Please turn in your Bibles this morning to II Peter chapter 3 as we look at Peters call for us to be diligent in our faith. Peter wants us to be aware that the Lords return is getting closer and thus, it should cause us to live our lives in such a way that it would bring glory to God and draw others to God through it!
Over the past few weeks we have seen Peter encourage us to cultivate Christian character. In that we saw how Gods Word is truth and thus, we need to apply it to our lives. We have looked at the condemnation of false teachers who bring in their destructive heresies, even denying the Lord Himself! In that we saw how the Emergent Church is bringing us to a new Jesus with a new cause that goes contrary to the truths of Gods Word, they in fact are nothing more than doctrines of demons! Thus, the warning is to stay alert and let the truth of God expose these false doctrines!
Here in chapter 3 of II Peter we see Peter speak of the confidence we have in Christs return. But, what is happening is this, false teachers are coming in and denying the Lords return, they are telling us that prophecy is not important even though over 25% of the Bible is prophetic in nature. Deborah Dombrowski, in her article titled, The End Of The World . . . As We Know It, wrote what she sees happening in the church. Now this is a little long, but it is so important and it will set the stage for what we will be looking at this morning. You see, how you feel about the Lords return is going to affect your behavior! Deborah wrote:
A growing number of well-known evangelical leaders today are teaching thousands of people that the world has a serious problem. The problem they describe is not what you might expect to hear, especially from evangelical leaders. They believe that those who claim Jesus is coming back soon and the Earth will face a horrible Armageddon or judgment are actually the cause of the worlds major problems and are prohibiting a time of great renewal from taking place. Talk of biblical end-time prophecy is considered by these men to be unnecessary and downright dangerous.
Tony Campolo in his recent book, Speaking My Mind, suggests that these type of end-time thinkers are even the cause of wars. He says, Their doctrines are a major factor in determining a far-ranging set of consequences that included American policies regarding militarism, the emergence of evangelical Zionism, attitudes toward Palestinians and the role of American geopolitics. (p. 207). He later says their impact on geopolitics can only lead to war. (p. 215).
Rick Warren suggests that Jesus doesnt want us to even think about prophecy or His return. Warren tells us that it is none of our business. He tells us that thinking about Jesus return is a ploy by Satan to get us distracted. (PDL, pp. 285, 286).
Richard Abanes, author and speaker, in his book End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon, criticizes many Christians who believe we should discuss prophecy and that there is indeed a coming Armageddon. He puts solid, Bible-based Christian leaders in the same category as cult leaders such as David Koresh, who led his group to an untimely end.
Are these evangelicals the first ones to hate the idea of Armageddon and the disaster that is coming to the world before Christ returns? In Warren Smiths book, Reinventing Jesus Christ, he quotes Barbara Marx Hubbard who says that those who believe in Armageddon are self-centered people who if not stopped will actually cause a self-fulfilling prophecy to take place the destruction of the world.
Marx Hubbard tells us of a global peace plan and she calls it an Armageddon alternative. This alternative can actually save the world from Armageddon, she says, but only if enough people believe it and only if the world can be rid of these self-centered doomsdayers. The species known as self-centered humanity will become extinct. The species known as whole-centered humanity will evolve. . . . Those who choose this version of the future will be there. Those who do not choose it will not be there. Marx Hubbards own book of Revelation describes a message she received from the Christ.: You are to prepare the way for the alternative to Armageddon, which is the Planetary Pentecost, the great instant of co-operation which can transform enough, en masse, to avoid the necessity of the seventh seal being broken. She continues: Tell them to recognize the God within themselves, and to follow that light through the darkness of tribulations to the dawn of the Universal Age, when only the God-conscious continue to exist, and everyone is like Christ. Those with the seal of the living God on their foreheads will be with Christ at the time of the transformation. I cannot return until enough of you are attracted and linked.
According to Marx Hubbard it is these self-centered believers that are standing in the way. And yet in the book of Revelation, in the last chapter, Jesus says not once but three times, I am coming quickly, while John in the same chapter tells us not to seal the words of the prophecy because the time is at hand.
In Warren Smiths book, Reinventing Jesus Christ, he quotes Alice Bailey who was told by her spirit guide over fifty years ago that the Forces of Darkness would oppose the new gospel and the New Age. Is this new gospel and Transformation one and the same as Brian McLarens New kind of Christian and Emerging Church? Is it the same as Rick Warrens spiritual awakening and global Transformation? With so many similarities, one can only surmise that they may indeed be so. And if that is the case, will there be a growing hostility and anger towards those of us who say, Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus? ( I Corinthians 16:22).
