One can hardly blame the world for embracing the occult when the church (including evangelical leadership) is doing the same. Church leaders increasingly jump onto a bandwagon with little regard for where it came from and where it is going. Evangelical acceptance of M. Scott Peck and his heretical bestselling books is a case in point. By December 8, 1993, when Peck appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, his first book, The Road Less Traveled, had been on The New York Times bestseller list a record-breaking 500 weeks (now more than 600). He told Oprah that he had been “divinely led” to write it. Yet he had earlier admitted that he was not a Christian at that time. The anti-Christian teachings in that book (“the collective unconscious is God,” etc.) refute any claim to divine involvement.
In his next book, People of the Lie, published after his alleged conversion, Peck’s heretical pronouncements continue unabated. Peck says he “would not exclude from the [exorcism] team any mature Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, atheist, or agnostic who was a genuinely loving presence.” In The Different Drum, Peck declares that “the salvation of the world” would come “through communities…nothing is more important.” No mention of salvation through Christ. Peck’s position on the faculty of the Omega Institute, which offers courses in “Zen, magic, witchcraft, altered states of consciousness, and various other occult arts,” belies his professed Christianity.
When New Age Roman Catholic priest (now Episcopal priest) Matthew Fox published The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, in which he equates fundamentalist Christianity with fascism and separates Jesus from the “Christ” that dwells in us all (a common occult theme), there was M. Scott Peck’s glowing endorsement on the back cover. Nevertheless, Peck and his books continue to be praised by leading evangelicals, even in Moody Bible Institute’s Today in the Word. The following comments by authors Brenda Scott and Samantha Smith are a shocking reminder of the new respectability which the occult has gained even within the evangelical church:
“If New Agers recognize Peck as one of their own, and if he is content to be so identified, then why can’t Christians have the [same] discernment…? Instead, he conducts seminars…teaching Christian pastors his Zen methods of ‘community.’
Dr. Calvin Van Reken, assistant professor of moral theology at Calvin Seminary, recommended The Road Less Traveled in the January 24, 1992 issue of the campus periodical. David Mains spent several days reading from Peck’s book, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, on nationwide broadcasts of ‘The Chapel of the Air.’ David Mains never told his listeners that Peck considers his books New Age or that The Different Drum…mocks the sinlessness of Christ and teaches Zen Buddhism.
“We wrote to the ‘Chapel’…, explaining Peck’s New Age doctrines and affiliation, and enclosed a copy of his article from New Age Journal. We were concerned that the ‘Chapel’s’ endorsement of Peck might lead many astray. Our letter was never acknowledged, and The Different Drum continued to be aired….”