Continued from "Christian" New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet: (Part 3) Fractals, Chaos Theory, Quantum Spirituality, and The Shack
"Christian" New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet: (Part 4) Quantum Leap to a New Age/New Spirituality
By Warren B. Smith (10-25-11)
(View Warren B. Smith Books & Articles)
Excerpted from A “Wonderful” Deception, pp. 163-182.
The coming together of the new biology and the new physics is providing the basic metaphors for this new global civilization that esteems and encourages whole-brain experiences, full-life expectations, personalized expressions, and a globalized consciousness.2
—Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami
When we experience such a quantum of transformation, we may simultaneously feel that the whole of the New Age is happening right now, that we are on the verge of overnight transformation—the fabled quantum leap into a new state of being.3
—David Spangler, Reimagination of the World
Saddleback Civil Forum and “Flip-Flopping”
On August 16, 2008, Rick Warren hosted the Saddleback Civil Forum with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. The Civil Forum was carried live on CNN and broadcast around the world. With Warren presiding, this venue was a distinct variation from the usual presidential debate format. During the event, Warren asked both men the same basic ten questions. One of these questions perhaps tells us more about Warren than either of the candidates answers did about them. Using slightly different wording, he asked both Barack Obama and John McCain to describe some position or belief they held ten years ago that they no longer hold today. He softened the question by stating that “sometimes flip-flopping is smart” because it’s based on “additional information” and “knowledge.” Warren said that changing one’s position can often be viewed in a positive way. “That’s not flip-flopping,” he said. “Sometimes that’s growing in wisdom.” Here is how Warren approached the two presidential candidates on this matter of changing one’s belief about something.
Rick Warren to Barack Obama:
A lot of times candidates are accused of flip-flopping, but actually sometimes flip-flopping is smart because you actually have decided on a better position based on knowledge that you didn’t have.
What’s the most significant position you held ten years ago that you no longer hold today, that you flipped on, you changed on, because you actually see it differently?4
Rick Warren to John McCain:
What is the most significant position that you’ve held, ten years ago, that you no longer hold today? I think the point I’m trying to make is that leaders are not stubborn. They do change their mind with additional information.
So give me a good example of something, ten years ago, you said that’s the way I feel about and now, ten years later, I changed my position. That’s not flip-flopping. Sometimes that’s growing in wisdom.5
As I watched the Saddleback Civil Forum with my neighbors, I had to wonder if Rick Warren was introducing a rationale that he might end up using himself one day. For instance, this rationale could explain, in the future, why he was changing some of his views regarding biblical Christianity. For those who might accuse him of “heresy” or “flip-flopping,” he would simply repeat what he told Barack Obama—“sometimes flip-flopping is smart because you actually have decided a better position based on knowledge that you didn’t have.” Or he could repeat what he told John McCain—“That’s not flip-flopping. Sometimes that’s growing in wisdom.”
But what “additional information” could possibly cause Rick Warren to believe that some aspect of the Christian faith needed to be changed? What new “knowledge” could justify his adopting a new way of looking at biblical Christianity that, in effect, would result in his adopting a whole new worldview? Taken a step further, what new “knowledge” and “additional information” would help him to rationalize a new worldview that would mesh Christianity with the New Age/New Spirituality and other religions? The answer might very well come through the “new science” and the “new math”—quantum physics, chaos theory, and fractal theory—the “new science” attempt to scientifically prove that God is not only “transcendent” but also “immanent”—that God is “in” everything. Is this where Warren’s Purpose Driven movement is actually heading?
The New Worldview?
Many prominent New Age figures have stated that the foundational teaching of the New World Religion is the “immanence” of God (i.e., God “in” everything). Benjamin Creme, New Age leader and spokesperson for the false New Age “Christ” Maitreya, says:
But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.6
New Age matriarch Alice Bailey also describes how the ultimate path to God in the New World Religion will be based on accepting the teaching of God’s “immanence”—God “in” everything. Bailey writes:
. . . a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and of God Immanent within every form of life.
