The Reimagine Conference, which will be held in December and hosted by the CCCA (Christian Camp and Conference Association), is featuring New Age sympathizer and mystic proponent Leonard Sweet. Widely popular and trusted teacher and pastor,Alistair Begg is also scheduled to be one of the speakers, but according to an assistant at Begg’s office, Begg has withdrawn from the conference. Lighthouse Trails spoke with Begg’s office last week about the spirituality of Leonard Sweet. Begg’s assistant contacted Lighthouse Trails on August 15th and said: “After prayerful consideration, as of today Alistair has respectfully asked to be removed as one of the speakers at the Reimagine Conference in December.”
This is not the first time CCCA has brought in emerging church leaders to speak at their sponsored events. Past speakers include Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren, both who would resonated with Leonard Sweet.
The Reimagine Conference is one of many conferences taking place across North America right now that is propagating the emerging (merging) church movement, which is founded on mysticism, interspirituality, and panentheism. Leonard Sweet has been sharing what he calls the “New Light” movement for nearly two decades. He recently spoke at Rick Warren’s Small Group Conference. In view of the following statement by Sweet, this should concern all biblical Christians:
The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people “in-phase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another. (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, P. 147)
In addition to Sweet’s view on the “Christ consciousness” (a New Age belief that God is in all), Sweet is a strong advocate for mysticism (the avenue through which man supposedly awakens to his divine self). The following quote by Sweet is just one (of many) example of his propensity toward mysticism:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center…. In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology. (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality page 76)
For those who understand New Age spirituality, an examination of Sweet’s book, Quantum Spirituality (found on his website as a a href=”http://www.leonardsweet.com”> free download) will reveal the true nature of Sweet’s beliefs as well as the direction he and Rick Warren (who has endorsed, promoted, and partnered with Sweet since 1995) are heading.
Lighthouse Trails is grateful that Alistair Begg has apparently removed himself from the Reimagine Conference. However, as of this writing (Saturday, August 16th), his name, photo, speaking schedule, and description are still on the Reimagine website. Because Begg is such a highly respected Christian figure among many Bible believing Christians, his name on the website will possibly draw many unsuspecting and trusting individuals to attend the conference. Therefore, Lighthouse Trails beseeches Alistair Begg to not only have his name and photo removed from that website very soon but also to come out with a public statement warning of the dangers of Leonard Sweet’s spirituality and the emerging church at large. Because promotional material has already been distributed by Reimagine with Begg’s name and photo, a public statement is essential.
It is very troubling to watch the partnering of respected authors, pastors, and teachers with those who are involved with the contemplative prayer movement (i.e., spiritual formation) and the emerging church movement. A number of respected teachers have partnered with, sponsored, and teamed up with Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, two of the emerging churches greatest evangelists. Some have also partnered with Robert Schuller, Ken Blanchard, and a host of other leaders in the same camp as Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. With so much spiritual deception pervading our society and our churches, isn’t this a time for biblical leaders to stand courageously for the truth, even if it costs them dearly?