- Deborah Dombrowski, The End Of The World As We Know It
Do you understand what they are saying? We are the problem because we believe in the Word of God and we believe in the Lords return is getting close. And do you see that they are bringing New Age and Eastern Mysticism into the church, a new gospel, a different Jesus! This is not by those outside the church, but from within and many are following their destructive doctrines. It is the lie of Satan in the garden, you shall be as God and now the church is saying it!
Now how do I know that Armageddon, the judgment of God is coming? Because I can look back to the past judgment of God, the global flood that came to pass and the earth shows me the evidence of a global flood. It shows billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water all over the earth! Thus, because of what God has done in the past, because I trust in His Word, I have full assurance He will judge the earth again, this time by fire, before He establishes His millennial reign on this earth!
Also, as Nathan Busenitz tells us, The hope of Christs coming was of paramount importance for the early church. In fact, its certainty was so real that first-century believers would greet one another with the term maranatha, meaning Lord, come quickly. Instead of being frightened by the possibility, they clung to it as the culmination of everything they believed. Not surprisingly, the New Testament reflects this intense anticipation by referencing Jesus return, whether directly or indirectly, in every New Testament book except Philemon and 3 John.
- Nathan Busenitz, Living a Life of Hope, p. 122
Just as it was important for the early church to believe in the soon return of Christ, it is also important for us, no matter what others may say. We have the Word of God that gives us the information of the things that will transpire before Jesus returns. With that as our background, lets begin reading in II Peter chapter 3, starting in verse 11 and see what the Lord has for us as we look at this subject of being diligent as we live out our faith because the Lord is coming back!
As I said on Thursday, back when I was first saved in 1983 prophecy was a hot topic. Everyone was talking about it, even the unsaved! But, in twenty-three years that fervency in the imminent return of Jesus Christ has faded away! Let me give you an example of what I mean. There was a news article that came out on February 20, 2006 and titled, Chief Rabbi Asks Dalai Lama To Help Set Up Religious UN In Jerusalem. And this is what the article said:
Israels Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger, meeting with the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist monk who is the leader of Tibet, suggested that representatives of the worlds religions establish a United Nations in Jerusalem, representing religions instead of nations, like the UN currently based in New York.
How many Christians even noticed or even saw the possible prophetic importance of having an organization of world religions set-up in Jerusalem? Why are Christians so lethargic about prophecy when the signs of Christs return are everywhere? Maybe it is because prominent Christian leaders are telling the Christian masses that following prophetic signs is a waste of time! Case in point, listen to what Rick Warren said on pages 285-286 of his best selling book, Purpose Driven Life in regards to Bible prophecy. He feels that prophecy is a distraction and thus, commenting on Acts 1:6-8 he wrote:
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission to the world. He said in essence, The details of My return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that. . . . Speculating on the exact timing of Christs return is futile, because Jesus said, No one knows that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Since Jesus said He didnt know the day or hour, why should you try to figure it out. . . . If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.
- Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, pp. 285-286
Rick Warren is not alone in this, it is the philosophy of the Emergent Church and I believe it is having devastating consequences on Christians behavior, how they are living out their faith. John tells us in I John 3:2-3, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. You see that, in anticipating the imminent return of Christ it causes us to live holy lives because when He comes back we dont want to be involved in something that would dishonor Him!
Also, Jesus rebuked the Jewish people for not knowing the time of His first coming. In Luke 19:41-44, on Palm Sunday, we are told, Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
You see, signs were everywhere for the Messiah to come and even as He stood before them, they didnt see because their beliefs were contrary to what Jesus was saying, what the Word of God said! There are over 300 prophecies regarding the first coming of Jesus. And Daniel tells us the exact day Jesus would ride through Jerusalem as Messiah the King, and yet they didnt see it because they were not looking! Regarding the second coming of Jesus, there are over 500 prophecies and if this was not important, why would God give us so many? If we are not to be looking for His return, why is there so much of the Scriptures that relate to this event?
