Archive for the ‘Rick Warren’ Category
COMPARISON: “New Spirituality” Leaders Reject and Ridicule the Second Coming of the Lord VERSUS Bible Prophecies Standing in Stark Contrast
Many people feared that the world would come to an end on December 21, 2012 because of Mayan calendar “prophecies.” Many New Agers believed that the 21st would be significant in seeing a global wide spiritual epiphany. In the midst of all this, there is the issue of the return of Jesus Christ. What do New Spirituality “ leaders have to say about the end-times and the return of Jesus Christ versus what does the Bible have to say? There is a vast difference in the two. The Bible tells us that in the last days men will be scoff and scorn the idea of Jesus Christ returning. Former New Age follower, Warren B. Smith, had this to say:
Coming out of New Age teachings, I had learned in a very personal way that the details of Jesus’ return are definitely our business. Understanding the events surrounding His return was critical to understanding how badly I had been deceived by my New Age teachings. I had learned from reading the Bible that there is a false Christ on the horizon and that for a number of years I had unknowingly been one of his followers. Because the Bible’s clear authoritative teachings about the real Jesus and His true return had been brought to my attention, I was able to see how deceived I was. By understanding that there is a false Christ trying to counterfeit the true Christ’s return, I was able to renounce the false Christ I had been following and commit my life to the true Jesus Christ. (from Deceived on Purpose, p. 147)
The Bible states: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (I Thessalonians 5:1-6) Of that verse, research analyst, Ray Yungen, states:
Paul is saying the end of the age will come upon the world like a thief in the night. In other words, it will actually sneak up on people. Then interestingly, the apostle contrasts two groups: “But ye, brethren [followers of Christ] are not in darkness [people of ignorance], that that day should overtake you as a thief. [unaware]” (v.4). Here, Paul is saying believers in Christ will have the information (Scripture) available to them to prepare for “that day.”
Those who walk in the light can see both where they are going and what is coming up ahead. Paul then warns against spiritual slumber and drunkenness, which could lead to a person being overtaken by that day, unaware: “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (v. 6). The word sober means be alert or aware. If we are instructed to watch and be aware, there must be something to watch for—otherwise, Paul’s admonition would be useless. (from A Time of Departing, pp. 111-112)
And now, let’s look at the comparisons. First, the emergent progressives:
Mark Driscoll – The Rapture is Dumb: “One of the most astonishing things about Jesus is that as God he actually chose to come into our fallen, sick, twisted, unjust, evil, cruel, painful world and be with us to suffer like us and for us. Meanwhile, we spend most of our time trying to figure out how to avoid the pain and evil of this world while reading dumb books about the rapture just hoping to get out.” (Vintage Jesus, p. 44).
Below is a clip from Joe Schimmel’s new DVD, The Submerging Church: How the emerging church is drawing multitudes away from biblical Christianity. This clip talks about Mark Driscoll’s position against end-time believing Christians.
Rick Warren – The details of Jesus’ return are none of our business – “When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!” (PDL, p. 285)
Rick Warren – Don’t think about Bible prophecy: “Rick Warren tells readers to think about something other than Bible prophecy: ‘If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.’ . . . ”Warren ends this section of his book by stating that Satan would have you ‘sidetracked from your mission’ and by quoting Jesus out of context, saying, ‘Anyone who lets himself be distracted [by studying Bible prophecy] from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God’ (Living Bible). But Jesus was not referring to His return when He made that statement, which in the King James Version says: ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:62). The Purpose Driven kingdom of God leaves no room for Bible prophecy, and in fact, condemns those who study it.” (Roger Oakland quoting Rick Warren in Faith Undone (pp. 154-157) from The Purpose Driven Life (pp. 285-286).
Tony Campolo – End-time Christians cause of world’s woes: “Tony Campolo says that Christians who ‘make a big thing of their claim that we are now living in the final stage of church history prior to the second coming of Christ’ have been the cause of ‘extremely detrimental’ consequences. They ‘discount the Sermon on the Mount,’ they don’t care about the needy, and they have had such a negative ‘impact on geopolitics,’ which Campolo says ‘can lead only to war.’ Basically, according to Campolo they are the reason the world is in such a mess, and they are holding back progress of a more emerging spirituality. (Faith Undone, p. 160, quoting Campolo, Speaking My Mind, pp. 209-217).
Brian McLaren – Don’t take the Book of Revelation serious: “Since Jewish apocalyptic was a popular genre in Jesus’ day, we would expect him to be influenced by it and use its language and metaphors.… against the backdrop of Jewish apocalyptic, we discover that phrases that sound like they’re about the destruction of the world—like “the moon will turn to blood” or “the stars will fall from the sky”—are actually rather typical stock phrases in Jewish apocalyptic. They are no more to be taken literally than phrases we might read in the paper today.” (McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, pp. 177-178; for a more detailed account of McLaren’s views on end time Bible prophecies, read chapter 9 of Faith Undone by Roger Oakland.)
Occultist Alice Bailey -No interest in Heaven or Hell: ”It is time that the church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now…. People are no longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell. They need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth … The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ trod. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world, and the service of humanity …(Occultist, Alice Bailey)
Robert Schuller and C.P. Wagner – Don’t let eschatology stifle you: Robert Schuller’s advice to young church leaders would seem to apply to new apostolic Christians: “Don’t let eschatology stifle your long-term thinking.” (C. P. Wagner, quoted in False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?
Barbara Marx Hubbard – Brink of destruction or humanity participating in evolution to godliness: “Here we are, now poised either on the brink of destruction greater than the world has ever seen —a destruction which will cripple planet Earth forever and release only the few to go on—or on the threshold of global co-creation wherein each person on Earth will be attracted to participate in his or her own evolution to godliness.” (Hubbard, The Revelation, p. 134, as quoted from Faith Undone.)
AND NOW, WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY:
“Prophecies of the second coming of Messiah.”
by Tony Pearce
(author of The Messiah Factor)
A time of unparalleled trouble to precede the Day of the Lord:
At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. Daniel 12.1
New Testament parallel:
For then there will be great tribulation such as has never been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. Matthew 24.21
Focal point of this time of trouble to be Jerusalem:
And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. Zechariah 12.3
New Testament parallel:
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then know that its desolation is near. … Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21.20-24
All nations to be gathered for the final battle:
Assemble and come all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause your mighty ones to come down there, O Lord. Let the nations be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat (Hebrew word means ‘The Lord judges’). Joel 3.11-16
New Testament parallel:
For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to battle of that great day of God Almighty. … And they gathered them together in the place called in Hebrew Armageddon. Revelation 16.14-16
Messiah to come in the clouds of heaven:
I was watching in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven! Daniel 7.13
New Testament parallel:
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24.30
Messiah to be visible as one who has been pierced:
And I will pour on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on me whom they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for His only son and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first born. Zechariah 12.10
New Testament parallel:
Behold He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Revelation 1.7
Messiah to come to the Mount of Olives:
Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle. And His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east. Zechariah 14.2-3
New Testament parallel:
“Men of Galilee why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet. Acts 1.11-12
Messiah to come with the saints:
Thus the Lord my God will come and all the saints with you. Zechariah 14.5
New Testament parallel:
Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints. Jude 14. (‘Saints’ in the Bible means all who truly believe in the Lord).
The wicked to flee from the coming of the Lord:
In that day a man will cast away his idols … to go into the clefts of the rocks and into the crags of the rugged rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Isaiah 2.20-21
New Testament parallel:
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Revelation 6.15-6
The Lord to establish righteousness and peace on the earth. Satan to be unable to deceive the nations:
‘Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2.2-4).’
New Testament parallel:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years … so that he should deceive the nations no more … Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Revelation 20.1-6 (extracts)
Following the Millennial reign of Messiah on earth, God to create new heavens and a new earth:
For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me,’ says the Lord so shall your descendants and your name remain. Isaiah 66.22
New Testament parallel:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. … And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21.1-4 (extracts).
(Taken from the Appendix of The Messiah Factor by Tony Pearce, used with permission.)
