Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel
Chapter 10 Update: The Silent Church - By Warren B. Smith


Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel

By Warren B. Smith  (Chapter Updates)



Chapter 10 Update

The Silent Church


     Reinventing Jesus Christ was published in June of 2002. Pastor Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life was published four months later and would eventually answer many of my questions about the “Silent Church.” The reason church leaders like Rick Warren weren’t saying much about the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality was because they were now moving the church into the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality. Unbelievably, Rick Warren and his Purpose-Driven movement were walking the church into the very trap I had just warned about in my book. It seemed, in the church’s attempt to reach out to the world, that the church was becoming the world. I didn’t concern myself about whether or not Rick Warren was consciously leading the church into the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality. I was just concerned about the fact that he was doing ther or not Rick Warren was consciously leading the church into the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality. I was just concerned about the fact that he was doing it.

     What became evident in reading The Purpose-Driven Life was that throughout the years, Rick Warren had been—and continues to be—greatly influenced by the writings, ideas, and teachings of Robert Schuller. And while Rick Warren and his staff have done everything possible to make it appear that he has theologically distanced himself from Schuller, that is simply not the case. Robert Schuller’s influence continues to totally permeate Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven movement—including his Purpose-Driven Peace Plan. Feeling compelled to document my concerns and to warn the church, In 2004 I wrote Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose- Driven Church. The following account is a summary of some of those concerns—how Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven movement seems to be in the process of providing a spiritual foundation for the coming of Antichrist.

Telltale Signs

Robert Schuller’s Influence

     There is much about The Purpose-Driven Life that lies beneath the surface of the actual words. Although Rick Warren carefully avoided citing his former teacher, I discovered that Robert Schuller’s thoughts and ideas could be found throughout The Purpose-Driven Life. The fact that Rick Warren had not provided any footnotes acknowledging his Schuller-based material was troubling. I didn’t even know there was a connection between Rick Warren and Robert Schuller until I read The Purpose-Driven Life. As I started checking out certain names and phrases and references I found myself having to read more and more books by Robert Schuller. In Deceived on Purpose I wrote:

The more I read Robert Schuller, the more I was shocked at how so many of Rick Warren’s thoughts, ideas, references, words, terms, phrases, and quotes in The Purpose-Driven Life seemed to be directly inspired by Schuller’s writings and teachings.1

I am quite sure that further study would reveal there is much more additional Schuller material contained in the pages of The Purpose-Driven Life. I certainly had not gone out looking for all this. I just kept discovering these things as I read along and followed up on what I was reading. I had no idea going into my reading of The Purpose-Driven Life how thoroughly the presence of Robert Schuller inhabits its pages. Because Robert Schuller’s name is never even mentioned in The Purpose-Driven Life, most readers would never know how much of Rick Warren’s material is actually drawn from the writings and teachings of Robert Schuller. They would never know how inextricably intertwined the two men’s teachings seem to be.2

     Later I would learn that Rick Warren’s wife, and even Robert Schuller himself, confirmed the Schuller influence I had discovered in The Purpose-Driven Life. In an interview in the Nov. 18, 2002 issue of Christianity Today, Kay Warren revealed that she and her husband attended Robert Schuller’s Institute for Successful Church Leadership just prior to starting Saddleback Church. She stated that Robert Schuller “had a profound influence on Rick.”3 A year-and-a-half later, in an April 4, 2004 Hour of Power sermon, Schuller described how Rick Warren had come to his Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership “time after time.”4 Schuller’s Hour of Power website also described Rick Warren as one of the “famous graduates” who had been “mentored” at the Schuller Institute.5 Schuller’s influence over Rick Warren was so “profound” and far-reaching that in 1995, fifteen years after he started Saddleback Church, Rick Warren was still describing Robert Schuller as having one of the “many strong, Bible-believing churches” in Southern California.6

     In an early Saddleback response to my book Deceived on Purpose, even the Saddleback representative acknowledged Schuller’s influence on Rick Warren “through the years”:

There is no question that Robert Schuller has been an influence on Rick through the years. As Mr. Smith points out, certain words, phrases and other teaching tools continue to show up, even to this day, in Rick’s writings and teaching that he learned from the books of Robert Schuller.7

     In regards to Rick Warren being a graduate of the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Growth, the same Saddleback representative wrote:

This is true and yes it did lead Rick into reading Robert Schuller’s books.8

     Yet, at the same time, Saddleback apologists were furiously trying to distance Rick Warren from Robert Schuller. Schuller had suddenly become a great embarrassment and an obvious spiritual liability—especially on the heels of New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky’s 10/17/04 appearance on the Hour of Power. Saddleback kept insisting that Schuller’s influence on Rick Warren was minimal. To counter the fall-out they even started describing Schuller as a “heretic-liberal” and one of the “true New Agers.”9 But it was too little too late. Prior to the sudden spotlight that had been thrown on the two of them, Saddleback had been very quiet regarding the spiritually wayward Schuller. It apparently hadn’t concerned them that the man they were now describing as a “heretic” and a “New Ager” had been a featured speaker the previous year at the 2004 annual conference of the National Association of Evangelicals held in Colorado Springs—or that Schuller had featured New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky on his Hour of Power television program later that same year. And it apparently didn’t concern Rick Warren or his team of Saddleback apologists that one of Rick Warren’s “best friends” and partners in ministry—Bruce Wilkinson—had just spoken at the Crystal Cathedral and had led the congregation in a standing ovation for Schuller. On April 5, 2005, as Saddleback was calling Schuller a “heretic” and a “new ager,” Rick Warren’s good friend Bruce Wilkinson stood in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and described Schuller as a “visionary” and “the real leader”—someone who was “way out front on the edge.” Wilkinson spoke to Schuller, the Crystal Cathedral congregation, and Schuller’s worldwide televisioin audience, saying:

I love this church. I love being here. I love walking on this property. I just felt like I was one step away from heaven when I came on this property this morning. I read a book this past week. Somebody gave it to me, and it traced the past fifty years of Christianity in America and it began to talk about how the transition occurred in our country that eventually led to seeker service, it led to Rick Warren, it led to Bill Hybels and Willow [Creek]. And do you know this book—you probably haven’t even seen it yet—this book brought all that back to a person who said this was the grandfather of it all who influenced this person, this person, and this person and from that it became the massive movement it is today. And the person that they named in the book was none other than the pastor of this church. That’s amazing ladies and gentlemen! Truly amazing! It is truly amazing! Yes! [Congregation gives Schuller a standing ovation.] You know it’s only if you are a visionary do you know the price tag it takes to be the real leader, I mean way out front on the edge. People like to shoot people on the edge.10

     With all of the spiritual and political posturing that was going on, many sincere believers were getting confused. Where did Rick Warren and his Purpose-Driven Church really stand with Schuller? What I had discovered in reading The Purpose Driven Life, was that no matter what Saddleback aplogists were saying—even if Rick Warren hadn’t personally crossed paths with Schuller in years — Schuller’s teachings were at the very heart of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven movement, including his “Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan” Rick Warren had nothing to gain and everything to lose if people truly understood how immersed he really was in Schuller’s teachings. But it was all starting to leak out bit by bit.

