LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT          July 1, 2019     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESOURCE SHOP

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“Latest Pro-LGBT Proposal Targets Christian Therapists, Pastors

LTRP Note: The following is posted for informational and research purposes.

By Jody Brown, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

The head of the Pacific Justice Institute says a non-binding resolution just introduced in the California legislature raises a “red flag” that the state is on the verge of telling Christian pastors and counselors what they can and cannot say to certain people in deep pain.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 proclaims that the state’s legislators have “found that being [LGBT] is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming”; contends that attempts to help a person struggling with same-sex attraction are harmful; and blames churches and faith-based counselors for the epidemic of suicides within the LGBT community. Click here to continue reading.

(Photo: from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.)

 

Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler’s Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse

One month ago, in May 2019, we posted an article titled “California School District Teachings on Pedophilia Reminder of Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic and Cover-Ups.” We also introduced a new book we now carry called Wolves Among Sheepby pastor Stacey Shifflet (a pastor who blew the whistle on sexual abuse in the church and was ostracized for doing so). Last week, a New York Times article headlined: “Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister.” The megachurch that is being referred to in this article is Matt Chandler’s Village Church. While the perpetrator against an 11-year-old girl was removed from the church, reported, arrested, and convicted, the New York Times article reveals once again that churches are falling short in how they handle child sex abuse situations including how the victim and his or her family is treated.

The reason Lighthouse Trails posts news stories like the two above is because we care about children, and we know that child sexual abuse is rampant in our society, and sadly, it is happening far too often in churches. We can partly understand why it happens so much in churches: Christians tend to be very trusting people, and sexual predators know it. Let’s face it, kids in churches are easy targets. But once a sexual crime against a child has been reported to church leaders, too often the incidents are swept under the rug, and often the perpetrator is moved to a different church. While that is not what happened in the case at Village Church, if the New York Times article is anywhere near accurate, leadership at Village did not handle things in the best interest of the children and their parents at the church.

But Village Church is just one church. Similar abuse is happening in churches across North America, and too often, predators are not exposed, and the victim and his or her family is looked at as the ones who are causing trouble and disunity. How crazy is that!

Please, if you are attending a church where there are children, make sure everyone who is part of that church is equipped to protect them. As Christians, it is a responsibility that God has placed upon us, and it is far too often neglected. We hope Christian leaders, teachers, pastors, and parents will read Stacey Shifflet’s book as well as Patrick Crough’s book Seducers Among Our Children, both of which give ample biblical and practical advice on how we can protect our children.

Related Articles:

Saddleback Church Youth Worker Arrested for Molesting 14-Year-Boys Brings Issue to Surface

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

Boy Scouts’ Rulings Put Boys at Risk (and “Letter to the Molester” and “What Being Molested Cost Me”)

Protecting Your Child From Sexual Predators – With Prayer & the Word

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

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. 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. You can also post comments on the Lighthouse Trails Research Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LighthouseTrailsResearch.

"Latest Pro-LGBT Proposal Targets Christian Therapists, Pastors":Deliberate attacks on Christians and the church in California will increase. As pro-gay activists try to destroy any semblance of rights against any other groups, the open promotion of pedophilia inclusive in their communities says to me that open war on Christians and the church will end up in the courts. As salt and light in California, we need to pray for those who will be targeted and destroyed. Dorcas

Long-Time BSF Leader Steps Down As BSF Heads Deeper Into Emergent Waters:You know, if there is a problem with BSF, why aren’t concerned leaders dealing with the problem internally instead of airing gripes online. Don’t you know that you are violating Scripture yourself by tearing down the Body in front of the world and giving free ammunition to Satan? If leadership is in error, you should be going to them, then taking a few people with you, then taking it to the church if they do not correct. Large churches and Christian organizations are falling right and left because people gossip rather than follow The directives in the Word. If you don’t like new directions in rules or format of BSF, well…you may just have to adjust. But if the Word is truly being compromised, whining about it to the world is NOT earnestly contending for the faith, it is handing the devil a trophy. G. Lee

LTRP Reply to G. Lee: G. Lee, the audience at Lighthouse Trails IS the church. It is scriptural to call out those who are publicly teaching dangerous doctrines that take people away from the Gospel and God’s Word, rather than to it. You might want to read Harry Ironside’s article, “Should Christians Expose Error?” Here is the link to it: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=27928. It also contains a piece on Matthew 18 as well as numerous Scriptures about being discerning.

Long-Time BSF Leader Steps Down As BSF Heads Deeper Into Emergent Waters: I just signed up today for BSF again. I longed for a biblical study that would help me be more structured and serious about my walk with Jesus. When I saw that Rick Warren had a part in writing materials for BSF, I immediately knew I couldn’t join. I’ve known for years about the Emergent ‘church’s influence and so many New Age influences were creeping into the church. After reading all the letters and comments, I see many other red flags and wil not be able to join BSF afterall. Its very sad to see the Body of Christ being manipulated and heresy being taught in small things which are getting bigger and worse yearly. I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness and when I was told I should not talk about my “old” religion, I had no idea it was coming to this day. I really thought BSF was on the right track years ago. Peggy

Maitreya: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ: This could be the most important piece that Warren Smith has ever written. The delusion is so great in size that it takes an article great in size to expose it.I have come to suspect that a key part of the great delusion will not just be pastors believing it. Rather it will also be pastors that are blinded and unable to see it. Not one of the Disciples could see that Judas would conspire to betray Jesus. How many times did Jesus say to them, ” you still do not understand”? There seems to be a complete spiritual blindness afoot in the world. Some are so focused upon John 17 unity they are blind to the deception. They minimize the deceptions and classify them in the adiaphora, non-essential category. They are convinced that as long as their congregations are growing God is pleased with them. Therefore they view people like you as those who stir up strife rather than as great defenders of the faith. They are now acting like Saul of Tarsus who believed he was doing good by persecuting Christians. T.I.

Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”: This evasive or reluctant viewpoint that Rick Warren espoused and devised in 2002 of the “not fit for the coming Kingdom of GOD” plays perfectly into the deceived mind that “the kingdom of GOD is already and not yet” perceptions of those that diminish or evade the prophetic words of Scripture. I wonder what the evasive tactic that our Adversaries (Satan & 1/3 angels) are using in this deluding decree to ignore “the Prophetic Words that are made more sure to which you do well to pay attention…” Gary

Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”: Most organized churches are deliberately avoiding the topic of eschatology, signs of the times, the false teachings and new age/new spirituality that has inundated everything. No one is preaching about sin in a time such as this when sexual sin is being flaunted like never before, rather they are compromising with it. This is really an astounding time, we are seeing the signs in real time, and there is an escalation of events taking place. . . Every single warning we read about in the Gospels and in the Epistles are before our faces, and most do not see. They have been put asleep by the false teachings of Rick Warren and his ilk, pacified into thinking the return of the Lord is yet far off and nothing to be concerned with. All the while being caught up in their church programs and entertainment. The ones who do see and try to warn are branded as being the deceivers and part of a cult. I watched this happen to two dear friends in my community who just left their independent Baptist church because of false teachings entering and continuing to be promoted in spite of various members warning the leadership. My friends finally left and wrote a letter to the leadership explaining in detail their reasons, and they are now being cast as the trouble makers and members of a cult. Heidi

Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”: All Scripture is profitable not just some as Paul writes in 2 Tim 3:16. Rick Warren is lost in his own understanding. God HAS to judge this kind of spiritual pride. If a pastor does not have high regard for almost 1/3 of the Bible, he has ZERO business being a pastor. . . . I believe this is like Satan’s little prevent defense. He lets a few worship Jesus but doesn’t give up anything big downfield. This to stop the world from seeing the glaringly obvious prophetic happenings occurring RIGHT NOW! Same chapter Paul also declares… having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:5 ‘” Prophecy is the most powerful tool in the Bible. It is what we can use to reach the lost and show why only the God of the Bible is true. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9‭-‬10. Bill

Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler's Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse: I really despise Satan and the wickedness that he has inflicted on innocent, unsuspecting souls in the name of “Christ!” God has a “special” place reserved for evil men who seek to trip up, lead astray, or cause to sin those “little ones” who believe in the LORD Jesus! Here is something to seriously think about: Matthew 18:1 “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” C. Read

Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”: The Bible is full of prophecies about our Messiah’s coming (first and second) and end times. We are not to ignore them, but to be watchmen on the walls, alert and not ignorant of what is happening and what will happen. This blessed hope spurs us on to witness to unbelievers and warn them of the coming tribulation. God is not willing that any should perish. Elizabeth

Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler's Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse: I hate to tell you but boys are sexually abused too. A local pastor, a quarter mile from my home, where I had considered attending church (I had asked the pastor about his stance on homosexuality and he wouldn’t answer), was recently arrested for raping two [boys] on different occasions…the police have solid evidence. I think the rape of boys goes unreported a great deal of the time. No one is safe from evil. Iva

Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler's Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse: It is so sad, Elizabeth. And to hide behind “god” and trying to justify these crimes make it an even bigger atrocity. These children (and abused women) are indeed scarred for the rest of their lives, as healing takes so long, even when successful…if successful. The scar remains forever. John

Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler's Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse: May God help us to be vigilant over all children and protect them by discerning the spirits that come around the children and pray for the evil ones to be brought to the light and arrested mbefore any harm can be caused in Jesus mighty name. Lydia

Letter to the Editor: The Handwriting on the Wall . . . and Rightnow Media: We visited a church yesterday (6/16/2019) for the first time. They promoted Rightnow Media. I’ve only seen it on some churches websites but this was the first time I heard it being promoted in church. We have been searching for a church home since moving last year but haven’t found one yet. We think “This one seems to be a good biblical one.” but then something pops up that isn’t on track. How are we supposed to find a home church that isn’t leaning toward “left of center” biblically?
Thank you for sharing this letter and for helping us discern truth. D. Freund

The Desert Fathers:Paul taught that when praying ‘in the spirit’ one should pray ‘with the mind’ also. (1 Cor. 14: 15). A. Damminga

The Desert Fathers: The monastic life was never prescribed by God. God said to be fruitful and multiply the earth. It is faith by works and vain repetitions and isolation from other human beings, which was not God’s plan for mankind. Borrowing from these monks is not what our Lord wants us to do. It is sin. I do not call them the desert fathers. The real fathers of the faith were the apostles and first disciples of Christ, or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Elizabeth

“Latest Pro-LGBT Proposal Targets Christian Therapists, Pastors
Child Sexual Abuse Scandal at Matt Chandler’s Popular Village Church Raises Concerns Over How Churches Handle Abuse
Comments From Our Readers

Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”

“Bill Maher Claims Oprah Would be Only ‘Sure’ Bet for Beating Trump in 2020”

The Desert Fathers—Borrowing From the East

Apostasy: Broken Lives and Shattered Faith Versus Those Who Resist
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Purpose-Driven Mandate: Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”

By Roger Oakland

Many who were once looking for the return of Jesus have fallen asleep. We now live in a period of time where numerous prominent Christian leaders are telling the Christian masses that paying attention to the signs of our times in light of the Bible is a waste of time. And many of them take it a step further and accuse those who believe what Bible prophecy says about the end of the age of being negative and self-centered.

In the still-popular Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren was actually laying ground-work for the emerging church’s new reformation, a reformation that rejects thinking about the return of Christ and works more at convincing the multitudes that Christ is already in them as a global christ-consciousness. As you will see in the following documentation, Warren has a low regard for Bible prophecy. Perhaps this helps explain why so many who once were anticipating the return of the Lord have become occupied with worldly ambitions. Warren writes:

When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!”1

I find it simply astounding that a statement of this sort would be in a New York Times best-seller in the present-day Christian book market. Jesus was telling the disciples they could not know the day or the hour, but nowhere does Jesus ever indicate that “the details of my return are none of your business.” Rather than quickly changing the subject, we find in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 two of the longest passages in Scripture quoting Jesus’ own words, as He details the signs of His coming. In essence, Jesus was saying, because you cannot know the day and hour of My return, you need to educate yourself in Bible prophecy and take heed of My words about the end times. Later on, one of those disciples, John, was given an entire book to write on the details of Jesus’ coming. Jesus continually said to be alert and ready for when He returns. In both parables and straightforward talk, He spoke of this. In Luke 12:35-40, Jesus emphasized that it is essential to be prepared for His return:

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: . . . And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

And Jesus frequently referred to the Old Testament prophecies. Those prophecies became the evidence that Jesus Christ was indeed whom He said He was—“Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

But Warren tells readers to think about something other than Bible prophecy:

If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.2

What’s more, Warren ends this section of his book by stating that Satan would have you “sidetracked from your mission” and by quoting Jesus out of context, saying, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted [by studying Bible prophecy] from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Living Bible). But Jesus was not referring to His return when He made that statement, which in the King James Version says: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). The Purpose Driven kingdom of God leaves no room for Bible prophecy, and in fact, condemns those who study it. The apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had a different view. He writes:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)

Christians are called to witness and be watchmen. No Scripture exists that tells us to ignore the events that have been pointed out as signposts indicating the return of Jesus.

