revolution], and which until August 2nd 1914 [the outbreak of the first world war], had grown stronger with the progress of enlightenment and the discoveries of science—this dream finally vanished from me before those trainloads of little children.3

The Nazis and God

Those who blame God for the Nazi Holocaust should note that the roots of the Nazi ideology lay in a definite rejection, indeed a bitter hatred of not just Judaism, but the God of the Bible and authentic Christianity. In this connection, it is interesting to note the following thoughts written by Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who first proclaimed that “God is dead.”

That the strong races of Northern Europe have not repudiated the Christian God certainly reflects no credit on their talent for religion.4

[Speaking of the Christian concept of God] [T]he God of the “great majority,” the democrat among Gods [N.B. Nietzsche loathed democracy], has none the less not become a proud pagan God . . . he has remained the god of the nook, the God of all dark corners and places, of all the unhealthy quarters throughout the world!5

What is good?—All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad?—All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness?—The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at all, but war; not virtue, but proficiency. . . . The weak and ill-constituted shall perish: first principle of our philanthropy. And one shall help them to do so. What is more harmful than any vice?—Active sympathy for the weak and ill-constituted: Christianity.6

Christianity is called the religion of pity.—Pity stands in the antithesis to the tonic emotions which enhance the energy of the feeling of life: it has a depressive effect. . . . Pity on the whole thwarts the law of evolution, which is the law of selection. It preserves what is ripe for destruction; it defends life’s disinherited and condemned.7

This philosophy of 19th century German atheism clearly has a spiritual link to Nazi ideology. One wonders what Nietzsche would have thought of the strong, powerful, pitiless ones, the SS, “selecting” the fittest specimens as they ran past them naked—the strong to be worked to death in concentration camps, the weak and “ill-constituted” to be taken away to the gas chambers. What does the modern world need, hard, pitiless anti-Christian men and women, or those who will follow the One that Nietzsche despises so much who said?:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. . . . Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:3, 5, 7, 9)

There is no doubt what kind of people Hitler wanted. He said “Antiquity was better than modern times because it did not know Christianity and syphilis.” His main reasons for rejecting Christianity were as follows:

It was a religion that sided with everything weak and low.

It was purely Jewish and Oriental in origin. Christians “bend their backs to the sound of church bells and crawl to the cross of a foreign God.”

The religion began 2000 years ago among sick, exhausted, and despairing men who had lost their belief in life.

Christian ideas of “forgiveness of sin,” “resurrection,” and “salvation” were just nonsense.

The Christian idea of mercy was dangerous. One must never extend mercy to his enemies. “Mercy is an un-German conception.”

Christian “love” was silly; love paralyzes.

The Christian idea of equality of all human beings meant that the inferior, the ill, the crippled, the criminal, and the weak were protected.8

The Nazis may have marched into battle with “Gott mit uns” (God with us) as their motto, but their god was a pagan antichrist god, and they followed a false messiah, Adolf Hitler, and bowed down before idols of power, physical force, and the dream of world domination by the Teutonic Master Race. Is it surprising that the fruit of this demonic ideology was the nightmare of destruction and slaughter which followed in their wake?

They may also have professed some sort of Christianity, but their aim was to replace authentic Christianity with a program for a “new” Christianity, which consisted of:

Throw out the Old Testament—it is a Jewish book. Also throw out parts of the New Testament.

Christ must be regarded not as Jewish, but as a Nordic martyr put to death by the Jews, a kind of warrior who by His death saved the world from Jewish domination.

Adolph Hitler is the new Messiah sent to earth to rescue the world from the Jews.

The swastika succeeds the cross as the symbol of German Christianity.

German land, German blood, German soul, German art—these four must become the most sacred things of all to the German Christian.9

In effect, the Nazis were replacing Christianity with a new paganism which drew its strength from Wagner’s music and the Nordic myths of pre-Christian times. One of the prime movers in this direction was Alfred Rosenburg to whom Hitler awarded the National Prize, Germany’s version of the Nobel Prize, in 1937. Rosenburg wanted a return to the old Teutonic religion of fire and sword. There was even a hymn for the new German Faith Movement:

The time of the Cross has gone now,
The Sunwheel shall arise,
And so, with God, we shall be free at last
And give our people their honor back.10

So Where Was God?

