Warren: "Annoyed" with Critics - Serving Two Masters Not Working
A SPECIAL LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS COMMENTARY
A recent USA Today article, "Saddleback founder Warren driven to expand his
reach," begins by asking the question "Could California
pastor Rick Warren possibly be everywhere at once?." The article mentions
Warren's global travels, while promoting his Purpose Driven Peace Plan and the recently launched Peace Coalition. The question that should be
asked is "Can pastor Rick Warren possibly serve both God and man at
the same time?." With modern technology, jet travel, Internet and
other high speed communication, and millions of dollars at Warren's
disposal from book sales, the first feat may not be too difficult to
accomplish--in essence Rick Warren is everywhere at once. But the
second, serving both God and man at the same time, is utterly impossible.
The USA Today article gives a few hints regarding Warren's failure
in his attempt to serve both God and man at once. Since the release of The
Purpose Driven Life, Warren has consistently taught that the first
reformation (Luther) was about creeds (doctrines and beliefs) and the
second reformation (the one Rick Warren is attempting to initiate) is about
deeds (i.e., good works). Rarely has he said that this new
"reformation" will be about both deeds AND creeds, and certainly
he has not taught that creeds IS more important that deeds. His emphasis on
creeds (doctrine) has been minimal. But in the USA Today article, he
"Of course, we need creeds ... We
don't need to change what we believe. We need to change how we behave. It's
not creeds or deeds. I didn't say that. It's creeds and deeds.(emphasis added)
This is a
misleading statement by Warren, and many reading it will think he is
defending biblical doctrine. But in reality, he isn't. What he is saying
here is that no matter what your beliefs are, that is OK, but you need to
have deeds. This is not defending biblical doctrine at all. What he is
saying is (and has consistently said throughout the years) that it doesn't
matter what beliefs you have, as long as you do good works. The set of
quotes below are an example of how Warren has placed beliefs on a back
burner while exalting the need for good works:
first Reformation was about beliefs. This one needs to be about behavior.
... We've had a Reformation; what we need now is a transformation."
July 2005 at the Baptist World Alliance with Tony Campolo and Jimmy
Warren called for "a new reformation" to adapt to the
21st-century world. "The first Reformation was about belief; this one
needs to be about behavior."--Rick
Warren, 2005, "A World of Baptists," Associated Baptist
"You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther and then
Calvin, was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be about
behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds; I think this one will be
about deeds. I think the first one was about what the church believes; I
think this one will be about what the church does. The first Reformation
actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different
segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them
Warren, Pew Forum on Religion
has convinced millions of people that a new reformation is going to take
place via the Purpose Driven Movement: a reformation in which good works
(deeds) must be practiced regardless of one's religious beliefs or even
lack of them. What beliefs one holds is secondary, according to Rick
Warren. At the 2005 UN Prayer Breakfast, he told an audience of Christians,
Hindus, and Muslims, "God doesn't care what religion you are." He told acclaimed broadcast journalist and interviewer Charlie
Rose that his Purpose Driven Peace Plan could include homosexuals, and
he told the Pew Forum that his reformation could include
Muslims. And when he says that the first reformation "split
Christianity" and the new one will "bring them [Catholicism and
Protestantism] together, it broadens his reformation kingdom even more.
Rick Warren's reformation is an earthly, man-inspired movement, and this is
why the emphasis cannot be placed on biblical doctrine - it would be too
limiting and constricting. To back up our claims that Warren has not
emphasized biblical doctrine, Lighthouse Trails has documented through books and articles, for more than 6 years,
Warren's long-standing and continuous promotion of a new spirituality that
is ecumenical, mystical, emerging (or merging), compromising, and has
strong implications of the New Age movement.
And yet, even with all the evidence there is to show that Rick Warren is
walking down a path that is heading for something far different than
biblical Christianity, the USA Today article says that "he's
annoyed that anyone questions his evangelical credentials." He has
shown this annoyance many times in many ways. In a book he has used for training leaders and pastors, it
says that opposers (to his program) are like "leaders from hell."