SPECIAL REPORT: RICK WARREN RETAINS UNBIBLICAL POSITION IN NEW 2012 EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
The reason Christian leaders aren’t taking the New Age more seriously is because figures, like [Rick] Warren, are not ringing out a warning and are themselves being influenced and deceived by the New Age. - Warren B. Smith
Ten years after the first edition of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was released, Zondervan has now released a new 2012 “Expanded Edition” of the New York Times best seller geared for a “new generation.” As the cover of the new edition reads, over 32 million copies of The Purpose Driven Life have been sold. This special Lighthouse Trails report will examine how the new edition has retained Rick Warren’s unbiblical position.
FIRST SOME BACKGROUND
It was Fall of 2002, and the fledgling Lighthouse Trails Publishing was just about to release its first book, A Time of Departing, written by a fairly unknown author, Ray Yungen. At the same time, unbeknownst to us, another book was hitting the bookstores but this one by a fairly well-known author, Rick Warren with his book, The Purpose Driven Life. Some knew Warren from his first book in the 90s called The Purpose Driven Church. But his name was about to become a virtual household name in the Western world with The Purpose Driven Life. As time wore on and the book climbed the charts, many, including Rick Warren himself, said it must be from God or there wouldn’t be this much success. Rick Warren came to believe that the Purpose Driven movement was the most important contribution being made to the 21st century church:
Personal computers have brand names. But inside every pc is an Intel chip and an operating system, Windows,” Warren says. “The Purpose Driven paradigm is the Intel chip for the 21st-century church and the Windows system of the 21st-century church—Rick Warren, Christianity Today, Oct. 2005
Lighthouse Trails sent a copy of A Time of Departing to Rick Warren in early 2003, hoping to warn this influential pastor of the contemplative prayer and spiritual formation movement. Warren sent a personal note thanking Lighthouse Trails for the book and admitted it was a “hot topic.”
The following year, Lighthouse Trails editors heard about a book that was suggesting The Purpose Driven movement had leanings toward the New Age. LT editors purchased a copy of the book, which had been written by Warren B. Smith. The book, titled Deceived on Purpose: the New Age implications of the Purpose Driven movement, was the first book on the market that challenged Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven movement. Since then, Warren Smith has written a follow-up book titled A “Wonderful” Deception, Ray Yungen has added an entire chapter on Rick Warren in a 2nd edition of A Time of Departing (showing Rick Warren’s propensities toward and promotion of contemplative spirituality), and Lighthouse Trails author Roger Oakland included Rick Warren in his expose book on the emerging church, Faith Undone.
Needless to say, Lighthouse Trails was very interested to know if Rick Warren has corrected the things that Warren Smith, Ray Yungen, and Roger Oakland challenged him on (from a biblical point of view) in their books. This report will examine these very things.
I. DECEIVED ON PURPOSE & A “WONDERFUL” DECEPTION VS THE NEW EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
1. In Deceived on Purpose, Warren Smith contended that Rick Warren’s use of Eugene Peterson’s The Message compromised his book significantly.
Anyone reading The Message should be able to quickly see how verses from Scripture often had their otherwise clear meanings obscured or even altered. Important details were sometimes omitted, while misleading words and phrases were often added. (DOP, p. 24)
Since the release of The Purpose Driven Life in 2002, there has been ample documentation proving that The Message paraphrase is not trustworthy, and in fact, is quite misleading. But did this cause Rick Warren to reconsider? No, the new expanded Purpose Driven Life still contains quotes from Eugene Peterson’s The Message (Day 2, Day 8, Day 32).
One of the most disturbing things that Warren Smith unveiled about The Message was the New Age maxim substituted into the Lord’s Prayer, “as above, so below.”
This phrase [as above, so below] comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. “‘That which is above is the same as that which is below’….The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man.” (DOP, p. 33)
Even though Peterson’s ”As above, so below” revision was brought to Rick Warren’s attention by at least one person who sent him a copy of Deceived on Purpose, that didn’t stop Rick Warren from including The Message in his new 2012 edition of The Purpose Driven Life.
2. In the 2002 edition of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quoted a man named Bernie Siegel. Warren Smith addresses this in Deceived on Purpose and later again in his book, A “Wonderful” Deception:
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren introduces his main themes of “hope” and “purpose.” Inexplicably, Warren chooses to introduce “hope” and “purpose” in his book by citing Dr. Bernie Siegel—a veteran New Age leader who claims to have a spirit-guide named George.Somehow, readers of The Purpose Driven Life are expected to believe that God inspired Warren to introduce the themes of hope and purpose by referencing the “wisdom” of Bernie Siegel, an author and leader in the New Age movement.(AWD, p. 16)
Once again, Rick Warren dismisses legitimate concerns and includes the Bernie Siegel reference in the new 2012 expanded edition of The Purpose Driven Life.
3. In the 2002 edition of PDL, Rick Warren twists Scripture and says, “The Bible says, ‘He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” Warren Smith responded saying:
Out of the fifteen different Bible versions Rick Warren uses in The Purpose Driven Life, he chooses to cite Ephesians 4:6 from a new translation that erroneously conveys the panentheistic New Age teaching that God is “in” everything. According to New Age leaders, this teaching is foundational to the New Age/New Spirituality. Yet of these fifteen Bible versions Warren uses in his book, he chooses the New Century Version that has potentially misled millions of Purpose Driven readers to believe this key New Age doctrine that God is “in” everything. (AWD, p. 16)
What does Rick Warren do with this misuse of Scripture? You will find the very same misuse in the new 2012 edition of PDL.
4. In the 2002 edition of PDL, Rick Warren distorts the words of Jesus regarding His second coming.
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren strongly discourages the study of prophecy. He states that “in essence” Jesus told his disciples: “The details of my return are none of your business.” Contrary to what Warren writes, in Jesus’ discussion on the Mount of Olives, He tells His disciples that an understanding of the details of His return is very important. He provides much needed prophetic information so that His followers will not be deceived about the details of His return at the end of time. (AWD, pp. 20-21)
In the 2012 expanded edition of PDL, Rick Warren says the exact same thing again.
5. In the 2002 edition of PDL, echoing Robert Schuller, Rick Warren writes, “It helps to know that Satan is entirely predictable.” In Deceived on Purpose, Warren Smith refutes this highly irresponsible remark by Rick Warren that unfortunately millions of people have now heard:
Because Rick Warren and other church leaders don’t seem to discern the deception, they are unfortunately becoming a part of the deceptive process. Perhaps deceived into thinking that they can’t be deceived, their inability to spiritually discern what is happening is placing the Church in grave danger. (DOP, p. 131)
In the 2012 expanded edition of PDL, Rick Warren repeats: ”It helps to know that Satan is entirely predictable,” once again underestimating the wiles of the devil and ignoring the many Scriptures that warn us about spiritual deception.
6. In the 2002 edition of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes occultist and New Ager Aldous Huxley (is it any wonder that former New Age follower Warren Smith wrote two books on the Purpose Driven movement!).
After incorrectly diagnosing the Apostle Paul as suffering from “doubt” and “depression” rather than persecution, Rick Warren emphasized the importance of “shared experiences” by quoting Huxley. . .
Rick Warren’s citing of the metaphysical Huxley in discussing the importance of “shared experiences” seemed as inappropriate as his referencing New Age leader Bernie Siegel in introducing “hope” and “purpose.” Randomly quoting influential New Age figures with no introduction or explanation as to who these people are is not exactly what you expect from a shepherd who is supposed to be protecting his flock. (DOP, pp. 96-97)
II. A TIME OF DEPARTING VS THE NEW EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
1. In the 2002 edition of PDL, Rick Warren references Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God) several times and tells readers to practice ”breath prayers.” Ray Yungen challenges this:
Brother Lawrence is often quoted by contemplative authors for his habit of what he called “practicing the presence of God.” But what was the actual nature of this presence? Was it something that would reflect the true character of God? I find the following account from a devout advocate of Brother Lawrence both questionable and disturbing:
“It is said of Brother Lawrence that when something had taken his mind away from love’s presence he would receive “a reminder from God” that so moved his soul that he “cried out, singing and dancing violently like a mad man.” You will note that the reminders came from God and were not his own doing.” (Gerald May, The Awakened Heart, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1993) p. 87, citing from The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, translated)
Brother Lawrence says that secret phrases must be “repeat[ed] often in the day,” and “for the right practice of it, the heart must be empty of all other things.” He speaks of the trouble of wandering thoughts and says that the habit of practicing the presence of God is the “one remedy” and the “best and easiest method” he knows to dissolve distractions. (ATOD, p. 147)
Rick Warren received a copy of A Time of Departing in 2003 and yet, in the 2012 expanded edition of PDL, Warren once again references Brother Lawrence and tells his readers to practice “breath prayers.”
