Posts Tagged ‘Conferences’
Update: On January 14th, Christian Today (not Christianity Today) posted this: Louie Giglio withdraws from Obama’s inauguration and from homosexual debate
“The Significance of Youth-Filled Stadiums”
Lou Giglio is scheduled to give the benediction* at the Obama Presidential Inauguration on January 21. The official announcement describes him as “the Rev. Louie Giglio, the pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta” and says he “is considered one of the highest-profile evangelical Christian pastors. He has been prominent in efforts to end human trafficking.”
This invitation is significant because Lou Giglio is currently under a great deal of fire in some quadrants of the evangelical world for his controversial association with New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) leader Bill Johnson and a music group/ministry called Jesus Culture. . . . At issue is the fact that Johnson’s Bethel Church spawned Jesus Culture, described as “not just a band, but a ministry to ignite revival in the nations of the earth.” This end-time revival is a key doctrine of the New Apostolic Reformation. According to an Apprising Ministries report “LOUIE GIGLIO, PASSION 2013, AND JESUS CULTURE,” this Jesus Culture band was featured in Lou Giglio’s Passion2013 event. A previous Jesus Culture event called Awakening 2011 “was put on by the Jesus Culture ministry itself” and was billed as “IGNITING A GENERATION OF REVIVALISTS FROM AROUND THE NATION TO CHANGE THE WORLD.” Key speakers included well-known NAR leaders Reinhard Bonnke, Bill Johnson, Lou Engle and Cindy Jacobs, among others. Click here for footnotes and to read this entire article.
Great Resource for LT Readers – Manitoba Conference Audio Archives Includes Ray Yungen and Roger Oakland Talks
The following link is to a media archive put out by the Southern Manitoba Prophecy Conference. There are lectures over the past six years by, among other Bible believing speakers, Roger Oakland and Ray Yungen, both Lighthouse Trails authors. We hope you find these lectures helpful, encouraging, and edifying. http://southernmanitoba.ca/media.html
By David Dombrowski
A growing and subtle tactic that is actually producing more “bridges” is to invite speakers of differing values, perspectives, and doctrines to the same conference and thereby make the speaker of compromised or apostate teachings appear more credible.
It is all too easy in the busy world in which we live today to get caught up in worldly concerns that would tend to draw our hearts in a different direction than God intends. A Scripture that comes to mind is the one in Proverbs that says:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
This Scripture tells us that we are to keep a watchful eye, or to guard our hearts, against things that would steal away from us the very things that are most precious in life. That is why it is good to stop from time to time to reflect, reevaluate, and check our compass bearings.
The fact is we are sojourners through this life, and this is not our permanent home. Like Abraham, we can set up a “tent,” but our permanent dwelling is not here. Jesus said:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Too often, for the Christian, anxiety and stress over the many things in life—be it business, finances, health, or possessions—overtake us. Yet Jesus said that our heavenly Father will take care of us if we seek His kingdom first. If our lives are full of worry and stress, like a thermometer or pressure gauge, it should be an indicator to us that we need to reevaluate our lives and decide if our treasures are truly in heaven and if we will cling to God’s promises to provide for us as He sees fit. Our involvement with the needs of the Christians in Kenya, Africa has even further driven the point to us that as North Americans especially we need to diligently watch where our true treasures are and not get caught up in “things.” In and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with having possessions as long as they do not rule our hearts. Whatever we have—whether it is earthly goods, health, intelligence, or education—these things are a loan to us and can only be of real benefit when they enable us to serve the kingdom of God in the cause of the Gospel. Paul, for instance, said:
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Philippians 4:12
Paul was a well-educated man who probably had known prosperity, yet he risked everything for the sake of the Gospel. That is why he could also say:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and 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 3:7-8
Over the past few years, Lighthouse Trails has become aware of a new strategy of the enemy. This should be of particular concern if you are a pastor, a Christian leader or author, or a conference speaker—someone who is influencing others. In a past article, we made reference to some Christian figures, who we termed “bridgers.”1 These are pastors and Christian leaders who, while they themselves may have reputations as being traditional in their doctrine and teaching, are pointing their followers to Contemplative/New Age mystics and emerging/emergent church leaders. In other words, they are bridges to deception.
