Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, hosted T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. It’s great to have you along. In today’s program, Tom is joined by his guest Warren Smith as they address the topic: That Good, Old-Time, New Age Religion. And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. My guest today and next week is Warren Smith, and he’s a former New Ager and has used that experience to better equip the body of Christ to discern New Age teachings and practices. Some of his books include The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace, and Deceived On Purpose, and also “Another Jesus” Calling. He’s also written a number of booklets produced by Lighthouse Trails and writes for the Lighthouse Trails blogsite.
Warren, thanks for joining me on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Warren: Good to be with you, Tom.
Tom: You know, Warren is going to be one of our speakers at our TBC conference that’s going to take place here in Bend, Oregon on August 25-26, so we’re really looking forward to that. And I know he’ll bless all who attend as well as those who watch the conference through livestreaming.
Now, Warren, today and next week, what I want to talk about has to do with issues and events of late that have adversely influenced many, and I mean many within Christendom, and I want us to put those things in perspective regarding the apostasy that Scripture tells us will take place as the return of the Lord draws near. In other words, I’d like to identify a number of those things and point out their significance in undermining the Word of God.
Now let’s start with the book written by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, and its magnitude. You know, what I’m getting at here is what spiritual damage did it do potentially to the millions of Christians who believed her teaching?
Warren: Well, Sarah Young’s book, the original book – I don’t know if listeners are aware, but there have been many changes made to her original book as they do damage control to try to keep her book credible (which it really never was, because she said that she was inspired to write her book by a New Age book God Calling). God Calling was a book that two English women back in the 1930s sat down and just wrote down what “Jesus” told them. I’m putting Jesus in quotation marks because it wasn’t Jesus, and the reason it wasn’t Jesus is because there were unbiblical statements in that book that clearly would not – the Lord does not contradict Himself. He’s not a God of confusion. So Sarah Young said that in her original book, in her introduction, she said that she was “inspired to get messages from God after reading the book God Calling, which was a treasure to her.” And I really believe the original purpose of Jesus Calling was to set a model for Christians to sit down, kind of clear their minds, and just sit and wait to see what Jesus would tell them. But there’s no warning in her book about testing the spirits. There’s no warning about 1 Timothy:4:1: “…seducing spirits that can bring in doctrines of devils.”
So this was brought out by a number of us in 2013. Her book was originally published in 2004. So for nine years, that introduction sat. As soon as we brought up the fact that she had been inspired by a New Age book…
And by the way, when I was writing my book about this, I told my wife – I said, “Hey, you know, it’s just an ex-New Ager saying that she was inspired by a New Age book. People go, ‘Ah, he sees the New Age everywhere,’” which, by the way, Tom, I do. It’s everywhere. But I was down in my garage, and I ran upstairs and I said, “Look at this! I found this book: The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs,” by John Ankerberg and John Weldon – two, you know, apologists in the church – and in the chapter warning about New Age channeling, they said, “God Calling is a channeled New Age book.”
So I put that in my book, and that was clear cut. I guess her publisher Thomas Nelson – the editors got together and they went, “You know what, I think we better get rid of your being inspired by a New Age book.” So they did. But they even went further. They took away a lot of stuff that she had in there that a lot of the inconsistencies, the things that were unbiblical, and it was just really interesting to watch them do this damage control. But the main thing that they did was that they took away the fact that she was receiving messages from Jesus – not with Sarah Young with her Bible open, gleaning and listening to the Holy Spirit and being inspired to write down. It became much more generic.
So really the original purpose of the book (and this is going on throughout the church) is to try to get Christians to hear the voice of Jesus, but with no warnings, because then they’re going to get seducing spirits and they’re going to have problems like we did when we were in the New Age, believing that what we’re hearing was from God when it wasn’t. So I guess really the fact that they removed that material, it was good on the one hand, and I actually know somebody that I respect who said, “Well, they changed it. They made it right.” No, they never, ever said there was anything wrong with God Calling.
And by the way, Tom, God Calling became sort of reignited. It was a book that had faded from obscurity. It had been in the church, you know, at a particular time, deceiving people. But it was reignited by her book, and you would find it in Christian bookstores sitting side by side with Jesus Calling, because she had so highly recommended the book. Now you don’t find it as much. It’s not…you don’t see God Calling in Costco, you don’t see it in the Christian bookstores, because even the bookstores realized, “Hey, there’s some problems with this book.” But I think that the book was primarily designed to do exactly – to get people doing contemplative prayer, to be hearing voices that are not from God.
A friend of mine just told me the other day that Rick Warren had recently quoted from The Message in Proverbs:3:6, and in, at least, the Bible I have it says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” The Message, which Rick Warren was quoting from, says, “Listen” (Eugene Peterson), “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track.” So that’s consistent with this big emphasis on hearing God’s voice.
