Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with host T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in. In today’s program, Tom continues a two-part series with guest Warren Smith as they address the topic: How Old Is the New Age? Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. This is part two of my discussion with Warren Smith. As I mentioned last week, I consider him to be the foremost expert on the subject of the New Age, not only because of the time he spent in it but his scrutiny of it from a biblical perspective in many of the books such as The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace; he did a book on Deceived on Purpose, dealing with Rick Warren’s teachings. But a book that I think everybody has to have, especially because of the influence of Jesus Calling, Warren wrote Another “Jesus Calling.” So, Warren, thanks for joining me again on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Warren: Yeah, it’s good to be with you, Tom.
Tom: Warren, last week, as you know, we were going down the chronology that you have in your book – a booklet, actually – titled Be Still, and Know That You Are Not God. And you mention some names here, and it’s a chronology in the sense of (especially in our modern day, going back to 1935 right up to the present day) - you quote people who have been influential outside the church and then, in a form of spirituality, which we’ve been referring to as the New Age movement – but also, in the church, a confusion that’s prevalent, in which those whom we consider to be evangelical Christians are using New Age terminology, but their definitions are not true to Scripture; they’re the terminology used by the New Age, and the definition as well.
So, last week, we were dealing with Teilhard de Chardin and his influence. But, you know, a very popular writer some years ago in Christianity was a psychiatrist named M. Scott Peck. His book The Road Less Traveled, which was highly promoted within evangelical Christianity. Now, I’m going to have you give a quote by this psychiatrist.
Warren: Yeah, the thing that we’re getting at here is the lie that God is in everyone and everything, and it permeates literature that’s been popular, best-selling books, movies, and now in the church, so we’re sort of tracing through where does this “God in everything” show up, and in his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck said, “If you want to know the closest place to look for grace, it is within yourself. If you desire wisdom greater than your own, you can find it inside you. To put it plainly, our unconscious is God – God within us – we were part of God all the time.”
Tom: Now, shockingly, this book was very popular within evangelical Christianity. Now, for the world, I would say, a great influence way back then – at least in the ’80s – was Shirley MacLaine in her book Out on a Limb. Now, I can remember the television production dealing with that, and she’s standing on the beach looking out to the ocean, claiming that “Just as a drop of water enters the ocean, so [she] is like a drop in God.”
Warren: Yeah, she actually – as I recall – she stood there on the beach, and she said, “I am God.” And that was a big breakthrough. That was the first time on television that there was a major presentation on this New Age teaching.
Tom: Right. You give a quote from Out on a Limb that I think is worth repeating here. She had an individual in the book – a friend that she called “David.” And in her conversations with…well, here’s the quote: “The simple truth,” he said (that is, David), “The simple truth of knowing yourself, and to know yourself is to know God.”
“You mean that is the big truth?”
“That’s it. The point, Shirley, is that it is simple.”
Well, it’s a simple lie, but it’s, as we’ve been saying, it’s pervasive.
Warren: And interestingly – we talked about it last week - about the simplicity that’s in Christ, and we also mentioned that there’s a simplicity in the deception, and even the New Age is saying it right there: “It’s that simple.” They’re saying that we’re all God, and if we get that, then we can all come together and have world peace and sing “Kumbaya” or whatever.
Tom: Warren, continuing on your chronology, you have in 1992 – you have a quote from the New Age Journal editors. And here’s the line, and I want you to spend some time explaining this, because we’re seeing it everywhere, and I don’t know if people know what they’re saying. The line is, “As above, so below.”
Now let me read the quote from these editors: “Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismagistus, 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.”
Now, they go on, “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 visible worlds, form a unity to which we are intimately linked.” Well, they spell it out, but comment on that, Warren.
Warren: This is – now, Alice Bailey brought this up – she said that God’s not only transcendent “out there”; he’s “immanent” inside each and every person. The false Christ Maitreya, who says he’s here on earth right now, waiting for humanity to call him forth, says that, through his…John the Baptist channeler Benjamin Crème, he said that God’s not only transcendent, he’s immanent. And this phrase, “As above, so below,” I googled it. When I saw “As above, so below” being inserted into the Lord’s Prayer by Eugene Peterson in The Message, he…instead of “In earth as it is in heaven,” he said, “As above, so below.” And I went, Whoa! He’s putting one of the huge occult sayings right in the mouth of our Lord!
