(Marsha West – Christian Research Network) Posted below is part 3 of a column I wrote for RenewAmerica in 2011 in which I revealed that religious syncretism (a blending of many different belief systems) has virtually reshaped the visible Church. I wasn’t alone in pointing out this fact. There were many others in the online apologetics and discernment ministries who were sounding the alarm. In light of what is going on in many churches, it is clear that the warning cry of “discerners” has been largely ignored and now the visible church is in considerable disarray. Not only were we not listened to, we’ve been marginalized, and in some cases we’re even hated, for exposing the apostasy that has changed the face of evangelicalism.
The dismantling of historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity has continued at break-neck speed to the point where the visible Church has become a haven for hirelings and goats who’ve set about butting the sheep out the church’s back door.
My primary focus for part 3 of the series is to show how Gnosticism and Man-Centered Psychology has gotten a firm grip on Christendom. How did this happen? In large part it happened because undiscerning Church leaders thought it was a good idea to adopt the Rick Warren “Purpose Driven” marketing strategy to grow their churches.
This short intro sets the stage for part 3 of “Purpose Driven Dismantling of Christianity.”
This overview of what I have termed Syncretism Stew shows a diabolically inspired supermarket of truth and error in the postmodern Church. What we’re witnessing is a shopping cart overflowing with false teaching. Aisle 1-Mysticism Madness; aisle 2-Charismatic Confusion; aisle 3-Pentecostal Pandemonium; aisle 4- Enlightened Emergents; aisle 5- Purpose-driven Pragmatism; aisle 6-Secular Strategies…to suck in seekers; aisle 7-Twelve-steps…to “group think”; aisle 8-Preposterous Pop Psychology; aisle 9-Discernment Disintegration; aisle 10-Predatory Pastors. On and on it goes.
The Body of Christ trusts its Shepherds to feed them healthy nutritious foods, yet many of them are literally starving their sheep to death! A diet of “Bible Light” does not nourish the soul – it causes spiritual malnutrition! A shepherd’s job is to lead the flock in Christian life and faith.
ANCIENT GNOSTICISM RESURRECTED
What Paul came up against in the early church was Gnosticism (from the Greek word knowledge) which was a heretical philosophy of religion. The Gnostics were harmful because outwardly they were so similar but what they taught was a complete distortion of the truth. For one thing, they insisted that important secret knowledge was hidden from most believers. They, of course, were the enlightened ones. The Apostles taught just the opposite: Christ is the only knowledge—the only truth–a believer needs.
In his book The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back, Peter Jones offers this insight into Gnosticism:
In ancient Athens, instead of bookstores and “centers” the discriminating “very religious” shopper was offered altars, all with their own “mysteries,” spiritual techniques, promises of better life from priest or priestess gurus in the “knosis.”… While the early church fathers found proof of the Gnostics’ fraudulent theology in their manifold contradictory systems and opposing doctrines, the Gnostics congratulated themselves on the great richness of their diversity and their tolerance of many approaches to truth. 
Jones goes on to say that Gnosticism was a “kaleidoscopic mixture of many varied traditions.” In a word, syncretism.
Sincere followers of Jesus Christ should have a clear understanding of what has taken place in the Church because the Syncretism Stew they’re ingesting is not the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Christians are being fed a different Gospel – a counterfeit Christianity. Sniff the air. Do you smell the sulfur? Yes, you do! A New Kind of Christianity emerged from the pit of hell!
Many Christians feel that the church has abandoned them, so they turn to psychology and psychotherapy for help. “The term psychotherapy — informally known as “the talking cure” — encompasses a variety of approaches to helping people identify, understand, and cope with the dynamics of their mental and emotional states, individually and in social interaction. ” 
Most Christians are unfamiliar with infamous psychiatrist Carl G. Jung. Moreover, they are unaware that Jungian psychotherapy is taught in Christian seminaries. Even Christians who have heard of him are unaware that Jung was immersed in the occult and did his doctoral thesis on parapsychology and conducted seminars on the teachings of Catholic mystic Ignatius Loyola. In his article “Confronting Neopaganism in the Culture and the Church,” Peter Jones further enlightens us on Jung:
One writer on Jung says without overstatement that Carl Jung is the Father of Neo-Gnosticism and the New Age Movement. [A contemporary philosopher, Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, believes that “…since the 1970s Jung’s influence on spiritual currents of the New Age movement has been enormous. It may only be a slight exaggeration to say scratch a witch and underneath you will find a Jungian.