Yes, we are not to set dates for the Lords return because we dont know the exact date, but we do know the signs and they do clearly point to the fact He is coming back soon. The biggest sign is that the Jews are back in the land of Israel, which occurred in 1948 and they are back in Jerusalem in 1967. We see the formation of a one-world government, a one-world religion, a cashless society, a threat of a major war in the Middle East as Russia is now making alliances with Iran and Iran is preparing nuclear weapons and telling the world the Jews must be destroyed!
What happens when you see stores putting up Christmas decorations? You know that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Okay, bad example but you see what I mean. As you look at the signs of the times, you know the Lords return is getting closer, it can happen at any time, thus, be prepared!
But here is also a warning because some have taken this to unbiblical conclusions. After studying the Bible for 14 years, William Muller believed the Lord would return on April 3, 1843. So some of his disciples went to the mountaintops, I guess they were hoping to get a head start to heaven. Others waited in graveyards hoping to ascend with their departed loved ones. That day came and went and nothing happened. Thus, another date of March 21, 1844, but nothing happened. And finally a third date, October 22, 1844 but still nothing happened. In recent times people have charged to their limits on their charge cards thinking they would not have to pay, the Lord is coming back any day, bad idea!
In Luke 19:33 the Lord tells us to occupy or continue doing the work until He comes back. That is where Rick Warren and the others who say prophecy doctrines are keeping us from evangelism are very wrong. Knowing the Lord is coming back soon should cause us to share our faith with others, let them see the signs for themselves!
But, what has happened as we dont believe the Bible is the Word of God, that the Lord is coming back soon, is that it has caused us to have a non-biblical worldview that has affected our morals! In fact, according to a 2003 national survey only 9% of born again Christians have a biblical worldview.
For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that:
Now listen carefully to how this affects our morals, how we live out our life and I am only going to focus on people who call themselves born again. Among born again adults, one out of five (19%) describe abortion as morally acceptable as opposed to 36% of the adult public.
Interestingly enough, among born again adults, one-third (34%) say that sexual relations between gay people should be legal while just 9% say that such activity is morally appropriate. Does that make any sense to you? They want this to be legal even though they feel it is morally wrong!
In regards to sexual relationships, born again adults, 36% of them said co-habitation is morally acceptable! 39% defined sexual fantasies as morally acceptable! And 39% said divorce for reasons other than adultery is not a sin! What are these Christians being taught?
In regards to drunkenness, 20% of born again adults said this is morally acceptable! 22% of born again adults feel profane language is morally acceptable! And 30% of born again adults said that watching a movie with explicit sexual behavior is morally acceptable! Not only that, 21% of born again adults feel that reading magazines with explicit sexual pictures and nudity is morally acceptable!
In the article, Practical Outcomes Replace Biblical Principles as the Moral Standard, we are told:
The results of the study caused George Barna, who oversaw the research project, to remark, Americans are correct in suggesting that the moral state of the country is in decline, but they may be looking in the wrong place to find the genesis of the problem. Almost half of the population 47% - holds a non-biblical moral view on at least four of the eight core behaviors we tested, suggesting that perhaps the moral problems of the nation are not always attributable to other people but often relate to our own attitudes and actions.
Religious leaders and people committed to biblical standards of living will be discouraged to realize that matters are highly likely to get worse in years to come, Barna continued. The emerging generation of parents is the least likely of any demographic subgroup in the nation to possess and, therefore, to transmit biblical moral values. They will naturally impart to their children their own beliefs, and model and reinforce behaviors that fit their own values. Within the next quarter century we will likely see a state of radical moral amnesia in America.
When asked why this change has occurred, Barna stated that religious institutions have failed to present a compelling case for a biblical basis for moral truth. Most people do not believe that there is any source of absolute moral truth. Even born again individuals are abandoning the notion of law based on scriptural principles. Families, who hold a major responsibility for shaping the moral values and attitudes of children, are ill-equipped to do that job in relation to a Christian worldview or on the basis of a comprehensive and coherent notion of faith-based truth. The result is that busy people, regardless of their faith affiliation, wing it when it comes to moral decisions. Religious institutions could greatly influence people in these areas, but theyd have to substantially alter their existing strategies.
- George Barna, Practical Outcomes Replace Biblical Principles as the Moral Standard
Obviously this is a big problem as we see the church becoming like the world. Notice again what Peter says here in II Peter 3:11-13, Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
In other words, Peter is saying, Why are you living like that, indulging in sin when sin is going to be destroyed and the Lord is going to create a new heavens and a new earth? Why are you living like that when the Lord is coming back? I think the reason is simple, people dont want to believe it. Case in point:
President Clinton, when he was in office, named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality. She said, [The United States] needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. [Until it does so], we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head.