Endnotes:
1. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), p. 285.

2. Ibid., p. 286.

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

 

“Bill Maher Claims Oprah Would be Only ‘Sure’ Bet for Beating Trump in 2020”

LTRP Note: We are posting the following news story for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of content or source. See a LT related story titled “Oprah Says No to 2020 Presidency Unless God Tells Her to Run” from April 2018. Oprah Winfrey is probably the most influential New Age leader today.

By Sam Dorman
Fox News

HBO host Bill Maher argued on Friday that there was a good chance former Vice President Joe Biden would ruin a 2020 bid and that talk show empress Oprah Winfrey was the only sure bet for beating the president.

“The only person who is a sure thing is Oprah Winfrey,” Maher said before emphasizing the importance of celebrity in American politics. Later in his monologue he said, “I am telling you that at this particular moment in history, in this particular election year, she is the only candidate who is a sure thing winner for the Democrats.” Click here to continue reading.

Related Reading:

Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” and the Emperor’s New Clothes

Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” (Part 2) – Neale Donald Walsch, “God,” and Hitler

Oprah Winfrey’s Spirituality

(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

 

 

The Desert Fathers—Borrowing From the East

By Ray Yungen

Catholic priest William Shannon in his book, Seeds of Peace, explained the human dilemma as being the following:

This forgetfulness, of our oneness with God, is not just a personal experience, it is the corporate experience of humanity. Indeed, this is one way to understanding original sin. We are in God, but we don’t seem to know it. We are in paradise, but we don’t realize it.1

Shannon’s viewpoint defines the basic underlying worldview of the contemplative prayer movement as a whole. One can find similar quotations in practically every book written by contemplative authors. A Hindu guru or a Zen Buddhist master would offer the same explanation. This conclusion becomes completely logical when tracing the roots of contemplative prayer. Let us look at the beginnings of this practice.

Pachomius (Desert Father)

In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They are known to history as the Desert Fathers. They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks who promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. One meditation scholar made this connection when he said:

The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East … the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.2

Many of the Desert Fathers, in their zeal, were simply seeking God through trial and error. A leading contemplative prayer teacher candidly acknowledged the haphazard way the Desert Fathers acquired their practices:

It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.3

Attempting to reach God through occult mystical practices will guarantee disaster. The Desert Fathers of Egypt were located in a particularly dangerous locale at that time to be groping around for innovative approaches to God, because as one theologian pointed out:

[D]evelopment of Christian meditative disciplines should have begun in Egypt because much of the intellectual, philosophical, and theological basis of the practice of meditation in Christianity also comes out of the theology of Hellenic and Roman Egypt. This is significant because it was in Alexandria that Christian theology had the most contact with the various Gnostic speculations which, according to many scholars, have their roots in the East, possibly in India.4

Consequently, the Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere—anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus. A current practitioner and promoter of the Desert Fathers’ mystical prayer still echoes the logical formulations of his mystical ancestors:

In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions . . . What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent . . . this is important to remember in the face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly defining them. If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising . . . selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.5

Do you catch the reasoning here? Non-Christian sources, as avenues to spiritual growth, are perfectly legitimate in the Christian life, and if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will actually impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the Desert Fathers. So as a result, we now have contemplative prayer. Jesus addressed this when he warned His disciples: “And when you pray, do not
use vain repetitions, as the heathen do.” (Matthew 6:7)

It should be apparent that mantra meditation or sacred word prayer qualifies as “vain repetition” and clearly fits an accurate description of the point Jesus was making. Yet in spite of this, trusted evangelical Christians have often pronounced that Christian mysticism is different from other forms of mysticism (such as Eastern or occult) because it is focused on Jesus Christ.

This logic may sound credible on the surface, but Christians must ask themselves a very simple and fundamental question: What really makes a practice Christian? The answer is obvious–does the New Testament sanction it? Hasn’t Christ taught us, through His Word, to pray in faith in His name and according to His will? Did He leave something out? Would Jesus hold out on His true followers? Never!

Understanding this truth, God has declared in His Word that He does not leave it up to earnest, yet sinful people, to reinvent their own Christianity. When Christians ignore God’s instructions in following Him they end up learning the way of the heathen. Israel did this countless times. It is just human nature.

The account of Cain and Abel is a classic biblical example of spiritual infidelity. Both of Adam’s sons wanted to please God, but Cain decided he would experiment with his own method of being devout. Cain must have reasoned to himself: “Perhaps God would like fruit or grain better than a dead animal. It’s not as gross. It’s less smelly. Hey, I think I will try it!”

As you know, God was not the least bit impressed by Cain’s attempt to create his own approach to pleasing God. The Lord made it clear to Cain that God’s favor would be upon him if he did what is right, not just what was intended for God or God-focused.

In many ways, the Desert Fathers were like Cain—eager to please but not willing to listen to the instruction of the Lord and do what was right. One cannot fault them for their devotion, but one certainly can fault them for their lack of discernment.

Notes:
1. William Shannon, Seeds of Peace, p. 66.
2. Daniel Goleman, The Meditative Mind 1988, p.53.
3. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, p.191.
4. Father William Teska, Meditation in Christianity , p.65.
5. Tilden Edwards, Living in the Presence , Acknowledgement page.

Related Material:

A list of ancient mystics (taken from Chris Lawson’s A Directory of Authors: Three NOT Recommended Lists booklet)

Mystics from the past oftentimes favorably endorsed by “Christian” authors today

Middle Ages (Medieval Times) and Renaissance

Angela of Foligno (1248–1309)

Anthony of Padua (1195–1231)

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

Bonaventure (1217–1274)

Catherine of Siena (1347–1380)

Desert Fathers, The

Hadewijch of Antwerp (13th century)

Henry Suso (1295–1366)

Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)

Hugh of Saint Victor (1096–1141)

Jacopone da Todi (1230–1306)

Johannes Tauler (d.1361)

John of Ruysbroeck (1293–1381)

John Scotus Eriugena (810–877)

Julian of Norwich (1342–1416)

Mechthild of Magdeburg (1212–1297)

Meister Eckhart (1260–1327)

Richard of Saint Victor (d.1173)

Richard Rolle (1300–1341)

The Cloud of the Unknowing (anonymous, instruction in mysticism, 1375)

Theologia Germanica (anonymous, mystical treatise, late 14th century)

Thomas a’ Kempis (1380–1471)

