Lighthouse Trails is off the Rails

I’m a big fan of the Pheonix Preacher blog and its owner Pastor Michael Newnham. Prior to discovering his site I thought all Calvary Chapel churches were a joke and Pastor Chuck Smith was a hell bound false prophet……and because of Michael and the rest of the gang over there I discovered those guys are just like me……people who loves the Lord and try their best to serve Him.

Michael is a die hard Calvinist and so am I. He has a bit of a temper and so do I. We also agree on one other thing……

Lighthouse Trails Research Project has issues……and we aren’t alone.

This is a direct quote from Nelson’s Illustrated Guide To Religions by Dr. James Beverley;


Warren Smith, Roger Oakland, and David and Deborah Dombrowski view Emergent as non-Christian and as a powerful New Age conspiracy to seduce the church. Sadly, these four writers engage in sloppy scholarship, careless logic, and extreme overstatement. Their legitimate concerns about Emergent get lost in their use of invective, misrepresentation, and guilt by association. They employ the same tactics in their attempts to discredit Rick Warren as a false teacher and in targeting Leighton Ford-Billy Graham’s brother in law-as part of the emergent conspiracy.

Evangelicals and fundamentalists who adopt an extreme over-reaction to Emergent are missing out on some significantly beneficial characteristics offered by Emergent. Yes, Emergent leaders are sometimes snobbish and occasionally blunder in theology, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ doing creative mission to out post-modern world. (ibid page 537)

Sloppy scholarship?

Careless logic?

Extreme overstatement?


Guilt by association?

Michael and I have been independently saying the same things for month’s now.

Lighthouse Trails isn’t alone here. There are online “ministries” seeking donations, and even attempting to make a living bashing Emergent leaders as well as Rick Warren using the same tactics as Dr. Beverley has so eloquently and accurately described…….

Am I a fan of the Emergent philosophies and some of their biblical interpretations?


Am I a fan of Rick Warren?


If I had a choice between Emergent, Rick Warren or ODM’s like Lighthouse Trails and their ilk for spiritual nourishment I think you all know what my answer would be. For those of you who are new here I’ll tell you I wouldn’t let the folks at Lighthouse Trails mop my floor let alone teach me anything regarding the ways of God…..

What say you?


14 thoughts on “Lighthouse Trails is off the Rails

  1. I have read Lighthouse Trails often , and consider them to be well researched and biblically correct in any thing that they have published. How about all you critics? Have you ched with your Bible first before writing your invective?

  2. Quoting from Nelson’s Guide: “Yes, Emergent leaders are sometimes snobbish and occasionally blunder in theology,BUT…” — But What?

    And SOMETIMES snobbish? OCCASIONALLY blunder in theology??

    Two of the most outspoken, prolific and influential voices of the Emerging/Emergent spirituality currently propelling their way into every nook and cranny of present-day evangelicalism — Alan Jones and Brian McLaren — cannot even legitimately be called Christians, as they malign the historic faith as well as belittle some of the most precious and scriptural doctrines of Christ, from which true faith in Christ derives itself. These defenders of all things postmodern appear to take perverse delight in denying or redefining essential Christian doctrines — plain teachings of scripture about the nature of Christ and exactly how and why it is He came to die for sinful man. The atonement of Christ and the heart of God are dealt decisive blows by these _____ leaders of postmodern Christianity — the word of God falling into questionable status as authoritative and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    You are much too kind in your glossing over of Emergent realities in their cavalier handling of and attitude toward the word of God. It is a position, an outlook, totally foreign to the apostle Jude who exhorted his readers by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” This, the Emergent-minded refuse to do, preferring instead to champion “mystery” and the contention that scripture cannot be rightly divided, that understanding of the teachings of scripture is something unattainable, assigning an arbitrary nature to the truths of scripture, holding to a sense of ambivalence about it all, as if scripture was given to us for the purpose of dialectic exercises ad infinitim, with no promise whatsoever of leading us into truth. The study of scripture becomes a veritable “chasing after the wind” and nothing more; an invitation to weigh spiritual truth in the balance of human opinion. An exercise in futility while celebrating “uncertainty”…

    Roger Oakland, Warren Smith and the Dombrowskis on the other hand are broken vessels, pouring out their hearts in defense of the true biblical Gospel of Christ, willing to suffer for the truth’s sake, for Jesus’ Name sake.

