RICK WARREN'S NEW AGE TIES: A LOOK AT NEW AGE AND OCCULT TEACHERS PROMOTED IN THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
MARILYN FERGUSON is the author of the bestselling book, The Aquarian Conspiracy. Published in 1980, The Aquarian Conspiracy is considered by many in the New Spirituality and the occult to be a blueprint for the coming spiritual transformation of our society. USA Today called it “the handbook of the New Age.” The book openly admits that there is in fact a conspiracy for the emergence of a One World Religious System, but presents it in a positive light. In the book, Ferguson quotes Aldous Huxley, William James, Carl Jung, Willis Harman, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Thomas Merton, just to name a few. To those who are in the New Age movement, these are household names. However, it is doubtful that the majority of Christians who read and signed the 40-day “Covenant” in The Purpose Driven Life were aware of the occult nature of the teachings of those who are referenced by Rick Warren for spiritual inspiration.
In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes some of these same New Age leaders. While leaving out their occult roots and teachings, Rick Warren also presents these leaders and their writings in a positive light. Though Rick Warren seems to make several good points in regards to purpose and knowing God, there is clearly a lot of double-talk. On page 20 he says, “To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology…” Yet, in his book, he gives reference to no less than 13 of the world’s mystics, philosophers, psychologists and New Age leaders to support his message of “Purpose.” On page 90 he correctly tells readers they cannot know God without knowing His Word and makes a distinction between true Biblical meditation and Eastern meditation. However, on the previous page he gives reference to Benedictine Monks who practice ritualistic Eastern meditation, while chanting mantras on an hourly basis. Then on page 30 Warren says, “Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty and pointless…We were made to have meaning. This is why people try dubious methods like astrology or psychics, to discover it.” But on the very next page he quotes Dr. Bernie Siegel who openly claims to have a spirit guide named George and recommends yoga to his patients to connect with the Kundalini life force, the energy that is believed by those in the occult to bind everything together as One.
Why is Rick Warren introducing Christian readers to occult philosophies and New Age teachers? While it is not for us to judge anyone or their motives, it is our responsibility to “judge all things” in light of scripture and to question leaders who teach or give reference to sources that are blatantly contrary to the Word of God. Hosea 4/6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” As Believers it is imperative that we fully understand the beliefs and teachings of those who are considered leaders and shepherds in the Body of Christ. Below are just a few of the people Rick Warren references in The Purpose Driven Life, along with several of their own quotes. Sources are taken from their own books or via the internet.
BERNIE SIEGEL – P. 31
On page 31 of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes Dr. Bernie Siegel in reference to “hope” and “purpose.” Bernie Siegel is a physician, author and prominent New Age leader who communicates with a spirit guide named George, and who also teaches guided imagery and meditation techniques to his patients. In his book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, Siegel describes his encounter with this spirit guide during a workshop he attended that taught guided visualization. In relating the story, Siegel says, “George was spontaneous, aware of my feelings, and an excellent advisor. He gave me honest answers…All I know is that he has been my invaluable companion ever since his first appearance (p. 19, 20).” Writing on guided visualization in the same book, Siegel explains, “The goal is to reach a light trance state, sometimes called the Alpha State which is the first step in yogic meditation, and most related forms of mind exploration. With guidance and practice, meditation can lead to breath-taking experiences of cosmic at-oneness and enlightenment (p. 147-149).” Siegel also has close ties with New Age leader, Neale Donald Walsch, author of the “Conversations With God” books, a series of teachings channeled from a demonic spirit claiming to be God, and which are completely antichrist in their content (Source, http://www.berniesiegelmd.com/)
ALDOUS HUXLEY – P. 248
But Warren does not stop with Siegel. On page 248 he quotes Aldous Huxley in the context of “experiences” and sharing those experiences with others. Having researched the New Age Movement and its agenda for over twenty years, I consider this to be one of the most serious implications of an emergent church leader bringing eastern mysticism into the Body of Christ. Aldous Huxley was an author, a philosopher and an occultist. In literary circles he is widely known for his book, Brave New World. But to occultists and those in the New Age movement Huxley is best known for his book, The Doors of Perception, an account of his mystical experience on the psychedelic drug, Mescaline. Huxley already had a bent for the spiritual philosophies of the east, but it was during his drug experience, under an altered state of consciousness, that a transformation or paradigm shift occurred in his mind and he became enlightened to the unity of all things and to the energy that binds everything together as One with “the All” (Doors of Perception p. 14). Huxley referred to this “unifying energy” as the “Perennial Philosophy” from the title of his book by the same name. He states, it is “…the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with divine Reality.”
