News Source: LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT
LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT - June 24, 2006
- The phone calls and emails started coming in about three years ago. Sometimes the caller was in his mid-eighties, sometimes the caller was crying. But all of them had the same kind of story to tell - when their churches decided to get involved with 40 Days of Purpose, everything began changing and when they questioned these changes, they each soon found themselves silenced, ostracized and eventually without a church to attend. Now today, nearly five years after Purpose Driven Life was released, thousands of believers are scattered throughout the world, having been ridiculed and demoralized for even just the slightest questioning of the Purpose Driven program. In one email we received, the young man was handed a letter from his pastor. The letter had been written by a Saddleback field representative who told the pastor to do what he had to do to get rid of those opposing the new program.
According to Rick Warren, these people are resisters and are standing in the way of Purpose Driven progress. In a June 14th article written by Rick Warren on his website (What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau? ), Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time ... and in many cases it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren stated:
If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it's been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it's been plateaued for 20 years, you've got to set in for the duration! I'm saying some people are going to have to die or leave.
Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it's true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.
For Warren to couple his statement about dying or leaving with a statement about God killing off a million people is ignorant at best, subliminal at least. Coupled with his mention of 40 years in the desert and Warren's teaching that God always did good things in numbers of 40, Warren's intention in this statement seems obvious. In addition, the concept of get with the program, change or die is very common in New Age circles, that those who don't get on board (or ride the wave as Leonard Sweet puts it), will have to die. Listen to the words of renown New Ager Barbara Marx Hubbard:
Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose.... All who choose not to evolve will die off. (See The Plan)
Furthermore, Leonard Sweet, in his book, Soul Tsunami, says that:
A sea change of transitions and transformations is birthing a whole new world and a whole new set of ways of making our way in the world.... It is time for a Postmodern Reformation ... Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die. Some would rather die than change (pp. 17, 75).
Rick Warren (whose endorsement sits on both the front and back covers of Sweet's book) says that Soul Tsunami "shows us why these are the greatest days for evangelism since the first century." In an audio set done by Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet called Tides of Change, the two men elaborate on this and make it clear that those who don't ride this new wave will not make it.
One of the tools Rick Warren uses to help churches become Purpose Driven is a book called Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change. The book is sold on Rick Warren's website and is written by Dan Southerland. According to pastors.com (Rick Warren's website to pastors), Southerland is the director of "Church Transitions Inc., an organization that trains pastors and church leaders to effectively manage major transitions. Southerland ... is the leading expert on implementing the Purpose Driven paradigm in existing churches."
Chapter six of Transitioning is called "Dealing with Opposition" and is just one of many ways Rick Warren tries to convey the fact that those who oppose him are less than desirable. Southerland states:
We have experienced two major sources of criticism during our transitions. The first is Christians from more traditional backgrounds.... Not all of our traditional backgrounded Christians have been critical - just the ornery ones. Our second source of criticism is traditional church pastors. Again, not all traditional church pastors - just the meaner ones (p. 116).
Southerland tells readers that "some folks are going to get very angry." He goes so far as to liken opposers of Purpose Driven to "leader[s] from hell." He says:
If you have read Nehemiah recently, you will remember that Sanballat is Nehemiah's greatest critic and number one enemy. Let me put it plainer than that. Sanballat is a leader from hell. We all have some Sanballats in our churches. This is the guy who opposes whatever you propose.... You cannot call this guy a leader from hell to his face - but you could call him Sanballat (p. 115).
In 2003, during Saddleback's 25th anniversary, Rick Warren recited, along with 30,000 participants, the Purpose Driven Covenant. In that covenant he stated that he would do "whatever it takes" to accomplish his goals. For us at Lighthouse Trails it has become increasingly evident that he wasn't kidding when he said that. Last year, as some of you may remember, we issued a press release that showed the connection between Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard. In Warren's own words, he acknowledged that Blanchard, a New Age sympathizer, had "signed on" to help implement Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. plan. Warren stated this at a Saddleback service as well as at the 2003 Lead Like Jesus conference in Alabama. However, a month after we issued the press release, Lighthouse Trails received an email from Rick Warren. The email was sent in the middle of the night, and by the following morning, Warren had given permission to a colleague to post his email online. We contacted Saddleback and confirmed this. Needless to say, countless people found out about this email. However, what most who read his email did not realize was that the majority of the statements in his email were not true. We posted a public response but knew that most people would either only read Warren's email to us or refuse to believe that America's pastor was lying and we were speaking the truth.
