Rick Warren hosts 'cult' celebrity docs [Excerpts]
Features promoters of Eastern mysticism, universalism
When megachurch pastor Rick Warren decided he needed to take his health seriously, he responded in typically ambitious fashion, launching a year-long health program for his church, "The Daniel Plan," written with the help of three celebrity doctors who will appear at a kickoff seminar today.
But critics point out the physicians who crafted the program apparently don't share the church's professed evangelical beliefs, espousing instead various forms of Eastern mysticism and the tenets of a Christian cult, Swedenborgism.
Vowing to lose 90 pounds, Warren said he placed himself under the care of Drs. Mehmet Oz, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman last fall and worked with each to develop "The Daniel Plan."
Oz, host of the Emmy-winning "Dr. Oz Show" and professor of surgery at Columbia University, says he is inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century cult founder who taught that all religions lead to God and denied orthodox Christian beliefs such at the atonement of Christ for sin, the trinity and the deity of the Holy Spirit.
Best-selling author Amen, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at Irvine, teaches Eastern religious meditation and the New Age energy-based practice of Reiki.
Hyman, a four-time New York Times best-selling author, promotes mystical meditation based on Buddhist principles.
Emanuel Swedenborg said he had a vision in 1745 in which he saw creatures crawling on walls. He asserted God then appeared to him as a man and told him to promote the new teachings to the world.
Warren plans to have one-on-one discussions with Amen and Hymen at the summit today, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Oz will appear via a video message.
The church says all of its more than 5,000 small groups will go through "The Daniel Plan," which is part of Saddleback's "Decade of Destiny," a 10-year plan launching this month "to help individuals succeed and be who God designed them to be in every aspect in life."
Warren, author of the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life," said he is "honored to be partnering with these internationally distinguished health experts."
"God says that health is important, and that is what we want to explore," Warren said.