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October 20, 2006 
 Coming From the Lighthouse Newsletter
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As one Christian leader after the next succumbs to contemplative spirituality, it is hard for many believers not to wonder if we are beginning to see what the Bible refers to as the great falling away. And there seems little doubt that we are in the midst of a spiritual famine. While many are saying peace, peace and claiming that we are entering into a great spiritual awakening, we must be reminded of the words of Amos, and though his words were spoken so many years ago, perhaps they are very relevant for today.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:11-12)

Red Moon Rising: 24-7 Prayer Leads Youth into Contemplative and New Age Thought


Red Moon Rising: How 24-7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation (2003, Relevant Books), by UK author Pete Greig, is becoming an increasingly popular book among Christian youth. Greig is the founder of an international prayer movement called 24-7 Prayer and Boiler Rooms. In a magazine interview with Greig, he explains that his organization is now in over 65 countries and has partnered with groups such as Salvation Army and YWAM and has established "modern day monasteries based on the example of the ancient Celts."

While Greig's book and ministry may, at first glance, appear to be a movement of prayer, research shows that both the book and the movement are heavily influenced by contemplative spirituality and New Age thought. And while youth around the world are taking shifts (to pray) in Greig's boiler rooms (prayer rooms), they may be getting into something entirely different than biblical prayer. If your youth group is considering incorporating Red Moon Rising and 24-7 Prayer into their agenda, a second look may be worthwhile.

Greig tells readers to look to Brennan Manning's book, Abba's Child. It is in Abba's Child that Manning says Dr. Beatrice Bruteau is a "trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness." Bruteau is the founder of The School for Contemplation and believes God is within every human being. She wrote the book, What We Can Learn from the East and says:

"We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not "I am a this" or "I have that quality." Only unlimited, absolute I AM"

Also in Manning's book, he says: "[I]f I find Christ, I will find my true self and if I find my true self, I will find Christ." Thomas Merton believed what Bruteau and Manning have stated, that God is already within every human being, we just need to become aware of this. When Greig tells readers to turn to Abba's Child, he is pointing them towards the mystical, panentheistic views of Thomas Merton.

Red Moon Rising instructs readers on lectio divina, but warns readers that their "inner fundamentalist" voice may be telling them this isn't biblical - in actuality that may be the voice of the Holy Spirit. The book cites contemplative proponents like Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Henri Nouwen and talks about a paradigm and cultural shift that is taking place in the world.

On the 24-7 Prayer website, a section called Labyrinths and Liturgy states: "[I]t's about time we pooled our resources and created a collection of homegrown liturgies, and make them available for anyone out there who wishes to use them in their prayer rooms or as part of their personal rhythm of prayer."

Throughout Greig's site, articles and discussion cover topics such as monks, monasteries, and meditation. One article, titled "The Cross and the Cellar", is written by Morton Kelsey. Kelsey, an Episcopalian priest, was a strong advocate for contemplative spirituality and said: "You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity.... I believe that the Holy One lives in every soul (A Time of Departing, p. 67).

In another article Greig says 24-7 Prayer is part of a "global prayer explosion" that includes the Catholic Renewal Movement, Taize worship, IHOP, and other prayer movements.

The 24-7 Prayer organization has another ministry outlet called "The Order of the Mustard Seed." Based on an 18th century order, participants are asked to take a vow and then wear a specially made ring. When we study the Mustard Seed website a clear picture begins to unfold, that this vow is a vow to be contemplative. Contemplative and occultic concepts, references, quotes, etc. so fill the pages of this site, that it would take much more than this article to describe it's depth of deception. In one Mustard Seed article, Greig states his admiration for Henri Nouwen, saying: "I am firmly in the Henri Nouwen fan-club, yearning for greater spiritual depth and getting excited about Rhythms and Rules of Life." But these rhythms and rules are filled with mysticism and spiritual darkness. "Rules have been the heartbeat of life for many of those we esteem the most," Greig adds and then lists several contemplatives including Thomas Merton and Mother Teresa(see her address: "Contemplatives in the Heart of the World"). A "Vision Study Guide" gives instruction on the spiritual disciplines including the silence and sacred space.

