TESTING THE SPIRIT
(This article was originally printed in February, 2005)
“Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident that you are holding this book.” (The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, 2002, Dedication page)
“This book has arrived in your life at the right and perfect time… and the arrival of this book in your life is no exception.” (Conversations with God – Book 2, Neale Donald Walsch [New Age Teacher], 1997, pg. 1)
Who is copying whom here? I think it is obvious. Rick Warren changed the words a bit, but is using a quote from a book written five years earlier by New Ager, Neale Donald Walsch.
We are given instructions from the Bible, as Christians, to evaluate what we hear, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (I Cor. 2:15). Furthermore, we are admonished to examine the spirit behind what we hear to determine if it is from God:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I Jn. 4:1).
“Meant to be” types of experience can be greatly misleading. Many of these experiences have been orchestrated by a deceptive spirit to make one think that what was happening in their life was coming from God. The Christian realizes that one cannot attribute everything that happens in their life as God-directed. There are deceptive spirits at work, working to deceive. Everything has to be tested by Scripture and prayer. “Meant to be” experiences do not always come from God. As you can see, both Rick Warren and New Ager, Neale Donald Walsch, are using the same tactic and working to make a divine experience out of reading their book and to make the reader believe this moment in their life was planned by God. By doing so, the reader will then pay attention and do as they are told to do. However, we cannot assume something is from God because someone we think to be spiritually knowledgeable says so. Everything has to be proven by the Word of God. There is a Deceiver (Satan) and deceit is the main ingredient in New Age teaching.
At times, God will allow a false prophet or teacher amongst us in order to “prove our hearts.” “…Our God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:3). Our adversary, the Devil, is also seeking us out for destruction and has sent his seducing and deceiving spirits in order to move our faith from the Finished Work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. One of Satan’s common techniques is to introduce Believers to his error all the while thinking these errors are from God.
New Age doctrine teaches that love is all there is. Everything else is “fear and illusion.” Because God is love, God is, therefore, in everyone and everything. This part is known as pantheism (a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe, the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently; toleration of worship of all gods). There is no separation, the New Agers say, between God and His creation. Because everything is love and everything is “God,” we are naturally “at one with God and Christ” and creation. Because everything is love and everything is “God,” we are naturally “at one with God and Christ” and all creation. All humanity is “divine.” We are all “God,” “we are all Christ,” and we are all one. Thus, in the “New Spirituality” all religions lead to God, we just travel different paths to get there. When you hear the term, “there are many paths to God,” you are hearing the very heartbeat of New Age teachings. The Bible does not teach this. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).
One finds that the New Age doctrine of “Immanence” (God is in everyone) has been taught for many years by Robert Schuller. In his 1969 book, “Self-Love”, Schuller had written: “God Lives In People” (page 43).
In an “Hour of Power” sermon, he proudly proclaimed, “Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being (referring to the saved and the unsaved)” (November 9, 2003).
On page 88, Rick Warren wrote, in “The Purpose Driven Life”, quoting Ephesians 4:6 from one of his many Bible translations (The New Century Version):
“Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right now. The Bible says, ‘He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.’” Rick Warren is now teaching what all New Agers are teaching – God is in everyone and everything. The reader must now answer this question: Does God reside in the unsaved? No. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same lace sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:11).
A FALSE BIBLE
My son Donnie tried to find a copy of The New Century Version translation Warren is quoting and was unable to find it. It is so obscure, bookstores probably won’t have it. But if you go to Robert Schuller’s website, you can find it displayed on his website.
The New Century Version of Ephesians 4:6 completely misrepresents what the Apostle Paul is actually stating in this Verse of Scripture. The whole 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 Jesus Christ.”
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:6, KJV).
According to Scripture that is translated correctly, 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:
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (Jn. 14:15-17).
The Church at Ephesus was composed of Believers; therefore, 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.” Paul is not stating that God is present in unbelievers. He was not saying that God is “in” everyone and “in” everything. That is what New Age teaches. The “you” in the King James Version makes it clear that Paul is writing his letter to the Believers who are in the Church of Jesus Christ. But the New Age teachers with their “New Spirituality” are trying to manipulate this Scripture to make it apply to the whole human race. And many of today’s newer Bible Versions, like some of the ones Robert Schuller and Rick Warren are using, seem to justify this New Age interpretation. Rick Warren, by choosing “The New Century Version” is actually giving the New Age exactly what it wants – apparent scriptural authority for their New Age teaching that “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. I hope the reader can now see firsthand how using a word-for-word translation, such as the King James Version, can be the difference between truth and deception.
