Monday, March 22, 2010
~~ By James Fire
Heed the wisdom of God’s Word in this passage: 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,
We now pick up where we left off in our examination of Rick Warren’s beliefs and associations in determining whether or not he is biblically sound and a legitimate leader worthy of the church to follow. We already saw to some degree, how Rick Warren was associated with Robert Schuller; let’s examine this further. There is a distinct parallel between Schuller and Rick Warren in their writings -- Schuller:
“Our very survival as a species depends on hope. And without hope we will lose the faith that we can cope.” Warren (20 yrs later in The Purpose Driven Life-2002): “Hope is essential to your life as air and water. You need to hope to cope.” Warren (from The Purpose Driven Church-1995):
“Accept the challenge of becoming a purpose-driven church! The greatest churches in history are yet to be built.” Schuller (Your Church Has A Fantastic Future!-1986; a pastor quotes him): “Ten years ago, I heard Dr. Robert Schuller say at his leadership conference, ‘The greatest churches in the world are yet to be built!’”
RICK WARREN’s/ROBERT SCHULLER’s “NEW REFORMATION” and “GOD’s DREAM” Rick Warren’s New Reformation and his God’s Dream – Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan are strikingly similar to Robert Schuller’s proposed New Reformation and his God’s Dream plan to “redeem society”. The only difference between the two Plans? Schuller proposed his twenty years earlier than Warren proposed his.Schuller states that ‘God’s Dream’ is to redeem society. No where in the Bible are we called to “redeem society” as a whole. We are to preach the Gospel to lost souls, who will themselves be redeemed if they believe it, and indirectly, as more and more souls are redeemed, society will be the better for it.
Warren Smith comments: “Following Schuller’s forty-year commitment to his church, Rick Warren made a forty-year commitment to the Saddleback community. He ‘grew’ his mega-church by faithfully implementing all that he had learned from Schuller . . . Now Schuller’s concept of ‘God’s Dream’ was being used to inspire millions of Christians to get behind his [Warren’s] 5 Step P.E.A.C.E. Plan to change the world, . . . [a plan] that, on paper, bore an eerie resemblance to the 5-Step PEACE Plan proposed by Neale Donald Walsch (author of New Age book, Conversations With God) and his New Age ‘God’.”
“I am not fully forgiven until I allow God to write his new dream for my life on the blackboard of my mind . . .” Robert Schuller, 1982 (note: So much for the atoning work of the Cross and the Holy Blood that Jesus shed there for the remission of sins! Schuller states that he is not FULLY FORGIVEN until . . .! ‘Until’ anything that involves my own efforts or dead works - - is a heresy!
“This weekend, I’ll begin a series of five messages on God’s dream to use you globally – to literally use YOU to help change the world.” Rick Warren, 2003
“So people interested in being a new kind of Christian will . . . want to find out how they can fit in with God’s dreams actually coming true down here more often.” Brian McLaren, 2007 Warren Smith lists some New Age/Emergent Church leaders who all use the term “God’s Dream” in their statements, and can be found on pages 94, 95 of his book, A Wonderful Deception: Erwin McManus, Bruce Wilkinson, Shane Claiborne, Leonard Sweet, Sri Chimnoy, Desmond Tutu, Sun Myung Moon, Wayne Dyer, and Oprah Winfrey.
(note: for any who’ve yet to understand what the Emergent Church stands for, please visit these sites of ours: The TRUTH Under FIRE, and FROM the MIND of FIRE, and in their respective browsers type “emergent” and follow the links found there to various articles. You will find the following titles most revealing: Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Anne Kisly; Triumphant But Tragic Trojan & Holy Relics by James Fire. The link to FROM the MIND of FIRE can be found on TTUF. There are three pages worth of links @ FtMofF for Emergent Church articles).
If any claim that they are following ‘God’s Dream’ (what is a dream [other than those we experience during sleep] if not a vision, or goal, plan or purpose?) it had better line up with the Word of God, which explicitly reveals God’s vision and plan for the ages and for humanity as a whole; otherwise its worthless and completely wrong! Warren Smith states: “[It] seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was to mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional “Bible-based” wing of the Church.
Many believers, who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically do not trust Robert Schuller. According to Warren Smith, the only conclusion that can be reached is that “The spiritual foundation of the Purpose-Driven movement can be found in the writings and teachings of Schuller’s fifty year ministry.”
