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Letter to the Editor: Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I have come to realize that discernment is a gift like no other. It is a blessing and a “curse” at the same time. A blessing because it provides a person with insight that allows them to take precautions so as to not be led astray by wolves and/or blind leaders. On the other hand it is “curse” because it is often met at the door by the pride of other believers. Case in point, if a discerning Christian tells another believer that it is troubling to see men like Charles Stanley and John MacArthur share a platform at Proclaim 19 with people like Rick Warren, then he/she is quite often labeled undiscerning or divisive. After all, most believers do not want to think that their spiritual heroes could be wolves in sheep’s clothing and that their own levels of discernment may be lacking.

Now, contrast that with a gift like a great voice or the ability to speak publicly. Such gifts are easily spotted by others and are quickly put to good use within the church. Few people would deny that someone like Josh Groban has a great voice and fewer still would ever suggest that they can sing as well as him. Why? Because most people cannot sing as well as him and they know it! Likewise, few people would deny that Charles Spurgeon was a great orator and fewer still would ever suggest that they can orate as well as he did. Why? Because most people cannot orate as well as him and they know it!

Discernment is the only gift that I can think of that has the roadblock of pride (of others) standing in its way. All other gifts are deemed valuable to the body of Christ. Only the gift of discernment is repeatedly kicked to the proverbial curb simply because everyone and their dog likes to believe that they possess it themselves. And so, when the person who actually has it shares his/her insight with others, out come the fists: “Are you suggesting that I lack discernment because I see absolutely nothing wrong with Charles Stanley sharing the platform with Priscilla Shirer? Are you serious dude? Do you know how many people that they have led to the Lord?”

All that to say, I believe that one of the only gifts that is not fully utilized in the church is discernment, which makes it a “curse” for those of us who have it. After all, out of love we try to shout from the rooftops to those down below so as to warn them about the field of landmines that they are about to walk into. And yet, no one seems to listen on account of their pride and/or blindness. The end result (at least for me) is that our hearts are in continually mourning for our brethren.

Yes, discernment is a blessing because it helps to prevent us from stepping into a trap ourselves, but it is also a “curse” because the body of Christ fails to acknowledge that not everyone has it. Thus, it is usually rendered virtually useless inside the church. I say “virtually” only because there are still some members of the church body who are willing to swallow their pride and test/heed the huge list of warnings of loving Christians like you, Warren Smith, Chris Lawson, Roger Oakland, Ray Yungen, etc. Personally, I am convinced that those who refuse to do so are setting themselves up for a tremendous fall in the days to come due to their own pride.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

May God bless and protect all of you and your families, as well as your ministries. Keep up the good fight!


(photo from; used with permission)

Editor's Note: We do not believe this reader actually means that to have discernment is a curse. This word was used to show how difficult it is express discernment openly in this day and age. An excellent article on discernment is one we posted in May by Dr. Shelton Smith titled "Spiritual Discernment What It Is and How to Get It."


New Report Reveals “‘Shadow Over Europe’ as Anti-Semitism and Fading Memory of Holocaust Rise”

Photo: Jews being held at gun point during Holocaust; from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; used with permission

LTRP Note: In September of this year, a book publisher in Germany (under contract with Lighthouse Trails Publishing) released a German translation of Trapped in Hitler’s Hellby Anita Dittman and Jan Markell. Anita, 91, grew up in Germany and was 13 years old in 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. From the time she was six, she experienced cruel anti-Semitic treatment, but in the midst of those years, Anita found the Lord Jesus and still serves Him today. We hope and pray that Germans and other Europeans will not forget the Holocaust, but according to this new report below, “the memory of the Holocaust” is starting “to fade.” This is not just happening in Europe but is taking place in Canada and the U.S. as well. There are young people who have never even heard of the Holocaust, and within our western society (including much of pseudo-Christianity), anti-Semitism is on the rise and many proclaiming Christian leaders and pastors say nothing, partly because many of them believe that Israel and the Jews hold no significance in God’s eyes anymore. We are grateful to the German publisher who is trying to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in Europe.

“‘Shadow Over Europe’ as Anti-Semitism and Fading Memory of Holocaust Rise”

By Eliana Rudee
Israel Media Network

A report by CNN has revealed a “shadow over Europe” in the context of recent polls illustrating anti-Semitic stereotypes that are “alive and well” in Europe as the memory of the Holocaust starts to fade. Pollster ComRes partnering with CNN interviewed more than 7,000 people across Europe, including respondents in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden.

The report maintained that a third of Europeans know “just a little” or “nothing at all” about the mass murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust and Second World War. A quarter believed Jews have too much influence in business, finance, global conflict and wars. One in five believed Jews have too much influence in media and politics and that anti-Semitism is a response to the everyday actions of Jews. Click here to continue reading.

