*** 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW SPECIAL EDITION ***

LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT          December 31, 2020     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESOURCE SHOP

In This Issue
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Dear Lighthouse Trails reader:

At the end of each year, Lighthouse Trails presents its Year in Review, divided into different parts. We do this for two reasons: one, for those who may have missed some of our more important articles and letters; and two, as a reminder for information that may have been forgotten but is still relevant.

In His Grace,

The Editors at Lighthouse Trails

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year in Review—Part 1—Top 10 Letters to the Editor

Below is the first part of our 2020 Year in Review. While we receive numerous letters, comments, and e-mails throughout the year and consider them all important and of value, we believe the 10 below illustrate very well what many of our readers are concerned about in these difficult days. Click the “Read more” link at the end of each paragraph to read the complete letter.

(1) Letter to the Editor: Pope Francis to Launch 2020 “Global Educational Alliance” for a “New Humanism” and “New Universal Solidarity”: Thank you for exposing the real agenda behind the 2020 Global Year of the Bible. The pope is deceiving millions of people because they do not know what the Catholic Church teaches concerning the Bible. When I was a Catholic, I was taught from the Catechism of the Catholic Church—not the Bible. (Read more.)

(2) Letter to the Editor: Concerned About “Neighborly Faith”—a “Third Way” to Befriend Muslims: Neighborly Faith urges evangelicals to find a :”third way” to befriend Muslims: There are many evangelical Christians getting involved with this, and it is scary when you realize how far this movement has come in a very short period of time. (Read more.)

(3) Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus—More Than Meets the Eye?: This is a tad bit curious in my opinion.  One and a half million people infected globally around the world from the virus and 80,000 deaths and the world comes to a screeching halt. Meanwhile, 900,000 people were infected and 80,000 of them died just two years ago of the flu in the United States1 alone and not a peep.  Call me crazy, but something is seriously odd about that. In addition, according to the World Health Organization, 650,000 people die annually from the flu2 and not a peep again. (Read more.)

(4) Letter to the Editor: Kaiser Permanente Among Those Pushing Mindfulness and Meditation Due to Coronavirus: This morning I found email from Kaiser Permanente in my regular inbox. . . . [A]mong the messages today is a link to Kaiser’s “Emotional Wellness Tools,” which includes various apps for “mental health and emotional wellness.” It seems Kaiser has taken note of  “these stressful times” and has taken it upon themselves to be guardians of much more than physical health. (Read more)

(5) Letter to the Editor: Response to My Black Baptist Pastor Friend on Racism: Thank you so much for writing that booklet about Critical Race Theory. This is very badly needed. . . . I plan to send some pastors links to it. One of them is a black Baptist pastor whom I have known for a number of years. He recently replied to an e-mail of mine telling me how he has been hurt by racism. And I’ll bet you what the SBC did (in adopting critical race theory) is the reason why he did that. I wrote him and shared some thoughts with him that I thought perhaps your readers would benefit from too regarding this issue of racism. (Read more.)

(6) Letter to the Editor: Concerns About September “Revival” Event in Washington, DC—The Return: Having watched bits and pieces of “THE RETURN”: A National and Global Day of Repentance, (Sept.26), I was deeply concerned as I watched (via simulcast) those gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C., to take part in this “sacred assembly.” This was advertised as for “all believers from all denominations and backgrounds.” (Read more.)

(7) Letter to the Editor: Liberty University Taking Students on “Spiritual Journey” With Contemplative/Emergent Leader Richard Foster: I have a grandchild at Liberty University, so I occasionally view their convocation meetings. As I was viewing LU’s Wednesday eve’s (9/2/2020) gathering of thousands of LU students, the pastor who was addressing those students announced that they will be embarking upon a five-week spiritual journey based on Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline. I’m an angry and sad Grandpa . . . thousands of young people will be duped by theologians who should know better. (Read more.)

(8) Letter to the Editor: Our Sad Departure From the Church of the Nazarene Over Unbiblical Teachings: I have been a fan of your ANA (Anti New Age) materials for a while.  You have been the center of a lot of books, booklets, and research as our family has been reconsidering our membership in the Church of the Nazarene.  We recently left the denomination and ordered some booklets to give out to the board to help us explain why.  The new pastor did not even allow us one last meeting with them! (Read more.)

(9) Letter to the Editor: To All Parents of Students Considering Attending Gordon College: My son is a freshman at Gordon College. We enrolled him because we believed the school is a solid Christian college. But now, we have serious issues with what is going on campus this semester. We and many other parents of Gordon students are extremely concerned with the direction things are going. (Read more.)

