What Is A Discerning Christian?


Christian discernment begins first with salvation in Christ (Hebrews 5:1-14), and then maturing as a believer through the teaching of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:1-8). As the believer grows one ought to be able to discern between both good and evil, and to separate from spiritual error and false teachings.

Subjects covered in this message include ‘contending for the faith’, patience and kindness, the dangers of redefining biblical terminology, Christian bookstore and book endorsement issues, the danger of pastoral vagueness in not naming the names of false teachers, and confusion in the body of Christ as a result of sharing speaking platforms with known false teachers. Various illustrations include the dangers of redefinition of terms in pseudo-Christian Cults and in the Church, the dangers of yoga, Harry Potter witchcraft, vampirism, bloodlust, Oprah Winfrey and friends (Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Eric Butterworth, A Course in Miracles,), astrology and the occult, Worldview confusion, false christs, false anointed ones, and more. (Recorded: Aug 2009 / Posted: Nov 26, 2014)

Calvary Chapel Bookstores - Beyond Accountability?

By Chris Lawson (Excerpt, May 2014 SRN Newsletter)

Read personal introduction and/or download PDF!

  • “That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat [as if it were good grade]?" (Amos 8:6)
  • “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:3)
  • “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 1:11)
  • “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
  • Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [allow/tolerate] that woman Jezebel...". (Revelation 2:20a, KJV)

The following question is a very unpopular one, but it must be asked - publicly!  Why? Because almost nothing is being done about the growing compromises in a number of Calvary Chapel walk-in and online church bookstores. Bad products are mixed with the good, in order to reap a profit. God's perspective on compromises like this are revealed to us in Scripture, but first, let us look at the issues.

Is anyone from the Calvary Chapel Association Leadership Council going to publicly denounce the Calvary Chapel bookstores that are making merchandise of God's people, through the provision and/or sale of materials containing aberrant and false doctrines?

This is a very serious question, is it not? Unless Christian leaders - in this case Calvary Chapel leaders - express biblical concerns and rebuke fellow leaders for allowing this to happen, things within Calvary Chapel will continue to proceed from bad to worse.

Tolerating evil for the sake of gain

Any pastor that allows heresy to be sold through their church bookstore is sure to incite the displeasure of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line it appears that some Calvary Chapel leaders have forgotten about Jesus Christ's hatred towards the open "toleration" of false doctrine and evil in the midst of His Church. Jesus rebuked the toleration of evil when it was seducing His Church:

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [allow/tolerate] that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20, KJV)

Is tolerating heretical materials in a Christian church bookstore just as bad as tolerating a false prophetess? Indeed, it is! The doctrines of demons that false prophetesses and false prophets pen today and call "Christian" is still aberrant and heretical, even when it is touted as being "Christian." Do you want to see just what church leaders are leading their congregations into? All you have to do is take a thorough look at what is being sold through a church's own bookstore. Church bookstore inventory speaks volumes about what the church leaders allow to go over for grain in the famine.


ISSUU - http://issuu.com/spiritualresearchnetwork/docs/srn_0514may_web

HTML - http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/calvary-chapel-bookstores-accountability.html

PDF - http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/f/SRN_0514May_WEB.pdf

The Necessity of Biblical Correction!

The following statements and article links are recommended reading indeed!
- Chris Lawson

Sandy Simpson from Apologetics Coordination Team:

"Does having eternity in your heart mean that you know God and are His child? Could Gentile cultures understand the Gospel from the stars? Did God create man’s cultures? Has God always been in the process of redeeming cultures from the time of Babel by placing in them a true revelation of Himself? Is there the worship of YHWH in all cultures and religions through the names of “supreme beings”?  Have all cultures always had a way to make things right between them and God? "

  • SOURCE: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/idolatrybook.html

Dave Hunt from The Berean Call:

"Correction is one of the most conspicuously absent yet essential ministries in the church today. There are those who seek to avoid cor-rection by hiding behind a misapplication of Christ's words, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Mt 7:1). It is conveniently forgotten that these words were spoken by the same One who warned the Jews to "judge righteous judg-ment' (Jn 7:24), told us to judge the fruit of prophets (Mt 7:16) and promised His disciples that they would sit on thrones judging Israel (Mt 19:28).

