Dear Lighthouse Trails:
My husband read something about Max Lucado’s endorsement of someone involved in Contemplative Prayer or the Emerging Church and now wants me to get rid of Max Lucado’s books that I’ve had for years. I have much enjoyed his writings and have not picked up on anything non-Scriptural. I may not agree with every interpretation, but that’s not the issue here.
Do you see a spiritual need to dispose of his past writings? Most of these were written about 10 years ago. I also have a couple of his children’s books.
I would value and appreciate your feedback.
We understand your husband’s concerns. It would be hard for a discerning Christian to read the writings of someone who was promoting such a heretical teaching.
It isn’t just that Max Lucado was endorsing someone else involved with contemplative – it’s that he wrote his own contemplative promoting book; that’s a bit more involved than how you have described it.
A responsible Christian leader who realized he had written a book that had such dangerous references and teachings should feel convicted and pull that book off the market while also making a public renouncement of these teachings. To our knowledge, that has not happened. And in fact, Max Lucado’s book, Cure for the Common Life, has a very high rating on Amazon, which tells us that many, many people have read this book and been possibly taken into the contemplative, panentheistic arms of Thomas Merton. http://www.amazon.com/Cure-Common-Life-Living-Sweet/dp/0849919096/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292558181&sr=1-1
Lighthouse Trails editors
Below is our 2006 review on Max Lucado’s book, Cure for the Common Life:
Cure for the Common Life, by author Max Lucado, is a book about “living in your sweet spot.” Lucado tells readers in chapter one to “[h]eed that inner music,” and quoting mystic Martin Buber from his book, The Way of Man (a book on Jewish mysticism), Lucado tells readers they each have a “divine spark.” Buber had panentheistic affinities as he embraced the teachings of Hasidism (Jewish mysticism) and believed that this divine spark that Lucado refers to is in every human being and every part of creation.
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race,… now I realize what we all are…. If only they [people]could all see themselves as they really are … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other…. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth…. This little point … is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.
Merton and Buber shared this belief that everyone has a divine spark. When Max Lucado quotes men of these persuasions, telling readers they each have a “sweet spot” then referring to a divine spark in everyone, this is very confusing and will leave the unaware spiritual seeker believing him.
Cure for the Common Life has drawn endorsements from an assortment of Christian leaders, and their names sit on the front inside covers of Lucado’s book as well as on the back cover. New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard says of the book, “Max Lucado has done it again! He has taken simple truths and made them available to all of us (emphasis mine). Richard Foster says, “I’m so glad for Max Lucado’s insightful call for us to live and work as we are intrinsically designed by God.” Sheila Walsh said that the “message of this book could change your life forever.” Bob Coy (Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale) and Bob Buford (creator of the emerging church) also gave raving reviews of the book. On the back cover, New Age sympathizer Laurie Beth Jones says, “This book can cure whatever ‘blah’ that ails you!” In Jones book, Teach Your Team to Fish, she states: “I have been challenged by the concept of meditation … I decided recently to accept the invitation of a friend to experience the sheer silence of meditation-undirected prayer. … I had before only sensed intellectually … But by going deep into prayer I could almost feel it.” (p. 142.)
Lucado seems to be coming out of the contemplative closet. Recently he was featured on the Be Still DVD, along with Richard Foster and Beth Moore. In that DVD, Lucado emphasized the importance of contemplative prayer, saying “It’s nothing mystical, necessarily. It’s nothing secretive. It’s just what we do with our body we do with our soul.” But Richard Foster would probably disagree – contemplative is mystical, and in many ways is very secretive.
Christian leaders with contemplative and New Age sympathies are not the only ones who love Cure for the Common Life. Barnes and Noble bookstores recently began a New Age-promoting project called East West that is “a resource for conscious living. It opens doors to self-discovery, higher awareness and true understanding.” Under the best sellers list are five titles, one of them being Lucado’s book Cure For the Common Life. This is what East West says of Lucado’s book:
According to New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado, you were designed as a one-of-a-kind to achieve one God-given purpose. And embedded in your soul are the power and passion to fulfill it. As Dr. Phil McGraw writes, “Cure for the Common Life can help you find that uniqueness that puts it all in perspective, and show you how to live it every day so that you aren’t just existing in God’s creation but thriving in His plan.”
Apparently, those with New Age persuasions admire Lucado’s “divine spark” in everyone idea. And why not. That’s what the New Age is really all about. But the questions must be asked, Why is Thomas Nelson publishing another book that promotes New Age ideas (see their book Yoga for Christians, 2006), and is this book going to be carried in Christian bookstores and churches and considered another worthy book for Sunday school classes?