(10) Letter to the Editor: Crushed and Heartbroken in Learning That Our Church Is Calvinist: By accident (or providence!), I called a former elder and his wife to find where they were at and found out they had left the church. Upon asking why,  they told me the new pastor, of which I and my husband are still under, was bringing  Calvinism into the church. We had noticed that the associate pastor (a Calvinist) was speaking on Sunday nights a couple summers ago about a “too strict” sovereign God. I wondered then at the messages, not knowing quite what I was trying to figure out; his wife later asked me if I believed in Election? I told her no. (By this point, I had already been reading Dave Hunt’s book, TULIP and the Bible). (Read more.)


(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

“Continuing Saga: SBC’s Leaders, Seminary Heads at Odds on CRT”

LTRJ Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes. One year ago, on December 2, 2019, Lighthouse Trails released an article titled Southern Baptist Convention Adopts “Critical Race Theory”—A Dangerous Marxist ‘Solution’ That Will Not Work.” In the summer of 2020, we released a booklet of the same title. This is an issue affecting the entire church, not just SBC. Please read our 2019 article if you are not familiar with the term Critical Race Theory. Also read Mary Danielsen’s S Is for Social Justice.

By Steve Jordahl
OneNewsNow

Debate continues between Southern Baptist seminary presidents and the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention – and once again, the debate is over the use of Critical Race Theory.

At the end of November, the Council of Seminary Presidents of the SBC put out a statement that (1) affirms the Baptist Faith and Message as the north star of the denomination, and (2) criticizes Critical Race Theory – which says systemic racism pervades society and colors every transaction, human, cultural and theological – as being incompatible with scripture.

In response, a cross-ethnic group of SBC leaders chastised the presidents in their own statement last week, saying Critical Race Theory shouldn’t replace the Bible but can be used to provide cultural context. Leading that group was SBC president J.D. Greear.

Christian apologist Dr. Alex McFarland contends the SBC’s leadership has led the denomination astray. Click here to continue reading.

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year in Review—Part 1—Top 10 Letters to the Editor
“Continuing Saga: SBC’s Leaders, Seminary Heads at Odds on CRT”

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 2 – Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 3 – Top 10 LT Author Articles
Commentary: “We Can’t Get Back To Normal If People Think Spreading COVID Equals Murder”
Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 4 – Top 5 Guest Writer Articles
“‘Heartbroken’ RZIM Board Reports Investigation Finds Ravi Zacharias Engaged in Sexual Misconduct”
Around the Oval Table by Corrie ten Boom
2020 NEW RELEASE BOOKLET & GOSPEL TRACT PACK
Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Final Part – Top 10 In-House Articles
Letter to the Editor: Crushed and Heartbroken in Learning That Our Church Is Calvinist
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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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Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 2 – Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories
(See Year in Review 2020, Part 1, Letters to the Editor)

Part 2 of the Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year in Review lists the top 10 news stories from various out-of-house news sources. We posted these articles throughout the year for informational and research purposes and not necessarily as an endorsement of the source or the content.

(1) “The House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level” (Matthew Daly, Associated Press)

(2) US Supreme Court Rules NY Gov. Cuomo’s ‘Severe Restrictions’ on Church Attendance Unconstitutional” (Heather Clarke, Christian News Network)

(3) CDC Data Suggest Lockdowns Could Kill As Many People As COVID” (Karl Dierenbach, The Federalist)

(4) Homosexuals ‘Have a Right to a Family’: ‘Francis’ Becomes First ‘Pope’ to Support Same-Sex Civil Unions” (Heather Clarke, Christian News Network)

(5) Transgender Madness: One Man’s Fight to Save His Daughter” (Jonothan Van Maren)

(6) “Conservative, Liberal Methodists to Split Over Gay Marriage” (Rich McKay, Reuters)

(7) Evangelical Pastor, John Ortberg, Resigns for Allowing Son Attracted to Minors to Work With Kids” (Leonardo Blair, Christian Post)

(8) “Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Admits: ‘We Are Trained Marxists‘” (Heather Clarke, Christian News Network)

(9) “Wellness” Barbie to Teach Children Mindfulness Meditatio (Sabrina Rojas Weiss, She Knows)

(10) Boy Scouts of America File for Bankruptcy Amid Sexual Abuse, Homosexual, and Transgender Allowances (Madeline Fry, Washington Examiner Commentator)

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 3 – Top 10 LT Author Articles
See Part 1 of Year in Review: Top 10 Letters to the Editor
See Part 2 of Year in Review: Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories.