Aldous Huxley believed in human evolution and the need for “social transformation” (a transformation in the way people think as a whole) and propagated the use of mind-altering drugs as a doorway to spiritual enlightenment, along with other eastern practices like yoga and shamanism. He also believed that “religious revival in the United States would begin with drugs, not evangelists,” as quoted by Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 375. Many in the New Age Movement believe the influx of LSD into America in the 1960s was a fulfillment of Huxley’s vision. Aldous Huxley is also quoted extensively in the New Age book, As Above, So Below, and by many adherents of the New Spirituality. And so one has to ask, why is Rick Warren, an “Evangelical” pastor and teacher of the gospel, referring readers to Aldous Huxley?
HENRI NOUWEN – P. 108
On page 108 of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren quotes Catholic priest and mystic, Henri Nouwen in the context of “periods of seeming separation” from God. Nouwen promoted eastern spiritual disciplines like repetition of mantras and contemplative prayer to connect with “the active presence of God,” what Rick Warren calls “breath prayers” on page 89 of The Purpose Driven Life. There, Warren instructs readers to “…choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath…Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart.” This spiritual discipline of breath prayer and the emphasis of one breath is not taught anywhere in the scriptures, but can be traced back to the age-old practice of shamanic breath control, a technique used for thousands of years by shamans of indigenous cultures to connect with their spirit guides, as shown in the following definitions.
Shaman – Medicine-man or priest-doctor of preliterate societies in northern Asia and…the Americas; a specialist in archaic techniques of ecstasy…naturally catalyzed by entheogenic plants (hallucinogenic plants), later…induced by secondary techniques like drumming, chanting, fasting, breath control, etc. (Modern definition of the word shaman by Jonathan Ott, The Age of Entheogens & the Angel’s Dictionary, quoted in Astrotheology and Shamanism: Christianity’s Pagan Roots).
Shamanism – A worldview within which mediation between physical and spirit dimensions becomes possible through *ecstatic states of consciousness (Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within, a film by Critical Mass Productions, Google Videos, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=825942553983229569#docid=-820206505264515422). *Ecstatic/Ekstasis (Greek) – to step outside one’s self.
And yet Jesus states in Matthew 6/7 & 8, “And when you pray do not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them.” At the end of his life and ministry, Henri Nouwen openly taught that there were many ways to God. Here are several quotes from his writings.
“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God’s active presence” (The Way of the Heart, p. 81).
“The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being” (Here and Now, p. 22).
“Prayer is ‘soul work’ because our souls are those sacred centers WHERE ALL IS ONE ... It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of THE UNITY OF ALL THAT IS” (Bread for the Journey, 1997, Jan. 15 and Nov. 16).
“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, New York: Crossroad, 1998, p. 51).
WILLIAM JAMES – P. 285
William James is known as the “father of American psychology” and was one of the founders of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1885. Still in operation, the website for this organization says, “The American Society for Psychical Research is the oldest psychical research organization in the United States. For more than a century, its mission has been to explore extraordinary or as yet unexplained phenomena that have been called psychic or paranormal…” Then asks the question, “In what unexplained ways do we interconnect with the universe and each other?" (Source: http://www.aspr.com/who.htm)
Is this the purpose and meaning of life, to connect with the “Universal Mind” through mysterious psychic and paranormal channels? And yet Rick Warren says we are not to depend on pop psychology or “dubious” psychic practices, as he quotes psychic, William James on page 285 of The Purpose Driven Life.
Most Christians would not recognize or question the above names cited in The Purpose Driven Life because they are trusting of Rick Warren and his teachings, and this is exactly what the real enemy is counting on. Regardless of the context in which these men are quoted, neither they nor their teachings should ever be promoted or endorsed by a true minister and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul did not promote the teachings of Simon the Sorcerer in his letters to the Churches. Nor did Moses recommend the mystical practices of Pharaoh and his magicians.
Advocates of the New Spirituality agree that the “New Paradigm” or "New Gospel" for the 21st Century is Interconnectedness and Oneness and this concept is built upon the ancient occult teachings of alchemy and sorcery; the merging of spirit and matter. And while it may appear to be the latest and greatest movement in spiritual renewal, the rapid rise of shamanism in the earth, and the turning of the Church back towards the primal practices of the mystics is nothing less than the beginning of the fulfillment of Mystery Babylon and the formation of the Harlot Church as foretold in Revelation 17/5, leading to the deception of all nations through the satanic power of sorcery (Revelation 9/21, 18/23).