Folks, God is not mocked and dont equate His longsuffering, His grace with His inability to deal with sin, to judge sin. Peter tells us, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9. If it wasnt for His grace, we would all be toast!
You see, Jesus said in John 3:16-17, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. God gets no pleasure in the death of the wicked, He pleads with them to turn to Him, to turn away from the evil ways but He will not force anyone to enter into eternal life with Him!
Yes, He desires all to be saved but He gives to us a choice to receive that free gift or reject it. Now here is the thing, if you reject Jesus as your Lord and Savior, judgment is coming and you might as well live it up now because this is as good as it is going to get for you. You will be eternally separated from God in the Lake of Fire, outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! You see, you cant mock God and get away with it!
But, if you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, Peter tells us in II Peter 3:14, Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. And The Amplified Bible puts it like this, So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts]. In other words, what are you looking for? Who are you looking for? If your eyes are upon the Lord and His return, if you are diligent, steadfast in the faith there are two main points that will be manifested in your life as you have a biblical worldview or you live as God has called you to live. Those two things are as follows:
1. WE ARE TO BE FOUND IN PEACE
If you have a confident faith in the Lord and trust in His Word you will be at peace. You see, your emotions will be at ease, your mind will not be anxious or worried because you have given those things to the Lord. Jesus said in John 16:33, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Our peace is only found in Jesus Christ, the prince of peace!
Paul, in Colossians 3:15 tells us, And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. But how is that done? Paul goes on to say, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:16-17.
As we move closer to the Lords return this world is not going to get better, there will be more uncertainty, wars, financial problems, diseases, immorality but we as Christians can have peace because our peace is found in Jesus and we are not swayed by what we see, the Lord is coming back and He has already warned us of these things! It doesnt matter how terrible things might get, our peace is settled by the Lord and what He has promised us!
2. WE ARE TO BE WITHOUT SPOT AND BLAMELESS
Peter is speaking of our Christian character, our Christian reputation. It deals with how we are living out our faith. Paul, in Philippians 2:12-15 tells us, Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Paul is speaking not of a salvation by works but one that works. God has worked in you now you need to work it out and live it! We are to be lights in this world that is filled with darkness. In regards to our reputation, we must be able to be trusted, that our yes is yes and our no is no and if we say we are going to do something, we will do it! You see, Peter just spoke of those that were not godly, the false teachers and he told us of them, But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray . . . II Peter 2:12-15a. Dont have those spots and blemishes but live holy lives, lives filled with godly character, a godly reputation because that will bring glory to God!
You see, it all boils down to this, the world is watching us as difficult times come upon us to see how we are going to respond to them. They are going to see if our talk matches our walk and if we truly have peace in the midst of these storms or we are going to be in turmoil! The world is watching to see if our character is one of holiness in the midst of difficult times. The world is watching to see if our reputation is good, that we can be trusted even in difficult times. They want to see if we are going to live what we say we believe, if our faith is real!
Folks, the promise of Christs return is a powerful incentive for holy living! Dont let so-called Christian leaders tell you we are not to be looking for His return, because that is contrary to what the Scriptures are teaching us. Paul tells us in Titus 2:11-15, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Dont ever be ashamed to speak forth the truths of God, to be excited that He is coming back, it is our blessed hope!
As I begin to close this morning, remember that Peter is on death row, sitting in a Roman prison for his faith in Jesus Christ. Nero will have Peter put to death for his faith in just a few weeks to months of writing this letter and thus, he closes this letter by saying, You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. II Peter 3:17-18. May we heed the warnings that Peter has given to us and live holy lives believing the Lord is coming back soon! As John said, Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!
The following is from Lighthouse Trails Research Project to show you where we stand because we believe in the Lords soon return and we refuse to accept Purpose Driven, New Age mysticism and Eastern Religion into the church as a premise for peace. Their web site, Lighthouse, is: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/index.html
The phone calls and emails started coming in about three years ago. Sometimes the caller was in his mid-eighties, sometimes the caller was crying. But all of them had the same kind of story to tell - when their churches decided to get involved with 40 Days of Purpose, everything began changing and when they questioned these changes, they each soon found themselves silenced, ostracized and eventually without a church to attend. Now today, nearly five years after Purpose Driven Life was released, thousands of believers are scattered throughout the world, having been ridiculed and demoralized for even just the slightest questioning of the Purpose Driven program. In one email we received, the young man was handed a letter from his pastor. The letter had been written by a Saddleback field representative who told the pastor to do what he had to do to get rid of those opposing the new program.
