“then know this, you and all the people…It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

A Brighter Light

On Slice Of Laodicea Ingrid Schlueter posted that it is true “Rick Warren believes that there is salvation today for those who have never heard of Jesus.” And Warren is not alone in this apostasy either as you will come to see. Ingrid is also quite correct when she further says: “This is the underlying belief of interspiritualists like Dave Fleming who has taken Warren’s beliefs a step farther and stated that all world religions are essentially the same, worshipping the same God, beneath the superficial differences. That, friends, is where Rick Warren is taking the church.” Lighthouse Trails Research has already told us about Brian McLaren, another emerging new evangelical leader, who actually endorses Fleming’s book The Seeker’s Way here.

This is also what I have been talking about in my recent work on the neo-pagan cult of the Emergent Church. The interested reader is referred as well to a host of sister ministries who have also dealt with this subject in the “General Apologetics” link on the Front Page here at AM. As I’ve previously pointed out in Part Four of my series The Transformation Of The Emergent Church, in his book Running Against The Wind former New Ager Brian Flynn makes this salient point about Emergent Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo while he shares a bit from Campolo’s book Speaking My Mind. But as Flynn does so he is also indicating the direction that we are undoubtedly heading now with the transformation of the Evangelical church itself.

You will be coming to see that there is an idea becoming more and more prevalent within the Evangelical community where “interfaith/interspiritual” dialogues will allegedly help us to promote the idea of some New Age global peace plan. However this all really runs much deeper than that as Flynn writes:

It is with great sadness and dismay I tell you now that this New Age mindset has spilled over and is now invading Christendom. Evangelical author and speaker Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, affirms this union:

[M]ysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.

Can you begin to see the language of this new theological agenda? Mysticism (transcendental meditation) and the “ecstatic union” with God is the “common ground” in all these “spiritual traditions” that provide the “light” for those who don’t happen to hear the Gospel. In fact Schlueter points out a rather interesting statement from Warren himself in her article as he says, “Someone who has begun to walk in the light is always able to recognize a brighter light.” I’ll touch on this further in a moment, but Flynn goes on to tells us that Campolo asks an interesting question which begins to make things even clearer about where all this is leading these fools who follow Warren, McLaren and this emerging new evangelicalism:

“Could they [Islamic Sufis] have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?” With various examples, Campolo paints a picture of interspirituality through mysticism. Referring to Muslim and Christian mystics, he even tells us that the Christian mystics, such as St. John of the Cross, were enriched by the teachings of Sufi philosophers. In comparing St. Francis of Assisi with the founder of the Sufi movement, Campolo says:

Both men sensed presence in everything and claimed to have experienced a mystical union with God.

The obvious implication of Campolo’s statement is that God can be reached through mystical experiences, regardless of one’s religion and beliefs. This is common thinking among contemplatives who often state that contemplative prayer does indeed provide a bridge to Divinity. (185,186, emphasis added)

Embraced By The Light

You need to understand that the Emerging Church is the Trojan Horse used by the Devil to bring in the spiritual mysticism necessary to accomplish the further inward transformation (aka “enlightenment”) of man so that eventually he may become deceived into thinking that each religion contains vestiges of truth left from our original knowledge about the Sacred (Mysteries of God). This will tell you why the whole Church Growth Movement which birthed both the Purpose Driven Church and its ugly step-sister the Emerging Church has been deemphasizing the Cross–if they even preach it at all. And all of this is really Satan’s most subtle twist on his initial lie to Eve – “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). You may also recall that it is the same one with which he has even deluded himself (see–Isaiah 14:14).

Those of us who have been covering this for the Church are doing our best to alert you that the one area of agreement that all of these interspiritual groups have is the spiritual practice/discipline of transcendental meditation. That’s why Mike Oppenheimer’s new series A GREAT Compromise on the acceptance of Yoga within the Christian Church is a must read. Rick Warren himself encourages meditation; and making a right judgment through statements such as the following, he is most likely a practitioner of meditation himself. And a very common expression among those who have reached this enlightenment/transformation (satori in Zen) is what we showed you earlier from Warren who says, “Someone who has begun to walk in the light is always able to recognize a brighter light.”

First of all, the above statement by Warren is heresy because this Christian leader assumes someone is already walking in the light prior to regeneration. Not only that, but the universal testimony from those who have reached this inner transformation speaks of being bathed in Light and Love (God), and then comes the deep realization that all mankind itself shares a divine nature and is truly one in God (the Light). The seeker sensitive Purpose Driven Church and the spiritual seeker sensitive Emerging Church both encourage the practice of what is known as contemplative spirituality (read: transcendental meditation). Now director of the Christian outreach One Truth Ministries, Brian Flynn is spiritually dead right when he warns where all of this is headed. He says that it “is imperative” for the Church “to see the connections between contemplative prayer and this explanation of world peace by New Age leaders” (190).

