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An excerpt from Lighthouse Trails.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16777

10 Important Things to Consider About Roma Downey’s Spiritual Affinities:

roma-downey-mary

1. Roma is a devout Roman Catholic who, among other Catholic rituals, prays to Mary, as she describes in this video. Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary is a co-redeemer with Jesus.

2. Roma Downey endorsed a 2010 New Age book titled Loyalty to Your Soul by Ron and Mary Hulnick (published by the New Age publisher, Hay House), Downey endorses the book saying:

As a USM [ University of Santa Monica – a New Age metaphysical school] graduate, I know firsthand the value I received from participating with Ron and Mary  in the Master’s degree Program in Spiritual Psychology. I am so grateful to have Loyalty to Your Soul to sweetly remind me of all I have learned. Let’s just say that I went from playing an angel on TV to living more of an angelic life every day. The teachings in this beautiful book have sent me on a journey to the very center of my own being where, wrapped in the safe wings of Love, I feel as though I have come home.

Downey’s endorsement in the Hulnick’s book is nestled in with full-blown New Agers like Barbara Marx Hubbard, Joan Borysenko, and Gay Hendricks (The Corporate Mystic). (By the way, Neale Donald Walsch, the New Ager who said that Hitler did the Jews a favor by killing them,(1) wrote the foreword to Loyalty to Your Soul.)  Clearly, Downey read this book and resonates deeply with it to say what she did about it. To get an idea of this “journey” that Downey is on, listen to a few quotes from Loyalty to Your Soul:

Center your awareness in your heart and consciously look for the Loving Essence in the person in your presence. By doing so, you’re signifying your respect for the Soul before you . . .  Maintain awareness that you’re in conversation with another Divine Being who is engaged in having a human experience. (p. 209)

We ask for the presence, protection, guidance, and Love of the Divine Beings [spirit guides]  who work with each of us. (from the “Invocation” – emphasis added)

When people speak of spirituality, they simply mean awareness of the sacred reality of the Divine Essence within and beyond all creation. (p. 8, quoting favorably a New Age “spiritual teacher”)

You begin to recognize others as Divine Beings, and the situations and circumstances of your life as learning devices. (p. 31)

Those familiar with New Age teachings will recognize such statements as being the core essence of the occult (that man is divine) and that there are spirit guides who help us through life. Loyalty to Your Soul is a contemporary version of A Course in Miracles (the New Age book Warren B. Smith talks about in his biography, The Light That Was Dark).

3. Roma Downey also endorsed a 2008/2011 book called Angels in My Hair: the true story of a modern day Irish mystic by Lorna Bryne. The book is about spirit guides in people’s lives.

roma-class-of-2010

4. Roma Downey graduated in 2010 from the University of Santa Monica’s Spiritual Psychology Program. The school was founded by the late New Age spiritualist guru John-Roger Hinkins in 1971 (who also founded the Movement of Spiritual Awareness). Hinkins claimed to have had a spirit guide named Mystic Traveler.  Today, University of Santa Monica  is considered a New Age/metaphysical university. Some teaching points(2) from USM’s Spiritual Psychology program (the program is one of just three degree programs offered at the school):

a. ” If you are interested in really growing as a person and awakening more fully to your Divinity—take this course” (emphasis added).

b. “Soul-centered co-creation [a term used in New Age to signify our equality with God].”

c. “Spiritual Awakening. Designed to provide a practical working knowledge of, and appreciation for, the “giants” in the field of psychology, including Rogers, Perls, Ellis, and [Roberto] Assagioli [a world-famous occultist].”

d. “The Buddhas and the Christs are born complete.(3)

practical-praying5.  In 2010, Roma Downey did a “meditation” CD for psychic medium John Edward’s 2010 book Practical Praying: Using the Rosary to Enhance Your Life (see video of John Edwards). As of Jan. 17, 2015, John Edward’s is still selling the Practical Praying book advertising Roma Downey’s CD meditation contribution. John Edward is best known for his psychic TV show in which he talked to the dead. Downey has been on his show and allowed him to channel her mother.

6. New Age actress and ordained minister  of a New Thought church, Della Reese, plays a significant role in Downey’s life. In addition to Reese teaming with Downey for 9 years in the popular TV series Touched by an Angel, Reese is Downey’s  daughter’s godmother and also officiated at the wedding of Downey and Mark Burnett.

7. Downey has been on the Oprah Show to promote her and her husband’s production Son of God. Oprah is the most influential New Ager today.

