Monday, March 22, 2010
~~ by James Fire
2 Tim 1:8-9
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
He has sold more than thirty million books. He is the founder of a 162 nation network. He has trained over 400,000 ministers and priests. He is the pastor of one of the largest churches in the world.
Who am I speaking of? Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, author of the incredibly successful (commercially speaking any way) book, The Purpose Driven Church. Yet we must ask some hard questions about what else Rick Warren might be. He has certain affiliations and perspectives that might not be widely known by the church here in America; if they did know, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many of his books on our own shelves. One book I do have on my shelf these days revealed to me what Rick Warren is all about - -
It’s a book by Warren Smith called, A Wonderful Deception, a sequel to his previous book Deceived on Purpose; I felt that this book, and what it says is so vital that I would write an article about it, a book report of sorts. And here it is.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING and DISCERNING -
I realize that Rick Warren has become “America’s favorite pastor” and that any who would speak a word against his teachings, or beliefs stands the risk of being called “divisive, unloving, creating strife in the body’ etc” and yet we have a need today as NEVER BEFORE to discern between good teaching (biblically based) and bad teaching (extra-biblically based). If you haven’t read this article yet by Anne Kisly, fellow writer for The TRUTH Under FIRE, please do so now: here is the link for it –
Warren Smith was once involved in the New Age movement, participating in many of its spiritual exercises and practices. When he finally came out of that mysticism and became a born again believer and disciple of Jesus Christ, he was dismayed to learn that much of the church today are parroting the very concepts and ideas that he left behind him in that false belief system.
His two books mentioned above are warnings to Christians to be on guard against these seductive movements that are leading people away from the TRUTH of God’s Word, and into a neo-Christian (false) path that will inevitably bring the church into a global religion.
Warren Smith states: “In 2002, I authored Reinventing Jesus Christ: the New Gospel. In that book, I explain how the New Age is much more deceptive and all-encompassing than what is being presented to the church by today’s church leaders. In a chapter titled “the Silent Church”, I describe how the church seems to be walking into a spiritual trap. I ask why Christian leaders aren’t warning believers about the New Age/New Spirituality, which is working its way into the church. Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life gave me my answer: The reason Christian leaders aren’t taking the New Age more seriously is because figures, like Warren, are not ringing out a warning, and are themselves being influenced and deceived by the New Age.”
VALIANT or VIRULENT?
“In Jeremiah 9:3, Jeremiah warns about those who are “not valiant for the truth.” Sadly, Rick Warren is a man who is not wholly valiant for the truth. For whatever reason, he does not declare “all” the counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and he does not seriously reprove and expose the New Age/New Spirituality that is so clearly in our midst (Ephesians 5:13). It’s a pastor’s job to protect the flock from heresy, and Rick Warren is not doing that. On the contrary, his worldwide movement has serious New Age implications.”
A rather radical statement, you say? Agreed, but one that is entirely provable, which Warren Smith does exceptionally well. That is why I can wholeheartedly endorse his book, A Wonderful Deception, and would implore all Christians to read his writings!
Warren Smith tracks a bit of history, starting with Rick Warren and then working backwards to discover where he got his ideas from in his books (if in fact these ideas were not original with Rick—which, as it proves out, they aren’t).
When his research was done he discovered that Rick Warren based much of his book on ideas and concepts that were promoted by none other than The Hour of Power (The Power of Possibility Thinking) guy, Robert Schuller, who himself borrowed much from his own mentor, Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking guy); and where did Mr. Peale get his ideas from?
From New Age/occult writer Florence Scovel Shinn; in fact Peale’s writing so mirrored those of Shinn’s that Peale was accused of plagiarism; the two not only think alike but use similar or identical phrases!
Shinn, who died in 1943, drew on mystical sources dating to the ancient Egyptian philosopher Hermes Trismegistus (“as above so below”*) and the secrets of Freemasonry.
• Note: In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message Bible, he uses the highly occult phrase “as above, so below” for his own rendition of the Lord’s Prayer where it says “thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” One must seriously wonder why an occult phrase familiar to any mystic or New Age adherent would be used by a Christian to paraphrase the Word of God!