Lighthouse Trails learned of Rick Warren's connection to Ken Blanchard through a book called A Life With Purpose, written by Hollywood biographer, George Mair. Ray Yungen discusses this in his book, A Time of Departing:
In the spring of 2005, someone handed me a book called A Life with Purpose by George Mair. The book is written as a positive account of Rick Warren's life. In fact, the subtitle on the front cover reads: America's Most Inspiring Pastor. It is clear that the author had a great admiration for Warren. While Mair wrote the book, he spent many Sunday mornings at Saddleback church services, listening to Rick Warren and donating financially. However, after Rick Warren found out about the book, he publicly criticized it. In addition, Saddleback church sent out emails to an undisclosed number of people, discrediting Mair's book.
I personally believe Warren's effort to debunk the book was an attempt to conceal some of its observations. What George Mair didnt realize was that in his candid account of Warren, and in his efforts to offer this testament of praise, some things were revealed about the pastor that might have gone undetected by the average person. For instance, Mair explains how New Age prophet Norman Vincent Peale was at the foundation of the church-growth movement and furthermore "many of Peale's uplifting affirmations originated with an 'obscure teacher of occult science' named Florence Scovel Shinn." Referring to many of the methods that Peale taught and his "unification of psychology and religion," Mair says, "Saddleback distinctly bears the stamp of Reverend Norman Vincent Peale."
In November of 2003, Rick Warren announced to his Saddleback congregation his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In the same sermon, Warren introduced the congregation to Ken Blanchard, playing a video clip of Blanchard's visit to Saddleback a few days earlier. Warren informed his large congregation that Blanchard had:"... signed on to help with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, and he's going to be helping train us in leadership and in how to train others to be leaders all around the world.
In light of the fact that Ken Blanchard has promoted Buddhism and Eastern style meditation for over 20 years, it became very alarming to know that Rick Warren was using Blanchard to train leaders around the world.
The weeks following Rick Warren's email to us, we received phone calls and emails from different men from Saddleback, one of them telling us to stop "lobbying dead cats [and grenades] over the wall." It was confirmed also that an email was sent out from Saddleback to an unknown number of people, discussing the Blanchard issue. That email stated that Lighthouse Trails had lied and they should not be listened to.
And then in December of 2005 a very strange thing happened - a woman sent us an email she had received from Rick Warren's personal email address, which stated:
The website you refer to [Lighthouse Trails] below is well-known for publishing lies, which can easily be proven false.... The Bible says "Satan is the father of lies", so those who intentionally spread them are doing Satan's work for him. That is evil. We suggest you avoid listening to evil people who have a habit of lying about ministers of the Gospel. Study the Scriptures every day and flee from those who make their reputation by lying.
We contacted Saddleback about the email, and we received the following reply, suggesting that the email had been written by a computer hacker: "We are sorry that this public mailbox has been shut down due to vandalism and stolen identity. Federal enforcement officers are tracking down the source in either Africa or the Pacific Northwest." At first, we thought this was a joke because we (who live in the Pacific Northwest) had recently issued a press release about an evangelist in Africa who had been opposing Purpose Driven. Hearing that Federal officers had narrowed down an investigation to either our location or the evangelist's location seemed preposterous. We contacted Saddleback by phone requesting the names of these Federal agents because of the threatening nature of the "anonymous" email. A few days later a Saddleback staff member called and told us that Federal agents were doing an investigation on their web server being broken into and that Saddleback suspected Lighthouse Trails. We again asked for the names of the Federal agents as well as the Saddleback communications director that was handling the case. However, we were told they would not give us any names. We have not heard anything from Saddleback since.
We testify of these things, not to distract you from the issues at hand (of exposing contemplative and emerging spirituality within the church), but rather to show that Rick Warren, as well as other leaders, will go to great lengths to preserve their status and to complete their tasks, even to the point of lying, threatening, discrediting and deceiving. While we have postponed releasing this information for several months, because of Rick Warren's continuous brazen remarks against the body of Christ and because Purpose Driven is an avenue through which the New Age is entering the church, we believe it is of utmost importance to relay this documentation to believers who are working so diligently to defend the gospel message of Jesus Christ in a time when a great falling away appears to be at hand.
The question we must ask is just how far will Rick Warren go to help rid churches of those they consider "leader[s] from hell," who in reality may be part of the very Bride of Christ.