8. Downey and Burnett are proponents of Tony Robbins, a prolific New Ager. “For 25 years, Hollywood power producer Mark Burnett has applied Tony’s strategies to his life. This past year, he decided it was time to invite his wife, Roma Downey, and their 3 children to share in an experience they won’t forget.”(4)

9. Downey resonates with Eckhart Tolle, another very prolific New Age author and teacher. Warren B. Smith has written about Tolle and his New Age/New Spirituality views. One article about Downey quotes her as saying: “My kids go to school about a 40-minute  drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the  way there. On the way back, I get my own selections—books on tape by  Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins . . . My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating’” (First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, pp. 44-45). To get an idea of what Eckhart Tolle believes, listen to a quote by him:

Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence. – (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, p. 104)

10. Former New Age followers Caryl Matrisciana, Johanna Michaelsen, and Warren B. Smith have renounced and repudiated their former New Age beliefs and have even written books warning others about the New Age. On the contrary, Roma Downey has never renounced her New Age involvement and continues to promote it in one form or another. Interestingly (and significantly), Lighthouse Trails author Greg Reid personally handed Roma Downey a copy of Warren B. Smith’s book, The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace at the 2014 National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention right after she finished premiering The Son of God movie. Roma Downey is in a perfect position to warn the church about the New Age, but rather she is bringing the New Age into the church. Greg Reid capsulates this situation well:

Roma and Mark’s open door credentials to the evangelical church is that they are committed Catholics. That, and the movies themselves, were apparently proof enough to the higher leadership of the evangelical churches to give them carte blanche. They have been, 100%, embraced as one of us.

NO ONE has asked the crucial questions: Is Jesus the only way to God? Do we all have the “Christ spirit?” Are we all Divine? Is the Bible the infallible Word of God? Knowing that the Bible forbids necromancy, are you sorry you worked with John Edward? Is what you learned from John-Roger’s University compatible with your Christian faith? Unless Roma and Mark have gone through a massive conversion since last year, then they are still the same people who listen to audio books by New Age Gurus Ekhart Tolle and Tony Robbins, and who follow a brand of spirituality that is so strong that, as Mark said of Roma, “You’re so self-realized you’re practically levitating.”

Why are none of these questions being asked? If we didn’t know, now we do. If leaders DID know and chose to ignore it, or considered these things “little differences,” then God forgive us for our spiritual blindness and willingness to let crucial spiritual darkness enter in for the sake of a movie they think will lead the masses to Christ. (from Reid’s article Son of God—Trojan Horse)

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16777

Woe to the Shepherds Who Feed Themselves

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ezek 34:1-2

As I look around the world of religion in our society one thing has become very clear. The masks of the false shepherds of the apostate church are coming off. More and more the false prophets of today’s religious establishment are showing themselves to be the wolves that they truly are. In years past it has taken great discernment to see and hear the little bits of leaven they have used to poison their flocks. But lately it seems the apostasy is much more open and above board.

A couple of the most blatant examples of this are Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes. Both were recently given an opportunity to boldly proclaim the gospel on the national stage. Osteen in fact was given that opportunity twice, once on the Larry King Show and again on the ABC daytime show The View. Jakes had his chance during a lengthy interview on National Public Radio. Both were asked during the course of the interview if they believed that Jesus was the only way to heaven. Neither would say that Jesus is the way the truth and the life and that no man comes to God except by him. Both of these wolves in sheep’s clothing left room for some to come to God another way.

Finish Article HERE

There is a local health  institute that has done excellent work for the community here in the state of Washington. For that I commend them.

This is from from an article dated  August 20, 2009.

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/pat/news/53850762.html

CAPRI’s 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program helps people recover from heart attacks, angina, heart surgery including bypasses and valves, angioplasty and stent insertions, and heart/lung transplants. CAPRI also offers an eight- to 10-week pulmonary rehabilitation program that helps people manage pulmonary conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis.

Once rehabilitation is done, many clients move on to the cardiac and pulmonary maintenance program to continue improving their health.

Their website says that this is their mission or vision.

CAPRI’s Pulmonary Programs

Our Vision

“STRIVING TO ACHIEVE OPTIMAL HEART AND LUNG HEALTH IN OUR COMMUNITY”

But it seems that some serious issues have arisen.

The director has taken it upon himself to further enlighten the participants of this program. I was given one of the handouts circulated at a June 23, 2011 meeting. It is titled, “Healthy Thinking & Positive Self-Talk.”