When George Mair wrote a biography about Warren that Warren
didn't like (even though it was a testament of praise), Warren tried to
defame Mair in a most unkind and un-warranted manner. A number of other
examples could be shown here that proves the USA Today article is
accurate when it says "he's annoyed" with anyone who questions
The USA Today article also shows that Warren's view toward what he
calls fundamentalist Christians is just as derogatory as ever. "'There
are all kinds of fundamentalists," he [Warren] says, listing
Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, even secular forms. "I don't
happen to agree with any of them."' Warren's distaste for
fundamentalist Christianity was revealed in January 2006, when a
Philadelphia reporter, attending a Saddleback service, stated: "Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of
all varieties, will be 'one of the big enemies of the 21st century.' ...
Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism,
secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each
other.'" In 2005, at the Pew Forum of Religion, Warren told the mostly
there really aren't that many Fundamentalists left; I don't know if you
know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren't that many
Fundamentalists left in America ... Now the word 'fundamentalist' actually
comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the
Faith.* And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity." 1
brings us to the point we hope to make in this article. Rick Warren has
been trying to appeal to both the secular world and the evangelical
world--he is attempting to serve both "God" and man. Shortly
after he made the comments rejecting the five fundamentals of the faith, he
made a statement, this time to a Christian audience, saying he did not reject them but
rather believed in them. In his efforts to bring about an ecumenical,
global reformation, Rick Warren has attempted to appeal to all persuasions.
But what he says to one audience does not work for another, so he must
change what he says, depending on the occasion and the audience. The reason
it does not work, is because a Christian cannot serve both God and man. The
true Christian cannot work to build a kingdom of this world while trying to
hold onto God's kingdom, one that Jesus said is not of this world.
Rick Warren believes that Christian fundamentalists will have no part in
his new reformation. He believes they are an enemy to the world today. He
likens them to Islamic terrorists. But in actuality, a true Christian
"fundamentalist" is one who believes in the fundamentals of
biblical faith. Thus, his annoyance, anger, and growing frustration should
not be directed at true believers (what he calls fundamentalists).
Scripture is clear: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will
hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). In
Warren's effort to serve the world, he has come to despise the bride of
Right now, in the news, Rick Warren is taking some heat by the secular
media and by homosexual activists for his stand against homosexual
marriage, and Barack Obama is taking heat for asking Warren to participate
at the inauguration. What is so ironic about this is that Rick Warren has
done more to help Obama win than perhaps any other person. That may sound
very far fetched to many, but please consider this: Through various means,
Warren has helped to propel the emerging church, a movement which ignited
possibly millions of young people to join ranks with leaders like Brian
McLaren, Tony Campolo, and Jim Wallis. McLaren, who became an advisor to Obama prior to the election, and
was named as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals by Time magazine, gave the green thumbs up to his followers to vote for
Obama. It is very likely that this huge group of young "progressive
evangelicals" (perhaps well over 20 million, according to some
estimates) tipped the balance toward Obama, giving him the victory. But
that is not all Warren did: In addition to helping propel the emerging
church, Warren's badgering at conservative Christians for focusing too much
on abortion and homosexual marriage eventually gave way to causing
confusion and guilt by many who were Purpose-Driven congregants. That
number, by the way, is high. With 400,000 churches in his network
(worldwide), a conservative number of US followers could easily be well
over 50 million people (300,000 X 250 congregants). So this is why we say
it is ironic that Warren is in the present trouble with the homosexuals and
the secular media. He helped to get them the president they wanted.
Regardless of Rick Warren's reasons for showing a last-minute public
support for California's Proposition 8 (banning homosexual marriage), he is
a man who is attempting to serve both "God" and man. Perhaps
after all these years, since the release of The Purpose Driven Church,
it has finally caught up with him. But where will he find his home? It will
not be with the liberals and homosexuals unless he changes his stance on
homosexual marriage. And it will not be with biblical Christians whom he is
"annoyed" with and whom he has come to despise. Will it be with
the broad group of spiritual "seekers" who are ever looking but
never finding truth because it is never truly presented to them? Some will
see Rick Warren as a Christian martyr for being ridiculed and harassed by
the media and homosexual activists. But Lighthouse Trails can only see him
as one who has been deceived and has taken far too many with him into that
A man of God is not annoyed when he is questioned and challenged, but
rather he seeks to repent and correct his wayward path. If Rick Warren
became single-minded, serving only God, he would stand to lose a lot, but
it would be nothing in comparison to what he would gain. "For what
shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own
soul?" (Mark 8:36)
* The Five Fundamentals of the Faith
1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The Virgin Birth.