Lighthouse Trails has been blessed and privileged to work with dozens of committed, discerning, Bible-believing authors since 2002. Below is a list of 10 articles we posted in 2020 by some of these men and women (in order of date posted – earliest first).

(1) Peace Plan for Israel and the Palestinians (Tony Pearce)

(2) Passion Conference Louie Giglio Gives Thumbs Up to Enneagram—Could Influence Scores of Young Evangelicals (Lois Putnam)

(3) Coronavirus and Preparing for the Future (David Dombrowski)

(4) Reading the Bible Amidst World Crisis! (Chris Lawson)

(5) “Satan Desires to Have Us” . . . The Slaying of George Floyd (Bill Randles)

(6) Saturday Interview with Richard Nathan – From Communist to Christian (Richard Nathan)

(7) Spiritual Perestroika in America (Carl Teichrib)

(8) A Street Evangelist Speaks Out on Persecution, Black Lives Matter, Kingdom Now, and Playing With the Devil (Gregory Reid)

(9) How Well Will the Church Survive in This End-Time Turmoil of “Tolerance” and Apostasy? (Mike Oppenheimer)

(10) The Titanic and Today’s Church—The “Perfect” Storm (Warren B. Smith)


(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)


 

 

Commentary: “We Can’t Get Back To Normal If People Think Spreading COVID Equals Murder”

Updated LTRJ Note: After posting the following commentary on our Facebook Page, one reader said that we were getting sidetracked and have changed this past year and have become very "political," losing our focus on the Gospel and our desire to see people come to salvation. We would like to post our response to these accusations here:

Hello: We don't believe we are getting sidetracked by addressing various issues. We've always done that, yet we have also tried to keep the Gospel front and center. We know there are many different opinions about coronavirus, masks, BLM, etc. The good thing is we so far live in a country where people are free to express those opinions. Talking about masks, health, riots, social justice, pedophilia - these are not political issues. While it's true they are talked about in political circles, they are also talked about in the church and other circles. It's unfair and wrong to tell LT we shouldn't talk about these issues. In other words, just leave it up to mainstream media and/or misleading teachers in the church. And ministries that are trying to be discerning should keep quiet. Sorry, that doesn't make any sense. Just take a look at our year in review series and see our top stories of the year and see that we are continuing with what we have always done.

 2020 has obviously been a very challenging and distressing year for most people. The year has also carried with it a lot of confusion. At Lighthouse Trails, we don't claim to have all the answers (that's for sure), and we know we don't do things perfectly. But just to assure you and other readers who may share your concerns, our hearts here are to bring light to areas of darkness for the ultimate purpose of pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Gospel (which is the only provision for salvation and eternal life). While we know that in our own strength we fall short, we hope we can convey to others that He is the believer's strength and anchor even in the most insecure and unstable times.

 

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

When COVID eventually fades from the headlines, this shift in responsibility could very well remain to constrain key liberties.

By Georgi Boorman
The Federalist

Amid the latest wave of COVID-19, those who believe in the necessity of lockdowns and masks are insisting the non-compliant minority is “the reason we can’t get back to normal.” That makes sense as long as you don’t take into account the history of COVID restrictions and their loose relationship with both the science and the metrics of the pandemic.

Most of the statewide mask mandates went into effect in the summer, for instance, when cases were at or near their lowest point. Teachers unions in major cities across the country fought reopening plans all through the summer, with Fairfax County, Va. teachers insisting on near-complete suppression of COVID’s local spread to reopen. The New York Times now insists, against available data, that even those who receive a highly effective vaccine for COVID-19 “still need to wear a mask.” Click here to continue reading.

UPDATE: Related videoLaura Lynn Thompson: “BC Provincial Update & State Sanctioned Religious Suppression” (pscp.tv)

 

 

Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Part 4 – Top 5 Guest Writer Articles

The following is the fourth part of the Lighthouse Trails Year in Review. Our Year in Review series (usually 4-5 parts) is especially helpful for those who have missed some of our year’s reporting or perhaps forgotten about some of these important articles. The following 5 articles are from out-of-house guest writers.

See Part 1 of Year in Review: Top 10 Letters to the Editor
See Part 2 of Year in Review: Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories.
See Part 3 of Year in Review: Top 10 Articles by LT Authors

Bob Woodson

(1) How the Tragic Killing of George Floyd Has Been Exploited (Bob Woodson): How is the anger and grief following George Floyd’s killing being exploited? Why does civil rights veteran Bob Woodson argue that the national focus on systemic racism distracts from larger problems facing black America? How do funds meant for helping low-income black communities fail to actually go to the people who need it most? And, what are real solutions to uplift people in impoverished neighborhoods?