There are many great suggestions on the front and back of page one regarding healthy thinking in relation to stress, healthy diet, exercise, etc. The areas I disagree with here are the recommendations of meditation 15 minutes a day and hypnosis to “reprogram your attitudes, beliefs and thoughts”, as “methods of reprogramming the subconscious.”

Page two further develops how such things may be accomplished. It is titled “Notes on Thoughts, Belief and Destiny.”  My first reaction was to ask, ” Why is an exercise program delving  into spiritual issues? As a Christian I can tell you that my discernment alarms clanged loudly  at the following list of quotes.

“There is one secret, and that is the power we have in forming our own destinies.” Dolley Madison 1833

This goes against biblical thinking. There is no secret. God’s plan is laid out openly in the Holy Bible. Consider these verses in Isaiah 45:19, “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth…I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right”, and 48:16. “Come near to me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning.” In Luke 8:17  we read, “For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.”

The buzz from the book The Secret teaches otherwise. In his review of  The Secret, Donald Whitney says, “It is not exaggeration to say that this book implicitly ( and sometimes explicitly) denies virtually every major doctrine in the Bible.” [1]

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill, 1937, Think and Grow Rich

Here again we have positive thinking on steroids. False teacher Robert Schuller based  his ministry on these concepts and now faces bankruptcy for his ice palace of a church. All the visualizations of money rolling in from the visualized fat wallets of the congregation seems to have fizzled out.  

What is behind the man, Napoleon Hill and how was his philosophy created. The answer may surprise you. This is from Mike Oppenheimer of  Let us Reason Ministries.

Napoleon Hill wrote about imagery and visualization in his book, Think and Grow Rich. He writes, “The THIRTEENTH principle is known as the sixth sense, through which Infinite Intelligence may and will communicate voluntarily, without any effort from, or demands by, the individual…. Step by step, through the preceding chapters, you have been led to this, the last principle. If you have mastered each of the preceding principles, you are now prepared to accept, without being skeptical, the stupendous claims made here….”Just before going to sleep at night. I would shut my eyes, and see, in my imagination, this group of men seated with me around my council table…. After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real.” “Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me…. “These meetings became so realistic that I became fearful of their consequences, and discontinued them for several months. The experiences were so uncanny, I was afraid if I continued them I would lose sight of the fact that the meetings were purely experiences ofmy imagination. …. Whatever you believe that the adviser is a spirit, a guardian angel, a messenger from God, a hallucination, a communication from your right brain to your left, or a symbolic representation of inner wisdom is all right. The fact is, no one knows what it is with any certainty. We can each decide for ourselves….

Sometimes people will encounter religious figures like Jesus, Moses, or Buddha, while others will find an angel, fairy, or leprechaun. People sometimes encounter the adviser as a light or a translucent spirit…. The best way to work with this and any other imagery experience is just to let the figures be whatever they are. Welcome the adviser that comes and get to know it as it is.

Source

Also from Dave Hunt

Though he clung to the idea that it was all imagination, from what Hill wrote it is clear that visualization had opened the door to the world of the occult:

Source

Ah…so Napoleon Hill had spirit guides. The bible is clear on divination, we are not to contact spirits from the other side, because we will indeed be deceived by them.

There are  other quotes from James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, and Florence Scovel Shinn. Mixed in we have some scripture about prayer. The Bible verses just don’t fit in the New Age mix, and of course this is intentional for the new thinking involves finding your own truth. The thinking is that you can pick and choose whatever you happen to like at the moment and create your own religion and your very own God..which of course is…youself, because some entity has made you feel divine.

New Age ideas and thought do not mix with Bible teachings because they are completely opposed to each other.

In the new age, truth is found within, but the Bible teaches that we are not to trust our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.” Yet James Allen tells us to seek Ancient Wisdom and that the master is the inner voice which is self. Shinn instructs that the Bible is “a book dealing with science of the mind…telling man how to release his soul from bondage.”  This person could not be more wrong about the Bible.

Jesus Christ came to release o free  us from our SIN. This is bondage we face daily. The way to everlasting life is to put your faith in Jesus as Savior, who died on the cross, taking our sin upon His sinless self.  He rose again from the dead, showing us His power and glory, as the Son of the true and living God.

John Ankerberg wrote this in his book, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs. It was difficult to find a summary passage in this large book. This section tells how children are being indoctrinated at an early age into hypnosis, guided imagery, visualization, and meditation.

