Understanding Church Vision (Part 3 of 4)

Be Watchful

Revelation 3:1-3 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘ These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  2 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  3 “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.


Willow Creek recently published a book called ‘Reveal: Where are you?’ In this book two of Willow Creek’s executive pastors surveyed their congregation and found that their discipleship programs are not working. People have much less Bible knowledge than expected and the longer the members reside in the church, the more they acknowledge their lack of understanding and lack of personal discipleship. Bill Hybels called the findings ‘earthshaking and mind blowing’. Since the church growth models seek to give people what they want and have almost no emphasis on scripture, this isn’t surprising at all. What is surprising is that Willow Creek published these findings and acknowledged the failure of their church growth model. However, their conclusion likely tips their hand to the motivation behind this publication. In ‘Reveal: Where are you?’ they state the following:

Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.


Notice the subtle shift away from the great commission? The vision given to the church is not to transform the planet, but to make disciples, teach each disciple to obey all that has been commanded and trust in Jesus who will be with us until the end of the world. Also, don’t let their terminology fool you. Willow Creek made the exact same claim when launching the current church growth model that is now called a failure. They also claimed this is a move of God and is based on scripture when indeed it is not. The seeker sensitive movement was called a paradigm shift and as Rick Warren put it in the Purpose Driven Life, we find what God is doing and ride the wave. Now they are saying the same things in preparation for their new plan to ‘rethink old assumptions and replace it with new insights’. While the false shepherds are claiming that we need to rethink old assumptions and do things a new way, the call of God speaks differently. Look at Jeremiah 6:16-19  

16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’  18 Therefore hear, you nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them.  19 Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people — The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words, Nor My law, but rejected it.


The fruit of their thoughts (or visions) is calamity. Some claim that the Bible tells us not to remember the former way in reference to Isaiah 43:18, but in Isaiah 46:9 God’s people are commanded to remember the former things. If we take the time to read the entire book of Isaiah, it can clearly be understood that God is telling Israel not to remember the former things [sins] for God is offering forgiveness, but they are to remember the former things [ways of God] and return to obedience. The curse of the Lord was upon them while they were in sin and disobedience, but once they return to the right path and He has forgiven, there is no reason to remember their former guiltiness for they have been restored.


This message from scripture is different than what is being taught through the new vision. The ‘new visionaries’ are teaching others to turn from the old ways that God has established and teaches them to follow the new vision that departs from the word of God. The pastors of Willow Creek are preparing to bring about the next step of the new vision by pointing out failures among the people in order to bring about discontentment. Consider this excerpt from a Willow Creek seminar tape on implementing their old model:

“Change only occurs when there is significant disillusionment with the status quo. This is ‘Change Theory’ “So, that is what begins to happen. Tearing down subtly begins.”

Jim Dethmar gives a suggestion on how to do this when he says,

“…a simplified view of how to do change is to find something that is wrong, it might be a little one, and rub it raw, irritate it”. {Willow Creek Seminar Tape}


It appears that they are applying their own advice in preparation to make new changes and apply their ‘new insights’. Their publication identifies a failure in order to create disillusionment so that they can ‘tear down’ resistance to the new change about to be brought in. If I had to hazard a guess, I would expect that the ‘new insight’ will be related to contemplative prayer or something related to the ‘Christian’ mystical practices that is promoted by the church growth movements. Hybels’ church already teaches contemplative mystical practices to his congregation and promotes the New Age labyrinth so it is a small step to begin promoting these among the evangelical communities. Keep in mind that Bill Hybels was trained by Robert Schuller’s ‘Institute of Church Growth’. Robert Schuller is a big proponent of ‘Christianized’ transcendental meditation – aka contemplative prayer. Consider his statement in his book ‘Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking:

The most effective mantras employ the “M” sound. You can get the feel of it by repeating the words, “I am, I am,” many times over…. Transcendental Meditation or TM… is not a religion nor is it necessarily anti-Christian.

“Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking,” pp. 131-32


Like almost every major doctrine that these movements teach, the Bible expressly warns us against this type of practice. Jesus said that when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. In spite of this commandment of Jesus, these teachers instruct those who do not know the scriptures that repetitious phrases (i.e. contemplative prayer) is the way to connect with God. The Bible says, “do not use these practices” (Matthew 6:7) and the modern day false prophets instruct us to go against the scriptures. Who do you believe and whose word will you obey?


