Lighthouse Trails Research Project Header
April 24, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
  • Printer Friendly Version

    As contemplative prayer is fast becoming a household and church wide term, partly due to projects like the Be Still DVD recently released by Fox Home Entertainment, some may ask, "What's so bad about this practice anyway?" Something that New Agers seem to understand, but so many Christians miss, is the fact that the silence, which undergirds the whole contemplative movement, is the common denominator that ultimately leads to what is termed interspirituality, which in turn diminishes the message of the Cross.

    Those who practice contemplative prayer are in great danger, and it is this that motivates many of us to continue our pleas for discernment. Many Christian leaders appear to be reluctant to speak up against the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative) movement, and in fact may even be on the verge of joining hands with those in it. If a Christian leader is not taking a solid biblical stand against contemplative, then that leader is failing to alert his flock to a warning they need to hear. These are strong words, but if we as Christian believers do not defend the precious faith, which is the only means of salvation for mankind, who will?

    "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:38- 39).
    God in Everything?
    The Premise of Contemplative Prayer

     by Ray Yungen

    It was Alice Bailey (the famous occult prophetess who coined the term New Age), who made this startling assertion:

    It is, of course, easy to find many passages which link the way of the Christian Knower with that of his brother in the East. They bear witness to the same efficacy of method.

    What did she mean by the term "Christian Knower"? The answer is unmistakable! ... [O]ccultism is awakening the mystical faculties to see God in everything. In Hinduism, this is called reaching samadhi or enlightenment. It is the final objective of yoga meditation: God in everything—a force or power flowing through all that exists. William Johnston believes such an experience exists within the context of Christianity. He explains:

    What I can safely say, however, is that there is a Christian samadhi that has always occupied an honored place in the spirituality of the West. This, I believe, is the thing that is nearest to Zen. It is this that I have called Christian Zen.

    The famous psychologist Carl Jung predicted this system would be the yoga of the west. Christian Zen? Christian yoga? These seem to be oxymorons, like military pacifism or alcoholic sobriety. Christians, conservative ones at least, have always viewed these concepts as heretical and anti-biblical. The word most commonly used for it is pantheism—all is God. But when one looks at the Christian Zen movement one discovers a similar term, which for all practical purposes, means the same thing. This term is called panentheism—God is in all things....

    [Does] panentheism have a legitimate place in orthodox Christianity? This is a vital question because panentheism is the foundational worldview among those who engage in mystical prayer. Ken Kaisch, a Episcopal priest and a teacher of mystical prayer, made this very clear in his book, Finding God, where he noted:

    Meditation is a process through which we quiet the mind and the emotions and enter directly into the experience of the Divine.... there is a deep connection between us ... God is in each of us.

    Here lies the core of panentheism: God is in everything and everything is in God. The only difference between pantheism and panentheism is how God is in everything. This position of the panentheist is challenging to understand: Your outer personality is not God, but God is still in you as your true identity. This explains why mystics say, all is one. At the mystical level, they experience this God-force that seems to flow through everything and everybody. All creation has God in it as a living, vital presence. It is just hidden.

    The theological implications of this worldview put it at direct odds with biblical Christianity for obvious reasons. Only one true God exists, and His identity is not in everyone. The fullness of God’s identity, in bodily form, rests in Jesus Christ and Him only!



    Click here to read more of this excerpt from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed. pp. 28-30 

    Does Amazon.com Know Something Christians Don't Know?
     Amazon.com has paired the new Be Still DVD with a New Age movie, What the Bleep Do We Know?

    Frequently, Amazon.com pairs together titles of books or DVDs with those of similar content or nature. The Be Still DVD is no exception, except that instead of pairing it with a Christian film Amazon has paired it with a pro-New Age, interspiritual film called What the Bleep Do We know? (connected with Global Peace activists Marianne Williamson and Walter Cronkite).

    It looks like Amazon has the jump on many Christians in this case - they figured out the nature of the Be Still DVD before Christian leaders and many Christians have.


    Click here to see the two DVDs together.
    2006 Global Day of Prayer
     The Annual Global Day of Prayer is coming again in June, uniting more and more people every year.

    This annual event that started just a few years ago is growing each year. Here is a list of participating countries.
    Criswell College and the Emerging Church Movement?
     The Criswell Theological Review, a publication of Criswell College, devotes an entire issue to discussing the Emerging Church movement.

    In the Spring 2006 edition of the Criswell Theological Review (a publication of Criswell College), articles written by Emerging Church authors and an interview with Brian McLaren leave one to wonder just what exactly CTR editor, Alan Streett, had in mind when he put this issue of the newsletter together. Correctly recognizing Brian McLaren as a leading representative of the Emerging Church indicts the movement. One can only wonder at this point if Criswell College (named after Dr. W.A. Criswell - Rick Warren's mentor), heading towards Emergent?

    Related Information:
    Colleges and Seminaries That Promote Contemplative Spirituality

    Leadership Network Launched the Emerging Church Movement!
     Many think that the Emerging Church movement was started by a bunch of young people who wanted a hip atmosphere at church ... not so at all.

    According to an article in the recent edition of Criswell Theological Review,written by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill, it was the Leadership Network that initiated the Emerging Church movement. Driscoll states:

    In the mid-1990s I was a young church planter trying to establish a church in the city of Seattle when I got a call to speak at my first conference. It was hosted by Leadership Network and focused on the subject of Generation X. ... Out of that conference a small team was formed to continue conversing about postmodernism ...

    By this time Leadership Network hired Doug Pagitt to lead the team and organize the events. He began growing the team and it soon included Brian McLaren. Pagitt, McLaren, and others such as Chris Seay, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, and Andrew Jones stayed together and continued speaking and writing together as friends....

