Posts Tagged ‘the Purpose Driven Life’

NEW MOVIE, CAPTIVE: The Stories Behind the Story and Another Plug for The Purpose Driven Movement

LTRP Note: On September 18th, a new movie will hit the theaters, Captive. The film is the story about Ashley Smith, the young woman who was held captive by an escaped murderer and how she convinced him to give himself up. When the incident happened in 2005, it came out in news reports that the woman had read excerpts from The Purpose Driven Life to her captor. Free-lance journalist Paul Proctor wrote three stories about this that year. Because the movie is coming out, we decided to re-post these insightful articles by Paul Proctor (two of the articles are links below the first article). We agree with Proctor, who said while he was “thrilled that Ashley escaped with her life and that no one else was killed,” he was sorry to see the incident turned into a marketing extravaganza for Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life. No doubt, the new movie will be another big plug for “America’s Pastor” and his “New” Spirituality-promoting Purpose Driven movement.

By Paul Proctor

March 26, 2005—A friend called me on my cell phone a couple of weeks ago to share some amazing quotes from the Purpose Driven hostage shortly after her story broke and shot to the top of the human-interest charts. Before he could even finish reading the pertinent excerpts from the article he found, we both agreed that those who stood to benefit the most from this “miracle of God” would exploit it to the very limits of believability and in doing so, further legitimize Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven products, now captivating and confusing the spiritually lame, biblically ignorant and ecclesiastically ambitious around the world.

Of course we all know that nothing sells books, tickets, movies, merchandise, programs, popcorn, cotton candy and Kleenex like a life and death drama with a happy ending. That’s why so many victims and perpetrators who come out of obscurity to suddenly find themselves before the TV cameras end up in some carnivalesque corner of the entertainment industry trying to capitalize on their newfound notoriety and turn it into a cash-producing and/or agenda-advancing career.

If history has taught us anything, it is that pop culture products, performances and personalities don’t have to be good, credible, accurate or even real as long as they stimulate and motivate the masses. That’s why the most popular household appliance sold in America today is not the dishwasher or the clothes washer, but the brainwasher; that big screen fantasy machine that talks you through the highs and lows of life each day like an electronic psychiatrist, while you recline on the couch for hours on end.

When you consider that five corporations control today’s mainstream media, it’s much easier to understand how a nation and even the world can be controlled into thinking, speaking and doing whatever the architects of illusion desire.

Things just don’t happen by chance, they happen by design; and the powers-that-be have carefully planned your future and mine from cradle to grave. By way of seduction and suggestion we are steered deeper into a socialized slavery each day while laughing and crying our way through the facts, feelings and fantasies of a perceived reality called “television.” Their slogan may be: “you decide” but rest assured, they’ve already decided FOR YOU what will and won’t be seen on TV and what commentary and captions will accompany the compelling images they provide.

I’d wager to say that very few, if any, Purpose Driven puppets ever really heard or understood what was being taught them in Ashley Smith’s emotionally charged interview as recorded by CNN. Most, I suspect, were just elated to learn that the “People’s Pastor” had finally been validated in secular society by a Purpose Driven “miracle.”

But, now that the euphoria has subsided somewhat, look again and reconsider carefully what she actually said:

SMITH: “We went to my room. And I asked him if I could read. He said, ‘What do you want to read?’ ‘Well, I have a book in my room.’ So I went and got it. I got my Bible. And I got a book called The Purpose-Driven Life. I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was Chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it. After I read it, he said, ‘Stop, will you read it again?’ I said, ‘Yeah. I’ll read it again.’ So I read it again to him. It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was. What were you—what talents were you given? What gifts were you given to use? And I asked him what he thought. And he said, ‘I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you.’”

You see, Ashley made a significant choice that day between the Word of God and the words of Warren. Like millions of others who keep Bibles around the house for a second opinion, she chose to read to her captor from Warren’s book instead of God’s Word. And because she made that choice and is still alive today, Ashley is now a hero in the eyes of a nation; and the media has proudly declared hers to be a salvation story and a miracle of deliverance from Almighty God.

I dare say if she had read something Jesus Christ had said, quoting Scripture to Mr. Nichols from her Bible and lived to tell about it, the networks wouldn’t have even allowed her on the air, much less made a big deal out of it. What was the subtle message the architects were teaching us?

Be a hero! – Be Purpose Driven!

No wonder sales of the PDL book spiked! Who wouldn’t want to be a TV hero and a media darling?

When Brian Nichols told Ashley that he thought his purpose was “to talk to people and tell them about you,” I’m sure that made her feel very special; but the absurd implication of that statement seemed to escape most teary-eyed Christians I know; that God had four people shot dead at the courthouse that day in Atlanta just so Nichols could spend the rest of his life telling everyone about Ashley Smith. If it hasn’t registered yet, that’s horizontal worship, aka: idolatry; and THAT, my friends, is what the church growth movement is all about; worshiping one another and our collective achievements in the name of Jesus. That’s why the emphasis is always on relationships rather than righteousness.

SMITH: “But after we began to talk, he said he thought that I was an angel sent from God. And that I was his sister and he was my brother in Christ. And that he was lost and God led him right to me to tell him that he had hurt a lot of people.”

Well, in spite of Brian Nichols’ thoughts and feelings, Ashley is not “an angel sent from God.” She is quite human and has, as Warren admitted on Larry King Live, a less than angelic past. In addition, Mr. Nichols might consider himself to be a “lost brother in Christ,” but I assure you; THERE IS NO SUCH THING. He is either lost OR he is a brother in Christ. He cannot be both simultaneously. Furthermore, a brother in Christ does not gun down innocent people in a court of law, flee for his life, take hostages and threaten to kill them.

