NOTE: Please read the related article by Roger Oakland after our article.
Lighthouse Trails receives emails from time to time from readers asking if there is still “a problem” with David Jeremiah and his 2003 (redone in 2005) book, Life Wide Open. In the second edition of A Time of Departingby Ray Yungen is an expose about the book, and today some question as to whether our report is still relevant has arisen. Because David Jeremiah continues selling the book on his website and through the general book marketing avenues (Amazon, etc), we believe our report remains valid. Here is a portion of our report:
David Jeremiah’s 2003 book, Life Wide Open, has a subtitle of “Unleashing the Power of a Passionate Life.” In the introduction of the book, Jeremiah tells readers that “A Small handful among us have discovered what the rest of us would pay dearly to know: How can we bring real, living excitement into this life?” Jeremiah goes on to tell readers that “This book is a map to the life of passion and purpose, the life wide open…” (p. xii) Who are these small handful of people who have discovered the secret? Well according to Jeremiah’s book, his list includes Rick Warren, contemplative, feminine spiritualist Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits), contemplative Calvin Miller (Into the Depths of God), Buddhist sympathizer Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline), emerging church leader Erwin McManus, contemplative Michael Card, and Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God).
And from our research site:
2003, 2005 – In his book, Life Wide Open, Jeremiah favorably quotes the following New Agers, Buddhists and contemplatives,( i.e. mystics):
St. John of the Cross
When one ponders the spirituality of some of these names, it is disheartening to see that David Jeremiah continues promotinghis book rather than having it pulled from the market. What would cause him to do that? Well, either he is not pulling the book because he does not see anything wrong with Sue Monk Kidd, Rick Warren, Peter Senge, and the others or he knows something is wrong with them but for whatever reasons he has chosen to ignore the fact that his book could potentially mislead many people.
Looking at just one of the names in Life Wide Open (as someone who has found the secret to passion and purpose), Sue Monk Kidd, may put things into perspective. Ray Yungen explains:
A Sunday school co-worker handed Sue Monk Kidd a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically. What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.
She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: “I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us … When we encounter another person, …we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.” (A Time of Departing p. 134)
Monk Kidd, also author of The Secret Life of Bees (emulating the goddess Madonna), reveals her spirituality when she states in a book endorsement: “In Radical Optimism, Beatrice Bruteau sets forth a deep and shining vision of spirituality, one that guides the reader into the contemplative life and the very root of our being. Dr. Bruteau is a philosopher of great measure whose work should be required reading for all who seek the deepest truth about themselves” (Monk Kidd’s endorsement of Bruteau’s book). For those who are not familiar with Beatrice Bruteau, she is a Catholic panentheistic contemplative.
Monk Kidd’s journey has also led her to say: “We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pp. 162-163). Few would argue that this does not line up with biblical Christianity nor is it the kind of life of “passion” and” purpose” that Christians should seek after. She also said in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that God can be found in everything, even graffiti and excrement! (p. 160).
In Life Wide Open, it wasn’t The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that Jeremiah quoted from. But the book he did quote from, When the Heart Waits, is also on Monk Kidd’s propensities. In that book, she explains: “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that’s only God … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us” (as quoted by Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134, citing pp. 47-48 of Monk Kidd’s book) .
When the Heart Waitsis a primer on contemplative spirituality. Monk Kidd talks about finding her “true self” and explains how mystics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Merton helped her to find it. She quotes Beatrice Bruteau’s book, Gospel Zen, and Thomas Keating’s book, The Heart of the World. Keating and Bruteau embrace a mystical panentheistic view, without a doubt. She even quotes favorably Alan Jones, author of Reimagining Christianity. Reading a couple quotes by Jones in that book will show the seriousness of this situation:
“The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (p. 132)
“The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry god. Penal substitution [the Cross] was the name of this vile doctrine.” (p. 168)
And even though the book by Sue Monk Kidd is in Life Wide Open, David Jeremiah’s book is still promoted and sold on his website and throughout mainstream book venues, and to our knowledge he has never been challenged publically and held accountable by Christian leaders.
But should there really be any surprise to David Jeremiah using Sue Monk Kidd? In 2006, a year after the second edition of Life Wide Opencame out, Jeremiah said that he wanted to use a book by emerging leader Erwin McManus to help bring a “major paradigm shift” to his church. The book Jeremiah wanted to use was The Barbarian Way, a book that McManus admitted had at its core “mysticism.” Considering that David Jeremiah chose Sue Monk Kidd as part of a road map to spirituality,is is any wonder that he also chose Erwin McManus who once said:
My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ,” McManus, author of a new book called “The Barbarian Way,” said in a telephone interview.
“Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” Erwin McManus
Isn’t it time for Christian pastors and leaders to step up to the plate of humility, sorrow, and repentance? For the sake of the sheep. The following article just written by Roger Oakland reiterates our reason for the above article:
The Solomon Syndrome
Commentary by Roger Oakland
According to the Bible, Solomon was an extremely wise man. Solomon was granted wisdom because he asked God for wisdom.
His father David was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” However, he could not always be called wise because of his actions and his behavior. David, like each one of us who claims to follow Jesus Christ, had a daily battle with the conflicting struggles between the flesh and the spirit.
Paul made it clear in Romans chapter eight that he too dealt with this same battle.  It is simply the nature of the Christian life. If you are alive and you are a follower of Jesus, you will always be faced with choices. You will either be led by the Spirit or by your flesh. The question is, who do you want to follow – Jesus or Satan?
Recently, a number of circumstances have happened impacting my walk with Jesus Christ. This has forced me to search my own heart and try to understand my own behavior as well as the attitude and behavior of those who are attacking me. I have come to the conclusion the best way to do this is to study the Scriptures.