3. The Blood Atonement.
4. The Bodily Resurrection.
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures.
Movie Review: Twilight - An Assault on the Atoning Blood of
By Pastor Bill Randles
in Grace Fellowship
Why "Twilight" is spiritually
fatal, and what it shows us about the state of Christian youth.
"... they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside
unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:4)
If someone would have
told me 25 years ago, that one day a popular series of "vampire
romance" books would be accepted and promoted by evangelical
ministries, I wouldn't have been able to believe it. That's why I was
shocked to read this article by Christian documentarian and researcher,
Caryl Matrisciana & Paul Villanueva, click here which documents the glowing reviews of the
occult book series by evangelical publications such as: Campus Life, Focus
on the Family, Christianity Today, Christian Teen, and Christian
Stay at Home Moms Magazine. All gave glowing testimonials, and some
even suggested that the "Twilight" series could become the basis
for Bible discussions and studies!
My purpose isn't to merely echo Caryl Matrisciana & Paul Villanueva's
excellent article, exposing the occult roots of this book series. Rather, I
have a burden to show you why I believe that this literature could have a
completely soul deadening effect on those who are fascinated by its dark
First of all, consider what the 'vampire' myth really is--nothing less than
an obscene parody of the precious gift of God--which is eternal life
through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and by the gift of His blood, offered
to God for us. To God, blood is sacred, those who drink it are an utter
abomination to Him, because of what blood represents. We obtain eternal
life by accepting in faith our share of the offering of the blood of Jesus,
termed precious by God, ... As of a lamb without blemish and without spot
(I Peter 1:19).
In the pagan myth, 'vampires' are those who obtain 'immortality' by sucking
other's blood. The 'immortality' they gain, is literally a damned
existence. They live in the night, they cannot endure light, they feed on
the blood of innocence. Far from just a harmless thrill, Vampirism is the
basis for all sorts of pagan spiritualities. Blood drinking and blood
sacrifice is an everyday reality among animists all over the world.
The vampire fable is nothing less than an all out assault on the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. Consider this, a young person can go to a theater on a
Saturday evening and vicariously fall in love with a vampire, and his
'coven'(family), and then go to church on Sunday morning and partake of the
Lord's supper. That same person on Saturday evening could conceivably root
for a girl to forfeit her own mortal soul, to be the lover of a vampire,
and the next morning go to church and eat the bread and drink the cup of
eternal life! Can one eat at both the Lord's table and the table of demons?
Did you know that this book series was 'given' to a Mormon woman in a
dream, and that she was visited in a subsequent dream by the vampire
"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons, you
cannot partake of the Lord's table and the table of demons." (I Cor
Ah but Pastor it is only a movie! Lighten up! But this is more than a
movie--it is a pagan myth which is a perversion of the only Gospel that can
save us. The movie presents vampires as being attractive, in fact so
attractive that the young lady in the story is willing to become a vampire
to be with her lover. In order to be with her vampire lover, she submits to
being an eternally damned soul! This movie skillfully plays on the emotions
in such a way that the viewer pulls for the mortal young woman to be with
her "lover," a 110-year-old vampire in the form of an attractive
and well-mannered teen.
What the popularity of this film, even among evangelical youth, says about
the state of the church is that we have forgotten what we once knew very
well. That is, you can't fill your mind with all of this paganism without
injuring your relationship with God. We used to know that it is very
possible to "lose your soul," to so jade ourselves by constant,
undiscerning exposure to worldliness, that we render ourselves unable to
pray, to hear the Word, or to live for God.
We once knew that to voluntarily expose ourselves to blasphemy and sexual
sin--not to mention something as blatantly spiritual as Vampirism--was
something to be shunned, avoided, that it was soul deadening, and injurious
to our Christian walk.