Unfortunately, as we have shown over the past few years, this cultural shift that is occurring within Christendom is one steeped in mysticism and a joining together of all the world's religious traditions. And when Greig talks about his vision for an army of young people who have a "violent reaction to compromised religion," this sounds similar to Erwin McManus' "barbarian way," Teen Mania's "battle cry" and Kids in Ministry's army of children with supernatural proclivities. It is frightening to see a growing trend that sounds more like a preparation for the Crusades than the language of Jesus Christ and the disciples. Couple this with contemplative mysticism, and we may have a combination that will bring about unmentionable results.

For more information:

A 24-7 Prayer room in Vista, California

Directory of 24-7 Prayer Rooms in the US

 

 

Cedarville University
Heading Down the Contemplative Road?

 

In June of this year, we reported that several Christian colleges and seminaries now have Spiritual Formation programs. One of those we listed was Cedarville University of Ohio. The Spiritual Formation course, titled BEGE 1720, is taught by Dr. Richard Blumenstock, and while the course outline lists no use of contemplative authors, Cedarville's 64-page Student Handbook shows signs that Cedarville may indeed be stepping toward contemplative spirituality. On pages 12 and 34, Dallas Willard is quoted on sidebar commentaries from his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines. Willard's book carries a disturbing endorsement on the back cover - that of Sue Monk Kidd! Monk Kidd is discussed in A Time of Departing because of her contemplative and New Age affinities:
[Sue] Monk Kidd's spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book, When the Heart Waits. She explains: There's a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that's only God ... the soul is more than something to win or save. It's the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us--Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134.

In Monk Kidd's book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter , she says that God is in everything, even bodily waste. Monk Kidd began following the teachings of Thomas Merton several years ago when she was a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher. Today, she is an advocate of goddess spirituality. In addition to Monk Kidd's endorsement on the cover of Willard's book, Willard favorably quotes Thomas Merton in his book and helped to launch Richard Foster's Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible.

For Cedarville University to quote Willard (twice) in their student handbook, could ultimately lead young college students right into the arms of Thomas Merton, and Sue Monk Kidd, which means right into the arms of New Age mysticism.

Cedarville's president, Dr. Bill Brown, has an interesting "Resources" page for students to utilize. While he does make a disclaimer that not all the books he lists are Christian, it is unfortunate that he would recommend young, impressionable students to read "thought- stimulating" books by Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Philip Yancey as well as a book by heavy-weight New Ager James Redfield (author of the Celestine Prophecy - soon to be a movie).

If students at Cedarville are not aware of the dangers of the teachings of these men, the results in their spiritual lives could be disastrous. One can only wonder if Sweet, McLaren or Redfield's quotes will wind up on the next edition of the Student Handbook.

 
Rob Bell on Breath Prayer, Noomas, Yoga and more...


The following Audio clip is a sermon by Rob Bell. In this audio, Bell leads the audience through a meditation exercise and talks about various aspects of contemplative spirituality. Please use caution when listening to this audio file (not suitable for children). Click here for audio file - then scroll to article titled "Postmodern Ministry has Raised Discipleship from the Dead" .

Lighthouse Trails has been contacted by several concerned parents and grandparents whose teens are being introduced to the teachings and films of emerging church leader, Rob Bell (a strong proponent of mysticism, i.e., contemplative). Bell, the creator of the Nooma films, is pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church and the author of Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Christian schools and youth groups are presenting the Nooma films to their youth, and many of these groups are having teens read Velvet Elvis. Because Bell promotes and teaches New Age mystical practices in a Christian context, young people may accept these teachings as biblical Christianity. And when trusted teachers are presenting this material, both teens and parents alike may be caught off guard. In our recent article " Will the Next Billy Graham Be a Mystic?" we documented important information regarding Bell's spiritual affinities. Here is a small portion of that article:

On March 19th 2006 Bell ... invited a Dominican sister from the Dominican Center at Marywood in Michigan to speak at a church service at Mars Hill. The Dominican Center is a "Spirituality center," which offers a wide variety of contemplative opportunities, including Reiki [an occult-based, i.e., chakra, healing technique], a Spiritual Formation program, a Spiritual Director program, labyrinths, Celtic Spirituality, enneagrams and more.

Zondervan Publishing will be releasing Bell's new book, Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, next spring.