From the context and the remainder of Scripture, it seems clear that Christ was warning us not to judge motives, because these are hidden from us. We must put the best reasonable interpretation upon what others say and do, not judging their hearts, which only God knows. However, we must judge doctrines and deeds..."

  • SOURCE: A Desperate Need For Correction by Dave Hunt
  • LINK: http://www.thebereancall.org/files/ADesperateNeedForCorrection.pdf

Mantra Meditation - A Dangerous and Deluding Practice

Mantra Meditation: A Warning! by Chris Lawson

Mantra meditation is a dangerous game, even when it is “Christianized.” New Ager’s and occult practitioners that have become “unhinged” through this practice rightly resist the urge to go back to it. Unfortunately, many undiscerning Christians today see no problem engaging in it.

If Bible believers today only knew the occult and Hindu/Buddhist roots of this practice, perhaps they would not be so careless as to bring it into their Christian lifestyle and church setting. Just because spiritual practices are popular and seem “to work” (pragmatism) does not necessarily make them right and healthy. Repetitious prayer methods, such as mantra meditation, are condemned in Scripture by Jesus Christ:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matthew 5:6-8)

Mantra meditation extraordinaire John Main, whose works and practices greatly influenced the beginnings of the modern-day Contemplative Centering Prayer movement and its leaders, was the forerunner of many today who practice this occult technique.

A website fully devoted to the person and teachings of John Main, called The Christian Meditation of John Main, defines "the mantra and the practice of meditation" this way:

The mantra and the practice of meditation

There are various mantras which are possible for a beginner, but if you have no teacher to help you, you should choose a word that has been hallowed over the centuries by our Christian tradition. Some of these words were first taken over as mantras for prayer by the Church in its earliest days.

One of these words is 'MARANATHA'. This Aramaic word means, 'Come Lord, Come Lord Jesus'. It is the mantra recommended by Dom John Main (1926-1982), a Benedictine monk who has put into contemporary language this ancient teaching of prayer. It is the word which St. Paul uses to end his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:22), and the word with which St. John ends the book of Revelation (Rev. 22:20). It also has a place in some of the earliest Christian liturgies. This Aramaic word is preferred because it has no visual or emotional connotations and its continuous repetition will lead us over time to a deeper and deeper silence.

The focus of repeating the mantra is Christocentric. This means that it is centred on the prayer of Christ, which is continuously poured forth in the Holy Spirit in the depth of each human being. Thus, in this way of ‘pure prayer’ we leave all thoughts, words and images behind in order to 'set our minds on the kingdom of God before all else'. In this way we leave our egotistical self behind to die and rise to our true self in Christ.

Meditation therefore is an inner journey of silence, stillness and simplicity, and is the missing contemplative dimension of much Christian life today.”

  • Source: Christian Meditation of John Main, “Be Still and Know”, The mantra and the practice of meditation
  • Link: http://christianmeditationnorthwest.org/mantra.html

If one understands clearly what Hindu, Budddhist, Jain and other occult mantra meditation forms comprise, one can see very clearly how John Main's "method" is virtually identical to these other forms of meditation. Main has simply turned biblical prayer into a vortex of confusing Christianized occultism. Simply put, we don’t need John Main’s mantras and his unbiblical prayer techniques.

Mantra meditation is just one more dangerous practice entering the church today. Christians would do well to see it for what it is, by definition and in context, and reject it! If people who claim to be Christians are not content praying to the God of the Bible through the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps they are not Christians at all, but mere counterfeits. What kind of Christian adds occult meditation techniques to their prayer life? Compromised Christians and counterfeit Christians!

The quote below is from my friend Ray Yungen. Ray is an author of several books that expose and biblically refute New Age and occult practices and we have both made it clear in our writings that mantra meditation is a dangerous occult practice. I wholeheartedly agree with what Ray has written and we both believe that mantra meditation is not only very dangerous, it is an open doorway to spirit contact. That is, spirit contact with baleful entities that seek to destroy the human soul.

