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The Progressive Disease of Spiritual Deception in Our Time




There was a time when ideas like yoga or eastern meditation in the church were only associated with Christ Science churches, Universalist Churches, and a few spurious non-biblical fringe places. In a few scant decades, the walls have been so completely torn down that we not only see no harm in these things, we promote them. This is exactly what Theosophist (Luciferian) leader Alice Bailey predicted would be part of the new age infiltration into the church: ““The three main channels through which the preparation for the new age is going on might be regarded as the Church (emphasis mine) the Masonic Fraternity and the educational field.” (The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Page 511.)


So, in fact, this has been underway for some time. It probably began to get a real foothold in our present time with Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” theology, quickly adapted by Rev. Robert Schuller who was really the first modern “megachurch” and “Seeker Friendly” church pastor. Their ideas were once considered a bit of an aberration from mainstream Christian doctrine. But here we are decades later, and seeker friendly and power of positive thinking is normal and unchallenged. The crack into Bible-based evangelical churches had begun to open just a little…


Fast forward: In the last three decades we have opened our doors to things like the laughter movement, barking like dogs and oinking like pigs and calling it the “anoinking of the Spirit,” and worse. A number of leaders challenged these things, but its promoters did not repent of it.

A few years later, spiritual formation, “be still” meditation, breathing techniques, “Christian” yoga, “the sacred feminine,” labyrinths, circle making – all an extension of exotic religions, eastern mysticism, and Buddhist/Hindu tools to reach “the divine within” – all began to creep into church media, books, music and movies. Even Father Thomas Merton came to be revered by many evangelicals – a man who said at the end of his life that he wished to ““to become as good a Buddhist as I can,” as well as Henri Nouwen, who influenced millions of evangelicals but at the end of his life denied that Jesus was the only way to the Father.


The door opened a little wider…where were the watchmen? Where were the Shepherds? One at a time, I began to see even pastors welcome these things. And as these things crept in, the Word of God began to become an addendum to our lives, a devotional nicety but not central in our walk with Jesus, and no longer our final determination of truth.


Slowly, the poison seeped into our ranks…one book, one DVD, one movie at a time. Everyone ignored the subtle twisting of the Word of God in Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis,” hailing it as “groundbreaking.” And indeed, it was, but not in a good way. His next book, “The Sex God” raised a few eyebrows, but youth pastors everywhere still adored him and emulated him and bought glasses and cool clothes just to look just like him in an attempt to “relate to youth.” Millennial youth pastors began diluting the Word of God and preparing little mini-messages to justify their increasingly party-like youth group atmosphere which was strong on entertainment and weak on the Word of God.



Then Rob Bell wrote “Love Wins,” denying hell and proclaiming universalism – the idea that everyone gets saved. And now, he is speaking at conferences alongside New Age guru Deepak Chopra at conferences titled things like, “The Seduction of Spirit.” [1]


When he was exposed as being truly a non-evangelical false teacher, I heard nothing but crickets from all those who formerly sang his praises. But by then, everyone was off chasing the next big thing anyway, the next bestseller, the next circle-making, ear-tickling, scripture-diluting thing. We had begun forming a pattern of going after the latest “it,” or hot speaker, or bestselling book, and then when it turned out the thing or person was fraudulent, in error or full of deception, almost no one took responsibility for originally supporting or promoting them – least of all the Christian media and those who peddled their products – even when these false teachers were fully exposed. Very few took responsibility for an evangelist’s crazy, ungodly antics in Florida that hundreds of thousands of believers flocked to see, while behind the scenes he was conducting an affair that shredded his wife and kids. (For the record, I deeply believe in restoring fallen servants of the Lord.) They gave him a short time-out (“restoration process”) and bam! He was back on the circuit – new wife, new life. And few took responsibility for calling him – no, for laying hands on and anointing him – as the “world apostle” in front of an international audience.[2]


Very few called a well-known “prophet” to account for his 1998 prophecy that Obama would be a mighty man of God – a Christian – who would set everything right. They just said, “Oh well, nobody’s perfect” and kept supporting and following his ministry anyway.

Rarely do people say, “we were wrong.” Rarely do leaders say, “We were in error.” And because of that, unrepentant error in discernment has led to greater and greater error, because deception is a PROGRESSIVE DISEASE.


The more error we receive, the more the ability to discern goes numb and then dies in us. It applies to us as individuals. It applies to churches.


Nobody was alarmed that Roma Downey was still attending a new age college at the same time she was working on their television series “The Bible” or that she never renounced her new age beliefs, despite the fact that these concerns were brought to some of the highest levels of leadership in the church and corporate Christian world possible. They gave her a pass on those issues because, as I was told, the benefits of how it would reach people outweighed the theological problems. And nothing kept several bits of clear gnostic teaching from being inserted into their movies, including giving a prominent role to Mary Magdalene, whom new agers consider the “thirteenth apostle.” And to be honest, by the time these concerns were raised, even certain denominations had invested far too much money in promoting the movies to retract, recall product and repent at that point. In the end, I believe financial concerns were more important than truth.


By the time The Shack came around, we had already been prepped through years of “felt need” theology, experiential-based faith and cherry-picking scriptures we liked while ignoring the ones we didn’t.



As the internet grew, I began to understand the power of the appeal to our emotions. More than once, I had seen almost an entire five to ten-minute video on some issue and found myself in tears before I found out at the end that not only was it not a Christian video and did not have a Christian message, but it was produced by people and represented a view that was unbiblical, new age and worse. I got emotionally hooked before I learned the truth. Those without a biblical foundation of truth just get hooked.


People loved The Shack because it replaced the God of the Bible (which deep down they possibly didn’t feel comfortable with, because His ways are beyond our understanding and bad things happen, and it upsets our sunshine version of Christianity) and gave them a God who made them feel good, who took the God of the Bible and said, “That’s not really God, this is what God is like…” and gave them a diluted, false version of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and a dose of Sophia, Greek goddess of wisdom.


I was sure that anyone with even a modicum of discernment would throw the book in the trash. I had underestimated how wide the door of deception had opened. I lost friends who were pastors who were furious at me for questioning the book. One pastor railed at me, “I haven’t had a relationship with God for years, but now I have my ‘Papa’ back! You can’t take that from me!”

Nothing jarred me more than seeing grown men of God just abandoning clear truth because something tugged their heart, justifying the scriptural butchering by saying, “It’s just fiction, it’s not the Bible!” I confronted someone on this the other night. “What about the satanic Necronomicon. Can I read it? It’s just fiction. Can I read pornography? It’s just fiction.” They thought that a bit extreme. Of course it was. My point was, where what was their criteria, where was their own event horizon they were not willing to cross because it was just too obviously wrong? How much scripture bending or ignoring would they accept and justify as ok because it was “just fiction” before they had enough and said no more? The demonic genius of The Shack is how cleverly it has clothed itself in a loose and nebulous garment of scriptures – just enough to justify the complete butchering of the true nature of God and morphing Him into a Trinitarian hybrid god that represents whatever will make you feel better about your horrible tragedies and “great sadness.” The fact is, though, God will not appear as whatever we want. One person said, “God appeared as a fiery bush, but I know he’s not a bush!” But He appeared in the bush. He wasn’t a bush. God will not appear as Shiva, Buddha, or Sarayu, because He is “I AM WHAT I AM.”


We can say God is like a rock, but we cannot say God is like Baal. It’s not about imagery, it is about the nature and character of God. And The Shack gives a false representation of both of those.


Look, I get it. I’ve suffered innumerable losses my entire life, and every one of us at some point cries out, “WHY, GOD?” And in those moments, people either reject Him as uncaring, or He brings us into His Kingdom, and we learn to trust Him in the midst of, sometimes in spite of tragedies that seem to have no reason. And we may find ourselves once again crying out in pain, “WHY, GOD?” And His response is, “You don’t need to know all the answers. Trust Me, trust My Word. Trust in My love.” It’s called FAITH. But The Shack is a shortcut to feeling better, a panacea, a spiritual drug that allows you to embrace a conception of God that may temporarily take away the pain but leaves you with an open door to deception because it is not the God of the Word. IT IS NOT THE REAL JESUS.


Is The Shack the God portrayed in scripture? Is God a woman? Is Jesus a clumsy Jewish kid with a hook nose? Is the Holy Spirit a Japanese girl named after a Hindu river? Is the judge of our lives Sophia? Is everyone saved? Is Jesus just the best way to the Father, as the book suggests, or is He what the Bible says – the only way?


“But they’re just parables! Stories! It’s not the Bible!” some argue. So is it acceptable to distort the truth in the guise of fiction just to make a point? How is that ever acceptable? Someone said, “CS Lewis did The Chronicles of Narnia, they were spiritual allegories! It wasn’t scripture!” True, that; but unlike The Shack, when Lewis did touch on the nature of God or Jesus, he kept it fairly consistently in line with scripture and the biblical character and nature of God. The Shack has a radically different version of God: One who does not judge, one who can change, one who suggests Jesus is simply a better way to God, not the only way. But feeling trumped truth, and the book has become a multimillion bestseller. To simplify the responses I have heard, “Don’t confuse me with biblical facts. It made me feel good!”


It did not bother leaders and publishers that Young’s second book, Eve – a “reimagining” of the Adam and Eve story – was laced with kabbalistic themes and occultic, gnostic fairy tales. “It’s just a story.” The door opened wider….


You see, Satan keeps pushing the goalpost deeper and deeper into the center of the church, and every time he sees no resistance, he is emboldened and takes it to “the next level.”

Now, the movie is out. The arguments as to why it’s such an amazing life-changing story despite the clear unscriptural aspects that were brought up when the book came out are the same. The difference seems to be that those who support it are much angrier at those of us who pose the crucial questions. “You’re so judgmental! Who do you think you are? You must be looking for a book deal or something. You’ll never lead anyone to Christ, and I doubt if you ever did before.” I’ve had it all thrown at me the last few weeks as I tried to reason it out with folks on Facebook. And I realize that the level of deception had gone so deep that not only were people willing to embrace a lie and ignore the error, but worse – they saw themselves as fully biblical believers who were completely loyal to the Word of God, while at the same time promoting a story by a man who claims that everyone is “in Christ” already. And you cannot reason with that level of delusion. It seems to bother devoted Shack followers not at all that the author is a universalist.

Universalism, the “all paths lead to God” religion, is exactly what is needed to turn the Christian church into part of the one-world antichrist mystery religion that Alice Bailey wrote about and all Luciferian world leaders are counting on.


We did not accept Rob Bell’s universalism. But now we are willing to ignore William Paul Young’s. That is the malignancy of deception unchecked.