It is no accident that this New Age practice of meditation is employed by repeating the phrase “I am” since this is the title God gave to Himself. Shirley McLane (actress turned New Age guru) taught this principle when she became active in teaching New Age practices as she openly proclaimed, “I am, I am, I am God”. She taught others to believe that they are one with God. Most New Age beliefs teach that all is God and God is in all. Since the church growth movements have been widely accepted by almost all denominations and have even been taught to other religions (such as Mormonism and Judaism), the roadwork is already in place for the next step towards the one world church of apostasy foretold throughout the New Testament. Phase two will be much easier to press ahead than the initial work of gaining acceptance in the evangelical community throughout the last two decades. We must take heed to the scriptures so that we are not overtaken by these things. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6  

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.


Apply this to 2 Timothy 4:3-5  

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.


Those who are calling for yet another change are not pointing to the doctrine of scripture but are calling people to look for yet another ‘new move of God’. Your ministry has already been given and this time has been foretold long ago. Do not be caught up in new visions and the falling away from the truth but be watchful and fulfill your ministry – even if you are mocked as a traditionalist.


Replacing the Vision – the classic bait and switch.

Every false teacher and false prophet attempts to pass themselves off as conservative and to be supportive of the scriptures when they present their best face to the crowd; however, it isn’t someone’s claim that reveals who they are but their actions. The ‘Purpose Driven’ movement has taken the evangelical community by storm. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement boasts that it has over 20,000 purpose driven churches world-wide and Bill Hybels claims that there are over 12,000 Willow Creek affiliate churches in over 90 countries. Over 32,000 evangelical churches have direct affiliations with these two church growth movement organizations. This does not include the churches that are influenced by church growth books, tapes, conferences and other resources but have never gone through the various affiliation programs.


The influence that these movements have on the evangelical community is undeniable. One other fact that is undeniable is that the underlying goal of these movements is to create the one world church foretold in prophecy. To back this up, we only need to look at the people who are introduced and called on to teach churches from these platforms provided by the church growth leaders. Rick Warren has promoted Brian McLaren, Henri Nouwen, Ken Blanchard, Leonard Sweet and many other New Age teachers. Consider first that Rick Warren announced in April 2005 that he was partnering with Ken Blanchard to teach his leaders that will teach others in his new ‘PEACE Plan”. Rick Warren has shared the platform with Ken Blanchard and Bill Hybels in several of the ‘Lead Like Jesus’ conference series. Look at these quotes from Ken Blanchard:

“Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I … invite you to begin your journey to enlightened work.”


I look for inspirational messages from a variety of sources besides Jesus. Our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mohammed … Yogananda and the Dalai Lama.”— Ken Blanchard, foreword What Would Buddha Do at Work?


During the 1990’s the media dubbed Bill Clinton as the Teflon president. Bill Clinton had such an ability to carefully craft his words so that he could communicate what he wanted to say in order to persuade those who were eagerly listening, but do it in such a way so that critics could not pin him down on any issue. He appeared on a news program to do an interview (I think it was 20/20). The interviewing reporter described his interview by saying that he asked Bill all the tough questions and left excitedly believing that he had a prize interview where Clinton committed himself on several controversial statements. He said that as he watched the video and prepared it for airing, he realized that he had nothing. At first glance Clinton appeared to be answering the question, but when you actually look at the content of what was said, he crafted his words in such a way that he could escape in either direction if his position was criticized.


Rick Warren is the Teflon prophet of the New Age. The three most influential church growth proponents today are Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, and Rick Warren. Robert Schuller is the messenger to those who are already open to their plan to take the church in a new direction. Bill Hybels has appealed to the moderate churches which require a little more carefulness to receive the mystical message of this movement. Rick Warren took on the conservative churches. He began as a Southern Baptist church and currently has the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention. Rick Warren is very well aware of the fact that he cannot do as Schuller and Hybels have done. If he were to put a pagan labyrinth in his church as Hybels did, it would cause a revolt among the conservative churches and squelch his chances to carry this message into the church. He indeed accomplishes the same shift away from Christianity, but he crafts his words in such a way that he does not commit himself and presents New Age philosophies through those he promotes so that he can dodge criticism and distance himself temporarily if necessary. An example is how he introduces the New Age philosopher Henri Nouwen.