Bernie Siegel

     One of the early clues about the pervasive overlapping Schuller influence in The Purpose-Driven Life was Rick Warren’s unexpected, seemingly “out of the blue” reference to New Age leader Bernie Siegel. In The Purpose-Driven Life Rick Warren suddenly and indiscriminately referred to Dr. Bernie Siegel regarding “hope” and “purpose.”11 He did this without warning his readers that Siegel was a New Age leader and that he had a spirit guide named George. In his 1989 book Love, Medicine & Miracles, Siegel describes how he contacted a spirit guide named George in a guided meditation.12 In my reading I was to discover that Robert Schuller had referenced Siegel on his Hour of Power television program. Declaring Siegel to be “one of the greatest doctors of the 20th century.” he referenced Siegel in regards to hope.13 Schuller also wrote about Siegel and “hope” in his 1989 book Believe in the God Who Believes in You.14 Siegel, in turn, was one of the prominent front page endorsers of Robert Schuller’s 1995 book Prayer: My Soul’s Adventure With God: A Spiritual Autobiography. Ironically, the Siegel endorsement in Schuller’s book was just above the endorsement of another Rick Warren “mentor” W.A. Criswell—the Baptist preacher who Rick Warren calls “the greatest American pastor of the twentieth century.”15 In fact, Criswell ‘s 1995 endorsement of Schuller’s book occurred the same year that he endorsed and wrote the Foreword to Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Church. Interestingly, Saddleback apologist Richard Abanes, in trying to deflect attention away from Rick Warren’s involvement with the “heretic-liberal” Schuller, pointed to Rick Warren’s long standing relationship with the seemingly orthodox and spiritually discerning Criswell. Abanes went to great lengths to describe how Rick Warren “viewed Criswell with incredible respect and admiration.” He stated that “if anyone can be credited with being his spiritual mentor and model, it would be this stalwart of Christianity.”16 Yet, there was Criswell’s endorsement of Schuller’s spiritual autobiography right below Bernie Siegel’s. Apparently Rick Warren wasn’t the only one who found Schuller’s writings and teachings “fascinating.” Criswell wrote:

Anything the world-famous preacher/pastor Robert Schuller writes is fascinating and inspiring to the whole world. How much more so when the book concerns his soul’s adventure with God.17

     Bernie Siegel also happens to be on the Board of Advisors of Schuller’s “good friend” Gerald Jampolsky’s New Age Attitudinal Healing Center.18 Neale Donald Walsch has stated that Bernie Siegel was the first “celebrity endorsement” of his book Conversations with God.19 And it was Walsch who wrote the introduction to the Jampolsky book Forgiveness that Schuller had featured, along with Jampolsky, on his October 2004 Hour of Power telecast.20 It may very well have been Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller’s self-professed mentor,21 that first brought Siegel to Schuller’s attention. Peale’s prominent endorsement of Siegel’s Love, Medicine & Miracles was highlighted on the back cover of Siegel’s 1989 book.22 All of this is to say that Rick Warren’s citing of Bernie Siegel in The Purpose-Driven Life was probably not some random act unrelated to Robert Schuller.

As Above, so Below

     Then there was the reality that Rick Warren often confused his readers by using fifteen different Bible versions. Yet in regards to the King James Bible, Rick Warren told his readers that “there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four-hundred-year-old English.”23 After attempting to completely discourage use of the King James Bible, Rick Warren predominantly used a questionably-written “paraphrase” of the Bible entitled The Message. The Message was far and away Rick Warren’s first choice as a Bible reference in The Purpose-Driven Life. Although he characterized The Message as a Bible “paraphrase” and not as a Bible translation, he often declared “the Bible says” when he referred to The Message in his book.24 What also became apparent in reading The Purpose-Driven Life was that Rick Warren often seemed to pick Bible verses from The Message, or whatever paraphrase or translation best described what he wanted to say, rather than a version that expressed what God was saying. Rick Warren’s preponderant use of The Message was particularly troubling because the paraphrase often lent itself to New Age purposes. I had been shocked to discover that the author of The Message, Eugene Peterson, had inserted the highly occult New Age phrase “as above, so below” into the middle of his “paraphrase” of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10).25 Instead of saying “in earth, as it is in heaven,” Peterson had paraphrased it “as above, so below.” The occult meaning of the New Age phrase “as above, so below” is fully described by the editors of the New Age Journal in their book, As Above, So Below. They wrote:

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.26

     “As above, so below,” is a deeply occult New Age phrase that is reputed to hold the key to all magic and all mysteries.27 Again, it means that “all is one” and “God is in everything.” Rick Warren, quoting from The Message, actually used an abbreviated form of “as above, so below,” at the beginning of Chapter One of his book to introduce his readers to The Purpose-Driven Life.28 Rick Warren’s predominant use of The Message with its many New Age overtones was just one more area of concern regarding the New Age implications of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven movement.

God in Everything

     Almost unbelievably, on page 88 of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren presented as gospel truth the immanent, “as above, so below,” New Age teaching that “God is in everything.” Quoting Ephesians 4:6 from a new Bible version (New Century Version), Rick Warren stated the following about God:

The Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.”

     As previously mentioned, Neale Donald Walsch had already challenged every minister and religious leader everywhere to teach the spiritual precept that “we are all one.” This “oneness” being based on the teaching that God is “in” everything. One year after Walsch’s challenge, Rick Warren was teaching that God is in everything. Incredibly, he was indiscriminately introducing his millions of readers to the very teaching I had renounced when I left the New Age. God is not in everything. This is not what the Bible says. This is what the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality says. In Deceived on Purpose I described what the Apostle Paul was actually saying in Ephesians 4:6:

In this Scripture Paul is not writing to the world at large. The book of Ephesians is Paul’s letter to the Church of Ephesus and to the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 1:1 he makes it clear that he is writing to “the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

According to properly translated Scripture, God is not “in” everyone and everything. God’s Holy Spirit is only sent to those who truly accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 14:15-17; Acts 5:32). Because the Church of Ephesus was composed of believers who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, God had sent His Holy Spirit to them. Therefore, as a result of their conversion God’s Holy Spirit resided in them all. Thus, Paul is only addressing the believers of Ephesus and the “faithful in Christ Jesus” when He stated that God is “above all, and through all, and in you all” (emphasis added). He was not saying that God is present in unbelievers. He was not saying that God is “in” everyone and “in” everything. That is what the New Age teaches. Compare Ephesians 4:6 in the New Century Version that Rick Warren quoted with the King James Bible:

He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” (NCV)

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (King James Bible; emphasis added)29

     In trying to defend Rick Warren, Saddleback apologist Richard Abanes pulled a quote out of a 1997 sermon where Rick Warren repeatedly said that God was not in everything because that was “pantheism.”30 What Abanes did not explain was why Rick Warren would flatly contradict himself five years later by teaching that God is in everything. Rick Warren’s statement was incredibly confusing and undiscerning. Why would he go out of his way to pick a new Bible translation to say the very thing that he had labeled pantheism five years previous? Was the reader supposed to somehow intuit what Rick Warren really meant by these obviously contradictory statements?