2. In the 2002 edition of PDL, Warren advises readers to use visual reminders throughout the day and gives an example of others who practice breath prayers—Benedictine monks, known for their contemplative spirituality and interspirituality.
In the 2012 expanded edition of PDL, Rick Warren again tells readers to consider the example that the contemplative Benedictine monks have set before us.
3. Regarding the 2002 edition of PDL, Ray Yungen points out in A Time of Departing: “Warren not only promotes breath prayers on Day 11 in The Purpose Driven Life but also on Day 38, where he tells readers how to become “world-class Christian[s]” through the “practice [of]. . . breath prayers.”
In the 2012 expanded edition of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren repeats this second instruction on using breath prayers.
4. In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen documents how Rick and Kay Warren find great affinity with Catholic contemplative mystic Henri Nouwen. In both the 2002 and the new 2012 expanded edition of PDL, Warren quotes Henri Nouwen twice. One of the quotes directly follows Warren’s quote of St. John of the Cross where Warren likens the panentheist St. John’s “dark night of the soul” to Henri Nouwen’s “ministry of absence.” If Rick Warren had read A Time of Departing when it was sent to him in 2003, he would have known that Nouwen practiced eastern style meditation; and he would have known that Nouwen had a propensity toward universalism, as demonstrated in Nouwen’s words:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God. (Sabbatical Journey, p. 51)
III. FAITH UNDONE VS. THE NEW EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
1. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland shows Rick Warren’s distortion of biblical prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ in the 2002 edition of The Purpose Driven Life.
In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren was actually laying ground-work for the emerging church’s new reformation, a reformation that rejects thinking about the return of Christ and works more at convincing the multitudes that Christ is already in them as a global christ-consciousness. As you will see in the following documentation, Warren has a low regard for Bible prophecy. Perhaps this helps explain why so many who once were anticipating the return of the Lord have become occupied with worldly ambitions. Warren writes:
“When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, ‘The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that’”
I find it simply astounding that a statement of this sort would be in a New York Times best-seller in the present-day Christian book market. Jesus was telling the disciples they could not know the day or the hour, but nowhere does Jesus ever indicate that “the details of my return are none of your business.” Rather than quickly changing the subject, we find in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 two of the longest passages in Scripture quoting Jesus’ own words, as He details the signs of His coming. (FA, pp. 154-15)
As this report stated earlier, the new edition of The Purpose Driven Life also takes Jesus’ words out of context regarding Bible prophecy and His return.
2. In the 2002 edition of PDL, Rick Warren takes Christ’s words out of context when he tells readers that those who think about Bible prophecy (i.e., the Lord’s return) are ”not fit for the kingdom of God.” Roger Oakland shows how he did this distortion in Faith Undone.
In the 2012 edition of PDL, Warrenagain tells readers that they are “not fit for the kingdom of God” if they think about Bible prophecy too much.
CONCLUSION: So What IS Different About the new 2012 edition? In a Zondervan promotional video, Rick Warren says that he has learned a lot of things in the past decade about hindrances that keep people from finding their true purpose, and he has put this information in two new chapters: “The Envy Trap” and “the People Pleaser Trap.” He has also added links to both video and audio teachings by himself. While Lighthouse Trails editors have strong concerns about what these teachings will introduce to readers (such as the audio for Day 11, where Rick and Kay Warren talk about how to “connect” with God through “the stillness,” via monks, monasteries, and Henri Nouwen), this report is not on what Rick Warren has added to PDL but rather what he has not removed. Thus, the following can be stated with certainty: the new edition of The Purpose Driven Life is as problematic as the first edition was and could potentially lead a whole “new generation” astray. One only needs to look at the declining condition of America over the past 10 years to see that The Purpose Driven Life (where 60 million people have read it, Warren said recently on a Fox News interview ) has not helped the country or the church get on track. On the Zondervan website, it states: “The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey that has transformed millions of lives. Once you take this journey, you’ll never be the same again” (emphasis added).
As Lighthouse Trails has stated for over 10 years, the Purpose Driven “spiritual journey” is one that should be avoided. Hopefully, this report has shown some of the reasons. While this Special Report does not address issues such as Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan and the Daniel Plan, please refer to the “Related Articles” section below for further documentation on the Purpose Driven movement.
NOTE: Books by Ray Yungen, Roger Oakland, and Warren B. Smith are available through the Lighthouse Trails store or most other online bookstores. If you have not read all three of these books - A Time of Departing, Faith Undone, and A “Wonderful” Deception (which summarizes Deceived on Purpose in chapter 1), we highly recommend you do. If you cannot afford the books, please write to us at P.O. Box 908, Eureka, MT 59917, and we will send you a free copy of one of them. Or you can visit our research site where we have extensive free information and many excerpts from these books. Also we have a list of free chapter excerpts that you can access.
The Purpose Driven Inclusive Church by Roger Oakland
The Angel of Light’s “Plan” for World Peace by Tamara Hartzell (from In the Name of Purpose)
Creating a New Society: Change Agents and Influence Peddlers by Carl Teichrib
By Tamara Hartzell
Author of In the Name of Purpose
An Interfaith Kingdom of World Servers Working Together as ONE
Our enemies in the Angel of light’s realm have been working long and hard at fulfilling his Plan. They are achieving marked success in enticing the world into his counterfeit kingdom and its (New Age) New Spirituality that appears as “light” and “peace.” As mentioned earlier (see chapter six), Alice Bailey (A.A.B.) was approached by the spirit world to detail “the Plan” in writing. These writings are the basis for the descriptions of this counterfeit kingdom “of God” and its Plan to use world service to bring interfaith unity and “peace” to the world. As is to be expected, these enemies commonly twist Scripture after the pattern of the father of lies, who has been twisting God’s Word since the Garden of Eden. Also not surprisingly, their deceptions twist the nature and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and reveal an ongoing hatred for His true followers and Word.
“I [Djwhal Khul] … have a vision of the Plan … Through the cooperation of A.A.B. I put this plan – as far as was possible – before you, calling your attention to the New Group of World Servers.…
“[T]he vision is a vision of group work, of group relationships, of group objectives, and of the group fusion to the larger Whole.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul1
“[T]here is a group of human beings, integrating now … upon whom is laid the burden of leading humanity. They are starting movements that have in them the new vibration, they are saying things that are universal in their tone, they are enunciating principles that are cosmic, they are inclusive and not exclusive, they do not care what terminology a man uses; they insist that a man shall keep his own inner structure of truth to himself and not impose it on any one else … they demonstrate the universal light, they are servers …
“[T]hey are tied by no dogmas or doctrines because they have the word which has come to them in the dark, which they have wrought out for themselves in the strife and stress of their own souls. They meet the need of their fellow men, and theirs is the message of Christ, ‘A new commandment I give you that you love one another.’…
“‘A new commandment I give you’ can be summed up in ‘inclusiveness’, the hallmark of the New Age, the universal spirit, identification, oneness with all your fellowmen.…
“How shall we fit ourselves to meet that requirement, to possess those characteristics which automatically put us into the group of world servers? You will never get there by talking about it … You will get there by doing the next thing correctly.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)2
The desire for people to stop talking and debating and just start doing and cooperating facilitates interfaith unity among all beliefs and religions. This is exactly what the spirit world has been working toward. In the name of purpose, people are being lured away from doctrine to focus on relationships.