These are the foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.7
Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church Foundations Participant’s Guide also uses these same terms—transcendence and immanence—to describe God. The guide’s ambiguous wording regarding the word “immanent” could one day be interpreted to mean that God is “in” everything. This would be consistent with Warren’s statement in The Purpose Driven Life where he states that the Bible says God is “in everything.”8 These statements in the Participant’s Guide and in The Purpose Driven Life leave plenty of wiggle room for Warren down the line—should he continue to move in the direction of the New Spirituality/New World Religion. The Saddleback Church Foundations Participant’s Guide states:
The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).9 (parentheses in original)
Robert Schuller has already publicly aligned himself with this foundational teaching of the New World Religion. On November 9, 2003, in an Hour of Power sermon broadcast to millions of people around the world, Schuller stated that over the previous several years his increased understanding of God’s “immanence” had caused his faith to become “deeper, broader, and richer more than ever.” He then proclaimed:
God is alive and He is in every single human being!10
As already mentioned, Leonard Sweet presents this same teaching of immanence in his book Quantum Spirituality. While Sweet praises, promotes and even consults with New Age leaders, he also teaches that God is immanent—“in the very substance of creation [panentheism].”11 And as previously mentioned, Eugene Peterson’s “as above, so below” in the Lord’s Prayer carries this same immanent God “in” everything message.12
If this immanent “God in everything” new worldview is where the church is heading, how might church leaders like Rick Warren present this view without looking like they’ve “flip-flopped” on their Christian faith? Again, the answer seems to be the intent to wed this God “in” everything immanence with the “new science” and the “new math.” In other words, new findings from fractal theory, chaos theory, and quantum physics will seem to prove that God is “in” everything—“as above, so below.” Given that Leonard Sweet’s quantum spirituality may signify where Warren and other church leaders are headed, it is important to take a closer look at how New Age leaders are presenting their quantum spirituality.
The Quantum Christ
The New Age/New Spirituality is already heralding quantum physics as a “scientific” basis for their contention that God is not only transcendent but also immanent—“in” everyone and everything. Physicist Fritjof Capra’s 1975 best-selling book on quantum physics—The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism—was the first to present this proposed scientific/spiritual model to a mass audience. In it, Capra explains that he gained new spiritual insights through a mystical experience he had sitting on a beach in Santa Cruz, California in 1969:
Five years ago, I had a beautiful experience which set me on a road that has led to the writing of this book. I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance. . . . As I sat on that beach my former experiences [research in high-energy physics] came to life; I “saw” cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I “saw” the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I “heard” its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus.13
Commenting on his experience thirty years later, Capra writes that back in 1970 he “knew with absolute certainty that the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism would someday be common knowledge.”14 In 1999, in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of his book, Capra reflects on the fact that The Tao of Physics had sold more than a million copies over the years and had been translated into at least twelve languages:
What did The Tao of Physics touch off in all these people? What was it they had experienced themselves? I had come to believe that the recognition of the similarities between modern physics and Eastern mysticism is part of a much larger movement, of a fundamental change of worldviews, or paradigms, in science and society, which is now happening throughout Europe and North America and which amounts to a profound cultural transformation. This transformation, this profound change of consciousness, is what so many people have felt intuitively over the past two or three decades, and this is why The Tao of Physics has struck such a responsive chord.15
The awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena as manifestations of a basic oneness, is also the most important common characteristic of Eastern worldviews. One could say it is the very essence of those views, as it is of all mystical traditions. All things are seen as interdependent, inseparable, and as transient patterns of the same ultimate reality.16