Immanence and the New World Religion

     The architects of the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality use the word immanence to describe their belief that God is in everything. On Page 88 of his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme describes how immanence—the teaching that God is in everything—is at the heart of the New One World Religion:

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.

     Renowned occultist and New Age teacher Alice A. Bailey also described how a future One World Religion will be based on this same “immanent” aspect of God—that God is in everything. She stated that the path to God will be based on:

…[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.31

     Eugene Peterson inserted the term “as above, so below” into the middle of the Lord’s Prayer in The Message paraphrase that Rick Warren favors over all other Bible versions in The Purpose-Driven Life. But as already mentioned, the editors of the New Age Journal in their book As Above, So Below, explained that “as above, so below” means that we are all one because of the immanent God that is “within ourselves” and in everything:

“As above, so below; as below, so above.” This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.32

     Biblical Christianity does not teach this pantheistic/New Age concept of immanence. The Bible teaches that while God is omnipresent and omniscient he does not naturally indwell his creation. Omnipresence does not mean that God is in everything. God was not in the golden calf. God is not in the Devil. God is not in His creation. God is not in everything. This is what the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality wants everyone to believe. Although the word immanence has another meaning, sometimes used in the church, the more popular meaning of the word is definitely pantheistic. A quick look at several online encyclopedias confirms the popular definition of immanence:

Immanence is the religious and philosophical concept of existing and acting within the physical world. It is derived from the Latin words, in and manere, the original meaning being “to exist or remain within.”…

The term “immanence” is usually understood to mean that the divine force, or the divine being, pervades through all things that exist, and is able to influence them. Such a meaning is common in pantheism & panentheism, and it implies that divinity is inseparably present in all things. In this meaning immanence is distinct from transcendence, the latter being understood as the divinity being set apart from or transcending the World.33

IMMANENCE [immanence] [Lat.,=dwelling in], in metaphysics, the presence within the natural world of a spiritual or cosmic principle, especially of the Deity. It is contrasted with transcendence. The immanence of God in the world is the basic feature of pantheism.34

     Rick Warren’s apologist, Richard Abanes, argues:

Warren’s use of Ephesians 4:6 in The Purpose-Driven Life is an attempt to teach God’s immanence.35

     While Abanes takes critics to task for being concerned about the concept of immanence he, of all people, should surely understand the overlapping New Age implications of the word immanence. In his book Harry Potter and the Bible he used the following quotes to respectively describe witchcraft and paganism:

Most view divinity as immanent in nature, seeing all life as sacred, thus denying any sacred/secular distinction.36 [bold added]

Pagans are usually polytheistic (believing in more than one god) and they usually believe in immanence, or the concept of divinity residing in all things.37 [bold added]

     The following statement from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church Foundations Guide illustrates how their use of the word immanent—“within and throughout creation”—can be given confused pantheistic/New Age meaning by Rick Warren’s additional teaching that God is in everything.

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).38

     This is the kind of overlapping language that is paving the way for the New Age/New Spirituality. Notice how Robert Schuller’s use of the word immanence is totally consistent with the New Age/New Spirituality teaching that God is in everyone and everything. In a November 9, 2003 Hour of Power sermon, he stated:

You know in theology—pardon me for using a couple of big words—but in theology the God that we believe in, this God of Abraham, is a transcendent God. But He is also an immanent God. Transcendent means up there, out there, above us all. But God is also an immanent God—immanence of God and the transcendence of God—then you have a balanced perspective of God. The immanence of God means here, in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics—the immanence of God…. Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being.39

     By using the word immanence in this way, Schuller was teaching the foundational doctrine of the New World Religion. No wonder New Age leaders like Gerald Jampolsky and Bernie Siegel were endorsing Schuller’s books. No wonder Neale Donald Walsch described Schuller as an “extraordinary” minister. No wonder Walsch’s New Age “God” was suggesting that Schuller’s theology could provide a bridge into the New Spirituality. And it was no wonder Rick Warren, and his team of apologists, were doing everything in their power to make it appear that Robert Schuller had not influenced Rick Warren to the obvious extent that he had. But the fact of the matter was plain and simple—both Robert Schuller and Rick Warren were now teaching the immanent concept that God was in everything.

      When Reinventing Jesus Christ was first published in 2002, I warned that “Oneness”—the teaching that God is in everyone and everything”—was at the heart of the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality. It is an incredible sign of the times that both Robert Schuller and Rick Warren were—in one form or another — now teaching this New Age/New Gospel doctrine. If left unchallenged this one teaching alone could end up transitioning what was the church into the heart of the New Age/New Spirituality/One World Religion.

     In the fall of 2002, after reading the favorable remarks made by Neale Donald Walsch and his “God” about Robert Schuller, I questioned how Schuller would ever be the one to convert the more conservative evangelical wing of the Christian church into the New Age/New Spirituality. He didn’t seem to be that credible with people calling themselves conservative Christians. But what if it wasn’t Robert Schuller who would be transitioning evangelical Christians into the New Spirituality? What if it was instead a graduate of his Schuller Institute—someone who was extremely popular with evangelical Christians? Someone who had been “profoundly” influenced by Schuller and had come to his Institute “time after time”? Someone not immediately associated with Schuller, yet someone who was so totally permeated with Schuller’s teachings that he called them his own? Someone who could use the word immanence and teach that God is in everything and still convince the church that he was evangelical? In Deceived on Purpose I wrote:

As a self-proclaimed “change agent,” 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. Rick Warren’s “magic” seems to be able to make the teachings of Robert Schuller palatable to believers who would have otherwise never accepted these same teachings had they come directly from Schuller himself.40

Not Focusing on Eschatology

     Another link to Schuller and the New Age/New Spirituality—and perhaps one of the strangest and most unbiblical teachings in The Purpose-Driven Life—was Rick Warren’s discouragement of studying eschatology. Eschatology is the Bible’s description of last days events that include the return of Jesus Christ. Instead of acknowledging all of the prophetic detail in the Bible concerning Jesus’ return—including Jesus’ own words—Rick Warren tried to use Acts 1:6-8 to convince his readers that the details of Jesus return are “none of their business.” He wrote:

When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I’ve given you. Focus on that!”

…If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.41

     Brian McLaren, one of the pastoral leaders of the controversial “emerging church” movement, also uses Acts 1:6-8 to discourage any interest in last days prophecy. In fact, he sounds just like Rick Warren as he tries to convince his readers that the details of Jesus’ return are “none of their business”—that they need to focus on their mission, not on eschatology. In The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything, McLaren wrote:

…Instead, he tells them it’s none of their business to speculate about how God plans to work out history, and then he gives them a mission to accomplish.42

     C. Peter Wagner, Rick Warren’s faculty “advisor” and “mentor” at Fuller Seminary,43 describes how Rick Warren and Brian McLaren are actually just echoing what Robert Schuller has been teaching for years. Wagner divulged how it was Robert Schuller who pioneered the idea of focusing on one’s mission in the world as opposed to focusing on the prophetic details of Jesus’ return (eschatology). Wagner wrote:

A pioneer of focusing on the mission of the church to the surrounding world is Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral of Garden Grove, California.44 [emphasis in original]

Robert Schuller’s advice to young church leaders would seem to apply to new apostolic Christians: “Don’t let eschatology stifle your long-term thinking.45

     But Schuller, as it turns out, was just repeating what New Age matriarch Alice Bailey wrote as she prepared the way for the New Age “Christ” in her 1948 book The Reappearance of the Christ. In chapter seven, “Preparation for the Reappearance of the Christ,” she said that the details of the Christ’s return were “none of our concern.” She stated that the Christ’s coming was dependent on everyone staying focused on their mission—fulfilling their work in the world:

…If our work is rightly done, He will come at the set and appointed time. How, where or when He will come is none of our concern. Our work is to do our utmost and on as large a scale as possible to bring about right human relations, for His coming depends upon our work.46

     Looking again at what Rick Warren wrote:

…He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I’ve given you. Focus on that!”