HIS PERSONAL GUIDE INTO DECEPTION – Once Warren Smith’s book, Deceived on Purpose was published, people began to read, and focus their attention more intently on Rick Warren and his teachings and statements; Saddleback apologist for Mr. Warren, Gilbert Thurston was caught by surprise when he learned (from Mr. Smith’s writings) that Rick Warren’s quote from Bernie Siegal, who himself received the information on which his statement was based, from a “spirit guide named George” but then went on to say:
“Knowing that Bernie Siegal is a New Ager didn’t make this statement any less true than if I had found out he was the world’s best Christian doctor. Real truth is truth as long as it’s biblical, no matter what the source.” The term ‘spirit guide’ is nothing more than a euphemism for a demonic spirit; for any that believe that the Bible is the Truth, this indisputable fact reveals that Mr. Thurston’s statement is in line with what the Bible says regarding spiritual teachings coming from satanic sources (see 1 Tim 4:1), but no “matter what the source”, truth is truth??
Satan is known in the Bible as “the father of lies” (see John 8:44). How can we take anything Satan might say as ‘truth’? Author George Mair wrote a book that praises Rick Warren and Saddleback Church; Mr. Mair attended Saddleback for many years, and contributed financially to it as well. In the book, A Life with Purpose: Reverend Rick Warren: The Most Inspiring Pastor of Our Time (April, 2005), he says the following: “The numbers speak for themselves. The Church Growth Movement [CGM] has been wildly successful in Southern California . . . as well as in the rest of the country. Which prompts us to ask: what are the roots of this powerful movement?
Rick Warren may be the foremost figure in the CGM today, but he’s only a piece -albeit an important one- of a greater development in the Christian Church. Who and what gave birth to this movement in which Rick would play such a vital role?”
Note: Where and when is the church commanded by the Head of the church, the LORD Jesus Christ to conceive of plans to make the church grow, and get big? We are told to preach the Gospel, and that it’s the LORD that adds daily to the church such as should be saved (Acts 2:47). The only picture we have of the church getting enormously (and unusually big because of mutation) is in the parable of the mustard seed that grows into a tree – the mustard seed grows into a shrub only about 2 – 3 feet in height.
When it becomes far larger than it should (tree sized) the fowls of the air are able to lodge in it; “fowls” biblically are a type for evil spirits, i.e. demons! See Mat 13:31-32) Again, who and what gave birth to this movement in which Rick would play such a vital role?” Mair answers his own question: “Reverend Norman Vincent Peale is, to many, the most prophetic and moving New Age preacher of the twentieth century.
He is also the father of the self-help movement that formed the groundwork for the CGM. Peale formed perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful link between religion and psychology of any religious leader in history. It is this same approachable, therapeutic brand of religion that many mega churches, including Saddleback, put forward today. It is this kind of religion that is so appealing to the masses of un-churched men and women that Rick Warren hopes to reach.” Likewise Mair draws a connection between Peale’s protégé Robert Schuller and Rick Warren:
“But it’s hard to argue that Schuller was not the first person to be effective on a national scale. He was unquestionably a pioneer in the CGM and a major influence on Rick Warren.”
AN EMERGENT MUTATION – We here at T.T.U.F. have already submitted an article about a proposed Department of Peace which may become an integral part of our Federal Government; Rick Warren himself has a ‘Plan’ of sorts as well, a P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Many conjecture that these two will dovetail to form a union between a Governmental authority and a Religious one. Yet one needn’t conjecture about such things, there is already a link between Government and Religion for the establishment of a global peace plan . . .
From Crossroads Ministries we have the following link that details this ‘Plan’ and how it’s being ratified by none other than the United Nations: Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan & the UN Millennium Goals "P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym that stands for 'Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation,' Warren said. The emphasis calls for church-based small groups to adopt villages where spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance keep people from experiencing the kind of life God wants them to have, he said. All noble causes to be sure, but I have a hard time finding such mandates in the pages of scripture (excepting "plant churches"), particularly the Great Commission to go forth and preach the gospel to all nations, and make disciples of Jesus Christ (see Matt 28:19-20).