    The fact that Nelson Publishing stands in defense of the Emergent voices whose works they publish means nothing. They are a publishing house that long ago began the steady decline into compromise of the Gospel, all for the “bottom line” of course. I mean, after all, they’ve got to stay in business and for that reason they feature what sells, which is not necessarily the truth!

    The folks you are maligning here have books that will neither make them, or their publisher, popular, successful or wealthy in the eyes of the religious establishment, which is all about that these days. Oakland, Smith and the Dombrowskis are “small change” in a world of powerhouse “christian” publishing houses which one by one have been enticed into placing themselves in the hands of secular corporations, retaining the respectable look of all things Christian while serving up to the Christian demographic a destructive mixture of spiritual truth spiked with popular error.

    What I find myself pondering the most in encountering responses like this one here and elsewhere is, why the bother to go after “the little guy”? Something so small and insignificant as Lighthouse Trails Publishing, who are but a speck in the face of these gigantic publishing houses whose fixed and sure place in the publishing realm is untouchable… are they (LTP) really deserving of anything more than a shrug from their “competitors”? (though, as should be obvious, LTP are not in pursuit of financial “success” or renown, or else they’d quickly jettison the authors they carry.)

    Consider them misguided if you want to, but I do find it curious that their works, so small and miniscule in power and influence, unlike that of their critics, have managed to incite such strong negative sentiment and focused attention.

    Oh, and by the way, to the one willing to search the scriptures for the truth, there is plenty to be found, scripturally speaking, in defence of their assertions, while those who follow “popular” Christian thought (having traded faithfulness to the word of God for the untenable pursuit of “success”) would be hard-pressed to find any real support for their goals and assertions.

    The battle for the truth has come under hot fire in recent times. The few souls nowadays who can be found attempting to defend the truth of the word of God sure do draw a disproportionate amount of fire for their efforts, small and few as they are, especially when considering their diminutive size and reach. The hue and cry of the day seems to be “How dare they attempt to bring into question the darlings of popular Christian culture? The popular works displayed so prominently – and lucratively – by those successful Christian publishing houses who, by mere reason of their success and popularity are to be held in high esteem and never questioned…

    By all means, kill and silence the messenger for having the temerity to call into question the popular cash cows of the Christian publishing industry.

    Nelson Publishings’ reputation (and others, such as Zondervan and NavPress) is at stake, should anyone honestly investigate the claims of Lighthouse Trails’ authors such as Roger Oakland, Ray Yungen and Warren Smith. But what has Lighthouse Trails to lose? It has no particular reputation to uphold in either the Christian community or the world community, leaving it free to champion truth, however poorly it may suffer in terms of popularity. The pursuit and embrace of popularity can be a real detriment to the pursuit of truth, as truth and popularity, biblically speaking, are portrayed as similar to oil and water.

    In this scenario, who do you think is more likely to maintain a strong and uncompromising stand for “the faith once delivered to the saints”? The monumental Christian publishing houses (most of whom are secularly owned or are in partnership with secular corporations), or the little no-name publishing houses who exist for the purpose of offering fare that is faithful to scripture, and who have no illusions of finding “success” in the marketplace?

    I am one who has suffered the loneliness of leaving a church that departed from faithfulness to the word of God after 20 years, and am speaking from a place of deep anguish over the departure of fidelity to the word of God that has become the trademark of so much of what goes by the name “Christian” these days, as the Christian faith takes on greater and greater characteristics of the spiritualities of the world.

    • Hi,

      If you think I’m “soft” on Emergent you should really see this video I made a couple of weeks ago. See who comes up right off the bat…….