This movie comes at a time when the next level of eastern meditation techniques under the guise of “mindfulness” are being pushed into the educational system,[3] and now are coming into the church. (Mindfulness is a Buddhist technique of detachment, leading to realizing the “divine within,” which eventually leads to Nirvana – nonexistence. There are several new “Christian” books promoting meditation and mindfulness practices with devotional books and coloring books, and a new book on spiritual formation and meditation called The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age by Tricia McCary Rhodes which “reintroduces us to the classic disciplines of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.” In other words, it’s just more repackaged eastern religious teaching and techniques for the church which will further it on the road to the new age goal of “east meets west,” where we all become one under a false one world religion and we all recognize the “Christ spirit” or godhood in each other (Namaste – the divine in me bows to the divine in you.)


Add to that, a new book is being used in Christian youth groups called, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God by Ken Shigematsu, who “draws on both eastern and western perspectives in writing and speaking.” Those are buzzwords for introducing a mixing of eastern religion thought processes with Christianity and bringing it into the church.


All of this is producing Christian minds that are malleable, soft, undiscerning, half-drugged, feeling good, and completely open to the power of suggestion from…whoever, and whatever. That is what eastern meditation techniques do. You empty your mind and accept that whatever comes must be good and right and from God.


The church has become an entity seeking to have their ears tickled. Seeking to feel better about their painful lives. Seeking to be successful, happy and prosperous. What is it you seek? Step right up folks…we’ve got it all now.


Everything except the whole truth of the Word of God, the way of the cross, the power of the blood to save and heal and forgive, the altar of God where we come to be broken and changed, healed and set free. Everything which made the Gospel powerful has and is being systematically removed by the enemy of our souls – not because it is not powerful, but because we no longer wish to bow to its demands, its holiness or its truth.


We are seeing the fruit of nearly thirty years of dumbing-down and de-prioritizing the Word of God, giving it a mini-place in our lives while shiny things and baubles and the newest “move” catch our attention and send us off on a fruitless quest for the next experience. The seed of the Word of God has corporately fallen on stony ground, without depth, where it grows up quick, shrivels and dies.


I know I am very passionate about this, reluctant to even use the word passionate, so overused it is. I have a right to be. I grew up in the occult, a world of delusions, lies, and darkness. Even when I tried to turn to new age thought to dispel the darkness, turning to Hinduism, Buddhism, and becoming an avid follower of Paramahansa Yogananda in my little bedroom devouring his every word as “truth,” I ended up deceived, wrecked and in utter darkness, even though some of it temporarily numbed my pain and made me “feel good.”


I understand many of these Christians who are so emotionally bound to The Shack that they have thrown caution to the wind and ignored the dangerous reality that it in fact promotes unbiblical lies and is being promoted by someone who has rejected Biblical truth about hell and salvation. I was one of those Christians after I was saved. I was totally brainwashed. I was a universalist. Then came this “mean man,” this “judgmental Christian” Bible study leader named Dave Malkin, who dared to get out the Word of God and without holding back challenged me about my beliefs. This “judgmental, mean man” saved my spiritual life. (I thank God for Dave, may his memory be blessed!) I needed a hard word to break through the lies.


In all my dealings with everything from Rob Bell to The Shack, I understand that simple logic and reason isn’t working with people who are emotionally invested in the teachers or the stories. People need a wake-up call, and that may not feel good or seem loving. But I cannot apologize for my approach because I see that in the end, The Shack is not just a book or a movie but a game-changer that is extinguishing some of the last lights of discernment out of the hearts of thousands of believers. I know how they feel. I have been there. And I thank God that someone cared enough to hurt me with the truth. When a house is burning down and people are asleep inside, one cannot afford to meekly whisper, hoping the people hear. You have to shout at the top of your lungs, “Get out, quickly!” In dealing with these new delusions, it may be necessary to jar people awake.


Jesus said in Matthew 24 that all of this would happen. Paul said, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. (1 Tim. 4:1) The great falling away is at hand. But a remnant will remain faithful. I can only pray humbly not to be one who falls for the lies in a moment of vulnerability, or weakness, or pain or giving up, for we are all vulnerable. That is where I understand the motto of the French foreign legion that a friend shared with me. “If I falter, straighten me out. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.” Blunt, but as a spiritual warrior it resonates in my heart. None of us are exempt from having to diligently guard against the lies of this age, outside and inside the church.


I believe all these progressive deceptions over the last few decades have been just the build-up to the next great delusion, which could be the final one. God help us to turn away from the slow poisoning of the church through breath-prayers, eastern meditation, mindfulness, yoga, etc. God help us to surrender our soulish ways of perceiving God based on a book that was written by a wounded man, William Paul Young – unhealed from abuse and bitter church hurts – whom those seeking to make a profit have promoted regardless of his spiritual fragility and woundedness – who rejected the God of the Bible for a god who would somehow ease his pain – one that eases your pain as it kills your soul. The Shack is the spiritual Jack Kavorkian of our age.


Pray for William Paul Young, that God would pull him out of this most dangerous and deadly strange fire. Pray for the multitudes who are believing lies. And may God deal with those mercenaries and moneychangers who care more about what sells and profits them then about the care and protection of the flock of God.


Alice Bailey’s plans are about to come to full fruition. The greatest lie is just around the corner.

Stay strong, saints. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28) He is coming soon!


Gregory R Reid






By Marsha West

March 10, 2012

“The gospel’s most dangerous earthly adversaries are not raving atheists who stand outside the door shouting threats and insults. They are church leaders who cultivate a gentle, friendly, pious demeanor but hack away at the foundations of faith under the guise of keeping in step with a changing world.” – Phil Johnson

“Do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

There is a spiritual battle of epic proportions going on in churches all over the globe that should drive serious Christians to their knees. A whole host of aberrant to downright heretical movements have slithered into contemporary evangelicalism and more are being added to the mix virtually every day.

Unbiblical teaching is rampant in mainline Protestant denominations as well as in non-denominational churches. Inside our churches you will find men and women teaching rank heresy. Sunday after Sunday people flock to churches and become a captive audience to those who preach outlandish lies and half-truths. Televangelists are the worst offenders! Many of them are money grubbing charlatans! As a result of false teachers and cult leaders gaining worldwide access to churches and Christian ministries over these past few decades to spread their false doctrines, evangelical Christianity is experiencing a downward spiral.

The good news is: “Upon this rock I will build my church,” said the Lord Jesus Christ, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18).

Matthew Henry stated that “Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other!”

Triple “woe” goes to the wolves that have infiltrated evangelicalism and show a startling disregard for the major tenets of the faith.

Speaking of wolves, somewhere around 45,000 people attend Lakewood Church each Sunday to hear Pastor –celebrity Joel Osteen preach the word-faith prosperity gospel “lite.” The Lakewood services are broadcast in over 100 countries. Gary Gilley reveals that:

Osteen has no theological training and it is obvious from his books, sermons and interviews on television that he has little knowledge of the Scripture. Nevertheless, he has caught an unprecedented wave of popularity and could clearly claim the title as the most admired pastor in America.

Osteen brags that he teaches a non-confrontational gospel. He believes:

There’s a lot of negativity in the world. We need somebody to bring us hope and somebody to tell us that we can overcome our past and break free from addictions and things like that. And, you know, our whole message is that Jesus came to help us live a great life. And some people are not going to agree with that. (Online source)

I for one disagree with Joel’s statement that Jesus wanted us to live a “great life.” Tell that to the persecuted church! Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world,” so for many the “great life” Osteen speaks of will not be experienced here on earth, but in the Kingdom of God. The reason Jesus came to earth was to set the captives free! Free from what? Free from sin and death! Why? We are dead in our sins. And by the way, sin is an odious thing – and the God of the Bible is infinitely holy and righteous. (Isaiah 6:3, Rev. 4:8, 2 Thess. 1:6)

Sin makes us unclean, thus the unredeemed are not permitted in the presence of holiness. How do people get clean? By believing in Jesus! Believe that He came to earth to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. When He died on the cross our debt was paid for – in full. He died once, for all. Only believers will spend eternity in heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Contrary to popular belief there is no way to have a relationship with the One true God unless we believe that we are sinners in need of Savior, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) God says sinners must be punished, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

This is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, this is not the gospel people hear from Joel Osteen and countless other word-faith prosperity preachers.

The intent of this article is not to fully examine the Word of Faith Movement (WF), but to give readers a glimpse into their beliefs. At the end of this piece are links to articles and videos of a few prominent word-faith teachers. It’s important to take the time to watch these so called teachers and preachers in action.

Following is a summary of WF teaching:

God created man in “God’s class,” as “little gods,” with the potential to exercise what they refer to as the “God-kind of faith” in calling things into existence and living in prosperity and success as sovereign beings. Of course, we forfeited this opportunity by rebelling against God in the Garden and taking upon ourselves Satan’s nature. To correct this situation, Jesus Christ became a man, died spiritually (thus taking upon Himself Satan’s nature), went to hell, was “born again,” rose from the dead with God’s nature again, and then sent the Holy Spirit so that the incarnation could be duplicated in believers, thus fulfilling their calling to be what they call “little gods.” Since we’re called to experience this kind of life now, we should be successful in virtually every area of our lives. To be in debt, then, or be sick, or (as is even taught by the faith teachers) to be left by one’s spouse, simply means that you don’t have enough faith — or you have some secret sin in your life, because if you didn’t, you would be able to handle all of these problems.


In every instance, the “Word-Faith” teaching is guilty of presenting an inflated view of man and a deflated view of God, thereby compromising God’s message as revealed in the Bible. This fast-growing movement has disastrous implications and, in fact, reduces Jesus Christ to a means to an end — when in fact he is the end. If the New Age Movement is the greatest threat to the church from without, “positive confession” may well be it’s greatest threat from within. (Online source)

The WF is considered a metaphysical cult. Pastor/teacher John MacArthur calls it Satanic. WF holds that faith is a tangible force. This force is released through the spoken word, hence name-it-and-claim-it. When we speak words of faith, power is discharged that will accomplish our desires. Through faith we can have health, wealth, success – anything we want!

As I previously stated, word-faith teaching ranges from aberrant to outright heretical. As such these people must be exposed. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13-14).

It is imperative that serious Christians recognize word-faith teaching. Therefore I’m including Beyond Grace’s Word Faith Top Ten which is an abbreviated version of an article Tricia Tillin wrote: Top Ten Reasons for rejecting Word-of-Faith doctrine.

It requires ‘revelation knowledge’.

It makes the Almighty God and Creator a weak ‘faith-being’ who is at the mercy of His own universal laws.

It makes the Divine Son of God into a born-again man who had to die in Hell to pay the price for our treason.

It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

It makes man a god.

It makes the redemption into a restoration of dominion for mankind.

Its goal is the transformation of the earth by spiritual dominion.

It replaces prayer with confession, and God’s will with the manipulation of ‘forces’.

It denies the reality of sin and sickness.