A growing and subtle tactic that is actually producing more “bridges” is to invite speakers of differing values, perspectives, and doctrines to the same conference and thereby make the speaker of compromised or apostate teachings appear more credible. For example, a pastor who has been dabbling in mysticism and is looking for a safe way to turn on his congregation to whatever he is practicing will invite a mystic to an upcoming conference; but he will simultaneously invite a conservative Bible teacher known for discernment to the same conference. By doing this, the pastor has now found a way to bring mysticism into his church under the guise of biblical truth. So, in essence, the biblical speaker has become a bridge to false doctrine.
Although this tactic seems rather benign to many, it is actually quite diabolical in that it brings confusion into the body of Christ. Those in the audience who are the more discerning will walk away from such conferences perplexed and disillusioned, while those lacking in discernment may have just taken a ride down the slide to apostasy and delusion. And, another result is that while it lifts the reputation of the false teacher (because he or she is sharing a platform with a biblical teacher), it actually weakens the reputation of the trusted biblical teacher. Oh how clever of Satan to perform such a multi-faceted maneuver. Everyone gets hurt!
We have been trying to warn some to beware of this tactic, which is actually being used in a religious/ political nature to give credence to those with emerging ideas. We have had mixed response to our appeal, but typically what we hear is that these biblical speakers see such conferences as opportunities to have a speaking platform. No matter who they share the platform with. This is what Kay Arthur’s ministry told us when we brought to their attention the problem with Kay Arthur sharing a platform with emerging figure Tony Campolo at the Breakforth event in Canada.
Something similar happened when Calvary Chapel mega-pastor Greg Laurie shared a platform at Lifefest 2011 with a Catholic priest. The priest is known for his work in bringing recognition to a Marian apparition. Harvest Ministries’ response to questions about Laurie attending this event with the priest was that this gave him a chance to share his message with the lost.
We could give countless examples where this is happening. A few more are: Rick Warren being invited to share the platform with Chuck Smith at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade (Warren also gave the opening prayer), Joel Rosenberg sharing the platform with Leonard Sweet at Breakforth, Norm Geisler speaking at Rick Warren’s first “Apologetics Weekend” (the following year, they had 3 well known contemplative speakers, but having Norm Geisler there the year before gave the conference credibility to many), the 2009 National Worship Leaders Conference brought Greg Laurie and Leonard Sweet together, John Piper inviting Rick Warren to his Desiring God event, and on the list could go.
Often, when Christian speakers are trying to justify their actions, they liken these opportunities to Paul speaking to the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill. But, if we are going to use this comparison, we should be ready to do as Paul did. In other words, if invited to such a conference, go ahead and go, but when you get there openly rebuke in the presence of the audience the apostate message of the false teacher sharing the same platform; only in this way can the audience gain a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).
Unfortunately, we know of few who would or have shown the courage to do this when put in that situation. And this is why we are recommending to those who are trying to maintain biblical integrity to stay away from such speaking opportunities. Too often, it’s easy to think that our message is so important that we should grab every opportunity to share it. However, in this context, even though these conferences may provide a speaking platform to get your message out to those who need to hear it, there is a two-fold downside to this: it minimizes the seriousness of the false teachings, and it neutralizes the message of others trying to share discernment with the church. In other words, a lot is lost, and nothing is gained. Our message then to those who speak at conferences is –please do not compromise just for the sake of your message; find out what you are getting into and with whom you will be sharing the speaking platform. And in no way put your message above the message of the Gospel. Remember the words in Scripture:
Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22
Going back to the idea of keeping watch over our hearts, we need to keep in mind that where our treasures are our heart will be there too. As committed Christians, should we not want our treasures to be in Heaven and in the things of the Lord? Remember Paul’s exhortation:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Time is a precious commodity that we should not take for granted. Think of a sandglass or hourglass where you can literally watch time being poured out. Knowing that our time is relatively short, let us follow the injunction in Hebrews to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Too many things hold us back from serving the Lord. In this verse in Hebrews, an illustration of an athlete is being used to show how, if we are to win a race, we need to strip off unnecessary weight. Scripture says that God will give us wings like eagles, but if we are tied down with the affairs and cares of the world, we will never be able to fly.