SMITH: “I said, ‘Do you believe in miracles? Because if you don’t believe in miracles—you are here for a reason. You’re here in my apartment for some reason. You got out of that courthouse with police everywhere, and you don’t think that’s a miracle? You don’t think you’re supposed to be sitting right here in front of me listening to me tell you, you know, your reason here?’ I said, ‘You know, your miracle could be that you need to—you need to be caught for this,’ Smith continued. ‘You need to go to prison and you need to share the Word of God with them, with all the prisoners there.'”

This is not the Gospel of Christ being shared, friends; this is a frightened woman appealing to a desperate man through his ego, using anything she can think of including God, sympathy, flattery, family, food and friendship to win his trust and just stay alive. Under the circumstances, I don’t fault her for any of this; but let’s just call it what it is. I also don’t fault either of them for their confusion about God, His miracles and His purpose for their lives, considering their obvious lack of biblical knowledge, discernment and understanding.

I do, however, find it absolutely outrageous that a degree-holding, seminary educated, mega-church pastor like Rick Warren would take advantage of this terrible tragedy and the gross ignorance and confusion of those involved and twist it into something he can use to plug his book, his programs, and his upcoming faith-based global socialist P.E.A.C.E. Plan! That is unacceptable behavior, and he ought to be ashamed!

The real travesty that day was this: The Gospel of Christ was not proclaimed, no one repented, and no one was saved; at least not spiritually, which would have been a miracle indeed. According to the reports and interviews I’ve read, Smith and Nichols discussed a lot of heartwarming things in their lives but not Jesus Christ, the cross, His death, burial, resurrection, shed blood or redemptive plan for mankind. From what I can ascertain, their focus was, like Warren’s, on a Purpose Driven Life, not eternal life in Christ.

Nichols did not surrender to Jesus Christ or anyone else for that matter; he was turned in to the authorities by his hostage and taken into custody without incident a short time later.

It just blows my mind that the church today thinks they have a monopoly on kindness and generosity; that displaying such things to strangers somehow MEANS you’re an official “child of God! This is the counterfeit Christianity that the world is just wild about today; the new paradigm for the postmodern church: a religion of relationships, social service, and psychology, offered up in the name of our Homeboy, Jesus.

This kind of Christianity doesn’t even need a Divine Savior or the Word of God, and is replacing both at church with what amounts to religious volunteerism—a politically correct value system and service organization comprised of smiley-faced worker bees that embrace no real doctrine, theology or belief beyond a luv for fellow man.

For a kind word and a drink, you can get THAT at any bar in town! One of the most loyal, unpretentious, unselfish people I know in this life is an atheist. He would give you or me the shirt off his back and do almost anything for anyone, yet he claims no God exists. When is the dumbed-down church of horizontal worship and service going to wake up from this Purpose Driven delusion and realize that our good deeds and human relationships mean nothing without a knowledge of, belief in, and obedience to, the Word of God?

Larry King mentioned during his interview the other night with Warren that a copy of The Purpose Driven Life was found in the back seat of [wife-murderer] Scott Peterson’s car. They concluded that, in light of the outcome, he must not have read it. Here we have support from the LIBERAL media and its premier talk show host, an agnostic! That right there ought to tell you something’s askew! How do we know Scott Peterson DIDN’T read it? Maybe the absence of tears and remorse the media and their expert psychologists condemned him for was really Scott gracefully accepting his newfound purpose in life on death row? That killing his wife and unborn son is what made it all possible. Same logic.

Anyway, call the Purpose Driven hostage outcome anything you want; but it was not a miracle. It was only reported as such because the book she chose to read from that day is published by a subsidiary of one of those big five corporations I mentioned earlier. They have a vested interest in Warren’s success and none in Jesus Christ’s.

I am thrilled that Ashley escaped with her life and that no one else was killed, including Mr. Nichols; but don’t let the media hype this into something it was not. If I’ve learned anything about the “wide gate and the broad way,” it’s that the crowd is ALWAYS wrong.

I wish only the best for Ms. Smith and her little girl and sincerely hope that Brian Nichols confesses, repents, and surrenders to the One who works REAL miracles and doesn’t end up a Purpose Driven hostage himself.

Used with permission from Paul Proctor.

The other articles Paul Proctor wrote about the Purpose Driven hostage story:

Voices

A Story of Two Redemptions?

NEW BOOKLET – The Shack and Its New Age Leaven

The Shack and Its New Age Leaven written by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet The Shack and its New Age Leaventract 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

By Warren B. Smith

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.

Endnotes:
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.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid.
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.

Rick Warren Biographer, George Mair, Passes Away at 83 – The Rest of the Story

By Deborah Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails

I read the headlines this week of a Dana Point Times article titled “Former Dana Point Resident, Author George Mair Passes Away.” My heart dropped when I saw that George was gone.  The article described some of George’s accomplishments:

Mair was the author of nearly 53 books, mainly biographies of famous people,  many of which were unauthorized, including books on Oprah Winfrey, Liza  Minnelli . . . .

During his career he served as chief staff writer for the Speaker of the House  Jim Wright in Washington D.C. He also wrote award-winning editorials and  documentaries for KNX News and worked at HBO in New York.

The article named another biography that George wrote: “[Mair’s] 2005 book, A Life with Purpose, about Minister Rick Warren, the  founder of Saddleback Church, created quite a stir among Warren’s staff and  followers.”