Fritjof Capra then describes the union of mysticism and the new physics as the “new spirituality” that is “now being developed by many groups and movements, both within and outside the churches.” As an example of how this “new spirituality” is moving into the church, he refers to one of Leonard Sweet’s “role models” and “heroes”—Matthew Fox:
On the other hand, I also believe that our own spiritual traditions will have to undergo some radical changes in order to be in harmony with the values of the new paradigm. The spirituality corresponding to the new vision of reality I have been outlining here is likely to be an ecological, earth-oriented, postpatriarchal spirituality. This kind of new spirituality is now being developed by many groups and movements, both within and outside the churches. An example would be the creation-centered spirituality promoted by Matthew Fox and his colleagues.17
A perfect example of Capra’s reference to how this quantum “new spirituality” is being developed in churches is exemplified by Margaret Wheatley’s appearance at the Leadership Network’s May 2000 “Exploring off the Map” conference with Leonard Sweet and others. As described in the previous chapter, Wheatley first encountered the “new science” in Fritjof Capra’s book The Turning Point, as noted in the updated introduction of her book Leadership and the New Science:
I opened my first book on the new science—Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point, which describes the new world view emerging from quantum physics. This provided my first glimpse of a new way of perceiving the world, one that comprehended its processes of change, its deeply patterned nature, and its dense webs of connections.18
To further illustrate how pervasive this quantum spirituality has become in the church, consider an organization called VantagePoint3. This South Dakota-based group has developed a three-phase “spiritual formation” program called The VantagePoint3 Process (or L3), which incidentally is being used by a growing number of churches across North America. In the first phase—“Emerging Leaders”—a quote and summation of Margaret Wheatley is used to teach one of the points in that phase. The curriculum quotes Wheatley from her book Leadership and the New Science and emphasizes her view on “relationship” and “interconnection.”19 The fact that this program points to Wheatley demonstrates yet another way that quantum physics and quantum spirituality is already in the church. It is worth noting that this curriculum uses Galatians 3:27-28 to partially summarize what Wheatley has to say. But while Galatians 3 speaks of “Christ Jesus,” Wheatley’s quantum “Christ” is the universal “Christ” of quantum “oneness.” VantagePoint3’s use of Wheatley to teach about “Christ” is a perfect example of what Fritjof Capra described as this new spirituality being developed within the churches.
The VantagePoint3 Process also cites materials by Leonard Sweet, Peter Senge, and Ken Blanchard. All three were featured with Wheatley at the “Exploring off the Map” conference organized by Bob Buford and Leadership Network.
Another example of how quantum physics has already entered the church is through the ministry of Annette Capps—the daughter of best-selling author and charismatic pastor Charles Capps. There are over 100,000 copies of Annette Capps’ booklet Quantum Faith in print. In the booklet, she presents a Christian faith compatible with the so-called “scientific” principles of quantum physics and as such is also compatible with the so-called “scientific” principles of the New Age/New Spirituality. She even refers readers to New Age leader Gary Zukav’s book The Dancing Wu Li Masters—An Overview of the New Physics.20 In her booklet, she writes:
As I studied the theories of quantum physics, I was reminded of a prophecy given by my father, author and teacher Charles Capps, “Some things which have required faith to believe will no longer require faith, for it will be proven to be scientific fact.”21
Obviously, authors like Gary Zukav and Fritjof Capra have had a huge influence not only in the world, but also in the church. Capra, a New Age physicist and Aquarian conspirator, is mentioned frequently in Marilyn Ferguson’s book The Aquarian Conspiracy.22 In addition, countless books and articles have been written about the quantum aspects of the “new science” and the “new spirituality” since the publication of Capra’s The Tao of Physics andThe Turning Point. Gary Zukav and his writings on quantum physics were praised and featured years ago by Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey Show.23 William Young’s best-selling book The Shack is just the latest in a long line of books that deal directly or indirectly with quantum physics and quantum spirituality. And like Wheatley’s book Leadership and the New Science but on a much larger scale, Young’s book is also having great influence by subtly introducing quantum physics and quantum spirituality into the church. To top this off, a New Age movie on quantum physics has greatly influenced many people and has already become an underground cult classic.
What the Bleep Do We Know!?