…If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.47

     Fifty-four years after Bailey’s channeled teaching from the spirit world, Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, and Brian McLaren are saying almost the exact same thing. Don’t worry about prophecy. Focus on your mission. Yet my experience coming out of the New Age taught me just the opposite. In Deceived on Purpose I described how understanding the prophetic details of Jesus’ return had helped me to see how deceived I had been and was absolutely essential to my salvation:

Coming out of New Age teachings, I had learned in a very personal way that the details of Jesus’ return are definitely our business. Understanding the events surrounding His return was critical to understanding how badly I had been deceived by my New Age teachings. I had learned from reading the Bible that there is a false Christ on the horizon and that for a number of years I had unknowingly been one of his followers. Because the Bible’s clear authoritative teachings about the real Jesus and His true return had been brought to my attention, I was able to see how deceived I was. By understanding that there is a false Christ trying to counterfeit the true Christ’s return, I was able to renounce the false Christ I had been following and commit my life to the true Jesus Christ.48

More Telltale Signs

     There were many other telltale signs that Rick Warren—whether he knew it or not—was in the process of transitioning the church into the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality. Here are just a few of those signs.

Rick Warren, Robert Schuller and John Marks Templeton

     For a man who claims to have no ties to Robert Schuller or the New Age/New Spirituality, it was almost incomprehensible that Rick Warren agreed to be one of the judges for the 2004 “Power of Purpose Essay Competition” sponsored by New Age sympathizer John Marks Templeton.49 Unbelievably, Rick Warren had involved himself with the man New Age leader Neale Donald Walsch called his “wonderful role model,” and whom Christian author Dave Hunt described as holding heretical “New Age beliefs.” Hunt explained how Templeton was first introduced to the church by 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 its 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.50

     Defying the 2 Corinthians 6:14 biblical admonition to “be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” Rick Warren seemed to have no problem working with a man and an organization that were totally committed to advancing the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality. Templeton’s own website describes how this avowed “dedicated Presbyterian” was really under the influence of New Age/New Thought teachings:

Typical of Templeton’s wide-lens view of spirituality and ethics, the dedicated Presbyterian admits to additional influence from the New Thought movements of Christian Science, Unity and Religious Science. Those metaphysical churches espouse a non-literal view of heaven and hell, and suggest a shared divinity between God and humanity.51

     Rick Warren’s association with Templeton and his organization, so clearly identified with New Age/New Spirituality, is yet one more reason to question Rick Warren’s discernment, and where his Purpose-Driven movement is really heading. Because Templeton’s “Humility Theology” is so closely linked with Neale Donald Walsch’s PEACE PLAN, the church needs to keep a close watch on Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Rick Warren’s willingness to involve himself with Templeton’s New Age “purposes” is yet one more issue that has never been addressed by Saddleback apologists.

God’s Dream?

     Another of the many obvious Rick Warren links to Robert Schuller and the New Age/New Spirituality is through the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream.” On October 27, 2003 Rick Warren announced that the next weekend he would be introducing his P.E.A.C.E. Plan to “help change the world.” He used the term “God’s Dream” to describe this P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He called it “God’s Dream For You—And The World.”52 While the explicit term “God’s Dream” is not to be found anywhere in the Bible, it is a term that Robert Schuller has been using for over thirty years. In his book The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren states that in 1974—six years before he started Saddleback Church at the age of twenty-five—he read Robert Schuller’s book, Your Church Has Real Possibilities. This Schuller book presented a young and impressionable Rick Warren with the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream” and how “God’s Dream” was inextricably linked to “purpose.” In his 1974 book, Schuller wrote about “God’s dream” for your life,” stating:

He has a dream for your life and your church. He will reveal His dream by causing you to desire what He wants.53

Now pray the prayer of surrender…. Then ask the Holy Spirit to fill your mind with God’s dream for your life.

Big beautiful dreams will come….

…Listen to this dream, “For it is God at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve His purpose”….54

     The phrase “God’s Dream” was also particularly prevalent in Schuller’s 1982 book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation. This was the book that was so highly praised by Neale Donald Walsch and his New Age “God,” and the book from which Rick Warren apparently drew so much unattributed material for his book The Purpose-Driven Life. In this book Schuller wrote:

When God’s dream is accepted, we must be prepared to pay a high price. The dream that comes from God calls us to fulfill his will by taking an active part in his kingdom.55

I am not fully forgiven until I allow God to write his new dream for my life on the blackboard of my mind…. God has a great plan to redeem society. He needs me and wants to use me.56

“God’s forgiving grace is incomplete until he gives me—and I accept—a new kingdom-building dream and opportunity.”57

Tremendous human energy is needed to walk God’s walk, work God’s work, fulfill God’s will, and complete his dream for our self-esteem.58

     Robert Schuller was calling for a “kingdom building dream”—a “New Reformation”59—to redeem the world. He called it “God’s Dream to “redeem society.” Twenty years later Rick Warren was calling for a kingdom building dream—a “New Reformation”—to “change the world.”60 As previously stated, he called it his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and described it as “God’s Dream For You—And The World.” I would later discover that Rick Warren’s use of the term “God’s Dream” and his accompanying affirmation that it is “going to happen” could be found in Robert Schuller’s 1978 book Discover Your Possibilities. Schuller had written:

Pray, seek God’s guidance and what’s going to happen? You’ll get a dream to pursue…. Find a dream. Once you’ve got that dream and you know it’s God’s dream for your life, then be daring. Dare to say it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Announce to the whole world that it’s going to happen.61 [emphasis added]

     In Rick Warren’s October 27, 2003 e-mail announcing his P.E.A.C.E. Plan and entitled “God’s Dream For You—And The World,” he wrote:

THIS WEEKEND, I’ll begin a series of five messages on God’s dream to use you globally—to literally use YOU to change the world! I’ll unveil our Global P.E.A.C.E. plan, and how God has uniquely prepared you for this moment of destiny….