Later in the article Jones says this:
Jung calls Christian orthodoxy “systematic blindness” in insisting that God is outside of man, unaware of “this inner deity revealing itself from the depths of the soul.
Some churches are so enamored with psychology that members are given the Meyers-Briggs personality quiz (based on Jung’s theories) to identify their spiritual gifts and recruited into unbiblical Twelve-step programs. Believers are seeking help from biblical counseling, “Christian psychologists,” Christian self-help books, and nonChristians such as Oprah, Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil! The authors are getting rich off Christians who purchase their books!
Don Matzat puts forth the threat that modern psychology poses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and suggests that:
Christian denominations who are concerned by the intrusion of modern psychology into their ranks should appoint a standing-committee made up of apologetic researchers, experts in the occult, and orthodox pastors and lay-people who are academically trained in psychology. It would be the task of this committee to do the research that most busy pastors are unable to do and to offer to the church their conclusions and opinions concerning some of the deceptive offerings of modern psychology. 
Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we’re all doing God’s work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we’re laboring hand in hand to repair the breach.
I believe in positive thinking. It is almost as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. — Robert Schuller
Robert Schuller [who died in 2015], host of the “Hour of Power” weekly television show, is known for possibility thinking. “For Schuller — faith’ is a power of the mind and ‘God’ is merely a placebo that helps one ‘believe’ and thereby activate mind power. For example, on an Amway tape, Schuller exults, ‘You don’t know the power you have within you! … You make the world into anything you choose.’ It is Babel again, only in a more sophisticated form. The power of thinking becomes the magic stairway that leads to the paradise where all one’s wishes can be fulfilled — nothing but an ‘evangelical’ form of Christian Science or Science of Mind! (6/93, The Berean Call).”
In the early days of his ministry Dr. Schuller used mass communication such as radio, television, and creative marketing techniques to find out what people wanted in a church. What he discovered was that nonbelievers did not want to hear about sin and salvation; they wanted their emotional needs met. This was right up Schuller’s alley, as he believes sin is a lack of self-esteem. To accommodate the emotionally needy crowd he reinterprets God’s Word to conform to his self-esteem philosophy.
Schuller’s marketing methods laid the foundation for the Church Growth movement. He claims to have launched the megachurch movement through his Institute for Successful Church Leading. Schuller chirped:
Here ministers are inspired to believe in their dreams and to present the good news of the gospel in positive terms. And some of those students are well-known. Bill Hybels now pastors the largest church, I think, in the United States, the Willow Creek Community Church. Bill has often said that there probably would not be a Willow Creek Church if he hadn’t been able to come to our pastor’s institute here. I’m so proud of him.” Rick Warren was also a frequent visitor of the Institute. “And there’s Rick Warren, a pastor who today is phenomenal. He came to our institute time after time.”
Robert Schuller is a popular preacher and influences many people. Nevertheless, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Why? Because he bases his theology on what people want to hear rather than God’s Word.
“Schuller’s false teaching,” warned David Cloud, “is an extremely serious matter in light of his wide influence. His was the most popular religion television broadcast in America for many years. His books sell by the millions. He appears with presidents. His self-esteem Christianity has been adopted by multitudes. These believe they are Christians; they attend churches; but in reality they worship a false christ and follow a false gospel. Robert Schuller and his mentor, the late Norman Vincent Peale, are two of the key culprits in promoting this error.”
HOW TO GROW A CHURCH MAN’S WAY
Rick Warren, mentioned in part 2, is the author of the best-selling books, “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” was inspired by Robert Schuller’s success. According to PurposeDrivenLife.com, Warren’s books “are known for explaining theology in understandable ways and have been translated into more than 50 languages. Dr. Warren says he teaches theology without using theological terms and telling people it is theology.”