Joshua Lawson

(2) “You Can Be A Christian, You Can Be A Marxist, But You Can’t Be Both” (Joshua Lawson): It’s unclear how many Christians are going along with the current neo-Marxist collective guilt movement out of fear, a misunderstanding of what they’ve signed onto, or an authentic conversion to the cause. What is clear, however, is that you can’t be a Christian and a Marxist at the same time—not without irresolvable contradictions.

Ryan Bomberger

(3) ”Top Ten Reasons I’ll Never Support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” (Ryan Bomberger): Every life unjustly killed deserves justice. In the cause to make things right, I will not join a movement that has nearly everything wrong. More innocent lives have now been killed (#BlueLivesMatter, too) since these predominantly violent protests began over George Floyd’s horrific death. What about the black lives killed in this nationwide chaos? Do they matter?

Manning Johnson

(4) Color, Communism, and Common Sense and Similarities to the U.S. Today (Manning Johnson): en years I labored in the cause of Communism. I was a dedicated “comrade.” All my talents and efforts were zealously used to bring about the triumph of Communism in America and throughout the world. To me, the end of capitalism would mark the beginning of an interminable period of plenty, peace, prosperity, and universal comradeship. All racial and class differences and conflicts would end forever after the liquidation of the capitalists, their government, and their supporters. A world union of Soviet States under the hegemony of Russia would free and lead mankind on to Utopia.

Brenda Nickel

(5) One Woman’s Journey Into Calvinism (Brenda Nickel): My introduction to John Calvin came one spring night while driving down a desolate Wyoming highway. It was early evening. The road conditions were mildly challenging, which was often the case in that part of the country. I was listening intently to reformed theologian R. C. Sproul lecture about Romans 8:28-30 . . . I remember the moment well. The full moon lit up the prairie between the low buttes. The blowing snow was swirling across the road. The scenery was soothing, yet my mind was racing. Could it be that God elects some to eternal salvation? Did He deliberately choose some to be saved, but not all? While I thought I was about to learn more about Jesus Christ and His truth, in reality, I was about to learn more about the teachings of a man named John Calvin.


(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

“‘Heartbroken’ RZIM Board Reports Investigation Finds Ravi Zacharias Engaged in Sexual Misconduct”

LTRJ Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes and is going to be difficult for some to read. Lighthouse Trails editors do not post a story like this frivolously or with malice. And we have always been cautious about publicizing the personal “private” sins of various Christian leaders. However, in the case where a highly popular and strongly followed leader has entered into the role of sexual predator (one who seeks out victims whom he may sexually exploit), we do believe the church needs to be warned so that hopefully there will be fewer victims and a more discerning church in the future.

Lighthouse Trails was criticized severely by some followers of Voice of the Martyrs when we reported (from 2012-2014) on VOM’s poor handling of their investigation into executive director, Tom White’s suicide after discovery of his sexually molesting a young girl. We know that many in the Christian church have made “heroes” out of numerous Christian leaders and organizations even to the point of idolizing them and thus becoming extremely angry when anyone dares to challenge these leaders and groups. But this is wrong, and such a mentality and practice can actually abet and create scenarios where sexual and other types of abuse can more easily occur.

The motto of Lighthouse Trails has always been “bringing light to areas of darkness.” There are few things darker than sexual abuse, and its power lies in its secrecy. We will not be part of that secrecy. In the case of Ravi Zacharias, it appears that his victims were young adult women, but in so many cases, the victims of sexual abuse are children who are almost always completely helpless to protect themselves.

ENOUGH
by Catherine Brown

May kids [and young women] be brave enough to tell
Parents be strong enough to believe
The Church, Christ-like enough to support
America, wise enough to judge
May offenders be sorry enough to stop

SPECIAL LTRP NOTE:When we posted the following article on our Facebook page this week, a lot of readers made comments, and there were some commenters who told us it was "gossip" and of no value (but only harm) to post this. Some of those negative comments were made by people who did not read the entire article. So, upfront, we'll give you the significant point: The investigative report regarding Ravi Zacharias did not originate with Lighthouse Trails or the news group below (Christian News Network). It originated on December 23rd with Ravi Zacharias' ministry website when they reported on the findings of the investigation that THEY requested by an independent law firm. So if you are one of those who is upset that this information is being reported, please do not blame Lighthouse Trails and read all the information and documentation before making a judgement. As we stated above, we do not post this for malicious reasons but for the purpose of bringing to light an area in the church that harms others and is often kept hidden.