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Walter Hilton (1340–1396)

Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter–Reformation

Brother Lawrence (1614–1691)

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1822)

George Fox (1624–1691)

Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556)

Jakob Böhme (1575–1624)

Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803)

John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542–1591)

Joseph of Cupertino (1603–1663)

Madame Guyon (1647–1717)

Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582)

Theophan the Recluse (1815–1894)

William Law (1686–1761)

Modern Era (19th—20th Century)

Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904–1955)

Bernadette Roberts (1931–)

Berthe Petit (1870–1943)

Carmela Carabelli (1910–1978)

Domenico da Cese (1905–1978)

Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941)

Flower A. Newhouse (1909–1994)

Frank Laubach (1884–1970)

Frederick Buechner (1926–)

Karl Rahner (1904–1984)

Lúcia Santos (1907–2005)

Maria Pierina de Micheli (1890–1945)

Maria Valtorta (1898–1963)

Marie Lataste (1822–1899)

Marie Martha Chambon (1841–1907)

Martin Buber (1868–1965)

Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

Mary of Saint Peter (1816–1848)

Mary of the Divine Heart (1863–1899)

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968)

Pierina Gilli (1911–1991)

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881– 1955)

Simone Weil (1909–1943)

Soren Kierkegaard (1813–1855)

Thomas Merton (1915–1968)

Thomas Raymond Kelly (1893–1941)

 

Apostasy: Broken Lives and Shattered Faith Versus Those Who Resist

LTRP Note: For several years, Kevin Reeves was an elder at an NAR Latter-Rain church. He writes about his experience in his book, The Other Side of the River.

By Kevin Reeves

These are critical days for the body of Christ. We are in the epoch of church history spoken of by the apostle Paul as “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1). What makes the danger all the more imminent is that not much of the church believes it. Many of us have owned the glorious but erroneous vision of an end-times remnant walking in unconquerable power, transforming entire societies. The result has been nothing short of catastrophic. How soon we forget. Every cult in the world has sprouted from the fertile soil of deception, always initiated by a drastic move away from the primacy of the Word of God into the nebulous, self-defining atmosphere of experience. At my previous church, our desire to accumulate otherworldly wealth (i.e., supernatural power) had ushered us into a contrived system of personal spiritual elevation much like such active cults as Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In the case of my former congregation, our pre-supposed love of the Word of God, along with our ignorance of and opposition to nearly every scriptural warning about false doctrine and seducing spirits in the church, left us open to bizarre teachings and practices. As we embraced mysticism, our biblical parameters melted away. Yes, we were sincere, but what we were wanting was diametrically opposed to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Like physical signs of pain, there were signs in our church that something was terribly wrong. But just like the person who ignores the pain and avoids going to the doctor, we too ignored what should have been so obvious. That is, until it got so bad that avoidance was no longer an option.

Why do people ignore warning signs? It’s like a motorist painting over his oil pressure gauge so he won’t notice the depleting measure. But the reality of the situation will become evident enough when his engine seizes up, and the car comes to a sudden halt. I’ve discovered that in the spiritual arena most people will do exactly this: they take pains to look the other way when something bumps up against their doctrine. As a Christian, there’s no quicker way to start a fight with a friend than to tell him that some of his most fervent beliefs are wrong. I know. I’ve lost my share of friendships that way. The problem comes when folks aren’t willing to deal with the uncomfortable. And the horror of it is that in spiritual matters, we’re dealing with eternal things. While the person who ruins his vehicle can at least purchase another, the human soul is irreplaceable. . . .

In my own case, association with a cutting-edge group offered me security and personal power, and for years, the paranoia of offending God kept me from asking too many unsettling questions. It’s ironic that, in a fellowship that taught a watered-down version of the fear of the Lord, it was fear that motivated me to stay put.

Many other Christians find themselves in this same predicament, especially those with a genuine heart for the truth. When some doctrine foreign to biblical Christianity is introduced into the congregation, they want to inquire about its origin and validity, but fear holds them in check. If it comes from the pastor, who surely must be more spiritual than the rest of the group, then God must simply have approved it. Therefore, questioning or opposing the pastor or church leadership is seen as opposing the Lord Himself.

But God doesn’t work that way. Throughout the Bible are examples of those who love the Lord who questioned authority when it was wrong. And what’s more, “prove all things” is clearly God’s instruction to the believer (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

This manipulative pastoral attitude of squelching sincere inquiries was recently brought home in a frightening way. A friend of mine attended a local church service, knowing that the pastor was fully in support of the so-called Brownsville revival. She was nonetheless unprepared for the chilling threat from the pulpit. After reminding the congregation of the judgment deaths of Ananias and Sapphira for opposing the Holy Spirit, the pastor looked directly at the congregation and said, “If you think about questioning anything that goes on in this service . . . well, you just be careful!”

Two plus two still equals four. His meaning was quite plain. If you want to end up like that evil-hearted couple, just go ahead and do some serious inquiry into the teachings or manifestations of this group.

Brothers and sisters, something is seriously wrong here. Brutalizing the saints with a threat from an angry heart is not the Bible way. But it is becoming quite a fashionable pastime for leadership to silence even well-intentioned criticism with threats and ridicule. It has been going on for years and has spilled over into many groups in the church today. Name calling and ostracizing are common methods to silence critics. Names like hypocrites, Sanhedrin, and God mockers are merely a sampling of the invective aimed at Christians who are concerned about doctrinal error. Nobody wants to be labeled a Pharisee or heresy hunter. But that is often the penalty for daring to step out and ask for a public, biblical accounting of doctrine and practice.

I know the feeling first hand. I have more than once been called legalistic and have been accused of “going down a hard path”—one of my own making, of course. I had been told repeatedly that I was spiritually immature and had not understood the importance of certain works despite their unbiblical concepts and many outright contradictions to Scripture.

A current river is flowing, which many believe to be of God. Removed from its proper setting in the 47th chapter of Ezekiel, which speaks of a stream gushing out from the Temple of God, this passage in Scripture is today used to promote a last-days vision for the church. In its proper context in Ezekiel, this wonderful prophecy is an encouragement that God has not forgotten His covenant people of Israel. But overstepping the sanctity of scriptural boundaries, this passage has been reshaped into the comfortable doctrines of sensual manifestations that mark a massive shift in the church. As believers, we have taken a hairpin turn from the preeminence of the Word of God to a relative, experiential, and terribly apostate faith.