A Jewish novel, The Last of the Just by André Schwartz-Bart, traces Jewish suffering through many generations and concludes in the time of the Holocaust. There is a very moving scene when a crowd of worshipping Jews leaves a synagogue and is confronted by Nazi troops in the courtyard:

Ernie had a staggering intuition—that God was hovering above the synagogue courtyard, vigilant and ready to intervene. . . . Ernie felt that God was there, so close that with a little boldness he might have touched him. “Stop! Don’t touch my people!” he murmured as if the divine voice had found expression in his own frail throat.11

In the novel, there is a momentary deliverance on that occasion; however, the terrible cycle of death and destruction brought about by the Nazis continued with the massacre of six million Jews and the deaths of millions of Gentiles on the battlefronts and in the concentration camps. Was God silent and indifferent while all this was going on?

God was neither silent nor indifferent, but He was watching and weeping over the wickedness of humanity and the suffering of the people, especially the Jewish people. However, because He has given us free will, the consequence of the wrong choice made by the German people was played out in the events which followed. The final defeat of the Nazis showed God’s ultimate judgment on that wicked political system.

While God was not silent or indifferent, unfortunately much of the church was. There were indeed brave souls, like the ten Boom family in Holland who sacrificed themselves to rescue Jews from the Nazis. But for the most part, the church failed to speak out, and not surprisingly many Jewish people saw “Christians” as the enemy. In the novel The Last of the Just, Ernie Levy, the lead character, marries Golda the night before they are to be taken away to a concentration camp. Their conversation turns to Jesus:

“Oh Ernie,” Golda said, “you know them. Tell me why do the Christians hate us the way they do? They seem so nice when I can look at them without my star.

Ernie put his arm round her shoulder solemnly. “It’s very mysterious,” he murmured in Yiddish. “They don’t exactly know why themselves. I’ve been in their churches and I’ve read their gospel. Do you know who the Christ was? A simple Jew like your father. A kind of Hassid.

Golda smiled gently. “You’re kidding me.”

No, no believe me, and I’ll bet they’d have got along fine, the two of them, because he was really a good Jew, you know sort of like the Baal Shem Tov12—a merciful man, and gentle. The Christians say they love him, but I think they hate him without knowing it. So they take the cross by the other end and make a sword out of it and strike us with it! You understand Golda,” he cried out suddenly strangely excited, “they take the cross and they turn it around, they turn it around, my God”. . . .13

Jesus was much more than “a simple Jew,” but the fact that He was a Jew is one which is totally obvious from the New Testament. Those who call themselves Christians and yet hate the Jews need to repent of anti-Semitism and determine to stand by Jewish people when they suffer persecution, recognizing that the root of anti-Semitism is human hostility to God. Rabbi David Panitz has pointed out in this connection that “the need for atonement through admission of the facts of history is an established Hebraic and Christian doctrine. Until you admit you have been wrong, you cannot begin a reconstruction of your life.”

The professing Christian church has an enormous burden of guilt in relation to the Jewish people. Although Nazi philosophy was pagan and anti-Christian, the seeds of anti-Semitism reaped by the Nazis were sown by the churches in their denunciations of the Jews. At the same time, we have to say that the real Jesus is entirely different from the cruel caricature who takes the cross to beat the Jewish people with. In Ernie Levy’s conversation with Golda, he goes on to say:

Poor Jesus, if he came back to the earth and saw that the pagans had made a sword out of him and used it against his sisters and brothers, he’d be sad, he’d grieve forever. And maybe he does see it.14

(The above article is an excerpt from Tony Pearce’s book The Messiah Factor.  He is also the author of The Jews: Beloved by God, Hated by Many; both Lighthouse Trails publications.)