Comments From Our Readers

The following are some of the comments that came in this past two weeks from our readers regarding articles posted on our blog. Some of these comments were made on our blog; others were made on the LT Facebook page. If you would like to post a comment to one of our articles, you may do so at the blog. You only need to give your first name. We would be grateful to hear from you, and such feedback is helpful for others:

What Are Breath Prayers?: A large congregational church in my Southwestern Ontario small town offers a page on their website where one can find a list of daily meditations to click on, listen to and do. Some of the meditations are "Examens", others begin with relaxation techniques and "focusing on the breath", "visualizing" oneself in some quiet place, etc. This is bona fide New Age meditation. The pastor said he learned these techniques at seminary. We are certainly living in a time when seducing spirits and doctrines of demons have swept into our churches. The return of our Lord is near. Heidi

What Are Breath Prayers?: The pastor of the Baptist church we started to attend, right before they changed the name of the church to remove Baptist from the title of the church so as not to offend anybody, taught and encouraged breath prayers. A small booklet was passed out that is printed by [formerly Campus Crusade for Christ] and distributes stuff for campus crusades for Christ lead by Bill Bright whom the pastor says he was introduced to breath prayers. The booklet is titled Satisfied?; on page 9, it teaches exhale- confess your sins the moment you become aware of it.... inhale- surrender control of your life to Christ and.... not an atypical breath prayer designed to induce meditation but its similar and not biblical. Pat

The Death of John Chau: Thank you for posting this timely and important article. I have read each of the books and articles you have mentioned and watched the DVDs. I highly recommend all of them. As a family with a member who is planning to go to the mission field to an unreached people group in a land hostile to Christianity, other Christians need to make themselves aware of this issue today and support these missionaries who are willing to go out to fulfill the Great Commission as Christ commanded to go into ALL the world and preach the gospel. Not every one of us can be at the front lines of the battle, but we can all play a supporting role, even if it means praying or giving to help those who are. Every job is important. The analogy may be one of battle, which the world resists, but the mission is love, which we, and they, must never forget. Bonnie

The Death of John Chau: The blood of the missionaries and martyrs is never spilled in vain. Missionary work, evangelism, which can only be done by sharing the gospel, is what Jesus told us to do. It's called "the Great Commission," for those yet unfamiliar or babies in Christ, and can be found in Matthew 28 and Acts 1. That mandate stands until the return of Jesus. The one who hates it most is the devil, because he does not want lost souls saved. It's that simple, and he has again, like with so many other aspects of the apostasy, deceived the gullible with another poisoned apple. In this also the devil is calling good evil, and evil good. But the true Bride knows better! Thank you for posting this in honor of this missionary! Anna

Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”: Peterson's books were required reading in a doctor of ministry program in which we were enrolled. It was obvious from these writings that this "learned" man was off-course, biblically speaking. Susan

Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”: While I totally agree with all these comments are not ALL Christians to have discernment according to scripture at least discernment that goes by knowing His word which is seriously lacking too! Julie

Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”: This message really touched my heart... I am reminded of "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem." Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 "And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." At times, the LORD Jesus was very sorrowful while He walked this earth, and I believe He still has sorrow in His heart for those who reject Him, and great compassion for those who have been led astray by the Wicked One. May we continue to stand for the true and living God, and His Holy Word; while we seek to have a closer walk with our LORD every day! Amen! Philippians 3:10-12 "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." May God have mercy on His people who are walking in Darkness, but truly believe it is the Light! C. Read

Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”: I agree so much with this! I too have warned people of teachers/teachings that do not align with the word of God. I have taken books that were given to me to read, read them, made notes with arguments written out and given them back noting the false info that was given in said books. Such as "Jesus Calling", Beth Moore studies etc. to no avail. I have handed out the book by Warren B. Smith "Another Jesus Calling" and so many of them said they have the Jesus calling book and read it and it brought them so much comfort. I even have given out your little pamphlets that are written for this purpose, to warn them about all of the above but there is never a conversation about it. I have also discussed the "Message" bible with them but this last year people are using it in our bible study and they like it. My heart is breaking and I don't know how to continue forward. JH

Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”: While discerning of spirits is a gift (1 Cor 12:10) I do not believe that "discernment" in general is a gift as much as an acquired skill that comes from obtaining knowledge about a specific topic. In regards to biblical discernment we are told that it comes from studying and applying God's Word "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb 5:14 KJV) The lack of discernment in the Body of Christ comes from the lack of use of God's Word. It is a lack of maturity. The more you use it and study it the more mature and discerning you become. For me, I am much more concerned and curious about how established teachers who have a history of studying and applying God's Word suddenly are unable or unwilling to "discern" what they are doing and the impact it has on others. Confronting others is both difficult and a blessing because there is always the chance we make a difference. "And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jde 1:22-23 KJV) Victor


Letter to the Editor: Having Discernment – Both a Blessing and a “Curse”
New Report Reveals “‘Shadow Over Europe’ as Anti-Semitism and Fading Memory of Holocaust Rise”
Comments From Our Readers

The Death of John Chau – A Missionary’s Attempt to Bring Light Into Darkness

The Story Behind Lighthouse Trails
From Physics to Metaphysics – The “Evolution” of Evolution
LT Caller: What Are Breath Prayers?
NEW! T.A. McMahon (Berean Call) Interview With Former New Age Follower Warren B. Smith on “God’s Dream”
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Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company and research project ministry. We work with a group of Christian journalists and authors, all who understand the times in which we live from a biblical perspective. While we hope you will buy and read the books and booklets we have published, watch the DVDs we have produced, and support our ministry, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, e-newsletter, and now our subscription based print journal. We pray that the products as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, trusting in Him for the salvation of their souls.