The Global Peace Plan IS GOING TO HAPPEN….62 [bold added]

     This use of “God’s Dream” and its direct connection to Robert Schuller is yet one more issue that has never been honestly addressed by Saddleback apologists. When I pointed out that the concept of “God’s Dream” was a Schuller concept, and could not be found in the Bible, Saddleback representative Gilbert Thurston focused only on the single word “dream”—ignoring the issue of “God’s Dream” and distorting what I really said—he made it look like I was saying the word “dream” could not be found in the Bible. Here’s what he wrote:

As for the word dream, Mr. Smith is technically correct when he says that every time the word dream is used in the Bible it’s referring to sleeping dreams or waking visions. However, he is incorrect when he tries to imply that the kind of dreams that Rick Warren, Bruce Wilkinson or even Robert Schuller, for that matter, talk about are not found in the Bible.63

     Saddleback apologist Richard Abanes even took it a step further. Carefully avoiding any mention of the term “God’s Dream,” and Rick Warren’s specific use of the term “God’s Dream” in describing his “Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan,” Abanes—like other Saddleback apologists—also limited his discussion to the single word “dream.” He then tried to suggest that Rick Warren’s language was patterned after Martin Luther King—not Robert Schuller. He wrote:

Smith plays the same word game with “dream”—a term used by both Rick Warren and Robert Schuller (Smith p. 178). Warren has talked about his dream for the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Schuller has often used the word dream in about his teachings regarding church leadership, church growth, and New Age concepts. But that does NOT mean the two men are using the word in the same way.

In fact, Warren’s use of the word “dream” dates all the way back to his first sermon at Saddleback in 1980. He listed several dreams he had for his church. And it is more reminiscent of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. than anything Schuller has ever said/written.64

     But who is the one playing word games? Abanes never addressed Rick Warren’s specific use of the Schuller metaphor “God’s Dream” and how he uses it to characterize his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Like other Saddleback apologists, Abanes tried to contain the discussion to the more generic and easily defensible term “dream.” But he still missed the point. He stated that Rick Warren’s use of the term “dream” in his first Saddleback sermon in 1980 was “more reminiscent” of Martin Luther King than Robert Schuller. What he was conveniently overlooking was the fact that in 1980 Rick Warren had just graduated from The Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership where—according to Kay Warren—he had been “profoundly influenced” by Schuller.65 As previously mentioned, Rick Warren himself stated that six years prior to starting Saddleback he had read Robert Schuller’s book Your Church has Real Possibilities. One can only wonder what else went through nineteen year-old Rick Warren’s mind when, two pages after Schuller’s multiple references to “God’s dream,” Schuller wrote:

You’ve got to believe it before you see it! So believe you can build a Twenty-First Century church now! You can be the founder and the leader of such a great new inspirational center. You can make your church a great church for Jesus Christ.66

Some reader of this book will build the greatest church ever built in America….67

     Controversial Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren and Prayer of Jabez author Bruce Wilkinson—along with Rick Warren and many others—are definitely helping to popularize the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream.” They are obviously attempting to make this Schuller concept part of the new transformational language of the church. McLaren recommends that metaphors be used to introduce the world to Jesus. McLaren even proposes a new “language of the Kingdom.”68 In his 2006 book The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything, McLaren states that the emerging twenty-first century church needs a new user-friendly language to effectively communicate with the world about Jesus. With no mention of Schuller—or Rick Warren for that matter—the very first metaphor McLaren suggests is the concept of “God’s Dream.” Not surprisingly, like Abanes, he also tries to link this Schuller concept to Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement and King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. McLaren explains:

For all these reasons, “the dream of God” strikes me as a beautiful way to translate the message of the kingdom of God for hearers today. It is, of course, the language evoked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. His dream was God’s dream, and that accounted for its amazing power.69

     But this descriptive linking of “God’s Dream” with Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement is the same thing that New Age leaders were doing as they linked their PEACE PLAN—their “civil rights movement for the soul”—to Martin Luther King and King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech.70 Curiously, when I did an Internet search I could find no instance of Martin Luther King ever using the specific term “God’s Dream.” By using the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream,” while invoking Martin Luther King and his civil rights movement, church leaders were now falling—even more directly—into the New Age spiritual trap. With an ever-evolving, conveniently overlapping, new transformational language, Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan was in the process of semantically merging with the New Age PEACE PLAN. Was the Schuller concept of “God’s Dream” going to be the “pied piper” rallying cry for a seemingly wonderful PEACE PLAN that would deceptively capture the world’s imagination? It was no wonder, and no accident, that Neale Donald Walsch and his “God” described Robert Schuller as an “extraordinary” Christian minister.71 And how interesting that Saddleback apologists were doing everything in their power to try to distance Rick Warren from Robert Schuller—the very man who so obviously inspired Rick Warren’s life and ministry and his whole present-day Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard

     On November 2, 2003, Rick Warren launched his 5-step Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan called “God’s Dream For You—And The World.” He called upon two key people to help him introduce his P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Bruce Wilkinson—one of his “best friends in the world”72—was at Saddleback the week before, and was used to help put the P.E.A.C.E. Plan in a “God’s Dream” perspective. Fresh from an appearance at the Crystal Cathedral where Wilkinson had referred to Robert Schuller as the “patriarch” of dreams,73 Wilkinson talked to Rick Warren’s church and worldwide Internet audience about the concept of “God’s Dream.” Rick Warren even assigned specific material for his church members out of Wilkinson’s new book The Dream Giver to help prepare everyone for the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

     The other outside person helping Rick Warren to introduce his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan was author/businessman Ken Blanchard, the author of the long-time bestselling book The One-Minute Manager. Warren informed his live Internet audience that Blanchard had “signed on” to help with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In introducing the leadership part of his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Rick Warren had Blanchard speak to everyone via a short video. According to Rick Warren, the “E” in the word peace of his P.E.A.C.E. Plan stood for “equip leaders.” He said that Blanchard was going to help train “servant leaders.” He also announced that he and Blanchard would be co-hosting a Lead Like Jesus Celebration several weeks later in Birmingham, Alabama that would be simulcast to multiple locations around the country. Blanchard, the best-selling author of The One-Minute Manager, was the co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus organization.

     Two weeks later while co-leading the Lead Like Jesus Celebration with Blanchard in Alabama, Rick Warren reaffirmed that Blanchard was working with him on the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan Plan. At the start of the conference Rick Warren, speaking for the two of them, explained:

…[T]here is a dramatic shortage of servant leadership in the world. I’ve traveled all around the world, and people are following the wrong model of leadership….

So, we’ve come up with a little plan called the peace plan. You and I are working together on this. The peace plan, P E A C E, Jesus, the master servant leader, was the Prince of Peace…. P stands for plant churches, E stands for equip leaders, and that’s what we’re here for today…. It is my goal and vision and your goal and vision to be used of God to raise up millions and millions of local churches and businesses and everybody else to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. That can be only be done when we get the right model of leadership.74

     After Rick Warren’s remarks, he turned to Blanchard and asked him about his involvement in the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Blanchard responded by telling the audience what Rick Warren told him before the conference:

Well, Rick in the back said, “You know, Ken, let’s start a revolution.”75

     Most people listening to the two of them talk that day probably had no idea that some serious discernment issues would later arise concerning Ken Blanchard and his Lead Like Jesus organization. Fast-forward a year-and-a-half later to April 20, 2005. Lighthouse Trails Research Project issued a press release revealing that Ken Blanchard—the man who was teaching everyone to Lead Like Jesus—had a long history of endorsing and recommending New Age books.76 This information about Blanchard’s New Age leanings raised immediate questions about his involvement in Christian leadership, and people began to question why Rick Warren would want to use such an obvious New Age sympathizer to train people to “lead like Jesus.” The press release cited some of the specific New Age books that Blanchard had endorsed right up to the time of the press release. These books included Mind Like Water by Jim Ballard, What Would Buddha Do at Work by Frank Metcalf, The Corporate Mystic by Gay Hendricks and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Succcess by Deepak Chopra. Another New Age book that Blanchard endorsed was Little Wave and Old Swell (2004) which was also written by Jim Ballard, his friend and business associate. Blanchard also wrote the Foreward to Ballard’s book, saying that it was for “people of all faiths.”