“He [‘Christ’] emphasized the necessity for cooperation, indicating that if we truly follow the Way, we shall put an end to competition, and substitute for it cooperation.…
“Love, brotherhood, cooperation, service, self-sacrifice, inclusiveness, freedom from doctrine, recognition of divinity – these are the characteristics of the citizen of the kingdom, and these still remain our ideals.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)3
“As the Members of the Hierarchy [spirit realm] approach closer to us, the dream of brotherhood, of fellowship, of world cooperation and of a peace (based upon right human relations) becomes clearer in our minds. As They draw nearer we vision a new and vital world religion, a universal faith, at-one in its basic idealism with the past but different in its mode of expression.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Parentheses in the original; emphasis added)4
“It is time that the church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now.… People are no longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell. They need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth … The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ trod. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world, and the service of humanity …” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)5
“Christ died in order to bring to our notice that the way into the kingdom of God was the way of love and of service. He served and loved and wrought miracles, and gathered together the poor and the hungry.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)6
“True religion will come to be interpreted in terms of the will-to-good and its practical expression, goodwill.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul7
Goodwill in world service, not belief and obedience of the doctrine of the faith, is this kingdom’s definition of “true religion.” It naturally follows that this kingdom has also altered Christ into a counterfeit that all religions (faiths) can follow as their “example.”
“Christ stood as a symbol and also as an example … and showed us the pattern upon which we should mould our lives.
“The kingdom and the service!…
“We must grasp this; we must realize that we shall find release only in the service of the kingdom. We have been held too long by the dogmas of the past, and there is today a natural revolt against the idea of individual salvation through the blood sacrifice of Christ.… It is essential that today we face the problem of the relation of Christ to the modern world, and dare to see the truth, without any theological bias.… It is quite possible that Christ is far more inclusive than we have been led to believe … We have preached a God of love and have spread a doctrine of hate. We have taught that Christ died to save the world and have endeavored to show that only believers could be saved … But Christ founded a kingdom on earth, wherein all God’s children would have equal opportunity of expressing themselves as sons of the Father. This, many Christians find impossible to accept …
“Individual salvation is surely selfish in its interest and its origin. We must serve in order to be saved, and only can we serve intelligently if we believe in the divinity of all men and also in Christ’s outstanding service to the race. The kingdom is a kingdom of servers, for every saved soul must without compromise join the ranks of those who ceaselessly serve their fellow men.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)8
“Our need today is to see the hidden thread of purpose … This [‘spiritual’] awakening is already here, and the will to good is present. The teaching of Christ … needs only to be rescued from the interpretations of the theologies of the past, and taken at its simple face value, which is an expression of the divinity of man, of his participation in the kingdom which is in process of being brought into recognition, and of his immortality as a citizen of that kingdom. What we are in reality passing through is ‘a religious initiation into the mysteries of Being,’ … and from that we shall emerge with a deepened sense of God immanent in ourselves and in all humanity.…
“The vital need is to return to the simple fundamental instruction which Christ gave, and to learn to love our brother.… It is a love which realizes that the world needs love, and that a spirit of love (which is a spirit of inclusiveness, of tolerance, of wise judgment and farsighted vision) can draw all men together into that outward unity which is based upon a recognized inner relationship.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)9
“When the consciousness which is Christ’s has been awakened in all men, then we shall have peace on earth and goodwill among men.… The expression of our divinity will bring to an end the hatred rampant upon earth and break down all the separating walls which divide man from man, group from group, nation from nation, religion from religion. Where there is goodwill there must be peace; there must be organized activity and a recognition of the Plan of God, for that Plan is synthesis; that Plan is fusion; that Plan is unity and at-one-ment.…
“The realization of this is needed today. Christ in God. God in Christ. Christ in you and Christ in me. This is what will bring into being that one religion which will be the religion of love, of peace on earth, of universal goodwill, of divine understanding, and of the deep recognition of God.” —Alice Bailey (Bold added)10
In the Angel of light’s upside-down realm, the belief that God is immanent within All is the basis for the Oneness of All. “Awakening” to this Oneness is this kingdom’s so-called At-one-ment, and it is what makes a person “holy” (a complete mockery of the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement):
“What is this holiness to which He calls us, when we take the first step toward the new birth? What is a holy man?
“Wholeness, unity, at-one-ment, completeness – this is the hall mark of a perfect man. Having once seen and with open eyes beheld the vision of divinity, what can we do?…
“It means listening for and obeying the insistent demand of the soul for a nearer approach to God and a fuller expression of divinity …
“This, Christ taught, and for this He prayed the Father.
“‘… I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.’ (St. John, XVII, 20-23.)
“This is the doctrine of the At-one-ment; God, immanent in the universe – the cosmic Christ. God, immanent in humanity, revealed through the historical Christ. God, immanent in the individual, the indwelling Christ, the soul.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)11
This Oneness is foundational to the (New Age) New Spirituality—a counterfeit Spirituality which is an intrinsic part of this counterfeit kingdom. The belief that God is immanent within everyone and everything also leads to the belief that God is ONE God of many names and manifestations in the many religions (faiths). This makes it easier to entice all religions together into this interfaith kingdom of “spiritual Oneness” and world service.
On the other hand, this kingdom sees those who refuse to become “holy” through its Oneness as guilty of “separateness” and “hatred.” They will be excluded from its otherwise all-inclusiveness:
“The true Church is the kingdom of God on earth … composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts.… The members of the coming kingdom will think in terms of humanity as a whole; and as long as they are separative or nationalistic, or religiously bigoted, or commercially selfish, they have no place in that kingdom. The word spiritual will be given a far wider connotation than that which has been given in the old age … and we shall no longer regard one activity as spiritual and another as not. The question of motive, purpose and group usefulness will determine the spiritual nature of an activity.” —Alice Bailey (Bold added)12
“Love is unity, at-one-ment and synthesis. Separateness is hatred, aloneness and division. But man, being divine in nature, has to love …
“Each one of us has to tread the way of the cross alone, and enter God’s kingdom by right of achievement. But the way is found in service to our fellow men …
“It is through supreme service and sacrifice that we become followers of Christ and earn the right to enter into His kingdom, because we do not enter alone.…
“He [‘Christ’] knew no separateness.… and the ‘great heresy of separateness’ was completely overcome by His all-inclusive spirit.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)13
“1. Countless men and women in every land will form themselves into groups for the promotion of goodwill and for the production of right human relations. So great will be their numbers that from being a small and relatively unimportant minority, they will be the largest and the most influential force in the world. Through them, the New Group of World Servers will be able to work successfully.
“2. This active energy of loving understanding will mobilize a tremendous reaction against the potency of hate. To hate, to be separate, and to be exclusive will come to be regarded as the only sin …” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)14
Warren Smith has also written the eye-opening book, Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel [now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? ] He discusses the spirit realm’s goal for Oneness and warns about its final solution for those who do not comply.15 The spirit realm will indeed “mobilize a tremendous reaction” against those who stand firm against (“hate”) its Oneness. Its Plan includes a “selection process” to purge all these so-called “cancer cells” from the planet. “Self-centered” separation is supposedly preventing the planet’s state of “health” necessary for humanity’s ultimate “spiritual evolution” toward its “divine potential”—i.e., the “new birth” of its “Christ consciousness” or “divinity.” At least this is the “positive” spin given by the spirit realm to explain their coming war against the saints under the Antichrist’s reign (e.g., see Revelation 13:7).
Today’s blinded world and Christianity are oblivious to Scripture’s prophecies and the underlying diabolical, global Plan of the spirit world. Consequently, they are easily being lured together as ONE, seemingly for the sake of “the common good,” “world service,” and “global peace” through “love,” “goodwill,” and “right relations.” The Angel of light’s counterfeit kingdom and ministers of ‘righteousness’ epitomize how the road to hell is paved with good works, piety, and spirituality.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
The Angel of light is very effective in his deceptions. But then, our Adversary no longer has to work very hard to deceive given today’s plague of scriptural illiteracy.
Having ears to hear only what is “positive,” today’s Christianity is falling hook, line, and sinker for the Angel of light’s counterfeit kingdom of World Servers. This kingdom seeks to “put an end to competition, and substitute for it cooperation.” This kingdom makes it clear that its “Plan is synthesis … fusion … unity and at-one-ment” and its “love is unity, at-one-ment and synthesis.” Even its “peace is unity and synthesis.”16 The Angel of light seeks to “usher in the new era of joy and of peace and spiritual synthesis - that synthesis which we call brotherhood” (emphasis added)17 because the bottom line of his Plan is unity on his broad way.