In November of 1988 we received a letter from a couple involved in researching a program used in elementary schools in Florida and other states. This program used tapes called “Quieting Reflex and Success Imagery.” A mother had told this couple that her little girl had contacted an inner guide through the hypnotic techniques used in this program. The daughter, commented, “My wise person told me not to pray in the name of Jesus anymore.”  Furthermore this wise person was not the guide that the little girl has chosen for herself but rather someone that had appeared unexpectedly and spontaneously in her consciousness. It claimed that it resided in the corner of  a “safe place” in her mind. But it proceeded to command her to do mean and nasty things. The mother was distraught and had no idea what to do. [2]

The guidance counselor comes into the second grade class and the regular teacher leaves….The counselor turns off the lights and begins to play the audio tape. The counselor is there to enhance the children’s self-esteem…after the meditation and relaxation exercises they are instructed to picture a rabbit as a friend in the secret place.  And they are told that there is a secret and that it is believing in yourself and your self-power. With it you can do anything like magic. Answers to many things come up from a bubbling spring after watching for a white light. The answers come from the deep springs. Sometimes you will hear the words in answer to your question and sometimes you will feel it.

What you have read above is a brief induction method  for meditation and hypnosis. In fact, meditation, hypnosis, progressive relaxation and guided imagery or visualization have more commonalities than many people realize.

However these techniques are also taught by the spirit world as a means to become channelers, i.e., one who is possessed by spirits in order to allow the spirits to channel information out of them…..What these spirits encourage is no different than what New Age educators are now teaching children. [2]

Apparently these techniques and beliefs are also being taught in pulmonary programs.  I was told by the director at Capri:

 Our educational session on healthy thinking and positive self-talk draws upon the teachings contained in several highly-respected books including the Bible. Some of the material is science-based, some of it is belief-based from a variety of beliefs, and some of it is opinion. CAPRI does not subscribe to a particular religious belief, nor do we promote any particular religious beliefs. We provide material from a wide variety of sources because people approach these matters from a wide variety of beliefs and perspectives.   As part of our cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, we encourage people to adopt a positive mental attitude. We trust that they will do that in a manner that is consistent with their core values and religious beliefs. We are not trying to change anyone’s religious beliefs, nor are we trying to conform to any particular religious beliefs.

Thing is….new age teachings are incompatible with Christianity and do not belong on the same page and cannot be lumped together. Jesus said He is the only way to the Father. In John 14:6 it says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This totally goes against what James Allen taught who said the master is the inward voice. You can’t have it both ways. Is this narrow and intolerant?. Yes it is but this is what the Bible teaches.  
 
Using techniques meant to relax the body actually can open one up for demonic deception. New agers always look for the light, but God gives a warning.
 
2 Corinthians 11:14  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
 
As eastern spirituality grows leaps and bounds, those who cling to biblical faith will be ridiculed and mocked. You will be called intolerant and hateful for your faith. But take heart, beloved, Jesus said, in John 15:21, “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” Pray for those who persecute you.
 
So stay in the Word of God. When you hear such things as the law of attraction, or that the universe will fulfill your desires if only you ask, you can compare such teachings against the Word of God and immediately recognize it as a false teaching.
 
Believer, ask that the power of the Holy Spirit will teach and guide you into all truth and that God’s written Word is absolute truth for all times.
 
 

1. Donald S. Whitney, “A Review of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

2. John Ankerberg, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, pgs. 412-413

By David Cloud

“The Shack” held first place on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Trade Fiction for many months. As of October 2009, it has sold ten million copies. It is being translated into 30 languages, and a motion picture is in the works.

Though its author, William Paul Young, is not a member of a church and is even reticent to call himself a Christian, and though its doctrine of God is grossly heretical, the novel is being touted as a helpful Christian book.

“The Shack” has been endorsed by Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, CCM artist Michael W. Smith, Eugene Peterson (Regent College professor and author of “The Message”), Mark Batterson (senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.), Wayne Jacobson, author of?So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” Gayle Erwin of Calvary Chapel, James Ryle of the Vineyard churches, and Greg Albrecht, editor of “Plain Truth” magazine. The premier issue of Rick Warren’s magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, refers to The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (p. 24).

Young was one of the speakers at the February 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. The 1,500 attendees were pastors and Christian workers. Other speakers included Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. Young had his own break-out session and was interviewed in one of the general sessions by Andy Crouch, a senior editor of “Christianity Today.” It was said that 57% of the attendees had read “The Shack,” and Young was enthusiastically received. Crouch treated Young as a fellow believer and did not even hint that there might be a damnable theological problem with the way that God is depicted in the book. When Young said, “I don’t feel responsible for the fact that it [“The Shack”] is tampering with people’s paradigms” or how people think about God, the crowd responded with clapping, cheers, and laughter. The emerging church loves to tamper with traditional Bible doctrine and there is no fear of God for doing so!