As Above So Below is actually an occult book published in 1992 by New Age Journal. Chief editor Ronald S. Miller explains that this phrase conveys “the fundamental truth about the universe” that is “we are all one” because God is “immanent” or “within” everyone and everything. This is flagrantly in opposition to what the Bible tells us: God dwells not as a part of the physical universe, or in any of its component parts as He is transcendent, that is, independent of His creation; the only ones He dwells within are those who have received Christ Jesus as LORD and SAVIOR and as a result of being born again, are inhabited by God.
“Shinn’s privately published metaphysical works, reissued by Simon and Schuster and the Church of Religious Science are available in New Age bookstores. Peale penned the introduction to the Simon & Schuster’s edition, indicating he had “long used” Shinn’s teaching.”
In Shinn’s 1925 book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, Peale gave his endorsement in the updated 1986 version – “. . . filled with wisdom, and creative insights. That its teachings will work I know to be fact, for I’ve long used them myself… one may find prosperity, solve problems, have better health, achieve good personal relations-in a word, win the game of life.”
IS RICK WARREN A-PEALE-ING?
So what does Rick Warren have in common with Peale? Robert Schuller, which we shall see shortly!
Rick Warren cites New Age Leader:
In The Purpose Driven Life, he introduced his two primary themes, those being “hope” and “purpose”, citing a Dr. Bernie Siegal, a veteran New Age leader who claims to have a spirit guide named ‘George’
Delivers A New Age Message:
Of the 15 different Bible versions Rick quotes from in his book The Purpose Driven Life, he decides to quote Ephesians 4:6 from The New Century Version (he quotes from this ‘Bible’ more than from any other) which conveys a typically New Age/Eastern Religious concept of “God in everything” sort of view. The idea that God is IN everything is what’s known as ‘panentheism’, a very occult/Eastern religion belief, but certainly not biblical!
“He rules everything, and is everywhere and is in everything.” Is how the NCV puts it, and this gels with what A Course in Miracles and other New Age books taught Warren Smith when he was into the occult.
Yet the Apostle Paul, in writing that verse, wasn’t referring to the world at large, but specifically to the church (see Eph. 1:1).
NONE OF OUR BUSINESS?!
Purpose Driven Life Distorted View of Bible Prophecy
Rick Warren strongly discourages the study of prophecy. He states that “in essence” Jesus told His disciples: “The details of my return are none of your business.”
Mr. Smith refutes this: “He [Jesus] warns that there will be false teachers and false teachings that will try to confuse the details of His return. He provides the prophetic detail because He didn’t want His disciples, or any of us, mistaking Antichrist’s arrival for His own return. He initiates His lengthy prophetic discourse by saying ‘Take heed that no one deceive you.’ He ends His discussion by warning them to ‘watch’ and ‘be ready.’”
The verse that Rick Warren refers to is found in the book of Acts:
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
What is doctrinally dangerous is not enquiring the time of the LORD’s Return, and studying prophecy; on the contrary, the Bible commends such for us believers! What is dangerous is to establish a belief based on a single verse; any belief or doctrine should have several verses to back it up. The whole counsel of God should be in harmony with any particular doctrine. What is also dangerous is an attitude that says, “My LORD delays His coming…” which is an attitude that would inevitably creep into the heart of a believer if they considered the time of the Blessed Hope ‘none of his business.” (See Matt 24:48)
In the case of this verse, one need only refer to the previous verse to shed some light on what the LORD Jesus was addressing:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
The disciples, being Jewish were asking the LORD if, as the Messiah King of Israel would restore the promised Davidic Kingdom to the nation (2 Samuel 7:10-16). The LORD Jesus was simply telling them that the time in which the Kingdom would be appointed to commence is within the Father’s keeping; that the disciples at that time had a higher priority, that is, the preaching of the Gospel in order to bring salvation to a lost world (Jews and Gentiles) and induct them into the church, the body of Christ.