It is that book that brought Lighthouse Trails into the life of this celebrity biographer.  This is the story of what happened to a man who tried to praise Rick Warren but got caught in the crossfire instead. We write this testament as a memorial to George and also as a plea to Christians to try to understand what lies beneath The Purpose Driven Movement.

In early 2005, Lighthouse Trails was deeply involved in researching Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Movement. One day, we heard about a biography written about Rick Warren by an author unknown to us at the time, George Mair. We purchased a copy of the book, which we could see clearly just by the title and subtitle was a book of praise to Rick Warren: A Life With Purpose, Reverend Rick Warren, the most inspiring pastor of our time. I read the book with fascination. If I had known nothing about Rick Warren, I would have come away from reading that book with a glowing opinion of Rick Warren. George ended his book, which was really a biographical sketch of Warren’s ministry years, like this:

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Rick Warren and his Saddleback ministry have influenced millions of people around the world. . . . What’s remarkable is that in spite of all his accomplishments, Rick has never become complacent. He continues to work tirelessly to expand and develop this dynamic ministry, pushing the envelope of Christian evangelism. . . .  Perhaps most remarkable is the way that Rick has managed to spread his message while avoiding the corrupting influences of fame and fortune. (p. 210)

After I finished reading the book, I thought our author Ray Yungen may wish to read it too so I passed it on to him. A few days later, Ray called and said, “Do you realize what is in that book?” Ray, an avid researcher for over twenty five years,  read me the following words from page 193 of George Mair’s book to me:

Rick taps the best and the most famous to help train church leaders to be like Jesus. He has hired Ken Blanchard, author of the best-selling The One Minute Manager, to come to Saddleback to help train people how to be effective leaders at home, in business, in school, and in church. It is a dramatic and impressive move, one that is typical of Rick Warren.

Ray explained that he had been researching Ken Blanchard for many years. Blanchard, he said, has been a consistent advocate for eastern-style meditation and has written the forewords and endorsements for many New Age meditation books. There was no question in Ray’s mind that Blanchard would have a profound negative influence on Rick Warren’s followers as far as his stance on mystical meditation was concerned.

We decided to do our own research to validate what George Mair said in his book. We wanted to know for sure that Rick Warren had told his congregation that he was going to use Ken Blanchard to train leaders. In our research over the next week or so, we came across the sermon where Rick introduced Ken Blanchard to his congregation. It just so happens that one of the people in the congregation that day was George Mair. Here is what Rick Warren said:

Ken [Blanchard] has signed on to help with the Peace Plan, and he’s going to be helping train us in leadership and in how to train others to be leaders all around the world. In fact, he was here this week and I’ve asked him to just give a little video greeting.

If you would like to hear it yourself, click here and go to the 35 minute mark.

On April 19, 2005, when we completed our research, we wrote a press release titled, “Rick Warren Teams Up With New-Age Guru Ken Blanchard!” Little did we know at the time that this report would get back to Rick Warren, and his reaction would be remarkable. What occurred left such an impression on former New Age follower Warren B. Smith, that he wrote two entire chapters on the episode in his book, A “Wonderful” Deception. In his book, Warren Smith wrote the following:

“From all appearances, Ken Blanchard would be playing an important role in helping to fulfill the “equip leaders” part of Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. This was confirmed two weeks later when Warren appeared with Blanchard at the Lead Like Jesus Celebration in Birmingham. When Warren spoke at the conference, he stated that he and Blanchard were “working together” on the P.E.A.C.E. Plan:

Rick Warren: “[T]here is a dramatic shortage of servant leadership in the world. I’ve traveled all around the world, and people are following the wrong model of leadership. . . .

Rick Warren: “So, we’ve come up with a little plan called the Peace Plan. You and I [addressing Blanchard] are working together on this. The Peace Plan, P E A C E, Jesus, the master servant leader, was the Prince of Peace. . . . P stands for plant churches, E stands for equip leaders, and that’s what we’re here for today. . . . It is my goal and vision and your goal and vision to be used of God to raise up millions and millions of local churches and businesses and everybody else to Plant churches, Equip leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation. That can only be done when we get the right model of leadership.”

“On April 19, 2005, Lighthouse Trails issued a press release, quoting George Mair’s book that Warren had “hired” Blanchard to work with him on the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Lighthouse Trails warned of the serious New Age implications of allowing someone as undiscerning as Blanchard to teach Christians around the world how to “lead like Jesus.” The press release documented many of Blanchard’s New Age endorsements including Deepak Chopra’s book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and a book titled What Would Buddha Do at Work? for which Blanchard wrote the foreword. . . .

“On the day Rick Warren introduced his P.E.A.C.E. Plan at Saddleback Church and announced that Ken Blanchard had “signed on” to help with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, George Mair was sitting in the congregation. At the time, Mair probably had no idea that Blanchard had endorsed New Age books and had personal ties to Norman Vincent Peale. He had assumed that when someone “signed on” they had been “hired”—an understandable assumption. But Warren and Saddleback apologist Richard Abanes were quick to take Mair to task for saying Blanchard had been “hired” by Warren. They said Blanchard had not been “hired.” He had volunteered. This issue would become a major point of contention for [Rick] Warren and his Saddleback defense team. In using it, attention would be deflected away from the real problem of Blanchard’s New Age sympathies and Warren’s wanting to utilize him to train leaders worldwide for the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

“Suddenly George Mair was a target for stating that Rick Warren had “hired” Ken Blanchard to train people around the world to “lead like Jesus.” It was not George Mair, but the Lighthouse Trails press release that brought Blanchard’s New Age propensities to light. Yet despite Saddleback’s effort to discredit George Mair and his book, the question many people were asking was—”why would a self-professing Evangelical Christian like Rick Warren choose a New Age sympathizer like Ken Blanchard to train people to “lead like Jesus?”; And just what “Jesus” was Blanchard pointing people to—the Jesus of the Bible or the ‘Jesus” of the New Age? Did Blanchard even know the difference? Obviously, the “Jesus” of the New Age/New Spirituality books that Blanchard has often endorsed is “another Jesus.””  (from chapter 5 of A “Wonderful” Deception)

The excerpt above was written by Warren B. Smith nearly four years after our April 2005 press release. Backing up, about one month after our press release came out, on May 31, I received an e-mail from Rick Warren early that morning. It turns out he sent it fifteen minutes after midnight on the 31st, and thus we came to nick name it “the midnight email.”