It focuses on self and the world instead of God and Heaven. (Tillin’s article expands on these ten points)

To avoid being taken in by false teachers and cult leaders Christians must have some knowledge of heretical movements such as the word-faith/prosperity gospel/name-it-and-claim-it. Another movement that is steeped in word-faith theology that’s taking the Church by storm is the New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism aka Latter Rain/Kingdom Theology/Kingdom Now/Charismatic Renewal/Third Wave/Joel’s Army/Manifest(ed) Sons of God. Read about this dangerous movement here.

Most false teachers and cultists do not take the opposition’s rebuke or criticism lying down. In part 4 of a piece I wrote titled Doublespeak: The Language of Deception I explained how words are often used as a club against anyone who reports on the aberrant teaching of those who have “Christian rock star” status:

…Conservative Christian apologists and those involved in the counter cult and discernment ministries who dare to expose apostates are accused of being divisive. For example, if a conservative attempts to combat the spread of the social justice gospel that emphasizes good deeds without the power of the gospel, their liberal critics cry “Pharisee!” Implying that these critics are Pharisees is another way of saying that they are narrow-minded, mean-spirited and unloving — and yes, even intolerant and bigoted.

Word Faith (false) teachers use “heresy hunter” to define the opposition. But in reality discernment ministries are “truth-seekers.”

What is heresy and what is a heresy hunter? According to Let Us Reason Ministries:

“Heresy can be defined as any departure from Christian orthodoxy which is a teaching, doctrine or practice that goes beyond the apostles teachings — the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). Biblical heresy is often a denial of the core beliefs held in the Church that are founded on the Bible. In this sense it applies to groups which reject basic Christian doctrines and separate themselves from the historic church.”

Most mature Christians recognize heresy when it rears its ugly head. But when they speak out against prominent false teachers who are leading the Body of Christ astray, their bamboozled followers invariably play the Matthew 7:1 card:

“Judge not, lest you be judged.”

This is doublespeak for: Shut the heck up!

First of all, discernment demands that we make judgments. As my pastor, Stan Way, said in a recent sermon, faithful Christians live their lives in a new center of gravity – the biblical worldview. Serious Christians must stand up and speak the truth with conviction and courage. We must be willing to lose our life for Christ and the gospel. In other words, for truth! Further, we must be willing to be treated with contempt by the world. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).


So – I am going to name names. The list of popular word-faith teachers numbers in the hundreds. Following are the names of a few of these who have risen to a more prominent status:

Kenneth Hagin, E. W. Kenyon, Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, Paula White, Paul and Jan Crouch, Robert Tilton, Paul Yonggi Cho, Jentezen Franklin, Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, Juanita Bynum, Rod Parsley, Ed Young, Eddie Long, Rodney Howard Brown, Joseph Prince, Kim Clement, Cindy Trimm, and John Hagee.

As I have indicated in this piece there are things going on in the Church that are deeply disturbing. And for this reason it is imperative that Christians have no fear of exposing those who “hack away at the foundations of faith.” We really have no choice, the reason being that the Bible commands the Body of Christ to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

Marsha West — A fast-growing movement with disastrous implications.

posted by Ronald Harnage
DefCon has chronicled Ravi Zacharias’ downfall beginning with his first public compromise when he accepted an invitation to speak at the LDS temple in Salt Lake City but failed to make any distinction between the true Jesus Christ of the Bible and the demonically inspired false Christ of Mormonism. See Ravi Zacharias fails to preach the Gospel to the Mormons.We then examined his further compromi…se in Ravi’s Descent where he accepted the condition to not pray in Jesus’ name at the National Day of Prayer coordinated by NDP chairwoman Shirley Dobson, wife of James Dobson of Focus on the Family which recently promoted the cult of Mormonism. Beginning to see the big picture yet?Then we examined Ravi’s Crash and Burn as he not only accepted an invitation to speak at rank heretic Robert Schuller’s New Age ReThink conference, but that Ravi Zacharias also spoke favorably of Roman Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen, calling him “one of the greatest saints in recent memory.”

Now Slice of Laodicea and Apprising Ministries are reporting that not only will Ravi Zacharias not apologize or even back away from his endorsement of Henri Nouwen, but his ministry is defending his position. You can read the following letter from Ravi Zacharias Ministries in defense of Ravi’s endorsement of Nouwen by clicking here (PDF).

One of the most shocking parts of this letter written by Margaret Manning was her justification of Ravi’s compromise via the following statement:

“ . . . if it weren’t for the Catholic church you and I would not be here–nor would Christianity.”

Ravi Zacharias has become one of a long line of “public figure” Christians to compromise a little here and a little there until full blown apostasy is reached. What next Ravi, what next?

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”

Roman Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen

Sabbatical Journey

Page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition

Answer: Throughout his ministry Dr. Schuller has been outspoken in warning his listeners about the dangers of negative thinking.

The Faulty Gospel of Robert Schuller

by Joseph P. Gudel

‘Why would any Christian write an article criticizing Dr. Schuller? Isn’t this being negative? Isn’t this being unloving?’ These and similar questions are raised automatically by many people whenever one Christian criticizes another Christian; especially when the one criticized is as notable and well-liked as Dr. Robert Schuller.

I believe the first question raised above will be answered as we examine the content of Dr. Schuller’s theology. To test or criticize someone whose teachings are aberrational is not being negative; in fact the Bible commands us to do this. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, he told them to “test all things; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).

The question still remains: “Is this unloving?” The most unloving thing that we could do would be to close our eyes and turn our backs as untold numbers of people are being led astray by false teaching. To critique a Christian who has erred from the truth is the most loving thing we could do for him. The Apostle James wrote: “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).


Dr. Schuller has stated many times throughout his many years of ministry that his one goal, his main desire, is to reach the masses of unchurched people. When he and his wife first arrived in California, they wondered how they could build a church from scratch.

Who would come to our church?… Looking at some statistics, it was very plain that half the people in the U.S. had no religious affiliation. Our answer then came quickly and clearly. The unchurched thousands– this was our opportunity. We would have to impress and win the people who, for one reason or another, had never before been interested in organized religion 1.

So Dr. Schuller believes that his calling is that of a missionary. “My ministry has, for over thirty years, been a mission to the unbelievers.” 2 And as we are about to see, he does not believe that the way to reach them is by proclaiming the gospel.

How does Dr. Schuller believe we can reach the nonbelievers most effectively? The most important thing is to find out what they want! He did this for several years at the beginning of his California ministry. And what did he discover? He found out that nonbelievers wanted to have their emotional needs met: they did not want to hear about the Bible or about their need for forgiveness of sins and salvation.

As a missionary, I find the hope of respectful contact is based on a “human-need” approach rather than a theological attack …. The non-churched who have no vital belief in a relationship with God will spurn, reject, or simply ignore the theologian, church spokesperson, preacher, or missionary who approaches with Bible in hand, theology on the brain and the lips, and expects nonreligious persons to suspend their doubts and swallow the theocentric assertions as fact. 3


Since Dr. Schuller will not preach the gospel from the pulpit, nor teach from the Bible, what then is the message he propagates? Los Angeles Times staff writer Bella Stumbo, after an extended interview with Dr. Schuller, wrote: “In short, Robert Schuller believes that God placed him on this Earth to preach possibility thinking.” 4

Anyone who is familiar with Dr. Schuller’s writings or who has listened to him speak will realize that this is not an exaggeration.

Throughout his ministry Dr. Schuller has been outspoken in warning his listeners about the dangers of negative thinking. He asks his audience to consider “that dirty ten-letter-word ‘impossible.’ When uttered aloud, this word is devastating in its effect. Thinking stops. Progress is halted.” 5 Elsewhere he states: “Whatever you do, never verbalize a negative emotion.” 6

The gospel that he wants to share with his unchurched audience is that they can do anything that they want to, that everything is possible for a “possibility thinker.”

There is no problem or situation that cannot be solved. 7

… success awaits the man who will “never say never.” 8

… this is what I think our ministry is all about. Helping people realize they can become more than they ever thought they could be! 9

To underscore just how vitally important this message is, Dr. Schuller once wrote: “I believe in positive thinking. It is almost as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ” 10 In addition, the titles to some of his books are revealing: Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking, You Can Become the Person You Want to Be, It’s Possible, and Become a Possibility Thinker Now…

The Gospel of Success

Closely connected with his emphasis on “possibility thinking” is his teaching concerning success. Dr. Schuller believes that God wants us to succeed in whatever we do.

God’s will for you is clear…. God wants you to succeed. He has promised to “crown your efforts with success… (Prov. 3:6) 11

Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, mines of ore that have never been discovered and is waiting to make millionaires out of simple farm boy? Take Christ as your Partner and give Him a chance to work the miracle He promised: “I am come that you might have life — and have it more abundantly.”12

If you fail, you do so because you choose to fail! 13

Although in recent years Dr. Schuller has somewhat tempered this teaching, it is still one of his major tenets.

Self-Esteem: A New Reformation

The prime focus of Dr. Schuller’s ministry today concerns the self-esteem of the individual. This was reflected in most of his earlier books, but was never specifically formulated until 1982, when he wrote Self-Esteem: The New Reformation. Dr. Schuller believes that virtually every problem a person has, every ill that plagues society, all sin and evil in the world, is a result of people having low self-esteem. Therefore, our greatest need is to have our self-esteem increased.

Self-esteem then, or “pride in being a human being,” is the single greatest need facing the human race today. 14

I strongly suggest that self-love is the ultimate will of man that what you really want more than anything else in the world is the awareness that you are a worthy person. 15

Do not fear pride: the easiest job God has is to humble us. God’s almost impossible task is to keep us believing every hour of every day how great we are as his sons and daughters on planet earth. 16

According to Schuller, in order to reach the multitudes of nonbelievers today, a new reformation is needed, a reformation based on building up their self-esteem. This reformation must be anthropocentric, that is, man-centered, not theocentric, or God-centered. Indeed, Dr. Schuller believes that classical theology seriously errs in insisting that all theology be centered around God instead of around man. 17

The Bible

One might legitimately ask why Dr. Schuller believes classical theology errs so gravely. His answer: Luther and Calvin were listening to the wrong person! He asks the following rhetorical question: Luther and Calvin, we know, looked to the Book of Romans in the Bible for their primary inspiration. Were they, unknowingly, possessed more by the spirit of St. Paul than by the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Are we not on safer grounds if we look to our Lord’s words to launch our reformation? 18

The implication is that what Jesus said in the gospels overrides everything else in the in Bible. For Schuller then, some parts of the Bible (i.e., what Jesus said as recorded in the gospels) have more authority than other areas of the Bible. In other parts of Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Dr. Schuller is more explicit.

But can anything be above the Scriptures? Yet, the Eternal Word transcends the written Word. Christ is the Word made flesh. Christ is the Lord over the Scriptures; the Scriptures are not Lord over Christ . . . The Bible must not compete with the Lord for the seat of glory. We are “saved by the blood,” not “by the Book.” We believe in the holy Trinity, not a holy Quadrangle. 19

Christ must be, at all times, Lord over the Scriptures. 20

Sin and Man’s Nature

For Dr. Schuller sin, a subject he does not like to discuss, has a definition very different from the one most Christians give.