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(NOW IN 7 COUNTRIES). Visit the Understand the Times website for the latest updates on the Bryce Homes International missions outreach.



The Death of John Chau – A Missionary’s Attempt to Bring Light Into Darkness

John Allen Chau – Instagram

Two weeks ago,  a 26-year-old Christian man named John Allen Chau was killed when he attempted to make contact with a remote tribe on North Sentinel Island, one of the Andaman Islands of India According to reports, Chau had spent several years preparing for the trip, saying that he wanted to tell these isolated uncontacted people about Jesus Christ. While there are almost countless news reports and opinion pieces about Chau’s visit to the island and his subsequent death and whether it was right or wrong for him to go, one thing is apparent: John Chau believed the Lord was leading him to tell this tribe about God’s love.

It’s always been hard (impossible?) for unbelievers to understand evangelism and mission work. To them, missionaries are invading the lives of people groups who are “perfectly fine and happy” in their own cultures. Even some evangelical missionary societies have changed the way they do missions (from “the old days”) and have stopped preaching the Gospel and rather are telling people groups that they can keep their culture and beliefs—just add Jesus to the mix (e.g., a Hindus can still stay Hindu, a Muslim can still remain a Muslim). Roger Oakland writes about this in Faith Undone and his booklet The New Missiology: Doing Missions Without the Gospel.1 Oakland quotes one emergent leader, Brian McLaren, as saying:

I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. (McLaren, Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293)

One article Oakland quoted explains this missiology without the Gospel quite accurately:

Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. [A] Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to “hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices” so as to refrain from offending others within their culture. (Watchman Trumpet, May/June 2000)

One man who came from a tribe much like the one John Chau was hoping to reach is Chief Shoefoot, who was a Yanomamo tribal leader, warrior, and shaman. In the film,  I’ll Never Go Back, Chief Shoefoot describes the lifestyle of himself and his tribe, explaining that it was anything but “perfectly fine and happy.” There was murder, rape, theft, witchcraft, drug use, and no joy or peace . . .  until that is, a missionary came into Chief Shoefoot’s life and told him about Jesus Christ.

Chief Shoefoot

The reason we find Chief Shoefoot’s story so important is because the emergent church (and other anti-missions groups) are trying to convince people that missionary work is unnecessary (and even evil), and unconverted people should be left alone, or at the very least not told their cultural spiritual beliefs are wrong.  One of our favorite books that we publish, Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires, was written in the late 1800s by Egerton Ryerson Young, a missionary to the Cree Native people in Manitoba, Canada. Young, his wife, and their two children lived among the Cree, and a deep mutual love and respect grew between the Youngs and the Cree people. Young came to witness and greatly admire the incredible intelligence and survival skills the Cree had; but he also saw they were a group of people who were lost and in despair and needed Jesus Christ. Many of the Cree committed their lives to Jesus during the time Young was with them. Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Cree woman and a Lighthouse Trails author from Canada, grew up as the daughter and granddaughter of medicine men. As she describes in her biography, Muddy Waters, her childhood was filled with occultism and spiritual darkness. Today, she testifies to others of the light that came into her life through Christ.

While the world and apostate groups, such as the emerging church, are working hard to convince others that missionaries are wrong to try to convert unsaved souls, at Lighthouse Trails we have a high respect for those who give their lives sacrificially so that others may come to know the Light of the World. Perhaps John Allen Chau miscalculated his mission trip to the Sentinelese people, but one thing seems very apparent: He believed that the most important thing that could happen to the Sentinelese people would be for them to hear that a Savior had died on the Cross and had risen from the dead to save them from their sins, and that they could be brought out of darkness into the light—that eternal life and a peace that passes all understanding is theirs if they forsake their own ways and turn to Him and receive Him into their lives. In spite of any shortcomings John Allen Chau may have had in planning his trip, he was willing to take the risk of being pierced to death so that a lost people might hear the wonderful News of One who was “wounded [pierced] for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

Ten-minute video preview from I’ll Never Go Back with Chief Shoefoot: (If you cannot see this video preview, click here.)

Related Articles and Resources:

“I’ll Never Go Back” DVD full interview – Special low price during this week

All Nations Grieves Reported Death of ‘Humble, Courageous’ Missionary on Remote Indian Ocean Island

Other resources at Lighthouse Trails pertaining to missions and the “new” missiology

Note: If you are an active missionary and have a U.S. mailing address we can use, we will send you a free copy of Roger Oakland’s booklet, The New Missiology: Doing Missions Without the Gospel and a free copy of I’ll Never Go Back DVD. Just send your name and mailing address to: We will keep your information confidential.

The Story Behind Lighthouse Trails

LTRP Note: We are reposting this background article for those who have been asking how Lighthouse Trails got started.

By Deborah Dombrowski
Editor – Lighthouse Trails

Part One: “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.”