“‘Heartbroken’ RZIM Board Reports Investigation Finds Ravi Zacharias Engaged in Sexual Misconduct”

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

The executive committee of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries board of directors released a public statement on Wednesday outlining that an interim report on an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the now-late apologist Ravi Zacharias has found “significant, credible evidence that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of many years.”

“This misconduct is deeply troubling and wholly inconsistent with the man Ravi Zacharias presented both publicly and privately to so many over more than four decades of public ministry,” the board said in the statement. “We are heartbroken at learning this but feel it necessary to be transparent and to inform our staff, donors, and supporters at this time, even while the investigation continues.” Click here to continue reading.

Related:

Evangelical Pastor, John Ortberg, Resigns for Allowing Son Attracted to Minors to Work With Kids

Christian Comedian John Crist Caught as Sexual Predator . . . Which Reminds Us—

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

LT Author Patrick Crough Awarded “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” for His Fight Against Human Trafficking

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

Saddleback Youth Worker Ruben Meulenberg Charged With 5 Felony Counts – Saddleback Remaining Tight Lipped on Staff Issue

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

Booklet: 5 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Kids From Sexual Predators by Patrick Crough

Photo: A 2-second YouTube video clip of Ravi Zacharias (2019); used in accordance with the U.S. Fair Use Act

Around the Oval Table by Corrie ten Boom
The dining room at the Beje (1921); used with permission from the Corrie ten Boom Fonds.

By Corrie Ten Boom

Can a piece of furniture be important? The oval table in our dining room was the gathering place for hopes and dreams, the listening place for prayers and petitions, and the loving place for joy and laughter.

But Sunday, it was something more—it was the special place for family and friends.

Sunday was an important day for us; it was a day when everything—from the clothes we wore to the spoons we used—was distinctive. My Sunday dress was the new one I received for Christmas, so I seldom had a choice about what I would wear to church. Tante Anna could work magic with that dress, adding a colored sash or a ribbon in a way that improved my rather careless appearance. It was another of her small gifts of service which said, “I care.”

When we were ready for church, Father would lead the way to St. Bavo’s while we trailed along, trying not to scuff our shoes or soil our Sunday outfits.

After church it was good to go home, especially when the weather was chilly, for St. Bavo’s was unheated, and there were days when my teeth would chatter through the entire service.

At home, I would help with the Sunday dinner, first by smoothing a beautiful white cloth over the oval table. I tried to do this carefully, because I knew that Betsie wanted it to hang evenly, and it was a great desire of mine to meet her standards. Everything about Betsie was neat and I was . . . oh, well—just Corrie.

“Good work, Corrie,” she would say, and that was all I needed to encourage me for the rest of the day.

The delicate china, which had been brought from Indonesia by father’s older sister, Tante Toos, and Tante Jans’ ornate silver service—a gift from wealthy members of her husband’s church—were placed on the table. Then Tante Anna would emerge from the kitchen, wiping her hands on the generous apron she used to cover her black silk dress, and ring a little bell.

“Come to dinner, everyone.”

When we were seated, Father would remove his fresh Sunday napkin from its holder, place it carefully on his lap, and bow his head.
“Lord, we thank You for this beautiful Lord’s Day and for this family. Bless this food, bless our Queen, and let soon come the day that Jesus, Your beloved Son, comes on the clouds of heaven. Amen.”

Our table talk on Sunday sometimes centered around the sermon we had heard, but usually Father was cautious not to say too much. He attended the cathedral near our home because he felt that God had called him to that place, but he didn’t hold any position in the church. His views were not accepted by the liberal thinkers who were in positions of leadership.

Conversations around the dinner table were lively because we all had stories or experiences we wanted to share. I believe that the great enjoyment of a family eating together is having this time when each person can be heard.

Father had a special talent in directing our talks so that no one would feel left out. We loved to tell personal stories, but were taught to laugh at ourselves and not to make fun of others.

I remember one time when Nollie was telling about a painting she had done in school.

“I thought the drawing was rather good,” Nollie said, “but when Mr. van Arkel walked over to my desk, he held up my picture and looked at it one way and then another, scowling all the time.”

“Maybe he just wanted to get a better view,” Betsie offered.

“I’m afraid that wasn’t his reason,” Nollie answered.

(Studies were important in our family, so each one of us received special attention when we talked about school.)