I am convinced that the deepest of all human needs is salvation from sin and hell …. We come now to the problem of semantics. What do I mean by sin? Answer: Any human condition or act that robs God of glory by stripping one of his children of their right to divine dignity. I could offer another complementing answer, “Sin is that deep lack of trust that separates me from God and leaves me with a sense of shame and unworthiness.” I can offer still another answer: “Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem. ” 21

Any analysis of “sin” or “evil”… that fails to seethe lack of self-dignity as the core of the problem will prove to be too shallow. 22 Classical Reformed Theology declares that we are conceived and born rebellious sinners. But that answer is too shallow.It ignores the tough question: Why should love-needing persons resist, rebel against, and reject beautiful love? The answer? We are born nontrusting. Deep down we feel we are not good enough to approach a holy God. 23

By implication then, man is basically good according to Dr. Schuller. His only problem is that he was born with a disability: this disability, or original sin, is a low self-esteem or lack of trust. 24

If only we could love ourselves enough to dare approach God …. But we feel too unworthy. So one layer of negative behavior is laid upon another until we emerge as rebellious sinners. But our rebellion is a reaction, not our nature. By nature we are fearful, not bad. Original sin is not a mean streak; it is a nontrusting inclination …. do not say that the central core of the human soul is wickedness. If this wereso, then truly, the human being is totally depraved. But positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability. 25

Dr. Schuller does not believe or teach that we are ultimately responsible for our sins. He attempts to distinguish between what he calls “Adam’s Sin” and “Original Sin.” Adam, created sinless, knew better. Only he deserved a sermon on sin, because he alone had a choice. Adam “… made a choice, he chose. He knew better. His children, however, were born with a disadvantage. They didn’t have that choice.” 26

Because we are basically fearful, but not bad, and because we need to have our self. esteem lifted, Jesus never criticized people or called them sinners, according to Dr. Schuller. Instead, he always tried to uplift them.

He never did call them “sinners.” He saw great possibilities in each of these men. How He tried to give them the sense of self-worth and dignity that they deserved! After all, they were human beings, descendants of God. 27

Christ always tried to give man’s self-image a boost. When he met immoral people He never called them sinners. Never! 28

He believed in the dignity of the individual. So He never called a person a sinner. He always saw the individual as a saint. 29

So Dr. Schuller believes that if Jesus never called people sinners, then he won’t either.

Man and Glory

The end result that Dr. Schuller hopes to accomplish is to show everyone that they are all children of God because they are all made in His image. “The Fatherhood of God is built into our subconscious,” 30 all we really need is enough self-esteem to accept this fact. But it does not stop there. Because “we were created to be princes and princesses,” 31 we have an innate “thirst for glory.” 32 Dr. Schuller believes that “what we need is a theology of salvation that begins and ends with a recognition of every person’s hunger for glory.”33 “The Christian faith and life is a gospel designed to glorify human beings for the greater glory of God.” 34 The final goal is that “we can pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, honorable is our name.'” 35

Salvation and the Gospel

In concluding our examination of Dr. Schuller’s theology we must see what he has to say about salvation and the gospel. First of all, he stresses that people will not respond to the gospel until they recognize that they are worthy of God. “The unsaved person cannot perceive himself as worthy of ‘divine grace’ and hence rejects it.” 36 In fact, Dr. Schuller believes that the ultimate sin is in feeling unworthy about yourself: “the most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, ‘I am unworthy. I may have no claim to divine sonship if you examine me at my worst.”‘ 37

Dr. Schuller believes, then, that God wants to build up man’s self-esteem and restore the lost glory that is our inherent right as children of God, as people “Created to be princes and princesses.” 38 “God’s ultimate objective is to turn you and me into self-confident persons.” 39

In accord with this, Dr. Schuller believes that any proclamation of the gospel that puts “a person down before it attempts to lift him up” is dangerous. 40 He goes on to state that “you are not preaching the Gospel unless you make people happy, because the Gospel is good news.” 41

Finally, what is salvation in Schuller’s opinion? What does it mean to be “born again”?

What does it mean to be saved? It means to be permanently lifted from sin (psychological self-abuse with all of its consequences as seen above) and shame to self-esteem and its God glorifying human need-meeting, constructive, and creative consequences. 42

Salvation is defined as rescue from shame to glory. 43

To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image — from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love. from doubt to trust. 44

And what is the real effect of being saved? “Glory restored is the real fruit of salvation.” 45


A Faulty Foundation

A building is only as strong as its foundation, and every argument stands or falls on its premise’s). In Dr. Schuller’s case we can readily see that his entire ministry is based upon a defective premise. What is it? He has knowingly based and structured his theology on what people wanted to hear! It began with him going from door to door, asking people what type of church they would like to attend. 46 It has continued to this day, albeit more sophisticatedly, with Dr. Schuller hiring firms like the Gallup Poll to conduct surveys on such pertinent topics as self-esteem of the American people. 47 Instead of asking himself what the people needed, he asked what they wanted. Sometimes these two are in agreement, but more often they are not. Instead of listening to the people, or even to himself, he should have asked God what the people needed and how he could help them obtain it!

Imagine someone like the prophet Jonah going to Nineveh and telling the people only the good things that they wanted to hear. After all, he could have reasoned, they would never listen to some foreigner preaching negative sermons. Why, none of the Ninevites even believed in the Jewish Scriptures. The result of this type of approach would have meant the destruction of Nineveh and all of its inhabitants.

A theology based upon opinion polls rather upon God’s Word is a direct fulfillment of what the Apostle Paul warned against: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Possibility Thinking

The teaching advanced by Dr. Schuller is clear. You can be whatever you want to be, all you have to do is believe in yourself. Any and every problem you encounter can be overcome, just never quit. “Set your goal, define your role, and pay your toll.” 48 “What you can conceive, you can achieve.” 49 And above all, never verbalize a negative thought or admit that something is impossible.

As we have seen, the teaching of “possibility thinking” is a cornerstone of Dr. Schuller’s theology. And in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this. After all, there are many biblical verses which affirm this. For example:

For nothing will be impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can.’ All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

There are several problems, however, with how Dr. Schuller presents this. First of all, his emphasis is virtually indistinguishable from the same type of teachings given in secular circles (e.g., Dale Carnegie’s Hot to Win Friends and Influence People). The only difference is that Dr. Schuller builds his message within a theistic framework. The problem lies in the fact that the biblical promises of God’s help apply only to those people who have a living relationship with God; that is, people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But Dr. Schuller admits that the main group of people he is trying to reach are non-Christians! Therefore, his “possibility thinking” teachings from the Bible really would not apply to them.

Second, in teaching that we can do anything that we can dream of, Dr. Schuller totally ignores the fact that we do have limitations. All of us are limited by our own natural abilities and by outside influences over which we have no control.

A final flaw in this type of teaching is that there are times when we must say unpleasant things or “verbalize negative emotions.” According to Dr. Schuller. the Apostle Peter would probably be one of the world’s greatest possibility thinkers. Why? Remember when Jesus began to tell his disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things and be killed (cf. Matt. 16:21f)? What was Peter’s reaction? He took Jesus aside and lectured Him on the dangers of negative thinking.

And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22).

We all know the rest of the story, Jesus rebuked Peter for not setting his “mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Elsewhere, Jesus actually commands us, under certain conditions, to verbalize negative emotions. “Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

The danger of Dr. Schuller’s teaching on “possibility thinking” is that he only shows one side of the coin and thus distorts God’s message.

The Gospel of Success

In attempting to marshal together biblical evidence to back his claims that God wants us to succeed in whatever we do, Dr. Schuller has taken one verse after another out of context. For example: “God’s will for you is clear …. God wants you to succeed. He has promised to ‘crown your efforts with success!”‘ (Prov. 3:6). 50

It is no accident that Dr. Schuller quotes Proverbs 3:6 from The Living Bible, which is a paraphrase, not a translation. Proverbs 3:6, according to the Hebrew Masoretic text, reads: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him. And he will direct thy paths.” 51 The Hebrew word for “direct” is “yashar,” meaning “To go straight or direct in the way” or “to make (a way) straight” 52 Thus God is promising to guide us as we walk with Him, not to make us succeed in everything we do.

Many examples could be cited to show Dr. Schuller’s frequent distortion of scriptural passages in order to justify his theological positions. For instance. what does Dr. Schuller say Jesus really meant when He taught His disciples to pray for their “daily bread” (Matt. 6:11)?

“Give us our daily bread.” What does the word bread mean? Bread refers to life’s basic needs. God doesn’t promise that we will get the dessert, but he does promise that we will have the crust…. What is the crust that God offers? We call it possibility thinking. 53

“Give us this day our daily bread.” God will give us what we need. And what is that? It is creative, inspiring, possibility-pregnant ideas. 54

Dr. Schuller is guilty of even more blatant distortion when he equates the “rivers of living water” Jesus referred to in John 7:38 with self-esteem.

And I can feel the self-esteem rising all around me and within me. “Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me” (John 7:38, TLB). I’ll really feel good about myself. 55

Did Jesus really equate “rivers of living water” with “self-esteem”? The Apostle John (who I think was in a better position to tell us what Jesus meant than Dr. Schuller is) tells us exactly what Jesus was saying: “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).

More examples could be cited showing how Dr. Schuller takes verses out of context and distorts their meaning, but these will suffice.

One of the most lamentable aspects of Dr. Schuller’s “Gospel of Success” is in the effect it can have on people who genuinely try but fail. For people like this I cannot think of anything more pernicious than to tell them that “if you fail, you do so because you choose to fail.” 56 William Kirk Kilpatrick, associate professor of educational psychology at Boston College, makes the following observation:

If you lead people to believe that by the power of their mind they can become rich and change their life, and if in fact that doesn’t happen, not only are they going to feel frustration but also more guilt for not having enough faith. 57

Christians may oftentimes be successful in their earthly endeavors, but God has not promised this to us. In fact, many of the greatest men and women of faith were total failures in the world’s eyes (cf. Heb. 11:35-40). Worldly success may be a byproduct of obedience to God, but it should never be our primary goal.

Self-Esteem: A New Reformation?

We must first address the question, is it wrong to have high self-esteem? The biblical answer is no! In the book of Genesis we are told that man was created in God’s own image (Gen. 1:26-27). In other places the Scriptures state that “we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16), and that we are “sons and daughters” of God (2 Cor. 6:18). In Eph. 2:10, we are told that “we are His workmanship.” The word “workmanship” comes from the Greek word “poiema” from which we get our English word “poem”. Just as a poem is an artistic expression of the poet, so we are artistic expressions of God. How unique and special is each person? When a baby is conceived,

it will be a combination of the genetic content of one of the mother’s 400 ova with those of one of, say, 360 million spermatozoa released at the same time. The child you conceived might have been any one of about 144 billion distinct human beings, assuming that all of the spermatozoa really had an equal chance to fertilize that ovum. The slightest difference in the timing of the sex act would have tipped the odds in favor of a different spermatozoa — and resulted in a different child. No other couple could produce a child identical to yours. 58

Truly King David was right when he proclaimed: “I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).