Love is love. For that reason this little volume should not be thought of as a “religious” book. It is one of those rare stories whose message transcends ideas that divide people. It is for people of all faiths, as well as for those of no faith….

Little Wave and Old Swell is a book for the innocent seeker, young or old, in each one of us. It’s a book to read alone and contemplate.77

     And what was the “message” that Ballard had for the “innocent seeker?” It was the same New Age/New Spirituality “there is no separation” and “God is in everything” message of “Oneness:

Old Swell read his mind. “You are a moving wrinkle on the seamless fabric of the Great Deep. You have thought you were separate. No. You could never be apart from your Source.

“Know now that you and I and all our neighbor waves are One with the Great Deep.

“We have always been One.

We shall always be One.”78

     At the end of the story Ballard offers this prayer:

Help me to feel the Oneness within all things.79

     Ken Blanchard had “signed on” with Saddleback to help train and educate leaders, yet Ken Blanchard was still endorsing and recommending New Age books! With Blanchard and his New Age sympathies exposed, Rick Warren and his Saddleback apologists quickly responded by trying to make Lighthouse Trails the issue rather than Blanchard and his poor discernment. It was argued that Blanchard didn’t really know what he was doing in endorsing all those New Age books. Many well known Christian leaders including Rick Warren and David Jeremiah inexplicably sprang to Blanchard’s defense. Blanchard was being treated as if he had mispronounced someone’s name rather than the fact that he was recommending books and authors that sought to destroy biblical Christianity. The widely publicized Saddleback “spin” was that Ken Blanchard was a “new Christian” and spiritually naïve.80 But, by his own description, Blanchard had been a Christian for more than seventeen years. Serious questions remained about why such an apparently immature and undiscerning believer was in the business of training Rick Warren’s leaders.

     Within several months Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard had neatly worked their way through the controversy. On July 22, 2005, Ken Blanchard issued a public statement about his New Age endorsements. In a carefully guarded and vaguely worded announcement, he allowed that his New Age endorsements were “problematic.” He gave his “promise” that he would try to “exercise better discernment in the future.”81 To make everything official, Blanchard noted that Watchman Fellowship—a discernment ministry with heavy ties to Rick Warren and Saddleback Church—was being enlisted to “assist” Blanchard to become more discerning. Unbelievably, even with all of his New Age entanglements, Blanchard would remain at the head of Lead Like Jesus. James Walker, the president of Watchman Fellowship, issued a statement on July 25, 2005. Walker, who had already previously denied that there were any New Age implications to anything Rick Warren was doing, was again being used to pacify those who were asking legitimate questions about Blanchard’s New Age sympathies and suitability for Christian leadership. Walker stated:

After spending time with Mr. Blanchard we are now convinced that he is, in fact, a brother in Christ and are committed to assist him as he continues to work through the issues that have arisen as a result of these past endorsements. We encourage you to pray for Ken and the Lead Like Jesus staff as they move forward.82

     While all of those on the Internet who were exposing Ken Blanchard’s New Age sympathies continued to get heavily criticized by Saddleback apologists, Ken Blanchard forged ahead at the helm of Lead Like Jesus. He had hardly missed a beat. But by now people were asking a lot of questions about Blanchard and Rick Warren, as well as the role of Watchman Fellowship. And some of those questions would soon be answered by Blanchard himself. In January 2006, six months after Blanchard and Walker’s assurances, Blanchard endorsed another New Age book. Christian Research Service revealed that he endorsed was John Gordon’s The 10 minute Energy Solution.83 In his book Gordon quoted from numerous New Age sources including A Course in Miracles, Wayne Dyer, Marilyn Ferguson, the Dalai Lama, Paramahansa Yogananda and Buddha. He also openly recommended New Age books by Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and Gary Zukav. Gordon’s book was a gaping doorway into the New Age/New Spirituality. It was certain to confuse any undiscerning and unsuspecting Christian reader who might be led to the book by Blanchard’s endorsement. Incredibly, even as Blanchard was endorsing Gordon’s New Age book, his own book Lead Like Jesus was being released by Christian publishing giant Thomas Nelson Publishers.84 Blanchard’s book was heavily endorsed by a number of Christian leaders, including Rick Warren.

     In Richard Abanes’ hastily-published “damage control” book—Rick Warren and the Purpose the Drives Him—Abanes tried to explain away all the legitimate questions being raised about the New Age implications of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Movement, including his strange involvement with people like Robert Schuller, John Marks Templeton and Ken Blanchard. In an interview in this book, Rick Warren offered a strange defense. Appearing to distance himself from “the Blanchard problem,” just as he had the “Schuller problem,” he stated that Blanchard was not a “deep Christian” and that he had stepped into Christian leadership before he was ready.85 Yet Rick Warren did not seem at all concerned that Blanchard remained on at the head of Lead Like Jesus. In fact, Rick Warren continued to sit on Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Board of Directors. In the interview, Rick Warren gave no hint that he was about to endorse Blanchard’s forthcoming book Lead Like Jesus, and that he would continue to be featured with Blanchard in upcoming leadership conferences.

     There are two additional footnotes to this Rick Warren, Ken Blanchard, Lead Like Jesus scenario. In a Miami, Florida radio interview Ken Blanchard actually disclosed the source of his original inspiration for the whole Lead Like Jesus movement. He stated that many years ago at the Crystal Cathedral, Robert Schuller had suggested to him that Jesus was the “greatest one-minute manager of all time.” Blanchard said that because of Schuller’s remark it was “the first time I started thinking of Jesus as a leader.”86 Blanchard was also quick to tell people that he actually co-wrote a book with Robert Schuller’s mentor, Norman Vincent Peale.87

Norman Vincent Peale

     Sometime in March 2005, before all of Ken Blanchard’s New Age endorsements came to light, I received two articles from a pastor from Indianapolis, Indiana. One of the articles was a clipping from the August 3, 1995 Indianapolis Star. It had a big picture of Norman Vincent Peale and the headline read:

Norman Vincent Peale accused of plagiarism
‘Power of Positive Thinking’ author’s work similar to that of a little-known teacher of occult science.88

     The article, published by Knight-Ridder Newspapers, asked the question: “Was the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, father of the ‘believe and succeed’ theology sweeping American Protestantism, a plagiarist inspired by the occult?” In attempting to answer that question, the newspaper referred to an article from the Lutheran Quarterly that had contended that Norman Vincent Peale drew much of his inspiration from the writings and teachings of occult/New Age author Florence Scovel Shinn. Concerning the Lutheran Quarterly article, the Indianapolis paper stated:

After comparing his books to hers, the authors cite scores of specific instances in which Peale and Shinn not only think alike, but use similar or identical phrases.89

     The newspaper article went on to say:

Shinn, who died in 1940, drew on mystical sources dating to the ancient Egyptian philosopher Hermes Trismegistus and the secrets of Freemasonry.