A TRUE TRANSLATION
The King James Version of the Bible sharply contrasts the difference between the New Age “gospel” and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The King James Version has been instrumental in millions of conversions to the Christian Faith. IT is beautifully written and it is very readable. Occasionally, outdated words can be defined by context, or can easily be looked up in a matter of seconds. More than anything else, the teachings and doctrines of the King James Bible have always rung true. It has helped millions who are searching for truth to find it.
Since the teaching that God is “in” everyone and everything does not come from the Bible, where does it really come from? It comes from the New Age movement.
It is found in the book, “Conversations with God”, written by Neale Donald Walsch, who claims to have had actual conversations with God.
DELUDED AND DECEIVED
New Age/New Gospel leader Neale Donald Walsch was a delusional and depressed former talk show host, public relations professional, and longtime metaphysical seeker when he sat down one night and wrote God an angry letter. He was shocked when God seemed to answer his letter by speaking directly to him through an inner voice. That evening and in future “conversations,” Walsch transcribed all the dictated answers to his questions. These conversations were published in 1995 as Walsch’s, “Conversations with God: Book 1.” The book was the first in a series of best-selling “Conversations with God” books. He is one of the most visible and outspoken New Age leaders today, as he directly challenges everyone to accept the “new gospel” of the “New Spirituality” that “we are all one.” Walsch’s “God” specifically defines what he means by the “new gospel” teaching “we are all one.” “God” tells Walsch:
“God is creation.” (“Conversations with God: Book 1”, pg. 198)
“You are the creator and the created.” (“Conversations with God: Book 3”, pg. 350)
“You are already a god. You simply do not know it.” (“Conversations with God: Book 1”, pg. 202)
“The only solution is the ultimate truth. Nothing exists in the universes that is separate from anything else.” (“Conversations with God: Book 2”, pg. 173)
“There is only one of us. You and I are one.” (“Friendships with God”, Walsch, pg. 23)
Galatians 3:26-28 says:
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Walsch’s God warned, “Yet let me make something clear. The era of the single savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation.
“God” then described his solution as to how humanity can learn to live together through “combined effort” and “collective creation.” By removing the word “age” from New Age Spirituality, Walsch’s god called his repackaged New Age solution the “New Spirituality.”
1. “The world must create a new spirituality. Not something to replace the old, but something to refresh it.”
2. “Not something to reduce the old, but something to expand it.”
3. “Not something to subvert the old, but something to expand it.”
4. “Human spirituality is in need of refreshment.”
5. “It is time to present the world with new theological thoughts and ideas, a new spiritual model.”
6. “The world must have something to hold on to if it is to release its grip of the old. If you were in the middle of a raging storm, would you let go of a log… Build therefore a bride.”
Could Robert Schuller’s theology of self-esteem or Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” be that kind of bridge that could help humanity transition into the “New Spirituality” (formerly known as New Age)?
In view of the things I have discussed in this article, one now can understand what Rick Warren meant when he said, “Thank God there is a movement, a stealth movement that is flying beneath the radar that is changing literally hundreds, even thousands, of churches around the world.” He is saying he has brought New Age teaching and doctrines into the Church without the Church discerning what was happening. Walsch’s “god” presents a five-step peace plan that will help everyone move past outdated beliefs and prepare the way for the “New Spirituality”. Walsch’s five steps to peace are as follows:
Peace will be attained when we as human beings:
1. Permit ourselves to acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God are no longer working.
2. Explore the possibility that there is something we do not understand about God and about life, the understanding of which could change everything.
3. Announce that we are willing for a new understanding of God and life to now be brought forth, understanding that could produce a new way of life on this planet.
4. Courageously examine these new understandings and if they align with our personal inner truth and knowledge, to enlarge our belief systems to include them.
5. Express our lives as a demonstration of our highest beliefs, rather than a denial of them.
THE PARADIGM SHIFT
This is exactly the paradigm shift that is taking place in churches the world over. They are transitioning from Bible-based churches to New Age churches. Now Rick Warren, claiming to be inspired by God, is presently presenting a five-step peace plan that he authoritatively declared to be God’s plan to “change history”. To make it palatable to Believers, it is sugar coated in scripture. Rick Warren states:
“You are not a part of Saddle-back Church by accident… I say this without fear of exaggeration. God is going to use you, and all of us together at Saddleback, to change history.”
Walsch wrote: “The universe does nothing by accident… this is not an exaggeration.”
Now I ask the reader, would God inspire a “Christian” leader to use the same five-step plan format as that of a New Age leader whose five-step peace plan is totally antagonistic to the Bible’s true Gospel of Jesus Christ? No, He would not! God is not a God of confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Cor. 14:33).
I trust the reader is beginning to see that the Purpose Driven books written by Rick Warren are not inspired by God, but rather are inspired by New Age teachings. This is the “strange fire” warned about in Leviticus 10:1-2:
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put the fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
“And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.”