Every good mystery starts off with “It was a dark and stormy night.” But this is a different kind of mystery. It’s about a church, a Bride, that was mysteriously kidnapped by a dark, deceitful stranger who came as an angel of light and promised her many great things if she would just follow him. And it’s about a small insignificant publishing company who teamed up with members of the Bride who did not succumb to the angel of light, in an effort to find out what happened to her and how to bring her back to safety.

In the summer of 2000, there was no Lighthouse Trails Publishing. There wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s mind about it. Dave and I were nearing the final round of raising a half a dozen kids in a small town in Oregon, one nestled in the Cascade foothills. We had been alerted in 1997 to a thing called Y2K and helped put together a task force in our little town. Not because we thought the world was coming to an end on December 31, 1999. We didn’t. But we were stirred from our every day lives of soccer games, raising kids, going to church, small time campaigning to keep the homosexual agenda out of the schools, helping friends in need, supporting ministries like Focus on the Family—you know, just the regular stuff a good Christian family does. In twenty-five years of being part of the church after getting saved in the ’70s (I in a barn with a Bible and some cows, Dave in army barracks in Germany), there were a lot of things we had never heard about in the pulpits. At first, in the ’70s, we heard a lot about Jesus’ return, and it wasn’t unusual to hear the Gospel preached on Sundays with people going forward in altar calls and getting saved. It was exciting, and there was anticipation in the air that the rapture could happen at any time. But over time, that kind of talk ceased, altar calls died down and were replaced with lots of other things: signs and wonders that were said to all be from God, boycotts and legislation efforts to turn our country into a “Christian” culture, songs that started leaving Jesus and the Cross out, and in many cases drums so loud, you wouldn’t be able to hear the words anyway, or songs about all the great things we could do if we would just unite together.

When Y2K came, it jolted us and reminded us that our time on this earth is very temporal, and the Bible talks about a time where people will become very deceived, not realizing the times in which we live. While we did not believe that the culmination of time would end at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999, we did believe God wanted to get our attention. We just weren’t sure what for at the time. 2000 rolled in rather uneventfully, and life continued. However, in 1998 a friend had told us about an author she knew in Salem (Oregon) who wrote about how the New Age was coming into the evangelical church. While we knew something about the New Age, it was a term that was never mentioned in the pulpit of any church we had ever been to, so the remark slipped quietly away for two years.

In the fall of 2000, our then sixteen-year-old daughter was a Young Life intern. Young Life is a national organization that reaches out to young people in public schools with a Christian message. One day in October, she brought home a list of required reading for the year. It contained books by twelve authors, most of whom we nor our daughter had ever heard of. Four of them would soon change our lives forever: Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning.

About a week after our daughter brought home the list of required reading, a local pastor (who we met during Y2K) called because he was trying to get some information about a college his kids wanted to attend. “Deborah, remember you told me a couple years ago about an author around here who wrote about the New Age coming into the church? I wonder if you can find out about that.” After that call, I contacted my old friend who had told me about this author, and she immediately said, “Deborah, it’s time you met Ray Yungen.”

A week later, I sat in a Keizer, Oregon coffee shop, a few minutes early for my appointment with Mr. Yungen. Right on time, in bounded a 6’4” pleasant looking kind of guy carrying in each arm bundles of magazines, newspaper clippings, and books. After plopping down his obviously well-read stacks of materials, he bought me a fifty-cent cup of house coffee then proceeded to talk to me for over an hour. When early in the talk, he mentioned Thomas Merton and Richard Foster, something told me this was a providential meeting. And when a little later he mentioned Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen, I was beginning to get the picture. This man had been sent to save my daughter from reading books by men who called themselves Christians but who, in reality, were bringing in a mystical spirituality under the guise of Christianity. Before I left that meeting with Ray, he handed me a brown envelope. “I’ve written a book about this, but it isn’t published yet. I call it A Time of Departing. I’ve been carrying it around for two years. I wonder if you and your husband would like to read it.” I took the package and left.

It would be an understatement to say that reading that manuscript opened our eyes and changed our lives forever. And if someone had told us back then that within two years from that day in the coffee shop we would start a publishing ministry and eventually take on the Christian leaders in North America, we probably would have run the other way. Frankly, at the time, we thought Ray Yungen’s book came just in time to help warn the church so contemplative spirituality would not enter it. We thought there could be no way that too many Christians would even consider going down the contemplative path. It just seemed so obvious to us how dangerous and anti-biblical it was. We thought that if we could warn some of the more influential leaders (like Rick Warren), they would be so happy to be warned, they would probably go out and write their own books warning about contemplative prayer, and we could just go back to our “normal” lives and leave this kind of thing up to them.

We had a lot of misconceived thoughts in those days, and we had no idea what was about to happen.

Part 2: “A Hot Topic That Just Wouldn’t Go Away”

After reading the unpublished manuscript, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen (our new-found brother in the faith) in the fall of 2000, the first thing that seemed reasonable to do was to meet with the Young Life Director of Training for Oregon. I was concerned about my daughter’s involvement with Young Life but also was thinking about all the thousands of Young Life leaders and interns who might be introduced to contemplative spirituality through Young Life’s recommended reading list.