Flynn then states the most serious fact that:

It is equally important to understand that a growing movement among evangelical leaders is heading in the same direction. I find it extraordinary that those Christian leaders who are involved in this global peace process are also advocates of contemplative prayer. Below is just a sampling of quotations to show those connections:

Rick Warren

Meditation: Many Christians use “Breath Prayers” throughout their day. You choose a brief sentence, or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath.

Global Peace: My hope is for a new reformation in the Church and a new spiritual awakening throughout the world. ––Rick Warren in reference to his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Ken Blanchard

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

Global Peace: Ken [Blanchard] has signed on to help with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. And he’s going to be helping train us. ––Rick Warren

Tony Campolo

Meditation: Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam.

Global Peace: [W]e are to work with Christ to…bring about global peace (190,191).

Rooted In Gnosticism

It’s not like this mystical spirituality hasn’t been lurking in the Evangelical community for years. In his book Deceived On Purpose (DOP) Warren Smith clearly delineates the influence that Robert Schuller has had on Rick Warren. There isn’t any question that “Christian” minister Norman Vincent Peale in turn had an enormous effect on Schuller, who pieced together his own unique brand of “positive,” and very liberal Christianity from Peale’s earlier Gnostic metaphysical teachings. In DOP Smith tells us about something Schuller wrote that “reminded me of Bernie Siegel’s encounter with his spirit guide George.” Then Smith, a former believer in New Age theology himself, says that while practicing transcendental meditation:

Schuller claimed to have an encounter with “Jesus.” Schuller wrote:

I went into a time of relaxation, meditation, and two-way prayer. In a matter of seconds I can get myself into a state of relaxation where I am not conscious of my body weight, but sense that I am floating suspended in space. And this is when I go into two-way prayer.

Schuller goes on to further describe an encounter with “Jesus” and an accompanying vision (56).

The danger signs should now be quite plain before you because these are not the names of some obscure occultists in the dim lit room of some back alley fortuneteller. The men you have been reading about in this piece who are practicing this kind of neo-pagan mystic spiritualism are some of the leaders within the Evangelical community itself. No longer relegated to the outskirts of Christian spirituality, this interspiritualism is now taking center stage in the Body of Christ and coming to a church near you. Consider this from an ad in the current edition of Christianity Today.

Spiritual FORMATION…the most pressing need in the body of Christ today!

Join in the 2006 Spiritual Formation Forum with leading thinkers developing ideas for building Spiritual Formation in your Community.

The 2006 Spiritual Formation Forum features “meaningful interaction in discussion groups,” with “uniquely designed workshops to discover next steps” and “built in opportunities for guided-retreat, silence and solitude.” Among the featured speakers will be Dallas Willard, “Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. Lectures and publishes on spirituality” and Richard Foster, “the founder of RENOVARÉ and author of six books including Celebration of Discipline…Richard travels throughout the world, speaking and teaching on the spiritual life.” Foster’s workshop “will consider the theological necessity and Pauline ideal of community as the ‘Body of Christ’ and a few models for living life together and nurturing Christian spiritual formation.”

God In All, All In God

You will notice that this idea of spiritual formation has to do with silence and solitude, which are aspects of this mystic spiritualism I have been telling you about. Anyone with eyes to see should find all of this to be very alarming when compared to what Jesus actually says in the Bible, and with what the Word of God tells us about how it will truly be before the Antichrist appears. And not only that, but through all of this neo-pagan mystic spirituality the Evangelical church is rapidly heading to a full-blown doctrine of panentheism which would make a One World Global Family entirely conceivable. Once you understand this teaching that God, though separate from the creation (transcendent) “breathed in” and created the universe “inside” Himself (immanent), you will begin to be able to see why Christian missions of evangelism have now become unnecessary for those caught up in the deceptive spirituality of the new evangelicalism.

Space allows just a couple of quick examples, but you may wish to take the time to research the topic further in numerous articles I have written here. In The Church In Emerging Culture Frederica Mathewes-Green, Emergent author and commentator, is asked how can one know Christ? In her meandering answer she negates the inherent sin nature of mankind calling it simply “a sick person who wants to get well.” However, the Bible tells us there is no one who seeks God, but aside from that Mathewes-Green then says:

What [Christ] offers us is not merely legal acquittal. It is alarmingly more intimate than that. He offers himself, his very life, he in us and we in him. He is already here, filling all things, overflowing all creation with his breathed-in presence (172, emphasis added).