There must be a proper balance in our evaluation of man. We need to see ourselves as God sees us. How does God view man?

He sees us as beings of tremendous value and worth. In John 3:16 the word “so” is often overlooked: God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sins, that we could be reconciled with him.

Once again, however, there is a flip-side to the coin. God sees us as His creation (not as His peers) who have willingly rebelled against Him. Dr. Schuller rejects this fact in his evaluation. He believes that the greatest need of man is having his self-esteem built up, 59 therefore we should never say anything derogatory about man. Man’s main goal, he believes, should be seeking to have his self-esteem built up high enough that he can respond to God’s love. The only reason people do not accept God is because they have a low self-esteem and thus fear Him. 60

The main question is, “Is Dr. Schuller’s analysis of man’s problem correct?” We will consider the scriptural answer to this in the following sections dealing with “Man’s Nature” and “Jesus and Sinners.” Right now, though, I believe that simply by looking at the evidence before us we can see that Dr. Schuller’s logic is faulty.

Lewis Smedes, a professor at Fuller Seminary and the author of Love Within Limits, makes the following cogent observation:

I have seen a hit man of the Mafia who says “I feel very good about myself.” I have talked to prostitutes who have felt very good about themselves, and I’m not judging them, but I have talked to saints who felt very badly about themselves. The crux in this whole business is not whether we feel good about ourselves, though that is important, but what is the truth about ourselves? 61

If Dr. Schuller is correct, if the only reason we run from God is because we have a low self-esteem and fear Him, then people who have a high self-esteem should all become Christians and also should not sin anymore! But we know from practical experience that this is not the case.

William Kirk Kilpatrick states that a high self-esteem often inhibits people from coming to God:

Like the rich man who will have such a hard time getting into heaven, his riches protect him from the knowledge of how utterly dependent on God he is. In the same way the man who is brimful of self-esteem is unable to see how utterly broken he is, how we all are. 62

It is both interesting and significant that recent psychological studies have confirmed what the Bible has always taught: man’s problem is not low self-esteem but rather pride. While at times this is expressed in low self-esteem it is also very often manifested as an inflated self-image. Dr. David Myers, a professor of psychology at Dr. Schuller’s alma mater, Hope College, comments on this in his article, “The Inflated Self .”

[What an intriguing irony it is that so many Christian writers are now echoing the old prophets of humanistic psychology at the very time that research psychologists are amassing new data concerning the pervasiveness of pride. Indeed it is the orthodox theologians, not the humanistic psychologists, who seem closest to the truth that is glimpsed by social psychology. 63

Church history also refutes Dr. Schuller’s teaching on self-esteem. He believes that we are entering a “new age of church growth” and that the only way the Church can succeed is to build up people’s allegedly low self-esteem. 64 Dr. Schuller must answer a significant question: why didn’t the early Church preach a theology of self-esteem? They were virtually surrounded by nonbelievers, people whose greatest need, according to Dr. Schuller, was to have their self-esteem lifted. However, the early Church followed the example of Paul, and preached “Christ and Him crucified” not any gospel of self-esteem (e.g., 1 Cor. 2:2; 1:18,23; Rom. 3:10-18). We find no examples in the preaching of the apostles that man’s basic problem was a low self-esteem. Instead we find that it is a need for forgiveness of his sins.

An Anthropocentric Theology?

As we have seen, Dr. Schuller believes that the Reformers seriously erred in centering their theology around God instead of around man. The verse people like Dr. Schuller usually cite to support that teaching is Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Their argument is that we must first learn to love ourselves, to have our own self-esteem built up, and only then can we love others.

But what is the context of this verse? A scribe came up to Jesus and asked Him what was the greatest commandment.

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

‘The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

Two things stand out from Jesus’ words. The first is that, according to Jesus, our theology must be primarily God-centered, not man-centered, because the first commandment was to love God with everything we have. The second thing that stands out is that we were not commanded to love ourselves. We are commanded to love our neighbor just as we love ourselves. This agrees with what the Apostle Paul wrote: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Eph. 5:29).

In truth, a theology that is centered around man inseparably becomes a not-so-subtle attempt at self-worship. A theology that is based on self-esteem is really only a new narcissism. In Beyond Personality which was first published at the same time Dr. Schuller was an undergraduate at Hope College, C.S. Lewis succinctly critiqued and destroyed any attempt at a theology based on man’s self-esteem.

Christ will indeed give you a real personally: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him …. Look for yourself. and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. 65


A long with telling us that our greatest need is a high self-esteem and that our theology must be man-centered, Dr. Schuller has also said that we do not have to worry about pride.

Do not fear pride: the easiest job God has is to humble us. 66

But the Bible warns believers against pride and exhorts Christians to practice humility as a safeguard against pride:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling (Prov. 16:18).

… and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Pet. 5:5).

In the book of Isaiah we find that Lucifer, the “star of the morning,” was cast down from his eminent position because of the great pride that he possessed (Isa. 14:10-14). His end result was to be “thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (v. 15).

The Bible

One of the reasons Dr. Schuller has drawn so much criticism is that his theology and teachings are not based on the Bible. In fact, as we have just seen, they are oftentimes diametrically opposed to what the Bible says in context. He believes that Jesus’ words are the only safe basis within which we can build any theological framework. 67 In one place in Self-Esteem: The New Reformation he writes:

A simple and very wise man once said: “If you really want to know a person’s deepest desire and most conscientious concern, study, if you can, his unvarnished prayers. Stealthily approach him in his intimate closet and try to overhear what he is really praying about passionately.” 68

I think that this is excellent advice. To find out what our view of the Bible should be, we will look at what Jesus said about Scripture, and we will begin by looking at one of the most passionate prayers Jesus ever uttered, His prayer to His Father, just before His passion and death.

In John 17 Jesus is praying for His disciples, whom He will soon be leaving, He asks His Father to: “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:7).

Jesus evidently believed that all of God’s word is truth, not just part of it! Just before this. Jesus stated that he had guarded His disciples and that none of them had perished except Judas, “the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (verse 12). Again, Jesus plainly, believed that whatever the Scriptures said would take place, would.

In John 10:35 Jesus stated that “the Scripture cannot be broken.” In Matt. 5:18 He said “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”

Dr. Schuller’s grave error is that he attempts to make a dichotomy between Jesus’ words and the rest of the Bible. He claims to base his teachings and his hope for “new reformation” on what Jesus said. In reality, he simply accepts the sayings of Jesus that he agrees with and ignores the rest!


Perhaps the most insidious aspect of Dr. Schuller’s teaching method is the way he redefines biblical terms at will. A prime example of this is how he redefines sin. According to Dr. Schuller, sin is anything that robs us of our “divine dignity” or, sin is a “deep lack of trust.” 69 According to the Bible, though, sin is rebellion and lawlessness on man’s part.

… sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).

All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17).

Jesus gave another definition of sin. He said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world “concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9). Thus sin is defined as any refusal to believe in Jesus.

Dr. Schuller believes that we should never discuss people’s sins, because to do so would be an insult to their dignity. R.C. Sproul addresses this type of attitude in his book In Search of Dignity:

There is a road to redemption where every human being has dignity. Many reject this road because they think Christianity destroys self-esteem, disparaging human value with woeful denunciations of the evil of man. Preachers rail against corruption, calling man a wretched sinner. Did not David cry out, “I am a worm and not a man” and Job grovel in the dust moaning, “I hate myself”?

These grim statements make it seem that Christianity has a low view of human dignity. But the point often overlooked is that the character of sinfulness in no way diminishes the worth of persons. It is because God takes sin seriously . . . .

By taking sin seriously we take man seriously. Evil may mar the divine image and cloud its brilliance, but it cannot destroy it. The image can be defaced, but it can never be erased. The most obscene symbol in human history is the cross: yet in its ugliness it remains the most eloquent testimony to human dignity. 70

If we Christians, especially the leaders who are shepherds in the Church, are ever going to help anyone, we must start by being honest. This means that we do not close our eyes to mankind’s true condition. We need to have the courage to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

Man’s Nature

What is man’s true condition? Dr. Schuller believes that man is basically good. “By nature we are fearful, not bad.” 71 What does the Bible say?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer.17:9).

There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless: there is none who does good, there is not even one (Rom. 3:10-12).

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh (Rom.7:18).

Jesus and Sinners

Perhaps one of the most incredible statements Dr. Schuller has ever made is that Jesus never called anyone a sinner. He reasons that if Jesus never called people sinners, then neither should he. This is a perfect example of how Dr. Schuller picks and chooses from among the words of Jesus, accepting only what he likes and leaving the rest. Did Jesus ever call people sinners? Yes, many times.

I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins (John 8:24).

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7).

And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Jesus knew what type of a heart each person had (cf. John 2:24-25). If they were genuinely repentant for their sins, He would forgive them and then lift them up. But if they were hardhearted and antagonistic, Jesus would speak very harshly to them. Dr. Schuller does not believe this: “Jesus, when he confronted secular unbelievers as well as conspicuous sinners, still refrained from insulting or embarrassing them. He left their dignity intact.” 72

Once again Dr. Schuller purposely ignores the parts of the Bible that he finds distasteful.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. . . (John 8:44)

Woe to you, blind guides . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matt. 23:16, 27)

Dr. Karl Menninger, a renowned psychiatrist and the head of the Menninger Clinic, wrote a book over ten years ago entitled Whatever Became of Sin? His thesis was that the reason so many people are confused and lost is because people no longer think of themselves as sinners. He concluded that if we really want to help people, then we should “tell it like it is,” we should point out their sin to them so they can turn from it and be healed.

Some clergymen prefer pastoral counseling of individuals to the pulpit function. But the latter is a greater opportunity to both heal and prevent. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, indeed. and there is much prevention to be done for large numbers of people who hunger and thirst after direction toward righteousness. Clergymen have a golden opportunity to prevent some of the accumulated misapprehensions, guilt, aggressive action, and other roots of later mental suffering and mental disease.

How? Preach! Tell it like it is. Say it from the pulpit. Cry it from the housetops. 73

Man’s greatest need is not to have his self-esteem built up or to have his “lost glory” restored. His greatest need is to have his sins forgiven and thus be reconciled to God! The joy of forgiveness and of restored fellowship with our Creator is the greatest joy man can experience. The person whose has been forgiven can then sing out with King David:

Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned. Happy is the man unto whom the Lord counteth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile (Ps. 32:1-2).