The 2006 movie titled What the Bleep Do We Know!? was entirely devoted to the subject of quantum physics in an obvious effort to convert viewers to a New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview. The movie was shown in major movie theaters around the country and can now be rented in video stores almost everywhere. In the movie, Ph.D. physicists and other “experts,” teamed up with occult/channeler J. Z. Knight to use quantum physics to present their New Age/New Worldview that we are all “one” because God is “in” everything. The movie strongly conveys the idea that inner peace and world peace can be attained through a simple understanding of quantum physics. What the Bleep Do We Know!? contends that quantum physics proves that all creation is interconnected at the deepest sub-atomic level. Ph.D. physicist Amit Goswami—sounding more like Robert Schuller than a physicist—states that quantum physics is the “physics of possibilities.”24 With Schulleresque teachings about “Possibility Thinking” hanging in the air, Dr. Goswami contends that the principles of quantum physics can help each person create his or her own reality. He states:
It may sound like a tremendous bombastic claim by some New Ager without any understanding of physics whatsoever, but really, quantum physics is telling us that.25
By making the speculative “quantum leap” from physics to metaphysics, What the Bleep Do We Know!? argues that as humanity comes to recognize that “we are all one” because God is “in” everything, then mankind—collectively as “God”—can and will create a positive, peaceful future. In the movie, New Age channeler J. Z. Knight channels an allegedly ancient spirit named “Ramtha.” This familiar spirit proceeds to provide what seems to be spiritual corroboration for the “experts” in the movie. In an attempt to unite science and the New Age in an irrefutable quantum way, the channeled Ramtha makes these comments:
We have the epitome of a great science . . . quantum physics . . . Everyone is God.26
Quantum Physics and the New Age “God”
Neale Donald Walsch and his New Age “God” also describe quantum physics as the scientific means for justifying the New Spirituality. Walsch’s “God” positively references the Systems Theory popularized by business guru and Rick Warren “mentor” Peter Drucker to make his “quantum” point. Walsch’s “God” describes God as a “System” with a capital “S.”27 The New Age “God” states that we are all “one” because we are all part of the universal energy of “God” the “System.” “God” proceeds to tell Walsch and Walsch’s countless readers that the purposeful, driving force of the “System” comes from all the quantum “parts” recognizing their quantum “oneness” with “God” the “System.” But Walsch’s “God” also warns about the danger of people seeing themselves as “separate” and not “part” of “God” the “System.” Walsch and his “God” have the following interchange:
“God”: And, of course, the intelligence IS coming from you. It’s coming from the part of you that is me. That is, it’s coming from the System, of which you are an intrinsic part.
But when an energy unit such as yourself sees itself asnot part of the System at all, but as a product OF the System, the Life Form has created an illusion . . . .
Walsch: And then along comes chaos theory and quantum physics.
“God”: Yes. And quantum physics is simply the scientific explanation for how God—“the System,” if you please—looks at Its individual parts and watches Itself impacting those Parts.
You would call this phenomenon, in spiritual terms, a “higher level of consciousness,” or “increased self-awareness.” It is when That Which Is Aware experiences the fact that It affects that of which It IS aware.
Walsch: “Nothing which is observed is unaffected by the observer.” The first law of quantum physics.28
The new worldview of the New Age/New Spirituality argues that for the good of the world and for a positive peaceful future, humanity must come to recognize that we are all “one” because we are all “part” of the quantum field or “System” that is “God.” By seeing yourself as part of God—“the System”—you will ultimately save yourself and save the world. This is the New Paradigm. This is the New Age/New Spirituality described by quantum physics. This is the new emerging worldview. And this is the lie. It is the serpent in the Garden of Eden all over again.
