of the Occult Invasion
Occultism Invading the Evangelical Church
The occult invasion of evangelical churches in our day is shocking and disturbing. Mind Science theories (positive or negative thinking creating reality) and Ecumenism (accepting all religious views, blurring right and wrong) have made inroads. Below are examples of popular evangelical leaders who have been involved with Occultism and New Age philosophy.
Sir John Marks Templeton
—Discovering the Laws of Life (1994)
Sir John Marks Templeton has been one of the principal promoters of New Age mind power and a primary influence in the evangelical church.
Christianity Today (4/24/94) placed an advertisement for Templeton’s anti-Christian book
Discovering the Laws of
Life, including endorsements from Robert Schuller and Billy Graham. Norman Vincent Peale wrote the foreword.
Christianity Today put in large print, “WILL INSPIRE MILLIONS OF READERS.”
Templeton calls the belief that Christ is the only way to heaven, dogmatism and pride. He declares: “The basic principles for leading a ‘sublime life’... may be derived from any religious tradition, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and others, as well as Christian.”
(Discovering the Laws of
Templeton’s New Age Beliefs
In Wisdom from World
Religions, Templeton assembles spiritual principles from the sacred writings and teachings of
Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zen and Zoroastrianism.
No one should say that God can be reached by only one path [through Christ]. Such exclusiveness lacks humility.... New, freer, more imaginative and adaptable creeds will have to be devised in order that man’s God-given mind and imagination can help to build the kingdom of heaven.
(The Humble Approach, 46, 55)
Templeton commends the Unity School of Christianity and the Church of Religious Science for viewing man as
“an expanding idea in the mind of God” and for striving for
“progress” in religion because “as mind advances [evolves],
the old forms [of religion] die….” (The Humble
Approach, 60) He writes,
[T]he doctrinal formulations of Christianity have changed and will change from age to age.... Christians think God appeared in Jesus of Nazareth two thousand years ago for our salvation and education. But we should not take it to mean that... progress stopped... that Jesus was the end of change.... To say that God cannot reveal Himself again in a decisive way [through other Messiahs]... seems sacrilegious…. (The Humble Approach, 48, 53)
In spite of being an Evolutionist, Pantheist, Universalist and Occultist who rejects the Word of God, Templeton is highly regarded and endorsed by leading evangelicals. Though he openly rejects the Bible as the unique Word of God, Templeton served on the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society for fifteen years
(The Humble Approach, 137) and on the Board of Princeton Theological Seminary, the largest Presbyterian seminary, for 42 years and served as its chair for 12 years. Templeton also lent his business acumen to the Presbyterians’ ministerial pension fund for over three decades.
Robert Schuller continues to endorse Templeton. Schuller’s
Possibilities magazine featured Templeton’s picture on its front cover, and its major article in that issue was an interview with Templeton. In it Templeton expressed his Unity/Religious Science/New Age beliefs:
Your spiritual principles attract prosperity to you... material success... comes... from being in tune with the infinite.... The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not... nothing exists except God.
(Possibilities, Summer 1986, pp 8-12).
Robert Schuller’s New Age Success
From preaching to 50 cars on the roof of a drive-in snack bar, Robert Schuller has built a congregation of over ten thousand members in his Crystal Cathedral that costs over 20 million dollars. Schuller’s successful TV program
Hour of Power brings in over $50 million a year and is seen in more than 175 cities with an audience of two to four million every Sunday. He receives thirty to 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.”
Christian Research Journal (Spring 1985, pages 16-25).
Schuller has broadcast over 1,000 programs. In the past, Schuller has also given his Hour of Power pulpit to a long list of New Agers, cultists, and occultists, ranging from Gerald Jampolsky (who uses A Course in Miracles) to influential Mormon leader, Jack Anderson. (Reported in the 1/88 and 2/88 issues of the
CIB Bulletin.) What has made Schuller so successful in his ministry?