I called the Young Life office in Portland and made an appointment. During the week or so interim before the meeting, I began researching contemplative spirituality on the Internet. The only problem was, there was virtually nothing opposing it or critiquing it. But there was plenty supporting it. Finally, I found an article by a John Caddock (from Oregon). His article was written in 1997 and was titled “What is Contemplative Spirituality, and Why is it So Dangerous?.” It was actually a review of Brennan Manning’s book, The Signature of Jesus. That was one of the books Ray had discussed in his manuscript. John Caddock’s article and one other one were the only things we could find on the Internet refuting this mystical prayer that was being called Christian. Essentially, the contemplative issue was not being challenged. Little did we know at the time, it had been simmering in the background within the evangelical church for at least two decades by then and was about to explode wide open.

The day before Ray and I were to meet with the Young Life Director of Training in Portland, I stumbled upon Peter Marshall Jr.’s name on the Internet and saw where he was promoting Henri Nouwen. I didn’t know a lot about Marshall Jr., but I had loved the movie of his father Peter Marshall, A Man Called Peter, a Scottish minister who eventually became U.S. Senate Chaplain back in the ’50s. When I saw the endorsement of Nouwen by Peter Marshall Jr., I e-mailed his office with my concerns and got a rather scathing reply back. In my naivety at the time, I couldn’t believe the e-mail was really from him. So on the morning I was to leave for my appointment with Ray and the Young Life Director, I called the Peter Marshall office. Lo and behold, Peter Marshall, Jr. answered the phone. He acknowledged that it was indeed he who had written the e-mail, and he told me that anyone who would say anything bad about Henri Nouwen or Brennan Manning was committing “Satanic slander.” Marshall expressed strong anger about my having questioned the two contemplative men. I was very taken back by the angry response to what I had thought was an amiable and mild challenge on my part. When Marshall was finished reprimanding me, we said good-bye and hung up. I never had another chance to talk to Peter Marshall Jr., and he died in 2010 at the age of seventy.

When I arrived at the coffee shop in Portland later that morning, Ray was standing in the foyer waiting for me. As I approached him, I said, “You’ll never believe who I just talked to.” I will never forget Ray’s reaction as I shared what had happened. His eyes filled with tears, and he said, “Peter Marshall is a conservative Christian. I am shocked that he would have such a view.” I knew then that Ray Yungen was a brother who did not hate these people but rather had a genuine desire to help people. And as for Marshall’s angry reaction, I later came to find out that an angry reaction was a common denominator from those who promote contemplative spirituality when challenged by someone about it. The list of those I would someday talk to either by phone, e-mail, or letter began with Marshall but would later include: Philip Yancey, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne, Rick Warren, Ken Blanchard, David Jeremiah, Gary Thomas, Keri Wyatt Kent, Richard Foster (indirectly), personnel from Focus on the Family, Beth Moore’s top assistant as well as Charles Stanley’s close assistant, and many others.

From the fall of 2000, when we met Ray, until the end of 2001, we tried to find a publisher who would publish A Time of Departing. We put together a proposal and sent it out to several Christian publishers.

As one rejection letter after the next came in, we grew more and more skeptical that we would find a publisher for A Time of Departing. In the mean time, Ray read in an article somewhere that the top forty Christian publishers would only publish books written by authors who had “significant national platforms.” We knew this left Ray out. He was unknown.

As for Ray’s writing background, he had written For Many Shall Come in My Name (1st edition) in the early nineties, which was published by a small publishing company that eventually went out of business. The book was an exposé on the New Age movement in our society. Several thousand copies of the book had sold, and Ray did a national tour that included interviews with places like Southwest Radio Church, but when Ray’s publisher went under, he was left without any representation.

Meeting Richard Foster

In 1994, a few years after Ray wrote For Many Shall Come in My Name, he was asked by a Salem (Oregon) Missionary Alliance youth pastor to research a man named Richard Foster who would be coming to the pastor’s church soon. Ray had not heard about Foster prior to that time, so before the seminar took place, he read Celebration of Discipline. Ray had been studying the Catholic monk and panentheist Thomas Merton for some time, and as he read Foster, he felt there was a connection between him and Merton. Ray attended the seminar, and afterwards went to the front where Foster was standing and talking to people. Ray describes the brief conversation he had with Foster that evening:

After the seminar ended . . . I approached Foster and politely asked him, “What do you think of the current Catholic contemplative prayer movement?” He appeared visibly uncomfortable with the question, and at first seemed evasive and vague.

He then replied, “Well, I don’t know, some good, some bad (mentioning Matthew Fox as an example of the bad).” In defense, he said, “My critics don’t understand there is this tradition within Christianity that goes back centuries.” He then said something that has echoed in my mind ever since that day. He emphatically stated, “Well, Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people!” I realized then Foster had waded deep into Merton’s belief system.1

Ray began to study Richard Foster in depth after that, and in early 1999, he finished the manuscript of A Time of Departing, with Richard Foster and Thomas Merton as key figures in his critique. Nearly two years later, we met Ray.