Quantum Physics and John Marks Templeton
The late financier, philanthropist, and New Age sympathizer John Marks Templeton (and his foundation—the Templeton Foundation) have spent millions of dollars for several decades supporting individuals and organizations that attempt to use science to explain and prove theology—but a theology compatible with Templeton’s New Age/New Spirituality affections. Neale Donald Walsch has described Templeton as his “wonderful role model.”29 He even patterned his 5-step New Age PEACE Plan after Templeton’s “Humility Theology.”30 Templeton’s book The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God is a direct challenge pressuring Christians to disbelieve the absolute authority of Scripture. It subtly cajoles them to be “humble” enough to open themselves up to the new findings in science—new findings, as in quantum physics, that might provide them with a new approach to God and life—a new worldview. Walsch’s New Age PEACE Plan, like Templeton’s “Humble Approach,” specifically asks people to admit that “some of our old beliefs about God and about life are no longer working.”31 He urges us to therefore “explore the possibility that there is something we do not understand about God and about life, the understanding of which could change everything.”32 His challenge is: are “we willing for new understandings of God and life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.”33 In his book The Humble Approach, Templeton also urges his readers to be open to “strange new ideas.”34 He writes:
God is five billion people on Earth and He is much more. . . . God is all of you and you are a little part of Him.35
Differing concepts of God have developed in different cultures. No one should say that God can be reached by only one path.36
Scriptures have been very beneficial to the whole world, but I am hoping we can develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture.37
Christian apologist Dave Hunt describes Templeton’s heretical New Age beliefs and his connections to Robert Schuller:
Templeton and his neopagan views were first introduced to the church in 1986 by Robert Schuller, who continues to endorse him. Schuller’s Possibilities magazine put Templeton’s picture on its front cover, and it’s major article was an interview with Templeton. In it he expressed his Unity/Religious Science/New Age beliefs: “Your spiritual principles attract prosperity to you . . . material success . . . comes . . . from being in tune with the infinite. . . . The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not . . . nothing exists except God.” These heresies were promoted by Schuller to his vast audience of readers.38
In spite of Templeton’s obvious New Age connections, Rick Warren seems to have no problem allowing himself to be a judge for the highly publicized “Power of Purpose Essay Contest” put on by Templeton and his well-funded organization. The million dollar “Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion” is given annually to people who have made a great contribution to the “progress” of religion. Over the last ten years, five of these awards were given to physicists, including the 2009 award which went to Bernard d’Espagnat, a French quantum physicist.
On the Templeton Press website, numerous books are available on “science and theology”—many of them related to quantum physics. One title, Cosmic Dance: Science Discovers the Mysterious Harmony of the Universe, is reminiscent of Fritjof Capra’s description of quantum physics as a “cosmic dance of energy.” Pastor Greg Boyd, who was once featured back to back with Rick Warren in an August 17, 2006 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS television, has written a book (unpublished as of May 2009) about quantum physics tentatively titled The Cosmic Dance.
As stated earlier, John Marks Templeton’s book Discovering the Laws of Life was endorsed and foreworded by the late Norman Vincent Peale. This book was Templeton’s own personal take on the “Laws of Life.” His laws and observations are frequently punctuated with quotes from influential New Age figures that include Unity minister Eric Butterworth, A Course in Miracles advocate Gerald Jampolsky, and spiritual medium Jane Roberts. In the foreword to Templeton’s book, Peale wrote:
I have known John Marks Templeton for many years and have admired him greatly. . . .
Long before he reached his present success, John Templeton awakened spiritually . . . His most recent effort, the Humility Theology Information Center of the John Templeton Foundation, is typical, representing a commitment to discover and communicate the key factor in helping people develop humility, a spiritual quality that summarizes the character of Sir John.39
Norman Vincent Peale discloses in this foreword that, like Schuller, he had also interviewed John Marks Templeton for his church magazine:
In an interview with the Peale Center’s Plus Magazine, Sir John shared what he taught his own children about happiness.40
Birds of a Feather
While Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller both had their own magazines, in 2009 Rick Warren teamed up with Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. to publish his own magazine titled Purpose Driven Connection. I learned that the late founder and longtime Executive Director of Reader’s Digest, DeWitt Wallace, was a “good friend” of Norman Vincent Peale.41 For nearly forty years, Reader’s Digest published many of Peale’s articles in their magazine.42 In the book, Theirs Was the Kingdom: Lila and DeWitt Wallace and the Story of Reader’s Digest, author John Heidenry writes:
Norman Vincent Peale [was] a neighbor in nearby Pawling, no less, and a good friend of DeWitt Wallace. Peale preached a gospel—a way of life—called positive thinking. The message found in his bestselling The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, was the same that the Digest itself had been preaching for thirty years.43
Reader’s Digestwas a perfect vehicle for Norman Vincent Peale. In Templeton’s book Discovering the Laws of Life, Templeton headlined one of his important “laws of life” on page 69. In big bold black type it reads:
Birds of a feather flock together
Underneath this law, he included the following description:
Often we do search for groups that are like ourselves, and by joining these groups fulfill this law of life, by showing that indeed birds of a feather do flock together.44
Quantum Leap into the Future?
