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May 2, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
In This Issue:
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During the last couple weeks, we have discovered a number of things: that one of the largest Christian ministries is now promoting contemplative authors through their magazine, that the founder of a large denomination had a book released in which some alleged mystery person stuck in contemplative language unbeknownst to the author, and that one of the most respected, loved pastors in the country has recently put out a CD series called Meditation: The Power of Silence, and incidentally this same pastor was listed on the Be Still DVD as a supporter. On top of that, we viewed a movie called Bee Season (starring one of Hollywood's most popular actors), in which a young girl is taught by her father the art of mantra meditation and how to go into a trance to become one with everything. Then we were told that the Boy Scouts are going to help churches build labyrinths, and McDonald's Restaurant is incorporating Yoga into their promotional materials.

About the only thing that didn't happen in the world of contemplative these last several days is this ... there were no major Christian leaders shouting from the rooftops ... beware, for great delusion is coming ... and it's coming in the form of Eastern/New Age meditation.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." I Timothy 4:1

What Happened to the Calvary Chapel Book, When Storms Come?
 The book contains contemplative language but apparently put in the book unbeknownst to the author.

The founder of the Calvary Chapel churches, Pastor Chuck Smith, is known for his emphasis on expositional Bible teaching. So it was quite a surprise, when recently reading his 2005 book, When Storms Come, to see Smith favorably quoting the late Catholic mystic, Anthony De Mello (p. 137).

De Mello wrote the contemplative classic called Sadhana: A Way to God and in that book says:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. (A Time of Departing, p. 75).

In another section of Smith's book, he instructs readers to practice a "Spiritual Exercise" that uncomfortably resembles an Eastern style meditation exercise (pp. 102, 103). And yet in another section of the book, there is mention of Jewish Kabbalist (Jewish mystic) Lawrence Hoffman who has strong interfaith sympathies (p. 107).

We contacted Calvary Chapel last week and talked to Pastor John Mann. He told us that someone other than Pastor Smith had done a final editing of the book and inserted these comments unbeknownst to Chuck Smith. When asked whether Chuck Smith would make a public statement warning the Christian community about the book, Mann said he knew of no plans for that.

On pages 102 and 103 of When Storms Come, readers are told there is a "practical way" to alleviate stress in our lives through a "spiritual exercise" in which we are to "sit up so your spine is straight, inhale slowly, relax your muscles, then slowly exhale. Place your hands on your lap with your palms up, but make a fist as if holding on to something. Imagine you carry all your anxieties in your hands ... observe the rhythm of your breath." While no mention of repeating a word or phrase is made, using this type of language could set the reader up to be open and receptive to more blatant and dangerous forms of these practices. Basically a Christian shouldn't have to practice some kind of technique to enjoy the presence of God. (See Ephesians 2:18 and Romans 5:2) The whole rationale behind the contemplative prayer movement is that a Christian is somehow hindered or limited in his or her access to God while in a normal state.

For the sake of the thousands of people who may have already read Smith's book, we hope that a public statement will be made by Calvary Chapel to warn readers about the book ... We also hope and pray that Pastor Smith will let Calvary Chapel pastors in his denomination know that he stands against contemplative spirituality.

Incidentally, the foreword to When Storms Come was written by Chuck Smith Jr., son of Pastor Smith. Smith Jr. is pastor of Capo Beach, Calvary Chapel in California and recently returned from a sabbatical at a Catholic monastery. In Smith, Jr.'s book, The End of the World as We Know It, he reveals his affinity with the contemplative when he states:

More and more Protestant Christians - and we are way behind the Roman Catholics on this score - are discovering a new, yet old way of reading the Bible: lectio divina. The "divine reading" is a simple method of listening to God speak through the Bible to your heart rather than your brain ... I doubt that the current interest in Christian spirituality is simply a fad.... Esther de Waal's The Celtic Way of Prayer is one of many books that offers spiritual expression in a variety of paths that have long been minimized or overlooked." (p. 103).

Referring to this "Celtic spirituality," Smith, Jr. says: "There is something so natural and appealing about this earthy, practical spirituality that I find myself wanting to adopt it in my daily routine" (p. 104). But in the book, The Celtic Way of Prayer, de Waal tells readers to do the sign of the Cross and says:

... lectio, the monastic way of praying with a phrase from Scripture, repeating it, rocking it back and forward, letting it move into the depths of one's own self until it goes beyond words, into silence, into contemplation.

The End of the World As We Know It is riddled with quotes by contemplatives and New Age sympathizers, including Leonard Sweet, whom Smith Jr. quotes twice from Sweet's book Quantum Spirituality. Sweet's book is a handbook on interspirituality saying that all things are interconnected (a Buddhist/Hindu concept) to each other.

It is hard not to wonder what Chuck Smith Sr. was thinking by having his son write the foreword to this book, and hard not to wonder if perhaps Smith Jr. is the mystery editor.

 Gimmie Yoga, a Burger and Fries
 New McDonald's "Happy Meal" for Adults Offers Yoga.

Gimmie Yoga, a Burger and Fries
By Ray Gano

This week I had yet another new shock to the system. While standing in line to order a Number 3 meal at the local McDonalds®, I noticed an interesting new promotion that is taking place. They now have Adult Happy Meal. This is pretty cool because the kids always got some pretty neat toys. The adult meal also comes with a prize, but I was kind of shocked when I found out what it is ... a DVD on Yoga.  Well on my bag for my Big Mac®, I found a handy URL telling me more about this and I checked it out. Here is what they say ...
15 Minutes of Sane

Feeling stressed? Try Yoga. It helps relax the mind and rejuvenate the body and spirit. Plus, it's great for improving flexibility. Your exclusive McDonald's® Yourself!Fitness® Yoga DVD offers four different 15 minute workouts to help improve your mood and your energy level. You can customize your Yoga workout by choosing a language, difficulty level and your
area of focus – flexibility, stress relief, balance or strength. (1)

The eastern thought of New Age mentality is not only entering the burger joints of America , but it has made a strong entrenchment in a place not as suspecting ... our churches today.