While we were seeking a publisher for A Time of Departing and getting a growing stack of rejection letters, Ron, the Salem youth pastor who had invited Ray to the Richard Foster seminar, was at a church conference and found himself sharing a dining table with John Armstrong, a pastor, author, and an adjunct professor at Wheaton College Graduate School. Ron happened to have a copy of Ray’s manuscript with him, and after striking up a conversation, asked Armstrong if he would take the manuscript with him and read it. Armstrong agreed.

Within a couple weeks, Armstrong contacted Ron and said that A Time of Departing was fantastic. He said if Ray would remove chapter six (“Could This Really Be the End of the Age?”), he could probably get Harvest House to publish the book. At first, we were excited, but after prayer and deliberation, Ray, David, and I decided that removing that chapter would seriously diminish the message of the book. It is in that chapter that Ray talks about occultist Alice Bailey (who coined the term New Age) and her prediction that the Age of Aquarius (a supposed age of enlightenment for man when he realizes his divinity) would come through the Christian church by mystical practices and signs and wonders. Chapter six also talks about what the Bible refers to as Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:5) where seducing spirits will deceive the whole world into embracing a new system of spirituality (a one-world religion). Quoting from that chapter, Ray stated:

I]nstead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!2

No, we knew that chapter had to stay. Sadly, and ironically, John Armstrong has, in more recent years, come out as an advocate for the emerging ecumenical church.

One day, after we turned down John Armstrong’s offer to help publish A Time of Departing and after we were beginning to think we would never find a publisher for this vitally important book, a little light came on, so to speak, and I said to David, “Why don’t we start our own publishing company and publish the book ourselves?” We prayed that God would open the door if that’s what He wanted us to do, and after talking to Ray, we mutually agreed that this was how we could get the book published.

We knew nothing about publishing. I was a small-time free-lance writer and had written my own biography, and Dave had a degree in English from Portland State University. But that hardly prepared us to start a publishing company. I bought a bunch of books from Amazon, one of which was called How to Publish a Book and Sell a Million Copies. It seemed only logical that if we were going to publish a book, selling a million copies would certainly get our message out. However, when I read that book, one of the things it advised was, Don’t write anything “controversial” if you are interested in “large sales.” It was then I knew that Lighthouse Trails would never be a big publishing company that sold millions of books. We started off controversial, and nearly seventeen years later, we are still considered controversial. Sadly, “controversial” is increasingly coming to mean “something devoted to the biblical Gospel.”

In March of 2002, we opened a business bank account with one hundred dollars and officially started Lighthouse Trails Publishing (later to become an LLC and then an Inc. in 2017). Our motto would be “bringing light to areas of darkness.” Six months later, we released the first edition of A Time of Departing.

Rick Warren Enters the Picture

Right about the same time as A Time of Departing was being released, another book, by a large Christian publishing house, was also being released. While we were picking up the first printing of our new release from a small printer in Washington state, unbeknownst to us at the time, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was being released as well and would soon be a New York Times best seller, eventually reaching sales of over 35 million copies. It would turn into a rabbit versus a turtle race to get our messages out, but because we believed that contemplative spirituality would draw people away from the Gospel rather than to it, we felt our efforts were necessary and that God would get our warning out as He saw fit.

In the spring of 2003, we sent a copy of A Time of Departing to Rick Warren thinking we should warn this now-popular pastor of the contemplative prayer movement. He wrote back a personal note on a card saying:

Just a note to say thanks for the copy of A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen. It definitely will be a useful addition to my personal library and resource in my studies. I agree this is a hot topic.

Sincerely, Rick Warren

When we received Rick Warren’s reply, we felt a sense of relief that he seemed to have appreciated our warning. But that was before a lot of things happened:

It was before we read Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Life by Warren B. Smith.

It was before we learned that Rick Warren had been promoting Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) movement as far back as the early nineties in his first book, The Purpose Driven Church.3

It was before we read George Mair’s book, A Life With Purpose: Reverend Rick Warrenthe most inspiring pastor of our time, which identified Rick Warren’s plans to use New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard for his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in training leaders around the world.4

It was before George Mair was advised by an acquaintance at the Attorney General’s office in California to file a hate crime against Rick Warren for his assault against Mair for his book (but Mair called me, and I advised him against filing).5 Ironically, when Mair wrote his book, it was meant to be a testament of praise to Rick Warren as “America’s Pastor” not realizing that at the same time New Age connections had been unveiled.

It was before Rick Warren wrote his damage-control “midnight e-mail” to me in the spring of 2005, an e-mail that was filled with inaccuracies to cover up the truth, but yet he had his chief apologist at the time post it all over the Internet within hours of sending it to me.6

It was before Saddleback sent out e-mails to an undisclosed number of people saying that Lighthouse Trails and Ray Yungen were “sitting on a pile of money” (and we just wanted to know where it was because we could really have used that pile of money to pay the bills that month).

It was before Saddleback accused Lighthouse Trails of “publishing lies” and inferring that we had broken into their website server saying that “federal agents” were on the case.7

It was back when we thought there was no way the majority of Christian leaders could be right in the middle of helping to bring in a mystical spirituality that would take millions into the arms of outright apostasy.