Want to find out where your heart is? Search out where your treasure is—that commodity that means more to you than anything else in life—and you will discover that it is in the same place where your heart is. As believers in Jesus Christ, our hope should be that when we find that treasure, it will be in the same place God’s treasure is too.
At Lighthouse Trails, we feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to defend the Gospel. We are in awe and humbled that God has used the “weak things” and the “foolish things” to confound the wise. Sometimes people call us to help solve their theological questions, and though we try to help as we can, we do not have all the answers. However, one thing we do know, and that is Christ and Him crucified. Jesus is the answer to what we really need; after all, isn’t life meant to be all about saving souls, and Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world? It’s that simple. Sometimes when people contact us, we get the notion when they test and probe us on theological questions that some of them think our ministry is all about having all the right answers to every theological matter. Perhaps some think that Lighthouse Trails expects all pastors to have a correct understanding of all the Scriptures. But, we know that all pastors are fallible, and we have never expected any Christian leader to be either sinless or inerrant. To expect a pastor to have all the answers is not only unrealistic but also a burden that no one can bear.
But what really does matter is—what do we think about the Cross and what do we think about God’s Word? Sadly, many of the new emerging contemplative leaders are preaching a Christ-less Word-less gospel. Likewise, those who practice mysticism through contemplative prayer inevitably come to the day when the atonement means nothing to them; we have seen this happen time and again. God knows that mysticism connects people to the demonic realm, and that is why it is forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:9-15). Yet, again, mysticism is becoming the common practice of our day. It does not take a theological scholar to see that there is something wrong here.
Though the Gospel is a simple message—that Jesus died to make atonement for sin—nothing has ever come under more attack because Satan knows if he can destroy the message of the Gospel (or the messengers of the Gospel), he has destroyed Christianity anddestroyed the message by which we find salvation. His continual quest is to undermine our belief in the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is why, perhaps more than any time before, we must “keep thy heart with all diligence.”
- Term by Ingrid Schlueter.
Lighthouse Trails has written in the past about Breakforth, an annual conference that takes place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada each year, because of its promotion of emerging and contemplative speakers. What makes this conference even more spiritually dangerous is that the speaker list is a mixture of truth and apostasy. For example, one year both Kay Arthur and Tony Campolo shared the platform. When we contacted Arthur’s ministry, we were told that she will speak anywhere she is invited to share her message. Another year, Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti shared the platform with Leonard Sweet, a New Age sympathizing colleague of Rick Warren’s and William Paul Young, author of The Shack. Rosenberg’s defense: he’ll speak anywhere he is invited to.
The problem is, by seemingly solid teachers sharing platforms with those who outright teach and promote anti-biblical ideas (such as contemplative/centering prayer) a lot of confusion and misleading information is brought into the church. If Kay Arthur gets up on stage just before Tony Campolo, those attending will assume that Arthur has no serious problems with Campolo’s teachings, and so on. Of course, if Kay Arthur got up and told the crowd that Tony Campolo was teaching anti-biblical doctrines, then maybe she could justify herself. But to our knowledge, no such brave talk goes on by speakers at the Breakforth conference (or any other Christian conference where there is this mixture of truth and error).
Most of the speakers at the Breakforth conferences would fall into the contemplative/emerging camps (At least one in 2012 is a Catholic convert). It is difficult not to wonder why they are even bringing in people like Kay Arthur, Josh McDowell, and Frank Peretti, names that so far are not promoting contemplative prayer or emerging spirituality. Could it possibly be to give their emerging conference some credibility among the general populace of the evangelical church? Whether intentionally or not, by bringing them, it is indeed giving their agenda credibility.
Below is some research one of our Canadian readers sent us last week about the upcoming Breakforth in 2012 where Ann Graham-Lotz and Josh McDowell will share the platform with emerging figures Erwin McManus and Tony Campolo. Contemplative advocate Gary Thomas will also be there. (We have a few comments of our own, which you will find in brackets [ ].
To Lighthouse Trails:
The dates for BreakForth are January 27-29, 2012. Registration costs $99 – $209 for the weekend starting Friday night. Rates vary depending on how big your group is and how early you register,
I read most of the 12-page BreakForth newspaper last night, and it is a real mix.
