Archive for the ‘Rick Warren’ Category
By the Editors at Lighthouse Trails
For over 11 years, Lighthouse Trails has been issuing a warning about a mystical spirituality, known as contemplative prayer, which is coming through the conduit of the Spiritual Formation movement. It has not been an easy road to travel on, but through the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we saw this paradigm shift, which was affecting a large segment of the evangelical and Protestant church and lining up with biblical prophecy of a day coming when there will be great deception and many would fall away from the faith. We also became completely convinced that the roots of contemplative spirituality were based in panentheism (God in all), interspirituality (all paths lead to God), and universalism (everyone is united with God in spite of belief).
Once we saw this, we simply could not quit the work we had been called to do. Today, those convictions are stronger than ever, but the opposition or indifference we have encountered from the ranks of those widely known as leaders of the evangelical church has been stunning and sometimes unbelievable, especially in light of the fact that our only desire is to protect the message of the Cross from an opposite message that carries no hope of salvation or a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Looking back, it is hard for us not to see ourselves as a kind of David in his battle with Goliath. Lighthouse Trails is not a big ministry, at least as far as staff and resources go. If someone had told us 11 years ago that one day most major Christian ministries would know who we were and would resent, despise, or even hate us, we would not have believed it. You see, when we first began, we were under the impression that our warning was going to be welcomed by Christian leaders, and in fact, we thought that our own ministry could be short lived because once they were given the information and documentation about this great spiritual deception, they would take up the banner and run with it, and we would be able to go back to our lives before Lighthouse Trails began. After all, they were the ones who had the money, audience, credentials, and popularity to really make a difference. We had none of these things.
It wasn’t too long before we learned that the Christian leaders were not going to be receiving our message.
Opposition didn’t start right away. But then, that would make sense as we started at ground zero, with virtually no publishing experience and no readership. We had to take online college courses to learn how to build websites and design books. We sent out free copies of A Time of Departing (our launching book) to Christian radio stations, organizations, ministries, and pastors. One of these copies went to Rick Warren. Another to John MacArthur. One to Jerry Falwell, another to Focus on the Family, and on and on. From 2002 to 2006, we gave away over three thousand copies of A Time of Departing. We heard back from several men and women, many of whom had Masters and Doctorate degrees who told us the book was right on the mark. Dr. Jim Diehl, for example, former General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, called one day and praised the book as “excellent” and “vital.” Chuck Smith spoke with one of our editors and said that our work was meaningful and important. John MacArthur told a staff member, who told us by phone, that he greatly appreciated the work we were doing. Rick Warren wrote us a personal note to tell us the book is a “hot topic” and has a place on his library bookshelf.
But then in 2005, we wrote a special report titled ”Rick Warren Teams Up With New-Age Sympathizer Ken Blanchard!” It didn’t take too long after that report came out for us to know that we had crossed a line, and life was never going to be the same again. You can read more about those early years in two articles we wrote: one, “How Lighthouse Trails Began – Part One: “It was a dark and stormy night,” and two, “Lighthouse Trails, the Early Years – Part 2 – “A Hot Topic” That Just Wouldn’t Go Away.” Warren B. Smith also documented some of the events in an entire chapter in his book A “Wonderful” Deception (chapter 5). Some of the things that took place were like elements out of a B-rated mystery novel like phone lines suddenly “out of order,” e-mails apparently being intercepted, being told by Saddleback that federal agents were investigating us because they thought we had broken into the Saddleback server, and so forth. We wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.
Over the course of the years, there have been many terrible and unkind things said about us in public venues. We’ll give you a brief rundown of some of these things that have been said. Prepare yourself - none of them have anything to do directly with our actual work. In fact, the one thing we have yet to see is any solid and biblical refutation of our work. It’s as if it’s always avoided. Everything is said, but no solid challenge is given.
So what are these terrible things said publically about Lighthouse Trails? Here’s an incomplete sampling: One pastor, on a popular blog, said we were “like fleas on the back of a dog.” Then there was the time, on stage at a Calvary Chapel event with thousands of young people, where we were called “the haters.” Rick Warren’s former chief apologist said in an article that has been sitting on a high traffic Christian website for years that if we had the legal means we would torture and murder people. One well-known apologist coined the term “discernment divas” and first used it referring to one of the women writers at Lighthouse Trails in 2006. Then there were the generic name-calling terms like witch-hunters, freaks, fanatics, militant fundamentalists, and so forth. After a few years of this, we couldn’t help wonder why these highly qualified men (and sometimes women) had nothing qualified to say about our work.
We want to make one thing clear here. By telling our readers these things, we are not trying to gain sympathy. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We understand that in doing this kind of ministry, there is inevitably going to be strong reaction and defense tactics. No one wants to be criticized or challenged, especially leaders who have become accustomed to being followed, not being corrected.
What’s been frustrating about the name calling, however, is that we’ve been very open to receiving solid biblical refutation of the message we are proclaiming. In fact, we said from the very beginning of our ministry that all we really wanted was for the contemplative issue to come to the table, to be discussed, challenged, and considered. Eleven years ago, if one Googled the term “contemplative prayer,” virtually nothing came up on the first few pages of search results that was from a critiquing point of view. Mystical spirituality in the Christian church was being largely unchallenged.
As we learned of all the men who had great educational and theological credentials, we thought there would be some scholarly response and a taking hold of the torch, so to speak. We didn’t expect name calling, innuendos, sometimes downright lies (like the rumors that we often hear), and ad hominem and straw men arguments. That took us by surprise. And we began to wonder why this was happening. Was it possible, we asked ourselves, that some of these educated leaders couldn’t see the big picture of this deception? We just wanted some proof that we were wrong, some good solid biblical evidence that our conclusions were way off.
We got used to the name calling and over time, found some of it humorous (in a way); at least, we found it meaningless. It was the other accusations that got to us though, because we knew they were without merit (or evidence). One of the most common accusations against the research at Lighthouse Trails is that we take quotes out of context. And yet, and this is the truth, in all these years, we have not had one person actually give us an example of where we have done this. As a case in point, about 5 years ago, two educated men, both with doctorates from a higher learning institution in Canada, said that A Time of Departing was faulty because it took quotes out of context. We wrote to them in an amiable manner and asked if they could provide just one or two examples so that we could see where we went wrong. They did not produce one example. Lighthouse Trails has been meticulous about checking and double checking every quote in a book or article we publish to make sure that the intent of any particular author is not misconstrued or taken out of context. If someone did produce a legitimate example, we would speedily correct that. You see, it is not our intention to falsely accuse or villanize anyone. Taking quotes out of context is an accusation we take very seriously, and we take great efforts not to do that. And yet, we hear this often from our critics. But we are still waiting for an example.
The second most common accusation against us is that we use faulty and loose guilt by association reasoning. We have addressed this in many past articles, but we will say it again here: there is a difference between loose guilt by association and guilt by promotion or by proxy. What’s more, there is a legitimate guilt by association. The way our critics would have it, there is no such thing and it doesn’t matter who a person is associated with. But you won’t find backup in Scripture on that. On the contrary, consider all the verses that tell God-fearing people to keep good company, avoid standing with heretics or unruly people, keep oneself unspotted from the world, avoid the appearance of evil, and so forth.
One of the big issues that continuously surfaces is related to guilt by association. Those who accuse us of using guilt by association say that we call people contemplative or emerging proponents because they have been “associated” with a contemplative person. But, we have never done that. For instance, often we will challenge a big name leader for sharing a platform with contemplative and emergent figures. But we have never said that person was now a contemplative or emergent himself just for sharing the platform with one. An example of this is when we challenged Joel Rosenberg and Kay Arthur for attending Canada’s Breakforth contemplative-promoting conference and sharing the platform with emergents like Leonard Sweet and Tony Campolo. We never once said that now this makes Rosenberg and Arthur contemplatives or emergents themselves. No. The challenge we gave was that reputable, Bible-believing leaders should not give credibility to false teachers by standing on the same platforms or being at the same conferences.
Another case in point just occurred. We challenged John MacArthur for using a sermon for many years till present where he favorably quotes the late major contemplative pioneer Dallas Willard. The accusations started pouring in that we were calling MacArthur a contemplative proponent. But we never did. Our challenge was and is that by highly influential leaders favorably quoting false teachers, they inadvertently are giving credibility to that teacher and thereby lessening resistance from the Christian community at large to their message.
One last accusation that we want to address in this article is an accusation that comes primarily from a few popular public figures in the Calvinist/Reformed camp, and that is that all or most of the writing done at Lighthouse Trails is done by one woman (or a “discernment diva” as they say – incidentally a diva is typically a self-centered, egotistical, arrogant woman (often a performer) who is domineering and rude to those around her. If you read our articles you’ll see this is not an accurate description of what we are trying to do that springs from a heart-felt love for people, which is the opposite of diva behavior). Three things on this issue: first, calling women who are believers in Christ “divas” is a derogatory and ungodly remark – period! Second, it isn’t true that most of the writing at Lighthouse Trails comes from just one person. Take a look at any of our e-newsletters, our blog, or our printed journals, and you will see the names of many writers, both men and women. As you can see on our authors’ page, we currently use the writings of 11 women and 19 men. For anyone to say that our material is written by just one person appears to be a dishonest effort to minimize the value in the work of these 30 some writers.
Relating to the issue of women, as far as the accusation that women shouldn’t be in a ministry of this kind at all – all we can say to that is that if God can use a donkey, surely He can use a woman (Numbers 22:21-38). It is interesting to note that in the case of Balaam’s donkey, God used the donkey to warn and save Balaam’s life. Is it so unthinkable that God would use women to warn of impending spiritual danger? To cry out to their brothers, of whom many have fallen asleep on the watch? Of all those labeled ”discernment divas” whom we know, each of them is a loving mother, wife, and in some cases grandmother who has, not by her own choice, but by God’s apparent choice, accepted the role much like Balaam’s donkey. And remember, that donkey was struck several times by Balaam before God finally intervened – then Balaam’s eyes were opened, and he saw that the donkey’s efforts to warn him were legitimate.
All of this that we have said in this article leads us to ask the question to Christian leaders, where have we gone wrong? Please tell us. Not by name calling or accusations without proof. If we have taken something out of context, please show us some examples of that. If have wrongly called someone a contemplative advocate or sympathizer, please tell us how. But all we ask is you present us with the documentation, the evidence. We only ask for the same standard to be applied to us that we have tried to use ourselves: honesty, accuracy, and Christian charity.
While we know we are all fallible, and as humans we don’t have a full understanding of the things of God according to Scripture, we, like others in the body of Christ, are attempting to walk a life that is honoring to God. We know we fail at that at times, and we are totally dependent on Him to lead us and strengthen us. We have attempted to report to Christians information that is pertinent to the health of the Christian church. If we have erred in our deductions and conclusions, then we want to be corrected. If we can be shown that our warning and work is faulty and against Scripture, we will apologize and even step down from this work.
We do not see ourselves as better than anyone else, and certainly we know we do not have the “qualifications” (from a human point of view) that would entitle us to be in any kind of authority over another (we do not even desire such authority). We have endeavored to stand beside our brothers and sisters, not above, not below. But because we believe so strongly that we are living in the days the Bible predicts will occur before the return of Christ where there will be a great falling away (of faith), we are gravely concerned that most of the Christian leaders seem to be either ignoring or going along with this major paradigm shift in the church at large. And while Lighthouse Trails is just a small ministry which could end at any time (as God sees fit) and certainly we have not come to the church with the splendor, finesse, support, or backing that most of the major Christian leaders have, we beseech these leaders to consider that God often uses the foolish things and weak things to speak His message (like Balaam’s donkey).