According to Rick Warren, these people are resisters and are standing in the way of Purpose Driven progress. In a June 14th article written by Rick Warren on his website (What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau? ), Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time ... and in many cases it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren stated:
If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it's been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it's been plateaued for 20 years, you've got to set in for the duration! I'm saying some people are going to have to die or leave.
Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it's true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.
For Warren to couple his statement about dying or leaving with a statement about God killing off a million people is ignorant at best, subliminal at least. Coupled with his mention of 40 years in the desert and Warren's teaching that God always did good things in numbers of 40, Warren's intention in this statement seems obvious. In addition, the concept of get with the program, change or die is very common in New Age circles, that those who don't get on board (or ride the wave as Leonard Sweet puts it), will have to die. Listen to the words of renown New Ager Barbara Marx Hubbard:
Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose.... All who choose not to evolve will die off. (See The Plan)
Furthermore, Leonard Sweet, in his book, Soul Tsunami, says that:
A sea change of transitions and transformations is birthing a whole new world and a whole new set of ways of making our way in the world.... It is time for a Postmodern Reformation ... Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die. Some would rather die than change (pp. 17, 75).
Rick Warren (whose endorsement sits on both the front and back covers of Sweet's book) says that Soul Tsunami "shows us why these are the greatest days for evangelism since the first century." In an audio set done by Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet called Tides of Change, the two men elaborate on this and make it clear that those who don't ride this new wave will not make it.
One of the tools Rick Warren uses to help churches become Purpose Driven is a book called Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change. The book is sold on Rick Warren's website and is written by Dan Southerland. According to pastors.com (Rick Warren's website to pastors), Southerland is the director of "Church Transitions Inc., an organization that trains pastors and church leaders to effectively manage major transitions. Southerland ... is the leading expert on implementing the Purpose Driven? paradigm in existing churches."
Chapter six of Transitioning is called "Dealing with Opposition" and is just one of many ways Rick Warren tries to convey the fact that those who oppose him are less than desirable. Southerland states:
We have experienced two major sources of criticism during our transitions. The first is Christians from more traditional backgrounds.... Not all of our traditional backgrounded Christians have been critical - just the ornery ones. Our second source of criticism is traditional church pastors. Again, not all traditional church pastors - just the meaner ones (p. 116).
Southerland tells readers that "some folks are going to get very angry." He goes so far as to liken opposers of Purpose Driven to "leader[s] from hell." He says:
If you have read Nehemiah recently, you will remember that Sanballat is Nehemiah's greatest critic and number one enemy. Let me put it plainer than that. Sanballat is a leader from hell. We all have some Sanballats in our churches. This is the guy who opposes whatever you propose.... You cannot call this guy a leader from hell to his face - but you could call him Sanballat (p. 115).
In 2003, during Saddleback's 25th anniversary, Rick Warren recited, along with 30,000 participants, the Purpose Driven Covenant. In that covenant he stated that he would do "whatever it takes" to accomplish his goals. For us at Lighthouse Trails it has become increasingly evident that he wasn't kidding when he said that. Last year, as some of you may remember, we issued a press release that showed the connection between Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard. In Warren's own words, he acknowledged that Blanchard, a New Age sympathizer, had "signed on" to help implement Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. plan. Warren stated this at a Saddleback service as well as at the 2003 Lead Like Jesus conference in Alabama. However, a month after we issued the press release, Lighthouse Trails received an email from Rick Warren. The email was sent in the middle of the night, and by the following morning, Warren had given permission to a colleague to post his email online. We contacted Saddleback and confirmed this. Needless to say, countless people found out about this email. However, what most who read his email did not realize was that the majority of the statements in his email were not true. We posted a public response but knew that most people would either only read Warren's email to us or refuse to believe that America's pastor was lying and we were speaking the truth.