Some of the topics appeal to me:
John and Sean McDowell on “The New Tolerance”
“. . . See how research shows that the majority of our church people have distorted beliefs about Christ and Christianity. Josh teaches critical steps we need to take to reverse this alarming trend . . . .”
Joe Amaral (don’t know him) “Understanding Jesus” “. . .back in time to the Jewish culture of Jesus.”
“God’s Holy Days.”
“The Passover Prophecies”
“Ancient Wedding Feast”
Hans Weichbrodt (don’t know him) “Jet Tour through Ezekiel”
“Daniel’s 70th Week”
“The Jewish Temple”
“Heaven — Our Eternal Future!”
Here’s my biggest objection to BreakForth 2012. The Main Assemblies.
Registrants attend four main assemblies and may choose elective for five sessions.
Friday night main assembly Erwin McManus and Arlen Salte (Arlen is a musician and the organizer of BreakForth)
Saturday morning ” Anne Graham Lotz and Brenton Brown
Saturday night ” Tony Campolo and Paul Baloche
Sunday afternoon ” Nick Vujicic and Robin Mark
That’s means every registrant will hear Erwin McManus and Tony Campolo!
Many of the speakers I don’t know. Some of them I read years ago, but I don’t know their doctrinal position now.
Erwin McManus “Capacity: Increasing Your Leadership EQ” “. . . Come learn about leadership that brings intrinsic change.”
Dr. Chris Alford “A pioneer on Ancient-Future renewal . . . .”
“Robert Webber said ‘The road to the future runs through the past.’”
“. . . then defines and unpacks Ancient-Future Worship Renewal.”
Gary Thomas “Sacred Pathways” “Experienced spiritual directors recognize the futility of ‘one size fits all’ spirituality. . . . ”
“Growing with the Classics” “Gary will explain why the great ancient writings are so important for everyone to be familiar with. You’ll learn guidelines for getting the most out of this spiritual discipline and show how our pursuit of seeking intimacy with God can be greatly bolstered with ancient wisdom.”
“The Ministry of the Thorn” “Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Teresa of Avila had splitting migraines. Augustine was threatened by a marauding horde . ”
Other sessions I don’t know the speakers and I’m not sure of the content. I would put a question mark beside them until I could do more research.
Mark Virkler “4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice” [Mark Virkler is a contemplative advocate]
“Prayers that Heal the Heart”
“Prayer will allow you to use the language of the heart to break generational sins and curses, sever ungodly soul ties, replace negative beliefs with God’s promises and experience healing.”
“. . .We will try this together and learn to listen to God’s voice.”
Julie Drew “Painting Prayers”
Simon Guillebaud “Screaming Injustice”
Bill & Pam Farrel “Red Hot Monogamy”
3 electives under “Soaking” with Jared Anderson, Dr. Chris Alford, and Brenton Brown
Audrey Assad “. . . This hour will be focused on deepening prayer in the interest of true spiritual rest . . . . ” [Assad is a convert to Catholicism.]
What a state the church is in when we need to be suspicious of sessions on Prayer!
From the blurbs, I would assume the Gospel is missing from the sessions for the youth.
iNFuZion Ages 14-18 Bill Rice and Zoro
the EdgE Over 18 Simon Guillebaud and Zoro
Topics – Radical Living, Living Your Destiny, Dangerous People
Phrases – “how to live a life without limits,”
“live on the edge and make a difference,”
“Did Jesus really call us to live a life of radical love when there are so many haters around?”
“. . . a life of dynamic action and purpose,”
“. . . understanding and developing your God-given gifts and reveals strategies for fulfilling your divine purpose on earth,”
“Stand in awe of God’s ability to transform lives and fuel dreams!”
“. . . moved from being a poor kid from the streets of L.A. to one who achieved his dreams on some of the biggest stages of the world through the power of God!”
“take a look at how to become a dreamer of the day — someone who acts out their dreams with open eyes to make them happen,”
“Life is an adventure to be lived.”