Endnotes:

1. Elie Wiesel, Night (New York, NY: Bantam books, 1982 edition), pp. 30-32.
2. Ibid., p. 64.
3. Elie Wiesel, Night (Hill and Wang, 1959, First Edition), Foreword, pp. 7-8.
4. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1990 Penguin edition which includes both Twilight of Idols and Anti-Christ; 2003 printing; Kindle version), p. 140.
5. Ibid., p. .140.
6. Ibid., p. 127.
7. Ibid., p. 130.
8. Louis L. Snyder, Hitler and Nazism (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Bantam Edition, 1967), p. 87.
9. Ibid., p. 90.
10. Ibid., p. 91.
11. André Schwartz-Bart, The Last of the Just (New York, NY: The Overlook Press, U.S.A. Edition, 2000; first published in 1960), pp. 157, 159.
12. Baal Shem Tov—”Master of the Good Name,” the title given to Israel ben Eliezer (1698-1760), the founder of the Hasidim movement.
13. Andre Schwartz-Bart, The Last of the Just, op. cit., p. 213.
14. Ibid., p. 213.

One Woman’s Journey Into Calvinism

LTRP Note: Brenda Nickel is featured in Caryl Matrisciana’s film Wide is the Gate, Vol. 2. Her book on Calvinism was on Caryl’s website for a number of years until Caryl’s passing in 2016 after which the website was dismantled. Today, Brenda has a website called Calvinism No More.

My Journey Into Calvinism by Brenda Nickel

My Introduction to Calvin

My introduction to John Calvin came one spring night while driving down a desolate Wyoming highway. It was early evening. The road conditions were mildly challenging, which was often the case in that part of the country. I was listening intently to reformed theologian R. C. Sproul lecture about Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” I remember the moment well. The full moon lit up the prairie between the low buttes. The blowing snow was swirling across the road. The scenery was soothing, yet my mind was racing. Could it be that God elects some to eternal salvation? Did He deliberately choose some to be saved, but not all? While I thought I was about to learn more about Jesus Christ and His truth, in reality, I was about to learn more about the teachings of a man named John Calvin.

A few short years prior to that spring evening, I had become a born-again believer in Jesus Christ by placing full faith in the gospel. My life became brand new. I was hungry to know truth and absorb as much as I could about Jesus and the Bible. I wanted to help others to be saved. As a new believer, I loved the church, I loved believers, and I craved truth. I also trusted my pastor to lead me to solid, biblical teachings but instead, my pastor led me to the teachings of men. Little did I know that the teaching my pastor recommended would redirect my walk of faith in ways that would be difficult for me to escape. That spring night, my thinking had been instantly taken captive by a new approach to interpreting the Bible. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). That night, I learned that God not only loved me enough to sacrifice His Son for my sins, but I erroneously learned He had supposedly chosen me before the foundations of the world. In that lecture, I was taught that I was in the mind of God before Jesus was even ordained for the cross. And that He had predestined me to salvation before I was even conceived. Tears of joy were streaming down my face as I thanked God for His unspeakable love. However, what began in tears of joy, ended in tears of despair fourteen years later. The question I asked myself, years later, was, “How did this despair set in, and who was this man John Calvin?”

Fascination with Calvinism

Being introduced to the Calvinist idea that “God predetermines whomever He wills for salvation” left me with many unanswered questions. Walking back into my pastor’s office to return the borrowed cassette tapes, I sat down to ask questions about these teachings and discuss the impact they had on me. I explained how my thinking had completely shifted toward a different view of God and salvation. I told how I couldn’t think of anything other than this new characteristic of God. When faced with this probing inquiry, my pastor merely chuckled and said, “I knew that would happen.” I detected a slight reluctance to explain this hidden secret that I was now privy to. I felt left on my own to figure out whether this teaching of “selective salvation” was really true and biblical. Since no objections to my concerns were made, I took my pastor’s acknowledgment as an endorsement of God’s sovereign predestination of the “elect” to salvation.