On Pastors.com Rick stated,

“My wife, Kay, recommends this book! In it, Nouwen divides the life of ministry into five categories: teaching, preaching, pastoral care, organizing, and celebrating”.


In this simple statement, he has introduced the writings of Henri Nouwen to the evangelical community without committing himself. He has endorsed Nouwen and even praised his writings and encouraged pastors to read it; however, what do you think he will say if someone criticizes him? “It wasn’t me, it was my wife. I didn’t realize he held those views.” Yet what influential Christian leader would endorse a teacher without knowing what he teaches. Obviously Rick has read Nouwen since he is familiar with how Nouwen breaks down the life of ministry. Here is an excerpt of Henri Nouwen’s beliefs:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Henri Nouwen p.51, Sabbatical Journey Crossroad publishing Co., New York,1998


So while Jesus warns that He is the only way to God (John 14:6) and that unless you believe this truth you will die in your sins (John 8:24), Nouwen states that everyone is saved whether they acknowledge Jesus or not and that it is his mission to help people find their own ways to God. Don’t forget the passage we read earlier from Proverbs 14:

12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.


The way that seems right leads to death and those who follow their own way will die in their sins, but Jesus alone is the door to eternal life. Warren uses this same method of deception to present false teachers into the church in every area of his influence. He carefully lays the groundwork and builds trust and then he introduces false teachers to deliver the message. He has made claims that he doesn’t believe all that these teachers believe, but he does not identify which beliefs he disagrees with and he continues to actively promote them and gives them a platform to deliver their message to the churches he has built bridges to.


Many times it is not what Warren teaches that is causing damage, but who he puts into a position to teach and who he endorses. Satan will give you any amount of truth in order to get you to receive a lie. The devil does not fight against religion and most religions have some things that are true; however, they all take our focus away from the cross of Jesus Christ and the vision He gave to the church. The book, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ is not blatantly unbiblical – in fact, many of the things in the book are inspiring and some things (but not all) have roots in scripture. The problem is that this book is a ‘Trojan Horse’ that has been received into the evangelical church. It was given as a deceptive gift given with the hope that this will lead to a reception of the other teachers he has endorsed and presented to the church. Through the trust gained by the ‘Purpose Driven’ books, Warren has successfully introduced anti-Christian teachers such as Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton and others. Since many will not be familiar with these leaders, I will give brief quotes for each of them that are not already quoted in this study.

Thomas Merton

“And I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have.”

“I want to become as good a Buddhist as I can.
(Steindl-Rast, 1969)


Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk


Brennan Manning

“I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself. In a word—bibliolatry. God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.”—Brennan Manning, Signature of Jesus, pp. 188-189


“Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there.” – Signature of Jesus [Manning believes the Buddhist concept of god in all and all in god]


Richard Foster shares his out of body experience:

“[I]n your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily … Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence.”

If you want to discover where Foster learned this doctrine, do an Internet search for ‘out of body experience’ and see how many New Age sites teach the same thing. Foster bases his book ‘Celebration of Discipline’ on Eastern meditative practices and he teaches prayer as saying mantras and using the same meditative practices as Transcendental Meditation. Foster is a major proponent of Contemplative Prayer (so-called Christian Meditation). In Richard Foster’s book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home he warns about the possibility of demonic possession using Contemplative prayer:

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance…. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection.