On Saddleback.com we learn that more than 200,000 church leaders from around the world have been trained in Saddleback’s purpose-driven philosophy.
It was Robert Schuller’s success that led Rick Warren to the founder of modern management, the late Peter Drucker. Warren went to Drucker for advice. “Under Drucker’s tutelage, Warren’s own success as a spiritual entrepreneur has been considerable. Saddleback has grown to 15,000 members and has helped start another 60 churches throughout the world. Warren’s 2001 book, The Purpose-Driven Life, is this decade’s best seller with 19.5 million copies sold so far and compiling at the rate of 500,000 per month.  (Update: PDL has sold 25 million copies and is the best-selling hardback book in American history.)
Drucker believed that business and nonprofit partnerships cannot work “unless they are seen as investments focusing on results – primarily social rather than financial results – achieving clear, and preferably measurable results.”
Rick Warren said of Peter Drucker: “[H]e’s my mentor. I’ve spent 20 years under his tutelage learning about leadership from him.” He also learned how to go about building a megachurch from Drucker. Was building megachurches really necessary, though? Do we really need 25,000 people attending one church? Is a small church less effective than a large church? Our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that He would build (grow) a church:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mat 16:18). (Emphasis added)
Largely due to the popularity of Rick Warren’s purpose-driven books, the Church Growth movement has swept through Christendom like a Kansas tornado, ushering in a ‘new paradigm’ of transformational leadership to meet the challenge of the new Century. Not everyone is on board including conservative Christians who caution that, “Purpose-driven is a ‘one size fits all’ plan and program. It is the ultimate ecumenical tool.”
Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today informs us that, “Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC’s doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors.” 
Rick Warren an ultra-conservative? I laid that myth to rest in Part 2.
Ultra conservative Christians are sometimes referred to as “fundamentalist.” Speaking at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, May 23, 2005, Warren made the following statement regarding Christian fundamentalism:
Now the word ‘fundamentalist’ actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones. I am an evangelical. I’m not a member of the [ultra-conservative] religious right and I’m not a fundamentalist …Today there really aren’t that many Fundamentalists left; I don’t know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren’t that many Fundamentalists left in America.
Are the “five fundamentals” a legalistic, narrow view of Christianity? No! The term fundamentalist came from a series of books called “The Fundamentals” that was published from 1910-1915. Actually the series did not promote “five fundamentals” but rather dozens of fundamentals. The Five Fundamentals of Faith that have been accepted by Christians throughout history are: 1) the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) the Virgin Birth of Christ, 3) the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, 4) the bodily resurrection of Jesus, 5) the inerrancy of Scripture.
If someone is indeed a Christian, he or she cannot deny the essential doctrines of Christianity as this is what separates Christianity from other religions.
Further, the USA Today article informs us (not on purpose) that Warren’s pastor-training programs promote ecumenism. Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women and anyone who can breathe are welcome. “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials [trivials]. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?’ he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, ‘a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers.” 
Why be divisive? Rick Warren is being divisive by teaming up with New Age occultists for his weight loss program The Daniel Plan…serving on the advisory board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (Blair is a Fabian Socialist)…offering PDL training to apostates and cultists so that they’ll achieve phenomenal success in spreading their message.
I’ll close this with an excerpt from Purpose-Driven “No Matter What it Costs” :
Rick Warren was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News before he spoke at the Global Day of Prayer event, held on May 15, 2005. He was asked:
“You’ve become a very popular public speaker. As you’ve traveled, have you noticed any local differences in how your message is received?”
His response was:
Not at all.… It’s cross-cultural – I get letters from Hindus, from Muslims. [The Purpose Driven Life] didn’t get niched as a religious book.
- The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: The Old Heresy for the New Age, page 20—By Peter Jones, professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary California
- Psychology and the Church (Part One): Laying a Foundation for Discernment–By Bob and Gretchen Passantino
- The Intrusion of Psychology into Christian Theology–By Don Matzat
- Setting Richard Abanes Straight on my Rick Warren “Attack” –By Ken Silva
- Peter Drucker On Leadership—By Rich Karlgaard
- “This evangelist has a ‘Purpose’”–By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY,
Copyright by Marsha West, 2011.