And so, if we are wrong, rather than using name calling, which is unprofitable, show us where we are wrong. If you, dear Christian leader, are on the side of truth, then consider our warning. Maybe you don’t like our delivery, but if there is no solid evidence to prove us wrong, wouldn’t it be wise to humble yourselves and listen?
We have written this article, not as a means to defend ourselves but more so to defend our work.
The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. of Man written by David Dombrowski is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 10 pages long and sells for $1.50 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. of Man, click here.
The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. of Man
by David Dombrowski
The subject of peace has been thought about, written about, and passed through the lips of countless people over the centuries. Human history has been racked by violence and unrest since the fall of man, making peace an evasive commodity that has only been known for relatively short periods of time.
We wanted to take a look at peace from a biblical perspective considering that the subject is being increasingly talked about in academic, political, and especially religious circles. Rick Warren, for instance, has been trying to implement and promote his P.E.A.C.E. Plan through his three-legged stool approach of melding the world’s religious, economic, and political forces into one. As he points out, just as a stool cannot stand unless it has at least three legs, he believes that we cannot achieve world peace without the blending and unifying of these three forces. The New Age movement also has a P.E.A.C.E. plan, and although the acronym utilizes different terms, the intents and goals are similar to those of the Purpose Driven Movement.
The Bible teaches that we are to, “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Paul’s choice of words here serve as a kind of hesitation in approaching the subject of peace because he knew in his own life what an evasive commodity peace can be. Paul’s mission was to preach the Gospel, but in so doing he recounts the perils that he faced to include receiving 39 lashes five times, being beaten with rods three times, and being stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:24-25). But this was no great surprise to Paul because God had said of him, “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we read of the lives of the other apostles, we learn that their lives were marked by suffering and hardship too. But the Lord had also prepared them for this in saying, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Jesus even went so far as to describe to Peter what kind of death he would suffer for the sake of the Gospel (John 21:18). Is it any wonder, then, if our lives are marked by hardships and misunderstandings and hostility.
However, in recalling the lives of the apostles and those who have suffered before us, a very important lesson can be learned here. What is being taught in many of today’s “new” Christianity churches is that our task is to build God’s kingdom here on earth and that Jesus will return once we have created a form of Utopia here. Similarly, the Catholic Church believes we will create a Utopia once the whole world unites in a devotion to Mary and the Eucharist; this world-wide devotion to the Eucharist will be their version of the second coming of Christ.
But as all of these churches unite in trying to bring their version of peace on earth, they are sadly mistaken and ignorant of what is clearly presented in Scripture. This ignorance of the Scriptures is really a matter of choice than anything else. Just as Peter was not happy to hear what sort of death he would suffer, the emerging religious leaders of today do not want to believe the bleak picture the Bible portrays of the world before Jesus’ return. But while Peter accepted Jesus’ words, these new Christianity emerging leaders have bent and twisted Scripture in such a way as to support this Utopian God’s-kingdom-on-earth-now theology.
Unbeknownst to the multitudes who are following these globalistic leaders, these current efforts toward global peace are paving the way for the Antichrist whom the Bible warns will implement a peace plan in the last days. Sadly, much of the church of today, as apostate as it has become, is becoming deluded and conditioned to receive this satanic world leader in much the same way that the churches in Germany were conditioned by anti-Semitic teachings prior to Hitler’s rise to power. Our leaders of today are becoming modern-day John the Baptists for the Antichrist.
While it is true that some of Bible prophecy can be difficult to understand, just a superficial reading of Matthew 24 or Luke 21 should make it abundantly clear that Jesus will return to a world of violence and chaos, not Utopia. But, here again these Scriptures have been twisted or ignored—by choice.
As for the Book of Revelation, some current-day Bible teachers believe that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation have already happened (preterism) (as the Catholic Church teaches) or that these events can be prevented (as the New Age and emerging church teaches) in much the same way that Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites was turned around. The sad difference is that while the Ninevites responded by repentance, our world is moving further away from godliness. Furthermore, the Book of Revelation depicts events as they will actually happen—not as they might or could happen—because John saw in a vision the future as it will be.
There is, however, God’s call today for repentance. There are Christian believers who have been trying to spread abroad God’s appeal for repentance and His warnings about the apostasy that has already come upon us. They have been warning that judgment begins in the house of God and that judgment is upon us now too. As we shall see, judgment on the world has only begun and will intensify in the future like birth-pangs on a woman in labor. Paul said, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).
It is rather uncanny how the world, in recent years, has witnessed so many natural disasters in the form of earthquakes, floods, and weather phenomena, while the mainstream news media has done so little to cover these events. In Japan, they had a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear holocaust with possibly millions seriously exposed to radiation in Japan while unknown quantities of contaminated water got dumped into the ocean, and radiation permeated our atmosphere on a global scale; yet the media had little to say about this either except to almost laughingly dismiss it by saying we are getting less exposure than we get from having an X-ray in the dentist’s office. The indifference is unbelievable.
Could it be this indifference we are witnessing is part of the world-wide delusion Jesus predicted would sweep the earth in the end times? Most Americans, in particular, are living in denial—unwilling to acknowledge the storm clouds looming on our horizon. Is it because we have known little of suffering, and those living today have never witnessed our shores being invaded by war? But America will know God’s judgment, and again the reason why we cannot see it is a matter of choice rather than looking at things realistically.
Of all Americans, our Christian leaders should be seeing and hearing God’s warnings of impending judgment. But instead, they are shaking hands with the Devil and prophesying peace, purpose, and prosperity through unity and “community” to their congregations.
Sadly, our world will not know the lasting peace that our religious leaders are predicting—not until after Jesus Christ returns. Yet, God is offering peace and comfort to his own—to those who hear His Word and follow Him. But this peace is not to be found by pursuing our own dreams and goals but rather in seeking to know what God has planned for our lives. The reality is that much of the anguish we experience in life is when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped or expected. By contrast, Jesus’ apostles knew the peace of God because rather than living in the denial of the post-modern Christians of today, they abided in Christ (1 John 2:28) and fully embraced the lives that God had for them, even when they knew it could mean martyrdom.
Think again of the plight of Peter. Jesus had told him that he would suffer persecution and die a cruel death, yet we do not see Peter wringing his hands at every bend in the road wondering what horrors may await him around the next corner. Peter’s life was not one of denial or of fear, but of resolve; the same man who had denied his Lord three times made it his mission to walk with God no matter where that road took him. Consider the events of Acts chapter twelve. King Herod had just had James the brother of John killed by the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he had Peter arrested too (Acts 12:2-3). No doubt, Herod’s intention was to have Peter executed also; and from the believers, realizing the severity of the situation, “prayer was made without ceasing” (vs. 5). Meanwhile, Peter had no expectation that an angel would deliver him that night, yet he could sleep in such a dire situation. Peter had learned to entrust his life to the Lord—combining faith and yielding to the will of God—and his heart was ready for whatever awaited him. As the chapter closes, we learn that with the turn of events, it is King Herod who dies and Peter is free.
It seems that Peter was always learning lessons in life, and here we can see that he had learned to be at peace in even the most drastic of situations, leaving the outcome in God’s hands. In his first epistle, Peter shares this perspective:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. . . . Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:12,13,19)
Like Paul, Peter had learned to be content in every situation. It is the life available to all Christians who yield to God’s will, trusting Him to bring them through every situation. How alien to this way of thinking is the church of today where the expectation is that God will make things go our way—even to the point of achieving global peace and a Utopian society. These are things that Jesus never promised us and, in fact, warned would not happen. While Christian leaders of today are speaking of establishing God’s kingdom on Earth before Jesus returns, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36—emphasis added).
Should we not, as believers in Jesus Christ, be about our Father’s business? So while we should try to live at peace with all men, our objective should be to spread the Gospel to all mankind. When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he never used illustrations that support the kingdom-now teachings of today. Rather, He spoke of hidden things and small beginnings. There was the parable of the mustard seed, which has a small and humble beginning yet grows into a tree (Matthew 13:31-32). Then there is the parable of the leaven, which a woman “hid” in three measures of meal, yet it leavened the whole lump of dough (Matthew 13:33). We used to wonder what Jesus meant by these parables, but over the last several years we have become aware that while the apostate church has been very visible and trumpeting their attempts to bring about a world-wide “reformation,” simultaneously an unseen body of believers all over the world has been returning to their first love and walking in repentance. I am sure that it is to this body of believers that Jesus refers to as the kingdom of heaven—not the boisterous liberal body who will sacrifice the Gospel in their pursuit of peace.
Peace is one of those unusual commodities (though very valuable), which cannot be achieved through direct pursuit. When nations have walked in repentance and pursued righteousness, God has blessed them with peace. But when nations have become vile and unruly and exchange a pursuit for God for a pursuit of things, the aspiration for peace remains out of reach.
The kingdom of heaven is less visible in its pursuits because its goals are different than the earthly ones of the apostate church. Our commission is to spread the Gospel, and it is to this cause that we need to be faithful. The kingdom of heaven is less visible in another way too—it is something that works in the hearts of people bringing about change through repentance and godliness. Compare this with Rick Warren’s “new reformation,” which is based, by Warren’s own admission, by deeds rather than creeds. All are invited to this reformation, regardless of what anyone believes. But Jesus put it plainly when He said that a man’s actions, be they good or evil, proceed from what is in the heart. A reformation based on action that does not deal with the heart is futile indeed. In order to change our world into a better place, hearts would need to change. The only way our nation could have a turn-around at this point would be through widespread repentance, but how can this happen when even the church is not walking in repentance today?
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
Today, we often hear many Christian groups quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray . . . then will I hear from heaven . . . and will heal their land.” But there is a part of this Scripture that is usually ignored: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” All of the prayers for America by apostate leaders are in vain because these leaders (and their followers) have not even repented themselves. On the contrary, they continue to promote and exalt a kingdom-now, dominionist, mystical, experiential “gospel.” Just look how popular books like The Shack and The Purpose Driven Life have been with new ones like these on the horizon every day. These books make people feel good about themselves, but they do not bring the heart to repentance.
Unfortunately, the peace that our world desires will not be known because its pursuits are ungodly. For the true believer, however, peace is an achievable commodity. Jesus promised His disciples peace when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27—emphasis added). Notice that Jesus says two things here: First, the peace He gives is not like the peace the world gives. In other words, don’t pursue peace from the world. Secondly, Jesus speaks of the heart. Peace, for the Christian, is a matter of the heart. And, as I alluded to before, Christians with false expectations (who are living in denial) will be disappointed again and again and live lives of anguish. The Bible says that “fear hath torment” (1 John 4:18). But the disciples faced their fears; they acknowledged the fact that they would encounter persecution and hardships, then they entrusted their lives to God as unto a faithful Creator. After all, the God who made us is also able to take care of us. And He has promised to abide in us (I John 3:24) if we abide in Him.
Even though we cannot and will not know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, Jesus did instruct us to observe the seasons. Right now, we are at that place Jeremiah speaks of where he says, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). In a time when pastors should be leading their churches in repentance and evangelists calling our nation back to righteousness, we have peace plans underway. The future of our nation and our world is bleak, so we should not be offering false assurances that will only be dashed to the ground.
The Bible offers peace for the true believer, but it is a peace that transcends what the world has to offer. Looking to the world for peace will only lead to disappointment. The peace God gives is of the heart, and it does not depend on our circumstances. It results from looking reality in the face but then looking to God and keeping our eyes on Him—trusting Him to deliver us and keep us under the shadow of His wings.