Such sources are progenitors of New Age, a movement considered ungodly hocus-pocus by conservative and fundamentalist Christians….

Shinn’s privately published metaphysical works, reissued by both Simon & Schuster and the Church of Religious Science, are available in New Age bookstores. Peale penned the introduction to the Simon & Schuster edition, indicating he had “long used” Shinn’s teachings.90

     The Indiana pastor had included a copy of the Lutheran Quarterly article that the Indianapolis paper had referred to. The Lutheran Quarterly article exposed Peale’s unattributed use of Shinn’s occult/New Age teachings. The Peale/Shinn side by side quotes clearly demonstrated the similarity of their writings. The authors wrote:

THE STRIKING SIMILARITY between these passages discloses an unsettling theological secret. Along with many other parallel concepts, affirmations, metaphors, and stories, they provide testimony that the writing that made Norman Vincent Peale “minister to millions” and a millionaire many times over, shows a startling similarity to the writings of an obscure teacher of Occult science named Florence Scovel Shinn. Whatever may be the embarrassment caused by these striking similarities, it pales against the discomfiture that millions of mainline Christians, purporting to stand on orthodoxy and Scripture alone, have thus unwittingly embraced the Occult. So strong is its tacit foothold that it now may well be the primary working faith of many in the churches….91

     The pastor told me that he was reminded of the Lutheran Quarterly article after reading my book, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. My observations concerning the New Age implications of Rick Warren taking unattributed material from Robert Schuller had reminded him of this article about Norman Vincent Peale taking unattributed material from Florence Scovel Shinn. The pastor pointed out that the New Age implications of Rick Warren’s teachings did not stop with his teacher Robert Schuller, or even to Schuller’s teacher, Norman Vincent Peale. It stretched back through all of them to the occult itself. A deeper look into Peale’s background confirmed that this 33rd degree Freemason had endorsed other New Age authors and teachers through the years.92 Ironically, one of the New Age authors endorsed by Peale was Bernie Siegel—the same Bernie Siegel that Rick Warren had indiscriminately referred to in The Purpose-Driven Life. The Indiana pastor suggested that Norman Vincent Peale had popularized the occult within the mainstream Christian Church, and that these teachings may have been passed along to pastors like Robert Schuller and Rick Warren, who in turn passed them on to millions of others.

     It is not surprising that New Age leader Neale Donald Walsch openly praises Norman Vincent Peale in much the same way as he did with Schuller. In discussing occult manifestation—how feelings inside of you can create events outside of you—Walsch states:

This phenomenon is discussed with extraordinary insight in the classic book The Power of Positive Thinking, written over fifty years ago by the Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a Christian minister who understood that feelings are a gift from God, giving us the power of creation.93

     When Ken Blanchard and Rick Warren co-led the 2003 Lead Like Jesus Conference in Alabama, Blanchard stated that Norman Vincent Peale had been one of the men responsible for bringing him into the faith.

And God started sending me this team, Bob Buford, Norman Vincent Peale, and [Bill] Hybels. All kinds of people started coming after me. I finally joined up in 1987-88 and turned my life over to the Lord…. I found out this is a really good deal.94

     As a new Christian, Blanchard had co-authored The Power of Ethical Management with Peale, shortly after Peale had endorsed Bernie Siegel’s book Love, Medicine and Miracles. Incredibly, a website for Indian Guru Paramahansa Yogananda devotees stated that the Blanchard and Peale book had actually been “ghost-written” by Blanchard’s longtime New Age friend, Jim Ballard.95 Blanchard’s Christian testimony We are the Beloved was also listed on this same website as having been “ghost-written” by Ballard. Because Ballard is a Yogananda devotee, and was being featured on the Yogananda website, it is presumed that the information was provided by Ballard himself. It would seem that Blanchard’s early relationship with Peale, as well as his thirty-year friendship with Ballard, may have helped to contribute to Blanchard’s serious lack of discernment still in evidence today.

     Although Blanchard has been presented as naïve by many of his defenders—including Rick Warren—a closer examination of Blanchard’s past reveals a much different story. For whatever reasons, Watchman Fellowship has provided Ken Blanchard with an undeserved protective cover. However, Christian Research Service has carefully documented Ken Blanchard’s continued New Age sympathies. A year after Blanchard’s “apology” for his New Age endorsements, he still hasn’t formally renounced the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality, nor has he apparently made any attempt to pull his endorsements from the New Age books that he recommended. Blanchard’s New Age endorsements can still be found on New Age websites like those of Tony Robbins and the Hoffman Quadrinity Process.96 Thus, Blanchard’s continuing evangelical leadership role in training and equipping people to “Lead Like Jesus” is symptomatic of a church that has truly lost its bearings.

     Rick Warren’s endorsement of Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus book, and his position on Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Board of Directors, is yet one more of the many New Age implications of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Church and Purpose-Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

     Very few people in the church realize how much they have been influenced by the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality thinking that has been passed down from occult teachers like Florence Shinn to church leaders like Peale, Schuller and Rick Warren today. The reason the church has been so silent about the New Age/New Spirituality is because the emerging 21st Century church is moving into the New Age/New Spirituality—and Rick Warren seems to be definitely leading the way. In Deceived on Purpose I concluded:

All I can say, after reading The Purpose-Driven Life, is that Rick Warren does not speak for me. He may be sincere. He may be well-intentioned. But I believe, with every fiber of my being, that he is in the process of leading the Church into the New Age plan for the New Spirituality. I recognize the spirit that seems to be influencing him because I once was influenced by it myself. It is a spirit that convinces us that we are doing God’s will when we follow its leading. It is a spirit that convinces us that God is “in” everything and that world peace is just around the corner. It is a spirit that hides behind the banner of God’s purposes while it tries to deceive us into accomplishing its purposes. It is a spirit that manipulates us into thinking we’re one thing, while it makes us into something else. It is the spirit that leads Neale Donald Walsch and his Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders. It is a spirit that comes in the name of Christ but actually opposes Jesus Christ.97



1. Warren Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 103

2. Ibid., pp. 112-113

3. Tim Stafford, “A Regular Purpose-Driven Guy,” Christianity Today, Nov. 18, 2002, Vol. 46, No. 12,, p. 4.

4. Hour of Power, Robert H. Schuller, Program #1783, “What Will Be The Future of This Ministry?” April 4, 2004,


6. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), p. 38.

7. Gilbert Thurston, “Response to Deceived on Purpose,” an unpublished paper by this “40 Days of Purpose Field Representative.” This “response” was sent by Saddleback employees to inquiring pastors, church leaders, and lay people who had questions concerning issues raised about Rick Warren in my book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. While Saddleback might term Thurston’s response unofficial, they were constantly referring people to it.