Another thing the popularity of this movie shows us is the loss of the
sense of the sacred among Christians. Paul warned the Christians in
Ephesus, to: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness
but rather expose them."(Ephesians 5:11)
Where is the sense of the sacred? The idea of the sacred is that there are
some things in life that are 'other,' they are above us, they are not to be
'profaned,' for they are above us. For example, marriage is sacred, so is
sexuality, as well as life itself. The purity of children is to be held
sacred, that is why there is a special warning to any who would cause them
The Gospel itself is sacred. I believe that "Twilight" is a
direct assault on the gospel, an obscene parody of the good news of
salvation, the salvation we obtain by partaking of the precious blood of
Jesus, offered as a sacrifice for us. Jesus is the one who has brought
"life and immortality to light" through the Gospel. I don't
believe it is possible to read or enjoy "Twilight" without
Of course we must remember, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
... for the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins." (I John 1:79)
Pew Forum Survey: Most "Christians" Believe Multiple
Paths to Salvation
LTRP Note: The survey discussed in this out-of-house article was performed by the Pew
Forum on Religion, the liberal body to which Rick Warren denounced the five fundamentals of the faith in 2005.
Pew Forum on Religion
A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some
non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Indeed, among Christians who
believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 80% name at least one
non-Christian faith that can do so. These are among the key findings of a
national survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
from July 31-Aug. 10, 2008, among 2,905 adults.
The survey is designed as a follow-up to the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious
Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007, which reported that most Americans who
claim a religious affiliation take a nonexclusive view of salvation,
with seven-in-ten saying that many religions can lead to eternal life while
less than one-quarter say theirs is the one, true faith leading to eternal
life. But what exactly do these respondents have in mind when they agree
that "many religions can lead to eternal life?" Is this primarily
an example of most Christians (who account for nearly 80% of the U.S. adult
population) acknowledging that some Christian denominations and churches besides
their own can lead to eternal life? Or are most people interpreting
"many religions" more broadly, to include non-Christian faiths?
The new study asks those who say many religions can lead to eternal life
questions about specific faiths. Sixty-nine percent said Judaism can lead
to eternal life, compared to 52 percent for Islam, 53 percent for Hinduism,
42 percent for atheists and 56 percent for people with no religious faith. Click here to read this entire out-of-house article.
[W]ide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh
unto the Father, but by me.John 14:6
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the
sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a
robber....I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and
shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:1, 9
Update on Ohio Family Hit by SWAT Team Raid
December 6th, Lighthouse Trails issued a report by Kjos Ministries about an
Ohio family that was victimized in a SWAT team raid on their food coop in
their home. There is now a video interview with the family, who is telling
their story. Also for updates and further information from Kjos on this
situation, click here. WorldNet Daily has also reported on this story. Click here to watch video interview.
by Paul Proctor
was a very strange announcement made recently in the form of a press
release posted on the Dow Jones & Company's Market Watch website dated
December 12, 2008, that bears mentioning, if for no other reason, because
it reads like something from a supermarket tabloid. Come to think of it,
didn't Rupert Murdoch just buy Dow Jones & Company not long ago? If
you're not aware, they also publish, among other things, the Wall Street
Anyway, whether this speaks to the decline of a once great business
publication or the growing power and influence of a coming world leader,
only time will tell. Either way, it is clearly another ominous sign of the
desperate times in which we live.
The article in question titled, Share International Reveals Christmas
Miracle, advises readers to prepare for a coming miracle that all of us
will see in the sky shortly before the "emergence of Maitreya and his
group, the Masters of Wisdom." ...
The article goes on to say:
now for the biggest miracle of all. In the very near future a large, bright
star will appear in the sky visible to all throughout the world--night and
Unbelievable? Fantasy? No, a simple fact. Around a week later, Maitreya,
the World Teacher for all humanity, will begin his open emergence
and--though not yet using the name Maitreya--will be interviewed on a major
US television program.
is Maitreya, you ask?