For further information:
Our research on Rob Bell
POSTURE TO APOSTASY : Can yogic practices be integrated with the Christian faith?

Breath Prayers

A Time of Departing


"We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life."- Rob Bell, from "The Emergent Mystique"


Alpha Course on Israel!
 

by Dusty Peterson
Bayith Ministries
"One of the central Biblical principles of right living is that we must speak the truth at all times. Much discerning material has been written regarding the 'amount' of truth found in various facets of the Alpha Course, but in this article we simply want to explore the question of whether or not Alpha currently teaches truthfully about the physical nation of Israel. After all, this topic is vital for a proper comprehension of the gospel (Rom. 11:11-25) and for 'rightly dividing' God's Word.... Click here to read the rest of this article.

Emergent Manifesto to Be Released by Baker Books
 Book by Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt to Be Released Next Spring

Baker Books, another Christian publisher that is getting on the contemplative/emerging bandwagon, will be releasing a book next spring called Emergent Manifesto.

Here is a link to a 32 page excerpt of the book (from the publishers website). The book, edited by Jones and Pagitt, is a conglomeration of the writings of several emerging leaders, including Jones, Pagitt and Brian McLaren. Read this with caution and discernment.

See our recent article on Baker Books, Another Christian Publisher Embraces Contemplative/Emerging

INTERSPIRITUAL ALERT: Pentecost 2006
 

This summer's Pentecost 2006 conference, titled "Building a Covenant for a New America," is another example of how a move towards interspirituality (the coming together of all religions) is quickly taking place. Speakers included mysticism-promoting Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo as well as Hillary Clinton and other political and religious figures. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial article on the event, Pentecost speaker Howard Dean said, "We're about to enter into the '60s again ... Into the age of enlightenment, led by religious figures who want to greet Americans with a moral, uplifting vision." While the emphasis of the Pentecost 2006 event was said to be helping the poor, one cannot help wonder about the implications and the results of such a coming together of religious and political ideas, especially when we stop and realize that here too, mysticism plays a significant role. Pentecost 2006 speaker Tony Campolo states his views on the role of mysticism and uniting all together in his book, Speaking My Mind:

Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God ... I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism? p. 149-150
Well, according to New Agers, there is indeed a common ground between Christianity and Islam, in fact between all religions. Mysticism is the glue that binds them all together. In Ron Miller's book, As Above, So Below, he states (quoting Aldous Huxley):
"a highest common factor" links the world's religious traditions. He [Huxley] calls this unifying factor the Perennial Philosophy, "the metaphysical [mystical] that recognizes a divine reality ... each religion [provides] meditative disciplines that help us ... experience our rootedness in the divine ... the spiritual dimension of culture is ... a spectrum of contemplative practices, equivalent in essence, which lead toward experience rather than towards doctrinal assertion." (pp. 2-3)
Will this expected "age of enlightenment" that Howard Dean spoke of at Pentecost 2006 intersect at some point with the evangelicals' (e.g., Rick Warren) hoped for "great awakening" or "second reformation"? The gap between the two is narrowing, and mysticism is the bridge that will bring about the ultimate unity.
 
Franklin Graham Joins Rick Warren and John Ortberg at AIDS

In a time when the church desperately needs leaders who are willing to take a stand against New Age teachings coming into Christendom, it is with sadness to report on an upcoming AIDS conference in which Franklin Graham (president and C.E.O. of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) will join contemplative-promoting leaders John Ortberg and Rick Warren. The conference, called Race Against Time: 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church is hosted by Rick and Kay Warren and the Purpose Driven Network and will be held in November at Saddleback Church.

Both Ortberg and Rick Warren are strong proponents for contemplative spirituality, and Warren himself has stated (in his book Purpose Driven Church) that this movement is a vital and needed wake up call for the church, pointing people (in PDC) to Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as leaders. In Ortberg's 2005 book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when he practiced), interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton.

We hope that Race Against Time speaker Franklin Graham will make a public statement denouncing contemplative spirituality. Participating in a Purpose Driven conference will certainly send out a different message unless something is said. In addition to Rick Warren's promotion of contemplative and the emerging church, he is hoping to help bring in a "new reformation" in which other religions can take part. 