The e-mail was rather long, and I could tell at first reading that the majority of it was inaccurate statements. I first wanted to verify that it really was from Rick Warren, so I called Saddleback and was connected to his office assistant who confirmed that he had indeed sent the e-mail to me. As we weren’t sure just how to respond, we waited through that first day telling only two trusted colleagues that we had received an e-mail from Rick Warren. However, by late afternoon, I was receiving phone calls from around the country from people who knew about the e-mail. We found out that Rick Warren had his then chief apologist, Richard Abanes, post his e-mail on a very popular forum, and thus, by the afternoon of the same day I received it, the e-mail had been widely circulated. That would have been OK, but unfortunately most of the e-mail was erroneous.

It was in this e-mail that Rick Warren began his campaign to discredit George Mair where he called Mair “an unbeliever, evidently want[ing] to make a quick buck turning out a book on me.” What Rick Warren did not know at the time was that George Mair had been attending Saddleback for two years while he was writing the book and, as I was later to learn, had given over $800 in offerings to the church. How Rick Warren surmised that Mair was not a believer or “not even born again” as Warren’s e-mail to me stated, is a mystery I still don’t know. The two had never talked.

It wasn’t too long after Rick Warren’s e-mail was posted on Abanes’ forum that statements started circulating on the Internet that George was a “fraud” and a “liar.” Some of those statements are still circulating today. We didn’t know George at the time, but we knew this that his book had hit a nerve with Rick Warren, and as Warren Smith points out in A “Wonderful” Deception, it probably wasn’t just Ken Blanchard, but it was the fact that Mair talked about the connection between Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Norman Vincent Peale. Either way, there was an all-out effort to discredit George Mair. Ironically, our April press release didn’t even need to mention George Mair because we had gathered our own documentation to prove that what Mair said was accurate.

Rick Warren’s e-mail to me said that Mair’s book  had “literally hundreds of errors and made-up conclusions.” This was an absolute lie. We later went carefully over every page of Mair’s book, and with the exception of possibly a few insignificant inaccuracies (such as when he and Kay actually became sweethearts), the book was, on the contrary to what Rick Warren said, a revealing account of the church growth, seeker friendly, purpose driven, run away freight train.

For instance, Mair stated in his book:

Norman Vincent Peale is, to many, the most prophetic and moving New Age preacher of the twentieth century. He is also the father of the self-help movement that formed the groundwork for the Church Growth Movement. Peale formed perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful link between religion and psychology of any religious leader in history. It is this same approachable, therapeutic brand of religion that many mega churches, including Saddleback, put forward today. It is this kind of religion that is so appealing to the masses of unchurched men and women that Rick Warren hopes to reach . . .

“Norman Vincent Peale is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures in modern American Christianity.” But no matter what people think about his theories, they have to acknowledge Peale’s remarkable unification of psychology and theology. Without that unification, mega churches wouldn’t exist today. . . . In that sense, Saddleback distinctly bears the stamp of Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. (from chapter 4, A “Wonderful” Deception)

Knowing of the occultic background of Norman Vincent Peale, its no wonder Rick Warren did not like George Mair’s book. It connected Rick Warren with Peale! Poor George, though, had only intended on writing a glowing report about Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Movement. Little did he know that Ray Yungen and Warren Smith, two men who understood spiritual deception and some of its primary leaders (such as Peale and Blanchard) would be using his book to uncover the roots of The Purpose Driven Movement.

After I saw the vitriolic attempts to hurt George Mair, when I knew what he had written was for the most part accurate (and very enlightening), I decided to try to find him, which I did. As we talked on the phone that first time, I told George what had been going on. He had already learned from a friend what was being said about him. He was very wounded by Rick Warren’s behavior. In a written letter, he told us:

I am stunned by the viciousness of the attacks on me although I know that sort of thing happens (never has in my 20 or so previous works). . . . Even more curious to me is what happened to the concept of Christian charity.

You see George had admired Rick Warren greatly. Now, he was very concerned about the things being said. He confided in me one day, that he was actually afraid for his life. He lived right in the hub of the Southern California mega church kingdom, living fairly close to Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral, Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Benn Hinn’s home, and Saddleback Church. He told me he was afraid that some crazy person would try to kill him in order to defend Rick Warren.

Richard Abanes had a lot to do with the slander being spread about Mair. George told me he had never run into this kind of thing with such vehemence ever in his life. One day he called me and told me that a friend of his who worked for the California Attorney General’s Office had advised him to file a Hate Crime against Rick Warren because of what was going on and George’s fear for his safety. George called to get my opinion. That was a difficult phone call for me because I believed that George was genuinely concerned about bodily harm coming to him. But I told him that I did not trust the Hate Crime laws, that I believed one day they would be used to imprison innocent citizens, and I could not recommend that he do that. In the end, George decided not to file. He told me once it was because of what I told him.

