Several years ago, Rick Warren said something that still haunts us—leaders of the new purpose-driven, emergent “Christianity” will have to wait until resisters either leave or die before the plan can be fully implemented.1 In other words, they are going to eventually accomplish what they are trying to do—revamp Christianity into a “new” spirituality that will be all-inclusive, ecumenical, mystical, and with a new gospel message. But before that can happen, those who are resisting and opposing this new “Christianity” will have to be out of the way (either through getting old and dying or somehow being coerced into leaving the churches).
In thinking about Moody Bible Institute and the current shake up going on there (e.g., the president and COO recently resigned), Warren’s words have come to the forefront of our minds again. Moody is struggling. According to an article in the Christian Post, Moody has shut down their Washington state campus and an extension site and let go of one third of their faculty. One can only guess what’s going on behind the scenes as Moody leadership and trustees aren’t offering many answers these days.
Moody, once considered a stalwart institution to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (named after the great evangelist D.L. Moody), began caving in to the “new” spirituality several years ago (as documented by LT), allowing contemplative, emergent influences into the school. Maybe they thought if they became culturally relevant, cool, hip, contemplative, and missional, they could continue being successful and on top of the Christian college scene. But, like the puppy with a bone in his mouth and looking at his reflection in the water hoping to have the other bone too, Moody may end up losing everything all together because they wanted both worlds—a reputation of biblical integrity and at the same time acceptance by the new and popular emergent Christianity. Maybe trustees of Moody believed Rick Warren’s co-comrade in all-things-emergent, Leonard Sweet, when Sweet said “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”
In 1995, Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did an audio series called The Tides of Change. In the audio, they spoke of “new frontiers,” “a new spirituality,” and “waves of change.” A few years prior to The Tides of Change, Sweet wrote a book called Quantum Spirituality. This book reveals the nature of Sweet’s spiritual affinities as he talks about “christ-consciousness” and a “New Light” movement. Ray Yungen discusses Quantum Spirituality:
In [Quantum Spirituality], Sweet thanks interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey, Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of the major intellectuals in the New Age movement) for helping him to find what he calls “New Light.” Sweet adds that he trusts “the Spirit that led the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.” . . . Sweet disseminates line after line of suggestions that the “old teachings” of Christianity must be replaced with new teachings of “the New Light.” And yet these new teachings, he believes, will draw from “ancient teachings” (the Desert Fathers). This “New Light movement,” Sweet says, is a “radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.”
Throughout the book, Sweet favorably uses terms like Christ consciousness and higher self and in no uncertain terms promotes New Age ideology: “[Quantum Spirituality is] a structure of human becoming, a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience.” (from A Time of Departing)
A few years after Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did The Tides of Change, Warren endorsed the front and back cover of Sweet’s book, Soul Tsunami. Of Sweet’s book, Warren said: “suggests practical ways to communicate God’s unchanging truth to our changing world.” However, the “practical ways” that Sweet shares in the book include a labyrinth and visiting a meditation center. Sweet also says in the book, “It’s time for a Post Modern Reformation,” adding that “The wind of spiritual awakening is blowing across the waters.” He says that times are changing and you’d better, “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die” (p. 75).
In 2006, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled “Purpose Driven Resisters—Must Leave or Die.” Here’s a portion of it:
The phone calls and emails started coming in about three years ago. Sometimes the caller was in his mid-eighties, sometimes the caller was crying. But all of them had the same kind of story to tell – when their churches decided to get involved with 40 Days of Purpose, everything began changing and when they questioned these changes, they each soon found themselves silenced, ostracized, and eventually without a church to attend. Now today, nearly five years after Purpose Driven Life was released, thousands of believers are scattered throughout the world, having been ridiculed and demoralized for even just the slightest questioning of the Purpose Driven program. In one email we received, the young man was handed a letter from his pastor. The letter had been written by a Saddleback field representative who told the pastor to do what he had to do to get rid of those opposing the new program.
According to Rick Warren, these people are resisters and are standing in the way of Purpose Driven progress. In a June 14th article written by Rick Warren on his website (“What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau?” ), Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time . . . and in many cases it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren stated:
“If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it’s been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it’s been plateaued for 20 years, you’ve got to set in for the duration! I’m saying some people are going to have to die or leave.
“Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.”
For Warren to couple his statement about dying or leaving with a statement about God killing off a million people is ignorant at best, subliminal at least. Coupled with his mention of 40 years in the desert and Warren’s teaching that God always did good things in numbers of 40, Warren’s intention in this statement seems obvious. In addition, the concept of get with the program, change or die is very common in New Age circles, that those who don’t get on board (or ride the wave as Leonard Sweet puts it), will have to die. Listen to the words of renown, New Ager Barbara Marx Hubbard:
“Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose. . . . All who choose not to evolve will die off.” . . .
In The Tides of Change, [Sweet and Warren] make it clear that those who don’t ride this new wave will not make it.
But, what does it really mean to “make it”? Does drifting into apostasy mean that one has made it? In God’s eyes, we are successful when we follow Him and adhere to His Word.
Will Moody “make it”? Time will tell, but the Bible is clear that we cannot serve both God and man. It won’t work. Like the majority of Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities today, Moody has been trying to hold onto their old heritage of biblical solidarity while grabbing hold of the new fast-moving postmodern, progressive “wave.” But while holding on to both, each going in the completely opposite direction, the results tragically may be an entire tearing apart that will be beyond repair. Wouldn’t it be nice (to say the least) if Moody would jump off of that fast-moving wave going toward apostasy and return fully to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”?