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:2-4)
To order copies of The Peace of God versus the P.E.A.C.E. of Man, click here.
The Shack and Its New Age Leaven written by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Shack and Its New Age Leaven, click here.
The Shack & Its New Age Leaven
A little leaven leaventh the whole lump.—Galatians 5:9
Described as a Christian novel, The Shack, written by William Paul Young, sat on the New York Times bestseller list for over 172 consecutive weeks (including 52 weeks at #1), and over 10 million copies of the book are in print.1 Many Christians have purchased multiple copies and given them to friends and family.
The Shack reads as a true story, but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity—all in the name of “God” and “Jesus” and the “Holy Spirit.” Author William P. Young’s alternative presentation of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of local and online bookstores.
Much like New Age author James Redfield’s book The Celestine Prophecy, The Shack is a fictional vehicle for upending certain religious concepts and presenting contrary spiritual scenarios. Allegorical novels can be a clever way to present truth. They can also be used to present things that seem to be true but really are not. Some books like The Shack do both.
I was drawn into the New Age Movement years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God’s love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my New Age authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that “God” is “in” everyone and everything.
I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same New Age teaching that God is “in” everything.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me first provide some background material concerning this key New Age doctrine that “God is in everything.” A good place to start is with Eugene Peterson, the author of the controversial Bible paraphrase The Message. After all, Peterson’s enthusiastic endorsement of The Shack is featured right under the author’s name on the front cover.
Ironically, it was Peterson’s endorsement that caused me to be immediately suspicious of The Shack. Through his questionable paraphrasing of the Bible, Peterson had already aligned himself in a number of areas with New Age/New Spirituality teachings. One obvious example is where he translated a key verse in the Lord’s Prayer to read “as above, so below” rather than “in earth, as it is in heaven.” “As above, so below” is a term that I was very familiar with from my previous involvement in the New Age movement. This esoteric saying has been an occult centerpiece for nearly five thousand years. It is alleged by New Age metaphysicians to be the key to all magic and all mysteries. It means that God is not only transcendent—“out there”— but He is also immanent—“in” everyone and everything.
But, as I found out just before abandoning the deceptive teachings of the New Age for the Truth of biblical Christianity, God is not “in” everyone and everything. The Bible makes it clear that man is not divine and that man is not God (Ezekiel 28:2, Hosea 11:9, John 2:24-25, etc.) In my book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church, I quoted the editors of New Age Journal as they defined “as above, so below” in their book, As Above, So Below:
“As above, so below, as below, so above.” This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.2
My concern about Peterson’s undiscerning use of “as above, so below” in the Lord’s Prayer was underscored when the 2006 bestseller, The Secret, showcased this same occult/New Age phrase. In fact, it was the introductory quote at the very beginning of the book. By immediately featuring “as above, so below” the author Rhonda Byrne was telling her readers in definite New Age language that “God is in everyone and everything.” Towards the end of the book, The Secret puts into more practical words what the author initially meant by introducing the immanent concept of “as above, so below.” On page 164, The Secret tells its readers—“You are God in a physical body.”
Most significantly, in his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, New Age leader Benjamin Crème reveals that a New World Religion will be based on this foundational “as above, so below” teaching of immanence—this idea that God is “in” everyone and everything:
But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.3
New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, in her book The Reappearance of the Christ, wrote:
. . . a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and God Immanent within every form of life. “These are foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.4
In a November 9, 2003 Hour of Power sermon—just two months before he was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals—Crystal Cathedral minister Robert Schuller unabashedly aligned himself with this same New Age/New World Religion teaching. The man who claims to have mentored thousands of pastors, including Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, stated:
You know in theology—pardon me for using a couple of big words—but in theology the God we believe in, this God of Abraham, is a transcendent God. But He is also an immanent God. Transcendent means up there, out there, above us all. But God is also an immanent God—immanence of God and the transcendence of God—but then you have a balanced perspective of God. The immanence of God means here, in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics—the immanence of God. . . . Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being!5
But God is not in every single human being. God is not in everything. One of the many reasons I wrote Deceived on Purpose was because Rick Warren presented his readers with this same “God in everything” teaching. Quoting an obviously flawed New Century Bible translation of Ephesians 4:6, Rick Warren—whether he meant to or not—was teaching his millions of readers the foundational doctrine of the New World Religion. Describing God in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, he wrote:
He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.6
Compounding the matter further, “immanence” has been taught as part of the Foundations class at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. An ill-defined reference to immanence in the Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide plays right into the hands of the New Spirituality/New World Religion by stating:
The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).7
All of this discussion I am giving about “God in everything” immanence is to explain why The Shack is such a deceptive book. It teaches this same heresy. This book ostensibly attempts to deal with the deeply sensitive issues surrounding the murder of a young child. Because of the author’s intensely personal story line, most readers become engaged with the book on a deep emotional level. However, the author’s use of poetic license to convey his highly subjective, and often unbiblical, spiritual views becomes increasingly problematic as the story line develops. This is most apparent when he uses the person of “Jesus” to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality/New World Religion—God is “in” everything. Using the New Age term “ground of being” to describe “God,” the “Jesus” of The Shack states:
God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.8
This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in, around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack and its characters—this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.
Clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible. The apostle Paul chided the Corinthians and warned them that they were vulnerable and extremely susceptible to “another Jesus” and “another gospel” and “another spirit” that were not from God (2 Corinthians 11:4). In the Bible, the real Jesus Christ warned that spiritual deception would be a sign before His return. He further warned that there would be those who would even come in His name, pretending to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5, 24).
Without ascribing any ill motive to William Young and his book The Shack, the author’s use of spiritual creativity seems to give a “Christian” assent to the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. His mixing of truth and error can become very confusing to readers, and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Dr. Harry Ironside, pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948, emphasizes the fact that truth mixed with error results in “all error”—a direct refutation of the Emergent Church teaching to find “truth” wherever it may be found—including books like The Shack. Ironside wrote:
Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.9
The Shack has touched the hearts and emotions of many people. While there are many other examples of the author’s unbiblical liberality, introducing the heretical New Age teaching that “God dwells in, and around, and through all things” is in and by itself enough to completely undermine any value the book might otherwise have for faithful believers. To allow yourself to get carried away by this story, while disregarding the book’s New Age/New Spirituality leaven, is to fall prey to the “truth-and-error” mixture that pervades The Shack. And as Dr. Ironside warned—“God hates such a mixture!”
Before Christians buy one more copy of this book, they need to come to terms with what this author is ultimately teaching and what it is they are passing along to their friends and fellow believers.
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:4)
Fractals, Chaos Theory, Quantum Spirituality, and The Shack
A fractal . . . something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.10—Sarayu, The Shack
Fractals reveal a hidden “order” underlying all seemingly chaotic events. The fractals are intricate and beautiful. They repeat basic patterns, but with an infinity of variations and forms. The world-view emerging from this scientific research is new, and yet at the same time very very ancient.11—The Sovereign Court and Order of the Ancient Dragon
A few years ago, when I was speaking at a church service, a woman named Jennifer approached me and told me she had discovered something interesting in The Shack and had written a short article about it. She asked if I would be willing to read her article. I told her I would.
Back home a week later, I found Jennifer’s paper in my notebook. I was intrigued by the title—“Fractal Theory in The Shack.” In her article, Jennifer explains that during her research she had rented a DVD movie, which she had been told had New Age undertones. She then describes something she discovered in the movie:
In the movie The Seeker a young boy is a chosen one who is to find signs hidden throughout time, which will help fight against the encroaching darkness. . . . [I]n the movie, each sign that the boy is to find is known as a fractal. When I heard the term fractal, right away I realized that I had heard that same term somewhere else recently. . . . I remembered where I had heard it, The Shack.
Beginning in chapter 9 in The Shack, which is titled, “A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away,” . . . Sarayu (who represents the Holy Spirit) has created a garden and we learn that the garden is a fractal. We learn about fractals from Sarayu when she says, “A fractal is something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.”12
Curious about the term “fractal” that was showing up in both The Shack and The Seeker, Jennifer did some research. What she discovered is that the term “fractal” is directly related to what are being called the “new sciences” of “Chaos Theory” and “Fractal Theory.” What was of particular interest to me was her finding that fractals are directly linked with the occult phrase “as above, so below.” Given my previously expressed concern about Peterson’s use of “as above, so below” in The Message, I found it interesting that “as above, so below” was apparently related to the term fractal in The Shack.
As Above, So Below and Fractals
After reading Jennifer’s article, I made sure a copy was sent to an Indiana pastor who had sent me articles regarding Norman Vincent Peale. Because he had been currently writing articles exposing The Shack’s errant theology, I knew he would be interested in Jennifer’s article—how she had discovered a direct link between The Shack’s multiple references to fractals and the New Age term “as above, so below.”13
Later, as we talked by phone, the pastor searched the Internet for the word “fractal.” The first website listed was called “Fractal Wisdom.” The site featured an article titled “Fractal Chaos Crashes the Wall between Science and Religion.”14 Under that heading was a box containing a fractal design, and underneath the fractal was the saying “As Above, So Below.” Underneath the occult saying was a quote from New Age pioneer and mystic Aldous Huxley—the single most quoted person in Marilyn Ferguson’s best-selling New Age book The Aquarian Conspiracy. Huxley is also quoted by Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life.15 Huxley’s quote on the Fractal Wisdom website addresses the dual subjects of chaos and “purpose”:
At any given moment, life is completely senseless. But viewed over a period, it seems to reveal itself as an organism existing in time, having a purpose, trending in a certain direction.16
The online article titled “Fractal Chaos Crashes the Wall Between Science and Religion” goes on to state:
New discoveries in the science and mathematics of Chaos research are revolutionizing our world view. They reveal a hidden fractal order underlying all seemingly chaotic events. The fractals are intricate and beautiful. They repeat basic patterns, but with an infinity of variations and forms. The world-view emerging from this scientific research is new, and yet at the same time ancient. With a little thought, and the help of this web, you can better understand the significance of Chaos and Fractals. You can see how to use these insights in your life to create a bridge between Science and Spirituality.17
As the mystic sages of long ago put it, “as above, so below.”18
But what is being presented as “science” is actually an occult/New Age worldview, which presents the New Age belief that much of the “chaos” in the world is the result of people not properly perceiving the “interconnectedness” of all things. In other words, what appears to be “chaos” is often just “the observer” not seeing the “as above, so below”/God “in” everything/“fractal order” that defines all creation. This postulated fractal order is directly related to Teilhard de Chardin, Matthew Fox, and Leonard Sweet’s quantum spirituality/Creation Spirituality. The Shack’s references to fractals—references I had overlooked when I first read the book—immediately explain why author William Young capitalizes the letter “C” in the word “Creation” at least twenty times in The Shack. The capital “C” reflects what his “Jesus” is teaching—that God is “in” all things—including “Creation.”