To the church itself, the coming of the LORD is very much our business! Consider that in the book of Daniel, the coming of the LORD and the events surrounding this momentous event were prophecies that were to be sealed (or closed up) until the time of the end. Yet in the book of Revelation, to John the Apostle (who happened to be one of the disciples present at the time when the LORD gave them His admonition in Acts 1:7), the LORD said do NOT seal up the words of this prophecy (the revelation of Jesus Christ in the last days)! That is, the prophecies were to remain open, to be understood by all who read, and studied for the purpose of gaining insight in the timing of these things.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end . . .
And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Rick Warren is not the only one who is expressing this view on Acts 1: 6-7, Robert Schuller taught this view for decades, long before Rick Warren ever became a pastor! As well as this, Brian McLaren has said:
”Instead, he [Jesus] tells them it’s none of their business to speculate about how God plans to work out history, and then he gives them a mission to accomplish.”
Yet before any of these men spoke about focusing in on an earthly mission and not concern ourselves about when Christ will return; there was one who made this statement much earlier, and she was in fact, the subject of TTUF’s very first Profile, Alice Bailey, Matron of the New Age movement (type in ‘Bailey’ in TTUF’s search engine to read this article), through whom was channeled the spirit guide Djwhal Khul the Tibetan; she stated:
“If our work is rightly done, He will come at the set and appointed time. How, where or when He will come is none of our concern. Our work is to do our utmost and on as large a scale as possible to bring about right human relations, for His coming depends upon our work.” Of course the one she is referring to is the New Age Christ, Matreiya, who is Antichrist. I find it very unsettling that statements made by leaders in the church, and in the Emergent Movement are saying the same thing. The significance of this is quite obvious.
What is quite telling, is that the LORD Jesus Himself gave us explicit details of His Second Coming: we have not two or three, but four in-depth accounts by all four Gospel writers: Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21; in addition to these three, a fourth account was written with far greater detail than the previous three! John the Apostle by inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave us the Revelation of Jesus Christ that expounds at great length on the events preceding and including the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Another similarity in all three gospel accounts of the LORD’s return is the admonition from Jesus Himself when He told us, “Let no man deceive you”!
Warren Smith comments: “Furthermore, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 Jesus gives a much different picture of what the last days before His return will be like. The leaders I have discussed seem to suggest that if we fulfill our “mission” or “God’s Dream” we will create a world where peace prevails. They believe Christ will then return to a world ready to accept Him. But the real Jesus warns that false Christs will appear (leading eventually to the Antichrist) – and they will perform signs and wonders, promising peace and harmony.”
ROBERT SCHULLER’s INFLUENCE on RICK WARREN:
In Rick’s writings there is unattributed material used from Schuller’s work. In 2004 Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership, Schuller states that Rick Warren was a graduate of his Institution and had come there “time after time” on his Hour of Power television broadcast (April 4, 2004).
Robert Schuller’s doctrinal views of the Bible leave very much to be desired by any one who takes the scriptures seriously!
For a comprehensive look at Schuller’s beliefs and doctrinal statements that he made in his 1982 book: Self Esteem the New Reformation, visit this web site:
Robert Schuller's New Self-Esteem Reformation
Here is a quote by Schuller in his book:
"Yes, what we need in the worldwide Christian church today is nothing less than a new reformation. Where the sixteenth-century Reformation returned our focus to sacred Scriptures as the only infallible rule for faith and practice, the new reformation will return our focus to the sacred right of every person to self-esteem! (emphasis added)"
“A sacred right to self-esteem”?? What did the apostle Paul declare in scripture?
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh [self],) dwelleth no good thing:
What is there to esteem if sacred scripture declares this? Or what about this verse:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The Hebrew word for “desperately” means “incurable”! The Bible is replete with verses that reveal the reality of the human condition snared in the power of destructive sin, and no amount of psychological cosmetics can beautify the heart. While we don’t want to grovel needlessly (although if we could see the LORD at this moment in all of His glory and holiness, we assuredly would!), we want to perceive our condition, apart from Christ Jesus’ influences, as it really is and not pretend we are something we are not!
We will continue this article with part two (of three) soon!
Until then, may the LORD Jesus bless you according to the Truth of God’s Word, and His grace.
Posted by A.M. Kisly at 10:54 AM