Young was born in Alberta in 1955 but spent most of the first ten years of his life in Papua New Guinea with his missionary parents, who were ministering to a backwards tribal group called the Dani. He graduated from Warner Pacific College, which is affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), with a degree in religion.
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In “The Shack,” Young presents traditional Bible-believing Christianity as hypocritical and hurtful. The book’s main character grew up under “rigorous rules,” and his father, who was an elder in the church, was “a closet drinker” and treated his family with cruelty when drunk (p. 7).

Hypocrisy is very injurious to the cause of Christ, but hypocrisy on the part of Christians does not disprove the Bible. Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! All too often this type of thing is used as an excuse by rebels. I know this by personal experience. In my youth I used the inconsistencies that I saw in Baptist churches to excuse my rejection of the church. The chief problem, though, was not the hypocrisy of others but my own rebellion and love for the world. When I repented of my wickedness at age 23 and turned to Christ and received the Bible as God’s holy Word, I stopped blaming others and took responsibility for myself before Almighty God.

Rules and obligations under God’s grace are not wrong. They are an integral part of Bible Christianity. We are saved by grace without works, but we are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). The New Testament epistles are filled with rules and obligations that believers are expected to keep and filled with warnings about disobedience. The true grace of God does not let us live as we please. It teaches us, rather, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). That is a very strict standard of Christian living.

There is hypocrisy in churches and there are false gospels that are law-based rather than grace-based and most churches today are corrupt, but the solution is not to reject the literal interpretation of Scripture and create a new God! God is amazingly compassionate and loving and He has proven that on the cross, but God is also holy and just and requires obedience and hates and punishes sin, and that side of God cannot be ignored without creating a false God.

The flesh wearies greatly of the holiness of God! I can testify to that. From time to time in my Christian life I have gotten discouraged at God. It is not a simple thing to reconcile God’s love and grace with His awful holiness and justice. On one hand, the New Testament tells us that the believer is forgiven, redeemed, justified, accepted in the beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, holy and without blame before God, and seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1-3). On the other hand, the same New Testament tells us that the believer must be exceedingly careful about how he lives before God. We are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), which is the highest conceivable standard. The believer who does not pursue this is in danger of being judged (e.g., 1 Cor. 3:13-17; 9:26-27; 11:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5, 16, 22-23; 3:15-16). There is even a sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30). Thus there must be many warnings in the Christian life (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).

These things seem to be contradictory to the fallen flesh and to the natural man, but they are two sides of the same compassionate, thrice holy God, and to reject either one is reject the true God for an idol.

In an interview with the 700 Club in February 2009 Young described a “huge personal failure” that occurred in his life at age 38. He says, “My life crashed and burned, and I had to go back and deal with some stuff from being a child on the mission field along with other stuff in my life.” He speaks of “secrets” that he kept from his childhood and guilt that he carried. He doesn’t describe any of this in detail, but it appears that he felt guilty for not obeying God’s Word and perhaps went through psychological therapy. He talks continually of “pain,” “damage,” healing childhood memories, and such.

REDEFINING GOD

“The Shack” is about redefining God. Young has said that the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.

In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”

Young therefore admits that the God of “The Shack” is different from the traditional God of Bible-believing Christianity. He says that the God who “watches from a distance and judges sin” is “a Christianized version of Zeus.” This reminds me of the modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament “a dirty bully” in his 1944 book “Preaching in a Revolutionary Age.”

“The Shack” explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible.

Young depicts the triune God as a young Asian woman named “Sarayu” * (supposedly the Holy Spirit), an oriental carpenter who loves to have a good time (supposedly Jesus), and an older black woman named “Elousia” (supposedly God the Father). God the Father is also depicted as a guy with a ponytail and a goatee. (* The name “Sarayu” is from the Hindu scriptures and represents a mythical river in India on the shores of which the Hindu god Rama was born.)

Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn’t like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as “myth.”   

Note the following quotes from the god of “The Shack”:

“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do” (p. 89).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2.

“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it…” (p. 120).

Contrast Isaiah 13:11; Ephesians 5:5-6.

“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

Contrast 2 Peter 1:16.

“[Your heart] is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process” (p. 138).

Contrast Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23.

“To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. … True love never forces” (pp. 145, 190).

