Archive for September, 2012

A Time of Departing – A Decade of Warning About Contemplative Spirituality

Sep 20th, 2012 Posted in LT Author News, Publishing News | Comments Off on A Time of Departing – A Decade of Warning About Contemplative Spirituality

In September of 2002, the then-new publishing house, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, released its first book, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen. Since then, over 32,000 copies of Yungen’s book have been sold or given away. While that may not be considered a high number in comparison to New York Times best sellers (such as The Purpose Driven Life and The Shack), which sell tens of millions of copies, A Time of Departing, we believe, has had a far reaching effect around the world.A-Time-Of-Departing

Many of the people who have purchased the book over the last ten years are committed believers in Jesus Christ and His Word (the Bible) and have worked tirelessly to warn others of the contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation) movement. We could give countless examples of these scenarios: the church in Hawaii that gives a copy of A Time of Departing to each visitor who comes to the church, a Bible college teacher in California who has purchased several hundred copies of the book and given them away to pastors within his denomination, a former Central American missionary in Portland, Oregon who hands out the book to various ministry figures where she lives, the Sunday School teacher in Nebraska who used the book to teach his class on spiritual deception, a pastor’s wife in Illinois who orders sets of A Time of Departing and Faith Undone and then has them sent to pastors and church leaders around the country, and on and on the stories go. Because of the efforts of these people, contemplative prayer and the emerging church (i.e., the “new” spirituality) are being challenged and biblically refuted throughout the globe, especially in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Northern Ireland.

At its ten year anniversary, A Time of Departing is still being printed, sold, and given away. We believe the reason the book has remained so active is simple – virtually no other publishing company we know of has published a book challenging the contemplative prayer movement.* And frankly, when we first started out, that wasn’t what we expected. We naively thought that once Christian leaders (and publishing houses) learned about this dangerous and anti-biblical spirituality, they would begin to warn their followers (and thus, we even thought Lighthouse Trails might be a short-lived ministry after spawning an initial warning). To the contrary of what we anticipated happening, contemplative spirituality has exploded worldwide within mainstream Christianity. Rather than Christian publishing houses releasing books that take issue with the movement, the majority of Christian publishing companies are publishing books that support and embrace contemplative spirituality (e.g., Thomas Nelson, Baker Books, Zondervan, InterVarsity, NavPress, etc.). And rather than Christian leaders understanding the message of A Time of Departing then sharing it with others, a great number of Christian leaders and organizations are either promoting the movement (e.g., Rick Warren, Beth Moore, In Touch magazine, Charles Swindoll, Focus on the Family, etc.) or simply ignoring it altogether (and that is almost as damaging as promoting it). And of course, as we have often documented, most Christian universities, colleges, and seminaries have begun to promote contemplative spirituality through the spiritual formation movement (even though many professors and college presidents and chaplains have received a free copy of A Time of Departing and Faith Undone (the companion book to A Time of Departing)).

Skeptics may be thinking to themselves, “Well, if all these Christian leaders, professors, and publishing houses have rejected the message of A Time of Departing, then there must be something flawed about Yungen’s message, and they may see it as a fundamentalist conspiracy theory. That could be a legitimate conclusion to draw if what we are accused of by critics is true: one, that A Time of Departing takes quotes out of context; two, that it often uses guilt by mere association to indict someone; and three, Scriptures can be used to support contemplative prayer and thus refute the overall message of A Time of Departing. But the problem for the critics is this – none of these criticisms can be upheld in the light of facts.

In ten years, not one critic has been able to give us a legitimate example of where Yungen took a quote out of context or where he used mere guilt by association. He has used guilt by promotion or guilt by proxy, a very valid form of proof, but that is much different than guilt by association. He has sometimes used guilt by association as a reinforcement of what has already been proven but never as a stand-alone argument. As for taking things out of context, Lighthouse Trails checked every single quote that Ray Yungen cited in the book, and not one quote was taken out of context. When Brennan Manning or Henri Nouwen or Gary Thomas told readers to repeat a word over and over for twenty minutes to enter “the silence,” that is what they meant. When the contemplative mystic Thomas Merton said he believed that every human being has divinity within, that is what he meant. And when Rick Warren said that the spiritual formation movement (i.e., contemplative prayer) is a “valid message for the church” that has “given the body of Christ a wake-up call” (PDC, p. 127 ), that is exactly what he meant! These quotes in A Time of Departing were not taken out of context by any means.

