Mysticism and Politics Converge at Saddleback

According to an Orange County Register article, Rick Warren’s conference on AIDS (taking place this week) is attended by one thousand people and 100 speakers. With a wide array of speakers including Hillary Clinton who spoke on Wednesday, the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church at Saddleback has drawn much media attention. Secular and Christian media alike are reporting on the event.

The Register article capsulizes the focus: “AIDS can be defeated by leadership. That is the resounding message of Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay.” In fact, leadership is a resounding message throughout the ecumenical, contemplative, emerging communities of Christianity today. In essence, the leadership message says that if we can develop strong leaders, then the world’s ills will be solved because these strong leaders will keep all the followers (the rest of humanity) in place. The masses will be controlled by these top-notch Purpose Driven, mystically influenced leaders. Such an indictment may sound harsh to some. After all, Rick Warren is doing so many good works, right? But if the leaders he is training are driven and motivated by an energy that is New Age and occultic (as we will show below), then how can this be truly godly leadership. And how can such leadership defeat AIDS and the five global giants that Rick Warren talks about in his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan?

To know whether Warren’s leadership model is going to produce godly leaders, it is necessary to look at those he turns to for training leaders. To put it bluntly, many who are doing the training are New Agers, mystics, and those who work toward a kingdom of this world where man is divine and one with all. Strong words? Yes, but desperate ones. Many believers watch in shock and dismay, as leader after leader, church after church, and ministry after ministry are dancing to the tune of spiritual formation (a “safe” word for a mystical spirituality that ultimately negates the very Gospel of Jesus Christ because of its panentheistic nature).

Now the facts. The following time line will give solid documentation as to who Rick Warren looks to for leadership training. And by taking a glimpse at these leaders below, you will get a glimpse of the leadership of tomorrow. Rick Warren has seen each of these men as vital to LEADERSHIP TRAINING or SERVANT LEADERSHIP as often termed.

1995 – Richard Foster and Dallas Willard – Purpose Driven Church (p. 126)
1995 – Leonard Sweet – Choice Voices for Church Leaders (Tides of Change audio)
1997 – Robert Schuller – Leadership Institute
1997 – C. Peter Wagner NAR
2002 – Brother Lawrence – Purpose Driven Life (pp. 86-89)
2002 – Bernie Siegel – Purpose Driven Life (pp. 30-31)
2003 – Dan Kimball – Warren writes foreword with Brian McLaren in Kimball’s book, The Emerging Church
2003 – Bruce Wilkinson – Shared “God’s Dream” at Saddleback one week after presenting it at Crystal Cathedral to Robert Schuller – (November 2003)
2003 – Ken Blanchard – Saddleback (November 03)
2004 – Ken Blanchard -Preaching and Purpose Driven Life Training Workshop for Chaplains – Saddleback
2005 – Ken Blanchard (Warren endorses his book, Lead Like Jesus)
2005 – Peter Drucker – Pew Forum on Religion – “Peter Drucker … he’s my mentor. I’ve spent 20 years under his tutelage learning about leadership from him.”
2007 – Ken Blanchard speaks at Saddleback (November 07)
2007 – Hillary Clinton at Saddleback (November 07)
Spring 2008 – Leonard Sweet scheduled to speak at the Saddleback Wired Conference

For more information:

Transcripts and Audios of RW

Rick Warren Teams Up With New Ager Leonard Sweet

Reinventing Jesus Christ

Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet Riding the Tides of Change in the Midst of Mysticism

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