“What did Mr. van Arkel say, Nollie?” Mother asked.

“He said, “Do you know of which Proverb your drawing reminds me, Nollie ten Boom?”

“I told him, ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense.’ [Disgraced is he who thinks wrong of it]. It’s from a motto on a badge of knighthood. Boy, did Mr. van Arkel laugh!”

Nollie’s eyes twinkled when she told the story. Father really enjoyed a good joke, as long as the girls didn’t giggle. Laughter he loved, but giggling was verboden.

On Sunday afternoons, we frequently had visitors who would stop for a cup of tea and conversation. Sometimes we would go for a walk, but we didn’t study, sew, or work on the Lord’s Day. The only work allowed was winding the watches, which were in the shop for repair.

Father said, “Even on Sunday, I must milk my cows.”

Father’s Friends
Fellowship around the oval table was more than just a family affair. Throughout the years, there were many people, young and old, rich and poor, who contributed so much to the richness of my childhood. I loved to have some of Father’s friends visit our home, because they laughed a lot and always told wonderful stories.

When Father was a young man in Amsterdam, he worked in a mission called Heil des Volks, which was in a very poor part of the city. There were three other men who gave their time and energy to this particular outreach, and they all became fast friends.

The four men would meet often, sharing their burdens and triumphs, studying the Bible together, and discussing many topics of interest. As a child, I was always happy when they came to our house; it was a time when I loved to listen to the conversations of these great friends and learn from their experiences. The children were welcome to stay during their discussions and encouraged to participate if we had something we wanted to ask. I can still recall the fragrant mixture of cologne and good Dutch cigars which lingered in the room.

Frits Vermeer was a rather round Dutchman who loved to joke. He was “Uncle Frits” to us, just as the other good friends were called Uncle Dirk and Uncle Hendrik.

One of the first things Father would do when his friends arrived was to bring out the box of cigars from its place in the desk where the bulky ledger of the shop was kept. From his pocket, he would take the special cigar clipper, which had keys for winding the clocks on the other side. It was a very important tool, and many children over a span of half a century sat on his lap and played with it.

Uncle Hendrik was considered the theologian of the group, and was constantly being challenged for a Bible verse to meet some situation or problem. He was seldom at a loss when asked to quote something appropriate for the occasion.
Uncle Dirk, the fourth member of the group, was the only one who wasn’t married. However, he loved children very much and was able to express that love in a special way.

On one occasion, when Father’s friends were discussing their concerns, Uncle Dirk was anxious to tell about an orphanage where he was on the board of directors. I sat up and listened carefully, because children without parents bothered me so much. I thought how terrible it would be not to have the love of a mother and father.

“I decided to become the father of the orphanage,” Uncle Dirk announced. “I have been on the board of directors, arguing for better conditions for those poor children, but I have not seen any positive results. I must get in there and work myself.”

Father was delighted. “Dirk, this is certainly the leading of the Lord for you. He has not given you a wife, but He is going to bless you with many, many children. We will pray about it.”

Father would begin to pray with his friends in an attitude which was so easy and natural that the conversation never seemed to stop; it would flow easily from friend to friend to the Lord.

Many times through the years I remember the wonderful moments I had listened to the stories and experiences of Father’s friends. There is a Proverb which says, “Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not” (Proverbs 27:10). I have often thought how wise that is.

Bible Study Was a Game
With the dishes cleared off and kitchen duties accomplished, the oval table could be turned into a place for games. We didn’t play cards (for that was considered a form of gambling), but we had a lasting enjoyment in the type of games which taught us something.

Different languages were introduced as a game, not as a forced study. When I was in the fourth grade, we began to learn French. As I remember, I loved the melodious sounds of this beautiful language, but it was and remained a difficult language for me. The next year I started English, which was easier, but I wondered as I struggled with all the different English meanings for words if I would ever go to England or America and have an opportunity to use the language.

Father wanted me to learn English well, and he gave me a little Sunday-school booklet in English, which was called “There’s No Place Like Home.” I read it over and over again.

The greatest fun in language-learning came during our Bible study. The entire family would take part, each one of us having a Bible in a different language. Willem usually had the original in Hebrew and Greek; I would have the English; Mother the Dutch; Nollie the French; and Betsie or Father, German. It was a special and joyous time for us.

Father would begin by asking what John 3:16 was in English. I would answer from my English Bible, Mother from her Dutch Bible, and Betsie would reply in German.