From the perspective of the New Age/New Spirituality, it makes perfect sense that the “Jesus” of The Shack states that God is “in” all things. Mack—the main character—is seeing his life as “a mess” rather than as a “fractal” part of “God.” This is because he is not seeing the “as above, so below” fractal order of “God in all things.” From this perspective, it also makes perfect sense that The Shack’s “Holy Spirit” told Mack that his life only seems chaotic and “a mess”—that in reality, he was actually “a living fractal.”19
Also, from the “Fractal Wisdom” website, I could see the deceptive New Age ploy regarding the word fractal and its relationship to “as above, so below.” If all of capital “C” Creation is “God” and thus composed of “God” atoms and energy, then any fractal part of that “God” energy is therefore a part of God. Man is a fractal. Man is God. That is why Mack is told he is “a living fractal.” That is why Mack is told that God is “in” all things.20 The word fractal is being used as a pseudo-scientific synonym for the belief that God is “in” everything—everything being a fractal or a fractured part of the whole, a fractured part of God. Taken a step further, The Shack is indirectly presenting the notion that “chaos” is simply the result of people not seeing the “God in everything” fractal order in the world—“as above, so below.”
Thus, The Shack subtly introduces the New Age/New Spirituality as a worldview that puts forth the notion that “chaos” can be significantly overcome when humanity stops seeing itself as “separate”21 but rather sees itself as “One”—as a part of the “God” who is “in” everyone and everything. However, the Bible teaches that humanity is not “God” or “One” with God (John 2:24-25; Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9, etc.). The Bible teaches just the opposite—that man is actually separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:2). It is because of this “separation” that we need to acknowledge our sin and repent (Acts 2:38). Everyone must be born again (John 3:6-7)—born again from the God who is “above” (John 3:31), and not “below.” Born again from the one true God—not by the “as above, so below” god that the Apostle Paul described as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Bible states that we are only “one” in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). And we are only “one” in Christ Jesus when we repent of our sins and accept His death on the cross for our sins (1 John 2:2)—his finished work on the cross of Calvary (Colossians 1:20).
“Chaos” is not created or furthered by humanity’s denial of its so-called fractal divinity. Rather, “chaos” is the consequence of Adam’s fall resulting in sinfulness and the subsequent decay of all things and our separation from a holy God. It is not “as above, so below.” Fractals do not point the way to salvation. Genesis 11:6-8 warns about a deceptive and spiritually dangerous imagined “oneness”:
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. (Genesis 11:6)
Acts 17:26 informs us that humanity is “one blood” and that we are connected to one another in that way. But humanity is not one Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). The Bible states that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Jesus said, we “must be born again” (John 3:7).
God’s creation is indeed intricate and wondrous. And in many countless ways it is beautifully and harmoniously interconnected—but it is not divine (Romans 1:25). Man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), but he is not a part of some divine fractal order. We are sinners, and we need to be saved from the sin that separates us from God. It is as simple as that. Repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and as the one and only Savior who saves us from our sins is the “narrow” and only way to eternal salvation (John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14). The introduction of fractals in the story line of The Shack is a deceptive device to unsuspecting readers. It is an entry point into the pseudo-scientific notion of “fractal Oneness”—“as above, so below”/God “in” everything.
To order copies of The Shack and Its New Age Leaven, click here.
1. Windblown Media’s website, January 2012 stats, http://windblownmedia.com/news-releases/56-the-shack-continues-at-1-on-the-ny-times-best-seller-list.html.
2. Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose (Mountain Stream Press, Magalia, CA), p. 32 citing from As Above, So Below, p. xi.
3. Benjamin Crème, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (London, England: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 88.
4. Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (New York, New York: Lucis Publishing Company), p. 88.
5. Robert Schuller, Hour of Power, November 9, 2003.
6. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), p. 88.
7. Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide, p. 46.
8. William P. Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
9. Harry Ironside, (quoted in The Berean Call newsletter, April 2008).
10. William P. Young, The Shack, op., cit., p. 129.
11.The Matrix@dragoncourt.net (http://www.dragoncourt.net/06.html).
12. Jennifer Pekich, “Fractal Theory in The Shack” (unpublished article; used with author’s permission), quoting in part from: The Shack, op. cit., p. 129.
13. Referring to Larry DeBruyn. Visit his website at http://guardinghisflock.com.
14. “Fractal Chaos Crashes the Wall between Science and Religion,” http://www.fractalwisdom.com.
15. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, op. cit., p. 248, quoted in: Warren Smith, Deceived on Purpose, op. cit., pp. 108-109.
16. “Fractal Chaos Crashes the Wall Between Science and Religion,” op. cit., quoting Aldous Huxley.
19. William P. Young, The Shack, op. cit., p. 138.
20. Ibid., p. 112.
21.For a more complete explanation of separation versus oneness see Chapter 9, “The New Age Doctrine of Separation” in False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? by Warren B. Smith.
To order copies of The Shack and Its New Age Leaven, click here.
NEW PRINT BOOKLET TRACT: Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan – The New Age/Eastern Meditation Doctors Behind the Saddleback Health
Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan written by Warren B. Smith is our one of our new Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tracts. The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan, click here.
Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan
By Warren B. Smith
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.—(2 Corinthians 2:11)
Who would have believed it? Occult/New Age doctors being invited into the church to teach Christians how to be healthy? On January 15, 2011 a fifty-two week health and wellness program—the Daniel Plan—was initiated at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. More than six thousand people attended the well promoted and carefully staged event. Warren took the opportunity to announce that his own personal goal was to lose 90 pounds in 2011. The Daniel Plan website states that “the Daniel Plan envisions starting a movement so the result is better physical and spiritual health for current and future generations.”1 It describes how Rick Warren “recruited three best-selling authors” to create and oversee the Daniel Plan Curriculum—Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman.2 Although these three physicians are all involved with New Age teachings, they describe themselves respectively as a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew.
On their church’s Daniel Plan website, Saddleback pastor Brandon Cox tried to defend Rick Warren’s indefensible decision to recruit three New Age doctors to implement a Christian health and wellness program. In his “Pastoral Response” to the question “Why did Saddleback Church choose to use these Doctors who have been linked to other beliefs?,” Cox wrote:
“Pastor Rick knows each of these Doctors personally and has the utmost trust in their ability to advise us about matters related to physical health.” In a statement reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood’s “grandmother,” Cox goes on to state: “These Doctors are helping us as friends, but are in no way advising our church on spiritual matters.”3
By repeating and emphasizing the term “physical health” three times in the response, Saddleback was obviously trying to distance itself from Oz, Amen, and Hyman’s New Age beliefs. But the “we’re only using them for physical health purposes” defense was not convincing. All three physicians are alternative medicine/holistic health practitioners who teach the indivisibility of “mind, body, spirit” in achieving optimum well-being. In other words, their New Age spiritual beliefs are necessarily embedded in their medical practice, their best-selling books, and their public appearances.
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Dr. Oz is the cardiovascular surgeon who was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five years before gaining his own popular daytime TV show. He also has a daily talk show on Oprah & Friends satellite radio and writes columns for several magazines including Oprah’s O Magazine. Operating out of Columbia University’s Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Oz is like a modern-day shaman as he mixes traditional medicine with a wide variety of occult/New Age practices. In The Way of the Shaman, a “foremost resource and reference on shamanism,” Michael Harner—an anthropologist who “has practiced shamanism and shamanic healing” for several decades4—gives the following definition of a shaman:
A shaman is a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness—at will—to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons. The shaman has at least one, and usually more, “spirits” in his personal service.5
The following is a sampling of what Dr. Oz subtly, and not so subtly, incorporates into his medical practice and into his life. For instance, Dr. Oz’s prominent endorsement is displayed on the front cover of self-described psychic Ainslie MacLeod’s book The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended. Juxtaposing the phrase “spiritual well-being” with the word “purpose,” Oz writes:
I recommend this book to those who seek greater spiritual well-being and a better understanding of their life’s purpose.6
In Oz’s endorsement of another Ainslie MacLeod book, The Transformation: Healing Your Past Lives to Realize Your Soul’s Potential, Dr. Oz makes it clear that his approach to physical health is inextricably bound up with his beliefs regarding spiritual health. They cannot be neatly separated out as Rick Warren’s Saddleback staff would have everyone believe. Dr. Oz’s front cover endorsement states:
Ainslie MacLeod is at the frontier of exploration into the soul and its profound influence on our physical selves.7
In The Transformation, MacLeod’s spirit guides tell MacLeod’s readers “that we are standing on the brink of the greatest leap in human consciousness in 55,000 years.”8 Later, in a psychic reading that MacLeod gives to one of his clients, his spirit guides refer his client to Dr. Daniel Amen for help.9 Amen, of course being one of the other two Daniel Plan physicians. In The Instruction, among other things, MacLeod teaches readers how to meditate and contact spirit guides. In fact, spirit guides are referred to a whopping 175 times in the book—40 times before you even get to Chapter One. In his introduction, MacLeod describes how the skeptic in him used to read a book like his and think—“Who died and made this guy an expert?” In his own case, MacLeod said the answer was his spirit guides—one of them being his deceased Uncle John.10
Dr. Oz’s New Age affinity for psychics, spirit guides, past lives, and contacting the dead was showcased on his March 15, 2011 program—just two months after the launch of the Daniel Plan—titled, “Psychic Mediums: Are they the New Therapists?” The promo on his website read: “Can talking to lost loved ones heal your grief? Hear why psychic John Edward believes you can talk to the dead.”11
On a January 6, 2010 Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz revealed what he believed to be “the most important alternative medicine treatment” for his viewers in that coming year. His #1 “Oz’s Order” was to “Try Reiki”12—an occult bodywork practice that incorporates the channeled guidance of spirit guides. Dr. Oz was reported in one press release as stating: “Reiki is one of my favorites, we’ve been using it for years in the Oz family, and we swear by it.”13
On a video on Dr. Oz’s website, New Age leader Deepak Chopra teaches viewers how to meditate.14 Chopra’s 2009 book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul features Dr. Oz’s back cover endorsement.15 Dr. Oz is a personal practitioner of Transcendental Meditation,16 which was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He has also practiced Yoga for over twenty years17 and is devoted to the New Age teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg—teachings that resonate with the mystical Sufi branch of the Muslim faith that he and his wife most identify with.18
Dr. Oz wrote the Foreword to US—a New Age book written by his wife Lisa, who is a Reiki Master19—a book that opens with a quote on oneness by New Age patriarch Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. In his Foreword, Oz credits his wife’s spiritual influence while also mentioning that a number of years ago he “matriculated at Oprah University.”20 Dr. Oz endangers those who put their trust in him by interjecting his occult/New Age beliefs into his medical practice.
Presumably, the “Open Heart meditation” given to Ainslie MacLeod by his spirit guides21 is not used by Dr. Oz before he does open heart surgery. One thing is for spiritual sure, Dr. Oz may be a skilled cardiovascular surgeon, but spiritually he is overlooking one of the most important aspects of the heart. God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Multiple references in the Bible also warn about the extremely dangerous and deceptive nature of “familiar” and “seducing” spirits that Dr. Oz is in the process of normalizing through his extreme influence in the world and now in the church (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Timothy 4:1, etc.).
Dr. Daniel Amen
Dr. Amen is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, best-selling author, and medical director of the Amen Clinics for Behavioral Medicine. In his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, he encourages readers to “Learn and use self-hypnosis and meditation on a daily basis.”22 In Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, Amen, a self-professed Christian, specifically recommends a Hindu Kundalini form of meditation called Kirtan Kriya. He instructs his readers to chant “sa ta na ma” repeatedly while simultaneously doing repetitive finger movements.23 In a New Age world that says “everything happens for a reason” and “there are no accidents,” the first five letters of this Hindu meditation spell the name of Satan. The last three letters just so happen to be the abbreviated letters of the American Medical Association (AMA). Is this pure coincidence, some kind of cosmic joke, or spiritual mockery?