The River Revival movement—encompassing the Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Revival (or Pensacola Outpouring), Dominion, Latter Rain, Word of Faith, Rodney Howard-Browne’s laughing revival, the Kansas City prophets, [Bethel Church in Redding], and an arbitrary mix of all or some of the aforementioned—is flowing into congregations worldwide. Given impetus by these major doctrinal tributaries, this movement’s teachings have led multitudes away from the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into a dangerous realm of subjective experiences, mysticism, and blatant heresy. Closely follow the curves of this river and you’ll find spiritual deviations at first overlooked. After all the hype, the wild manifestations, the wonderful testimonies, the flamboyant prophecies, and the earth-shaking visions, the discerning eye will gaze upon a farther shore, where an entirely different, frightening story unfolds–a story of broken lives and shattered faith, of rebellion and of merchandising a substitute “anointing.”

(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permissions)

Related Reading:

Dominionism, Kingdom Now, and What Does the Bible Say? by Mike Oppenheimer

Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider by David Dombrowski

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NEW BOOKLET: MAITREYA: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ

Just as we were about to go to press with this new booklet by Warren B. Smith—MAITREYA: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ—we learned that a prominent Bethel Church worship leader has described Jesus as “an enlightened master,” which is exactly what Maitreya and almost all New Age figures call him. While we have been very concerned about Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church for a long time, this newest development sadly illustrates how far from biblical truth Bethel has gone. As you read this booklet, you will see how some Christian leaders are sounding very similar to the false Christs of our day—leaders who are being followed by millions of proclaiming Christians.

Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of MAITREYA: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ, click here.

Maitreya: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ

MAITREYA: What We Can Learn From This False New Age Christ
By Warren B. Smith

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

On April 25,1982, a number of major newspapers around the world carried a prominent full-page ad announcing that “the Christ” was here on Earth waiting for humanity to call him forth. However, these ads made it very clear that his name was Lord Maitreya and not Jesus Christ. The ads headlined, “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE. HOW WILL WE RECOGNIZE HIM?” and proclaimed:

Look for a modern man concerned with modern problems—political, economic, and social. Since July, 1977, the Christ has been emerging as a spokesman for a  group or community in a well-known modern country. He is not a religious leader, but an educator in the broadest sense of the word—pointing the way out of our present crisis. We will recognize Him by His extraordinary spiritual potency, the universality of His viewpoint, and His love for all humanity. He comes not to judge, but to aid and inspire.

The ads continued, “WHO IS THE CHRIST?,” stating:

Throughout history, humanity’s evolution has been guided by a group of enlightened men, the Masters of Wisdom. They have remained largely in the remote desert and mountain places of earth, working mainly through their disciples who live openly in the world. . . . At the center of this “Spiritual Hierarchy” stands the World Teacher, Lord Maitreya, known by Christians as the Christ. And as Christians await the Second Coming, so the Jews await the Messiah, the Buddhists the fifth Buddha, the Moslims the Imam Mahdi, and the Hindus await Krishna. These are all names for one individual.1

This stunning announcement sent shock waves throughout the civilized world, but those who read and understood their Bibles knew that Maitreya was not the true Christ. Yet one thing was for sure—Maitreya’s followers were very serious about what they were doing. They managed the Share International worldwide organization that promoted Maitreya’s teachings with main offices in London, Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles. Today, some thirty-seven years after those 1982 newspaper ads, Share International still professes Maitreya’s presence in the world. This false New Age Christ has never gone away as he purports to wait for a beleaguered humanity to call him forth from his present anonymity. Yet given his decades-old insistence that he is “the Christ” and given his devoted following, there is an inexplicable silence in the Christian Church regarding the subject of Maitreya. For whatever reasons, Christian leaders have never taken Maitreya or his New Age teachings seriously. Focused on almost everything except protecting the flock, most pastors and church leaders remain unconcerned or just plain ignorant about Maitreya and the New Age in general. For them, Maitreya and the New Age are more than passe—just simply fads that came and went. Consequently, most Christians today have no idea how the world is being methodically prepared to accept a false New Age Christ—perhaps someone much like Maitreya.

Prototype? Antichrist?

In Reinventing Jesus Christ (2002), Deceived on Purpose (2004), A “Wonderful” Deception (2011), and again in a reissue of Reinventing Jesus Christ re-titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (2011), I described how Maitreya’s teachings were amazingly consistent with a New Age/New Spirituality that seeks to become the foundation for a New World Religion. This is one of the chief reasons someone like Maitreya serves not only as a possible prototype for Antichrist, but remains a viable candidate for the position himself.

Over the years, Maitreya maintained contact with the world through his longtime chief spokesperson, the late British author, artist, esotericist, and New Age channeler, Benjamin Creme (1922-2016). Maitreya’s role as the alleged “Christ” was introduced by Creme in his 1980 book, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom. Another Maitreya spokesperson—the late Wayne S. Peterson (1941-2017)—wrote a 2001 book titled Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Beings: Experiences of an American Diplomat with Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom. Peterson, a former U.S. government diplomat, corroborated what Creme had taught while adding anecdotes and experiences of his own—including two personal encounters he claims to have had with Maitreya.

Both Creme and Peterson describe how Maitreya’s purpose is to teach humanity that we are all “One” because God is “in” everyone and everything. And because we are all said to be “One,” we must learn to live in “right relationship” as brothers and sisters in our “One” great family. The first step in recognizing this “Oneness” is to establish “sharing” as the way to eliminate poverty and starvation in the world. Thus, Maitreya is “emerging” as the “World Teacher” to teach us how to save ourselves and save our planet and how, when enough people call him forth, he will finally reveal himself in an internationally televised “Day of Declaration.”2

Through the years, Benjamin Creme traveled the world giving lectures in Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and the United States—often to large crowds in popular venues like San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium and Palace of Fine Arts. He was widely interviewed on international radio and television. In his many books, lectures, interviews, and posts on the Share International website, Creme described how Maitreya materialized in spiritual gatherings around the world—sometimes taking on the form of a messianic figure recognizable to that culture. Most notable was his appearance in Nairobi, Kenya in 1988 where he was said to be identified as “the Christ” in front of 6,000 people.3 Maitreya’s followers have reportedly been numbered among many prominent figures that include former Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev4 and the late African leader Nelson Mandela.5

Curiously, British Indian-American academic, journalist, activist, and author Raj Patel was brought forward in 2010 as a possible candidate for being the otherwise incognito Maitreya.6 Described by one source as the “rock star of social justice writing,”7 Patel, ironically, had some distinct qualifying characteristics that Creme had described as being unique to Maitreya. While speculation about Patel being Maitreya faded after both Benjamin Creme and Raj Patel issued seeming denials, Patel remains part of the ongoing mystique surrounding this false New Age Christ.               