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. (I Corinthians 10:21)
Why are so many Christian leaders continually appearing with personalities who claim to be Christian yet promote the heretical “new spirituality”? In January 2010, in Alberta, Canada, such a situation will take place at the Break Forth conference, bringing together a conglomeration of Christian figures, New Age sympathizers, and mystic/emerging proponents. From Joel Rosenberg (Epicenter), Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness), and Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) to William Paul Young (The Shack), Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality), and contemplative proponents such as Duffy Robbins (Enjoy the Silence) and Brad Jersak, Break Forth will be like drawing gray lines in the sand–blended, indistinguishable lines.
In essence, this merging together, like so many other events now taking place within evangelical Christianity, willhelp erode the distinction between truth and falsehood and light and dark.
With well-known names like Rosenberg, Peretti, and Strobel as part of the speaking platform, many Christians who otherwise might not attend or pay much attention to this emerging event, could be drawn in just by the mere mention of these men’s names. And with Break Forth boasting that 1000 Canadian churches are represented at this event, tens of thousands of church goers could easily, directly or indirectly, be impacted in a fashion ultimately leading to spiritual deception and apostasy.
As for Lee Strobel, though many have admired his work in the past (such as The Case for Christ), it is really no surprise that he is attending Break Forth. With his sponsorship of his son’s very contemplative/emerging ministry Metamorpha, multiple appearances at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral over the years, and his ongoing connections with Saddleback and Willow Creek, discernment is not something that Strobel appears to give much attention to.
But most people would not expect Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti to share a platform with those in the contemplative/emerging/new spirituality camp.
In Warren B. Smith’s book, A “Wonderful” Deception, Smith has clearly laid out the New Age sympathies of Leonard Sweet, one of the Break Forth teachers. Smith reveals how Sweet calls the late heretical panentheist New Age leader Pierre Teilhard de Chardin “Twentieth-century Christianity’s major voice.”1 But Chardin does not represent biblical Christianity–on the contrary, he falls in a spiritual camp that embraces the “cosmic Christ,” which is the I AM (God) in every creature. Even though this christ-consciousness-in-all-people belief rejects the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, Sweet has openly aligned himself with Chardin. In Sweet’s book, Aqua Church, he favorably quotes Chardin saying: “Christ is in the Church in the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see the same sun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a much more magnificent way” (p. 39, Aqua Church). This pure arrogance of Sweet’s alignment with Chardin’s New Age views is nothing short of heresy.
It isn’t just Chardin with whom Leonard Sweet resonates. Referring to certain New Age advocates as “New Light” leaders, Sweet calls them his “role models” and “heroes.” 2 Who are some of those Sweet esteems?–Matthew Fox, Willis Harman, M. Scott Peck. And of pioneering New Age leader David Spangler, Sweet says: “I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this ‘new cell’ understanding of New Light leadership.” Read the following quotes by Teilhard de Chardin (another of Sweet’s New Light role models) from his book, Christianity and Evolution, and decide for yourself if this is someone whom a Christian could consider a role model and a hero.
[T]he Cross still stands … But this in on one condition, and one only: that it expand itself to the dimensions of a New Age, and cease to present itself to us as primarily (or even exclusively) the sign of a victory over sin. (p. 219-220).
I believe that the Messiah whom we await, whom we all without any doubt await, is the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution (p. 95).
What I am proposing to do is to narrow that gap between pantheism and Christianity by bringing out what one might call the Christian soul of Pantheism of the pantheist aspect of Christianity (p. 56).
In addition to appearing with Leonard Sweet at Break Forth, Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti will also be appearing with William Paul Young. Young wrote the New York Times best-seller, The Shack, a book that has strong elements of universalism, interspirituality, and panentheism. The story’s emotional appeal has drawn millions in, but its rejection of traditional biblical Christianity is apparent to those who are willing to look past the sensual pull. The book states that “Jesus” does not want to convert anyone to Christianity and that “‘God,’ who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things” (p. 112). The book never mentions God’s adversary, Satan, and states: “Evil and darkness . . . do not have any actual existence” (p. 136). The black Madonna (goddess spirituality) is reflected in the story as well.3
In A “Wonderful” Deception, Smith lays out the New Age spirituality of Sweet and The Shack, showing how what they believe ties in more with the vision of the New Age than with the God of the Bible. We have placed three of the chapters of Smith’s book (the ones dealing with Sweet and The Shack), online to underline our concern.4
Break Forth’s invitation to emerging/new spirituality speakers is not an isolated incident this year. In the past, speakers have included: Erwin McManus, Tony Campolo, Robert Webber, Bill Hybels, and Mike Yaconelli (Youth Specialties). This year, Canadian author Brad Jersak will be teaching at Break Forth in a workshop on prayer. Jersak is a strong proponent of contemplative spirituality. His book, Stricken by God (endorsed by emergent leader Brian McLaren) is a compilation of essays by various authors. Two of those authors are Richard Rohr and Marcus Borg. Borg, a mystic proponent, rejects basic foundational tenets of Christian doctrine (such as the virgin birth of Christ), and Rohr is a panentheist who wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. When Break Forth attendees will sit and listen to Brad Jersak this year, they could be getting, at least in part, the spiritual overtones of Marcus Borg and Richard Rohr.