And I googled “As above, so below,” and the first thing that came up – I’m just going to read this from my book Deceived on Purpose: “This phrase ‘As above, so below’ comes from the beginning of “The Emerald Tablet,” which embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic, which was inscribed upon “The Tablet of Cryptic Writing,” wording by Hermes Trismagistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. That which is above is the same as that which is below. The universe is the same as God. God is the same as man. This describes the oneness of all that is.”
So, [why] in the world is Eugene Peterson putting “As above, so below” in The Message? Okay, did he make a mistake? Did he just happen to put that in there?
Well, I got an email from somebody that told me that they had written Eugene Peterson and said, “Did you know that that was a New Age phrase?” when his book came out back in the early nineties. And Peterson said, “If I had known that, I wouldn’t have put it in there.”
Guess what! It’s still there – how many years later? Almost 25 years later, it’s still there. So the Holy Spirit did not put, “As above, so below” in Eugene Peterson’s so-called translation of the Bible. And this another way that this stuff is leaching into the church through books like The Message, and through M. Scott Peck and some of the other ones that we’re probably about to discuss.
Tom: Well, again, referring to The Message, I wish that was the only problem. But that paraphrase (that’s the best we could go with it) is just…it’s all about Eugene Peterson – it’s not about God’s Word.
Well, here’s a quote from it: “You have one master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all.” Now, did he have any problems with that one? Well, he goes on: “Everything you are and think and do is permeated with oneness.” Now, that’s an explanation of the New Age belief – I mean, isn’t it?
Warren: Yeah, he’s just articulated the New Age worldview. And people one day will probably say, “Wow! Was Eugene Peterson prophetic!” You know, “He was one of the harbingers of the New Spirituality!”
No, he’s one of the crossover guys that’s bringing it into the church, just like M. Scott Peck did, and we mentioned Leonard Sweet last week, and there are a number of others that are bringing not only the teachings but now some of the people like Roma Downey, a Catholic New Ager who’s never repented of her New Age beliefs. And David Jeremiah brought her right onto his TV program and into his church, and David Jeremiah at one time had a book called Invasion of Other Gods, and he warned about Roma Downey’s mentor John-Roger, as well as Richard Foster, and many others, and now, unfortunately, and for some inexplicable reason, David Jeremiah has just gone mute on the New Age. He hasn’t talked about it for years. So the warnings – you know, 1 Corinthians:4:8: “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” Nobody’s really warning that much, at least in kind of overt Christian leadership, about what’s going on, and now they’re bringing it in through Jesus Calling, through The Message, through Purpose Driven Life, and some of the other things we’ve mentioned in this booklet.
Tom: Speaking of booklets – or, actually, a book by you, in your chronology, you deal with Neale Donald Walsch. Now, I don’t anybody who’s been more influential – certain many have been influential, but his book certainly was influential in Sarah Young and her book Jesus Calling. Right?
Warren: Yeah, I mean, this idea that we can just sit down and have this conversation with God, Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversation with God books, 1, 2, and 3 were bestsellers. The first one was on the New York Times bestseller list for two-and-a-half years. He’s saying that God has told him things like what we have in the booklet. God tells Walsch, “You are already a god. You simply don’t know it.” And now we have Sarah Young in Jesus Calling on page 199: her “Jesus” is telling her, “I am above all as well as in all.” There it is again.
So, it’s just leaching in, here a little, there a little, and it’s just building this new concept that we’re all divine, that we’re all one, that we’re all God, and that we can have world peace if we’d just all join hands and agree that we’re all god and that we’re all divine, and that if we don’t affirm that, then we’re actually pulling back and hindering the force that can run through humanity as we all declare this oneness.
Tom: Henri Nouwen, which you mention in this chronology, in his book Here and Now, he writes, “The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of every human being.” Now, that’s shocking in the sense…well, we know that he’s a deceased Catholic priest and a mystic. Yet his influence among conservative evangelicals from Kay Warren to…I mean, we could go down the list - it’s amazing! So now, we have his promotion of Eastern mysticism and then certainly this idea that God is in every human being. Warren, why can’t they see this?
Warren: Well, it says that “strong delusion” is going to take hold. The thing that…
Tom: For those “who have not a love for the truth will believe the lie.” Here we go!