I think even last year at The Berean Call conference (if I didn’t do it there, I’ve done it other places), I’ll just kind of lean down to somebody in the first row and I’ll say, “Hey, have you heard Jesus’s voice lately? You haven’t? Everything okay at home? Getting along with the wife okay?” I mean, it’s like there’s a premium being put on whether you hear Jesus’s voice or not, and if you don’t have an “encounter” with Him, it’s almost like you’re not fully in the faith.
Beth Moore has said as much: “You really can’t know Jesus until you are still before Him and you have this encounter.” That’s been the big push, and it’s reached a climax – I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but David Jeremiah, who had a book warning about the New Age, he said, “The New Age is the most dangerous thing to come into the church.” He wrote this back in 1995 and he repeated it in 2002. He said we need watchmen to stand at the walls of the church to warn about the New Age.
Now here’s this book Jesus Calling, and I’ve showed in my book how there’s a lot of New Age teachings that have been weaved into her messages from Jesus. Now here’s David Jeremiah on jesuscalling.com being interviewed about his new book, also published by Thomas Nelson. Now, as I mentioned, this is the publisher for Sarah Young’s book, and he’s saying that we need to use Sarah Young as a model for our prayer life. He’s basically endorsing Jesus Calling, and here’s a guy that was warning about the New Age, and now he’s endorsing the New Age. And if you were going to ask me the next question like, “How do you explain that?” I can’t. I don’t. Maybe you have an explanation.
Tom: Well, yeah, I do. This is the apostasy that the Scriptures talk about. This is to the point where it says in Thessalonians that “those who have not a love for the truth, God will send strong delusion.” There’s a delusion out there. And, Warren, you and I know, and anybody else who’s familiar with the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, recognizes that it’s all moving in a certain direction. It’s setting the world up, conditioning the world for the religion of the Antichrist. This is where it’s headed.
But I want to underscore, you know, something: everything that you said, Warren, I agree with. There is no doubt about this stuff for anybody who has the opportunity to look into it. But bottom line is we are moving, and this is forcing those who profess to be Christians and some true believers, it’s moving them into the realm of subjectivity. What that means is it has nothing to do, or it undermines the objective Word of God, the written Word of God. It moves us into the subjective realm – you mentioned the contemplative movement; that’s certainly a part of it – but it moves us into a state in which feelings rule.
“Well, I don’t know, how do you feel about that? How do I feel about that?”
I mean, over and over again. And I’ve mentioned this time and time again, because people come up to me and say, “Tom,” after I’ve spoken at a conference, they come up – some come up and say, “Tom, I heard what you said, but I just don’t feel that way.” Well, there’s no conversation after that, because we’ve moved into a subjective realm. So that’s one major problem of Jesus Calling.
The other problem is, point blank, this is divination, all right? Now, it’s not that we can’t hear from the Lord. The Lord can impress us with certain things, but that has to be held up, as you’ve said over and over again and taught, Warren, that has to be held up to the Scriptures, the content and so on. Which brings me to a point here: many people who I’ve talked to who are enamored with Sarah Young and Jesus Calling said, “Well, she uses so many scriptures!” What about that, Warren?
Warren: You know, it’s funny, you and I have both spoken at Calvary Chapel in Appleton, Wisconsin, a number of times together, and several years ago after I spoke about Jesus Calling, a man came up and he said, “Warren,” he said, “I just posted on Facebook about this book Jesus Calling because I thought it was so good.” He said, “You know why I thought it was so good?”
And I said, “Why?”
He said, “Because there were so many scriptures!”
But here’s the thing, Tom, and you just hit it: the Jesus of Jesus Calling says a number of things that are unscriptural. That’s the whole name of your ministry: Berean Call, Acts:17:11. You know, “Search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.” When somebody is saying they’re hearing from Jesus, or even if they’re just writing on their own and it contradicts Scripture, then you know there’s a serious, serious problem.
I do want to backtrack just a second though: I want to say that the question that I threw to you was not so much – yeah, this is going into apostasy, and you gave a good explanation of that – but it’s like how do you explain that a man like David Jeremiah, who’s been a very good Bible teacher, who wrote a very key book on warning about the New Age, warning about many of the New Age teachers and talking about the need to really monitor and be careful that the New Age doesn’t come in the church – he went dead on the New Age? Like he’s got all these books on the end times – I think his most recent book that he has: Is This Really the End? or something like that by Thomas Nelson – I looked through all of the books; I hadn’t looked at this particular one, but he’s never mentioned the New Age since 2002. And in that book, and in the 1995 book, he said that, like the Apostle Paul, night and day with tears he would not cease to warn about the grievous wolves that are coming into the church through the New Age movement, and now here is he endorsing and supporting Sarah Young when it’s been highly documented that she was inspired by a New Age book and that she had a number – I’ve even got a booklet (I think you guys carry it) called The New Age Implications of Jesus Calling, and there’s a number of things where her Jesus says, “Laugh at the future. God is above all and in all.” She had a New Age mystical conversion when she was at Francis Schaeffer’s place over in L’Abri in Europe. She had this mystical experience which was also changed and downplayed, and then they inserted the paragraph before her mystical conversion that she was saying that she was actually converted before that, and our question was, “Well, why didn’t she put that in her original book?”