This has been greatly facilitated by his kingdom’s success in presenting its own “Christ” to the world. The “Christ” of this kingdom is the “Christ” of the (New Age) New Spirituality. He is a universal “Christ” who is an interfaith “model” or “example” but not the Lord and Saviour. He welcomes “all men of peace” from “every world religion” who are being gathered into this “embodiment of the emerging Kingdom of God on earth.” This emerging interfaith kingdom will eventually be ruled by the Antichrist, the ultimate “man of peace.” This ruler will “come in peaceably” but “by peace shall destroy many,” and he “shall destroy wonderfully” (Daniel 11:21, and 8:24-25). Initially, the destruction will appear wonderful and as peace and not as the destruction it is. “There is a way that seemeth right …”
“VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.” (Emphasis added)18
“We are concerned with only one subject, the ushering in of the new world order.… We are occupied with the formation of that new party which will gather into its ranks all men of peace and good will, without interfering with their specific loyalties … This new party can be regarded as the embodiment of the emerging Kingdom of God on earth … It is a grouping of all those who – belonging as they do to every world religion and every nation and type of political party – are free from the spirit of hatred and separativeness, and who seek to see right conditions established on earth through mutual good will.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)19
“In every village, in every home, in every business, in every government there is a man of peace, or a woman of peace. Somebody who’s willing to work. By the way they don’t necessarily have to be Christian … They could be something else or nothing. But they’re willing to work with you.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)20
“… you go in and you deal with gatekeepers, for instance, like pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, whoever you would call, we call them the man of peace, or the woman of peace …” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)21
“And then when you add in all the different peoples of faith who would be people of peace – you know, when you talk about poverty and disease and illiteracy, these are not Christian issues, they’re human issues. And I’ll work with anybody who wants to work on them. You know?… We just need to get people moving, mobilized.” —Rick Warren (Bold added)22
“This kingdom, through its major power (a quality of synthesis, could you but realize it), is gathering together into itself men and women out of every nation and out of all parts of the Earth. It is absorbing them into itself not because they are orthodox or religious in the generally accepted sense of the term, but because of their quality.… They, therefore, are demonstrating oneness and synthesis in such a simple way that men everywhere can grasp it. The New Group of World Servers is the vanguard of the kingdom of God, the living proof of the existence of the world of spiritual Oneness.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Parentheses in the original; emphasis added)23
“Saddleback Church is now but one among thousands of purpose driven churches — the vanguard of a new reformation.” —PD Staff (Emphasis added)24
“… the goal for thousands everywhere is the demonstration of the Christ spirit, and the exemplification of a life conditioned by love and modeled upon that of Christ …
“This makes possible, therefore, the next great human unfoldment which grows out of the Christ consciousness …
“Eventually the truths thus grasped change the consciousness of humanity as a whole …” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)25
The Angel of light is achieving marked success in his Plan to unite the world in “oneness of purpose” and “change the consciousness of humanity as a whole.” According to his minions, it is “divine purpose which will foster the coming religious synthesis.”26 In other words, it is the work of world service that is to automatically overcome religious differences so that “all religions [will] be regarded as emanating from one great spiritual source”27:
“Not as yet is the vision seen with a sufficient clarity by the many servers, to make them work with perfect unanimity of purpose and objective, of technique and method, or complete understanding and oneness of approach. That fluid, perfect cooperation lies as yet in the future. The establishing of an inner contact and relationship, based on a realized oneness of purpose and soul love, is magnificently possible, and for this all disciples must struggle and strive.… [T]he inner relationships and cooperation Must be established and developed, in spite of the outer divergences of opinion. When the inner link is held in love, and when disciples … stand shoulder to shoulder in the One Work, then the differences, the divergences, and the points of disagreement will automatically be overcome.…
“The principle of work is love for all men and service to the race, preserving at the same time a deeper inner love for those with whom you are destined to work. Each soul grows into the way of light through service rendered, through experience gained, through mistakes made, and through lessons learnt. That necessarily must be personal and individual. But the work itself is one. The Path is one. The love is one. The goal is one. These are the points that matter.…
“Relinquish the pride of mind which sees its way and its interpretations to be correct and true, and others’ false and wrong. This is the way of separation. Adhere to the way of integration which is of the soul and not of the mind.…
“It is essential that the disciples shall learn to sacrifice the non-essential in order that the work may go forward. Little as one may realize it, the many techniques and methods and ways are secondary to the major world need.… When this Law of Sacrifice governs the mind, it will inevitably lead all disciples to relinquish the personal in favor of the universal and of the soul, that knows no separation, no difference. Then no pride, nor a short and myopic perspective, nor love of interference (so dear to many people), nor misunderstanding of motive will hinder their cooperation with each other as disciples, nor their service to the world.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Parentheses in the original; bold added)28
The world is indeed sacrificing “non-essential” religious differences so “the work” of serving the world can take precedence. We are seeing the emergence of the counterfeit kingdom’s “new world religion which will emphasize unity but bar out uniformity”29:
“The true values … are to be summed up in the one word Service. They are expressed through inclusiveness and non-separateness. It is here that the Church, as usually understood, meets its major challenge. Is it spiritual enough to let go of theology and become truly human? Is it interested enough to widen its horizon and recognize as truly Christian all who demonstrate the Christ spirit, whether they be Hindu, Mohammedan, or Buddhist, whether they are labeled by any name other than that of orthodox Christian?” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)30
“This religious will is in expression now, not turned to theology or to the formation of doctrines and occupied with their enforcement, but to love and service, forgetting self, giving the uttermost that is possible for the helping of the world. This will breaks down all barriers … its quality that of universality, and its technique that of loving service.…
“The time has come when service must expand and express itself on broader and more inclusive lines, and we must learn to serve as Christ served, to love all men as He loved them and, by the potency of our spiritual vitality and the quality of our service, stimulate all we meet so that they too can serve and love and become members of the kingdom.… The call is for sane and normal men and women who can comprehend the situation, face what must be done, and then give their lives to expressing for the world the qualities of the citizens of the kingdom of Souls: love, wisdom, silence, non-separativeness and freedom from hatreds and partisan, creedal beliefs. When such men can be gathered together in large numbers (and they are gathering rapidly) we shall have the fulfilment of the angels’ song at Bethlehem, ‘On earth peace, good will toward men.’” —Alice Bailey (Parentheses in the original; bold added)31
Remember the tower of Babel? The world tried to become ONE then, too (see Genesis 11:1-9). God didn’t let that succeed, either. However, this time He won’t be so lenient when He puts a permanent stop to it. Fulfilled peace on earth follows God’s global judgment. The rebellious world is sacrificing His truth on the altar of unity.
“And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” (Genesis 11:6-8)
Until now . . .
1. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section II – The General World Picture, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/externalisation/exte1040.html.
2. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Labors of Hercules – Labor XII, Lecture by A.A.B. – 1936, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/hercules/herc1062.html.
3. Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter Seven – Our Immediate Goal, The Founding of the Kingdom, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1078.html.
4. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section III – Forces behind the Evolutionary Process, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/externalisation/exte1178.html.
5. Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter Five – The Fourth Initiation, The Crucifixion, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1063.html.
6. Ibid., http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1064.html.
7. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section III – Forces behind the Evolutionary Process, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/externalisation/exte1194.html.
8. Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter Five – The Fourth Initiation, The Crucifixion, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1068.html.
9. Ibid., Chapter Seven – Our Immediate Goal, The Founding of the Kingdom, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1079.html.
10. Ibid., Chapter Two – The First Initiation, The Birth at Bethlehem, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1022.html.
11. Ibid., http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1025.html.
12. Ibid., Chapter Seven – Our Immediate Goal, The Founding of the Kingdom, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1082.html.
13. Ibid., Chapter Five – The Fourth Initiation, The Crucifixion, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1062.html.
14. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Reappearance of the Christ, Chapter V – The Teachings of the Christ, The Establishing of Right Human Relations, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/reappearance/reap1033.html.
16. Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter One – Introductory Remarks on Initiation, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1007.html.
17. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section II – The General World Picture, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/externalisation/exte1110.html.
18. “Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope,” November 30, 2005, ZENIT News Agency – The World Seen From Rome, http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=80888.
19. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Esoteric Psychology II, Chapter III – Humanity Today, The World Situation, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/psychology2/psyc2250.html.
20. Rick Warren, Saddleback’s 25th Anniversary Celebration at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, April 17th, 2005, transcribed from http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/home/anniversary_celebration.asp.