In his book The Brain in Love (formerly titled Sex on the Brain), Dr. Amen recommends tantric sex to his readers. He writes that tantra “is a term applied to several schools of Hindu yoga in which sex is worshipped.”24 He states that “[s]ome tantra yoga teachers recommend meditative practices that also share elements with Kundalini yoga, where subtle streams of energy are raised in the body by means of posture, breath control, and movements.”25 He later adds:
After you have agreed to safe boundaries, you can take sex to a new level by investing in a few books or magazines. I write for Men’s Health magazine and it is always filled with great sex tips for couples. Cosmopolitan and other magazines have playful ideas as well. Books on tantric sex or role-playing games can also be fun.”26
Dr. Amen’s fascination with tantric sex and Kundalini yoga is very similar to the teachings of Indian gurus like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and Swami Baba Muktananda. Dr. Amen’s New Age sympathies are also evident in his willingness to write the Foreword to author Lucinda Bassett’s The Solution. In her book, Bassett quotes New Age leaders Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama, Neale Donald Walsch, and others. She describes Walsch as “a spiritual messenger whose best-selling books and lectures profoundly touch the world.”27
Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Hyman is the chairman of the Institute of Functional Medicine and author of the best-selling book The UltraMind Solution. With its front cover endorsement by Dr. Mehmet Oz, The UltraMind Solution offers practical medical advice while at the same time recommending a number of New Age resources to his readers. For example, he recommends the website of New Age author and guided imagery proponent Belleruth Naparstek.28 Her books and materials are designed to help people meditate, become more psychic, and connect with spirit guides. Her website describes how her materials are used worldwide by patients, hospitals, HMO’s, government agencies, etc. Dr. Hyman and New Age leader Dr. Bernie Siegel are listed as two of Naparstek’s “contributing health and mind-body health practitioners.”29 Siegel, of course being the New Age leader Rick Warren used to introduce the idea of hope and purpose in The Purpose-Driven Life. Like Dr. Oz and Dr. Amen, Dr. Hyman recommends meditation and yoga to his readers.30
Dr. Hyman endorsed a New Age book titled Power Up Your Brain—The Neuroscience of Enlightenment. It is co-authored by shaman/medium Alberto Villoldo and neurologist David Perlmutter. The Foreword from the publisher states:
And now two men, two seers—a shaman and a scientist—are combining their experiences and expertise to explore the totality that includes all of the spirit world and all of the scientific world—as One.31
David Perlmutter writes:
For it had become clear to us that access to the Great Spirit or Divine Energy—that natural force which is called by so many names—is available to all. In a sense we are all shamans, and the most advanced teachings in cellular biology are validating lifestyle activities that for centuries, have been paving the way to enlightenment through meditative practices not just for the chosen few but for all who care to learn. Our collaboration explores the implications of this not only for individuals but for all of humanity.32
Villoldo—who spoke at a 2011 Palm Springs Prophets Conference with New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard33— writes:
During my years studying with the shamans, I learned about their belief in the Divine Mother, which we each have the potential to discover in nature. This was not the bearded old man whose image I had come to associate with “God.” Rather, this was a force that infused all creation, a sea of energy and consciousness that we all swim in and are part of. I came to understand that our Western notions of the divine are perhaps a masculine version of this life force that infuses every cell in our bodies, that animates all living beings, and that even fuels stars.34
Power Up Your Brain includes a chapter recommending various “Shamanic Exercises” that include an invocation to the “Great Serpent.”35 Dr. Hyman’s back cover endorsement of this book sits alongside New Age leaders Bernie Siegel and Greg Braden.
In his endorsement, Hyman betrays his belief in shamanism and the inextricable New Age link between physical and spiritual health. He writes:
The shaman and physician for millennia were the same person until the 19th century when they were split apart in the name of science. Now through the lens of 21st-century science, Villoldo and Perlmutter bring them back together, illuminating the web that links together our physical and metaphysical energy. For anyone feeling a loss of energy of body or soul, Power Up Your Brain is your guide to restoration and rejuvenation of your deepest energies.
Also referring to “restoration” in The UltraMind Solution, Dr. Hyman lists three New Age centers in his “Resources” section. Under the heading of “Restorative and Educational Retreats,” he recommends the Omega Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and the Shambhala Mountain Center.36 Ainslie MacLeod—the Dr. Oz endorsed psychic—is a “faculty member” at both the Kripalu Center and the Omega Institute.37 The Omega Institute offers a number of workshops led by key New Age leaders like Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and Alberto Villoldo. Classes such as “Conversations with God,” “Contacting the Spirit World,” “How Shamans Dream the World into Being,” and “Bootcamp for Goddesses,” are readily available to those following Dr. Hyman’s advice.38 And at the Dr. Hyman endorsed Kripalu Center, New Age leader Deepak Chopra offers a workshop on his Dr. Oz endorsed book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul. In case people can’t make it to Saddleback Church, Dr. Daniel Amen also teaches a workshop at Kripalu.
Key Scriptures Regarding Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. —(2 Corinthians 6:14)
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. —(Ephesians 5:11)
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. —(1 Corinthians 10:21)
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. —(Romans 14:13)
Shepherding the Church into a New Age/New Spirituality
In the 1990s, a well-known Christian leader rightly warned that alternative medicine and holistic health can provide an easy entryway for deceptive New Age teachings. He further warned that changing your diet can also end up changing your worldview. In other words, sometimes losing weight can also mean losing your soul. Speaking from his leadership role with the Christian Medical Association, Dr. David Stevens also urges great discretion regarding alternative health practitioners. He states: “Not only do we have to make a choice; we also have to evaluate the trustworthiness of each messenger and the validity of the message.”39
The Christian Handbook to Alternative Medicine also warns, “Consider carefully not only the therapy but also the character and worldview of those offering the treatment.”40 Thus, it is definitely “buyer beware” when it comes to mixed-bag physicians like Oz, Amen, and Hyman. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Rick Warren as he openly aligns himself with these New Age doctors and promises to make their joint Daniel Plan a worldwide phenomenon. Instead of sounding a warning trumpet and protecting the church from three New Age physicians, Warren praises them and trumpets his ungodly alliance with them.
One can only wonder if the prophet Daniel’s vision of the end days included a look at Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan—a compromised pastor and three New Age doctors with their psychics, spirit guides, tantric sex, necromancy, Yoga, Reiki, Transcendental and Kundalini “sa ta na ma” meditations and more—all in Daniel’s name. If so, it is no wonder the Bible records that he “fainted” and became “sick” for a number of days (Daniel 8:27).
It doesn’t make any difference in God’s scheme of things if Rick Warren stands slim and trim in front of an adoring church audience after losing 90 pounds. What may be remembered is that in the midst of all the self-congratulatory statistics and frenzied media hoopla, a finger suddenly appeared on the wall behind Rick Warren and wrote the following:
Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. —(Daniel 5:27)
To order copies of Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan, click here.
1. Week 11: Re-Focusing The Daniel Plan (http://danielplan.com/blogs/dp/dp-week-11-re-focusing-the-daniel-plan).
2. The Daniel Plan: What Makes it Different? (http://www.saddleback.com/thedanielplan/healthyhabits/whatsdifferent).
3. Pastoral Response, Brandon Cox, Saddleback Church (http://www.danielplan.com/toolsandresources/pastoralresponse).
4. Michael Harner, Ph.D., The Way of the Shaman (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1980, 1990), back cover.
5. Ibid., p. 25.
6. Ainslie MacLeod, The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, Inc., 2007, 2009), front cover.
7. Ainslie MacLeod, The Transformation: Healing Your Past Lives to Realize Your Soul’s Potential (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, Inc., 2010), front cover.
8. Ibid., front flap.
9. Ibid., pp. 243-244.
10. Ainslie MacLeod, The Instruction, op. cit., pp. 9, 12.
11. “Psychic Mediums: Are they the New Therapists?,” The Dr. Oz Show, aired 3/15/11 (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/are-psychicsnew-therapists-pt-1).
12. “‘Try Reiki,’ Dr. Oz Tells Millions on TV,” 1/9/10, The Reiki Digest (http://reikidigest.blogspot.com/2010/01/try-reiki-dr-oz-tells-millions-on-tv.html).
13. “Dr. Mehmet Oz Declares Reiki as His #1 Alternative Medicine Secret,” 1/9/2010, Bio-Medicine (http://news.bio-medicine.org/?q=medicine-news-1/dr–mehmet-oz-declares-reiki-as-his–231-alternative-medicine-secret–64270).
14. “Meditation Techniques Demonstrated by Deepak Chopra,” The Dr. Oz Show, added to videos on 2/25/10, (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/deepak-chopra-meditation).
15. Deepak Chopra, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc., 2009).
16. AARP The Magazine, May/June 2010 issue, p. 82.
18. Lisa Oz, US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships That Matter Most (New York, NY: Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2010), p. 179.
19. “‘Try Reiki,’ Dr. Oz Tells Millions on TV,” op. cit.
20. Lisa Oz, US, op. cit., p. x.
21. Ainslie MacLeod, The Instruction, op. cit., p. 17.
22. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (New York, NY: Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 1998), p. 302.
23. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., Change Your Brain, Change Your Body (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc., 2010), p. 223.
24. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., The Brain in Love (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc., 2007), p. 144.
25. Ibid., p. 145.
26. Ibid., p. 148.
27. Lucinda Bassett, The Solution: Conquer Your Fear, Control Your Future (New York: NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2011), p. 146.
28. Mark Hyman M.D., The UltraMind Solution (New York, NY: Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009), p. 402. (Belleruth Naparstek’s website recommended by Dr. Hyman: http://www.healthjourneys.com).
29. Our Practitioner Bios, Health Journeys (http://www.healthjourneys.com/practitioner_bios.asp).
30. Mark Hyman, The UltraMind Solution, op. cit., p. 384.
31. David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N., Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment (New York, NY: Hay House, Inc., 2011), p. xiv.
32. Ibid., p. xviii.
33. The Prophets Conference (http://www.greatmystery.org).
34. David Perlmutter, Alberto Villoldo, Power Up Your Brain, op. cit., p. xxi.
35. Ibid., p. 154.
36. Mark Hyman, The UltraMind Solution, op. cit., p. 403.
37. Ainslie MacLeod, The Transformation, op. cit., About the Author, p. 327.
38. Omega Institute (http://www.eomega.org).
39. Donald O’Mathuna, Ph.D. and Walt Larimore, M.D., Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001, 2007), p. 9.
40. Ibid., p. 123.
To order copies of Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan, click here.
Question: Who first used the term “America’s Pastor” with regard to Rick Warren?
Answer: The earliest we can date that phrase attributed to Rick Warren is 2005 in an article written by The Nation titled “Rick Warren, America’s Pastor.” Just a few months before that article was written, Time magazine came out with their “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.” Rick Warren was at the top of the list. His book, The Purpose Driven Life, had come out in the fall of 2002. Thus, it took less than three years from that best-selling release for Rick Warren to be dubbed ”America’s Pastor.”
And Now the Rest of the Story: It is interesting to note that in the 2005 Nation article, Warren’s speaking engagement at the Pew Forum on Religion in 2005 was mentioned. Lighthouse Trails is very familiar with that talk Warren gave at Pew. It was in that talk that Warren told the audience he was hoping for a “second Reformation.” He explained his vision for this reformation:
Who’s the man of peace in any village – or it might be a woman of peace – who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation.1 (see full transcript of Warren’s talk at Pew)
Lighthouse Trails has always contended that a “second Reformation” (which implies this is a reformation from God) that would include those from other religions would not actually be a reformation from God. An interspiritual, interfaith reformation falls more in line with biblical prophecy and a one-world religion that would be a platform for the last days Anti-Christ.