When I was so young, it didn’t seem possible that Betsie would ever have a chance to use a Bible verse in German. We didn’t know any Germans then! However, God uses such seemingly insignificant ways to prepare us for the plan He has for our lives. Over forty years later, in a concentration camp in Germany, Betsie was able to use that verse—and many more—to speak to the prisoners and the guards about God’s love.

When Father Prayed . . .

Every room in our house heard our prayers, but the oval table probably experienced more conversations with the Lord than other places. Praying was never an embarrassment for us, whether it was with the family together or when a stranger came in. Father prayed because he had a good Friend to talk over the problems of the day; he prayed because he had a direct connection with his Maker when he had a concern; he prayed because there was so much for which he wanted to thank God.

When Father talked with the Lord, it was serious, but unpretentious. He talked to Someone he knew. Once we had a minister in our house, and when his visit was over, Father prayed, “Thank You Lord, for a good day. We hope everyone goes together in the same way.”

The minister left with a puzzled expression on his face. Could this be the Casper ten Boom so many of his parishioners told him had such a deep understanding of God’s Word?

Father always prayed before and after each meal. He included two things in his prayer: the Queen and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The knowledge and anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ was given to me by Father during one of the quiet, thoughtful times before I went to sleep as a small child.

(From Corrie’s book, In My Father’s House)
(Corrie ten Boom and her family hid Jews in Holland during the Nazi occupation. Eventually, they were captured and put into concentration camps where most of her family perished. You can read about the ten Boom’s courage in her book The Hiding PlaceIn My Father’s House is about the ten Boom years prior to The Hiding Place time period. Lighthouse Trails sought the publishing rights to In My Father’s House in 2011 when learning that the book was no longer in print in North America and seeing how precious this book is.)

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Lighthouse Trails 2020 Year-in-Review – Final Part – Top 10 In-House Articles
See Part 1 of Year in Review: Top 10 Letters to the Editor
See Part 2 of Year in Review: Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories.
See Part 3 of Year in Review: Top 10 Articles by LT Authors
See Part 4:  Top 5 Guest Writer Articles

In this last part of our 5-part Year in Review series, the following 10 articles are written by the editors at Lighthouse Trails.

(1) Christianity Today: “We are theologically conservative . . . committed to the glory of God.”—CT History Shows Differently: In the last 20+ years, since the emerging “progressive” socialist church was birthed, Christianity Today has not been theologically conservative [as it claims] and has actually helped to propagate an emergent socialist, very non-theologically conservative spirituality that does anything but bring glory to God.

(2) Christian Colleges and Seminaries in More Trouble Than Ever As Many Plunge Into Emergent Spirituality: When we started warning about the contemplative movement entering the church through the evangelical colleges, seminaries, and universities back in the early part of this present millennium, our warnings were brushed off and dismissed by many Christian leaders. Today, some of these same leaders are being vocal about the left-leaning, anti-God, socialistic condition of this country. But they either don’t realize or don’t care that the early contemplative pioneers that they embraced twenty plus years ago brought in that very same mindset into the church through contemplative prayer.

(3) Philip Zodhiates – Remains in U.S. Prison For Helping Former Lesbian Mother: Since 2010, Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on the story of former lesbian Lisa Miller and her then-eight-year-old daughter, Isabella. After Lisa committed her life to Christ, she left her lesbian partner when Isabella was about a year old and quit the homosexual lifestyle. Obeying the law, Lisa allowed her young daughter visits to her former partner, but in time, she came to believe that Isabella was undergoing various forms of abuse while on those visits when Isabella.

(4) Lilly Endowment’s Contemplative-Focused Clergy Renewal Program Updated Lists: If you are in a church where your pastor is planning to go on a sabbatical, whether it is sponsored by Lilly or not, find out if he is going to be spending part of his sabbatical time at a monastery or a contemplative retreat center and reading contemplative-influenced books.

(5) The American Legion Gives Big Push for Veterans to Practice Transcendental Meditation: In a 2020 three-part series titled “Mysteries of the Mind,” The American Legion magazine tells veterans they should practice transcendental meditation if they feel stressed, saying that TM “can help veterans confronting PTSD.” Writer of the article, American Legion magazine editor Jeff Stoffer, enthusiastically adds:

(6) Coronavirus, George Floyd, and Riots in the Streets—When God Discloses the Heart of Man: It doesn’t take much to see that between the coronavirus and George Floyd’s death that God is disclosing what’s in the heart of man. For some, it is racism and brutality; for others, it is hatred, violence, and anger; for others, greed and covetousness; and others fear and even cowardness.

