The worship conference is presented by Worship Leader magazine, whose chief editor is Chuck Fromm (Chuck Smith, Sr.’s nephew). On the conference website, a banner promotion by Greg Laurie, (another veteran Calvary Chapel pastor) sits in a prominent spot. Laurie states: “In Worship Leader magazine, you hear from the leading thinkers, artists, and pastors on how we can more effectively worship God.”7
With general promotion of Worship Leader magazine by someone as popular as Greg Laurie, and with the conference taking place at one of the larger Calvary Chapel churches, undoubtedly, the event will be accepted by many Christians as a credible, trustworthy conference. But Leonard Sweet’s involvement should cause serious concern for believers.
Leonard Sweet has been a leading figure in bringing the “new” spirituality into the evangelical church for more than a decade and a half. From his book, Quantum Spirituality (which without question shows his unswerving affinity toward major New Age leaders and the New Age philosophy that God is IN all things) to his audio series, The Tides of Change, with Rick Warren in 1995, to his book he co-authored with atonement denier Brian McLaren, A is for Abductive: the Language of the Emerging Church, to a number of other books he has written that continue to show his New Age propensities, Sweet has consistently proven himself to be a New Age sympathizer. And for him to be included in a conference at a Calvary Chapel church (after the founder of the movement denounced the emerging spirituality a few years ago) speaks volumes about the slide into deception that the evangelical church is making.
Warren Smith, in his cutting-edge book A “Wonderful” Deception (an expose on Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, and the “new” emerging Christianity), wrote two strong documented chapters specifically on the New Age views of Leonard Sweet. Perhaps one of the most troubling things Smith reveals about Sweet is Sweet’s statement about “the father of the New Age movement,”8 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Sweet calls the late panentheist Chardin “Twentieth-century Christianity’s major voice.”9 But Chardin does not represent biblical Christianity–on the contrary, he falls in a spiritual camp that embraces the “cosmic Christ,” which is the “I AM God” in every creature. Even though this christ-consciousness-in-all-people belief rejects the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, Sweet has openly aligned himself with Chardin. In Sweet’s book, Aqua Church, he favorably quotes Chardin arrogantly saying: “Christ is in the Church in the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see the same sun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a much more magnificent way.”10 Sweet’s alignment with Chardin’s New Age views is nothing short of heresy.
The following quotes from Chardin underscore his New Age worldview and belief in a universal New Age Christ. He writes:
[T]he Cross still stands. . . .
But this is on one condition, and one only: that it expand itself to the dimensions of a new age, and cease to present itself to us as primarily (or even exclusively) the sign of a victory over sin.11
A general convergence of religions upon a universal Christ who fundamentally satisfies them all: that seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived.12
I believe that the Messiah whom we await, whom we all without any doubt await, is the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution.13 (emphasis added)
As the world moves further toward major spiritual darkness, how can Christian leaders be so willing to embrace those who say they represent Christianity but in essence are helping to bring in a false gospel and a false universal New Age christ, one that will eventually deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9)?
By what is shaping up, it appears it may not be too long before the spirituality of Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, and some Calvary Chapel pastors will all bear the same shade of the new spirituality, one which occultist Alice Bailey said would usher in the New Age/New Spirituality cosmic “Christ.” And with the throttle pulled all the way back on contemplative mysticism* (the vehicle that will convince the masses to embrace this “Christ”), it’s just a matter of time until Leonard Sweet and Rick Warren’s tides of change will become a reality, and the stage will be set for the great falling away the Bible speaks of: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” II Thessalonians 2:3
For those who may be skeptical about what we are saying here about the role that mysticism will play in this great deception, consider the words of Leonard Sweet:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center.… In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.”14
The question must be asked, what is Skip Heitzig thinking by giving Leonard Sweet a platform at his Calvary Chapel church? If Calvary Chapel goes in the direction of Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, and others, Calvary Chapel could end up embracing the same New Age/New Spirituality teachings of Teilhard de Chardin, David Spangler, and Karl Rahner.
In Warren Smith’s 10th and 11th chapters of A “Wonderful” Deception, Smith succinctly describes the New Age/New Spirituality of Leonard Sweet. We hope you will read this vital information (which we have provided in the links below) and see for yourselves the serious predicament the Christian church is presently in. Let us warn our friends, families, and the body of Christ about what is going on and encourage them to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).
From Warren B. Smith’s book, A “Wonderful” Deception:
If we want to possess a magical crystal for our New Age work, we need look no further than our own bodies and the cells that make them up.1 --David Spangler 1991
I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.2--Leonard Sweet 1991
Leonard Sweet, in acknowledging [New Age leaders] Willis Harman, Matthew Fox, M. Scott Peck, and the others he refers to as “New Light leaders” in Quantum Spirituality, states:
I believe these are among the most creative religious leaders in America today. These are the ones carving out channels for new ideas to flow. In a way this book was written to guide myself through their channels and chart their progress. The book’s best ideas come from them.3
Speaking of spiritual “channels,” Sweet expresses his personal gratitude in Quantum Spiritualityto channeler and veteran New Age leader, David Spangler. . . . A pioneering spokesperson for the New Age, Spangler has written numerous books over the years that include Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, Revelation: The Birth of a New Age, and Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture. His book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age is a compilation of channeled transmissions he received from his disembodied spirit-guide “John.” At one point in Revelation, Spangler documents what “John” prophesied about “the energies of the Cosmic Christ” and “Oneness”:
As the energies of the Cosmic Christ become increasingly manifest within the etheric life of Earth, many individuals will begin to respond with the realization that the Christ dwells within them. They will feel his presence moving within and through them and will begin to awaken to their heritage of Christhood and Oneness with God, the Beloved.4
Unbelievably, in a modern-day consultation that bears more than a casual resemblance to King Saul’s consultation with the witch of End or (1 Samuel 28:7), Leonard Sweet acknowledges in Quantum Spirituality that he was privately corresponding with channeler David Spangler.5 In Quantum Spirituality, Sweet writes about what he calls his “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership, then closes his book by thanking Spangler for “his help in formulating this ‘new cell’ understanding of New Light Leadership.” Sweet writes:
I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.6
Chapter 10, A “Wonderful” Deception: Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, and Sweet’s “New Light” Leaders
Chapter 11, A “Wonderful” Deception: Chief Saddleback Apologist Defends New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet
* To understand the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) movement and its impact on countless Christians today, also read Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing (which includes sections on Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet).
1. David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture (Sante Fe, NM: Bear & Company Publishing, 1991), p. 62.
2. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints for Spirit Venture Ministries, 1991, 1994), p. 312.
3. Ibid., ix.
4. David Spangler, The Revelation: Birth of a New Age (Elgin, IL: Lorian Press, 1976 ), p. 177.
5. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p. 338, #42.
6. Ibid., p. 312.
8. Mike Oppenheimer, “A NEW Anointing-Pentecost” (Let Us Reason Ministries, http://www.letusreason.org/Current66.htm).
9. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p. 106.
10. Leonard Sweet, Aqua Church, p. 39.
11. Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, pp. 219-220.
12. Ibid., p. 130.
13. Ibid., p. 95.
14. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 76, quoted by Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing, p. 160.
2009 National Worship Conference Brings Contemplatives, Laurie, and Sweet Together
Rick Warren’s Small Group Conference Speaker [Sweet] Says Small Groups Lead to “Christ Consciousness”
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center.… In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.”