Warren: And one of the scary things in Scripture, it says that basically those that are seeing it will be given more. Those that are not seeing it and have their eyes closed, they will lose what they have. And I think that’s what we’re observing in the church right now. The church is going backwards as it heads toward what I believe to be a coming false revival. There are certainly little revivals going on, but Scripture is very clear that we’re headed into apostasy, into deception…Jesus said that the chief sign that these times of the end of the world and His return, He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” And now, people like Henri Nouwen, and “As above, so below,” Norman Vincent Peale, they’re all saying exactly what Jesus warned about. He warned about false Christs and this idea that God is in everyone and that we’re all Christ, we’re all God.
Tom: Yeah, and if you know their background, you’d say, “Well, sure.” Henri Nouwen, a mystic, and others. But you don’t expect it from somebody like Rick Warren. But here’s a quote that you give from The Purpose Driven Life: “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.” That’s panentheism.
Warren: Yeah, and when I read that in The Purpose Driven Life, I just hung my head, and I went “Oh no.” And I’d already seen that he was using The Message as his primary Bible, and it’s just…what are these people thinking - or not thinking? And what kind of a spirit is driving them? What are they driven by? This “purpose driven” – by an unholy spirit that’s presenting false teachings like this.
Tom: If somebody thinks, Well, that was just a slip there. Possibly. But his wife, Kay, along with a man named Tom Holladay, wrote, for Saddleback Church in their “Foundations Participants Guide” – they invoked the same overlapping concept of immanence, which is…well, here’s the quote: “The fact that God stands above and beyond His creation does not mean that He stands outside His creation. He is both transcendent above and beyond His creation, and immanent – within and throughout His creation.”
No, no! I hope they don’t know what they were saying there, but that’s not the case. That is “God within everything.”
Now, folks, Warren has quoted Scripture, and if you go back to the first part of this discussion, you have all the Scriptures showing clearly that God is not in man, except in believers through the Holy Spirit. But He is not in everyone. And He’s not in everything. The scriptures that Warren quoted earlier make that very clear.
But there’s also a logic here. If God is in everything, and I’m not a science guy, but I am aware of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says the universe is winding down. It is in trouble, big time. It is flawed, because of the sin that entered into the universe through disobedience. Now, if God is in that, then God is winding down; then God is flawed. It makes no sense.
Warren: Yeah. It’s interesting, Tom, because the New Age, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is trying to use quantum physics to prove that God is in everyone and everything. And there was a movie called What the Bleep Do We Know? in 2006. And Jayzee Knight, a New Age channeler, channeling this supposed ancient spirit guide that’s actually a demon named Ramtha, says in the movie, “We have the epitome of a great science, quantum physics. Everyone is God.”
So, they’re trying to razzle-dazzle people with quantum physics, and also there’s a book called Quantum Spirituality by Leonard Sweet, where he basically says that God is “embedded in His creation.” Now, this is a guy who’s done workshops with Rick Warren, and he’s all over the church, so this is pervasive and goes right to what you were saying.
Tom: Yeah, what’s interesting about that is…quantum physics? It’s more philosophy than science. But here’s why many have jumped on this, especially from the New Age. Look, they believe – at least many do – in the Big Bang Theory. So it all began with an explosion. Now, come on. If it began with an explosion, then we have nothing but chaos! But the new…you know, the quantum theory here, is that chaos will now turn to design. Will turn to…in other words, it’s going straighten itself out. That’s what the New Age claims to be about. We go from chaos to fractals, kind of a design mechanism. So, it’s going to go from chaos to something that will form and will kind of clean up our act or solve our problems, and so on. And that’s just the idea that…it’s a denial of the Scripture. It’s a denial of what the Word of God says, which has been created because of sin. And it’s delusionary, isn’t it Warren?
Warren: It is, and what’s amazing is that Scripture describes everything that we’re talking about. I was just thinking as we were talking about quantum physics, 1 Timothy:6:19: “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation [a good foundation] against a time to come [that we’re in!] that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy! Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some, professing, have erred concerning the faith.” It warns us about these things! The scripture is there, but people want an experience, and they want something like a conversation with Jesus right away: “Come on, talk to me, Jesus!” rather than all the conversations that He’s giving them right in the Bible about what is true and what is not.
Tom: Yeah, it’s scientism. It’s a religious belief system under the guise…it’s pseudoscience. But they have to have it, Warren, because they have rejected God as our Creator. Because, come on! If you go that way, if God is our Creator, then we’re going to be accountable to our Creator, and that’s what they want nothing to do with.