(7) Critical Race Theory, Southern Baptist Convention, and a Marxist “Solution” That Will Not Work: In June 2019, at its annual conference, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed Resolution 9: “On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.”1 Critical Race Theory is a political/philosophical-driven ideology that claims to be a solution to ending racism but according to critics actually presents a “solution” that will install Marxism into our society while creating a sentiment leading to escalated conflict and diminished freedom for all.

(8) Passion of the Christ Sequel May Be Coming—First One Promoted Roman Catholicism Amid Immense Evangelical Support: Some have asked the question: was it Mel Gibson’s intention for the film to focus on the Catholic Eucharist and Mary? In an interview given on EWTN, while explaining the “very moving and emotional and efficacious” aspects of the Catholic Latin Mass, Mr. Gibson stated his goal and intention for making this film.

(9) Steve Berger and Other Church Leaders Calling for “Repentance” and “Revival” May First Need to Repent Themselves: Today, a growing number of Christian leaders are holding public events calling for national repentance and church revival. With Christians deeply concerned about the state of our nation, it is understandable that repentance and revival would be on the hearts of many in the church. But sadly and alarmingly many of the figures who are calling for revival today have been promoting false and dangerous teachings.

(10) LT Author Patrick Crough Awarded “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” for His Fight Against Human Trafficking: I can’t help but think that Jesus weeps for those little ones who fall into the hands of child predators. I also believe Jesus weeps over the despair and hopelessness we experience as communities because of the crimes committed against our children.—Patrick Crough


(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Letter to the Editor: Crushed and Heartbroken in Learning That Our Church Is Calvinist
LTRJ Note: As many of our readers know, Lighthouse Trails began warning about the dangers of Calvinist teachings a few years ago when we released Bob Kirkland’s book, Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy. Needless to say, the book and our other warnings set off a firestorm of criticism and anger by defenders of Calvinism. But in the midst of that firestorm, something else emerged—the stories of those who have been victims of Calvinism and have now found their way out of it. The following letter to the editor is one of many we have received. It illustrates the heart-rending struggle that occurs when a couple comes to understand the beliefs behind Calvinism and that their church is a Calvinist church.

As Calvinism becomes more and more prevalent within Christian colleges and seminaries, stories like the one below will become more and more common.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Just finished your book, Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy. By accident (or providence!), I called a former elder and his wife to find where they were at and found out they had left the church. Upon asking why,  they told me the new pastor, of which I and my husband are still under, was bringing  Calvinism into the church. We had noticed that the associate pastor (a Calvinist) was speaking on Sunday nights a couple summers ago about a “too strict” sovereign God. I wondered then at the messages, not knowing quite what I was trying to figure out; his wife later asked me if I believed in Election? I told her no. (By this point, I had already been reading Dave Hunt’s book, TULIP and the Bible).

I’m amazed and shocked that people who claim to be faithful Bible-believing Christians could believe what has made me deeply saddened and heartsick after reading Dave’s and your books. I have also listened to messages by former Calvinists online. We have listened to Dave Hunt online as well. 

Thank you for bringing this to light. My former church in ______________ had Dave Hunt speak to us several times a year several years ago. He taught us and warned us about deception and to be Bereans.

My husband went and talked with the pastor only to be told that he (the pastor) can’t ignore the Scriptures that he sees supporting Calvinistic thinking.* My husband said, “If you continue down this road, we can’t go with you.” He (and now I) will be meeting again with the pastor possibly this week. My husband is one of the worship leaders of this church  and wants to give a two-weeks notice of leave. I lead one of the women’s Bible studies. We are crushed and heart broken. We have already refuted the pastor’s teaching just two weeks ago while in Zoom Bible study. We can’t remain quiet, and yet we are still babes in the Calvinism arena. With the reading, however, we are much more able to see the heresy.

Thanks again and blessings on your work in warning the church. Please pray for us. You may share this to help the unsuspecting.

Mike and Shannan (pen names)


*LT note: It would be well to note that pastors who embrace Calvinism often do so because they feel they can’t ignore Scriptures that appear to support Calvinism. However, in doing so, they have to alter or ignore the bulk of Scripture that refutes Calvinism.

Related:

Does Calvinism’s “Perseverance” Really Offer Eternal Security? The Answer: No! by Bob Kirkland

“What if I Am Predestinated for Hell?” by Harry Ironside

A Biblical Perspective on Salvation Vs. Calvinism by LT Editors

A Potter Looks at Romans 9 by David Dombrowski

Letter to the Editor: A Painful Journey Out of Bondage

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