Read entire article, Gimmie Yoga, a Burger and Fries 

Holocaust Remembrance Day
 How one Jewish believer escaped 'Hitler's Hell'

by Leo Hohmann
With all of the thousands of books out there about the Holocaust, you might be tempted to ask, why read another?

Indeed, there are countless works that document the cruelty, the hate, the deprivation and death inflicted by the Third Reich. Those such as Eli Weisel’s "Night" provide a first-hand account that is masterfully written but leave the reader depressed, wondering why God abandoned His people during this period of history.

But there is a book, Trapped in Hitler’s Hell by Anita Dittman with Jan Markell, that will sweep you into 1930s Germany and back with your faith firmly intact...


Read entire book review by Messianic Times. 

 

Henri Nouwen and His Buddhist Sympathies
 Seminaries, Bible-studies and churches use his materials and quote from him. What did he really believe?

by Ray Yungen

An individual who has gained popularity and respect in Christian circles, akin to that of Thomas Merton, is the now deceased Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen. Like Merton, Nouwen combines a strong devotion to God with a poetic, comforting, yet distinctly intellectual style that strikes a strong and sympathetic chord with what could be called Christian intelligentsia. Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted to his deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S. Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second only to Billy Graham in influence among them.Nouwen also attracts many lay people who regard him as very inspirational. One person told me that Nouwen's appeal could be compared to that of motherhood—a warm comforting embrace that leaves you feeling good. Despite these glowing attributes, several aspects of Nouwen's spirituality have earned him a place in this book.Unfortunately, this widely read and often-quoted author, at the end of his life, stated in clear terms that he approached God from a universalistic view. He proclaimed:

Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.

Nouwen's endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, "This book has helped me a great deal."Nouwen also wrote the foreword to a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, in which he says:

[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian ... Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.

Nouwen apparently took these approaches seriously himself. In his book, The Way of the Heart, he advised his readers:

The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God’s active presence.

But what God’s "active presence" taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with classic Hinduism than classic evangelical Christianity. He wrote:

Prayer is "soul work" because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, ... It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is. (emphasis mine)



Read Entire Article, Henri Nouwen and Buddhism 






Focus on the Family Promotes Contemplative Authors
 

In the latest issue of Focus on the Family magazine, author and contemplative Gary Thomas writes about marriage. Thomas, author of Sacred Pathways, promotes contemplative prayer in that book by telling readers to "choose a word ... as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing" (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 152). In addition to the article by Gary Thomas in the FOF magazine, one of Thomas' books, Sacred Parenting, is advertised.

Last week, we contacted Focus on the Family to share our concerns over their promotion of those who teach contemplative prayer. However, we have not heard back from anyone at their office regarding this matter. We also contacted Focus on the Family several months ago to let them know that their name was listed on the Lead Like Jesus (Ken Blanchard) list of Board Members but we did not hear back from anyone then either. We also contacted them about their promotion of Richard Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline, but we did not hear back from anyone.

Related Links:





 Reemerging of the Emerging Church
 We know from the Scriptures that Satan’s plan is to deceive the whole world. His objective is to blind the minds of the unbelieving and to recruit those who have believed to become part of his agenda to set up an end-times delusion.

by Roger Oakland

Do you recall what Paul said would happen to the early Christian church? This is what he said:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

A brief overview of church history reveals Paul’s prophetic warning was fulfilled. He said it would happen and it happened. Numerous church leaders emerged during the first to the third centuries. The foundational principles of the Scriptures were ignored and many followed the experiential teachings of men who claimed they had discovered new and innovative methods to get in touch with God.

So, in other words, an emerging church growth movement began to emerge or should we say diverge. The reason for this is simple.

We know that God’s Word is light. When we begin to replace the Word of God with enlightenment by the words of man, we have a perfect formula for returning to darkness. The mystics (we often call them the church fathers) added ideas to Christianity that cannot be found in the Bible - a recipe for spiritual disaster.

Jude also warned about the coming apostasy in the early church. He said certain men had crept in unawares because error was not being corrected. How tragic, then and now.

Now, let’s bring this up to date. The latest wave of church growth methodology today is the Emerging Church. By the way, you should know that many of the ideas being promoted originated when present day church leaders studied the methods that emerged in the first to third centuries after Christ. These leaders say we need to reincorporate their ideas if we are going to have successful churches in the 21st century.

But, just a minute! If the emerging church of the past was based on extrabiblical revelation and experiences that led to such ideas that Mary was much more than what we read about in the Bible, and that the presence of Jesus can be conjured up from a wafer by a priest, shouldn’t we be somewhat concerned? Do you recall that many of the reformers were tortured and killed because they refused to accept emerging church doctrines?

Rather than reviving the teachings of the monks and early “church fathers,” I believe we should pray that such practices be exposed rather than embraced. While proponents of the Emerging Church believe they are getting closer to God, they are not paying attention to the Word of God.

The last days will be characterized by doctrines of demons who lead sincere Bible-believing Christians astray.The present day Emerging Church Movement has that potential.


Read Entire Article: Reemerging of the Emerging Church by Roger Oakland 


 

 

 

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