Lighthouse Trails learned of Rick Warren's connection to Ken Blanchard through a book called A Life With Purpose, written by Hollywood biographer, George Mair. Ray Yungen discusses this in his book, A Time of Departing:
In the spring of 2005, someone handed me a book called A Life with Purpose by George Mair. The book is written as a positive account of Rick Warren's life. In fact, the subtitle on the front cover reads: America's Most Inspiring Pastor. It is clear that the author had a great admiration for Warren. While Mair wrote the book, he spent many Sunday mornings at Saddleback church services, listening to Rick Warren and donating financially. However, after Rick Warren found out about the book, he publicly criticized it. In addition, Saddleback church sent out emails to an undisclosed number of people, discrediting Mair's book.
I personally believe Warren's effort to debunk the book was an attempt to conceal some of its observations. What George Mair didnt realize was that in his candid account of Warren, and in his efforts to offer this testament of praise, some things were revealed about the pastor that might have gone undetected by the average person. For instance, Mair explains how New Age prophet Norman Vincent Peale was at the foundation of the church-growth movement and furthermore "many of Peale's uplifting affirmations originated with an 'obscure teacher of occult science' named Florence Scovel Shinn." Referring to many of the methods that Peale taught and his "unification of psychology and religion," Mair says, "Saddleback distinctly bears the stamp of Reverend Norman Vincent Peale."
In November of 2003, Rick Warren announced to his Saddleback congregation his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In the same sermon, Warren introduced the congregation to Ken Blanchard, playing a video clip of Blanchard's visit to Saddleback a few days earlier. Warren informed his large congregation that Blanchard had:"... signed on to help with the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, and he's going to be helping train us in leadership and in how to train others to be leaders all around the world.
In light of the fact that Ken Blanchard has promoted Buddhism and Eastern style meditation for over 20 years, it became very alarming to know that Rick Warren was using Blanchard to train leaders around the world.
The weeks following Rick Warren's email to us, we received phone calls and emails from different men from Saddleback, one of them telling us to stop "lobbying dead cats [and grenades] over the wall." It was confirmed also that an email was sent out from Saddleback to an unknown number of people, discussing the Blanchard issue. That email stated that Lighthouse Trails had lied and they should not be listened to.
And then in December of 2005 a very strange thing happened - a woman sent us an email she had received from Rick Warren's personal email address, which stated:
The website you refer to [Lighthouse Trails] below is well-known for publishing lies, which can easily be proven false.... The Bible says "Satan is the father of lies", so those who intentionally spread them are doing Satan's work for him. That is evil. We suggest you avoid listening to evil people who have a habit of lying about ministers of the Gospel. Study the Scriptures every day and flee from those who make their reputation by lying.
We contacted Saddleback about the email, and we received the following reply, suggesting that the email had been written by a computer hacker: "We are sorry that this public mailbox has been shut down due to vandalism and stolen identity. Federal enforcement officers are tracking down the source in either Africa or the Pacific Northwest." At first, we thought this was a joke because we (who live in the Pacific Northwest) had recently issued a press release about an evangelist in Africa who had been opposing Purpose Driven. Hearing that Federal officers had narrowed down an investigation to either our location or the evangelist's location seemed preposterous. We contacted Saddleback by phone requesting the names of these Federal agents because of the threatening nature of the "anonymous" email. A few days later a Saddleback staff member called and told us that Federal agents were doing an investigation on their web server being broken into and that Saddleback suspected Lighthouse Trails. We again asked for the names of the Federal agents as well as the Saddleback communications director that was handling the case. However, we were told they would not give us any names. We have not heard anything from Saddleback since.
We testify of these things, not to distract you from the issues at hand (of exposing contemplative and emerging spirituality within the church), but rather to show that Rick Warren, as well as other leaders, will go to great lengths to preserve their status and to complete their tasks, even to the point of lying, threatening, discrediting and deceiving. While we have postponed releasing this information for several months, because of Rick Warren's continuous brazen remarks against the body of Christ and because Purpose Driven is an avenue through which the New Age is entering the church, we believe it is of utmost importance to relay this documentation to believers who are working so diligently to defend the gospel message of Jesus Christ in a time when a great falling away appears to be at hand.
The question we must ask is just how far will Rick Warren go to help rid churches of those they consider "leader[s] from hell," who in reality may be part of the very Bride of Christ.
Special Note: Recently the Calvary Chapel movement (founded by Chuck Smith, Sr.) made a bold declaration when they decided to reject the emerging and contemplative prayer movements and to discontinue their support and use of all Purpose Driven materials. Many applaud this bold and sacrificial action. See our Special Report.
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