Contrast John 8:31-32; 14:15; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23; 3:3, 16-19.

“Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).

Contrast Revelation 21-22.

“My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. … You can’t build it. … I don’t create institutions–never have, never will” (pp. 178, 179).

Contrast Acts 2:41-42, 13-14.

“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. … I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).

Contrast Acts 4:12; 26:28.

“Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).

Contrast John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; 1 John 5:12, 19; Revelation 20:11-15.

“The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. … Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … That is why you won’t find the word responsibility in the Scriptures. … because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me” (pp. 197, 203, 206).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18. In Ephesians 4-6 alone there are at more than 80 specific obligations that believers are exhorted to keep.

“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223).

Contrast Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 3:1; 5:9; Jude 4; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

THE SHACK’S GOD IS EMERGENT AND NEW AGE

Not only is “The Shack’s” god suspiciously similar to the one described in the books of the more liberal branch of the emerging church (e.g., Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Brian McLaren), it also has a strong kinship to the New Age god promoted by John Lennon and Oprah Winfrey.

Lennon’s extremely popular song “IMAGINE” (1971) proclaims:

“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us, above us only sky … no religion too/ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

William Young imagines the same thing in “The Shack.” If there is a God, he is non-judgmental. There is no hell. God just wants people to do their own thing and be happy.

Oprah preaches the same gospel to millions. Man is not a sinner; God is not a judge; all is well with the universe; and I just need to surrender to the flow. Her message is the celebration of self. She grew up in a traditional Baptist church, but she has reinterpreted the Bible and moved beyond its restrictions. She says, “As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).

DENYING THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE

Another foundational problem with “The Shack” is its denial of the Bible as the absolute and sole authority. Note the following quote:

“In seminary he [the book’s main figure, Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (pp. 65, 66).

To believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the sole authority for faith and practice is not to “put God in a box.” It is to honor God by receiving the Scripture for what it claims to be and what it has proven itself to be. If a father goes on a journey and leaves behind a written statement of his will for the family during his absence, the family that truly honors the father submits to that written record. To reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God is to launch out upon the stormy waters of subjective mysticism. It allows man to be his own authority and to live as he pleases, which is an objective of both the New Age movement and the emerging church.

CHANGED LIVES

The author of “The Shack” points to changed lives as evidence of the truth of the book and the grace of God in using it. At the National Pastor’s Conference, William Young told Andy Crouch that the book was setting people free from “addictive bondages and doctrinal bondages.” He said, “Even people who have been vocally against the book, people in their own family have been healed.”

Healed of what and healed in what way?

What is happening is that people who don’t like Bible Christianity, don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t want to feel guilty for their sin, and have rejected the “angry” God of Scripture, are responding enthusiastically to the man-made idol presented in “The Shack.” The following is typical of the postings at Young’s MySpace site by readers of the book:

“Your book, The Shack, is amazing! It has changed so many people’s idea of what God is really like! It has set some of my friends free!”

Miracles do not prove that something is of God. There is one that the Bible calls “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he can do miracles and answer prayers. I saw miracles and experienced answers to prayers when I was the member of a Hindu meditation society before I came to Christ. Miracles are not the proof of the truth; the Bible alone is the proof. The prophet Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

CONCLUSION

“The Shack” is another building stone of the end-times Tower of Babel.

God’s people must be exceedingly careful in these days of awful apostasy. The Bible warns:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

The willful sin described in this verse points back to the sin referred to in verse 29. It is the sin of counting the blood of salvation an unholy thing. It is the rejection of personal salvation through the blood of Christ, which many in the emerging church are doing. You can’t be saved if you reject the substitutionary atonement.

In these days we need to stay in the Bible every day and be in sweet communion with Christ, confessing our sins and walking in the light.

And we need to capture the heart of the next generation and educate them so they will not be taken captive by the wiles of the devil and the guile of false teachers.

As you know I love posting personal testimonies – This one is from  – “For the Author”

A PERSONAL TESTIMONY: WHY CHRISTIAN LEADERS SHOULD NOT PROMOTE HENRI NOUWEN

Please read the important article at Lighthouse Trails
Why Christian Leaders Should Not Promote Henri Nouwen
that inspired the diatribe which follows:

I became a big fan of Henri Nouwen after discovering him on the reading list of the Spiritual Formation syllabus at a seminary where I took a few classes a couple of years ago. As an author, I found him to be warm, honest and engaging. He appealed to the scholarly side of me as well. I ended up choosing to write one of my papers for the Spiritual Formation class about two of the books he wrote. (It was a required class – I was enrolled in the Marriage and Family Counseling program).

