A "Wonderful" Deception by Warren B. Smith

A A “Wonderful” Deception: The Further New Age Implications of the Emerging Purpose Driven Movement by Warren B. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earlier this year I read the book Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith exposing problems with Rick Warren and his Purpose-Driven movement. This book (A “Wonderful” Deception) is a continuation of that one by further showing the huge influence that Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale (both heavily influenced by New Age leaders) have had on Rick Warren and his ministry. Grace to You has been posting a blog series on some of the differences between Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life book and John MacArthur’s book Slave. You can check out the first post in that series here.

It is troubling to see how much Schuller’s ministry has influenced Rick Warren. Robert Schuller himself was very sympathetic to New Age leaders and even held the New Age class A Course in Miracles at the Crystal Cathedral for a time before concerns were raised and it was stopped. In this sequel Smith goes on to document the various New Age influences that have impacted Rick Warren and how many of his associates are also New Age sympathizers. In a 1995 series Leonard Sweet and Rick Warren talk about the “New Spirituality” in a series called The Tides of Change. This “New Spirituality” is actually the New Age Spirituality. In this book A “Wonderful” Deception Warren Smith presents quite a bit of information on Leonard Sweet’s New Age leanings. Yet Rick Warren co-led workshops with Sweet in 2008.  Several New Age leaders have been quoted as praising Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller as great “Christian” leaders. In this book Smith documents the many connections between Schuller, Peale and now Warren.

While this book is quite troubling to see how widespread the New Age has come into the evangelical church, it is a needed wake-up call for the Christian. Rick Warren’s gospel is a watered-down version of the true gospel and as such is a different gospel. His P.E.A.C.E. plan (God’s Dream) is uniting with the New Age/New Spirituality PEACE Plan to help establish God’s kingdom on earth. From A “Wonderful” Deception it says, “We are told that humanity will only survive and have a ‘positive future’ if we recognize and play our part – as ‘God’ – in this interconnected quantum ‘Field of Dreams.’ Rick Warren says ‘if you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission.’ In other words – ‘if you build it, he will come.’ New Age matriarch Alice Bailey said, ‘His coming depends upon our work.’ This sounds like Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan. And this sounds like Neale Donald Walsch’s New Age PEACE Plan. As discussed at length in False Christ Coming and Deceived on Purpose, this is also the Peace Plan of the false Christ Maitreya-the New Age ‘Christ’ who claims to already be here on earth waiting to be called forth…”

I would recommend reading both Deceived on Purpose and A “Wonderful” Deception to understand better the influence that the New Age has had on Schuller and thus also Rick Warren. It’s hard to even explain the mountain of information that is presented in A “Wonderful” Deception in who Rick Warren associates and collaborates with that is also connected to the New Age. This book is easy to read and is quite eye-opening as well. The author is a Christian who came out of the New Age and is very familiar with the key terms and phrases used, as well as who the key players are. He uses his previous experience and knowledge to warn us about Rick Warren. Again, I recommend reading this to see how the New Age has become a part of evangelicalism through leaders like Robert Schuller and Rick Warren.

*I received a copy of this book free from Lighthouse Trails Research in exchange for my review.

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With the Master Before the Mirror of God’s Word by Susan Heck

With the Master Before the Mirror of God's Word: A Ladies' Bible Study on First JohnWith the Master Before the Mirror of God’s Word: A Ladies’ Bible Study on First John by Susan J. Heck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have heard wonderful things about Susan Heck’s Bible study so was eager to dive into this study of hers for ladies on the book of 1 John. And I was not disappointed! Susan dives right into the text of Scripture and explains it in an easy-to-read manner yet still plumbing the rich depths that is God’s Word. Each chapter has study questions at the end, often with many cross-references to search other Scriptures that go along with the verse studies in that particular chapter. In many ways this study is a commentary on the book of 1 John.

This is not a book that you can just sit down and casually read through. It needs to be digested and pondered. While it is easy to read and understand, it is also “meaty” and needs to be thought through in order to gain the most benefit. I would highly recommend this for a ladies’ study that wants to dig deeper into God’s Word. Once having done one of Susan Heck’s studies, you will want to do her other ones. I am looking forward to the study on Ephesians that she will be publishing soon.

Susan starts out with the background of the book before diving into the text itself. This is an important part of Bible study to better understand what the author is communicating. I appreciated her careful detail and methodical approach. I’m looking forward to doing other studies by Susan and hope to be able to use this in a future ladies study.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Focus Publishing in exchange for my review.