George’s book, A Life With Purpose, had been published by Penguin publishers, one of the largest secular publishers. The book did very well, George told me, but when it was time to go to reprint, his publisher told him the book was too controversial, and they would not reprint. George said to me that he believed the publisher had been threatened with a lawsuit. It would be the last book George would ever publish.

Within a few years after the release of A Life With Purpose, George became sick with the illness that took his life a couple weeks ago.  George and I talked several times on the phone, and over the course of the years, I sent him most of the books we published, which he said he read every one of them and loved them all. I asked George once if he was a Christian, (after all – Rick Warren said he was an “unbeliever” and “not even born again”), and he told me he was. I don’t know if George ever heard the Gospel at Saddleback, but I know he was able to hear it through our books.

George and I eventually lost contact with each other, but in January of this year, I received a call from him. He said he was fighting the illness still but he had hopes of a full recovery. I sent him more books, ones he hadn’t read yet (including Let There Be Light by Roger Oakland) and some of our Shepherd’s Tea. George called me a few more times after that and told me he wanted to write a new book. We brainstormed together for a few minutes, and he came up with an idea of writing a book about how Christianity had been bought out by big corporation dollars and was missing the point of true Christianity. I told him I thought that sounded like a great idea for a book. “Let’s talk about it soon, George,” I said to him. He agreed, and we hung up. It was the last time I talked to George Mair. When I learned this week that he had passed away, I knew it would be important to share the story of how Lighthouse Trails and a celebrity biographer crossed paths.


Afterthought:

From A “Wonderful” Deception:

In his e-mail to Lighthouse Trails, the pastor with a reputation for being “seeker-friendly” was anything but “seeker-friendly” with George Mair. Although Rick Warren has stated on numerous occasions that there are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, he made it clear in his e-mail [to Lighthouse Trails] he did not consider Mair to be one of them.. . . Many people felt empathy for George Mair. All he did was write a positive, upbeat account of Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven movement. It was a given that Mair was a popular writer who knew he had a good story in Warren. But the fact of the matter is that he wrote a very flattering account of Warren’s life and ministry. . . . On paper—book or no book—George Mair would seem to be the kind of person Rick Warren would want to reach out to and try to encourage in the faith. Yet Warren expressed nothing but disdain for this man who had only good things to say about him. Mair had obviously hit a very sensitive nerve with Warren. (From A “Wonderful” Deception – to read the full account of Rick Warren’s connection with Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale, please read this book.)

The “Wonderful” Deception of the Purpose Driven Paradigm

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?—Jeremiah 5:30-31

LTRP Note: The following is an excerpt from Warren B. Smith’s new book, A “Wonderful” Deception. The book begins with a recap of Smith’s earlier book, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church. Because more and more churches everyday are deciding to adopt the  “Purpose Driven,” paradigm, this material is vital to understand. Please feel free to print and distribute this posting. If you would like it in a printable PDF with preface, introduction and endnotes, click here.

by Warren B. Smith
“Deceived on Purpose”
(from chapter 1 of A “Wonderful” Deception)

I was working as a hospice social worker on the California coast in the late summer of 2003 when I first read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Having been formerly involved in the New Age movement, I immediately recognized some serious New Age implications to Warren’s Purpose Driven movement. Feeling compelled to warn the church about the spiritual confusion that could result from some of his teachings, I resigned my hospice job to write Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church. The book was published in August of 2004.

In Deceived on Purpose, while I did not describe Rick Warren or his Purpose Driven Church as “New Age,” I did point out the many New Age implications regarding his teachings and the danger those teachings posed for the church.

Because Saddleback apologists have misrepresented these warnings and because my concerns have grown significantly since I wrote Deceived on Purpose, I have written this follow-up book. To lay a proper foundation for A “Wonderful” Deception, I will briefly summarize some of the basic concerns I expressed in Deceived on Purpose. I will recap these in the remainder of this first chapter.

Ten Basic Concerns

1) Rick Warren Cites New Age Leader
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren introduces his main themes of “hope” and “purpose.” Inexplicably, Warren chooses to introduce “hope” and “purpose” in his book by citing Dr. Bernie Siegel—a veteran New Age leader who claims to have a spirit-guide named George.1 Somehow, readers of The Purpose Driven Life are expected to believe that God inspired Warren to introduce the themes of hope and purpose by referencing the “wisdom” of Bernie Siegel, an author and leader in the New Age movement. But the Bible warns that this kind of worldly wisdom is not from God and can confuse and stumble believers, and completely mislead unbelievers:

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (James 3:15)

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)

2) Rick Warren Sends Confusing New Age Message: “God is in everything”
Out of the fifteen different Bible versions Rick Warren uses in The Purpose Driven Life, he chooses to cite Ephesians 4:6 from a new translation that erroneously conveys the panentheistic New Age teaching that God is “in” everything. According to New Age leaders, this teaching is foundational to the New Age/New Spirituality.2 Yet of these fifteen Bible versions Warren uses in his book, he chooses the New Century Version that has potentially misled millions of Purpose Driven readers to believe this key New Age doctrine that God is “in” everything. Regarding God, Warren writes:

The Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything”3

The New Century Version quoted by Rick Warren verbalizes what A Course in Miracles and my other New Age books taught me years ago—that God is “in” everyone and everything. This completely misrepresents what the apostle Paul is saying in Ephesians 4:6. In Deceived on Purpose, I explain:

In this Scripture Paul is not writing to the world at large. The book of Ephesians is Paul’s letter to the Church of Ephesus and to the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 1:1 he makes it clear that he is writing to “the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