So, we’re seeing this happening in incredibly, as you said, it’s happening exponentially, and what grieves us is that certainly we want the world to be saved, but our concern also is that those who are supposed to have the message of salvation – the church – we see more and more, they’re buying into these ideas and these concepts.
So, Warren, what’s the prevention program? What’s the antidote to arm Christians with a response - with an answer to these things that are taking place?
Warren: Well, I think the obvious answer is that we need to know the truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Now, we have false Jesus’s out there. I had the Course of Miracles Jesus - Oprah Winfrey’s Jesus - that told me that a slain Christ has no meaning, that Jesus’ journey to the Cross was just a last useless journey. So, you’ve heard the saying, “You have your truth, I have mine”? Well, Jesus is the truth and it’s kind of like “You have your Jesus, and I have mine.”
And so, we need to know what is true and what is not. And we’re getting told that there’s no absolute truth out there. Well, that’s just not true! So we need to rightly divide Scripture. We need to know that Scripture is inspired, that is comes from God. We’re not talking The Message. We’re not talking some of these new Bibles that are completely perverting the Word of God. (Not completely, but enough that it…ultimately a little leaven leavens the whole lump.)
So, we need to know the Word of God and not be fascinated by the latest fad, whether it’s The Circle Maker, or Jesus Calling, or whatever…Prayer of Jabez. I mean there’s just been a stream of things that divert people from really reading the Word of God: The Shack, you know, just things like that.
So, know the Word of God, and it’s an encouragement! Read through the Psalms. David’s talking about how the enemy’s coming in all the time, but then he always affirms, “But, God, you are with me.” And it’s like that one I mentioned before, Psalm:39:5: “Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” That just wipes out any kind of definition of God being in everyone and everything. That’s just…and we come back with Scripture. We don’t come back with our personal experience what “Jesus told us yesterday,” according to Sarah Young. Because some of what Sarah Young’s got in her book is unbiblical, clearly not from Jesus, and she’s not listening to the true Christ; she’s listening to a spirit that’s calling itself “Christ.”
So, it’s pretty tricky, but yet, at the same time, Tom, it’s pretty simple if we just read the Word of God and know it and accept it and believe it.
Tom: Warren, you mentioned earlier that one of the “knocks” about Christianity is, “Well, it’s exclusive.” Wait a minute! Yes, it is exclusive. But it’s a gift! Salvation is a gift. A person repents of his sins, turns to God, and he becomes a new creature in Christ. And then the Holy Spirit comes to live within that person. That’s what the Word of God says. So, yes, it’s exclusive, because it’s God’s perspective, not man’s perspective, okay? And it’s not all these other ideas – it’s what God has to say. And, as you said, it’s laid out in very simple terms. This is not rocket theology, folks. It can’t be, because God – His creation – we’re all different kinds, all different intellects, all different personalities, and so on, but God’s Word is true for the believer, for those who have come to Christ, looking for His salvation and receiving that salvation; you have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to teach us.
Now, we need to get into that. We to be as the program here, or the ministry here, the Bereans. We need to…whatever’s out there, whatever sounds like it’s a good thing – I don’t care who it’s coming from – they need to check it out, whatever the teaching is, with the Word of God. Jesus said, “Thy Word is truth.” That’s where we get truth from.
Warren: Yes! Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” and if you want to really look at it, it’s really inclusive. It’s open to anybody that wants to believe in Him. It’s only exclusive to the extent that you try to make another religion say something that is not true and trying to make it true.
So, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” He’s available, and all I can say is that He is truly a Savior in every sense of the word, because we can’t save ourselves because we’re not God. And when we recognize that we’re not God, we recognize our need for Him, and He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and to bring us the truth so that we can refute these false teachings that are not only in the world but coming into the church in massive numbers.
Tom: My guest has been Warren Smith. We’ve really been focusing in on his book – booklet, actually – Be Still, and Know That You Are Not God. And we have that at The Berean Call, but also you can get it from Lighthouse Trails Publishing out of Eureka, Montana. That’s Lighthouse Trails Publishing. So, Warren, thanks so much for being my guest. And I look forward to having you at the conference here in Bend, Oregon, in August.
Warren: Thanks for having me on, and I, too, look forward to being with you in Bend in August.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019, Bend, Oregon, 97708; call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.