    McLaren, a very gifted writer, rose to team leader in part because he had an established family and church, which allowed him to devote a lot of time to the team. That team eventually morphed into what is now known as Emergent. (Mark Driscoll, "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emerging Church")
    Incidentally, in Driscoll's article about the emerging church, he left out the one element that counts the most - the emerging church's affinity with contemplative spirituality. As I have often said, remove contemplative from emerging and all you have left is coffee, couches and candles.


    It is more than significant to understand the implications that Leadership Network actually launched the Emerging Church. To understand just how pervasive the connections are, it is necessary to take a look at CCN (Church Communications Network which is an Innovation Series of Leadership Network). CCN carries most of today's top Christian leaders including James Dobson, Nicky Gumbel (creator of the Alpha course) Richard Foster (a speaker for the Be Still CCN conference), various Saddleback pastors, including Rick Warren, Bob Buford (founder of Leadership Network) and the list goes on and includes several emerging leaders such as McLaren, Leonard Sweet and Erwin McManus. The point is that while many are saying they do not agree with the emerging church and what it stands for, some of these same so called critics have been behind it all along.



    Related Information:

    *Other partners of Leadership Network include:
    Josey Bass (publishers of Brian McLaren),
    Zondervan (partnering with Youth Specialties and many contemplatives),
    Lifeway (from the Southern Baptist Convention)

    Emergent and Jewish Leaders in First Ever Meeting


    Read the Criswell Theological Review - Spring 2006 Edition 
    Christian Ministry Leader Urges Prayer as Dalai Lama Visits Mayo Clinic
     By Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker (Agape Press)

    April 7, 2006 "Olive Tree Ministries founder and director Jan Markell says the patients and staff at the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, need a prayer of protection on April 17. She believes a guest who will soon be visiting the hospital may pose a greater danger to the patients than the illnesses that brought them there.

    "Markell says she was informed by a supporter of her ministry that on that date in mid-April, the Tibetan spiritual icon, the Dalai Lama, will be visiting the clinic and speaking on "practices that encourage a peaceful mind and positive ways to live during difficult times." ... From her own personal experience at the medical facility, the head of Olive Tree Ministries says she knows the Rochester clinic is a place where many people go as a last resort when they have exhausted all other hope for treatment of their diseases. Because of this, the Tibetan Buddhist leader's impending visit is "a disaster waiting to happen," she contends.

    "'You've got hundreds if not thousands of people like that, in that mental state,' Markell observes, 'and then along comes this false prophet, who probably is going to give them some kind of lie because he represents everything that has to do with the New Age movement.'"


    Read Entire Article, Christian Ministry Leader Urges Prayer as Dalai Lama Visits Mayo Clinic 

    Most Major Christian Leaders Joining Together Under One Roof
     From New Age sympathizers to Emergent Leaders to Evangelicals, CCN is bringing them all together.

    What does Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality), Peter Wagner (Church Growth), Hank Hanegraff (Bible Answer Man), James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Rick Warren (Purpose Driven), Mike Yaconelli (Youth Specialties), Brian McLaren, Max Lucado, and many other Christian leaders all have in common? They are all part of the fast growing Church Communication Network (a partner of Leadership Network).

    You may be thinking right now, "With so many well-known and trusted leaders, how could this be dangerous? They can't ALL be wrong, can they?



    In February, CCN presented Larry Crabb with The Papa Prayer. "This...is all about a way to pray, a way to talk to God a little and listen a lot, a way to get better acquainted with God and yourself - through a special kind of two-way conversation, a way to pray that lets us experience His life in us and releases that life to trickle, sometimes gush, out of us into others."

    See more information on Larry Crabb's connections to contemplative.


    View the list of speakers at CCN 

    Beth Moore and the Be Still DVD
     

    Many have asked us whether Beth Moore has placed a statement on her website denouncing her involvement with the new Be Still DVD that Fox Home Entertainment just released this month. As of the writing of this newsletter, the answer is no. And after having viewed the DVD, I think I can understand why. There is no indication on the DVD that Beth Moore is against contemplative prayer, and in fact when we spoke with her assistant, she told us that Beth Moore did not have a problem with Richard Foster or Dallas Willard's teachings. Thus we do not expect to see such a statement on her website.

    In the meantime, the Be Still DVD is being widely promoted and can be found even in your local video rental stores. Couple this DVD with the fast growing CCN (Church Communication Network) and we can safely say that contemplative prayer is quickly becoming "normal" in Christendom. But before we are too swift to think "oh well, maybe it isn't that bad," listen to these words by mystic Richard Kirby:

    "The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics."
    That statement is taken from Ray Yungen's book, A Time of Departing. Ray saw this coming back in 1994 when he sat and listened to Richard Foster and soon realized Foster was promoting the teachings of mystic Thomas Merton. Ironically enough this was about the same time the Emerging Church was being formed by the Leadership Network (See article 5).

    Read more on the Be Still DVD

    Missing the Point About the Emerging Church
     Scholars who are now critiquing the emerging church may be missing the most important element of all.



    Many think that one of the big problems with the Emerging Church is their view on relativism (the belief that there are no absolutes). But they may be wrong, very wrong. McLaren himself rejected relativism in a Powerpoint presentation we viewed last year. Relativism does not describe the Emerging Church. As McLaren himself said, it has to go beyond that ... and indeed it does. Where do we go from relativism, according to McLaren ... what else .... interspirituality. But remember interspirituality is the outcome of contemplative prayer and is the uniting of all religions and the denial that Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. So many of the scholars who are analyzing the emerging church may be missing something that is right under their noses. Want to find out where the emerging church is really heading ... you are going to have to look beyond the obvious. When you reach that destination, you may be in for the shock of your life.


    More on the Emerging Church 

     

     

    Bookmark and Share