Returning home, I began searching my Bible to see if this elective prerogative of God was indeed true. Finding several verses that “seemed” to back up the type of election I had heard in the Sproul lectures, I became increasingly convinced that sovereign election was taught in the Scriptures. After telling my friends of my “conversion” on the highway that night, they, too, found verses for me that pointed to “sovereign” election and predestination. Everywhere I turned this so-called deeper understanding of God’s Word was reinforced. It began to be established in my thinking. It was molding and taking shape in my mind. It was increasingly confirmed by others. I felt privileged to have discovered this new insight into the mysterious purposes of God. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my thinking had been totally taken captive by a scholar’s mere suggestion, coupled with supposed scriptural support, which caused me to understand the Bible and its verses in a completely new light. I trusted this scholar’s supposed intellectual prowess. I dropped my guard and adopted this new interpretive framework. I could “see” this new viewpoint and follow its logic. Now, years later, I fully comprehend the importance of heeding the warnings in the Bible about false teachings, but back then, I was completely trusting and unsuspecting. I was a sitting duck and ripe for deception. “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,” (2 Timothy 3:6). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8). The intense fascination I had with this subject of predestination demonstrated how completely I had been taken captive by this different way of understanding the Bible. I yearned to learn all I could about this theology and the implications it had for my Christian walk. And because the seed of sovereign election had been planted in my mind, I began pursuing the teachings of Calvinism to see how it all worked. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).

Laying Down the Foundation

Bible study took on a whole new dimension after my “conversion” to sovereign election. Week after week, I braved the blowing snow and howling winds of Wyoming to gather with my Christian friends to study God’s Word. This little church had become home to me. I loved learning the Bible, especially when predestination was hinted at. The mere mention of the topic always piqued my interest because I craved the validation of my new-found knowledge. I soaked up passages about election like a sponge, relishing all the “proof” I could find for this doctrine. Memorizing these verses was an easy and delightful task. Tracking these verses was sport for me. I started a card file, marking the index cards that had predestination passages on them with a big “P” and memorized them. Unwittingly, I was laying a foundation for the reformed view of “election” by plucking verses from their context and setting them side by side like bricks. Every time I ran across a verse that mentioned predestination, election, calling, choosing, or foreknowledge, it meant one thing to me: “God chose me.” I misunderstood the Scriptures that said believers are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and understood them to mean, instead, that I was predestined to salvation. I always understood verses in the light of Calvinism rather than within their context. Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” During this early and formative stage, the term Calvinism wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. It was a foreign term to me, but that would soon change. Within the year, my family and I moved to Salt Lake City. We found it to be a clean and convenient city with world class skiing only a few miles from our front door. Life seemed crisp, pleasant, and brand new. We had finally left the ever-blowing Wyoming wind behind, although leaving my church friends wasn’t easy. Even the fierce summer heat of Utah was a welcomed change. Life in the beehive state was better than I would have imagined.

My first order of business in Salt Lake was finding a church home and getting plugged into a Bible study. My family and I found a great church and many of its members participated in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), a Bible study that offered seven rotating, one-year courses. My first year in Salt Lake introduced me to a whole range of new people and new opportunities for learning and serving. Still somewhat shy about the teaching of predestination, I was surprised to find hints of election sprinkled throughout the teaching notes of this Bible study. References to the “sovereignty of God,” “God choosing His own,” “the call of God,” “God hardening hearts,” “God giving grace to the elect,” and similar catch phrases all conveyed their inclination toward the sovereign election of God. My ears were keenly attuned to any shred of this teaching. I remember thinking, “Perhaps this teaching is more accepted than I realized.” My shyness gave way to cautiously approaching the subject with others. I carefully engaged others in discussions about “predestination.” Wherever possible, I gently broached the topic in the halls between church services, in the parking lot, on the phone with friends, and with those in my Bible study discussion group. I guardedly pressed with innocent questions to filter out who was safe to discuss election with and who was not. To my surprise, many Christians agreed with the type of election I had come to believe in. I was gaining assurance from people and the popularity of these teachings, rather than from the Scriptures.