21. From the TIME Global Health Summit, Rick Warren talks with Lisa Mullins of The World, November 3, 2005. Transcribed from the audio available at http://www.theworld.org/heardonair/2005/11/index.shtml.
22. Rick Warren, Keynote Address, 2005 RNA Annual Conference in Miami, Friday, September 30, 2005, Religion Newswriters Association, http://www.rna.org/programschedule.php. Transcribed from the audio available in the RNA conference archives at http://www.rna.org/meetingdates.php; below Friday, Sept. 29 [sic] — “Questions and answers.”
23. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Rays and the Initiations, Part One – Fourteen Rules for Group Initiation, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/rays/rays1111.html.
25. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Discipleship in the New Age II, Teachings on Initiation – Part III, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/discipleship2/disc2087.html.
26. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Esoteric Psychology I, Section Two, III. The Rays and Man, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org — http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/psychology1/psyc1111.html.
27. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Problems of Humanity, Chapter V – The Problem of the Churches, III. The Essential Truths, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/problems/prob1056.html.
28. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Esoteric Psychology II, Chapter I – The Egoic Ray, The Seven Laws of Soul or Group Life, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/psychology2/psyc2040.html.
29. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Esoteric Psychology I, Section Two, III. The Rays and Man, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/psychology1/psyc1111.html.
30. Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Chapter Seven – Our Immediate Goal, The Founding of the Kingdom, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1083.html.
31. Ibid., http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/bethlehem/beth1085.html.
Oprah Invites Viewers to “Participate in live tapings with Joel Osteen and Rick Warren” on Her Lifeclass October 5th
LTRP Note: This in from Chris Lawson at Spiritual Research Network. After reading his comments, see some of our links below.
See the announcement just to the right of the red chair on Oprah’s homepage.
R. Warren and J. Osteen – Friday the 5th, in two days, on Oprah’s Lifeclass.
“UPDATE: Oprah’s taping new episodes of Oprah’s Lifeclass in Houston with Pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren on Friday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT, respectively. Watch the live streams and participate on Oprah.com and Facebook.com/owntv.“
Lighthouse Trails Related Links:
Taken from The Submerging Church with Joe Schimmel
LTRP Note: The following bullet points are not loosely put together assumptions or presumptions. They are well-thought out and well-researched conclusions that have been observed by many biblically sound Christians for a long time.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. —Matthew 7:13
Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me. —Isaiah 54:15
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement, in a relatively short period of time, became what TIME magazine has referred to as a “Purpose Driven empire.”1 The word empire is defined in the dictionary as “supreme rule; absolute power or authority; dominion.” It also means “an extensive social or economic organization under the control of a single person, family, or corporation.”2 For all intents and purposes, Rick Warren has become the titular head—the almost emperor-like CEO—of an increasingly apostate postmodern church. But while Warren continues to be embraced by much of the world and much of the church, it is not too late for people to reconsider their involvement with him and his Purpose Driven movement. Here are ten scripturally based reasons why people with any love of the truth should not involve themselves in Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity:
Ten Basic Reasons
1) Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement offers a “Broad Way” Christianity. One of the mysteries of the Christian faith can be found in Jesus’ warning that the way to life is “narrow” and that “few” would actually find it. Jesus is telling us in advance that the “broad way”—no matter how well intentioned—is not from Him. With Rick Warren’s reformation movement based on deeds and not creeds, everyone is invited to partake in this global effort. But biblical principles are watered-down and often cast aside.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
2) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not declare “all the counsel of God.” Rick Warren teaches only what he wants to teach from the Bible. As a result, there are many important teachings that he skips over, de-emphasizes, and leaves out—particularly in regard to prophecy and spiritual deception.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:27-31)
3) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not discern the spiritual signs of the times. Just as the leaders in Jesus’ day discerned the weather but not the signs of the times, Warren discerns many of the social and economic problems, but not the spiritual signs of the times.
O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:3)
4) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is ignorant of Satan’s devices. Whereas the apostle Paul stated that he and other believers were “not ignorant of Satan’s devices,” Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity states that Satan’s schemes are “entirely predictable.”3 By being ignorant of Satan’s devices, this “Broad Way” Christianity has fallen prey to Satan’s devices—particularly in the area of the New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
5) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not expose spiritual evil. Warren’s version of Christianity does not sound a true warning about the deceptive spirit world and spiritual deception. There is much more to evil than the problems that Rick Warren is seeking to remedy with his Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. We are told to expose false prophets and false teachers, not to study under them, spiritually join with them, and further their plans.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8)
6) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not “earnestly contend for the faith.” By not declaring all the counsel of God, by not discerning the signs of the times, by being ignorant of Satan’s devices, and by not exposing spiritual evil, Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is not fighting “the good fight of faith.”
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3)
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
7) Rick Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity are loved by the world and its leaders. Jesus loved the world, but the world did not love Him. Jesus warned his followers they would be hated, persecuted, and even killed by the world—just as the world hated, persecuted, and killed Him. In his compromised effort to reach out to the world, Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity have become the world.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. (1 John 4:5)
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. (Matthew 10:22)
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:25)
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? (Luke 9:25)
8) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is engaged in a process of ungodly change. Rick Warren describes himself as a “change agent” but in his attempt to change the world, he and his Purpose Driven movement are actually changing biblical Christianity. The Bible warns about those who push for unbiblical and ungodly change.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change. (Proverbs 24:21)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)
For I am the LORD, I change not. (Malachi 3:6)
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)
9) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is frequently “double-tongued” and “double-minded.” Rick Warren’s attempts to seemingly distance himself from the New Age/New Spirituality while simultaneously spiritually aligning himself with New Age sympathizers is “double-tongued,” “double-minded,” and deceptively self-serving. In the Psalms, David refers to those who speak with “flattering lips” and a “double heart.”
Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. (Psalm 12:1-2)
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (1 Timothy 3:8-9)
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)
10) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is “not valiant for the truth.” Warren has demonstrated, in numerous ways, that he is politically and spiritually expedient when it comes to the truth. His “Broad Way” Christianity plays to the world and embraces the world because it is the world. It does not hold fast to the truth because it is not “valiant for the truth.”
And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth. (Jeremiah 9:3)
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31)
The Time is Here
The apostle Paul preached the importance of adhering to God’s Word. He warned that the time would come when believers would not endure sound doctrine but would find teachers who would tell them what they wanted to hear:
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
As Rick Warren’s “broad way” Christianity seems to be headed down the “broad way” of the New Spirituality, it is very clear that his Purpose Driven movement is anything but the “narrow way” that Jesus Christ described in Matthew 7:14.
It is important to understand what is at stake here—the centrality of the Cross as the one and only true Gospel—without which the hope of salvation is lost. Jesus Christ, dying on the Cross for our sins, is the central message of the Gospel. It is the plumb line for ultimately discerning truth from error. But in discerning truth from error, it is essential that we must adhere to all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
Jesus is the one and only Savior—the one and only true Christ. Science cannot and will not prove otherwise (1 Timothy 6:20). God is not “in” everything. We are not Christ, and we are not God. What is born of the flesh is flesh. What is born of the Spirit is spirit. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). It is not “as above, so below.” The apostle John states:
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. (John 3:31)
Jesus Christ is Lord. His name is above all names (Philippians 2:9). He is not the “Jesus” of The Shack, and He is not the “Jesus” of the New Age/New Spirituality. Most assuredly, He is not the “quantum Christ” of a deceived world and an apostate church.
The apostle Paul describes the simplicity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). According to many of today’s spiritual and religious leaders, it has taken humanity 2000 years to finally “get it.” They say we need quantum physicists, cellular biologists, Ph.D. mathematicians, New Age channelers, and emerging postmodern preachers to finally understand what Jesus was trying to tell us back in the first century. No, this is not the simplicity that Paul was describing. This is the deceptive work of our Adversary as he tries to transform the creation into the Creator and co-opt God’s creation to himself.
Unfortunately, many of today’s pastors have forgotten that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that we are to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). As a result, the church is now catapulting into great spiritual deception.
For those who still rightly divide and depend upon the Word of God, the Bible warns that the coming deception will be so great that most of the world will be deceived (Revelation 13:13-14). Jesus warned that His way is not the broad way but the “narrow way” of continuing in His Word (John 8:31). And it is His way that leads to eternal life.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)
(From Chapter 14 of A “Wonderful” Deception by Warren B. Smith)
1. TIME magazine March 10, 2009 Amy Sullivan, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884038,00.html p. 1.
2. Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, Webster’s New World Dictionary: Third College Edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1988), p. 445.
3. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, p. 203.
By Paul Proctor
Used with permission.
Every now and then I get a terse email from someone who has taken exception to my candid comments on Rick Warren, asking questions like: “Have you ever spoken with him personally about your objections and concerns and tried to work through your differences privately as scripture teaches, rather than attack him publicly as you do?”
The scripture they usually cite is, of course, Matthew 18:15-17
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
This is probably one of the more misunderstood and misapplied Scriptures quoted today, especially among those who ingest Church Growth Carcinogens and Purpose Driven Lies. Because we have been inappropriately taught that unity and relationships are the most important things for Christians to pursue and protect in the church, these verses are often touted as the principal directive we should follow when addressing false teachers, which frankly, couldn’t be any further from the truth and only ends up protecting, sustaining and empowering them, which is probably why they teach it.
There is absolutely no biblical record of Jesus or any of His disciples ever taking a heretic off to the side for coffee and donuts after they led someone astray distorting the Word of God. They didn’t shake hands, exchange hugs, kisses and phone numbers or set up appointments on their PDAs to dialog their doctrinal differences over lunch in the quiet corner of a favorite restaurant at a more convenient time.
No, Jesus dealt with heretics harshly, publicly, and immediately, as did Paul and the other disciples. And, keep in mind; we’re talking New Testament here friends. In the Old Testament, false prophets were simply taken out and stoned to death for their lies. That’s how serious God is about His Word being rightly divided and properly proclaimed.
So, what was Jesus referring to in Matthew 18? Look again carefully at how he begins:
“…If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone…”
You see, the Lord is referring here to a personal offense, grievance and/or misunderstanding between two people – something that has broken their fellowship and has little or nothing to do with anyone else. Personal and private matters of wrongdoing should always be dealt with personally and privately first, so as not to unduly disrupt the unity of the body. That is indeed, biblical.
Now, as for wolves in sheep’s clothing that stand in pulpits and on stages before vast audiences with microphones and television cameras proclaiming demonic doctrines as the Word of God, the scriptural directive is altogether different:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – Ephesians 5:11
(“Reprove” is another word for rebuke)
“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” – Titus 3:10
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2nd John 1:10)
Jesus didn’t request a closed-door session with the Scribes and Pharisees in order to find common ground, build relationships and promote unity in Jerusalem. He condemned their blasphemy before one and all and repeatedly warned His disciples about their leaven. And when His number-one disciple challenged Him about His own up and coming crucifixion, Jesus didn’t put His hand gently on Peter’s shoulder and effeminately whisper: “My friend, you just don’t understand.” No, He lashed back at him with power and authority in front of ALL the disciples saying:
“…Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” – Matthew 16:23
Why? Because, Peter was publicly contradicting God’s Word and Divine plan, which is the equivalent of proclaiming Jesus to be a lunatic or a liar.
Did the religious leaders stone Stephen to death because of all the cute and cuddly things he had to say about them? I don’t THINK so. Stephen spoke the cold hard truth that day and they hated him for it because God’s Truth is always “evil” and intolerable in the ears of the unrepentant. He told them:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”
You see, defenders of today’s religious leaders almost always resort to calling their critics, among other things, “legalists,” for incessantly using scripture to rebuke unbiblical teachings and practices; comparing them to the Pharisees of Stephen’s day, when, in reality, Stephen might just as easily say to Rick Warren and others like him:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the Gospel, but have not proclaimed it.”
Of course, when someone reprimands today’s religious leaders for their unbiblical teachings, they are silenced, shamed, slandered, marginalized, isolated and/or asked to leave. But, isn’t that exactly what the religious leaders did to Jesus and His disciples?
The Pharisees were a lot of things but they were not “legalists.” They’ve merely been labeled as such by the religious liberals of OUR day in order to try and discount the importance of studying and obeying scripture. In fact the word “legalist’ does not even appear in any version of the Bible I searched. It is just another contemporary twisting of the truth to forward a corrupt agenda and steer people away from God’s Word to something more flexible, entertaining and endearing.
“Legalism” is defined in my dictionary as the “strict adherence to a literal interpretation of a law, rule, or religious moral code.” Under this definition, is not Jesus Himself a legalist? You see, without the law, there is no need for a cross; which probably explains why both are being expelled from the church and society today as outdated and offensive relics from the past.
So, according to Stephen’s own testimony, if the religious leaders indeed “received the law but have not kept it,” they don’t even QUALIFY as true “legalists” but only as lawbreakers; or, as Jesus repeatedly called them; “Hypocrites,” which is another word for “actor,” meaning, they only pretended to keep the law.
And THAT, my friends, is what today’s Purpose Driven Pastor is – an actor – a hypocrite and a pretender, because he CLAIMS the Word of God but does not actually believe it nor proclaim it. If he did, he would preach the Bible and nothing else; verse by verse, for the rest of his ministry; not The Purpose Driven Life, chapter by chapter for 40 days. He would quote The Almighty with power and conviction before a trembling and uneasy congregation, instead of quoting Rick Warren with purpose and ambition before a casual and comfortable constituency.
When church attendance and revenues are down, closet liberals, be they Purpose Driven or otherwise, often minimize, in varying degrees, the importance of the Bible in a Christian’s life, calling it “legalism” whenever one encourages the brethren to obey God’s Word or dares to chastise those who refuse. Well, THEY might call keeping God’s commandments “legalism,” but Jesus Christ calls it “love.” Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” – John 14:21
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” – John 14:23-24
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” – John 15:10
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – 1st John 2:4
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1st John 5:3
Keeping God’s commandments will not gain you entry into the Kingdom of Heaven anymore than attending church will make you a member. That only comes by faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. (Ephesians 2:8-10) But for those of us who claim Him, there is no other way to exercise that faith and prove our discipleship.
Loving God is not having a hand-raising, hip-hopping, wave-making, emotional experience in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals before a rock band in some downtown arena full of shrieking Seekers, Creekers, Promise Keepers and Passionate Purposeites. The only true act of love, worship and service to God is obedience to His Word. Everything else is distortion, distraction, deception, delusion and destruction.
And, when you set your Bible aside for some other book or teacher or preacher, you are neither loving, nor following, nor obeying the One you claim as your Lord and Savior. Oh, you might be Purpose Driven or Seeker Sensitive; but more than anything else, you’re a hypocrite.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew 7:21-23
“Spiritual Disciplines Handbook” – Christian Organizations, Seminaries, and Ministry Leaders Incorporate This Mystical Primer into Christian Education
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun is a primer on contemplative mysticism, bursting with contemplative meditation instruction along with references and quotes by some of the movement’s most prolific mystics on the scene today. It’s a book one might expect to find on the shelves of a Catholic monastery, a New Age bookstore, or in an emerging church coffee house; while it probably is in those types of places, the book has become a common textbook in many spiritual formation classes and has found a growing audience with evangelical pastors, seminary professors, and Christian ministry leaders. In fact, many of those in ministry are eagerly flocking to this book, and in so doing pointing potentially millions of Christians to the book’s message. While we have made mention of this book in several articles over the past decade, we feel it is time to present a more focused critique of Calhoun’s book and her message.
Who is promoting Calhoun’s handbook? First of all, a major advocate of the book for a number of years is Rick Warren. You can find the book on his resource website, where Saddleback gives a hearty recommendation for the book. Willow Creek also recommends the book in their Establishing Life Giving Rhythms class. In a course at Reformed Theological Seminary, the book is being used as “required reading.” In Olivet Nazarene University’s Spiritual Formation and Personal Development course, the book is listed in the “Suggested Reading” section. In Biola’s online course, Introduction to Spiritual Formation, the book is “Recommended Reading.” Assemblies of God Theological Seminary’s course, Renewing the Spiritual Leader includes Calhoun’s book in a list for required reading. Moody Bible Institute’s Midday Connection radio program had Calhoun as a guest speaker in November 2011, and Midday Connection host Anita Lustrea talks about Calhoun in her own book, What Women Tell Me. Lustrea, tells how she met Calhoun during a course called Growing Your Soul and how Calhoun taught her some of the contemplative “spiritual disciplines” (p. 125). On the Wesleyan denomination’s website, in a Spiritual Formation course, Calhoun’s book is listed in a Bibliography on Spiritual Formation. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) had Calhoun as one of the speakers at their 2011 MOPS International Convention. On the book’s publisher’s website (InterVarsity Press), you will find an endorsement for the book by the popular pastor Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian of NYC, who says of Calhoun’s handbook:
I have long profited from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s gifts in the field of spiritual development, and I am delighted that she has compiled her experience with spiritual disciplines into book form. I highly recommend it and I look forward to using it as a resource at our church.