Similarly, in an interview between anchor Charlie Rose and Rick Warren on August 17, 2006 (CBS removed the video in 2013), Rick Warren expanded his “second reformation” vision to include homosexuals. He said he just met with the President of the homosexual-activist group ACT UP, and asked him, “Eric [Sawyer], how can I help you get your message out?” Sawyer answered, “Use your moral authority.” Warren then said to Rose, “I’m working with these guys … I’m looking for a coalition of civility, which means let’s get back to the original meaning of tolerance.”2
In the interview with Charlie Rose and Warren, they discuss the Purpose Driven Life paradigm and its relation to Christianity in North America and around the world. Here are a few of the comments on that interview:
1. Rick Warren states there are over 2 billion Christians in the world, and says that this number includes hundreds of millions of Catholics.
2. Warren said that, with regard to his book, “I couldn’t figure out why it became such a phenomena. I think now it was because God wanted to provide a platform for these other issues we care about.” (Warren’s 5 global giants)
3. “I’ve been taking people, irreligious people, people with no background in any kind of faith or they haven’t been to church or synagogue or temple in forty years … and we take them where they need to be…. My goal is to move the American church [away] from self-centered consumerism.
The interview showed very clearly Warren’s dream to see Christians and Catholics join together, stating that “minor doctrinal differences” should not keep them separated. “What I am interested in is bringing the church together … we are never going to agree on a lot of things, but I found we do agree on purpose.” He talked about the purposes that all Catholics and Protestants agree on.
In a Christianity Today article in 2005, it stated:
“Personal computers have brand names. But inside every pc is an Intel chip and an operating system, Windows,” [Rick]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, October 2005
Rick Warren rose up quickly to become “America’s Pastor.” Over 400,000 churches worldwide followed him, with untold numbers still going down the Purpose Driven path.
At the Pew Forum in 2005, Rick Warren said something that was quite revealing:
You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther and then Calvin, was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be about behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds [doctrine]; I think this one will be about deeds. I think the first one was about what the church believes; I think this one will be about what the church does. The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together.”–Rick Warren, Pew Forum on Religion
Further Implications of Calvary Chapel North Coast Event – Lynne Hybels Presence Shows Serious Move Toward Apostasy
Yesterday, we posted an article titled “Calvary Chapel Breached” by journalist Jim Fletcher. The article focused on a Calvary Chapel church (North Coast) in California and its invitation of a Palestinian man named Sami Awad. Fletcher’s article showed the implications of this invitation by Calvary Chapel and how this indicates the further move toward apostasy in the church today. One of the signs of a church becoming emergent is the changing views regarding Israel’s role in Bible prophecy. We have documented for years the growing hostility toward Israel by emergent figures. Our follow up today is going to focus on another person who will be at the Discipleship and Training event at North Coast Calvary Chape on May 10th – Lynne Hybels (wife of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels) - and the implications of her being there.
First of all, back in 2006, Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, made a clear and concise statement that Calvary Chapel would not tolerate churches within their “fellowship” that promoted the emerging church or contemplative spirituality. While Chuck Smith’s own son was ousted for his emergent views, other Calvary Chapel pastors have been allowed to remain in the movement even when they were promoting emerging/contemplative views or people. What North Coast Calvary Chapel is doing is a case in point.
To bring Lynne Hybels into a Calvary Chapel event is making a huge statement by Calvary Chapel. Hybels is very connected to the Marxist- leaning, liberal machine of Jim Wallis’ SoJourners. She is a regular writer for SoJourners magazine and shows her affinity with Wallis in the things she writes. Therefore, we are going to post an article that was written ( by someone within the Calvary Chapel movement) a few years ago, which shows the clear direction of SoJourners (and thus Lynne Hybels). This is not guilt by loose association but rather guilt by promotion or proxy. And make no mistake about it, Jim Wallis and SoJourners are NOT for Israel or the Jews. It is an anti-Christ spirit that reigns in the world today. As Warren B. Smith has pointed out in his book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, the “new” spirituality leaders believe the “era of the single Savior is over.”
By M. Danielsen Guest Commentary
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners magazine, is one of the top “change agents” today, and the timing of his surge in popularity should not be ignored, considering 1) the ideology of our current administration, 2) the advance of liberal theology via the emerging church and church growth movements, and 3) the current state of apostasy the church finds itself in today. Are all these connected? Through this man, they are indeed.
Unbiblical trends in the church tend to snowball, producing even worse trends: each heretical book or teaching that comes along seems to lead to a worse one; the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:13 that in the last days, “evil men and seducers [imposters] shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived,” suggesting a progressive pattern of deception.
For those who remember the old “Dragnet” TV show, allow me to “reinvent” Joe Friday: “The story you are about to hear is true. None of the names have been changed – and the only thing I’m interested in protecting is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Worth noting, Jim Wallis will be one of the keynote speakers at Lifest this July. (Lifest is a large “Christian” music fest in Oshkosh, Wisconsin every summer. 70,000 attendees are expected over the course of the weekend.)
For nearly forty years, Jim Wallis has expressed himself through an organization called “Sojourners.” He was raised in an evangelical family in Detroit, and attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, but his radical political views made it impossible for him to finish there. [i]
At that time, he also founded an anti-capitalist magazine called, The Post-American, in which he called for the redistribution of wealthand an economy managed by the government. He also experimented for a season with communal living in search of a utopian lifestyle.
In 1972, he moved his work to Washington DC and renamed it Sojourners. He wasn’t just against the Vietnam war, he rejoiced in America’s defeat there showing his leftist sympathies by publicly criticizing the Vietnamese and Hmong refugees who fled that communist regime (we called them “boat people” back then), by claiming they were leaving to support their consumer habit in other lands … that being greedy capitalists made it just too hard to live under a dictatorship.[ii] In remembering the terrible suffering that the boat people endured, what uncompassionate sentiments by Wallis.
Wallis also supported the Sandinista Communists in their attempt to take over Nicaragua in the 80s, actively participating in resistance against the American military – AND working side by side in this cause with none other than Jeremiah Wright, the radical anti-American Chicago preacher who was our president’s pastor for twenty years.
In addition, Wallis supported the FMLN, a communist terror group from El Salvador itching to spread their Marxist revolution throughout South America.[iii] Men have been called “traitors” for much less than what Wallis has stood for.
In 1983, the organization, Accuracy in Media published a lengthy book on the far left policies of Wallis and his organization, documenting 53 political positions of Sojourners on such issues as Israel’s right to exist, terrorism, socialism, capitalism, human rights, etc. In all 53 position statements, it was found that Sojourners’ views were completely in line with the views of hard-line Soviets.
Joan Harris, who did the reporting on this, observed, “Sojourners never criticizes a Marxist state. The US and the West are the only violators of human rights to them because they are capitalist. Marxists, by Sojourners’ own definition, cannot violate human rights.” Wallis calls himself a “Progressive” – but keep in mind that “progressive” is as far left as you can go politically without actually taking a right turn in the process.[iv]
Wallis believes that Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela, and Ortega’s Nicaragua are the Marxist paradises the US should emulate. It is not extreme at all to say, that one of his goals is to see the end of the US as we have known it — “Post-Americanism” finally realized. So, after being arrested by the US government 22 times in forty years, where has he soft-landed? As spiritual advisor to President Obama.[v] Now, with the help of our own government, he hopes to turn mere ideology into policy. He is a living, breathing advocate for total government control, complete socialism, or “totalitarian socialism.”
Wallis has known Obama for over twenty years, and during the “Reverend Wright” damage control days, he was right there advising Obama on how to spin it, helping him draft many “faith based initiatives,” to make the far left appear to have some form of religion, to sell the church the idea that here is a spiritual alternative to the now defunct Religious Right, which Wallis eulogizes endlessly in his book.
In light of all this, one must ask the question, why is this man speaking at a Christian festival aimed primarily at our youth, and with a highly popular figure from the evangelical camp, namely Luis Palau?
In their own words, Sojourners’ mission statement is this: “[F]ounded in 1971, our mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church and the world.”
What is this social justice that is supposed to transform our churches and our youth in particularly? The dictionary defines social justice as, “The equitable distribution of advantages, assets, and benefits among all members of a society.” Important to note, this is also the definition for “social-ism”: a government-controlled economy and the redistribution of wealth.
Many are under the impression that social justiceis simply caring for the disadvantaged. And who among us who claims to know the Lord would ever be against reaching out to the poor and alleviating suffering? A healthy church will naturally care for “the least of these.” But “progressives” as Wallis take any collective sense of moral responsibility we may have for the disadvantaged and redefines and manipulates it to an entirely different agenda.
Keep this in mind when you watch the extreme changes going on in our country today – Wallis’ social justice turns all the political hot button issues of the day into moral issues with a divine, biblical mandate. Everything from the economy, jobs and education, to health care, global warming, race issues and immigration – now carries with it the moral imperative of fairness, equity, and validity.
For those who question this new global village moral imperative, their Christianity is called into question. This “new morality” is radically changing our country and has been for some time via organizations like ACORN.
You may be asking, what does this have to do with the church? That’s an easy question to answer: social justice presents a social gospel, but is this social gospel THE Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the Bible?
The roots of the social gospel go back to the 19th and 20th centuries. That was when many Protestant denominations took on liberal theology, which includes the post-millennial view that Jesus cannot return until mankind has brought justice to the earth by ridding itself of all social evils. At that time, slavery, temperance, women’s rights, child labor, and equity for the working who were caught in the industrial revolution’s 12-hour work days were the new causes of the liberal churches.
Wallis believes he was born in the wrong century and says so in his book, The Great Awakening. He says he is longing for those early days of social justice awareness, or ‘Great Awakenings’ as they were called – and puts them on par with true Holy Spirit-led revivals; hence the name of his book, The Great Awakening - an “awakening” he is calling for today.
The Berean Call, in their article “The Shameful Social Gospel,” warns of a gospel that is being tinkered with by some who call themselves evangelicals but in reality are ashamed of the true gospel, presenting one to the world that is more palatable, political, and ecumenical.
Heretic Emergent leader Brian McLaren says this: “I think our future will require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths – Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and secularists in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God.” The Berean Call article says this: “No, what matters to the heart of God is that all should come to repentance and believe the true Gospel.”[vi]
Rick Warren took the social gospel to new levels, by hobnobbing with world leaders and presenting his global PEACE plan to mobilize churches to address poverty and disease at the same time he was telling Christians not to bother thinking about biblical prophecy or Christ’s return.
Wallis has also found a kindred spirit in Willow Creek. Pastor Bill Hybels’ wife Lynne is a regular contributor to Sojourners magazine, clearly resonating with the magazine’s goal. No surprise – Willow Creek offers classes on social justice, (at least one of those classes used Wallis’ book, The Great Awakening) . With over 13,000 Willow Creek Association member churches throughout the world, look at the potential influence Jim Wallis could have on the church if even half of them choose to emulate Willow Creek in their growing emphasis on the social gospel?
There is a movie coming out soon titled, With God on Our Side. Radio host Jan Markell explains that “it is aimed at changing the end-time views of evangelicals and the theology that says the Jews are God’s chosen people and have a divine right to the land.” The producer of this film announces that there is “a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support Israel – a “new” theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jew and Palestinian” instead of endless Middle East violence.