The spiritualities of Rohr, Borg, Sweet, and Young have a common New Age/New Spirituality theme–the belief that God is IN all things–this panentheistic belief is the bottom line of the coming New Age world religion. Clearly, this is not biblical Christianity. If such a belief were true, then there would be no need for the Cross because all would already be united to God and in no need of atonement or salvation as the Bible describes. Man would not truly be sinful and in need of a Savior. His problem wouldn’t be his sinful nature but would be merely an ignorance of his own divinity. This is classic New Ageism and occultism. And it is the underlying foundation of the new emerging spirituality to which Break Forth is giving a platform.
While seeing Leonard Sweet’s, Brad Jersak’s, and William Paul Young’s names on the schedule makes perfect sense because of Break Forth’s emphasis on the New Age/new spirituality, seeing Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti as scheduled speakers is cause for concern. Don’t Christian leaders understand that spiritual deception is very real and very tangible? And why don’t they speak up against those who are vehicles for such apostasy? Why do respected Christian authors, like Peretti and Rosenberg, appear with New Age sympathizers like Leonard Sweet and William Paul Young? Will they rationalize–as Kay Arthur did at a past Break Forth conference when she appeared with the liberal mystic proponent Tony Campolo–that they don’t have a problem appearing with anyone as long as they can share their own message? But such an attitude is not scriptural. Ephesians 5:11 says we are to have no fellowship with “the unfruitful works of darkness” but rather expose them.
Sharing a platform with Frank Peretti and Joel Rosenberg gives emerging New Age/new spirituality sympathizers an apparent badge of authenticity and respectability. It implants in the minds of the attendees that if someone like Leonard Sweet is on the same speaking lineup as Frank Peretti, Sweet must be, for the most part, orthodox in his views. But this isn’t just a matter of certain doctrinal differences–this goes much deeper. This has to do with an entirely different spiritual viewpoint, one that does not reflect what biblical Christianity stands for.
It would be well for Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti to remember the words of the apostle Paul who said that believers are to warn against those preaching heresy, not stand with them. Leonard Sweet and William Paul Young and the whole emerging/new spirituality movement are what the Bible refers to as “wild grapes.”
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. Isaiah 5:1-2
Christian leaders should not, in any way, enable “wild grapes” within God’s vineyard. In This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti’s stalwart and faithful Christian believers would expose rather than appear with New Age/new spirituality sympathizers. The back cover of Peretti’s book reiterates this: “Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous New Age plot to subjugate the town’s people, and eventually the entire human race.”
Peretti cites Ephesians 6:12 on the back cover as well. That Scripture states: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Is Peretti forgetting his own exhortation to Christian believers to beware of deceptive New Age spirituality? He rode to prominence defending Christianity against this very thing.
In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen has given a vital plea to believers:
The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.
This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ is dead in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).
Because of this conflict, we can safely assume that Christendom is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly … many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christendom itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. (chapter 1, ATOD)
When Jesus was asked what would be the sign of His return and the end of the world, He warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:4
1. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 106, from page 111, A “Wonderful” Deception by Warren B. Smith
2. Ibid., Acknowledgements and Preface
3. For more information on the spirituality behind The Shack, read Larry DeBruyn’s new book, Unshackled.
4. chapter 10, chapter 11, chapter 12 (A “Wonderful” Deception)