Finish the article here

 oprah-banner.gifxm_mwilliamson_120x120.jpgoprah-banner.gif

“Oprah and Friends” To Teach Course on New Age Christ
By Warren Smith

Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, “Oprah & Friends” will offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles .1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.” For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.”2 Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.” 3 Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe “My salvation comes from me.”4

book-a-course-in-miracles.gif

By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset — a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training”5 and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”6

Teaching A Course in Miracles will be Oprah’s longtime friend and special XM Satellite Radio reporter Marianne Williamson, who also happens to be one of today’s premier New Age leaders. She and Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch co-founded the American Renaissance Alliance in 1997, that later became the Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders, that changed its name again in 2005 to the Peace Alliance . This Peace Alliance seeks to usher in an era of global peace founded on the principles of a New Age/New Spirituality that they are now referring to as a “civil rights movement for the soul.”7 They all agree that the principles of this New Age/New Spirituality are clearly articulated in A Course in Miracles, which is fast becoming the New Age Bible. So what is A Course in Miracles and what does it teach?

A Course in Miracles is allegedly “new revelation” from “Jesus” to help humanity work through these troubled times. This “Jesus” — who bears no doctrinal resemblance to the Bible’s Jesus Christ — began delivering his channeled teachings in 1965 to a Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology by the name of Helen Schucman. One day Schucman heard an “inner voice” stating, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”8 For seven years she diligently took spiritual dictation from this inner voice that described himself as “Jesus.” A Course in Miracles was quietly published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. For many years “the Course” was an underground cult classic for New Age seekers who studied “the Course” individually, with friends, or in small study groups.

As a former New Age follower and devoted student of A Course in Miracles , I eventually discovered that the Course in Miracles was, in reality, the truth of the Bible turned upside down. Not having a true understanding of the Bible at the time of my involvement, I was led to believe that A Course in Miracles was “a gift form God” to help everyone understand the “real” meaning of the Bible and to help bring peace to the world. Little did I know that the New Age “Christ” and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles were everything the real Jesus Christ warned us to watch out for. In Matthew 24 Jesus warned about false teachers, false teachings and the false “Christs” who would pretend to be Him.

When I left the New Age “Christ” to follow the Bible’s Jesus Christ, I had come to understand that the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles was a false “Christ,” and that his Course in Miracles was dangerously deceptive. Here are some quotes from the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles:
 
“There is no sin. . . “9
A “slain Christ has no meaning.” 10
“The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.'”11
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.'”12
“The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. . . . It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.” 13
“God is in everything I see.”14
“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”15
“The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.” 16
“The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.”17

Most Christians recognize that these teachings are the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In the Bible, Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross of Calvary was hardly a “useless journey.” His triumph on the cross provides salvation to all those who confess their sin, accept Him and follow Him as their Lord and Saviour. His victory on the cross rings throughout the New Testament. It has been gloriously sung about in beloved hymns through the ages and is at the heart of our Christian testimony. I found the Jesus of the Bible to be wholly believable as He taught God’s truth and warned about the spiritual deception that would come in His name. The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles reveals himself to be an imposter when he blasphemes the true Jesus Christ by saying that a “slain Christ has no meaning” and that we are all “God” and that we are all “Christ.” It was by reading the Bible’s true teachings of Jesus Christ that I came to understand how deceived I had been by A Course in Miracles and my other New Age teachings.

I was introduced to A Course in Miracles by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book Love is Letting Go of Fear. Jampolsky declared in his easy-to-read book how the teachings of A Course in Miracles had changed his life. As an ambassador for A Course in Miracles over the years, Jampolsky has been featured not only in New Age circles but at least twice on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. While Schuller introduced Jampolsky and his “fabulous” 18 Course in Miracles-based books to his worldwide television audience, it was Marianne Williamson’s appearance on a 1992 Oprah Winfrey Show that really shook the rafters.

On that program, Oprah enthusiastically endorsed Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. Oprah told her television audience that Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles was one of her favorite books, and that she had already bought a thousand copies and would be handing them out to everyone in her studio audience. Oprah’s endorsement skyrocketed Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Ironically, all of this was happening after I had left the Course and the New Age. In fact, I was doing the final editing on my book The Light That Was Dark that warned about the dangers of the New Age, and in particular A Course in Miracles.