The only problem with that pie-in-the-sky thinking is that the Palestinian leadership does not WANT peace with Israel. They want a one-state solution; they want the destruction of Israel. The film’s message to evangelicals is that the US’ old pro-Israel foreign policy was based on end-time theology and has created great suffering among the Palestinians. But today’s more socially aware and compassionate Christians will reject that old policy and realize that the Palestinians are the victim group most in need of Christian compassion. Wallis, McLaren, and Tony Campolo are promoting the film. This film is merely another propaganda vehicle for the “progressive” social gospel indoctrination and an unbiblical spin on the clear teachings about Israel presented throughout the Scriptures.
Marxism is nothing new to this old world. What Wallis is promoting is nothing new either. But let’s take the wood, hay, and stubble of Wallis’ dry old social justice gospel and throw some last days fuel on it: like the Emergent church’s mix of Catholicism and liberal Protestantism; add Rick Warren’s global PEACE plan, and Willow Creek’s annual Leadership Summits featuring speakers like Bono, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Tony Blair and Rick Warren, and before long things are burning out of control. Throw in the fact that the forward to Wallis’ book is written by Jimmy Carter, an anti-Israel leftist who is presently part of a group called The Elders (a group of 12 men and women from around the world – including Mandela and Desmond Tutu); other endorsers are Bill Hybels, Bono, and Brian McLaren (who is on the Sojourners’ board of directors and a regular contributor on its blog). A picture of a last days apostate false church comes into focus.
Let’s look at some recent quotes by Jim Wallis on key biblical issues.
On being born again:
Jesus proclaimed, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand … He is saying that a whole new order is about to enter history, and if you want to be a part of it, you will need a change so fundamental that the Gospel of John would later refer to it as a “new birth.” Being born again was not meant to be a private religious experience that is hard to communicate … but rather the prerequisite for joining a new and very public movement – the Jesus and kingdom of God movement.”[vii]
The completely one-sided support for Israel from conservative evangelicals rests on 2 things: one, a very dubious interpretation (and I’m being generous here) of biblical prophecy … in which the modern state of Israel is still equated with the Old Testament notion of “God’s Chosen People,” and a complete denial of the existence of Palestinian Christians.[viii]
On Gay Rights:
Abomination is a pretty strong word…there is a debate and questions over the meaning of the word abomination. [ix] (Referring to Leviticus 18:22)
On the Kingdom:
The kingdom of God, which Jesus came to inaugurate, is meant to create an alternate reality in this world, and ultimately to transform the kingdoms of this world.[x]
We are all familiar with the famous pop culture image of a street evangelist holding up a sign reading, “Repent, for the end is near!” But repentance is…often misunderstood. This week, one could imagine a group of pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams holding up a sign on Wall Street for the titans of the financial industry to see, reading, “Repent, or the end could be near again….let’s have some sermons on the repentance of Wall Street.”[xi]
Sojourners On Bible Prophecy:
It’s all too easy to make fun of the extreme examples of prophecy belief that we encounter on bumper stickers and best-seller lists. When people talk breathlessly of the dangers of Universal Product Codes and automated teller machines as signs of the impending Tribulation, giggles and head shaking are hard to repress … when we ridicule apocalyptic interpretations of bar codes and the European Common Market, we are … properly rejecting an interpretive method that (suggests a) correspondence between biblical events and symbols, and our own lives. Ought Revelation to be included within the family of Christian texts, or should it be thrown on the fire of apocalyptic excesses?[xii]
On the Imminent Return of Jesus:
Wallis does not talk about our blessed hope (Christ’s return). But then, this “progressive” emerging “gospel” does not offer any genuine hope nor a chance for a personal biblical relationship with God. With so much of the church ignoring and often even embracing this, the church is abdicating its responsibility regarding truth. Period.
Equating biblical care of the downtrodden with the welfare state is rapidly changing the face of the evangelical church. This “pseudo-Christian” morality-based religion for the last days is infiltrating every corner of American society, and the church seems to have either lost the will to identify and counteract its influence or perhaps feels so guilty about it’s mega-excesses that it is operating out of a sense of works rather than repentance and grace. Wallis’ book is the most preachy, shaming, finger-pointing rant I have ever read; and this would make sense – in the absence of Christ’s righteousness and dwelling in a person’s life, all that’s left is self-righteousness, which of course utterly lacks the sweet savor of having a relationship with Jesus Christ where one knows he or she is saved through faith by His amazing grace and that not of his or her own works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I believe this is a preview of an even deeper, more pervasive apostasy, a marriage of religion and politics that will ultimately come together under the dictatorial reign of Antichrist, who “causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive his mark” (Revelation 13:16). Is this the playing field Wallis and others are working toward? If so, then this is deception of the highest caliber, and believers should find this extremely sobering in light of the lateness of the hour.
In closing, social reformers deceptively blur the lines between two kingdoms, seeking to turn houses of worship into distribution centers for their causes. What they ignore is that all the ills of society are symptoms – the root cause is sin. They reject the cure for sin through the cross of Christ and instead treat symptoms – but in removing the Cross, they are conveniently free to affirm anyone’s beliefs, and the result is a broad-road, all-inclusive global social justice revolution. I call this the Theory of Revolution. It has been taking place right under the church’s nose for a number of years now, and it’s becoming clearer by the day who is aligning themselves with whom, and what kind of agenda is being promoted.
Wallis says in his book that the majority of his audience is under thirty and half of those are under 25. He speaks frequently at major secular universities and now even at conservative Christian colleges. This is how it was done back in the 60s when Wallis was young; today’s liberal thinkers got their worldview from the counterculture agendas of America’s universities. But lest you think Wallis himself is just another counterculture hippie type out there on the fringes of the establishment – note this picture taken at the “World Economic Forum.” This is the annual invitation-only event in Davos Switzerland that brings together the world’s most influential politicians and economists as they work to bring the world under a global authority.
Consider also, that Sojourners’ receives a portion of its considerable funding from the Open Society Institute, this is billionaire leftist George Soros’ organization.
In 2007, the National Association of Evangelicals hosted a dinner gathering called, “A Global Leaders Forum.” The keynote: Ban Ki Moon, current head of the UN. What is he doing at the NAE event? Wallis himself says of the event, that some Christians today might say he had dinner with the Antichrist that night. He also stated: “Last night, the supposed Antichrist was listening to gospel music, speaking of his own faith, quoting scripture, celebrating a new alliance with “the evangelical church” on the critical issues of poverty and global warming, and bringing the conservative Christian crowd to its feet in smiling agreement with the UN secretary’s agenda. Indeed, leader after Christian leader insisted this was a biblical agenda.” [xiii]
To those who have ears to hear, please consider these things and press forward to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints! In this late hour, now is not the time to compromise but rather to so love truth in our innermost being that nothing matters except to make sure we are on the side of truth.
May the Lord direct and guide us, as believers, in all matters of faith, earnestly seeking His mind and heart in all things as laid out in His Word.
[v]Frontpage Magazine, March 17, 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20100330012848/http://220.127.116.11/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=34385
[vii] Jim Wallis, The Great Awakening, p. 60.
[viii] Jim Wallis, “Politics Pushes Uneven Policies”, September 17, 2007
[x] The Great Awakening, p. 56
[xi] Read that, “capitalism” – ed. – Wall St. “Repent,” by Jim Wallis, April 29, 2010
[xii] Wes Howard-Brook, “Apocalypse Soon?” Sojourners, January 1999
[xiii] “Dinner with the Antichrist” by Jim Wallis; http://web.archive.org/web/20111120112230/http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/2007/10/dinner-with-the-antichrist-by.html
“An Evangelical Manifesto” Released – Many Signers Contemplative Proponents (Signed by Jim Wallis and a conglomeration of evangelical leaders such as Kay Arthur, Max Lucado, Erwin Lutzer, John Ortberg, J.P. Moreland – the point being, another example of co-mingling that is blurring the lines.)
The New Missiology - Doing Missions Without the Gospel written by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The New Missiology - Doing Missions Without the Gospel, click here.
The New Missiology – Doing Missions Without the Gospel
By Roger Oakland
I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.1—Brian McLaren
Emerging “progressive Christianity” is changing the way evangelical/Protestant missions is being conducted. The idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term Christian. At the 2005 United Nations Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, Rick Warren made the following comments to 100 delegates who represented various different religions:
I’m not talking about a religion this morning. You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or you may have no religion at all. I’m not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion.2
While he did go on afterwards and say he believed that Jesus was God, the implication was that your religion doesn’t matter to God, and being Buddhist, Mormon, or whatever will not interfere with having Jesus in your life. Donald Miller, author of the popular Blue Like Jazz, puts it this way:
For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained.3
In Erwin McManus’ book The Barbarian Way, he refers to “Barbarians” in a positive light and says that this is how Christ-followers should be:
They [Barbarians] see Christianity as a world religion, in many ways no different from any other religious system. Whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity, they’re not about religion; they’re about advancing the revolution Jesus started two thousand years ago.4
A May/June 2000 issue of Watchman’s Trumpet magazine explains what this new missiology really entails:
Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. [A] Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to “hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices” so as to refrain from offending others within their culture.5
The Charisma article in which Watchman’s Trumpet reports elaborates:
“Messianic Muslims” who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy, which is being tried in several countries, according to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved.6
The Charisma story reports that a YWAM staff newsletter notes the new converts’ lifestyle changes (or lack thereof):
They [the new converts] continued a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God’s mercy for them.7
When one of the largest missionary societies (YWAM) becomes a proponent of the new missiology, telling converts they can remain in their own religious traditions, the disastrous results should be quite sobering for any discerning Christian.
Keep Your Religion, Just Add Jesus
In an article titled “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” the following statement is made regarding the research of new missiology advocate, Herbert Hoefer, who wrote Churchless Christianity:
In striking research undertaken in the mid-eighties and published in 1991, Herbert E. Hoefer found that the people of Madras City are far closer to historic Christianity than the populace of any cities in the western Christian world could ever claim to be. Yet these are not Christians, but rather Hindus and Muslims. In their midst is a significant number of true believers in Christ who openly confess to faith in fundamental Biblical doctrines, yet remain outside the institutional church.8
The article further expands this idea that one does not need to become a Christian or to change his religious practices; one just needs to add Jesus to his spiritual equation:
However, some might argue that this [the “smothering embrace of Hinduism”] is the danger with the ishta devata strategy I am proposing. It will lead not to an indigenous Christianity but to a Christianized Hinduism. Perhaps more accurately we should say a Christ-ized Hinduism. I would suggest that really both are the same, and therefore we should not worry about it. We do not want to change the culture or the religious genius of India. We simply want to bring Christ and His Gospel into the center of it. 9
In his book, Herbert Hoefer’s research is quite revealing to his idea that rather than “changing or rejecting” the Hindu and Muslim culture, missionaries should be “Christ-izing” it.10 He says there are thousands of believers in India whom he refers to as “non-baptized believers.” Reasons for the believers not becoming baptized vary, but usually it is because they will suffer financial or social loss and status. Hoefer admits that these non-baptized believers are not Christians, and usually they do not choose to call themselves that. In many of his examples, these non-baptized believers continue practicing their religious rituals so as not to draw suspicion or ridicule from family and friends. Hoefer explains one story:
[There is] a young man of lower caste who earns his livelihood by playing the drum at Hindu festivals and functions. “All this is what I must do,” he said, “but my faith is in Christ. Outside I am a Hindu, but inside I am a Christian.”11
Another family of the Nayar caste consisted of a wife, her husband and one son. Hoefer describes their situation:
[H]er husband and son have been believers in Christ for eight years. They both had studied in Christian schools and learned of Christ. The husband’s father had a vision of Christ, and one brother also is a non-baptised believer. The husband does not join his wife in coming to Church, but he occasionally joins her for the big public meetings. They do not have family devotions, but worship Jesus along with the Hindu gods in their home. Their approach to the Hindu festivals is to carry them out but to think of God, not Jesus specifically.12
I am not here to judge whether these non-baptized believers are truly born again. That is for the Lord to decide. My concern lies with the way missions is changing and how the Gospel is being presented. To say that someone does not have to leave their pagan religion behind, and in fact they don’t have to even stop calling themselves Hindu or Muslim, is not presenting the teachings of the Bible.