According to properly translated Scripture, God is not “in” everyone and everything, and God’s Holy Spirit only indwells those who truly accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 14:15-17; Acts 5:32). In Deceived on Purpose, I wrote:

Because the Church of Ephesus was composed of believers who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, God had sent His Holy Spirit to them. Therefore, as a result of their conversion God’s Holy Spirit resided in them all. Thus, Paul is only addressing the believers of Ephesus and the “faithful in Christ Jesus” when he stated that God is “above all, and through all, and in you all.” He was not saying that God is present in unbelievers. He was not saying that God is “in” everyone and “in” everything. That is what the New Age teaches.4

It is vital to understand the difference in renderings of Ephesians 4:6. Compare the New Century Version that Rick Warren quotes with the King James Bible:

He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything. (NCV)

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (KJV)

3) Rick Warren and The Message
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren cites Eugene Peterson’s The Message more than any other Bible version. The Message is laden with its own set of questionable New Age implications. In the first chapter of The Purpose Driven Life, five of the six Scriptures Warren cites come from The Message. Warren states that The Message is a Bible “paraphrase,” yet he frequently writes, “the Bible says” when quoting from The Message.5

One of the many examples of the New Age implications of The Message is seen in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. Where most translations read “in earth, as it is in heaven,” Peterson inserts the occult/New Age phrase “as above, so below.” The significance of this mystical occult saying is seen clearly in As Above, So Below, a book published in 1992 by the editors of New Age Journal. Chief editor Ronald S. Miller describes how the occult/magical saying “as above, so below” conveys the “fundamental truth about the universe”—the teaching that “we are all one” because God is “immanent” or “within” everyone and everything. Miller writes:

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: “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. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.6

Miller continues describing the meaning of “as above, so below” by quoting Sufi scholar Reshad Field:

“‘As above, so below’ means that the two worlds are instantaneously seen to be one when we realize our essential unity with God. . . . The One and the many, time and eternity, are all One.”7 (ellipsis in original)

In 2004 when I searched “as above, so below” on the Internet, the first entry listed further defined this “key” New Age term:

This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. “‘That which is above is the same as that which is below’ . . . The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man.”8

Most of the references, either on websites or in books and magazines containing the phrase “as above, so below” describe the term as having the same occult/mystical/New Age/esoteric/magical sources. One website states:

This ancient phrase, “As above, so below” describes the Oneness of All That Is.9

In Deceived on Purpose, I discuss my concerns over Rick Warren placing such great emphasis on Eugene Peterson’s The Message. When I looked up Ephesians 4:6 in The Message, Peterson’s paraphrase (like the New Century Version) also definitely lends itself to the New Age interpretation that God is present “in” everyone. In The Message, Peterson introduces his readers—with no parenthetical warnings or explanations—to the concept of ‘Oneness’:

You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.10

The “as above, so below” God “in” everything “Oneness” message of Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase The Message sounds strikingly similar to the same “as above, so below” God “in” everything “Oneness” message of the New Age/New Spirituality. Such a teaching is contrary to what the Bible teaches. We are only “one” in Christ Jesus when we repent of our sins and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Galatians 3:26-28 states:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

4) The Purpose Driven Life’s Distorted View of Bible Prophecy
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren strongly discourages the study of prophecy. He states that “in essence” Jesus told his disciples: “The details of my return are none of your business.”11 Contrary to what Warren writes, in Jesus’ discussion on the Mount of Olives, He tells His disciples that an understanding of the details of His return is very important. He provides much needed prophetic information so that His followers will not be deceived about the details of His return at the end of time. In Deceived on Purpose, I explain:

He warns that there will be false teachers and false teachings that will try to confuse the details of His return. He provides the prophetic detail because He didn’t want His disciples, or any of us, mistaking Antichrist’s arrival for His own return. He initiates His lengthy prophetic discourse by saying, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” He ends His discussion by warning them to “watch” and “be ready.”12

As someone who has come out of New Age teachings, I find it very disturbing that Rick Warren writes that the details of Jesus’ return are none of our business. In Deceived on Purpose, I talk about the role that these details had in my own eventual conversion:

Understanding the events surrounding His return was critical to understanding how badly I had been deceived by my New Age teachings. I had learned from reading the Bible that there is a false Christ on the horizon and that for a number of years I had unknowingly been one of his followers. Because the Bible’s clear authoritative teachings about the real Jesus and His true return had been brought to my attention, I was able to see how deceived I was. By understanding that there is a false Christ trying to counterfeit the true Christ’s return, I was able to renounce the false Christ I had been following and commit my life to the true Jesus Christ.13

5) Rick Warren and John Marks Templeton
Rick Warren unwittingly lent himself to the “purposes” of New Age sympathizer John Marks Templeton, as shown in Deceived on Purpose:

Even as I write, [New Age leader] Neale Donald Walsch’s New Age colleague Wayne Dyer is teaching the principles of the New Spirituality to an unsuspecting American public on a 3-hour PBS television special. His subject? The power of intention and purpose. While Dyer was cleverly presenting the New Spirituality by talking about the power of “purpose,” Rick Warren was judging a “Power of Purpose” essay contest for the New Age-based Templeton Foundation. John Templeton—with his strong New Age and metaphysical leanings—believes in a “shared divinity between God and humanity.”14

I pointed out that the late Templeton had been featured on the cover of Robert Schuller’s Possibilities magazine and was described as “my wonderful role model” by Neale Donald Walsch.