“At the outset I need to give a word of warning, a little like the warning labels on medicine bottles. Contemplative prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer…”


Why would prayer subject you to dangers and warnings? As you can see, Rick Warren is actively promoting people whose practices are, by their own admission, subjecting the disciple to spiritual beings that are not in cooperation with God – i.e. demons. By admission, these teachers promoted by Warren are fulfilling the warning of 1 Timothy 4:1  

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…


Like all deception, the Purpose Driven movement is presented with persuasion and even a portion of truth up front in order to introduce false teaching to the churches that allow this bridge of deception to be built. 2 Peter 2:1 puts it this way:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…


While the most influential evangelical leaders pass themselves off as Bible believing Christians, they are in fact promoting a one-world religion. At the end of this section, I will share a letter that these leaders signed calling for unity within the world religions. Rick Warren is very cautious about what he says knowing that if he directly teaches acceptance of world religions it will harm his ability to gain ground in the evangelical community; however, he gladly introduces and promotes those who deny the faith and who also teach others to look outside of Christianity for ‘secret knowledge’. It is necessary for you to watch and be on guard against those who pass themselves off as prophets of light. The Bible forewarns of these things. Look at these two passages:

Matthew 24:  11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.


2 Corinthians 11:  13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.


At the end of the end times description in Matthew 24, Jesus concludes by saying, “Watch.” Throughout the Bible we are continuously commanded to watch and be on guard against these deceptions but when a leader is widely accepted, people are unwilling to look at the fruit of their ministries. We have already seen that, by their own admission, the fruit of Willow Creek is a massive congregation that has no knowledge of the word and no heart to seek the Lord. While they attempt to make you believe that their fruit is good, the scripture refutes this. You can get a glimpse of a leaders belief by the people they surround themselves with and who they endorse. Consider this endorsement by Rick Warren’s pastors.com website found at http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/article.asp?ArtID=4150

“The 2003 Innovative Church Conference will feature Brian McLaren, founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Washington, D.C. area. Brian is a prominent voice on postmodern thinking and church growth. He is also the author of several books including The Church on the Other Side and the revolutionary book, A New Kind of Christian”.


Why would a Christian leader promote someone who teaches Buddhism? Even more alarming is a Christian leader who promotes Hinduism, Buddhism and even claims that Jesus had a secret plan to unite all religions in order to give birth to a new world order. Look at some of the anti-biblical quotes by Brian McLaren:

“The Christian faith, I am proposing, should become (in the name of Jesus Christ) a welcome friend to other religions of the world, not a threat” –Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy McLaren, p.254


Why is Brian McLaren introducing a new Christian faith? It is Jesus Christ alone that holds the authority to determine truth, faith and our mission. He has revealed this truth to us through the Holy Scriptures. Consider this warning from scripture found in Galatians 1:8-9  

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.


Brian McLaren explains his vision of the birth of the New World order in ‘The Secret Message of Jesus’:

“…many Hindus are willing to consider Jesus as a legitimate manifestation of the divine… many Buddhists see Jesus as one of humanity’s most enlightened people…. A shared reappraisal of Jesus’ message could provide a unique space or common ground for urgently needed religious dialogue—and it doesn’t seem an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet may depend on such dialogue. This reappraisal of Jesus’ message may be the only project capable of saving a number of religions.” ––Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 7


What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan?“…. What if he didn’t come to start a new religion–but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?” ––Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 4


Each of these teachers promotes eastern religious practices which have been given the title of ‘New Age’ in our western culture. As the church receives these eastern practices and begin to put them into practice, they are following the exact same path Israel followed before judgment fell from God. One of the most quoted books in the evangelical community is Brennan Manning’s book, ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’. Beth Moore calls this book ‘a remarkable book’ and ‘a gift without parallel’. Rick Warren’s pastors.com website endorses this book and endorses Brennan Manning at least 5 times. Manning acknowledges that he received his beliefs on contemplative prayer from a New Age guru named Basil Pennington. Pennington acknowledges that his beliefs do not come from the scripture, but from eastern religions. Look at this quote from Basil Pennington:

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM (Transcendental Meditation) and similar practices.


Don’t believe the lie that mind-altering meditation is prayer. If you want to see how the Bible describes prayer, look at Luke 11:1-4. It is no accident that none of these mystical practices are accredited to scripture. Not once will you hear these teachers say, “I learned this from the Bible”. Those who do not seek the word of God will become dry and susceptible to these false promises of ‘deeper spirituality’. In truth, you cannot follow New Age or eastern beliefs and follow Christ. Israel claimed to serve God while capturing the eastern religious practices before God cast them away in His wrath. Look at how God views these eastern religions as described in Ezekiel 8:15-16  

15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.”  16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.