Many in the Emergent Church have tried to mutate the Gospel into “healing the world and all of its social ills” but such a mandate is conspicuous by its absence in the pages of the Holy Bible. We will see what Rick Warren believes about the Gospel later. Who has Rick Warren enlisted to assist him in this endeavor and to teach his congregation there at Saddleback? Two men: Bruce Wilkinson (“Prayer of Jabez”) and Ken Blanchard (co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus organization; author of The Minute Manager).
Rick Warren described how the first “E” in his P.E.A.C.E. Plan stood for “Equip leaders”. He informed his congregation that Blanchard had “signed on” to “help train leaders” around the world.
NEW AGE/NEW SPIRITUALITY PALS – Two weeks after Blanchard had “signed on” to help Rick Warren, Warren himself appeared with Blanchard at the Lead Like Jesus Celebration in Birmingham, where he stated that they were working together on the PEACE Plan. Ray Yungen, author of many books and a contributor to Lighthouse Trails Publishing was concerned when he learned from George Mair’s book on Rick Warren, that Ken Blanchard would be helping him in his PEACE Plan.
Blanchard (who had personal ties with Norman Vincent Peale), Yungen noticed, often provided endorsements for New Age books and organizations; he had written many forewords to these books. How could someone who failed to discern the content of New Age materials, be an effective teacher on how to lead like Jesus? What are some of these New Age books that Blanchard endorsed? The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and What Would Buddha Do at Work? Also Jim Ballard’s book Little Wave and Old Swell (a longtime friend and business associate of Blanchard’s), who also is a devotee of the late Hindu Guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
Blanchard writes the forewords to both the 2004 and the 2007 editions of Little Wave and Old Swell which is a book for “people of all faiths”. The message of that book is foundational for the New Age teaching that “we are all one because God is in everything and everywhere.” Why would a self-professing Evangelical Christian like Rick Warren choose a New Age sympathizer like Ken Blanchard to train people to ‘lead like Jesus’? Which Jesus would he be training people to follow?
If these New Age books he’s endorsed and produced forewords for are any indication, it would seem that this would be ‘another Jesus’ and ‘another Gospel’. Ken Blanchard in July of 2005 stated on his Lead Like Jesus web site that his New Age endorsements were problematic, and he made a promise that he would try to exercise better discernment and that a discernment ministry (Watchman Fellowship) would assist him in this. Watchman Fellowship later announced that they believed Blanchard to be capable of remaining at the helm of the Lead Like Jesus organization. In January of 2006 Blanchard endorsed yet another New Age book, Jon Gordon’s The 10 Minute Energy Solution and he quotes the likes of A Course in Miracles, Wayne Dyer, Marilyn Ferguson, Paramahansa Yogananda and Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Gary Zukav.
Blanchard’s endorsement can be found on the cover of Gordon’s book which was released after Blanchard’s own book, Lead Like Jesus in 2005. Regardless of these persistent endorsements of New Age books by Blanchard, Rick Warren and other Christian leaders still supported him in his work, and Rick Warren himself remained on Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus National Board. Rick Warren offered a defense regarding Blanchard’s New Age sympathies, stating that he was “not a deep Christian” and “not mature in the faith” but that begs some questions:
Why would such a man be in charge of an organization like Lead Like Jesus where he is expected to train and instruct other Christians? Why would Rick Warren seek out such a man to partner with him in his own PEACE Plan project? Blanchard continued in his New Age endorsements and (new) forewords for such books as Jim Ballard’s Little Wave and Old Swell as well as The Secret; additionally he shared a platform with Wayne Dyer, John Gray, and Mark Victor Hansen (all New Age leaders and teachers).
He also remained a member on the Advisory Council of the New Age-based Hoffman Institute (which promotes the Hoffman Quadrinity Process – devised by the psychic Robert Hoffman, based on the foundational New Age teaching that God is “in” everything. Warren Smith concludes in his book, A Wonderful Deception: “Rick Warren’s involvement with Ken Blanchard cannot be conveniently excused and explained away. His association with Blanchard is symptomatic of a Purpose Driven ship without scripture bearings.”