All of us know Christian leaders who were once respected and used by God as faithful servants. How is it possible then, you may ask, that someone who started out dedicated to Christ and His Word and taught the Word, can end up being trapped in a state of delusion? How can such a person be convinced that he or she is above the Word of God and does not need correction?
This malady that permeates and infects Christian leadership in our world today is what I call the Solomon syndrome. Great leaders are only great if they faithfully follow Jesus and abide in His Word. Often great leaders become great deceivers because they end up following Satan and their own flesh. Because they have large followings, they are looked up to as great men of the faith. Further, while they have led many astray, they may or may not know they have done this because they are convinced they are God’s agents.
Satan is a master deceiver. He hates man and wants to destroy God’s plan of salvation. Satan is a schemer. In Ephesians, Paul describes how he works and uses the term “wiles of the devil.” His plans are widespread, and he seeks to delude both believers and unbelievers. If he can seduce a believer who is considered a shepherd, then the sheep that shepherd is supposed to be protecting can be driven to market rather that directed by the Holy Spirit to heaven.
This is why the protective role of watchmen and watchwomen is so important for the body of Christ. At times, these watchmen on the wall must bypass shepherds who cannot or will not see the danger coming because of their pride or their desire for money or power or fame, things which have blinded them .
The Path to Power and Possession
There are a number of ways that a pastor and a church can accumulate power and possession. A pastor or church can start out small and not even be interested in taking an offering. This keeps the pastor’s mind off man-given resources and helps him concentrate on teaching the Word and protecting the sheep. Then as the church grows and the fruit becomes obvious, more people attend. They want to experience and taste the fruit too. They come in hungry; they are fed and then come back with their offerings.
Soon the small facility that housed the small gathering needs to be enlarged. Perhaps a home Bible Study moves to a strip mall. Some years later when that facility has maxed out, the board and the pastor look for a larger facility. Now they have a problem. Big buildings require big budgets, and big budgets require big offerings. Big offerings require generous donors who have a lot of money. People with big money have power and influence and like to control pastors. The love of money is the root of evil, isn’t it?
While this pattern is being fulfilled many times, today especially in the circles where I have traveled the past twenty-some years, the pattern is not new. This is exactly what happened to Solomon. He was warned about three things that would take down his ability to serve God – too many horses, too much gold, and too many women. Horses symbolize power, gold symbolizes wealth, and Solomon’s many wives and concubines symbolize sexual immorality.
History shows that Solomon was not as wise as he should have been. He fell on all three accounts. His mighty empire was taken down even though he was warned. In today’s standards, the largest megachurch would not even begin to compare to what Solomon controlled. The property of the largest megachurch would not compare to what Solomon owned. The power of the most powerful pastor today would dwarf beneath the power held by Solomon. Solomon stood in a category by himself.
Unfortunately, many of those who have followed in Solomon’s footsteps have forgotten about the Solomon syndrome. Or if they have not forgotten, they are too proud, or they have too much power. They have no intention to repent and acknowledge their sin.
Or there may be another factor. They may even be covering something up they don’t want revealed that others know about. They may even have been extorted. Or they are being manipulated by relatives or acquaintances that have plans to inherit their kingdom after they drop dead or become too senile to make decisions.
David and Nathan
While David was a man after God’s own heart, Solomon was a man that left God and followed Satan. Solomon was seduced by his many concubines, and he worshipped their gods made of wood and stone. This was very grieving to God for the Scriptures are full of references of what God thinks about idolatry.
I suppose the question to ask is this: what if Solomon had a Nathan like David had? In other words, what if someone had come to Solomon and told him the bold truth rather than just keeping things covered up? What if this person or group of persons were alive today? What if they went to those in leadership who were deceived and deceiving others and encouraged them to repent and to say they were sorry.
It seems to me this would be the best solution. Maybe I am wrong, but I think not. Repenting is always the right solution to sin, isn’t it?
Maybe the sin is the love of horses, or gold, or too many women. The best plan is God’s plan . . . not man’s; wouldn’t you agree?
Whether this suggestion is right or wrong, there is one thing I know for sure, there will be those who are angry and will be ready to destroy me for suggesting such a thing. The reason I know this is because I have been down this road before. Remember Ichabod?
Watchmen and watchwomen have never been popular with the people. Their gift is usually considered a curse. No one wants to listen—especially the pastors and the leaders. Their message is seen as too negative, and they are labeled divisive and troublemakers. The pastors and the leaders do not want to hear. The pastors and the leaders will even try to discredit the watchers on the wall and say they are crazy or that they have a slim grip on spiritual reality.
Sometimes the watchmen becomes weary. Sometimes their bodies breakdown from the stress. When they pursue the truth, those who call them liars attack them further. I know because this continually happens to me by those I once considered to be friends.
With regard to friends, they become fewer and fewer. People you once used to fellowship with, now knife you in the back. First, they put a bag over your head. Second, they spin you around to get you dizzy. Finally, they go in for the kill, so to speak, after dark.
These betrayers are like Judas. They love darkness. They operate in the dark. Their motives can be varied. Their loyalty is to man rather than to Jesus.
In spite of all this great opposition to cover up the light of the truth, watchmen and watchwomen must work fervently to walk as God’s word has instructed. They must not lose their tempers or their cool. They need the grace of God in which to stand (Romans 5:2) and the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Here are the words of Paul:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 
As the current events are unfolding, it is apparent the time is very short. Soon this will all be over. When Jesus returns, what we do for Him will all have been worth it. For now, there is no other choice than to keep going even if it is one step at a time. The Gospel is worth dying for because Jesus died for us. It is a small price to pay for what He has done for those who are His.
 Romans 8: 5-13
 2 Timothy 2: 23-26
Used with permission from Understand the Times.