As for Scriptures that can be used to support contemplative prayer – well, there aren’t any. For example, Psalm 46:10, the most popular verse used to “prove” that contemplative prayer is a scripturally mandated practice, has been manipulated and twisted by contemplative advocates, as Ray Yungen points out:

On the surface, this argument can seem valid, but once the meaning of “still” is examined, any contemplative connection is expelled. The Hebrew meaning of the word is to slacken, cease, or abate. In other words, the context is to slow down and trust God rather than get in a dither over things. Relax and watch God work. Reading the two verses just before Psalms 46:10 puts it in an entirely different light from that proposed by mystics:

“Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This isn’t talking about going into some altered state of consciousness! (ATOD, pp. 34-35)

Another Scripture that is often used by contemplatives to “back up” their position is I Kings 19:12. However, this passage in no way indicates that Elijah was practicing a mantra exercise. On the contrary, it was the prophets of Baal who “called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!” (I Kings 18:26). Now Elijah was in a cave, not to practice contemplative prayer, but to hide from Jezebel’s threat to take his life. Also, his encounter with God was something he did not initiate but God initiated Himself, thereby emphasizing that Elijah was not practicing a mantra. If anything, from his conversation with God, we might conclude that he was also hiding from his ministry and God Himself, as he was feeling hopeless (taken from “A Few Commonly Asked Questions” in ATOD).

When David and Deborah Dombrowski, founders and editors at Lighthouse Trails Publishing, first read the unpublished manuscript of A Time of Departing in the fall of 2000, it seemed to them so unlikely that this mystical spirituality with such interspiritual panentheistic roots could ever be popular within Christianity. But because they could see how subtle and disguised contemplative spirituality was, they saw the need for the warning so this deception wouldn’t enter the church. What they didn’t know then was that ground had already been broken over twenty years earlier through Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline, and then later reinforced in the 90s with Rick Warren’s endorsement of Foster and spiritual formation. By the time A Time of Departing came along, contemplative spirituality was intricately woven in the underlying infrastructure of Western Christianity, only to “come out of the closet” and reveal itself by 2012.

Why do we care so much about exposing this mystical spirituality? It’s because we know at its root the Gospel is being altered, twisted, and disposed of. And that is why Lighthouse Trails will continue to bring light to this area of darkness for as long as the Lord sees fit.

The following two quotes, one from A Time of Departing, sum up and exemplify the need for this warning:

During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: We must tell them that they are already united with God. “Contemplative prayer is nothing other than ‘coming into consciousness’ of what is already there.” (Spoken by William Shannon, Thomas Merton’s biographer, cited in ATOD, p. 83).

And from a contemporary mystic:

God’s hope for humanity is that one day we will all recognize that the divine dwelling place is all of creation. Christ comes again whenever we see that matter and spirit coexist. This truly deserves to be called good news. – Richard Rohr (National Catholic Reporter) (Rohr is on Richard Foster’s editorial team)


*Note: While there are now on the market a few books on the topic (such as David Cloud’s book, Contemplative Mysticism), we know of no mainstream evangelical publishing company that has published a book exposing contemplative spirituality. On the contrary, almost all of them have published books promoting the contemplative prayer movement.

Seducers Among Our Children, New Book on Child Sexual Abuse, Has Gone to Press – Available October 10th

Sep 16th, 2012 Posted in coming soon, new releases, PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT, Publishing News | Comments Off on Seducers Among Our Children, New Book on Child Sexual Abuse, Has Gone to Press – Available October 10th

Seducers-Among-Our-ChildrenToday’s children are at high risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse—learn how you can protect your children from the predators who will try to seduce them.

Seducers Among Our Children, the latest Lighthouse Trails release, has gone to press and will be available on October 10th, 2012. Written by retired investigative police sergeant, Patrick Crough, the book is a handbook for parents on how to protect their children from sexual predators.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Countless numbers of children will be sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday. Sadly, most parents won’t even see it coming. They don’t realize that sexual predators of children are often friendly, helpful, and attentive, drawing in a child, not by force but rather through enticing seduction.

Seducers Among Our Children is the personal perspective of an investigative sergeant who knows first hand the inner workings and methods used by sexual predators. This book offers a practical, simple presentation of how child predators operate in today’s society. It will educate concerned parents and guardians about how to recognize when a child predator is in their midst, how to protect children from predators, how to recognize if a child has already been offended by a predator, and what to do if a child discloses he or she has been offended by a predator. For the adult reader who was sexually molested as a child, this book may assist you in making some sense out of what happened and help you understand it wasn’t your fault.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Retired Investigator Sergeant Patrick Crough has thirty years of law enforcement experience, including twenty years as a Major Crimes Investigator and Hostage Negotiator with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester, New York. He and his colleagues in the Major Crimes Unit investigated murders and other reported homicides, suspicious deaths, physical and sexual assaults, crimes against children, police-involved shootings, and conducted covert special investigations. He is also the author of Chronicles of a Rochester Major Crimes Detective: Confronting Evil and Pursuing Truth. Patrick is married with three grown children and two grandchildren. Today, he is in full-time ministry with Millstone Justice, a non-profit, child advocacy group.

BOOK INFORMATION:

272 PAGES, $14.95
ISBN: 978-0-9846366-5-5
Front Matter including Preface and Table of Contents
Quantity discounts available
Order through Lighthouse Trails or through most online or walk in bookstores.

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