The press release describes him this way:
by all faiths under different names, Maitreya is the Christ to Christians,
the Imam Mahdi to Muslims, Krishna to Hindus, the Messiah to Jews, and
Maitreya Buddha to Buddhists. He is the World Teacher for all, religious or
not, an educator in the broadest sense.
that doesn't peg your spiritual discernment meter, you may want to go have
What I find fascinating is that this Maitreya fellow seems to have a
strangely similar "share and save the world" agenda to that of
Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren with his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan and also
President-elect Barack Obama with his Global Poverty Act and Universal
Service Plan--men who apparently have no aversion to working with any or
all of the world religions or non-religions to save the planet--which may
explain, at least in part, why Warren is scheduled to lead the invocation
at Obama's upcoming inauguration. Click here to read this entire article.
America on the Brink
Commentary Worth Thinking About - What May Lie in the Future
NOTE: Paul Walter was born
in socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. He and his family emigrated to America in
1959. He served 3 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and became a U.S. citizen
By Paul Walter (a survivor of communism)
Political Correctness and Freedom of Speech
The first thing that Socialists do when they gain power is try to silence
free speech. Conservative Talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean
Hannity, Glen Beck, Laura Ingram, Lou Dobbs, etc. are already being
criticized by "Progressives" in Congress. There is a serious
effort underway right now to bring back a failed law, the oxymoronic
"Fairness Doctrine," in a bold, open attempt to silence opposing
political views. Internet news sites such as WorldNetDaily.com,
NewsWithViews.com, DrudgeReport.com, InfoWars.com and many others will be
silenced along with talk radio. In order for darkness (lies) to prevail,
light (truth) has to be snuffed out.
Public scrutiny and criticism of elected officials will be forbidden. Any
person exposing political corruption will be labeled anti-government. If
they persist in attempting to correct that political corruption, they will
be called a terrorist! All police departments around the country will be required
to have terrorist units.
[In a communist country of my birth I remember that one could criticize any
capitalist country one wishes as long as it wasn't yours or another
communist country. Criticism of any official brought police in black
uniform to your door usually at night when everyone was asleep.]
Religious Persecution and Sharia Law
Traditional churches will be attacked by Socialists, Feminists and
Homosexuals. Christians will increasingly be ridiculed and called bigots
because of their religious beliefs. Church services will be regularly
disrupted. Under pressure, many church leaders will give-in, capitulating
for the sake of peace. They will give up their moral principles, or face
the anti-discrimination laws that will be passed to force churches,
organizations and people to comply with the immoral doctrines of the
socialist, secular humanists. Click here to read this entire
Conference Alert: Focus on the Family Marriage Conference Will
Include Contemplative Proponent Gary Thomas
Gary Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes
and points them to a tantric sex advocate, but still Focus on the Family
keeps Thomas for speaking and for his books.
On February 28, 2009,
Focus on the Family will present to churches across North America the "Focus
on Marriage" conference in a "LIVE simulcast." Focus has invited Gary Thomas to help train married couples attending the
event. Thomas, strongly promoted by Rick Warren, has several popular books
covering topics such as marriage, parenting, and spirituality.
Unfortunately, he is a proponent of contemplative prayer. Beth Moore, who
has also promoted contemplative spirituality, is one of the other speakers
at the conference. This report will only address only Gary Thomas.*
In his book, Sacred Pathways, Thomas instructs readers:
It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer
in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering
prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a
focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a
set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be
repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as
breathing. (p. 185)
Thomas' contemplative propensities take him (and readers)
into an area that could have significant ramifications on countless
families. In his book Sacred Marriage (a book that Focus on the
Family stands by and sells
on their website), Thomas introduces readers to a woman
named Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and to her book Conjugal
Spirituality .Thomas favorably references Oliver
several times throughout Sacred Marriage and also references Oliver
on his website in a Sacred Marriage study guide. 1
Who is Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and why should Christians be concerned
about Gary Thomas' promotion of this woman's book, Conjugal Spirituality?
On the back of Oliver's book, it states that "[r]eligious practice as
we know it today remains, in effect, 'celibate.' Mary Anne Oliver proposes
an alternative ... she examines the spiritual dynamics of long-term
You may be wondering, "What does that all mean?" To put it
simply, Oliver believes that sexuality and spirituality go together and
that couples are missing out because they have not incorporated the two but
rather have practiced what she calls a celibate spirituality. But she is
not just talking about spirituality - she is talking about mystical spirituality!