These are just a few instances of many more where evangelical Christians or organizations are turning to Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook for spiritual direction (see below this article for more who use the book). Now let us examine this book and see why it is so troubling to know it is being used in so many Christian venues.
As we stated above, Calhoun’s book is permeated with references of and quotes by some of the most prolific contemplative mystics today. But she doesn’t just quote and reference these mystics - in her book, she reveals that these teachers are her ”spiritual tutors.” She states:
I would be remiss not to mention the spiritual tutors that I know only through books: Dorothy Bass, Eugene Peterson, Gerald May, M. Basil Pennington, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Tickle, Fredrick Buechner, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Jonathan Edwards [not a contemplative], Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, St. Benedict, Julian of Norwich and many more. Their ideas, voices and examples have shaped my own words and experience of the disciplines. (Acknowledgment’s page)
For those who have spent time on the Lighthouse Trails website or read A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, most of these names above will be familiar to you. You will know that the late Gerald May was the co-founder of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation in Washington DC., and as Ray Yungen points out, May adhered to “Eastern metaphysical views,” which can be seen in many of his writings, including his book The Awakened Heart where he discusses the “cosmic presence” “pervading ourselves and all creation” (ATOD, p. 67). Yungen points out that “there can be no mistaking [May's] theological underpinnings” when May says:
It is revealed in the Hindu greetings jai bhagwan and namaste that reverence the divinity that both resides within and embraces us all. (The Awakened Heart, pp. 179-180)
Gerald May makes it very clear in that statement where he is coming from. This panentheistic, God-in-everybody view, which May embraced is the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality and is why we are so persistent in warning about this spiritual outlook that has entered the Christian church. Think about it, Adele Calhoun sees Gerald May as a spiritual tutor, and now she is presenting the beliefs of these tutors to untold numbers of Christians via her book. Let’s look at another tutor whom she turns to – Basil Pennington. In a book written by Pennington and Thomas Keating (who, by the way, Calhoun also recommends), the two Catholic monks write:
We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.
Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences. (Finding Grace at the Center, pp. 5-6)
Calhoun would agree with Pennington and Keating on their views of “Eastern techniques.” She talks about these kinds of practices in her book, such as in the chapter she titles “Centering Prayer” where she instructs readers to focus on a “sacred word,” or in the chapter she titles “Breath Prayer,” where she encourages “short repetitive prayer[s],” or in her chapter titled Devotional Reading, where she talks about lectio divina and picking out one word from a passage of Scripture, a word which becomes the focus for meditation, or in her chapter titled “The Labyrinth Prayer,” where one is taught how to walk through a labyrinth while doing contemplative meditation. She also tells readers to “Explore the practice of liturgical prayer through using the book The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, or The Daily Office of the Catholic church” (Kindle Edition, Locations 2861-2862). For those of you who may not know who Phyllis Tickle is, she has been the darling and a favorite mentor of emerging church leaders. It is Tickle who likened atonement-rejector Brian McLaren to another Luther, saying he could be instrumental in bringing about a “new reformation.”
One can also see how Calhoun resonates with Pennington and Keating when she favorably says that “three Cistercian monks, Thomas Keating, Basil Pennington and William Meninger, sought to revive this ancient form of meditative prayer.” (Kindle Edition, Locations 2460-2461). By the way, Calhoun recommends (Kindle Edition, Location 2498) Keating’s book, Open Mind, Open Heart, another ”textbook” on contemplative and centering prayer. In that book, Keating says this:
Centering prayer is a discipline designed to reduce the obstacles … choose a sacred word [to repeat] … Twenty to thirty minutes is the minimum amount of time necessary for most people to establish interior silence. (pp. 18, 21, 23 as quoted from Faith Undone, p. 81)
The repeating of a word or phrase is how contemplative prayer is practiced. This in turn begins to make the practitioner feel a oneness with God, humanity, creation, and with everything. This oneness is the whole crux of the matter. After awhile, the contemplative meditator begins to take on a different spiritual outlook. It’s what caused Thomas Merton (another mystic you will find in Calhoun’s book) to say “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” (from David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969). Or what caused Henri Nouwen (another Calhoun “tutor”) to say at the end of his life after years of meditating:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.(From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen’s last book page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition)
In addition to the tutors Adele Calhoun lists in her Acknowledgements page, she also includes other names in the book that are important to point out here: David Steindl-Rast, Marjorie Thompson (author of Soul Feast), Brian C. Taylor, Kathleen Norris (a Catholic contemplative nun), Karen Mains, Tilden Edwards, Ruth Haley Barton, and Esther De Waal. Between her “tutors” and these other names along with the practices and ideas Calhoun espouses in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, the heart of the contemplative prayer movement is clearly and no doubtedly manifested in her book.
The following quotes by some of the people in Calhoun’s book are the focal point of our concerns. These aren’t minor points we’re dealing with. The essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at risk to those who are being exposed to this. The spirituality that Calhoun and her tutors embrace leads to interspirituality (i.e., all paths lead to God). “Christian mysticism” resonates with Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim mysticism, which means it’s not Christian at all; but practitioners become blinded to that – this is how Henri Nouwen came to call these mystical spiritual practices “treasures for the spiritual life of the Christian.” See now for yourself if you come to the same conclusions we have when you read these quotes:
The God he [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment. – Brian C. Taylor (Setting the Gospel Free, p. 76 -What Taylor means by this book title is getting rid of the biblical Gospel).
These [Christian] contemplatives also recognize their soul mates in other traditions, as did Thomas Merton in his pilgrimage to Buddhist Asia. This is because they have passed beyond the confines of religion as a closed system to an open awareness of God-in-life. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free
The enlightenment you seek in our religions has been present in Christianity from the beginning – from the back cover of Richard Rohr’s book, The Naked Now
[New Ager] Ken Wilber is really the best teacher today . . . to give us an “integral spirituality.” Pick any book of his that fascinates you, and you will know why I, as a Christian, recommend him. – Richard Rohr, The Naked Now, p. 153 (Wilber’s “integral spirituality” include yoga, zen, TM, kabbalah, tantric sex, kundalini, and centering prayer.)
This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality. – Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18
The practice of contemplative prayer might give a Christian ground for constructive dialogue with a meditating Buddhist. – Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, Prologue
Skeptics may say, well these quotes are not in Calhoun’s book. That’s true, but anyone can see that Calhoun is encouraging her readers to turn to these mystics by calling them her tutors, quoting from them extensively, and recommending their books.
If you want to know what the end result of practicing contemplative spirituality is, the following quote by David Steindl Rast (who is in Calhoun’s book) sums it up – drop the Cross of Christ! There’s no need for it once the world religions come together under the common denominator of mystical realms:
Unfortunately, over the course of the centuries, this [Christianity] has come to be presented in almost legal language, as if it were some sort of transaction, a deal with God; there was this gap between us and God, somebody had to make up for it—all that business. We can drop that. The legal metaphor seems to have helped other generations. Fine. Anything that helps is fine. But once it gets in the way, as it does today, we should drop it. – David Steindl-Rast, talking to a Buddhist (Robert Aitken & Steindl Rast, The Ground We Share, p. 45, emphasis added)
We must choose one, dear Christian – contemplative spirituality or the Cross of Jesus Christ - we cannot have them both.
No man 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. (Matthew 6:24)
Other Instances Where Spiritual Disciplines Handbook is Being Used:
Anaheim Vineyard – Pastoral Staff Recommends list
Eastern Mennonite University – “Highly recommended” list
Northpark Theological University - “Highly recommended” list
Nazarene Theological Seminary – Bibliography used
Trevecca Nazarene University – Formational Resources