Maitreya, the “Master Jesus” and the New Reformation

I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (John 5:43)

In what would be a cunning counterfeit of the Bible’s description of the return of Jesus with his “mighty angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7), Maitreya states that when he reveals himself as “the Christ,” twelve “Masters of Wisdom” will appear with him. They will work together to teach humanity his New Truth8 and his New Way9 for the coming New Age.10 One of these spiritual “Masters” returning with him is said to be the enlightened “Master Jesus”—who is not Jesus Christ—but is presented as a “disciple” of “the Christ”—Maitreya. It is made clear that Maitreya is the only person occupying the “office” of “Christ” and that he has occupied this “office” for over 2600 years. Reputedly, it was Maitreya as “Christ” who overshadowed and worked through the man Jesus in Palestine back in the first century. Benjamin Creme explains:

In the esoteric tradition, the Christ is not the name of an individual but of an Office in the Hierarchy. The present holder of that Office, the Lord Maitreya, has held it for 2,600 years, and manifested in Palestine through His Disciple, Jesus, by the occult method of overshadowing, the most frequent form used for the manifestation of Avatars. He has never left the world, but for 2,000 years has waited and planned for this immediate future time, training His Disciples, and preparing Himself for the awesome task which awaits Him. He has made it known that this time, He Himself will come.11                 

Thus, Maitreya’s “Master Jesus” is not described as Lord and Christ. Rather, he is described as a “Master” and a “Master” only. Maitreya says it is he who is Lord and Christ. Creme explains that the “Master Jesus” will be serving the “Lord” and “Christ” Maitreya by assuming the throne of St. Peter in Rome as he reforms and transforms the Christian church “to respond correctly” to Maitreya. So this “Master Jesus”—who is exposed by the Bible as being “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4)—will be the designated “Master” who is in charge of the New Reformation of the Christian churches. Benjamin Creme writes:

The Master Jesus is going to reform the Christian churches.12

He is one of the Masters Who will very shortly return to outer work in the world, taking over the Throne of St. Peter, in Rome. He will seek to transform the Christian Churches, in so far as they are flexible enough to respond correctly to the new reality which the return of the Christ and the Masters will create.13

It should be noted that Eugene Peterson’s Message paraphrase of the Bible often drops the words “Lord” and “Christ” from Jesus’ name and title and substitutes them with the word “Master.” Thus, in many Message verses the Lord Jesus Christ becomes only the “Master Jesus.” This obviously plays right into the hands of a false Christ like Maitreya who will be trying to convince the world—and Christians alive at that time—that Jesus is not the Christ but simply the “Master Jesus” who is a disciple of “the Christ”—Maitreya. However, when the disciples and followers of the true Jesus Christ called Him “Master,” it was always with the understanding that He was also their “Lord” and “Christ.” In the King James Version, for example, when Jesus was addressed as “Master,” He was never—not even once—directly referred to as the “Master Jesus.” Yet, the term “Master Jesus” appears repeatedly in The Message as Eugene Peterson frequently drops the words “Lord” and “Christ” from Jesus’ true title. For example, the King James Version of Revelation 22:20-21 reads:

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

However, The Message paraphrase states:

Yes! Come, Master Jesus! 

The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!

In a New World Religion, where properly translated Christian Bibles will most likely be outlawed as “hate” literature, a hugely compromised “translation” like The Message could become the go-to “Bible” for a false Christ and his transformed and re-formed “Christian” church. In Eugene Peterson’s Mixed Message: Subversive Bible for a New Age, I point out how Peterson’s Message has a number of overlapping occult/New Age references that play right into the hands of the coming false Christ—whoever that might be—and his proposed New World Religion.14

Maitreya: A Purpose-Driven False Christ

Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. (Psalm 140:4)

It is equally worth noting that a number of Maitreya’s concepts and teachings also overlap with some of the terms and teachings of Saddleback pastor Rick Warren—terms like purpose, new reformation, God’s Dream, God “in” everything, Master Jesus, and Peace Plan among others. In fact, these areas of overlap are already blurring some of the crucial differences between biblical Christianity and the ever-invasive teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality. Curiously, instead of warning about a false Christ figure like Maitreya, much of Rick Warren’s language is sounding very similar to Maitreya. The most obvious example being that both Maitreya and Rick Warren base their teachings upon the foundational word “purpose.” Long before Rick Warren’s mega best-selling books The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life, Maitreya introduced the importance of purpose and of a purpose driven life. Maitreya stated:

I need all those who long to serve, who wish to fulfil their purpose in life.15

Take My hand, My friends, and let us together walk that Path and know the meaning of Life, know the blessing of Love, know the purpose of God.16

I am your Purpose.17

We are together, you and I, for the same purpose.18

I shall place before you all the purpose of God.19

Hold fast to My Purpose, which is to take man to God.20

My Purpose unfolds.21

My Purposes are being fulfilled.22

Purpose is obviously at the heart of everything Maitreya proposes. Occupying the whole back cover of his channeled book Messages from Maitreya is a proposed “Great Invocation” that calls for the return of Christ. This “Great Invocation” is recited in many churches around the world. “The Great Invocation”—first delivered through New Age Matriarch Alice A. Bailey in 1945—was said by Benjamin Creme to be inspired by Maitreya himself.23 “The Great Invocation” centers on the word “purpose” as it calls for the return of “the Christ” and the implementation of his New Age “plan” for the world. The very heart of this New Age invocation is found in a key line on the back cover that invokes purpose to “guide”—to drive—our lives: 

From the centre where the Will of God is known Let purpose guide the little wills of men—The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

Remarkably, as I was writing this booklet, a South African pastor e-mailed me his new book that was completely devoted to exposing the parallels between The Purpose-Driven Life and “The Great Invocation.”24 Titled Ultimate Deception, the author’s research confirmed and further added to the New Age implications I had observed when first reading The Purpose-Driven Life. My 2004 book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church documented my findings and even had a whole chapter on Maitreya titled “False Christ with a Purpose.” The chapter described some of the parallels between Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life with the New Age and Maitreya. Now here was this South African pastor pointing out the New Age parallels between Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life and “The Great Invocation,” reputedly inspired by Maitreya.