Rick Warren has built a bridge between the evangelical church and the New Age. Through his books, broadcasts, conferences and his pastors.com website, he is introducing a slow trickle of New Age philosophers into the church for the sole purpose of tearing down the barriers between the church and the world in order to use the Christian influence to be the carrier of the new, one-world church. While the Bible continuously warns us not to have fellowship with these religions and has even stated that to be a friend of the world is to make ourselves an enemy of God (James 4:4), these teachers introduced by Warren are directly challenging the scriptures and calling for the church to abandon their faith and join the mass of humanity seeking the new world order. Rick Warren’s ministry toolbox also introduces Spencer Burke through an article posted at http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/article.asp?ID=186&ArtID=6420 and introduces him again again in the quotes and notes section of http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/printerfriendly.asp?issue=214&wholething=1. Spencer Burke wrote a book called, ‘A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity’ in which he writes the following about John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”:

“So how do I interpret this particular Scripture? First, Christianity as a religion didn’t exist when Jesus spoke these words.  Compounding this point are two additional facts: no one actually recorded Jesus’ words at the time he spoke them, so we have no proof that they are indeed his words, and what he did say, he said in Aramaic, which means that nothing in the Bible as translated into an other language can be taken literally anyway.”


So what the ‘new reformers’ are claiming is that the apostles who wrote the scriptures that God revealed to them as the Holy Spirit moved them (2 Peter 1:21) are unreliable, but what they are conjuring up 2000 years later is reliable. Burke also makes it clear that he believes the church should endorse other religions in his book, ‘Making Sense of Church’:

The second tenet of Progressive Christianity is: We are Christians who recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God’s realm. p129


The new drum beat of the church leaders claim that salvation is through their organization that unites all religions and acknowledges all spiritual gateways without the need of a Savior. Keep in mind that these one world proponents all believe that they will establish God’s kingdom on earth. They are not looking for Jesus to return to a world in disarray as the Bible foretells; they look upon themselves to bring salvation to the world. They do not look at Jesus as the savior of mankind, but the PEACE plan they will implement. Even as we speak, Saddleback is actively engaging in mission trips to convert people to the Purpose Driven movement through his own books, but does not use scripture. The P.E.A.C.E. plan missions point people away from the word of God and to the material that only agrees with this new movement. I have also linked a video produced by Saddleback showing their mission trip to Argentina. Not once will you see the Bible or anything scriptural in this video, but you will see multiple times where the ‘Warren Missionaries’ are sharing the Purpose Driven book with the new converts. Click Here to view this video. Rick Warren is walking on the same path as many of the ‘Emerging’ church leaders who also either point to something other than Christ and the word, or blatantly seek to turn people away from salvation in Christ. Consider this quote from Alan Jones in his book, ‘Reimaging Christianity’:

“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.” Alan Jones, p. 132


The ‘new vision’ is based on the wisdom of the world. This comment by Alan Jones fits perfectly into the explanation of 1 Corinthians 1:18-21  

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”  20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.


You cannot be saved without the message of the cross. Those who believe this is unnecessary will be lost in their sins. Those who believe this is a vile doctrine have rejected Christ regardless of how they justify it. Consider this pointed warning in Psalm 119:155  

Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes.


Salvation is far from those who do not receive the word and submit to Christ according to the scriptures. Those who reject the commandments and statutes of God cannot walk through the narrow gate that few will find according to Matthew 7:13-14. The New World Order and the churches seeking it believe that salvation is through the organization and that you can only experience God through the collective body. Look at this quote from pastors.com:


We need to say, ‘There is a new order, a new Kingdom, and if you want to know what that looks like … come see this community of the Kingdom. See peace and love and righteousness and joy and self-control. And you cannot see them as individuals, you can only see them working together in community. Jeff Robinson (Posted on Warren’s ministry toolbox at http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/article.asp?ArtID=8155).


These are part of the dominionist movements. They believe that we will set up God’s kingdom and it is commonly taught that Jesus cannot come back to a fractured body and He cannot return until the church first sets up the ‘kingdom of God’. The Bible describes a different scenario. Read through the New Testament and see if we are ever told that God is dependent on man. See if there is any scripture that remotely implies that unity is the catalyst for Jesus’ return. We are told that the political and religious world will be unified under the Beast of Revelation (commonly called the antichrist). We are told that the signs that precede Jesus’ return is wars, the departing of the faith and the persecution of the saints.