So we’re not trying to pick on people, but it’s kind of like, “Excuse me, we’re having some serious problems here with people giving unbiblical information.” They’re putting words…I know that a friend of mine said that the thing that bothers him the most is that people are putting words in Jesus’ mouth, and that happens in The Message….
You know, I’m sure that – you know we’ve talked about this, Tom: in the Lord’s Prayer, instead of “In earth as it is in heaven,” Eugene Peterson says, “As above, so below.” That’s the key to all magic and all mysteries in the occult. We knew that saying from the New Age. It means that God is in everyone and everything, which is the foundational lie of the New Age movement and the new spirituality and the new world religion, and that’s also in Jesus Calling, where her Jesus says, “I am above all as well as in all.”
So the question is what has happened to a man like David Jeremiah, where he has gone from strong warnings about the New Age to a strong endorsement of a woman who’s been deceived by the New Age? It’s – it’s…I think that troubles a lot of Christians, and they go, “Well, how could that be?”
Tom: Sure. Well, Warren, and I know you’re not implying this: we can’t judge David Jeremiah’s heart, but we can judge, you know, as you’re pointing out some things that he’s doing. Now, my explanation of that is, you know, again, I go back to 2 Thessalonians: “Those who have not a love for the truth, God will send strong delusion.” That can happen to T.A. McMahon. That can happen to Warren Smith – any of us – as we begin to introduce some things, or let some ideas go. It could be age, you know; I don’t know. But I do know this: that if I am promoting something or anybody else that we deal with – Rick Warren or whoever – if it’s not consistent with the Word of God, and they profess to be believers, that doesn’t remove them from strong delusion. It can happen to any of us, and as we move further down the line toward the return of the Lord, these things are going to increase not only in the church – I mean in the world, but as well in the church, and so on. So that’s a real problem.
The other thing, Warren, about, again, the Scriptures, as you pointed out, Sarah Young uses a lot of scriptures. Well, you can put a scripture out and a believer will read it and be blessed by it, but what’s the context in which they find the scriptures? You know, it’s like somebody said, “Hey, I’ve got a Ouija board at home and I’m communicating through this device and a lot of scriptures come up.” Well, wait a minute! Yeah, but the problem is that they’re being led astray by this device, really a demonic device, that puts you in contact with demons. And sadly, you can apply that to Jesus Calling.
Warren: That’s a really good point you’re making. And you know what came to mind as you were saying that was when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He replied to the temptations by saying, “It is written.” And what did the devil do? He came back with scripture. So what you’re really looking at is that someone like Sarah Young is serving two masters: she’s quoting from the authoritative Scripture on the one hand, and then she’s introducing unbiblical concepts that she is saying she’s inspired by Jesus to write.
And maybe we could take this even a step further. So what’s the point? Well, I’ve studied A Course in Miracles which was, I believed at the time, new revelation from Jesus Christ to help us understand what the Bible really meant and what He was really intending for humanity, and it was all New Age. It was unbiblical, but there was a lot of scripture in there, and I think that what happens is that scripture is mixed in in such a way, and then these untruths, these lies, are weaved in with it and somehow or another the lies get legitimized by this scripture in some way or another. And we’ve sort of forgotten that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. You know, in Galatians, Paul says, “You were doing so good. What hindered you? What kept you from following the truth and obeying the truth?” And it’s this whole idea of mixing truth and error, and I think…
A number of years back, I got this off of your Berean Call website: it was a quote from Harry Ironside who said, “There is no such thing as a truth and error mixture. God hates such a mixture.” It’s ungodly and it’s even worse than just straight deception, because it makes you think that there’s something biblical about it. We’ve seen that in a lot of things that are coming forward these days. So yeah, that’s a really good point: if the Scripture is in the context of a Ouija board or a book that was inspired by a New Age book or also is filled with teachings that contradict, then don’t go there. Just stay away from it.
Tom: Warren, there’s another thing that, as I’ve been listening to you, you know well that I wrote an article some time back called “The New Age Déjà Vu,” and the gist of the article was, “Here we are…” The New Age really began to influence the world and the church, as it termed the New Age, pretty much in the ‘70s, and it came and came on strong, and so on. And you got the lyric from that: You and Joy, your bride.