Oliver received her doctorate in mystical theology at the Graduate
Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and her book permeates with her
mystical persuasions. She describes her "discomfort" regarding
present views on sexuality and religion and says she hunted for answers by
talking to monks, going on retreats and even spending an entire
("liturgical") year at Taize, an ecumenical, meditation-promoting
community in France. Eventually, she came to identify what she termed
"conjugal spirituality" (p. 1).
Oliver says that "negative attitudes" and "walls"
toward sex have inhibited people and says: "Although the walls are
coming down, the separation of sex and spirituality which has been
operative since the 4th century has yet to be completely eliminated"
What exactly is Oliver proposing couples do to remove these
"walls"? Very clearly, her message to couples is to turn to
mysticism. In dismay, she says that "spiritual counselors and
writers" have not begun to teach the "Upanishads [Hindu
scriptures] and Tantric writings as the basis for moral theology for
couples" and that "[s]ome still refuse to grant that mystical
experience can be associated with erotic love" (p. 18). Oliver says
that changes in mainstream theology have prepared the way for "the
emergence of conjugal spirituality." She adds: "An upsurge of
interest in the spiritual life and a renaissance in mystical studies have
widened the domain of spirituality" (p. 27).
This mysticism that Oliver encourages is experienced through "bodily
exercises" that the couple practice together, "creating one's
spiritual space." Listen to some of her instructions in what she
describes as "intercourse on all levels of consciousness":
1. "Center 'that whole human reality which some people are beginning
to call bodymind'" (p.85).
2. "Two basic movements in which each can contact the core energy of
the other and experience the enlarging of the oval inhabited by the divine
presence" (p. 91).
3. Yin and Yang movements
4. "Concentrate in the stillness and silence" (p. 93).
5. "Center yourselves."
6. "Meditate using the five senses. Experience the circuit of energy
circling slowly through the joined bodies" (p. 93).
7. "Focus a few minutes on the breath as a sign of the Spirit's
activity within yourself" (p.102).
8. "Repeat name or "I love you" as a mantra" (p. 102).
In Conjugal Spirituality, Oliver talks favorably about mystic Teilhard
de Chardin's Omega Point and the "Indian Tantric
Yoga tradition ... spoken of as kundalini potential energy" (p. 97).
She describes public sexual ceremonies in which couples practice
"Taoist visualizations and meditations, accompanied by breathing
exercises" and talks of "[i]nvoking the gods and goddesses."
Oliver says that society may frown on such public displays of sexual
mysticism at this time and couples may have to improvise until restrictions
are lifted. She says that "sexual union celebrated [is] an
eschatological sign of God's kingdom where all will be one" (p. 101).
It is important to realize here that when Gary Thomas read Oliver's book,
he resonated with it. This is not guilt by association, but rather guilt by
promotion. For those who do not understand the significance of his
promotion of Conjugal Spirituality, perhaps a brief lesson in
tantric sexuality (an underlying theme in Oliver's book) will help to illustrate
it. Ray Yungen explains:
Tantra is the
name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and
secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation
through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual
Once completely off-limits to the masses of humanity, tantra, like all
other New Age methodologies, is now starting to gain increasing popularity.
A Google search on the Internet shows 6,600,000 entries for the word
tantra! This union of sexuality and Eastern spirituality is a perfect
example to illustrate just how much the New Age has permeated our society
as it has affected even the most intimate areas of people's lives.
The potential to impact a very great number of people, especially men, was
brought out in an article
by a sex worker who incorporates "Tantric
Bodywork" into her services. She paints a very sad portrait of the
dynamics of the "enormous sex industry" in which millions of
stressed and unhappy men seek out "erotic release" from women who
are just as unhappy and stressed as their clients. She observes that there
is a "culturally rampant phenomenon that spouses are disconnected from
To remedy this tragic interplay of exploitation, she has turned to Tantric
Union to give her clients what she feels is not just sex but "union
with the divine." After she read a book called Women of the Light:
The New Sacred Prostitute, she turned her erotic business into a
"temple." Of this temple, she says it is:
to being a haven of the sacred, a home for the embodiment of spirit, filled
with altars, sacred objects, plants, art, dreamy sensual music, blissful
scents. My space is home to Quan Yin [a Buddhist goddess], crystals blessed
by the Entities of John of God [a Brazilian spirit channeler].