And the apostle Paul, who ended up dying for his faith, exhorted believers to be willing to give up all for the sake of having Christ:
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
The implications of this new missiology are serious and, what’s more very unbiblical. Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries has done extensive research and analysis on the new missiology. In his article, “A ‘New Evangelism’ for the 21st Century,” Oppenheimer states:
Can a Christian now call himself a Muslim? The word Muslim is made up of two words, Islam and Mu. Muslim does not just mean submission; it means submission to the God Allah; not the Lord Jesus Christ or Yahweh. Can a Muslim be called a Christian and walk with Allah? This seems to make no doctrinal or practical sense, unless they change the names and the meaning. This only brings confusion. Why do this when you can introduce Yahweh as the true God without any baggage and shuffling around in names, nature or descriptions? The answer is that you may not see the same results. This is what this is all about isn’t it, results; pragmatism, the end justifies the means.13
In a book by Oppenheimer and Sandy Simpson titled Idolatry in Their Hearts, they show how widespread this new missiology has become. Listen to some of the comments made by a few new missiology proponents:
New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths…. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”14—Leonard Sweet
I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions.15—Rick Warren
I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.16—Thomas Merton
Allah is not another God . . . we worship the same God…. The same God! The very same God we worship in Christ is the God the Jews—and the Muslims—worship.17—Buddhist sympathizer Peter Kreeft
Oppenheimer and Simpson present page after page of documentation showing this paradigm shift in Christian missions. They ask the question, “Can one be a Hindu or a Muslim and follow Jesus?” They explain why the answer is no:
One cannot be in relationship with Jesus within the confines of a false religion. One must leave his or her religion to follow Jesus, not just add Him on . . .
This broadens Jesus’ statement of the road being narrow into a wide, all encompassing concept. What is concerning is that these same kinds of statements are also made by those who are New Agers that hold a universal view. Alice Bailey [an occultist] said, “I would point out that when I use the phrase ‘followers of the Christ’ I refer to all those who love their fellowmen, irrespective of creed or religion.”18
With Rick Warren saying your religion should have no bearing on your spiritual life, Erwin McManus saying he would like to destroy Christianity, and missionary societies telling new converts they can have Jesus without Christianity (or baptism), the results could be devastating and will very likely undo the tireless efforts of many dedicated missionaries around the world. These Bible-believing missionaries have risked their lives and given up comforts and ease to travel around the world sharing the good news that becoming a Christian (receiving, by faith, Jesus Christ into your heart and life as Lord and Savior) is the way to eternal life. Now, right behind them, come emerging church missionaries who say Christianity is a terrible religion, and Christians are out to lunch–so just become a Christ-follower, and you don’t even have to tell anyone about it. In fact, you can still live like you always have.
To the many who have suffered persecution and martyrdom over the centuries for being Christians and being courageous enough to call themselves that, we now must believe they suffered and died unnecessarily-—after all, they did not need to confess Jesus as the only way. And they didn’t need to renounce their pagan religions. We also find that the following words of Jesus do not fit into this emerging church paradigm:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
There is a powerful story in the Book of Acts, in which the apostle Paul had been arrested for preaching the Gospel. He was brought before King Agrippa and given the opportunity to share his testimony of how he became a Christian. He told Agrippa that the Lord had commissioned him to preach the Gospel and:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)
Agrippa continued listening and then said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (vs. 28).” Paul answered him:
I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. (vs. 29)
If Paul had been following the emerging mentality, he would have told Agrippa, “No need to become a Christian. You can remain just as you are; keep all your rituals and practices, just say you like Jesus.” In actuality, if Paul had been practicing emerging spirituality, he wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. He would not have stood out, would not have preached boldly and without reservation, and he would not have called himself a Christian, which eventually became a death sentence for Paul and countless others.
Bridging the Gap between Good and Evil The serpent’s temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden, that we can be like God, remains with mankind to this very day. Satan’s plan is to lessen or eliminate (he hopes) the gap between himself and God. The following explanation by Ray Yungen puts it well:
It is important to understand that Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether. When we understand this approach it helps us see why Thomas Merton said everyone is already united with God or why Jack Canfield said he felt God flowing through all things. All means all—nothing left out. Such reasoning implies that God has given His glory to all of creation; since Satan is part of creation, then he too shares in this glory, and thus is “like the Most High.”19
When those in the emerging church try to persuade people that we need to bridge the gap between Christians (or Christ-followers as they put it) and non-Christians, they aren’t really talking about reaching out to the unsaved in order to share the Gospel with them. They are talking about coming to a consensus, a common ground. Emerging church author and teacher Leonard Sweet explains:
The key to navigating postmodernity’s choppy, crazy waters is not to seek some balance or “safe middle ground,” but to ride the waves and bridge the opposites, especially where they converge in reconciliation and illumination.20
It takes a little thinking to figure out what Sweet is saying by this statement, but when he talks about bridging the opposites, he’s referring to a chasm that exists between good and evil. This tension between the two is called dualism, and at the heart of occultism is the effort to eradicate it. If that gap could truly be closed, then Satan and God would be equal. The Bible clearly states this will never happen, but it also says that it is Satan’s desire:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15)
This misguided effort to unite all things, to give people the option of maintaining their own religious practices, suggesting they do not have to call themselves Christians is a spiritually slippery slope and an undoing of the Christian faith.
Samir Selmanovic was raised in a European Muslim home, then served as a Seventh Day Adventist pastor in the US. Today, he participates in developing the new missiology and the emerging church through his role in Faith House Manhattan, an interfaith community of Muslims, Jews, Christians, humanists, and atheists. Selmanovic has some interesting and alarming views on Christianity. He states:
The emerging church movement has come to believe that the ultimate context of the spiritual aspirations of a follower of Jesus Christ is not Christianity but rather the kingdom of God . . . to believe that God is limited to it [Christianity] would be an attempt to manage God. If one holds that Christ is confined to Christianity, one has chosen a god that is not sovereign. Soren Kierkegaard argued that the moment one decides to become a Christian, one is liable to idolatry.21
On Selmanovic’s website, Faith House project, he presents an interfaith vision that will:
. . . seek to bring progressive Jews, Christians, Muslims, and spiritual seekers of no faith to become an interfaith community for the good of the world. We have one world and one God.22
While Selmanovic says he includes Christians in this interspiritual dream for the world, he makes it clear that while they might be included, they are in no way beholders of an exclusive truth. He states:
Is our religion [Christianity] the only one that understands the true meaning of life? Or does God place his truth in others too? Well, God decides, and not us. The gospel is not our gospel, but the gospel of the kingdom of God, and what belongs to the kingdom of God cannot be hijacked by Christianity.23
While it is true that God is the One who decides where He is going to place truth, He has already made that decision. And the answer to that is found in the Bible. When Selmanovic asks if Christianity is the only religion that understands the true meaning of life, the answer is yes. How can a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Muslim fully understand truth when their religions omit a Savior who died for their sins?
Though world religions may share some moral precepts (don’t lie, steal, etc), the core essence of Christianity (redemption) is radically different from all of them. Interspirituality may sound noble on the surface, but in actuality, Selmanovic and the other emerging church leaders are facilitating occultist Alice Bailey’s rejuvenation of the churches. In her rejuvenation, everyone remains diverse (staying in their own religion), yet united in perspective, with no one religion claiming a unique corner on the truth. In other words all religions lead to the same destination and emanate from the same source. And of course, Bailey believed that a “Coming One”24 whom she called Christ would appear on the scene in order to lead united humanity into an era of global peace. However, you can be sure that if such a scenario were to take place as Bailey predicted, there would be no room for those who cling to biblical truth.
As is the case with so many emergent leaders, Selmanovic’s confusing language dances obscurely around his theology, whether he realizes it or not. Sadly, for those who are lost and who are trying to find the way, the emerging church movement offers confusion in place of clarity. It blurs, if not obliterates, the walls of distinction between good and evil, truth and falsehood, leaving people to stumble along a broken path, hoping to find light. In sharp contrast, Jesus commanded believers to stand out as beacon lights in this dark world, bearing the Word of God to a lost and dying generation. In such times as these, in which we live, let us not be quickly deceived, but let us heed the words that give life and true peace:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)
To order copies of The New Missiology - Doing Missions Without the Gospel, click here.
1. Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), p. 293.
2. Rick Warren at the 2005 United Nations Prayer Breakfast, September 2005. For more information about the prayer breakfast, see “Rick Warren Speaks about Purpose at United Nations” by Rhonda Tse (Christian Post, September 14, 2005, http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050914/21340_ Rick_ Warren_Speaks_about_ Purpose_at_ United_ Nations.htm); quote is from transcript of Warren’s talk that was provided to Lighthouse Trails Publishing.
3. Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (Nashville, TN: Zondervan, 2003), p. 115.
4. Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 6.
5. “Youth with a Mission Experiments with New, Unscriptural Missions Strategy” (Foundation, Watchman’s Trumpet, May-June 2000, http://web.archive.org/web/20090310180435/http://www.feasite.org/WTrumpet/fbcwt004.htm#Youth With), p. 39.
6. Andy Butcher, “Radical Missionary Approach Produces ‘Messianic Muslims’ Retaining Islamic Identity” (Charisma News Service, March 24, 2000, http://web.archive.org/web/20010818051517/www.charismanews.com/news.cgi?a=285&t=news.html).
7. Ibid., quoting from a report in “The International YWAMer,” YWAM’s staff newsletter.
8. H. L. Richard, “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” a review of Churchless Christianity by Herbert Hoefer (Mission Frontiers, March/April 1999, http://web.archive.org/web/20001002151833/http://www.missionfrontiers.org/1999/0304/articles/04f.htm).
10. Herbert Hoefer, Churchless Christianity (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001 edition), p. xii.
11. Ibid., p. 17.
12. Ibid., p. 16.
13. Mike Oppenheimer, “A ‘New Evangelism’ for the 21st Century” (Let Us Reason ministries, 2006, http://www.letusreason.org/curren33.htm).
14. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints, First Edition, 1991 p. 130.
15. Rick Warren, “Discussion: Religion and Leadership,” with David Gergen and Rick Warren (Aspen Ideas Festival, The Aspen Institute, July 6, 2005, http://www.aspeninstitute.org); for more information: http://www. lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletternovember05.htm.
16. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
17. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996), pp. 30, 160.
18. Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer, Idolatry in Their Hearts (Pearl City, HI: Apologetics Coordination Team, 2007, 1st Edition), p. 358.
19. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails, 2006, 2nd ed.), p. 108.
20. Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1999), p. 163.
21. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2007), Samir Selmanovic section, “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness,” pp. 192-193.
22. From Faith House Project website: http://samirselmanovic.typepad.com/faith_house/2.WhatisFaithHouseProject.pdf.
23. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, op. cit., p. 194.
24. Alice Bailey: a term she used in her writings; see page 188 of Reappearance of the Christ for example. (Albany, NY: Fort