Needless to say, by the time we went to press with the second edition of A Time of Departing in the spring of 2006, the book now had an entire chapter devoted to Rick Warren and his contemplative prayer propensities. And it had a chapter devoted to something everyone was calling “the emerging church.”

Vicious and unscrupulous efforts were already underway to stop Lighthouse Trails. Had it been just our own strength and wisdom to keep us going, we never could have continued. But, in spite of our own human frailties and weaknesses, and in spite of efforts to stop us, God showed mercy and justice and kept Lighthouse Trails afloat. And while there’s no question that contemplative spirituality has skyrocketed exponentially throughout the world (thanks largely to big name advocates of the movement), tens of thousands of people have now read A Time of Departing as well as our 2007 book on the emerging church, Faith Undone by Roger Oakland; and we believe these books have made a difference in helping to defend the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and identifying the mystical spirituality that is working to blind the eyes of millions.

There’s much more to our story, and you can read about most of the episodes on our site. When we first began, we wondered if there were other Christians who saw what Ray, David, and I saw. Surely, we can’t be the only ones, we thought. We are so happy to report that we aren’t by a long shot. Through the thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from readers, customers, and newsletter subscribers, we have learned that God has faithfully shown many believers what is happening in today’s church and world. We are privileged and humbled to have a small part in this work. As we have said many times before, Lighthouse Trails exists as a service to the body of Christ, for the sake of the Gospel, and we pray and hope, to the glory of God.

1. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed., 2006), pp. 76-77.
2. Ibid., p. 123.
3. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), pp. 126-127.
5. Read our article “Rick Warren Biographer, George Mair, Passes Away at 83 – The Rest of the Story” for this full story.
7. In December of 2005 a woman sent us an e-mail she had received from Rick Warren’s personal e-mail address, which stated:

The website you refer to [Lighthouse Trails] below is well-known for publishing lies, which can easily be proven false. . . . The Bible says “Satan is the father of lies”, so those who intentionally spread them are doing Satan’s work for him. That is evil. We suggest you avoid listening to evil people who have a habit of lying about ministers of the Gospel. Study the Scriptures every day and flee from those who make their reputation by lying.

We contacted Saddleback about the e-mail, and we received the following reply, suggesting that the e-mail had been written by a computer hacker: “We are sorry that this public mailbox has been shut down due to vandalism and stolen identity. Federal enforcement officers are tracking down the source in either Africa or the Pacific Northwest.” At first, we thought this was a joke because we (who live in the Pacific Northwest) had recently issued a press release about an evangelist in Africa who had been opposing Purpose Driven. Hearing that Federal officers had narrowed down an investigation to either our location or the evangelist’s location seemed preposterous. We contacted Saddleback by phone requesting the names of these Federal agents because of the threatening nature of the “anonymous” email. A few days later a Saddleback staff member called and told us that Federal agents were doing an investigation on their web server being broken into and that Saddleback (and the agents) suspected Lighthouse Trails. We again asked for the names of the Federal agents as well as the Saddleback communications director that was handling the case. However, we were told they would not give us any names. We have not heard anything from Saddleback since.

(Photo from cover of the booklet, The Story Behind Lighthouse Trails; photo from; used with permission)


From Physics to Metaphysics – The “Evolution” of Evolution

by Roger Oakland

Evolution, according to its biological definition, is a mechanism that changes life through time. Although for years, many have used the idea of evolution to explain away God, there are many today who are saying, because of evolution, everything is God. This trend is obvious in Great Britain, the very country where Charles Darwin authored his theory – physics has turned into metaphysics? How is this possible?

The Milky Way

Glastonbury is situated in the southern part of England. From antiquity, Glastonbury has been known as a mystical center where numerous people have made the claim they have encountered the spiritual realm. Many and fantastic are the legends, a mythology which is still alive and growing today. Every year people go there from all over the world seeking spiritual solutions to their physical problems.

I had the opportunity to visit Glastonbury in the spring of 1997 while I was in England. I had just spent a couple of days researching the life of Charles Darwin and investigating the impact this man had on so many lives. His message, centered on natural selection and survival of the fittest, still shapes the thinking of evolutionists today. His motive, a disdain for Christianity, provides the basis for the “scientific” view there is no need for the supernatural. Today, throughout England and around the world, numerous monuments erected in his honor called “natural history museums,” project his beliefs as if he were God.

My trip to Glastonbury and Stonehenge revealed another aspect of Darwinism that most “evolutionary biologists” are not thrilled to discuss. The idea of natural selection may have been designed to explain God away, but in reality, through time, it has been the catalyst which has created an environment which has done exactly the opposite. It seems there has been a major shift in thinking over the past few decades. Our present generation has become frustrated with believing in naturalism. Now they are willing to believe that anything and everything is God.

There is no question mysticism and superstition, which modern science was supposed to have eliminated, has made a comeback in Great Britain. The shops in Glastonbury were filled with spiritual paraphernalia which would make one think we had returned to the pagan past.