If people want to play with fire they will eventually get burned. So too, if people want to engage in mantra meditation, its only a matter of time before they experience dangerous occult forces. What’s more, it is only a matter of time before they experience the deluding influence(s) that these forces (demons) bring.

—Chris Lawson


Mantra Meditation by Ray Yungen, from A Time of Departing

"The meditation most of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation does just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in the equivalent of pause or neutral. A comparison would be that of turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond. When meditation is employed by damming the free flow of thinking, it holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where the mind dwells on a subject. New Age meditation works as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty and silent.

The two most common methods used to induce this thoughtless state are breathing exercises, where attention is focused on the breath, and a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without thinking about what you are focusing on. Repetition on the focused object is what triggers the blank mind.

Since mantras are central to New Age meditation, it is important to understand a proper definition of the word. The translation from Sanskrit is man, meaning to thinkand tra, meaning to be liberated from. Thus, the word literally means to escape from thought. By repeating the mantra, either out loud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The conscious thinking process is gradually tuned out until an altered state of consciousness is achieved. But this silence is not the final objective; its attainment is only a means to an end. What that end entails was aptly described by English artist Vanora Goodhart after she embarked on the practice of zen meditation. She recounted:

[A] light began seeping through my closed eyelids, bright and gentle at first, but growing more and more intense … there was a great power and strength in this Light … I felt I was being drawn upwards and in a great and wonderful rush of power that rose eventually to a crescendo and bathed me through and through with glorious, burning, embracing Light.

Such dynamic experiences as this are what New Age mysticism is really all about … not just believing in some doctrine or a faith that is supported by some creed but rather a close personal contact with a powerful Presence. The renowned occultist Dion Fortune acknowledged: 'shifting the consciousness is the key to all occult training.' In other words, meditation is the gateway to the 'light' Goodhart experienced.The ultimate objective of the meditation effort lies in the concept called the higher self. This is thought to be the part of the individual linked to the divine essence of the Universe, the God part of man. The goal is to become attuned with the higher self, thus facilitating the higher self's emergence into the physical realm bringing the practitioner under the guidance and direction of God. This connection is referred to in New Age circles as: awakening, transformation, enlightenment, self-realization, cosmic consciousness and superconsciousness. This is also why an interchangeable term for New Age is metaphysics. Metaphysics means that which is beyond the physical realm (the unseen realm) and being intimately connected to those powers not perceived by the normal five senses.”

—Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing

  • Source: Mantra Meditation by Ray Yungen, from A Time of Departing 
  • Link: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/meditationexcerptbyray.htm

New Age and the Occult: Exposing the Philosophy, the Lies, and the Dangers

Written and compiled by Chris Lawson

What is the New Age and the World of Occultism?

The New Age Movement (NAM) is based on a belief system that is essentially a Western hybridization of pantheistic and pan-en-theistic Eastern occult philosophy and practices. The New Age movement encompasses countless thousands of autonomous (and sometimes contradictory) beliefs, organizations, and events. “New Age” beliefs also incorporate practices from 19th century Western occultism including teachings from “channeled spirits” or “universal energy” [in actuality they are fallen angels which the Bible refers to a lying spirits, or, demons]. The term “New Age” is also used by many to describe organizations, teachers and teachings, which exhibit at least one or more of the following beliefs: 

“(1) All is one, all reality is part of the whole; (2) Everything is God and God is everything; (3) Man is God or a part of God; (4) Man never dies, but continues to live through reincarnation; (5) Man can create his own reality and/or values through transformed consciousness or altered states of consciousness.” (Index of Cults and Religions)

Meaning of the term "Occult"

Throughout history people across the globe have attempted to gain supernatural power and "secret" knowledge apart from the God of the Bible.  In doing so, they tap into "occult" (hidden) power. The term “occult” comes from the Latin occultus or “hidden.” It is generally used to denote "secret or mysterious supernatural powers" or "magical, religious rituals." The word "occult" is also used to describe the "hidden power" that forms the basis of pagan religious divination and esoteric manifestations. Occultism refers also to Witchcraft, Satanism, Neo-Paganism, Druidism, Shamanism, Yoga, a myriad of forms of “Psychic” discernment (clairvoyant, clairsentience, etc.) and divination (astrology, séances, palm reading, etc.) New Age alternative medicine therapies such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Crystal healing, and many others are part of the occult explosion as well. The Bible is very clear regarding these things, all of which have their root in rebellion against Almighty God:  "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." (1 Samuel 15:23)

Occultism: God forbids and condemns it all!

