Radio Bible Class ministries was founded by Dr. M. R. De Haan in the 1930s. Today, his grandson Mart De Haan presides over the ministry. Their signature publication, the daily devotional called Our Daily Bread, is translated into nearly 30 languages.
In February of 2007, Lighthouse Trails reported that RBC was being influenced by contemplative authors. The report stated:
Radio Bible Class was founded by the respected Dr. De Haan in 1938. On the RBC website it states: “His commitment to ministry was to lead people of all nations to personal faith and maturity in Christ.” Dr. De Haan faithfully delivered God’s Word for nearly thirty years. We believe if he was here today, he would agree with us when we say that Radio Bible Class is erroneously quoting and promoting contemplative authors and in so doing straying away from the goal that Dr. De Haan had … to maintain biblical purity and present the Word of God in accuracy and truth.
Several instances from RBC will be listed here to show why we are concerned:
June 6, 2006 – Henri Nouwen
July 13, 2005 – Henri Nouwen
2002 – The Lord is My Shepherd – Henri Nouwen (p. 21)
April 2, 2002 – Brother Lawrence
January 25, 2007 – Brennan Manning
September 15, 2005 – Brennan Manning
2003 When Fear Seems Overwhelming (p. 32) – Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Gary Thomas, Larry Crabb, Dan Allender (emerging leader), Daniel Goleman (New Age mystic)
December 15, 2005 – Larry Crabb (numerous other references to Larry Crabb in other issues)
We have contacted RBC in the past but have never heard back from anyone. Today, we have sent another email stating:
We have noticed that you are making numerous references to contemplative authors like Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster and Brennan Manning. Because we have serious concerns about the spirituality they teach, we hope you will reevaluate your use of these authors. May we send you a complimentary book we publish that clearly, and in a graceful attitude, shows the documentation regarding this? Thank you for your time.
We hope that Dr. De Haan’s grandson, Mart De Haan (who now runs RBC) will look at all the facts about contemplative spirituality before referencing contemplative teachers in the future and will remove those references that are already there.
Now, nearly a year later, we must report that RBC is not only turning to contemplatives for wisdom but New Agers as well. In their Discovery Series, they offer a booklet titled “What in the World is Satan Doing?” An introduction in the booklet explains:
Dan Vander Lugt, RBC biblical counselor, has written this booklet to correct some current misconceptions about Satan. It is our prayer that it will help you to be both forewarned and forearmed against an evil empire organized not only to rule the world but to take the place of Christ in your heart.
Unfortunately, Vander Lugt favorably references the late New Age proponent M. Scott Peck throughout the booklet. In the first quote (p. 2), Vander Lugt says that Peck had been led toward the Christian faith through his “grappling with the reality of evil.” Later quoting Peck from his book People of the Lie, Vander Lugt refers to Peck’s discussion on self-deception and self-exposure. It is ironic, as will show later in this report, that Vander Lugt suggests that people with these two attributes can end up practicing mysticism.
Vander Lugt says that “recent” books by Peck are “valuable in counteracting unbiblical skepticism … concerning the reality of Satan” (p. 25) and that Peck’s work “sounds serious warning to Christians.”
For RBC to quote M. Scott Peck in the context of Christian understanding is alarming. Some would say that M. Scott Peck was once a New Ager but later became a Christian. Others would contest this, based on a steady history by Peck that proves contrary. Mike Oppenheimer, in his excellent report “Spiritual Fusion – East Comes West,” explains:
The late M. Scott Peck who is popularly read by Christians said, ‘While I continue to make use of what I have learned from Buddhism, there are aspects of Buddhism [like reincarnation] that I am agnostic about. That means I don’t disbelieve it and I don’t believe it; I just don’t know. On the other hand, I find distasteful the traditional idea of Christianity which preaches the resurrection of the body’ (Further Along the Road Less Traveled, pp. 168-169).1
This book by Peck was written after his book People of the Lie (1983). And People of the Lie was written by Peck just five years after his extremely popular book (still today) titled The Road Less Traveled was released. Research analyst, Ray Yungen, discusses that book:
The late psychologist M. Scott Peck wrote a phenomenal best seller on psychology and spiritual growth titled The Road Less Traveled. The book contains insights and suggestions for dealing with life’s problems, which is why it has generated the interest it has. But the book also incorporates the central theme of the Ancient Wisdom:
God wants us to become himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward godhood. God is the goal of evolution. It is God who is the source of the evolutionary force and God who is the destination. This is what we mean when we say that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end….
It is one thing to believe in a nice old God who will take good care of us from a lofty position of power which we ourselves could never begin to attain. It is quite another to believe in a God who has it in mind for us precisely that we should attain His position, His power, His wisdom, His identity.
[Occultists] Madame Blavatsky and Alice Bailey could not have said it any better. Peck revealed where he was coming from when he said, “But (The Road) is a sound New Age book, not a flaky one.” This book, which was on the New York Times best seller list for over 400 weeks, has been incredibly popular in Christian circles for years.(from For Many Shall Come in My Name, 2nd ed. pp.125-126)
We find it extremely ironic that RBC would rely so heavily on M. Scott Peck throughout their booklet “What in the World is Satan Doing?” Furthermore, the question must be asked, why does RBC continue to find wisdom from contemplatives like Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Larry Crabb (who incidentally is also in the RBC booklet)? Perhaps only Mart De Haan and the present day staff at RBC can really answer that question. But it is a question that should not be ignored.
Incredibly, in the RBC booklet, Vander Lugt actually warns against New Age mysticism. M. Scott Peck, who said in Further Along the Road Less Traveled that he was “proud to be listed as an Aquarian Conspirator” (i.e., New Ager – said this considerably after he supposedly became a Christian) also said in an interview with New Age Journal (12/85), “that The Road Less Traveled was dropped on him from God, and that there are ‘an enormous number of people who have a passion for God, but who are fed up to the gills with fundamentalism.’ The interview also divulged that Peck moved from ‘Eastern mystical religions toward Christian mysticism [contemplative prayer].’ (ATOD, p. 56)” And this is our very concern, that Christian mysticism has the same source and foundation as Eastern mysticism; that’s why Peck could move so smoothly from one to the other. And that is exactly why RBC should not be turning to mystics for spiritual wisdom and guidance.
Other Quotes by M. Scott Peck:
“I have said that the ultimate goal of spiritual growth is for the individual to become as one with God … It is for the individual to become totally, wholly God.” The Road Less Traveled
“Zen Buddhism should be taught in every 5th grade class in America.” (Further Along the Road Less Traveled)
“Christianity’s greatest sin is to think that other religions are not saved.” (Further Along the Road Less Traveled)
“If the New Age can reform society rather than just adversely challenge it then it can be extremely holy and desperately needed.” Further Along the Road Less Traveled (written after The People of the Lie)
“Since the unconscious is God all along, we may further define the goal of spiritual growth to be the attainment of godhood by the conscious self.” (The Road Less Traveled)
Excerpts from The Different Drum by M. Scott Peck, compiled by Kjos Ministries