About this time, I was introduced to the teachings of the well-known Calvinist pastor, John MacArthur. After asking my church elders about him and being assured he was a solid and safe Bible teacher, I signed up with his lending library to receive sermon tapes—six at a time—which I quickly turned around for another six tapes. I even considered taking out two memberships so I could listen to one set as the other set was being fulfilled. My heart was thrilled to be redeeming the long hours of household chores by listening to “good” teaching. All I needed was my fanny pack and Walkman, which became fixtures about my hips. I found John Macarthur to be a gifted and convincing expositor, of course, for his point of view. The lending library catalog allowed me to choose from hundreds of sermons for nearly any subject I could imagine. First and foremost on my list were selections covering sovereign election. As questions surfaced about some aspect of election, I merely looked up the passage in the library catalog and requested the sermon I wanted. Listening to these tapes created an insatiable appetite for still more audio teaching which prompted the ordering of more tapes from other teachers, all of whom were sympathetic to sovereign election. The hundreds and hundreds of lectures and sermons that were pumped into my mind were supplying me with a steady diet of one or more points of Calvinism. My shy caution about publicly discussing election with others was now giving way to empowerment. The questions I had once asked of my Wyoming pastor were now being answered in full detail. I was being fortified with the pat responses any trained Calvinist gives out verbatim. It wasn’t long before I, too, talked and thought like a skilled, four-point Calvinist (which I’ll explain later).  . . . To continue reading Brenda Nickel’s testimony, My Journey into Calvinism, click here.

Note: Brenda was involved with Calvinism for 14 years and came out of it in 2004.

Related Information:

For Lighthouse Trails resources on Calvinism and Reformed Theology, click here.

 

Letter to the Editor: Jesus Movement of 70s Not Same as Emerging Church Today

Dear Lighthouse Trails editors:

Do you remember “the Jesus Movement” of the late 60s and early 70s? The Lord brought to my mind something, and I thought I would share. I don’t know what was taking place where you lived in that era, however, where I lived, kids were bringing God’s Word with them to school. God’s Word was vitally important to them during that time. I am quite sure you realize that this new movement [the emerging church] does not emphasize God’s Word and, in fact, encourages reading nearly everything BUT God’s Word.

I was just amazed at the difference between the two movements!

Blessings!

Rita

LT Comments:

You have made an excellent point. Once, about 13 years ago, we received a call from a local Christian newspaper in Oregon. The reporter wanted to interview us about the emerging church as she felt that what happened in the 70s Jesus movement was identical to the emerging church today. We explained to her that it wasn’t the same at all because in the 70s, there was an emphasis on the Word, and that is what the hippies were being given by pastors at the churches they would attend. And as you have well said, today, the emphasis is on everything but the Word. What you say in your letter is important for people to understand.

That said, at Lighthouse Trails, we have often wondered what happened to all the young people of the 70s who got saved. Some of them, we know, are doing well in the Lord, using discernment and understanding the times in which we live. But what about all the young hippie-turned-Christian musicians from that time period? Where are they today, and why do we not hear about any of them regarding the present-day apostasy that is taking place in the church? We spoke once by e-mail with Barry McGuire (a Jesus-movement musician), only to be told by him that he now believes in universalism. We have spoken with Chuck Girard and sent him materials. While we believe, based on comments he said to one of our authors once, that he gets some of it, he remains silent. Ray Yungen personally hand delivered a copy of A Time of Departing to Amy Grant once in Portland, Oregon, knowing that she admired contemplatives such as Brennan Manning, and he wanted to alert her. Of course, he never heard anything back from her. Does she still promote contemplatives? We don’t know. We know that John Michael

Keith Green (photo from wikipedia; used with permission)

Talbot, another 70s Jesus movement musician, joined the Catholic church and is a contemplative monk now. Rich Mullins was gleaning from mystic contemplative Brennan Manning very much so. We don’t know where he would have ended up in his walk as he was killed in an automobile accident. One musician who did sing about the apostasy was Keith Green who was definitely warning Christians to take their Christian walk seriously. He also wrote a report called The Catholic Chronicles, exposing the false doctrines of the Catholic Church. Keith died in a plane crash when he was 28 years. We wonder what he would think about the church if he was here today.