At the core of these resurrected ideas was the basic belief in evolution. Man, according to the “new spirituality,” is on the verge of taking a giant leap of evolution. “Space brothers” or “spiritual guides,” whom it is believed have evolved to a “higher lever,” are waiting for us to make the leap. Meanwhile, worldly intellects are encouraged to spend their time practicing yoga, humming mantras or rubbing crystals. There are many ways to contact the “gods.”

I am fascinated with how evolution has evolved over the years – from mysticism to Darwinism then back to mysticism again. History has repeated itself, just as it has done many times before. The only thing that is unique this time is that “evolutionary mysticism” is a global religion. The Bible describes this current trend as “Christian Babylonianism.” 

LT Caller: What Are Breath Prayers?

(Painting: St. Anthony - one of the Desert Fathers - public domain image)

Today, a Lighthouse Trails caller asked if we could tell her what “breath prayers” are and wondered if we had any information on them because someone in her church is advising others to practice them. Thus, we are posting some information we have previously posted on breath prayers. Breath prayers, like lectio divina, are a “gateway” meditation practice into full-blown New Age meditation.


Ray Yungen speaks on breath prayers:

“When [Richard] Foster speaks of the silence, he does not mean external silence. In his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster recommends the practice of breath prayer—picking a single word or short phrase and repeating it in conjunction with the breath. This is classic contemplative mysticism.

“In the original 1978 edition of Celebration of Discipline, he makes his objective clear when he states, ‘Christian meditation is an attempt to empty the mind in order to fill it.’ In Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, he ties in a quote by one mystic who advised, ‘You must bind the mind with one thought.’ The advice recounts Anthony de Mello’s remarks in his contemplative prayer classic, Sadhana: A Way to God. His approach was virtually identical to Foster’s:

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.

“I once related Foster’s breath prayer method to a former New Age devotee who is now a Christian. She affirmed this connection when she remarked with astonishment, ‘That’s what I did when I was into ashtanga yoga!'” (From A Time of Departing, p. 75)

Breath Prayers and Rick Warren
By Larry DeBruyn

Are “breath prayers” a method by which we can become best friends with God? To direct people on a spiritual journey for 40 days, Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life. The best-selling book has impacted millions of people. Some of Warren’s purpose involves his recommendations for “Becoming Best Friends with God.” The author shares six secrets to become God’s friends, one of which is practicing God’s presence by being in “constant conversation” with him. After quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (“pray without ceasing”), Warren asks how a Christian can practice unceasing prayer to which he answers, “One way is to use ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated in one breath.” Then after providing ten examples of prayers, short biblical phrases that could work as breath prayers, Warren advises “Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart.” In this context, Rick Warren also cites the book of Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, who advocated experiencing the presence of God in the most menial of circumstances, by praying short conversational prayers throughout the day. The Roman Catholic practice of praying the rosary is also akin to breath prayers.

Though breath praying is not found in the Bible, advocates of the practice recommend repeating a short phrase, the phrase can be from the Bible, in prayer throughout the day. For example, in the parable of The Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus portrayed a tax collector who in repentance and humility, cried out, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'” Out of this The Desert Fathers, a monastic group in Egypt during 3rd and 4th centuries, created the “Kyrie Eleison” (“Lord have mercy”) prayer which later became known as the “Jesus Prayer.” The prayer became a favorite of these fathers who later expanded it to be, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Click here to read this entire article.

Who has and is promoting Breath Prayers?

Rick Warren “With practice, you can develop the habit of praying silent ‘breath prayers'”—Rick Warren Also see pages 89 and 299 of PDL

Saddleback Church “Breath prayers are a great way to keep in contact with our Heavenly Father throughout our day. Just repeat short heart-felt prayers, such as “You are my God,” “I love you Lord,” and “Thank You, Jesus.” Consult Chapter 10 of The Purpose-Driven Life for more information.”

Rick Warren’s Teens at Saddleback “I started slowly to turn my worries into ‘breath prayers.'”

“Be sure to breathe prayers to God about your conversations …” —Nancy Ortberg (John Ortberg’s wife)

“I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga.”—John M. Talbot, Catholic monk and musician

Soul Shepherding

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (approx. 1800 Baptist churches)

“I started slowly to turn my worries into ‘breath prayers.'” “helps you practice the presence of God” “Be sure to breathe prayers to God about your conversations …” —Nancy Ortberg (John Ortberg’s wife)

Rob Bell on Breath Prayer, Noomas, Yoga and more… The following Audio clip is a sermon by Rob Bell. In this audio, Bell leads the audience through a meditation exercise and talks about various aspects of contemplative spirituality. Please use caution when listening to this audio file (not suitable for children). Click here for audio file.


Ruth Haley Barton

Christianity Today


NEW! T.A. McMahon (Berean Call) Interview With Former New Age Follower Warren B. Smith on “God’s Dream”

Warren Smith

Warren Smith

T.A. McMahon

Tom welcomes former New Age follower Warren Smith on The Berean Call program, Search the Scriptures 24/7. Tom and Warren discuss the New Age term “God’s Dream” and how this concept is coming into the church unbeknownst to most Christians. This is a two-part interview (the second part will air next week at TBC). Click here to listen to the interview or read the transcript.



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