To avoid mentioning sin is to preach a distorted Gospel. R.C. Sproul eloquently summarizes this as follows:

The preacher who smiles benignly from his pulpit, assuring us that “God accepts you just the way you are” tells a monstrous lie. He sugarcoats the gospel of love with saccharine grace. God does not accept the arrogant; He turns His back to the impenitent. He maintains love toward His fallen creatures, inviting them back to restored fellowship, but strings are securely attached as we must come on bended knee. 74

Man and Glory

Many times throughout his writings Dr. Schuller asserts that we are all children of God. Is that what the Bible teaches? No, the Bible teaches that we are God’s creation, it does not state that we are His children by nature. Because we have rebelled willingly against God, we are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). Only by asking Jesus into our lives do we become adopted children of God: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12; also cf. Romans 8:15,23; Galatians 4:5).

There are some Scriptures referring to the glory believers will possess (e.g., Col. 3:4; Rom. 9:23; John 17:22). However, any “glory” ascribed to believers is glory derived from Jesus Christ and is a reflection of the divine glory.

Because of his misunderstanding of man’s nature and man’s greatest need, Dr. Schuller has developed a doctrine that teaches the glorification of the human being.

Christianity with its doctrine of salvation is a faith designed by God for the glory of the human being for the greater glory of God. 75 Because of this we can pray, “O God, I am great.” 76

It is no coincidence that Dr. Schuller rarely cites Scripture passages to buttress his teachings. The reason is twofold: he does not believe in the total authority of the Bible, and (as this article demonstrates) the Bible often contradicts what he teaches! What do the Scriptures tell us about glory? Is it something we deserve because “we were created to be princes and princesses?” 77 Or is it something that only God deserves? The Bible is explicit on this.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen (Rom. 11:36).

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased (Luke 2:14).

I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another (Isa. 42:8).

What can we boast of, then? What can we glory in? The Bible tells us to “glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Elsewhere the Bible states “But he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor. 10:17; also cf. Gal. 6:14; Acts 12:23; Jer. 9:23-24).

It is at this point that Dr. Schuller crosses the line from harmful teaching to blasphemy. He states: “And we can pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, honorable is our name.'” 78 He has gone to the extreme. He has attempted to lift man up to the level of God!

The highest pinnacle of pride and deception is to attempt to deify oneself. This is what Lucifer did; he said “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14). We cannot place ourselves on the same level as the Creator of the universe. We can never place our name on the same level as God’s name!

This is not the only time Dr. Schuller has done this. At other times he has attempted to lower God to man’s level. He writes: “God’s need for glory compels him to redeem his children from shame to glory.” 79

God does not “need” glory; as the Creator of the universe He already possesses all glory! And God is not “compelled” to do anything. Whatever He does it is because He has chosen to do it, not because He is compelled to do it. As the God-man, Jesus Christ is intrinsically worthy of all honor and glory (Rev. 5:12). However, on the Phil Donahue show Dr. Schuller attempted to portray Jesus as being an egotist.

But the cross sanctifies the ego trip. That’s very significant. In other words, Jesus had an ego. He said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Wow, what an ego trip He was on. 80

This type of teaching is indefensible blasphemy. Jesus “humbled Himself” by His Incarnation (Phil. 2:8). We are told that “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). To talk of Jesus, the eternal God made flesh, as being on an ego trip is heresy!

Is Man Worthy?

Dr. Schuller teaches that nonbelievers do not respond to God because they do not feel worthy of Him. His goal is to tell people that they are worthy of God: “The most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, “I am unworthy. I may have no claim to divine sonship if you examine me at my worst.'” 81

The truth of the matter is that even at our very best we are still unworthy of God. Jesus said: “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done”‘ (Luke 17:10).

A story from Jesus’ life also illustrates this. A Roman centurion came to Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant. Jesus agreed to go with him and heal his servant, but the centurion replied: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matt. 8:8).

What was Jesus’ reaction? Did He say “Don’t you know it’s a sin to feel unworthy? Why of course you’re worthy of Me, after all you were born to be a prince! Don’t have such low self-esteem.” No. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matt. 8:10).

God accepts us only because of one thing: what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary (Rom. 5:9; 1 John 1:7). He does not accept us because of our self-worth, or because of any works that we do (Eph. 2:8-9; Isa. 64:6).

The Gospel

In proclaiming the Gospel, Dr. Schuller believes you must never put another person down. “In fact, you are not preaching the Gospel unless you make people happy, because the Gospel is good news.” 82

The mistake Dr. Schuller makes is assuming that everyone who hears the Gospel has an open and receptive heart. If they do, then they will likely respond to it happily. But many people have no desire at all to change their lives.

What was the reaction when Peter and John preached the Gospel before the Sanhedrin? The Jewish leaders were “cut to the heart” (Acts 5:33). How did the Jewish leaders respond when Stephen proclaimed the Gospel? Likewise, they were “cut to the heart” and began “gnashing their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54). When Paul preached the Gospel in Jerusalem, a riot broke out (Acts 22).

These responses were not because Peter and John and Stephen and Paul were preaching “possibility thinking.” The people were not “cut to the heart” because they were told that they were children of God and deserved to have their lost glory restored. Why were all of these people offended? Because of the “offense of the cross” (Gal. 5:11).

The Apostle Paul proclaimed: “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). To the Jews this was “a stumbling block.” To the Gentiles it was “foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23), and to Dr. Schuller it would be insulting (if he is consistent with his own teachings) because it reminds people of their sins!

There are many times when we have to point out something negative to people before we can help them. Alcoholics Anonymous has had tremendous success in helping alcoholics quit drinking because they have used a biblical principle: before they can help an individual quit drinking, he must first admit that he has a problem. Only after he admits that he is an alcoholic can he be helped.

It is much the same with the Gospel: there are many negative aspects to it. First of all, you are a sinner. Second, there is nothing that you can do to help yourself. And finally, if you are not helped, you are going to hell. If these things are not pointed out to the nonbeliever, then the Gospel has not been presented.

But someone might ask, “What about the testimonies of people who have been converted through Dr. Schuller’s ministry?” It is true that there are testimonies of people who have come to the Lord by reading his books or hearing him on television. But it is also true that there are many nonChristians who have felt better about themselves after listening to Dr. Schuller, but were totally unaware of the fact that they are lost sinners who are destined for hell unless they accept Jesus Christ! Michael Nason, in his biography on Dr. Schuller, records several such “testimonies”:

Although I am of the Jewish faith, you have helped me to realize that through God and love all things are possible. 83

“We’re Jewish,” the gentleman said. “In fact, our son is a rabbi, but we love to watch you, Dr. Schuller . . . 84

The terrible tragedy is that there are untold thousands of nonbelievers who think they know what Christianity is all about because they watch the “Hour of Power” or have read one or more of Dr. Schuller’s books, yet who have never heard the true gospel.


As we have seen, Dr. Schuller believes that salvation is being rescued “from shame to glory.” 85 For him being “born again” means to “be changed from a negative to a positive self-image — from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust.” 86 Dr. Schuller’s problem is that he has (as he often does) confused an effect with its cause. Salvation, or being “born again,” gives us a basis for a high self-esteem and to have a greater love and trust. However, salvation is not a synonym for self-esteem. According to the Bible the new birth is a spiritual phenomenon, not a psychological one John 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

What is the “real fruit” of salvation? It is not a restoration of our pride and glory. Rather, it is a restoration of our fellowship with God. It means that we now have a living relationship with our Maker and have been saved from the punishment that we justly deserved.


A modern-day, adapted version of Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:10-14) will aptly conclude our study of Robert Schuller’s “New Reformation.”

Two men went up into the church to pray, one a possibility thinker, the other a negative thinker. The possibility thinker stood and was praying thus to himself, “God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: people with low self-esteem, people who think they are unworthy of You, or even like this negative thinker. I think only positive thoughts for I was created to be a prince, I am worthy of glory, honorable is our name!”

But the negative thinker, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” I tell you, the negative thinker went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.


1. Robert H. Schuller, Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking (Old Tappan, NJ: Spire Books, 1967), p. 20.

2. Robert H. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982), p. 12.

3. Ibid.

4. Bella Stumbo, “Schuller: The Gospel of Success” Los Angeles Times, 29 May 1983, part 1, p.24.

5. Robert H. Schuller, You Can Become the Person You Want to Be (New York: Pillar Books, 1973), p. 65.

6. Ibid., p. 39.

7. Robert H. Schuller, It’s Possible (New York: Fawcett Gold Medal, 1978), p. 28.

8. Schuller, Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking, p. 189.

9. Stumbo, “Schuller: The Gospel of Success”, loc. cit.

10. Michael Nason and Donna Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story (Waco: Word Books,, 1983), p. 152.

11. Robert H. Schuller, Daily Power Thoughts (Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publishers, n.d.), p. May 29.

12. Schuller. Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking, p. 112.

13. Schuller, It’s Possible. p. 29.

14. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 19.

15. Robert H. Schuller, Self-Love: The Dynamic Force of Success (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1969). p. 21.

16. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 57.

17. Ibid., p. 64.

18. Ibid., p. 39.

19. Ibid., p. 45.

20. Ibid., p. 136.

21. Ibid., p. 14.

22. Ibid., p. 15.

23. Ibid., pp. 63, 64.

24. Ibid., p. 67.

25. Ibid., pp. 66, 67.

26. “Self-Love: How Far? How Biblical How Healthy?” Eternity, February 1979, p. 23. Also cf. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 127.

27. Schuller, Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking, p. 209.

28. Schuller, Self-Love: The Dynamic Force of Success, pp. 87, 88.

29. Schuller, Daily Power Thoughts, p. March 23.

30. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 54.

31. Ibid., p. 52.

32. Ibid., p. 39.

33. Ibid., pp. 26, 27.

34. Ibid., p. 140.

35. Ibid., p. 69.

36. Ibid., p. 16.

37. Ibid., p. 98.

38. Ibid., p. 52.

39. Ibid., p. 80.

40. Ibid., p. 127.

41. Robert H. Schuller, Your Future is Your Friend, (New Canaan, NJ: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1964), p. 18.

42. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 99.

43. Ibid., p. 151.

44. Ibid., p. 68.

45. Ibid.. p. 161.

46. Nason and Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story, p. 59.

47. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 17.

48. Nason and Nason, Robert Schuller: The lnside Story, p. 171.

49. Stumbo, “Schuller: The Gospel of Success”, loc. cit.

50. Schuller, Daily Power Thoughts, p. May 29.

51. The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955), p. 987.

52. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Vol. I (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980, p. 417.

53. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 80.

54. Ibid., p. 82.

55. Ibid., p. 80.

56. Schuller, It’s Possible, loc. cit.

57. Jon Trott, and William Kirk Kilpatrick, “The Psychological Connection”, Cornerstone, Vol. 12., Issue 68, p. 18.

58. Roberts Rugh and Landrum B. Shettles, From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life’s Beginnings, (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 18.

59. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 19.

60. Ibid.. pp. 15, 16.

61. “Self-Love: How Far? How Biblical? How Healthy?”, loc. cit.

62. Trott and Kilpatrick, “The Psychological Connection”, loc. cit.

63. David G. Myers “The Inflated Self,” The Christian Century, 1 December 1982, p. 1226.

64. “Self-Love: How Far? How Biblical? How Healthy?”, p. 24.

65. C.S., Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1943), p. 190.

66. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 57.

67. Ibid., p. 39.

68. Ibid., p. 46.

69. Ibid., p. 14.

70. R.C. Sproul, In Search of Dignity (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1983), p. 95.

71. Schuller. Self-Esteem The New Reformation, p. 67.

72. Ibid, p. 72.

73. Karl Menninger, Whatever Became Of Sin, (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1973), p. 228.

74. Sproul, In Search of Dignity, pp. 56, 57.

75. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 80.

76. Schuller, Daily Power Thoughts, p. January 24.

77. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 52.

78. Ibid., p. 69.

79. Ibid., p. 140.

80. Donahue Transcript #08120,12 August 1980, p. 10.

81. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 98.

82. Schuller, Your Future is Your Friend, loc. cit.

83. Nason and Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story, p. 147.

84. Ibid., p. 187.

85. Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 151.

86. Ibid., p. 68.

Mr. Gudel is a contributing editor to the Christian Research Journal

This article was first read by Mr. Gudel by invitation of the Evangelical Theological Society at their West Coast Conference in April of 1982.



by Joseph P. Gudel

Born in 1926 to an Iowan family of Dutch descent, Robert Schuller was reared in the Reformed Church in America. He decided to become a minister at the age of five, and after graduating from high school he received the necessary training at Hope College and Western Theological Seminary. The newly ordained Rev. Schuller entered the pastorate in 1951 at Hope Church in Chicago, which over the next four years grew from 38 to 400 members. In 1955 his denomination sent him to Orange County, California to establish a new church there. After trying unsuccessfully to rent numerous facilities, the 28-year-old Schuller finally rented the Orange County Drive-In Theater for Sunday mornings. A congregation in cars slowly grew, until by the second year they could afford to build a small chapel. Rev. Schuller (he did not receive his honorary doctorate until many years later) also continued to preach at the drive-in theater, because many people preferred to worship in their cars. During these first two years, Rev. Schuller went from door to door inviting people to come to his church, and asking them what type of church they would like to attend. According to his intimate friend Michael Nason,

To his surprise he found that most people didn’t even know the difference between the Old and New Testaments and couldn’t care less …. That’s when he realized that giving Bible studies on Sunday morning during a worship service would turn off most of the unchurched people entirely… Then he asked the people what sort of a church they would want to attend. They wanted light, beauty, tranquility, beautiful music, friendly people, programs that suited their needs, sermons that weren’t boring — better yet, sermons that weren’t even sermons! They wanted a place where they could feel comfortable..:. He decided at that point that he would never again use his pulpit as a teaching platform. (Michael Nason and Donna Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story (Waco: Word Books, 1983, p. 21)

It was at this time that he began to see his church as a mission, a place where non-Christians would feel comfortable enough to come in and then later accept Jesus. How would he do this? By preaching only positive things! Dr. Schuller credits close friend and fellow Reformed Church in America minister Dr. Norman Vincent Peale “with fine tuning his own positive faith and laying the foundation for his own Possibility Thinking that was to come.” (Ibid., p. 61) In September of 1959 groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the location of the present church property in Garden Grove, California. The next fall the congregation, with a membership of 700 people, moved into its new church budding. Rev. Schuller’s two churches were now combined into one. In July of 1966 construction began, on a 14-story “tower of hope” which was completed the following year. A 90-foot high cross that would light up at night was placed at the top of the 162-foot tower. In 1970 Dr. Schuller began what has become the most widely watched televised church service in the nation, Hour of Power. In 1975 construction began on a new sanctuary, and on September 14, 1980 the world famous Crystal Cathedral was officially opened for worship. All in all, Dr. Schuller’s many accomplishments are remarkable. From preaching to 50 cars from the roof of a drive-in snack bar, he has built up a congregation of over ten thousand members in a church that cost over 20 million dollars. Hour of Power is seen in over 175 cities with an audience of two to four million people. He receives between thirty and forty thousand letters a week and has a mailing list of over one million people. He has authored 19 books, several of them national best sellers. Since 1970 more than twenty thousand church leaders have attended Dr. Schuller’s “Institute for Successful Church Leadership.” Indeed, few people in the church today have had an impact comparable to that of Dr. Schuller.

Permission is granted for reproduction by the publisher of the Christian Research Journal (Spring 1985,  pages 16-25).



Jackie Alnor has this article on her facebook page. I pray that it will open the eyes of those who are unaware of all the false teachings that abound.

What Are We Left With?

As emergent apostate McLaren continues his satanic agenda to dismantle the Gospel, and as John Piper promotes Rick Warren, the real question emerges: “What Are We Really Left With?”

by James Jacob Prasch

First Satan raised up ecumenical deceiver Chuck Colson supported by false prophet Pat Roberstson and J. I. Packer to betray the scriptural Gospel compromising with the sacramental one of Roman Catholicism. Then Satan raised up anti-Israel preacher John Stott and Replacement Theology Restorationist Roger Forster to deny that Jesus died to save souls from a permanent conscious hell because they teach none exits. Then Satan raised up Tony Campolo and his son Bart to deny that things Scripture calls “sin” are sin, stating that portions of God’s Word with which they disagree will either be spiritualized away or ignored. Then Satan raised up Mike Bickel’s assortment of predatory perverts, drunks, homosexuals, and mystics — the Kansas City False Prophets who propagated an over-realized eschatology of Kingdom Dominion Theology fueled by failed prophetic predictions. Then Satan raised up Rick Warren to replace God’s peace plan with Rick Warren’s multi-faith one and replace the scriptural kerygma of Gospel presentation with a seeker-friendly one based on the marketing psychology of Peter Drucker, Bill Hybels, Robert Schuller, and New Age mystic Ken Blanchard. Warren’s “Purpose Driven Lie” is not built on biblical theology but on popular psychology which downplays sin. Then Satan raised up Steve Chalk to deny that Jesus died for sin because it would make God a child abuser in his view.

If this were not enough, then Satan deluded the church with counterfeit revivals in Toronto, Pensacola, and Lakeland raising up deceivers like……

Full Article Here


Discovering the New Age Movement / New World Order, Part Three

Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer


This is the third installment of this introductory series.  My intention is to provide a brief overview, not an all encompassing article.  The NAM/NWO is too large to contain in one article.  You may view the first part here and the second part here if you’ve not read them previously.


False Ecumenism / Religious Plurality

In its best usage, ‘ecumenism’ is a movement of unity among Biblical Christian denominations.[1]  I would call this true ecumenism.  However, a push to unite all churches who call themselves ‘Christian’ including the overtly new age Unity Church[2] among others, I would call false ecumenism.  Further, the attempt to unite Biblical Christianity to any other non-Christian faith I would term false ecumenism.  Unfortunately, the practice of much of the attempted unity today is a false kind and the term ‘ecumenism’ is used for this movement. 


The term ‘pluralism’ according to is, “a social organization in which diversity of racial or religious or ethnic or cultural groups is tolerated.”[3]  So, here I deal strictly with the religious aspect of pluralism in religious pluralism.  While it is certainly alright to tolerate other religious views, (although evangelism is our goal) we are not to attempt to unify at the expense of the purity of Biblical Christianity.


Recall that one of the goals of the New Age movement is a syncretism of all religions.  Since Biblical Christianity is problematic to New Agers with its insistence on one way to salvation – through Jesus Christ – the only way to merge with this movement is to modify the message.  In the Alice A. Bailey esoteric/occultic book From Bethlehem to Calvary she – actually Tibetan Master DK (Djwhal Khul) who channeled through her[4] – states:


Christianity will not be superseded.  It will be transcended, its work of preparation being triumphantly accomplished, and Christ will again give us the next revelation of divinity


…Can there not be revelations of God utterly unprecedented, and for which we have no words or adequate means of expression?  The ancient mysteries, so shortly to be restored, must be re-interpreted in the light of Christianity, and readapted to meet modern need[5] [Emphasis Mine]


Compare this to some statements by Mike Bickle[6] [currently of the International House of Prayer[7] (IHOP)] formerly of Kansas City Fellowship[6, 8] (KCF); Bob Jones, formerly one of the “Kansas City Prophets”[6] of KCF; and, Rick Joyner of MorningStar Ministries[9]:


“The Lord said simply, ‘I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the earth in one generation.’” [10] (Mike Bickle; Growing in the Prophetic) [Emphasis mine]


“They themselves will be that generation that’s raised up to death itself underneath their feet…a Church that has reached the full maturity of the god-man!…This generation of young people that are coming are going to see the beginning of the worldwide new order…It is going to change the expression of Christianity in a generation.”[11, 12, 13] (Bob Jones; Kansas City Fellowship Interview tape with Mike Bickle, 1988 as quoted by Jewel van der Merwe {Grewe}) [Emphasis mine]


“What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution.  This vision was given in order to begin awakening those who are destined to radically change the course and even the very definition of Christianity.”[14] (Rick Joyner The Harvest) [Emphasis mine]


And, during Todd Bentley’s “commissioning” service on June 23, 2008, Bill Johnson[15] said:


…We shape the course of history by partnering with you giving honor where it’s due.  You welcome the glory as well as anybody I’ve ever seen in my life – I long to learn from you in that and I bless you.  And, I pray with the rest of these that the measure of glory would increase, that Moses would no longer be the high water mark with the glory shown from his face but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church.  And that he would use your voice, he would use your grace, your anointing, to alter the face of the Church before the world[16] [Emphasis mine]


Has ‘the expression of Christianity’ and ‘the face of the church’ changed? Will it in the future?


            8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. [Hebrews 13:8 NIV]


            27But you remain the same and your years will never end [Psalms 102:27 NIV]


19God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change his mind [Numbers 23:19 NIV]           


“On October 13, 2007, …138 Muslim scholars and clerics sent an open letter ‘to leaders of Christian churches, everywhere.’”[17]  So began Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You – a document signed by ‘Christian leaders’ in answer to this open letter.[18]  On the home page of A Common Word, “…Thus despite their differences, Islam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two greatest commandments.”[19]


In an apparent effort not to offend, the ‘Christian leaders’ brought reproach upon Jehovah God.  This response sent back to Muslim scholars and clerics references “the Prophet Muhammad” [yes that’s a capital ‘P’ Prophet] and refers to God as “the All-Merciful One.”  I don’t recall this as one of the names listed for Jehovah God in my Bible.  In addition, Jesus Christ, while mentioned a few times, is never referred to as the Son of God or Savior – again in an effort not to offend.


32Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. [Matthew 10:32-33 NIV]


13…Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. [Exodus 23:13 NIV]


Here is a quote from “A Christian Response:”


When Freedom to worship God according to one’s conscience is curtailed, God is dishonored, the neighbor is oppressed, and neither God nor neighbor is loved [17] [Emphasis mine]


While Jehovah God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – gives us all free will to choose to love Him or not, He IS dishonored when we choose not to love Him.  And, to truly love our neighbor is to evangelize in hopes of their salvation.


4For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. [Deuteronomy 4:23 NIV]


One more quote from the “Christian Response:”


Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good.  Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another. [17] [Emphasis mine]


Following is a partial list of signatories beginning with the two individuals who were formerly speaking out against the New Age Movement referenced at the close of part two of this series:  Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church of Columbus; Richard Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary; Rick Warren, Founder and Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA; Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church; Lynn Green, International Chairman, YWAMDavid Yonggi Cho, Founder and Senior Pastor, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea; Brian McLaren, [Emerging Church movement] Author, Speaker, Activist; Berten A. Waggoner, National Director, Association of Vineyard Churches; Robert Schuller, Founder, Crystal Cathedral and Hour of Power; Kim B. Gustafson, President, Common Ground; Steve Moore, President and CEO, The Mission Exchange (formerly EFMA); John M. Buchanan, Editor/Publisher, The Christian Century; Leith Anderson; President, National Association of Evangelicals; James A. Kowalski, Dean, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, NY; David Neff, Editor in Chief and Vice President, Christianity Today Media Group.[17]  There are about 250 in total.


Here’s more on Fuller Theological Seminary in which they would unabashedly promote religious pluralism as well as New Age ideals and terminology. From a newsletter from 2003 of an event co-sponsored by Calvin College and Fuller Theological Seminary:


Drawing on the resources of scholars from various parts of the world who represent diverse historical and religious experiences of religio-cultural plurality, the consultation will reflect together on its meaning for faithful Christian witness.[17] [Emphasis mine]


In the events schedule of this weekend-long conference lasting Friday through Sunday were topics on Hinduism, Islam, “Primal/traditional religions,” and others.[20]  In the newsletter’s ‘Statement of Purpose:’


Since 1945 the forces of globalization have accelerated with the result that people everywhere have become conscious of the ‘world as a whole’ being bound more tightly together. At the same time they experience the “local” more intensely. This global-local dialectic is a key characteristic of globalization.


…This project focuses on religious plurality as an important element in this larger process of globalization and pluralization[20]  [Emphasis mine]


The term “global-local dialectic” is interchangeable with ‘think globally, act locally’ – very common New Age terms.  What were the “forces of globalization” which began in 1945?  Most likely this is referencing the birth of the United Nations in 1945 which superseded the League of Nations.  The UN is “an international organization formed after World War II in 1945 to promote international peace, security and cooperation under the terms of the Charter of the United Nations.”[21]  On a website detailing the “Evolution of The Great Invocation[22] – a prayer to the Antichrist – is  found the following:


The United Nations Conference on International Organization convened on April 25, 1945 in San Francisco, for five days right at the time of the Wesak. (That year the Taurus full moon fell on April 27.)[23] [Emphasis mine]


The Wesak Full Moon Ritual[24] is a celebration of the “Birth and Enlightenment of Buddha.”[25]  It’s interesting that this initial meeting of the UN was held right smack in the middle of an important occultic/esoteric holiday.


The Charter of the United Nations was signed on June 26 (exactly one month after the Gemini full moon of 1945, on May 26) and enacted on October 24, 1945, with the 51 signatures representing all sections of the planet.[23] [Emphasis mine]


The Pope’s ties to the United Nations


The papacy has had close ties to the UN since its inception.[26]  Pope Benedict XVI “supports robust global governance, in a fashion that has long bewildered neoconservative critics of the United Nations in the United States and elsewhere.”[26] [Emphasis mine]   Prior to the Pope’s visit of April 18 of this year, the President of the UN General Assembly, Serjan Kerim anticipated that the visit would be “special” since “more than a billion Catholics in the world share many of the concerns and aspirations of the UN.”[27]


The pope and the UN secretary-general “are two eminent moral authorities in the world,” Archbishop Migliore [Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s UN nuncio or ‘ambassador’] said noting that the UN secretary-general [currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea] “is oftentimes referred to as the ‘secular pope.’”


…The Holy See is an international actor of rank and has an important role to play in addressing a number of major international challenges,” he said.  One of those challenges, he added, is “religious interfaith dialogue, where the pope has taken important initiatives lately.


…Being at the forefront of the U.N. initiative for an alliance of civilizations,” he said, Spain was “particularly pleased with the pope’s call to interreligious and intercultural dialogue based on the dignity of the human being, which can only be of benefit to the United Nations and international community as a whole.[28] [All emphasis mine]


Is it a coincidence that the Pope’s visit to the US and the UN in New York, which commenced on the 15th of April, ended on the 20th[29] which was a full moon[30] tying into what’s known as “the Festival of the Christ?”[25] [Again, “the Christ” is actually the Antichrist.]  There are three important festivals to theosophists/esotericists.  The first is the “Festival of the Christ” in April, the second is Wesak in May and the third is the “Festival of Humanity” which is in June.[25]  All coincide with the full moon.  


The Papacy in the New Age


At the 23rd World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia on July 20, 2008 [the trip was actually 6 days total from July 15th through July 20th – note: there was a full moon on July 18] Pope Benedict XVI suggested New Age unity:[31] 


“In today’s Gospel, [cf. Luke 4:21], Jesus proclaims that a new age has begun, in which the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all humanity.”[31][Emphasis mine]


In context the Luke verse is referring to the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2 – a Messianic prophetic passage.  While there is no mention of the Holy Spirit being poured out in either the Luke or Isaiah verses, I concede that the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry would ultimately culminate in his death on the cross and outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2.  However, this quote above sounds suspiciously similar to Latter Rain[32, 33] teaching especially when taken together with the following:


At the Mass, the pope prayed that the World Youth Day experience would be a new Pentecost for all the participants, marking a new outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.[34] [Emphasis mine]


Additionally, Pope Benedict in his push for ecumenism warned we should not let doctrine divide the Church – another aspect of Latter Rain.[35]


“…We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.”[35] [Emphasis mine]


Note that the pope uses the term ‘new age’ three times in the following short passage.  Certainly, Pope Benedict must be aware of the negative implications of the term.


“…Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith’s rich vision, a new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God’s gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished — not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed,” the Bishop of Rome affirmed. “A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships.” “Dear young friends,” he urged, “the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.” The world and the Church need this renewal, Benedict XVI affirmed. “The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people,” he said. “She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness…”[36]


And last, but not least, is the following from an article proposing on a beauty pageant for nuns.  The contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 40, “and can be either full members of an order or novices.”[37]   Does this mean one is no longer beautiful after age 40?  Is this the line of demarcation?  At least there will be no swimsuit competition and the nuns would not be wearing anything revealing according to the article.  The photos will be placed on a blog and viewers can vote on their favorites.


Father [Antonio] Rungi said that he expected many who applied to be young, attractive – and non-Italian.  He said: “Do you really think nuns are all wizened, funereal old ladies?  Today, it’s not like that any more, thanks to an injection of youth and vitality brought to our country by foreign girls.”  He said there were nuns from Africa and Latin America who were “really very, very pretty.  The Brazilian girls above all.”


…He admitted that not all Catholics were in favor of the idea.  “I have had some e-mails from Christians who perhaps have not grasped the evangelizing spirit of the initiative, or the potential of the internet, which is a marvelous tool for spreading the Christian message.  Unfortunately, some people still have a closed mentality.”[37][Emphasis mine]


Does this seem like effective evangelism or does this seem wrong to you dear reader?  I agree the internet is “a marvelous tool for spreading the Christian message” but not in the way he’s thinking.          



[1] “ecumenism.” WordNet© 3.0. Princeton University.  26 Aug. 2008. <>


[2] <>


[3] “pluralism.” WordNet© 3.0. Princeton University.  26 Aug. 2008. <>


[4] <>


[5] Bailey, Alice A.  “Introduction to Initiation.” From Bethlehem to Calvary. Lucis Trust; copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; p 20-21


[6] <>


[7] <>


[8] <>


[9] <>


[10] Bickle, Mike. Growing in the Prophetic. Creation House. Lake Mary, FL; 1996 p 30


[11] (van der Merwe) Grewe, Jewel. “False Prophets.” Discernment Newsletter. May 1990 Volume 1, No.1 <  page 35 (Kansas City Fellowship Interview Bob Jones with Mike Bickle 1988)


[12] (van der Merwe) Grewe, Jewel. “A New Breed.” Discernment Newsletter. June 1990 <  page 45 (Kansas City Fellowship Interview Bob Jones with Mike Bickle 1988)


[13] (van der Merwe) Grewe, Jewel. “The Anointed Seed.” Discernment Newsletter. September 1990 <>  page 5 (Kansas City Fellowship Interview Bob Jones with Mike Bickle 1988)


[14] Joyner, Rick. The Harvest  <> 1993. MorningSter Publications. Charlotte, NC; back cover


[15] <>


[16] Johnson, Bill. “Todd Bentley ‘Commissioning’ of June 23, 2008.” <> 1:30 – 2:10


[17] <>


[18] <>


[19] <>


[20] “Christianity and Religious Plurality in Historical and Global Perspective.” April 25-27, 2003 <>


[21] American Society of International Law <>


[22] <>


[23] <>


[24] <>


[25] <>


[26] Allen, Jr., John L., “The Vatican’s Relative Truth.” The New York Times. <> 12/19/07


[27] “UN gets ready for Pope Benedict’s visit.” <> 04/11/08


[28] Stagnaro, Angelo. “Diplomats welcome Pope Benedict’s visit to United Nations.” Catholic News Service. <> 08/20/08


[29]  Wooden, Cindy. “Pope says trip to U.S. was opportunity to give, receive hope, faith.” <> 04/30/08


[30] <>


[31] Flynn, Father John, LC. “The New Age of the Holy Spirit.” Zenit. <> 07/27/08


[32] <>


[33] <>


[34] Wooden, Cindy. “Pope tells young people power of the Holy Spirit can transform world.” Catholic News Services. <> 07/20/08


[35] Wigen, Nancy. “Ecumenism ultimately points toward a common Eucharist, Pope tells Christians.” Catholic News Agency. <> 07/18/08


[36] “Pope Prays Closing Mass Will Be New Pentecost..” World Youth Day – Cross Media. <> 07/19/08


[37] Owen, Richard, “Priest Antonio Rungi wants beauty contest – for nuns.” The Times. <> 08/25/08

March 2023



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