Maitreya appears to have at least a four-fold purpose and function: 1) Establish a New Age/New World Religion by helping humanity to understand and experience their “Oneness” with God and with each other; 2) Bring peace to the world through his reappearance and return; 3) Introduce and help further radically progressive economic, environmental, political, spiritual, and humanitarian projects around the world; and 4) Ultimately lead mankind to the feet of the “Father,” Sanat Kumara—as “God”—who is described as being “the Lord of the World.”25

The Bible warns about Satan—“the god of this world”—who blinds the minds of those who “believe not” the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). Maitreya, in referring to Sanat Kumara as “the Lord of the World,” openly mocks this biblical passage. Sanat is actually a “hidden in plain sight” anagram of Satan—“the god of this world.” Whether Maitreya is the Antichrist, a prototype for Antichrist, or just another false New Age Christ, the church needs to keep a definite eye on him and his New Age organization, Share International.

Immanence: the Occult “God” Within

But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

Years ago, after reading Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life, I found myself looking at Maitreya in a much different light. There was something particularly disturbing about the similarity of Maitreya’s and Rick Warren’s immanent, God-in-everything teachings:

On page 88 in Messages from Maitreya the Christ, Maitreya states:

My friends, God is nearer to you than you can imagine. God is yourself. God is within you and all around you.

On page 88 of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren says essentially the same thing. He writes:

Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right now. The Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.”

I noticed how Rick Warren and Maitreya were both presenting the same foundational New Age God-in-everything teaching of immanence.

On page 88 of The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme describes Maitreya’s New World Religion. Creme writes:

But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.

Emphasizing the words “fresh,” “foundational,” and “immanent,” renowned occult teacher and New Age matriarch Alice Bailey also described how the “foundational truths” of the New World Religion will be based on this same “immanent” New Age teaching:

. . . a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and of God Immanent within every form of life.

These are the foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.26

This same foundational “immanent” aspect of God so important to Maitreya, Alice Bailey, the New Age/New Spirituality, and the New World Religion, is also important to Rick Warren. Immanence has been taught as part of the Foundations course at his Saddleback Church. Echoing Bailey’s use of the words “immanence,” “foundational truths,” and “fresh,” the Foundations Participant’s Guide: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life On under the section heading “A Fresh Word” reiterates Rick Warren’s teaching on immanence—that God is “in” everything. It states:

The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).27 (Parentheses in original)

This “immanent” New Age aspect of God also shows up in Eugene Peterson’s Message—which happens to be Rick Warren’s most frequently quoted Bible translation in The Purpose-Driven Life. This notion that God is “in” everything and is “One” with creation is found in Peterson’s twisted paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer. Instead of presenting the usual “in earth as it is in heaven,” Peterson inserted the several-thousand-year-old occult/New Age maxim “as above, so below”—an occult term that I recognized from my time in the New Age movement. The editors of the New Age Journal describe the immanent New Age significance of the term “as above, so below” in their book As Above, So Below:

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.28

The New Age maxim “as above, so below” that Peterson put into his translation of the Lord’s Prayer, is also found in its occult derivative form—“above and below”—in his translation of Colossians 1:16. And it is this derivative phrase from The Message that Rick Warren uses at the beginning of chapter one to invoke purpose and to initiate his readers into The Purpose-Driven Life.

In Be Still and Know That You Are Not God: God Is Not “In” Everyone and Everything,29 I document how Rick Warren, Eugene Peterson, and many other Christian leaders are all teaching this same immanent “as above, so below”/New Age aspect of God “in” everyone and everything. In fact, four of the most popular “Christian” books over the last three decades—The Message, The Purpose-Driven Life, Jesus Calling, and The Shack, all contain the immanent God-in-everything, New Age teaching.30

Maitreya: No Laughing Matter

Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (Luke 6:25)

In The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme describes how Maitreya’s “Day of Declaration”—his alleged “reappearance” and “return” as “the Christ”—will be celebrated throughout the world as a second Pentecost:

One day soon, men and women all over the world will gather round their radio and television sets to hear and see the Christ: to see His face, and to hear His words dropping silently into their minds—in their own language. In this way they will know that He is truly the Christ, the World Teacher; and in this way too, we will see repeated, only now on a world scale, the happenings of Pentecost; and in celebration of this event Pentecost will become a major festival of the New World Religion.31

In addressing questions about Maitreya’s ability to convince skeptical Christians that he is “the Christ” and not the Antichrist, Creme describes how Maitreya has been working behind the scenes with Christians for years “to soften them up.”32He states that on the “Day of Declaration,” a powerful “Pentecostal experience for all” would convince “even the fundamentalists” that Maitreya is “the Christ.” Creme writes:

The fundamentalists, of course, are afraid that Maitreya might be the “Antichrist,” with which fallacy I have dealt many times, here and elsewhere. On the Day of Declaration, I submit, everyone—even the fundamentalists—will know, through the overshadowing of the minds of all humanity—a Pentecostal experience for all—that Maitreya is the Christ.33

In a 1994 article titled, “Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?,”34 I expressed deep concern about the “holy laughter” movement that had suddenly erupted at the Toronto Vineyard Church in Canada. The movement was inspired by South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne who was described by many of his followers as “the Holy Ghost bartender.” “The Toronto Blessing”—as it was being called—was carried to countless other churches around the world. Congregations participating in this movement found themselves breaking into uncontrollable fits of laughter as they often fell to the ground—sometimes barking like dogs, roaring like lions, and even oinking like pigs. Unbelievably, this “holy laughter” phenomenon was being described in many church circles as a “great move of God” and as the sign of a “great revival.” It was featured positively in Charisma Magazine, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), on the 700 Club, and by countless pastors, churches, and Christian leaders. This strange behavior was being euphorically described by participants as the “joy of the Lord” and being “drunk in the spirit.” Convinced that “holy laughter” was part of a great “revival” sent from God, most of the enthusiasts never thought to search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), to pray and seek God’s counsel regarding holy laughter’s legitimacy (James 1:5), or to “try [test] the spirits” to see if holy laughter was really from God (1 John 4:1). Rather, the movement had more of a “go-with-the-flow” attitude, not wanting to question “what God might be doing.”