Leonard Sweet’s book Quantum Spirituality was right up John Marks Templeton’s quantum-physics alley. As far back as the 1991 publication of Quantum Spirituality, Sweet has been having a subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, “quantum” conversation with the church and its leaders. New Age author Gregg Braden describes this kind of conversation as a “quantum dialogue.”45
In their 1995 joint presentation The Tides of Change, Leonard Sweet and Rick Warren had one of the subtler type quantum conversations as they discussed “waves,” “a new paradigm,” and “this New Spirituality that we are seeing birthed around us.”46 When Warren stated that God works in “waves”—a significant term in quantum physics—Sweet jumped on the remark to describe the word “wave” as a “quantum metaphor.” He then equated church growth with the “new science” of quantum physics:
Rick Warren: Today we often have so little understanding of what God has done in the past. When you don’t understand what God has done in the past, you don’t realize that He does work in waves.
Leonard Sweet: That’s right, yeah.
Rick Warren: That God has worked in many things that we often think are new, God is just doing again. And I believe that there can be waves of revival. There can be waves of renewal in the church. There can be waves of receptivity, when people are more open. . . .
And I think a lot of “church growth material” today is how to create a wave. And it can’t be done. It is a sovereign move of God’s Spirit. You know, you as a historian know about that. As we look at the ’90s.
Leonard Sweet: Yeah, this is a wave period. I really love that metaphor of the wave and the wavelength. First of all, it is a quantum metaphor. It brings us out of the Newtonian world into this new science [quantum physics]. The other way I like about it so much, is that it brings us into the language of resonance. Wavelength.47
Rick Warren’s collaboration with Leonard Sweet has endured through the years. As already stated, four years after The Tides of Change presentation, Warren endorsed Sweet’s 1999 book SoulTsunami. In this book, Sweet invoked Robert Schuller’s 1982 call for “God’s Dream” and a “New Reformation” four years before Warren invoked the same terms to describe his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.48 Clearly in sync with Schuller, and anticipating Warren to ride the same wave, Sweet said that “God’s Dream” is to save the world by changing the future. In SoulTsunami, he writes:
SoulTsunami is designed and dedicated not only to helping you predict, but to helping you intervene spiritually and socially to invent and prevent the future.49
Postmodern Christians are spiritual interventionists. The Postmodern Reformation Church will consciously intervene to help design this new world. There are many futures out there. The future is not a “single state,” but a scenario of possibilities. There is a struggle between opposing visions of the future. It is not too late to choose which one we shall get. The future is a function of our choices and creations.50
He reiterated his hopes for the future of the church:
The future can no longer be an assumption. The future is now an achievement. There is a race to the future. Who will get there first? Will the Christian church? The time to save God’s Dream is now. The people to save God’s Dream are you.
This is an extraordinary moment in history. God wants you to do some extraordinary things. You can do some extraordinary things. Will you? The choice is yours.