The Bible is very clear concerning the occult and its methodology. There are over 150 prohibitions in the Bible against the occult, witchcraft, demon worship, etc.  Here is what God has to say on the subject:

"When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD..." (Deuteronomy 18:9-12a)

Beware of the dangers of the Occult, the New Age, and hybridized Christian Mysticism

New Age beliefs and practices are steeped in the world of the occult. Those who open the doors to the kingdom of darkness trifle with occult power - with demons! The results can be absolutely terrifying to say the least.  Psychic phenomena, paranormal manifestations, demonic oppression and possession, insanity, suicidal tendencies, and much more are part and parcel in this game of cosmic deception. These so-called revelations, experiences and phenomena are nothing more than satanic parlor tricks. The Prince of darkness knows exactly what he is doing with human souls and his goal is total destruction of human beings. People who subject themselves to occultism, New Age influences, and hybridized forms of Christian mysticism oftentimes suffer from the effects of full-blown occult delusion. Some call it ‘Spiritual Emergency’ while countless millions in India mistakenly label it ‘Enlightenment’.

In reality, the dangerous possibilities of occultism’s fruit is myriad: occult bondage, altered and destroyed personalities, painful and undiagnosable diseases, insanity, irreversible psychoses, hatred toward Jesus Christ, the atonement, and the Bible, demon possession, death - and ultimately, eternal ruin. Only the Jesus Christ of Scripture, the risen Savior of the world, can set individuals free from the powers of occult bondage and their demonic origin.

Don’t be deceived!

The following articles are here to help educate you on the dangers of these practices.  

  • http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/newageoccult.html

YOGA and Christianity – Are They Compatible?

By Chris Lawson

Western Culture Embraces Yoga

It is no secret that Yoga is taking Western civilization by storm. In just a little over a hundred years, a mystical revolution has occurred that millions of Westerners have wholeheartedly embraced. Amazingly, the Western Judeo-Christian view is in the process of a paradigm shift toward the same perspective as yogic India.

To illustrate the magnitude of the Yoga explosion, consider Yoga Journal’s “Yoga in America Study 2012.” This study reveals some incredible statistics:

• 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million from the previous 2008 study.
• Practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products. The previous estimate from the 2008 study was $5.7 billion.
• Of current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying yoga.1

Yoga (or Yogic spirituality) is influencing Christians and non-Christians alike. It only takes 0.27 seconds to come up with over 411,000,000 results for Yoga on Google’s search engine. When searching Amazon.com’s “All” category for Yoga, one quickly comes up with a staggering 143,081 results. That’s just within Amazon.Com. If one searches for book titles only on Amazon.com, the search yields 26,316. Certainly, the influence of yoga can be found almost everywhere. In Time Magazine’s book, Alternative Medicine: Your Guide to Stress Relief, Healing, Nutrition, and More, it states:

Hard to believe now, but yoga was once considered heretical, and even dangerous. As recently as a century ago, yogis in America were viewed with suspicion; some were actually thrown in jail. Today, though, most gyms offer it, many public schools teach it, and a growing number of doctors prescribe it . . . It may have taken 5,000 years, but yoga has arrived.2  


Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: Another New Age "Jesus"

Articles and links exposing the New Age "Jesus" and New Age teachings in Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" devotional

Compiled by Chris Lawson

This Spiritual Research Network archive page has been created for researchers, authors, church leaders, media sources and anyone else who wants to understand clearly what the false teachings are that are found in Sarah Young's devotional Jesus Calling.