In the Q&A section at the end of the chapter of ‘Heretic’s Guide to Eternity’ we looked at above, Burke presents an adversarial opinion to his teachings and then follows up by presenting what he believes to be an ally to his argument supposedly proving what he says is true. He uses these mock dialogs to refute the scripture’s mandate to be separate from the world:

Adversary: I believe it is important to come out and be separate.
Ally: I believe it is important to journey together and focus on things we have in common. p138


The ‘new vision’ boldly refutes scripture and declares that what they think is important is greater than the word of God. As we can see, the church growth movement endorses several ‘one world’ proponents. One of the most influential of these leaders is Leonard Sweet. Sweet is listed as one of the 10 most influential evangelical leaders in the world today. Leonard Sweet is known by two of his most popular books, ‘Soul Tsunami’ and ‘Quantum Spirituality’. Sweet makes no pretense about his desire to see Christianity merge with all world religions and boldly proclaims his New Age beliefs. Consider these quotes from Sweet:

“The first of these five untheorized observations is that New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and ‘in-formation’ with other Christians. Deeper feeling and higher relating go together. The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a comm-union whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness.” —Quantum Spirituality, P. 122


The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people “in-phase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another. P. 147


New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths.… One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”-Leonard Sweet


In order to have the ‘New Light’, you must be in connection with other faiths. If you have any knowledge of the New Age movement you will recognize the term ‘Christ consciousness’. Leonard Sweet also lists Rowan Williams in the forward of his book as a theologian that has helped shape his beliefs. Rowan Williams became the Archbishop of Canterbury who took part in a pagan Druid ceremony at Stonehenge. Sweet also lists Matthew Fox as one of his influences. Fox wrote the book called ‘The Coming of the Cosmic Christ’. Matthew Fox calls for ‘A Great Divorce’ between Christians who hold to literal biblical beliefs and those who embrace the new ‘creation spirituality’ that reveals the ‘Cosmic Christ’ of the New Age.


As you can see, it is not difficult to identify the New Age philosophies of Leonard Sweet; however, Rick Warren has enlisted Sweet as one of the key note speakers at his upcoming ‘WIRED: 2008 Saddleback Small Groups Conference’. You can view the flier on the Purpose Driven Website at http://pddocs.purposedriven.com:8088/docs/small_groups/web_spread.pdf. You will see a picture and bio of Leonard Sweet on the list of main speakers on page 5 of this document. Rick Warren has invited Leonard Sweet to the Saddleback conference to teach churches how to implement their ‘successful’ small group program in their local churches. Leonard Sweet states that his vision of small groups is to teach people how to tap into the New Age Christ Consciousness and also acknowledges that he received his beliefs on small groups from David Spangler. David Spangler openly proclaims that Lucifer is the light everyone should submit to. Consider this quote from Spangler:

“The true light of this great being can only be recognized when one’s own eyes can see with the light of the Christ, the light of the inner sun. Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into the New Age, which is the age of man’s wholeness, each of us is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation, the particular doorway through which the individual must pass if he is to come fully into the presence of his light and his wholeness.

Lucifer comes to give us the final gift of wholeness. If we accept it, then he is free and we are free, that is the Luciferic Initiation. It is one that many people now, and in the days ahead, will be facing, for it is an initiation into the New Age. (David Spangler, Reflections on the Christ, Findhorn Lecture Series, 3rd ed., 1981; p. 45)

Warren passes himself off as an evangelical by saying evangelical things, but when you look at the very people he endorses and places on stage at Saddleback church (the largest Southern Baptist Church in America), it is impossible to draw any other conclusion than that he has a hidden agenda and fulfills the Bible’s warning that wolves in sheep’s clothing will come in and secretly introduce destructive heresies. Even so, we have the promise that even though the deception will be almost irresistible, the elect – those who hold to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus will not be deceived. Those who choose the man or the ‘new vision’ over the word of God will be deceived.

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