You must also keep in mind here that this Emergent author has made no mention of this being for the person born again by placing faith in Christ. This is also consistent with Brian McLaren and in this new mystic spirituality even espoused by Rick Warren himself, the Cross is just not important. Also, in a moment you will see that the “breathed-in” language Mathewes-Green uses, God creating the universe inside Himself, is identical to that used by the “living spiritual teacher” Alan Jones in his sermon Who Is God? This by the way, is the same Jones who authored the book Reimagining Christianity where this Guru called the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Christ Jesus on the Cross a “vile doctrine” (168). And yet according to Emergent Church spiritual director Brian McLaren, Alan Jones is “reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply” (back cover, emphasis added).

In the beginning, before there were any beginnings and endings, there was no place that was not already God! And we call this unimaginable openness, “Ain Soph” – Being – without end. Then came the urge to give life to our world and to us. But there was no place that was not already God. So “Ain Soph” breathed in to make room,… (http://www.30goodminutes.org/csec/sermon/jones_3710.htm, emphasis added)

Let’s stop right here for a moment. “In the beginning”; very Biblical, this will remind us of bereshith in the Hebrew, en arche in the Septuagint (LXX) of Genesis 1:1 and used also in John 1:1 – “Before anything ever was.” So we’re off to a good start, but uh-oh; now we see “‘Ain Soph’ (from the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah) breathed in to make,” i.e. to create. This is the emerging panentheism we are now alerted to look for; the creation is already in God, where in historic orthodox theology the creation comes from God. And if man, who is a part of this creation is already in God, then he himself is also divine; and thus all men are God, as such there would be no need to be regenerated by God the Holy Spirit. There is just no way around this blasphemous, let alone heretical, view concerning the nature of God.

This next part of Jones’ sermon is also very illuminating, so to speak, but also quite disturbing when we read:

Into the emptiness “Ain Soph” set vessels and began to fill them with divine light, as a mother places bowls in which to pour her delicious soup. As the light poured forth, a perfect world was being created! Think of it! A world without greed and cruelty and violence! But then, something happened. The bowls shattered. No one knows why. Perhaps the bowls were too frail? Perhaps the light too intense? Perhaps “Ain Soph” was learning. After all, no one makes perfect the first time. And with the shattering of the bowls, divine sparks flew everywhere! Some rushing back to “Ain Soph,” some falling, falling, trapped in the broken shards to become our world, and us.

Notice that Guru Jones mentions here how “Ain Soph” (God) fills these “vessels” (mankind) with “divine light” (deity). Oh, and here’s a bit more “enlightenment” by Alan Jones from his “deeply stimulating and encouraging” book Reimagining Christianity:

The mystical traditions all agree that in our helplessness we come closer to the real well of life deep within us…[r]enewal and transformation could begin by our waiting for our own secret to reveal itself in the pregnant silence–in the silence of the Virgin concerning the secret of God…in the silence we, too, by the grace of the Spirit give birth to ourselves–to the true self that is both secret and known, the self-in-God. Loved and in communion with all things, the soul is born in and out of the secret silence of God, This silence at the heart of mysticism is not only the meeting point of the great traditions but it is also where all hearts might meet (172,174, emphasis added)

Could all of this be any clearer from Jones? The mystic traditions all agree that deep within us is the true divine self in God which we find in the silence of meditation as we are all really one Global Family in God. And now Ray Yungen gives us a further look at where men like Rick Warren, the Pied Piper of the Purpose Driven Church, and Brian McLaren, Spiritual Director of the Emergent Church, are now taking the Evangelical church. In his book A Time For Departing, which I highly recommend, Yungen is specifically speaking about Richard Foster and his use of the teachings of “Christian” mystics. This would be the same Richard Foster, whom Brian McLaren calls (along with Dallas Willard) a key “mentor” in the Emerging Church movement, and who just happens to be the leading teacher of contemplative prayer. By the way Rick Warren also recommends the work of Foster to your pastors at his website pastors.com.

As we close this work, what Ray Yungen is about to tell us about the aforementioned Richard Foster and these so-called Christian mystics is now also becoming true for those growing sections of the Church who, as we have just shown above, are now dabbling themselves in this “the silence,” which is simply another way of referring to the neo-pagan practice of transcendental meditation. Yungen gives us the benefit of his thorough research:

The point is this: their silence and Foster’s silence are identical, as he makes clear. By using them as models, Foster tells us to follow them because they have experienced deep union with God–and if you also want this, you must go into their silence.

But if this is the case, then Foster’s use of these mystics brings up a difficult problem for him. Panentheism was the fruit of their mysticism. This mysticism led them to believe as they did, and Foster cannot distance himself from that fact. Consequently, to promote them as champions of contemplative prayer, he is also, wittingly or not, endorsing their panentheism. What he endorses is a package. You can accept both or reject both, but you cannot have one without the other (72).

And all of this mystic spirituality in new evangelicalism with its base firmly in universalism has now brought us full-circle to The Falling Away Of The Evangelical Church