God is birthing the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of the church. God is calling you to midwife that birth. Are you going to show up?51
Thus in 1999, Leonard Sweet stated that “God is birthing the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of the church.” Is this the “New Spirituality” that Sweet mentioned to Rick Warren in their 1995 presentation that is being “birthed around us”? Is this “New Spirituality” the “God’s Dream”/New Reformation/Revolution/Purpose Driven/P.E.A.C.E. Plan for a “positive future” now being described by Warren and other church leaders? And if so, how will this positive future materialize? How will a “global civilization” with a “globalized consciousness” be created? In SoulTsunami, Sweet states that the “new biology” and the “new physics” hold the metaphysical key to the creation of this positive future—this global civilization. He explains:
Physics is increasingly becoming the study of matter so small (is it a wave? is it a particle?) as to become the study of consciousness. In other words, physics is becoming metaphysics.52
The coming together of the new biology and the new physics is providing the basic metaphors for this new global civilization that esteems and encourages whole-brain experiences, full-life expectations, personalized expressions, and a globalized consciousness.53
Quantum New Worldview
Leonard Sweet is definitely one of the point men for today’s emerging/postmodern/Purpose Driven Church. As Rick Warren has aligned himself with Sweet, it is important to remember that Sweet has described former and present New Age figures as his “heroes” and “role models.” He has openly acknowledged that his quantum “new cell theory” understanding of “new light leadership” was formulated with the help of veteran New Age leader David Spangler. Additionally, Sweet describes mystical New Age priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as “Twentieth-century Christianity’s major voice.”54 And while Sweet’s almost “in your face” New Age sympathies are there for all to see, Rick Warren, and other Christian figures continue to hold him in high esteem. But it is just business as usual as Warren’s apologist tells us that “Doctrinally/theologically, Leonard Sweet is about as Christian as anyone can get.”55
In his 2009 book So Beautiful, Leonard Sweet underscores his quantum “relational worldview”56 by favorably quoting from William Young’s The Shack regarding relationship.57 He also tells readers to look to Margaret Wheatley’s Leadership and the New Science to further understand his quantum view on the “spiritual and social significance of relationship.”58 And he still continues to refer readers back to his 1991 book, Quantum Spirituality.59
While appearing to be somewhat of a 21st century renaissance man who leaves everyone in the wake of his postmodern intellect, Leonard Sweet’s “scientific” postmodern/quantum/New Age view on things raises some critical questions—particularly in regard to his association with Rick Warren. If Warren, Sweet, and other Christian leaders continue to move the church towards the New Spirituality, how will it ultimately play out? Will we see Warren, Schuller, Sweet, McLaren, and other “New Light” leaders signing a mutual accord someday affirming that God is “in” everything? Will that proclamation be based on new “scientific findings” from quantum physics? Will they explain that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the “God” of Neale Donald Walsch and William Young had it right—that “the sub-atomic reality” is that God is in every atom? That God really is—scientifically speaking—“in” everyone and everything?
But what about the inevitable reaction that will come from those referred to by Rick Warren as “fundamentalists”60 when they accuse Warren of flip-flopping? Will Warren defend his new worldview by repeating what he said at the Saddleback Civil Forum—that “sometimes flip-flopping is smart because you actually have decided a better position based on knowledge that you didn’t have”? Armed with seemingly scientific “facts” from quantum physics, will Warren defend his new worldview by stating, “That’s not flip-flopping. Sometimes that’s growing in wisdom”? Is this where Warren, Sweet, and other Christian leaders will try to take the church? Are they about to take a big “quantum leap” into the New Spirituality of a New Age that is based on the findings of the “new science”? Given the continued New Age implications of the emerging Purpose Driven movement, it would seem that this is a real possibility.
1. What the Bleep Do We Know!? (20th Century Fox, 2004, http://www.whatthebleep.com), transcribed by author.
2. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami, op cit., p. 121.
3. David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World, op. cit., p. 126.
4. “Saddleback Presidential Civil Forum,” August 16, 2008 (see full transcript by CNN: http://www.clipsandcomment.com/2008/08/17/full-transcript-saddleback-presidential-forum-sen-barack-obama-john-mccain-moderated-by-rick-warren).
6. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (London, England: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 88; see also: Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, op. cit, p. 156.
7. Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, op. cit, p. 150; see also: Smith, Deceived on Purpose, op. cit., p. 156.
8. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, op. cit., p. 88.
9. Tom Holladay and Kay Warren, Foundations Participant’s Guide: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life On (Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2003), p. 46; see also Smith, Deceived on Purpose, op. cit., p. 157.
10. Hour of Power, Robert H. Schuller, Program #1762, “God’s Word: Rebuild, Renew, Restore,” November 9, 2003, op. cit.
11. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p. 125.
12. Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, op. cit, pp. 32-34; Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992), p. xi.
13. Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1999), p. 11.
14. Ibid., p. 323.
15. Ibid., pp. 324-325.
16. Ibid., p. 330.
17. Ibid., p. 341.
18. Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Inc., 3rd ed., 2006), pp. 3-4, brought to my attention by Discernment Research Group.
19. Emerging Leaders: Relational Foundations of Leadership (Sioux Falls, SD, Vantage Point3, 2006, http://www.vantagepoint3.org/fileadmin/main/tour/EMS3%20WebSamples.pdf), p. 52; this information provided by Jennifer Pekich.
20. Annette Capps, Quantum Faith (England, AR: Capps Publishing, 2003, 2007), p. 4, booklet brought to my attention by Larry DeBruyn.
21. Ibid., p. 6.
22. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, op. cit., pp. 145, 149-150, 152, 172, 261, 374.
23. Gary Zukav’s first appearance on Oprah was in October 1998. This propelled his book The Seat of the Soul to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for two years.
24. What the Bleep Do We Know!? transcribed by Warren B. Smith, op. cit.
27. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God, op. cit, p. 84-85; For more information on Rick Warren’s relationship with Peter Drucker see Lynn D. Leslie, Sarah H. Leslie and Susan J. Conway, The Pied Pipers of Purpose, op. cit.
28. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God, op. cit., pp. 84-85.
29. Kathy Juline, “Question Authority: A Conversation with Neale Donald Walsch,” Science of Mind, May 2004, p. 29.
30. “Humility Theology” from John Marks Templeton, The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God (Philadelphia, PA: Templeton Foundation Press, 1995).
31. Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 63; this quote originally taken from the Conversations with God website (http://www.cwg.og); a close rendition of it can be found in Walsch’s book The New Revelations, op. cit., back cover.
34. John Marks Templeton, The Humble Approach, op. cit., p. 53.
35. Ibid., p. 38.
36. Ibid., p. 46.
37. Ibid., p. 137.
38. Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1998), p. 102; Possibilities magazine, Summer 1986, pp. 8-12.
39. John Marks Templeton, Discovering the Laws of Life (New York, NY: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1994), p. 1.
40. Ibid., p. 2.
41. John Heidenry, Theirs Was The Kingdom: Lila and DeWitt Wallace & The Story of the Reader’s Digest (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993), p. 252; book was brought to my attention by Discernment Ministries.
42. Ibid., p. 588; information provided by RDA per telephone call to Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
43. Ibid., p. 252.
44. John Marks Templeton, Discovering the Laws of Life, op. cit., p. 70.
45. Gregg Braden, “Are We Passive Observers or Powerful Creators?” (Evolve!: A Magazine of Evolutionary Products, People, and Ideas, Volume 6 number 2), p. 5.
46. Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet, The Tides of Change, op. cit.
48. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church e-mail, October 27, 2003, GOD’S DREAM FOR YOU—AND THE WORLD!, op. cit.
49. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami, op. cit., p. 55.
51. Ibid., p. 34.
52. Ibid., p. 109.
53. Ibid., p. 121.
54. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p. 106.
55. Richard Abanes, “Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, and the New Age,” http://abanes.com/warren_sweet.html.
56. Leonard Sweet, So Beautiful (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2009), p. 279, #118.
57. Ibid., p. 101.
58. Ibid., p. 256, #22.
59. Ibid., p. 278, #107.
60. Rick Warren referred to “Christian fundamentalism” as “one of the big enemies of the 21st century.” See: Paul Nussbaum, “The purpose-driven pastor,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 08, 2006, http://web.archive.org/web/20060522084523/www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/religion/13573441.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp.
On May 23, 2005, Rick Warren spoke at the Pew Forum on Religion and stated the following: “Today there really aren’t that many Fundamentalists left; I don’t know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren’t that many Fundamentalists left in America. . . . Now the word ‘fundamentalist’ actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity.” See: “Myths of the Modern Megachurch,” http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80.