Moody Bible Institute—Trying to Hold on to a Biblical Heritage While Riding the Wave of the Emerging Church

(Lighthouse Trails) Several years ago, Rick Warren said something that still haunts us—leaders of the new purpose-driven, emergent “Christianity” will have to wait until resisters either leave or die before the plan can be fully implemented. In other words, they are going to eventually accomplish what they are trying to do—revamp Christianity into a “new” spirituality that will be all-inclusive, ecumenical, mystical, and with a new gospel message. But before that can happen, those who are resisting and opposing this new “Christianity” will have to be out of the way (either through getting old and dying or somehow being coerced into leaving the churches).

In thinking about Moody Bible Institute and the current shake up going on there (e.g., the president and COO recently resigned), Warren’s words have come to the forefront of our minds again. Moody is struggling. According to an article in the Christian Post, Moody has shut down their Washington state campus and an extension site and let go of one third of their faculty. One can only guess what’s going on behind the scenes as Moody leadership and trustees aren’t offering many answers these days.

Moody, once considered a stalwart institution to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (named after the great evangelist D.L. Moody), began caving in to the “new” spirituality several years ago (as documented by LT), allowing contemplative, emergent influences into the school. Maybe they thought if they became culturally relevant, cool, hip, contemplative, and missional, they could continue being successful and on top of the Christian college scene. But, like the puppy with a bone in his mouth and looking at his reflection in the water hoping to have the other bone too, Moody may end up losing everything all together because they wanted both worlds—a reputation of biblical integrity and at the same time acceptance by the new and popular emergent Christianity. Maybe trustees of Moody believed Rick Warren’s co-comrade in all-things-emergent, Leonard Sweet,when Sweet said “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”

In 1995, Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did an audio series called The Tides of Change. In the audio, they spoke of “new frontiers,” “a new spirituality,” and “waves of change.” A few years prior to The Tides of Change, Sweet wrote a book calledQuantum Spirituality. This book reveals the nature of Sweet’s spiritual affinities as he talks about “christ-consciousness” and a “New Light” movement. Ray Yungen discusses Quantum Spirituality:

In [Quantum Spirituality], Sweet thanks interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey, Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of the major intellectuals in the New Age movement) for helping him to find what he calls “New Light.” Sweet adds that he trusts “the Spirit that led the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.” . . .  Sweet disseminates line after line of suggestions that the “old teachings” of Christianity must be replaced with new teachings of “the New Light.” And yet these new teachings, he believes, will draw from “ancient teachings” (the Desert Fathers). This “New Light movement,” Sweet says, is a “radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.”

Throughout the book, Sweet favorably uses terms like Christ consciousness and higher self and in no uncertain terms promotes New Age ideology: “[Quantum Spirituality is] a structure of human becoming, a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience.” (from A Time of Departing)

A few years after Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet did The Tides of Change, Warren endorsed the front and back cover of Sweet’s book, Soul Tsunami. Of Sweet’s book, Warren said: “suggests practical ways to communicate God’s unchanging truth to our changing world.” However, the “practical ways” that Sweet shares in the book include a labyrinth and visiting a meditation center. Sweet also says in the book, “It’s time for a Post Modern Reformation,” adding that “The wind of spiritual awakening is blowing across the waters.” He says that times are changing and you’d better, “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die” (p. 75).

In 2006, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled “Purpose Driven Resisters—Must Leave or Die.” Here’s a portion of it:  View article →