"multitudes of men" who come to her get much more than they
bargained for. In the past, wives and girlfriends needed only to worry
about sexually transmitted diseases from cheating husbands and boyfriends,
but now their men may instead bring home spiritual entities! (from For
Many Shall Come in My Name, pp. 115-116)
begin to incorporate contemplative practices with their sexual lives (a
Christian version of tantric sex), the results will be devastating to the
church, and we predict sexual perversion will be more rampant than ever.
Why? Because if the altered states of consciousness are truly demonic
realms (as we believe they are) then tantric sex is another venue of the
hidden darkness that Jesus spoke of.
These assertions may sound absurd to some readers, but evidence of the
truth of this does exist. For instance, Henri Nouwen (who along with Thomas
Merton, is one of the top icons of the contemplative prayer movement), in
his last book Sabbatical
Journey, candidly revealed how he listened to audio tapes on
the seven chakras which is the basis for tantric sex (p. 20). Also in
Nouwen's book, he makes mention of his encounter with a mystic named Andrew
Harvey, whom Nouwen referred to as his soul friend (spiritual mentor) and
how much Harvey's mysticism had touched him (p. 149). And yet Harvey's
mysticism includes this tantric element. In a 2007 conference (The
International Conference on Sacred Sexuality), Harvey
lead a workshop called "Sexual Liberation, Tantra, and Sacred Activism"
in which Harvey did:
... show that
sexual liberation and Tantra are vital parts of the Divine Mother's plan
for the birth of a new humanity, since they make possible a profound and
ecstatic contact with what Andrew calls Divine Eros - a tender passionate
dynamic love-connection. True Tantric sexuality gives its' practitioners
access to extraordinary and unified energies which will form the base of a
commitment to Sacred Activism.
In view of
Gary Thomas' promotion of mantra meditation in his book Sacred Pathways,
it makes perfect sense that he would be quoting from someone like Oliver.
But is this really what Focus on the Family wants to give to married
couples attending the "Focus on Marriage" conference next
It is worth noting here that Focus on the Family shares their affinity over
Thomas with Rick Warren, who says of Thomas: "In his book, Sacred
Pathways, Gary identified nine of the ways people draw near to
God." 2 Then Warren names
contemplative as one of those. Of Sacred Pathways, Warren says:
spoken at Saddleback, and I think highly of his work. In this book, Gary
encourages readers to understand the unique way in which they relate to God
and then he tells them how they can make the most of their spiritual
journeys. He places an emphasis on practical spiritual exercises.3Rick Warren also resonates
deeply with Henri Nouwen, which would also make sense given his views of
If you are concerned about Focus on the Family's continued promotion of
Gary Thomas, please contact them and ask them to reconsider their earlier
response when they stated in a letter to us that:
is and always has been a strong tradition of contemplative prayer in the
Christian church that has nothing to do with mantras and Eastern
meditation. To confuse the two, as you have done, is to jump to an
unwarranted conclusion based on a misunderstanding of certain features they
appear to have in common."4
Those of you
who have studied the contemplative issue know how faulty this response is.
The contemplative tradition did not start with the biblical saints and
apostles but rather a few centuries later with the desert fathers (who drew
from those of Eastern religions), and when Focus on the Family says
"features they appear to have in common," just what are those
features? Either the method or the results. And we know from Gary Thomas,
Henri Nouwen, and Mary Oliver McPherson, that it is both.
For those who may have any doubt about what we are saying, please consider
this: In Sacred Pathways, Thomas favorably turns to a man named
Basil Pennington (pp. 99, 104, 192). Ray Yungen pinpointed Pennington's
views when he quoted him in A Time of Departing as saying:
We should not
hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it
for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the
necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern
techniques as possible ... Many Christians who take their prayer life
seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices.
It is my
sense, from having meditated with persons from many different
[non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity.
When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience,
there is only one God to be experienced. - Basil Pennington (Centered
Living, p. 192)
that this is the direction Gary Thomas is heading. The question is, will
Focus on the Family and thousands of Christian couples do likewise?
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