The point we are trying to make here is that there may have been something missing from the pastors and Christian leaders back in the 70s—something that is similar in today’s church. Were the pastors and Christian leaders from the 70s teaching these young ex-hippies who came to Christ what the Bible says about spiritual deception and how to be discerning in a world that is growing spiritually darker? The Catholic charismatic renewal movement was taking place at about the same time and spilled over into the evangelical church so there became a great emphasis on signs and wonders, and eventually even the initial emphasis on the Word was overtaken. Perhaps that is how, at least in part, we got where we are today.

A Godless Righteousness in a Brave New World

By Pastor Bill Randles

Do you remember the social and moral revolution of the 1960s? The counter-culture youth movement was destined to break all the rules and liberate society from the dreary bondage of the past. They were going to show us how to do it the right way! As an anthem from that day proclaimed, “All the world over so easy to see, that people everywhere just want to be free.”

Isn’t it ironic that many of those same revolutionaries, now come of age, have created a society that is vastly more restricted than the one they worked so hard to undermine? We now live in a “brave new world” in which every aspect of daily life is hyper-regulated, speech is scrutinized to the point of absurdity, and even thought is criminalized (hate crimes laws)!

Although they have, in large part, cast off the shackles of any fear of God, they have a rigid concept of “righteousness”: they are very religious about global warming, population control, a woman’s right to choose (abortion), tolerance of all religions (except of course biblical Christianity), woman’s liberation, transgender acceptance, and multi-culturalistic dogmas.

My theory is that they are so religious, although godless, because people are made in the image of God and must have some kind of religion (belief system). Furthermore, they are raised in America, where once a vast Christian consensus permeated our society and its institutions. It is for this reason that there has developed among the secular elite a “godless righteousness.”

The idea of any accountability for the sins enumerated in the ten commandments has been cast off, but they have their own tablets of stone. “Thou shalt not, ever, ever, make a moral judgment,” “Thou shalt not smoke (in public or private),” “Thou shalt support all forms of abortion,” “Thou shalt not claim any absolute truth,” “Thou shalt not think western civilization is any better than any other culture,” and so on and so forth.

It has often been pointed out that as long as these pieties are observed, it doesn’t really matter what a person does as an individual. All personal indiscretions are excused as long as these positions are held.

The real sins, which have proliferated and intensified as a result of the sexual revolution of the sixties (i.e. the rampant fornication, the destruction of marriages, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and pornography) affect the consciences of those who practice and promote them whether they believe in God or not. One cannot escape the psychological trauma of these evils by just dismissing the concept of a God or a binding personal morality.

That’s part of the reason why the liberal unbelieving masses have developed an alternative morality, to try to feel good about themselves, to assuage their conscience. They have to assure themselves over and over again that they are all right, because they support Cause x, and wear the ribbon in solidarity of Cause Y. They are good people, on the good side regardless of their personal immorality.

In short, godless righteousness isn’t individual—it is collective. As long as you hold to the “politically correct” views, you are “in right standing” regardless of your personal failings. This is why the counter culture has always shamelessly championed people like Che Guevarra, a mass murderer, Albert Kinsey a known fraud and sexual pervert, and other personally sordid fellow travelers. As long as they hold to the dogma, it doesn’t matter.

The tragedy is that this righteousness is a sham and will be found to be as helpful as Adam and Eve’s fig leaves on the day of Judgment. It may feel good to “be in the right” with the culture—there is no doubt a certain satisfaction in it. But there is no way that “godless righteousness” can heal the troubled conscience. Is this why this generation needs so much valium? There is no possibility that “godless righteousness” can take away the shame of sin, and it certainly will not reconcile anyone to the true and Holy God.

There is a true righteousness, a right standing that can be obtained before God, but only as a gift to be received from Him. The good news is that what God demands, perfect righteousness, God provides for us, as Scripture says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” 2 Corinthians 5:21. The world can offer no true righteousness but Christ can.

Used with permission.

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