6) Robert Schuller’s Influence on Rick Warren
I discovered that Rick Warren had been greatly influenced by Robert Schuller and that he frequently used unattributed material from Schuller’s writings. In promoting his 2004 Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership, Schuller stated that Warren was a graduate of his Institute.15 Furthermore, on an April 4, 2004 Hour of Power television broadcast, Schuller described how Warren had come to his Institute for Successful Church Leadership “time after time.”16 And Rick Warren’s wife, Kay, was quoted in a 2002 Christianity Today article saying that Schuller “had a profound influence on Rick.”17

In reading Schuller’s past writings, it soon became apparent that Schuller had indeed greatly influenced Rick Warren’s ministry and that Warren often used Schuller’s material without any attribution to Schuller.

One of the many examples where Warren emulates Schuller’s material can be seen in the following comparison of their writings. In his 1982 book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Robert Schuller writes:

Our very survival “as a species depends on hope. And without hope we will lose the faith that we can cope.”18

Twenty years later in his 2002 book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes:

Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope.19

Another example of how Rick Warren mirrors Robert Schuller is found in Warren’s 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church. He concludes his book by writing:

Accept the challenge of becoming a purpose-driven church! The greatest churches in history are yet to be built.20

Rick Warren’s statement is almost a direct quote from Schuller’s 1986 book Your Church Has A Fantastic Future!, which quotes a pastor saying:

Ten years ago, I heard Dr. Robert Schuller say at his leadership conference, “The greatest churches in the world are yet to be built!”21

These are just two of many other examples I found where Rick Warren uses unattributed material from Schuller’s writings and teachings. In Deceived on Purpose, I wrote:

The more I read Robert Schuller, the more I was shocked at how so many of Rick Warren’s thoughts, ideas, references, words, terms, phrases, and quotes in The Purpose Driven Life seemed to be directly inspired by Schuller’s writings and teachings.22

7) Rick Warren and Robert Schuller’s “New Reformation” & “God’s Dream”
Rick Warren’s proposed “New Reformation” and his “God’s Dream” Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan are strikingly similar to Robert Schuller’s proposed “New Reformation” and his “God’s Dream” plan “to redeem society.” The only real difference between their basic plans is that Schuller proposed his “New Reformation” and “God’s Dream” plan twenty years previous to Warren. In his 1982 book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller called for a “New Reformation” in the church.23 To accomplish this New Reformation he frequently invoked the metaphor “God’s Dream” to describe God’s “great plan to redeem society.”24 Twenty years later, Warren was also calling for a “New Reformation” in the church.25 To accomplish his proposed New Reformation, Warren also invoked the “God’s Dream” metaphor that Schuller had used over two decades earlier to describe his New Reformation and his “plan.”26 Warren described his new reformational P.E.A.C.E. Plan as “God’s Dream For You—And The World!,”27 which also happens to resemble the PEACE Plan proposed by Neale Donald Walsch.

In Deceived on Purpose, I wrote:

Following Schuller’s forty-year commitment to his church, Rick Warren made a forty-year commitment to the Saddleback community. He “grew” his mega-church by faithfully implementing all that he had learned from Schuller. . . . Now Schuller’s concept of “God’s Dream” was being used to inspire millions of Christians to get behind his [Warren’s] 5-Step P.E.A.C.E. Plan to “change the world”—a 5-Step P.E.A.C.E. Plan that, on paper, bore an eerie resemblance to the 5-Step PEACE Plan proposed by Neale Donald Walsch and his New Age “God.”28

8) New Age Embraces Schuller’s New Reformation
In Neale Donald Walsch’s 2002 book, The New Revelations, Walsch and his New Age “God” praise Robert Schuller’s ministry and laud Schuller’s call for a New Reformation. Walsch describes how he and his “God” are also calling for a “New Reformation.” In fact, they commend Schuller and believe that Schuller’s New Reformation can merge with their plan to help bridge the divide between the Christian church and the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality. They also present their New Reformation in the form of a 5-Step PEACE Plan29 that is similarly put forth in the form of an acronym—much like Rick Warren’s 5-Step P.E.A.C.E. Plan.30 In The New Revelations: A Conversation with God, Walsch, in a conversation with his “God,” states:

Rev. Robert H. Schuller, the American Christian minister who founded the famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, said twenty years ago in his book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation that what is needed is a second reformation within the Church, to move it away from its message of fear and guilt, retribution, and damnation, and toward a theology of self-esteem.31

Walsch quotes Schuller as saying that the “church” is “failing at the deepest level to generate within human beings that quality of personality that can result in the kinds of persons that would make our world a safe and sane society.”32 Walsch continues his conversation with “God” about Robert Schuller:

Dr. Schuller went on to suggest that “sincere Christians and church-persons can find a theological launching point of universal agreement if they can agree on the universal right and uncompromising need of every person to be treated with great respect simply because he or she is a human being!”33

Walsch then calls Schuller an “extraordinary minister” and quotes him again as saying:

“As a Christian, a theologian, and a churchman within the Reformed tradition, I must believe that it is possible for the church to exist even though it may be in serious error in substance, strategy, style or spirit.”34

Walsch adds:

But, he [Schuller] said, ultimately “theologians must have their international, universal, transcreedal, transcultural, transracial standard.”35

Walsch’s “God” answers Walsch:

Rev. Schuller was profoundly astute in his observations and incredibly courageous in making them public. I hope he is proud of himself!

I suggest that such an international, universal, transcreedal, transcultural, transracial standard for theology is the statement: “We Are All One. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.”