In my 1994 article about holy laughter, I mentioned how the late New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard, claiming to be in contact with “Christ,” had written about a future “Planetary Pentecost” when humanity would collectively experience what was described to her as “the joy of the force.” This “Christ,” deceptively alluding to the Book of Joel, told Hubbard that a Planetary Smile would light up the face of mankind as “the joy of the force” produced a universal experience of “uncontrollable joy.” She wrote:

The Planetary Smile is another name for the Planetary Pentecost. When enough of us share a common thought of our oneness with God, Spirit will be poured out on all flesh paying attention.35

An uncontrollable joy will ripple through the thinking layer of Earth. . . . From within, all sensitive persons will feel the joy of the force, flooding their systems with love and attraction.36

It seems rather obvious that the New Age “Pentecostal experience for all,” this “overshadowing of the minds of all humanity” with the “joy of the force” producing feelings of “uncontrollable joy,” and a “Planetary Smile,” sounds a whole lot like the “holy laughter” phenomenon. Thus, the question necessarily arises—Is holy laughter part of the New Age plan to “soften up,” deceive, and lead astray unsuspecting Christians? Are today’s holy laughter type “revivals” simply dress rehearsals for a future Planetary Pentecost that will help to usher in the Antichrist? Perhaps the answer comes directly from the “Jesus” who channeled the New Age “Bible”—A Course in Miracles. Directly refuting the true Jesus Christ’s sober and prophetic warnings about the time of the end, this New Age “Jesus” states that “the world will end in laughter.”37

Separation Versus Oneness

And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Genesis 11:6)

In New Age literature, the New Age Christ is anything but loving, accepting, and tolerant of those who oppose his claim to be Christ. He declares that “separate” and “self-centered” people who don’t believe in their own divinity must be handed over to a “selection process” and ultimately removed from the planet:

The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. There is no separation of God and His creation.38

[The] fundamental regression is self-centeredness, or the illusion that you are separate from God. I “make war” on self-centeredness.39

At the co-creative level of evolution, one self-centered soul is like a lethal cancer cell in a body: deadly to itself and to the whole.40

The surgeon dare leave no cancer in the body when he closes up the wound after a delicate operation. We dare leave no self-centeredness on Earth after the selection process.41

Consistent with the teachings of the New Age Christ channeled from others, Maitreya issues his severe warning to people who persist in remaining “separate” by refusing his “plan” to see themselves as “One” with God and all creation. Using the words “purpose” and “driven,” Maitreya declares it is his “purpose” that those who insist on remaining separate “be driven from this world”:

The crime of separation must be driven from this world. I affirm that as My Purpose.42

All that hinders the manifestation of man’s divinity must be driven from our planet.43

Jesus warned this kind of extreme persecution would come:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9)

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:1-2)

Discerning False Christs

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Given Maitreya’s alleged presence on Earth, we already know he is a false Christ because the Bible teaches that the true Christ will return from the heavens above—not from the Earth below. We are specifically told He will come in the clouds where every eye will see Him:

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him. (Revelation 1:7)

The true Christ—Jesus Christ—warns us to beware of all false Christs who emerge from their earthly habitations to declare their presence in the world and in people’s hearts:

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:23-27)

The Bible is clear that the name of our true Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ—not Maitreya or anyone else.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

The Bible warns that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. It says it is a shame we have to talk about deceptive false Christs, like Maitreya, but we must expose them and bring them into the light. We must sound a warning.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:13)

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8)

Rejoice and Beware

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. (Philippians 3:1)

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. (Philippians 3:2)

In Philippians 3:1, the apostle Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord. However, in the very next verse, he warns us to “beware of dogs” and “evil workers.” Rejoice and beware is a reminder that while we are to rejoice, we are also to be vigilant—to watch and be sober.  We are not to be deceived by false prophets and false New Age Christs like Maitreya (Luke 21:8). We are to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), and press on to the higher calling of our one true Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:13-14)

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:25-28)

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Endnotes:

  1. April 25, 1982: New York Times and many other major newspapers around the world.
  2. Wayne S. Peterson, Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Beings: Experiences of an American Diplomat with Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom (Henderson, NV: Emergence Press, 2001), p. 35.
  3. Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission, Volume Two (Los Angeles, CA: Share International Foundation, 1993), p. 15.
  4. Ibid., p. 100.
  5. Wayne S. Peterson interviewed on Bridging Heaven & Earth, a weekly talk show broadcast on Cox Communications’ public access channel 17 in Santa Barbara, California on November 9, 2001, Videocassette (http://www.HeaventoEarth.com).
  6. https://abcnews.go.com/Business/economist-raj-patel-messiah/story?id=10228530.
  7. Wikipedia: Buccus, Imraan (23 March 2011). “World Class Intellectual Engagement” The Mercury.
  8. Messages from Maitreya the Christ: One Hundred Forty Messages (Los Angeles, CA: Share International Foundation, 1989, 1992), p. 6.
  9. Ibid., p. 248.
  10. Ibid., p. 62.
  11. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (London, England: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 30.
  12. Ibid., p. 85.
  13. Ibid., p. 46.
  14. Warren B. Smith, Eugene Peterson’s Mixed Message: Subversive Bible for a New Age (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2019, online at: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=29709).
  15. Messages from Maitreya the Christ, op. cit., p. 159.
  16. Ibid., p. 266.
  17. Ibid., p. 123.
  18. Ibid., p. 206.
  19. Ibid., p. 183.
  20. Ibid., p. 192.
  21. Ibid., p. 153.
  22. Ibid., p. 56.
  23. Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission, Volume Two, op. cit., p. 717.
  24. Keyworth Ngosa, Ultimate Deception: The Purpose Driven Life is the Satanic Great Invocation (Johannesburg, South Africa: Full Armour Ministries, 2019).
  25. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, op. cit., p. 135.
  26. Alice A. Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing Company,1948), p. 150.
  27. Tom Holladay and Kay Warren, Foundations Participant’s Guide: 11 Core Truths To Build Your Life On (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), p. 46.
  28. Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992), p. xi.
  29. Warren B. Smith, Be Still And Know That You Are Not God: God Is Not “In” Everyone And Everything (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015, online at: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17572).
  30. Eugene Peterson, The Message (Colorado Springs: Nav Press, 1993), Ephesians 4:6; Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), p. 88; Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 199; William P. Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
  31. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, op. cit., p. 37.
  32. (https://www.share-international.org/archives/M_appearances/faq_M_appearances.htm).
  33. Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission, Volume Two, op. cit., p. 250.
  34. Warren Smith, “Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?” SCP Newsletter, Volume 19:2, Fall 1994; Warren Smith, False Revival Coming: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion? (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015, online at: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16760).
  35. Barbara Marx Hubbard, Teachings From the Inner Christ: for Founders of a New Order of the Future (A Work in Progress): A Complement to The Book of Co- Creation (Greenbrae, CA: Foundation For Conscious Evolution, 1994), p. 79.
  36. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 243.
  37. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975) (Text), p. 36.
  38. Ibid., (Text) , p. 147.
  39. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, op. cit., p. 233.
  40. Ibid., p. 255.
  41. Ibid., p. 240.
  42. Messages from Maitreya the Christ, op. cit., p. 189.
  43. Ibid., p. 248.

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