  • http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/jesus-calling-by-sarah-young.html

Even the World is Exposing Sarah Young's 'Jesus Calling'!

Note from Chris Lawson (SRN):

The following article is from the secular publication The Daily Beast. In this article writer Ruth Graham rightly and concisely shows just how far the Evangelical Church's 'Jesus Calling' delusion has gone. On a different note, it should be mentioned that numerous Christian apologetics ministries and individual discerning believers are warning about the great dangers of Sarah Young's New Age book. Unfortunately, countless Christian leaders continue to rush headlong into spiritual dangers as they buy, sell, promote and encourage others to read and glean from Jesus Calling. This just shows how biblically illiterate and undiscerning many church leaders are. When the world is more discerning than millions of "Christians" and "church leaders," you know something is seriously not right.  

  • http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/jesus-calling-by-sarah-young.html

The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of

A ten-year-old devotional written in the voice of God suddenly became a commercial juggernaut. Now, its publisher is trying to reconcile its New Age origins with evangelical orthodoxy.

By Ruth Graham (Posted on The Daily Beast 02/24/14)

The seventh-best selling book in America last year was a 10-year-old Christian devotional written by a woman who claims to have written down the words of God. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence sold more copies in 2013 than the much more buzzed-about titles Lean In, the latest Stephen King book, and 50 Shades of Grey, according to Nielsen BookScan. Overall, more than 10 million copies in 26 languages have been sold since the book’s inauspicious debut in 2004.

Jesus Calling is a devotional, a mainstay genre in Christian publishing and in the daily lives of many Christians. Best-selling devotionals like Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest, and The Purpose-Driven Life consist of short sections that are meant to be read each day for encouragement and contemplation. Christians who value the idea of nurturing a personal relationship with Jesus—or of the idea of spending time each day in quiet contemplation—often use devotionals as a tool to accompany prayer and Bible-reading.

What sets apart Jesus Calling is that it is written in the voice of Jesus Christ, presented as speaking directly to the reader. This Jesus who spouts feel-good mysticisms like, “As you walk along your life-path holding My hand, you are already in touch with the essence of heaven: nearness to Me.” The book’s soothing tone has made it wildly popular among believers, but its apparent claims to contain new revelation from God have also made it controversial.

  • http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/the-strange-saga-of-jesus-calling-the-evangelical-bestseller-you-ve-never-heard-of.html

Is Jesus Calling or Is Jesus Warning?

By Chris Lawson

"...Take heed that no man deceive you..."

- Jesus (Matthew 24:4)

Is Jesus really “calling” to us through Sarah Young and her contemplative prayer journaling technique, or is the “Jesus” of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling a counterfeit Jesus, equal to, if not greater than, the deceptions that Paul the Apostle warned about nearly 2000 years ago? Paul the Apostle warned:

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well  bear with him [put up with false teachers]” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

Messiah Jesus Himself warned:

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:1-5).

Considerations for parents and children

Here is something to seriously consider for parents and children who are reading Jesus Calling, and the kids devotional too. Parents and kids who are being influenced by the kids version of Jesus Calling, titled Jesus Calling: 365 Day Devotional for Kids, are getting much more than they bargained for. They are also getting a lot more than the straight words of Jesus of Nazareth as are found in the Bible. Sarah Young’s mystical New Age rendition of “Jesus Calling” us has been “adapted” by Tama Fortner. In the Jesus Calling devotional versions, “special thanks” is given to Kris Bearss “for her work on the “journaling prompts.” Three ladies and a New Age book!

Reading the kids version of Jesus Calling (or any version for that matter) and then trying to “journal” and feel “The Presence” of Sarah Young’s “Jesus,” through utilizing the “journaling” versions of Jesus Calling, is an recipe for spiritual disaster. This type of spiritual practice can induct one very quickly into Gnostic perversions of Scripture and/or direct spirit contact with entities that are not, shall we say, human-friendly (i.e., demons).

  • http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/is-jesus-calling-or-is-jesus-warning-chris-lawson.html