 

 Shadow Mountain Church - Purpose Driven
 

For those who have been following our articles over the past year, showing our growing concern for David Jeremiah's lean towards contemplative, it is worth noting that Shadow Mountain Community Church (Jeremiah's church) is also incorporating Purpose Driven into its church life. Shadow Mountain participated in 40 Days of Community in 2005 and is listed as a "Purpose-Driven church" in a pastors.com article. In addition, Shadow Mountain is using Rick Warren's Celebrate Recovery program.

Because of Rick Warren's promotion and endorsement of contemplative spirituality and the emerging church, it only makes sense that Purpose Driven churches are heading in this direction too. This could possibly explain David Jeremiah's recent promotion of Erwin McManus' book, The Barbarian Way.

Related Information:
David Jeremiah Quotes New Age Sympathizers and Contemplatives in His Book, Life Wide Open

David Jeremiah Proposes "Major Paradigm Shift" For His Church

David Jeremiah and the Barbarian Way

New Age Writer Found in Christian Circles

Shadow Mountain Men's Conference To Include Willow Creek Speaker
David Jeremiah and Henri Nouwen

 
 BREATH PRAYERS and Rick Warren
 Are "breath prayers" a method by which we can become best friends with God?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

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

In the course of our waking hours, think of how many times we breathe--hundreds and hundreds, even thousands per day. So to pray "breath prayers" means that like breathing, I am to intermittently say the same short prayer over and over again throughout the day.

Advocates of breath prayers recommend breathing out a short biblical phrase of prayer throughout the day. For example, in the parable of The Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus portrayed a tax collector who in repentance and humility, cried out, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'" Out of this parable The Desert Fathers, a monastic group in Egypt circa the 5th century, created the "Kyrie Eleison" prayer (i.e., "Lord have mercy.") which became known as the "Jesus Prayer."[2] The prayer became a favorite of these fathers who later expanded it to be, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."[3] This prayer as well as others, they chanted over and over again. Click here to read this entire article.


 

CHRISTIANITY TODAY: Contemplative for Children
 

Children have become a particular target for those who promote New Age and contemplative spiritualities. Movies like Bee Season and Indigo Children are examples of this, and many public schools are introducing meditation practices to students. Christendom may take the lead in teaching children how to practice the spiritual discipline of meditation.

One of the largest Christian magazines in North America has been promoting contemplative and the emerging church for some time. The online edition of Christianity Today (celebrating their 50th anniversary) has an article titled - "Elementary Disciplines: Spiritual formation for little lambs" According to the article, spiritual disciplines for children can be learned from contemplatives Richard Foster and Dallas Willard as well as Theophan, the Recluse. The article also suggests getting a spiritual director to help towards spiritual maturity.

For more information:
Christian Schools Introducing Students to Mysticism Proponent


Ancient Wisdom for Babies

Jesus Camp: Film Reveals the Mystical and the Militant


Awana Clubs: Now Featuring Book by Youth Specialties Speaker


"Do You Really Want Your Child to Learn New Age Meditation?"
 

 Lighthouse Trails Research Databases
 

Lighthouse Trails Research has over 400 pages and 14,000 links. There are several ways to find information. Below are a few of them:

Topical Index

Search engine

Index of Newsletter Articles

Links to Other Ministries

Newsletter Archive

In addition, we have drop-down menu databases for certain topics.


 


 

Foursquare Church, The Lake, Promoting Contemplative and the Emerging Church
 

Contemplative spirituality has been influencing many evangelical denominations, and the Foursquare denomination is one of those that has been affected. The Lake is a Foursquare Church and according to their Mission Statement, they are helping "wanderers ... restore and rebuild their lives around Jesus." But The Lake is also introducing these "wanderers" to contemplative spirituality through emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo. On a church resource page, recommended books are written by McLaren and Campolo as well as Leonard Sweet, Erwin McManus and Chuck Smith, Jr. On the same resource page, links take visitors to an online labyrinth and websites like The Ooze and Relevant Magazine (both of which heavily promote contemplative spirituality and the emerging church).

Related Information:
Evangelical Leaders Promote New Age and
Robert Harold Schuller Forum for Possibility Thinking Leadership
Emerging Church Database


 

 

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