But here’s my point: now, sometimes as we’re talking today, you’ve been using the term “New Age, New Age, New Age,” and we’re removed from the ‘70s by more than a few years. And some people say, “Well, I don’t see this New Age stuff anymore,” and so on. The reason I’m bringing that up, Warren, is I want you – let me say it this way: the concepts, the teachings of the New Age, are even more blatant than it was before, although you had individuals and figures who were promoting it and so on.
But tell us about the basic teachings, the basic concepts, of the New Age movement from pantheism to “We are gods,” to all of that. That’s what’s here and continuing to grow and increase, but they don’t use the term New Age hardly anymore.
Warren: Well, Tom, it is interesting that the New Age leaders recognize that they were being exposed by people like David Jeremiah and his book – obviously you guys hit it early on with The Seduction of Christianity, but they’re still using the term. Neale Donald Walsch still uses that term, and it hasn’t gone away, and it’s embedded in all the writings of kind of like the New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, and so many different sources.
But one of the reasons that the term “New Age” has fallen kind of like into a bit of obscurity is because Christian leaders have dropped the ball and haven’t been warning about it. What I do in my writings, Tom, is I always say New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview/New World Religion. They’re all tied together, and what those teachings are – you know, in 2 Corinthians 11 Paul talks about the simplicity in Christ. Well, there’s a simplicity in the deception. And it’s just this: the deception is – and what comes at the church right now in so many different ways – is this attempt to convince Christians that God is in His creation, that He is in everyone and everything. And I mentioned earlier that in Jesus Calling, her Jesus says, “I am above all as well as in all.”
In The Shack, Paul Young, his Jesus says that God who is the ground of all beings flows in and around and through all things. When I read that in The Shack, I went, “There it is. It just can’t stay away. It’s got to pop up somewhere.” God in everyone and everything. So Rick Warren has it in The Purpose Driven Life; it’s just sneaking in everywhere.
And this is what contemplative prayer tries to do: it tries to bring this new teaching in in the name of “new revelation” rather than the New Age teaching that it is. They’ve stopped warning about the New Age, and then they come in with this supposed new revelation. And we – you and I have talked about this so many different ways – and they’re trying to use quantum physics to prove that God is an energy that interpenetrates His creation, and that also pops up: the word “quantum” pops up in Jesus Calling and it pops up in The Shack. So it’s kind of like here a little, there a little, here a precept, there a precept, “Let’s not warn about the deception.” You wouldn’t even hardly… The only deception that’s going on in today’s church are people like Tom McMahon and Warren Smith warning about deception. It’s like we’re the deceivers, we’re the haters, and there’s not much of a premium being put on warning people about things that are unbiblical because there’s such a premium being put on things that are coming in through subjective experience. So it is troubling to me.
I actually heard a man who has quite a wide audience in the Christian faith saying, “Don’t be so…” I’m paraphrasing him, but, “Don’t be so foolish as to use the term New Age. You’ll only embarrass yourself.” Well, you know, Tom, when my book The Light that Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace came out in 1992, the publicist from Moody Press, who – they published my book at that time – they said, “Oh, what a shame. The New Age is passé. The timing of your book just wasn’t quite right on.” Well, the New Age has never gone away.
Warren: But you need to know what the teachings are, and that’s it in a nutshell: “God in everyone and everything. Therefore, all is one” (oneness is the big word), it’s all oneness. If we all awaken and shift to an understanding of who we really are (God in everyone, God in us) – yes, God’s in Christians. The Holy Spirit is sent to believers, but He’s not in everyone. “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” it says in Galatians:3:28. We’re one in Christ. Christ isn’t in everyone. If every Christian understood that, they would be able to see through Jesus Calling, through The Shack, and through much of the deception that is coming into the church today.
Tom: Let me just underscore what you would agree is the major point of just what you’ve articulated, and that is we are gods. This is the lie. This is the lie that affected Lucifer in heaven – “I will be as the Most High.” He brought it to earth to deceive Eve: “Ye will be as gods.” And then we have where all this is moving, the direction is going: we have the Antichrist setting himself up in the temple of God to be worshipped as god, but the line is he alone is not god, we are all gods, except he’s more god than we are because he’s self-realized, and all the above. This is where it’s all heading.
So, Warren, we’re out of time for this session. You know, I encourage folks to rethink some of this stuff. If you’ve been put off by the term [New Age] – “Oh it’s not around anymore” as many are saying – no, it’s there, but as I mentioned before, it’s hidden in plain sight. This is where it’s all going. This is what the movement from the objective Word of God to the subjective feelings-oriented, experientially oriented, and so on, this is where it’s all heading.
So, Warren, thanks for being with us, and we look forward to next week when we can pick up on this.
Warren: Okay, thanks a lot.
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 thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can be back again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.