WARREN CONFRONTS THE LIGHTHOUSE; YUNGEN’s OBSERVATIONS Rick Warren attempted to confront Lighthouse Trails Ministries in regards to Ken Blanchard, who according to George Mair was hired to help Warren with his PEACE Plan, when in fact, Blanchard wasn’t “hired” but volunteered instead (though it could be easily misunderstood that to “sign on” meant to be hired). According to Mr. Warren, “there is almost nothing correct in Mair’s book” and yet the fact remained, that a New Age sympathizer was (and is) in partnership with him in teaching people to ‘Lead like Jesus’ and it evoked questions (such as the ones above) in biblical Christian’s minds that required an answer! Below is a link to the Lighthouse Trails Web site where these emails are discussed (halfway down the page), and other issues related to Rick Warren, his PEACE Plan and Ken Blanchard along with his endorsements of a questionable nature: Rick Warren Addresses Lighthouse Assertions Ray Yungen in the DVD of “The New Face of Spirituality” discusses Rick Warren (below is a link from youtube, excerpted from the entire message):
Warren's Endorsement of New Spirituality? In this presentation, Ray Yungen states that Rick Warren endorses the likes of Brother Lawrence (a practitioner of mystic ‘Christian’ meditation) in The Purpose Driven Life; as well as this, Rick Warren endorses Dan Kimball, one of the foremost leaders of the Emergent Church, and wrote the foreword to his book, The Emerging Church. MORE EMERGENT/NEW AGE PALS: HOW SWEET IT - - ISN’T! He also endorsed, according to A Wonderful Deception (on both the front and back cover) Emergent church leader, Leonard Sweet’s 1999 book Soul Tsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture where Sweet also speaks of “God’s dream”; they shared the same platform during a 1995 The Tides of Change presentation as well.
Their working relationship was further enhanced when they co-led two highly publicized small-group workshops (called ‘Wired’ whose theme was “Prepare your church for spiritual growth and connectivity”) in 2008 that were held in Atlanta, Georgia and at Warren’s Saddleback Church! What was Sweet saying at these workshops? “The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people ‘in-phase’ with the Christ consciousness and connected to one another (emphasis added).” The term “Christ consciousness” is implicitly a New Age term.
Apparently Rick Warren had no problem with this as he invited Sweet to Saddleback to speak. Rick Warren endorses ‘breathe prayers’ a synonym for ‘contemplative prayer’ as well as the notion of “vintage Christianity” (i.e. candles, incense, darkened sanctuaries, icons, statues, chants, etc.). Gary Thomas often spoke at Saddleback Church, who also strongly endorses contemplative prayer, and himself quotes Basil Pennington (New Age leader: “The wisdom of the East should be captured by the church”) in his writings!
Warren Smith states in his book A Wonderful Deception, that the ideas of Reformation, Revolution, “as above, so below”, “God’s Dream”, “Cosmic Christ”, “Oneness”, and “God in everything” are replete in today’s terminology in such writings as Marianne Williamson (spokesperson for the Department of Peace legislation and a devout New Age Wiccan) who says that the New Age/Spirituality is a “revolution [is] a global phenomenon that will change the cellular structure of the human race. The Gift of Change, her 2004 book says:
“An underground revolution is sweeping the hearts and minds of the people of the world, and it is happening despite the wars and terror that confront us. This revolution is a fundamental change of worldview, and it carries with it the potential to reorganize the structure of the human civilization. It brings about a basic shift in the thoughts that dominate the world. It wages a peace that will end all war. It is a global phenomenon . . .” David Spangler, a high authority in the New Age movement declares that the human race is a body, and each of us are cells in that body; he also regards the idea of a change in the “cellular structure of the human race” will bring about a global revolution.
Re-imagining and Re-Thinking are also terms that Emergents, New Agers, and now (formerly) biblical evangelicals are all using to describe what the church needs in our modern day that gels perfectly well with a revolution which Rick Warren subscribes to, as well as Leonard Sweet, and Brian McLaren, Marianne Williamson, and Neale Donald Walsch. It’s strange how someone as supposedly fundamental, and evangelical as Rick Warren, whose books are regularly purchased by Bible believing (or not?) Christians can hob-knob with not just one, or two, but several of people well known in New Age and Emergent Church Movement circles. How can we reconcile this dichotomy? That question may not be answerable. We shall continue this article in a third, last installment, coming up soon!
Posted by A.M. Kisly at 2:16 PM