After being introduced to the world on Oprah, Marianne Williamson has continued to grow in popularity and, as previously mentioned, has become one of today’s foremost New Age leaders. Williamson credits Winfrey for bringing her book about A Course in Miracles before the world: “For that, my deepest thanks to Oprah Winfrey. Her enthusiasm and generosity have given the book, and me, an audience we would never otherwise have had.”19 In her 2004 book, The Gift of Change, Williamson wrote: “Twenty years ago, I saw the guidance of the Course as key to changing one’s personal life; today, I see its guidance as key to changing the world. More than anything else, I see how deeply the two are connected.”20Thus the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles are about to be taught by Marianne Williamson to millions of listeners on Oprah’s XM Satellite Radio program. Listeners are encouraged to buy A Course in Miracles for the year-long course. An audio version of A Course in Miracles recited by Richard (John Boy Walton) Thomas is also available on compact disc. Popular author Wayne Dyer told his PBS television audience that the “brilliant writing” of A Course in Miracles would produce more peace in the world.21 Williamson’s New Age colleague, Neale Donald Walsch, said his “God” stated that “the era of the Single Saviour is over”22 and that he (“God”) was responsible for authoring the teachings of A Course in Miracles.23 Meanwhile, Gerald Jampolsky’s Course in Miracles-based book, Forgiveness, continues to be sold in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral bookstore as Schuller prepares to host a January 17-19, 2008, “Rethink Conference” at his Crystal Cathedral.24

At this critical time in the history of the world, the New Gospel/New Spirituality is coming right at the world and the church with its New Age teachings and its New Age Peace Plan. But this New Age Peace Plan has at its deceptive core the bottom-line teaching from A Course in Miracles that “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. But the Bible is clear that we are not God (Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9). And per Galatians 3:26-28, our only oneness is in Jesus Christ, not in ourselves as “God” and “Christ.” What Oprah and Marianne Williamson and the world will learn one day is that humanity’s only real and lasting peace is with the true Jesus Christ who is described and quoted in the Holy Bible (Romans 5:1).

Oprah Winfrey’s misplaced faith in Marianne Williamson and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles is a sure sign of the times. But an even surer sign of the times is that most Christians are not taking heed to what is happening in the world and in the church. We are not contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes us to do (Jude 3). It is time for all of our Purpose-Driven and Emerging church pastors to address the real issue of the day. Our true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is being reinvented, redefined, and blasphemed right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice or care. If we want the world to know who Jesus Christ is, we need to also warn them about who He is not. There is a false New Age “Christ” making huge inroads into the world and into the church. The Apostle Paul said that “it is a shame” we have to even talk about these things, but talk about them we must (Ephesians 5:12-16).

If people want to follow Oprah Winfrey and the New Age “Christ” of A Course in Miracles they certainly have that right. But let them be warned that the New Age “Christ” they are following is not the same Jesus Christ who is so clearly and authoritatively presented in the pages of the Bible.

Warren Smith is a former New Age follower who at one time was deeply involved in the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. He is the author of The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. His book Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel is available free online at www.reinventingjesuschrist.com

Endnotes:
1. http://marianne.com/book/index/htm
2. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), (Workbook), p. 45.
3. Ibid., p. 102.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. Ibid., (Text), p. 16.
6. Ibid., (Preface), p. ix.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, 2004), pp. 262-263.
8. Robert Skutch, Journey Without Distance: The Story behind “A Course in Miracles” (Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 54.
9. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Workbook), p. 183.
10. Ibid., (Text), p. 425.
11. Ibid., p. 52.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., (Teachers Manual), p. 58.
14. Ibid., (Workbook), p. 45.
15. Ibid., (Text), p. 147.
16. Ibid., p. 125.
17. Ibid., p. 237.
18. http://www.hourofpower.org/interviews/interviews_detail.cfm?ArticleID=3079
19. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. ix.
20. Marianne Williamson, The Gift Of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p. 5.
21. Wayne Dyer, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” Public Broadcasting System broadcast in 2001.
22. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
23. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 (New York: G.P . Putnam’s Sons, 1996), p. 90.
24. http://www.rethinkconference.com (See also WorldNetDaily.com 10/30/07 “What is Robert Schuller ‘rethinking’?” by Joseph Farah and “Rethinking Robert Schuller” by Warren Smith. See also Herescope: “Rethinking Culture” and “Rethinking and Reinventing

WILLIAMSON HAS EARNED A SPOT ON THIS APOLOGECTICS SITE: READ ABOUT HER HERE!

 http://www.apologeticsindex.org/362-marianne-williamson

 AND ON HERESCOPE:

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/11/marianne-williamson-moonbeams-miracles.html

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