      BTW: That’s TONY Jones and not Alan Jones but hey, what’s the difference right? After all that is the LHT way……


  3. Maybe if you don’t like lighthouse trails, you could see what John MacArthur, Bob Dewaay, Phil Johnson, Mike Oppenheimer, James White, Richard Bennett, Todd Friel, Chuck O’Neal, Mark Raines, Kevin Swanson, Alan Cairns, Jerrold Lewis, Mike Gendron, Trevor Hammack, Orrel Steinkamp, Todd Wilken, Jacob Prasch, Ken Silva etc…have to say about these things.

    It even looks like you have a few of these folks sites on your blog links…have a look. For starters, visit letusreason and deception in the church as well as sermon audio. Sounds like you need to do a bit of research on the topic.

    • Hi,

      I teach at a Seminary about the errors in the Emergent as well so what is your point?

      Lighthouse Trails are KNOWN in theological circles as poor researchers which is the reason they had to start their own publishing company because a legit publisher wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.

      O, and search this site with the keyword “Ken Silva” and you will see he has issues……and this isn’t even HALF the stuff I could publish and PROVE.


    • Hi,

      The “other guys” and what they do aren’t the ones in question, LHT is and they do bad research and those who are actually in ministry knows this.

      I’ve thrown out Silva long ago Miss Kitty. Had YOU have done your research you would have done the same. Please do the same with LHT.


  4. And you’re right…you do have a temper don’t ya? A bit defensive too. I was just offering you other sources since you obviously don’t like LHT. lol. Didn’t mean to rile you up.

  5. It wasn’t a defense of Light House Trails…it was more of a ugggggg about the Emergent Church comment. I only threw Ken Silva in there because I noticed one of your posts with ALOT of comments about Ken Silva from awhile back. And you said you had a temper…so I figured since you didn’t reply to the lengthy comment above mine, which really was a defense of LHT…maybe you’d notice if I threw out that name. I figure that’s the reason you responded? I really don’t have a horse in the race here.

    • Hi,

      I didn’t respond to the lengthy comment as that usually causes a fight. It seems whenever someone is critical of LHT the supporters of the Dombrowski’s, Oakland and Smith like to natter on and on, just like the folks they support. Then you posted again with some garbage about a couple of friends of mine and I had to make sure they weren’t lumped in with the LHT people as that isn’t a compliment……

      Everything the Emergent does is wrong? I don’t believe so but LHT and Apprising do because they make a living off of the Emergent. The Emergent is nothing more then a fad Kitty and they are slowly fading away which will make “ministries” like LHT and Apprising irrelevant.


  6. What garbage about some friends of yours? I listen and Read all those guys and figured if you wanted more information about those movements you could check them out. That’s it. I personally love the other guys. I just figured since you included this quote..well, this one…

    “Evangelicals and fundamentalists who adopt an extreme over-reaction to Emergent are missing out on some significantly beneficial characteristics offered by Emergent. Yes, Emergent leaders are sometimes snobbish and occasionally blunder in theology, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ doing creative mission to out post-modern world. (ibid page 537)”

    That you were a bit confused about what the Emergent Church teaches. I was just giving you other sources.

    The fact is, the Emergent Church does not just sometimes blunder in their theology. They flat out say that you can’t know what the Bible says, there is no hell, we don’t really know who the Saviour is and heck, just worship something…basically, it’s a feel good, just be sincere about it religion.

    As far as a trend…yup, I would agree. It’s just another post modern, liberal, New Age yuppy like religion that uses Jesus as a…well, logo. It will morph into something else. And eventually, merge completely with Rome.

    I guess what I would say is this…so you don’t like LHT. Fine. But don’t go compromising with the Emergent Church to prove your point. That’s all.

    Did you ever listen to the Todd Friel interview with Doug Pagitt? That was interesting. Pagitt actually cut the interview short…but it was still entertaining. Now, don’t go yelling at me on my blog either. I just think you will get a kick out of this interview is all. lol

    • Hi,

      Garbage= you lumped my friends in with LHT and Apprising. Heard the tape and in fact have this one and several others which I play for my Western Religion students at the seminary I teach at here in Greece. And yes, we do get a kick out of that and most things coming from the land of the free and the home of the brave… least as far as “religion” goes…..

      Don’t worry……I haven’t the time to visit your blog to yell at you or for anything else for that matter.

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