This can be the gospel of a New Spirituality. It can be a kind of spirituality that gives people back to themselves.36

I do not believe it is just coincidence that Neale Donald Walsch—like Robert Schuller and Rick Warren—is also calling for a New Reformation. Nor do I believe it is a coincidence that Walsch and his “God” identify with Schuller and suggest Schuller’s New Reformation as a prototype for their PEACE Plan. Nor do I believe it is a coincidence that Warren has also used Schuller’s New Reformation as the prototype for his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and that both the New Age and Warren have devised 5-Step PEACE Plans to encourage their mutual calls for a New Reformation.
Other New Age leaders, like Bernie Siegel and Gerald Jampolsky also praise Robert Schuller and endorse his writings and teachings.37 Jampolsky and Schuller have mutually endorsed each other’s books.38 In his book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller favorably cites Jampolsky and praises the New Age leader for his “profound theology.”39 Yet it is Jampolsky who first introduced me to the teachings of A Course in Miracles when I was in the New Age movement. I would later discover to my amazement that A Course in Miracle groups were meeting on the grounds of Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral back in 1985.40 I would also learn that Schuller has had an ongoing relationship with his “dear friend” Gerald Jampolsky from the early 1980s up through the present day.41 And it is not surprising that Bernie Siegel—the New Age leader Rick Warren cites in The Purpose Driven Life—had been a long-time member of the Board of Advisors for Jampolsky’s A Course in Miracles-based New Age Attitudinal Healing Centers.42

9) The Implications of Schuller’s Influence on Rick Warren
It became evident to me that Rick Warren was incorporating Robert Schuller’s plans and teachings into the Evangelical church. Whether it is “God’s Dream,” God “in” everything, the “New Reformation,” or something else, the non-referenced writings and teachings of Robert Schuller have been gradually introduced into the Evangelical church through Rick Warren. In Deceived on Purpose, I wrote:

[I]t seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was to mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional “Bible-based” wing of the Church. Many believers who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically, do not trust Robert Schuller. Rick Warren’s “magic” seems to be able to make the teachings of Robert Schuller palatable to believers who would have otherwise never accepted these same teachings had they come directly from Schuller himself.43

Recognizing the overwhelming influence that Robert Schuller has had on Rick Warren and thousands of other pastors, I explain in Deceived on Purpose that “The Purpose Driven Church campaign to enlist every man, woman and child into its ranks to ‘do’ the P.E.A.C.E. Plan and to ‘do’ God’s Dream did not have its origins at Saddleback Church or in the singly inspired mind of Rick Warren.”44 The spiritual foundation of the Purpose Driven movement can be found in the writings and teachings of Schuller’s fifty-year ministry. While Warren and other Christian leaders and organizations “forge new Purpose-Driven alliances around the world, the real architect of this seemingly unsinkable Purpose-Driven ship sits quietly in his office at the Crystal Cathedral.”45

I found it very ironic that while evangelical pastors were studying and speaking at Schuller’s Institute for Successful Church Leadership, A Course in Miracles groups were also meeting in Crystal Cathedral classrooms. Apparently, these pastors “thought that Schuller knew what he was doing because he had a big ‘successful’ church, and they wanted one, too.”46

10) A Serious Concern—A Sober Warning
I concluded Deceived on Purpose by stressing that it is not too late for Rick Warren to recognize how he has been influenced by Robert Schuller and by New Age teachings that are taking the church into the New Spirituality. I wrote:

He [Warren] could open many people’s eyes if he started to expose the differences between biblical Christianity and the deceptive teachings of the New Age and its New Spirituality.47

However, I presented a sober warning regarding Rick Warren and other Christian leaders who remain in denial about the very real threat of this pervasive spiritual deception that will seriously endanger many who are trusting in their judgment. I explained:

Sadly, if Rick Warren and other Christian leaders fall for New Age schemes and devices rather than exposing them, they will take countless numbers of sincere people down with them. It will be the blind leading the blind, as they fall further and further into the deceptive ditch of the New Age and its New Spirituality. Undiscerning Christians, who think they are on “the narrow way” preparing the way for Jesus Christ, may discover too late that they had actually been on “the broad way” preparing the way for Antichrist. It is not too late to warn everyone, but it must be done soon before the deception advances any further.48

It’s Not About Rick Warren
When Deceived on Purpose was published in August 2004, I knew the book would be controversial. The New Age implications I had discussed—particularly in regard to Robert Schuller’s influence on Rick Warren—had not to my knowledge been raised before. As I stated in Deceived on Purpose, my concerns were not personal issues (Matthew 18) between Rick Warren and myself. Because Warren’s book was in the public arena and had been sold and distributed to millions of people, I was approaching Warren and his readers in that same public arena. I wrote my comments respectfully and backed them with Scripture and primary source material. In his previous book The Purpose Driven Church, Warren had written, “I try to learn from critics.”49 Therefore, I hoped he would seriously consider the New Age implications I had brought out regarding his Purpose Driven movement. Would he begin to see what the New Age was really doing? Would he make some adjustments in the way he was presenting things? Would he recognize the necessity to protect the church from the New Age/New Spirituality?

Ultimately, Deceived on Purpose wasn’t about Rick Warren. It was about the schemes of our spiritual adversary—an adversary that the Bible refers to as Satan and “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It was about how this adversary uses undiscerning church leaders like Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, and others to further his cunningly devised New Age/New Spirituality. But would Warren and his Saddleback staff recognize how they were being used? And what would be their response—if any—to my book? After Deceived on Purpose was released, it didn’t take long to get my answers.

(This is chapter 1 of A “Wonderful” Deception. For preface, introduction, chapter 1 and endnotes in a printable format, click here.

Related Information:

More on the Purpose Driven Paradigm and Rick Warren’s “New Reformation


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