8. Ibid.

9. Richard Abanes, “Warren Smith, the New Age, and Deception,” This was an unpublished response to Deceived on Purpose that was at one time posted on Richard Abanes’s former website Gilbert Thurston of Saddleback, in an e-mail to an inquiring pastor, also referred to Robert Schuller as a “new ager.” In Thurston’s “Response to Deceived on Purpose” he also referred to Schuller as “liberal” and “universalistic.” The fact of the matter is that Schuller has always been a New Age sympathizer, liberal and universalistic. Stating that Schuller has only “lately” become more liberal, universalistic and a “new ager” is misleading, and characteristic of the unsuccessful Saddleback spin to try to minimize Robert Schuller’s “profound influence” on Rick Warren “through the years.” 

10. Hour of Power, April 24, 2005. Bruce Wilkinson speaking at the Crystal Cathedral. Transcribed by author. Program 1838: Online transcript: Note: Some of the actual comments made by Wilkinson in the telecast were changed or omitted from the edited Hour of Power online transcript.

11. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), p. 31.

12. Bernie S. Siegel, M.D. Love, Medicine & Miracles (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), pp. 18-20.

13. Hour of Power, Robert H. Schuller, Program #1572, “Principles for Powerful, Prosperous Living-Part IX,” (no specified date),, p. 3.

14. Robert H. Schuller, Believe in the God Who Believes in You (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1989), p. 247.

15. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), p. 25.

16. Richard Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him: An Insider Looks at the Phenomenal Bestseller (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2005), p. 40.

17. Robert H. Schuller, Prayer: My Soul’s Adventure With God: A Spiritual Autobiography (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995), p. ii.


19. Walsch, Friendship with God, pp. 335-336.

20. Gerald Jampolsky, Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All, pp. ix-xv.


22. Siegel, Love, Medicine & Miracles, back cover.

23. Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church, p. 297.

24. Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Four examples in the first chapter; p. 18, Note 2, (Romans 8:6); p. 19, Note 3, (Matthew 16:25); p. 20, Note 5, (1 Corinthians 2:7); p. 20, Note 6, (Ephesians 1:11).

25. Eugene Peterson, The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1993, 2003), p. 21.

26. Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992), p. xi.


28. Warren, The Purpose-Driven-Life, p. 17.

29. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 82.

30. Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, p. 96.

31. Alice A. Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1948, 1996), p. 150.

32. Miller et al., As Above, So Below, p. xi.

33. Wikipedia

34. Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth edition, 2005,

35. Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, p. 95.

36. Richard Abanes, Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace behind the Magic (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Horizon Books, 2001), p. 160.

37. Ibid., p. 159.

38. Tom Holliday and Kay Warren, Foundations Participant’s Guide: 11 Core Truths To Build Your Life On (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), p. 46.

39. Hour of Power, Robert H. Schuller, Program # 1762, “God’s Word: Rebuild, Renew, Restore,” November 9, 2003, transcribed by author from Hour of Power videocassette (Schuller’s actual words differ somewhat from the Hour of Power transcript:, p. 5.

40. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 113.

41. Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, p. 285-286.

42. Brian D. McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 171.

43. Rick Warren’s doctoral thesis outline: 

44. C. Peter Wagner, Churchquake: how the new apostolic reformation is shaking up the church as we know it (Ventura, California: Regal Books: A Division of Gospel Light, 1999), p. 177.

45. Ibid., p. 70-71.

46. Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, p. 188.

47. Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, p. 285.

48. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 147.

49. or

50. Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1998), p.102.; Possibilities, Summer 1986, pp. 8-12.

51. Templeton Foundation, Sir John Templeton, Biography

52. October 27, 2003 e-mail sent from Rick Warren to his Purpose-Driven “family.”

53. Robert H. Schuller, Your Church Has Real Possibilities (Glendale, California: Regal Books Division, G/L Publications, 1974), p. 176.

54. Ibid., p. 177.

55. Robert H. Schuller, Self Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 75.

56. Ibid., p. 104.

57. Ibid., p. 105.

58. Ibid., p. 112.

59. Ibid., p. 25.

60. October 27, 2003 e-mail sent from Rick Warren to his Purpose-Driven “family.” Also see “Pastors commit to ‘new Reformation’ at PDC Conference,” by Tobin Perry,

61. Robert H. Schuller, Discover Your Possibilities (New York: Ballantine Books, 1978), p. 100.

62. October 27, 2003 e-mail sent from Rick Warren to his Purpose-Driven “family.”

63. Gilbert Thurston, “Response to Deceived on Purpose,” an unpublished paper by this Saddleback Church “40 Days of Purpose Field Representative.”

64. Richard Abanes, “Warren Smith, the New Age, and Deception,” This was an unpublished response to Deceived on Purpose that was at one time posted on Abanes’s website.

65. Tim Stafford, “A Regular Purpose-Driven Guy,” Christianity Today, November 18, 2002, Vol. 46, No. 12,, p. 4.

66. Schuller, Your Church Has Real Possibilities, p. 6.

67. Ibid., p. 179.

68. McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything, p. 138-148.

69. McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything, p. 142.

70. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, 2004), p. 262.

71. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God., p. 282.

72. October 26, 2003 live internet broadcast from Saddleback Church, transcribed by author.

73. Hour of Power, Bruce Wilkinson, Program #1760, “Living the Dream,” October 26, 2003,, p. 1.

74. Lead Like Jesus Celebration, November 20, 2003, Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Transcript online: DVD available through Lead Like Jesus online store.

75. Ibid.

76. Lighthouse Trails press release April 20, 2005

77. Jim Ballard, Little Wave and Old Swell: A Fable of Life and Its Passing (BookSurge, LLC, 2004), p. vi.

78. Ibid., p. 37.

79. Ibid., p. 80.

80. Regarding Pastor Rick Warren’s e-mail to Lighthouse Trails. Also see Pastor David Jeremiah’s e-mail to Lighthouse Trails.

81. For current Ken Blanchard endorsements and updates see

82. See Watchman Fellowship or

83. Jon Gordon, The 10-Minute Energy Solution: A Proven Plan to Increase Your Energy, Reduce Your Stress, and Transform Your Life (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2006).

84. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Role Model of All Times (Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2006).

85. Richard Abanes, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him: An Insider Looks at the Phenomenal Bestseller (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2005), p. 28.

86., Radio Interview with Ken Blanchard, The Call-91.7 WMKL Miami, Fla.

87. Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Ethical Management (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1988).

88. Knight-Ridder Newspapers, “Norman Vincent Peale accused of plagiarism,” The Indianapolis Star, August 3, 1995, p. C2.

89. Ibid.

90. Ibid.

91. George D. Exoo and John Gregory Tweed, “Peale’s Secret Source,” Lutheran Quarterly: A Journal for the Evangelical Lutheran Church: Vol. IX, No. 2, Summer 1995, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

92. The Watchman Expositor, Norman Vincent Peale, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1990,

93. Neale Donald Walsch, What God Wants: A Compelling Answer to Humanity’s Biggest Question, P. 189.

94. Lead Like Jesus Celebration, November 20, 2003, Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Transcript online: DVD available through Lead Like Jesus online store.

95. SRF Devotee: Connecting SRF Devotees Worldwide: Featured Artist Jim Ballard,

96. See, and Current documentation on this point can be found at

97. Smith, Deceived on Purpose, p. 167.



Original PDF book format Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel.

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