Schuller’s Gospel of “Possibility Thinking”
Schuller’s gospel of success is that his audience can do anything that they want to, that everything is possible for a
“God’s will for you is clear.... God wants you to succeed. He has promised to crown your efforts with success...” (11) “If you fail, you do so because you choose to fail!” (13) “Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, mines of ore that have never been discovered and is waiting to make millionaires out of a 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) “I believe in positive thinking. It is almost as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (10)
Schuller’s message is: Never verbalize a negative thought or admit something is impossible. You can be whatever you want to be, all you have to do is believe in yourself.
Schuller’s Concept of “Sin”
One of the most incredible statements Schuller has made is that Jesus never called anyone a sinner. If Jesus never called people sinners, then neither should he. Schuller says:
“What do I mean by sin? Any human condition or act that robs God of glory by stripping one of his children of their right to divine dignity. Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem.”
(Self-Esteem, p. 14)
“I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counter-productive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”
(Time, March 18, 1985)
“Any analysis of ‘sin’ or ‘evil’ or ‘demonic influence’ or ‘negative thinking’ or ‘systemic evil’ or ‘antisocial behavior’ that fails to see the lack of self-dignity as the core of the problem will prove to be too shallow.”
(Self-Esteem, p. 15)
But, Jesus did call people sinners many times. For example,
— 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.
Mark 2:17 — 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.
Schuller and Ecumenism
Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral houses the offices for “Christians and Muslims for Peace,” even though Islam denies that Jesus is
the Son of God and that he died for our sins. Schuller has stated that over a million Muslims a week watch his
Hour of Power.
When Schuller was planning for the building of his Crystal Cathedral, he made a special trip to Rome to ask the Pope’s blessing on the building plans
(Foundation, March-April 1990).
Schuller has stated that he agrees with Unity teachings that, among other things, reject the gospel of Christ and teach Yoga, reincarnation and other New Age philosophies. In an address to a Unity congregation in Warren, Michigan, Schuller’s motivational talk presented Jesus as “the greatest Possibility Thinker of all time!” (Reported in the 1/88 issue of the
A Course of Miracles has been taught at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. This is a book dictated from a disembodied voice claiming to be Jesus Christ. Its purpose was to correct the errors in the Bible. The
Course teaches that “forgiveness” is simply recognizing that sin does not exist and, therefore, there is nothing to forgive.
Robert Schuller calls Norman Vincent Peale “the man who has impacted and influenced my thinking and my theology and my life more than any other living person....”
(The Plus Factor, published excerpts from a Peale talk on Schuller’s
Hour of Power, copyrighted 1985 by Robert Schuller, p. 3.) It was Peale’s “positive thinking” that gave birth to Schuller’s “possibility thinking.” Schuller turned Peale’s “positive mind control” into “Possibility Thinking.”
Possibility thinking makes miracles happen.... The greatest power in the world is the power of possibility thinking. (Schuller,
Your Church, p. 85.)
Norman Vincent Peale —
The Power of Positive Thinking
Peale has been called one of the best-known Protestant ministers. He was the pastor the Marble Collegiate Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation in New York City, from 1932 to 1984. At the time of his retirement the church had 5,000 members, and tourists lined up around the block to hear him preach. Peale’s weekly radio program,
“The Art of Living,” was broadcast on NBC for 54 years. His sermons were mailed to
750,000 people a month. His Guidepost Magazine continues its popularity with a circulation of more than 4.5 million, the largest for any religious publication.
Peale’s spirituality was a blend of Christian Science and Science of Mind teachings and is embraced among evangelicals who have not discerned its origin. His message was the power of the mind.
“The world you live in is mental and not physical. Change your thought and you change everything.” (Braden, Spirits, p. 387.) “Your unconscious mind ... [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.” (Norman Vincent Peale,
Positive Imaging, p. 77, 1982)
In his book
Power of Positive Thinking the teaching is
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!” (p. 1) The Bible states to have faith in God, abide in Christ, because apart from him we can do nothing (John 17). Peale teaches the opposite, that we can do all things through “our mind,” not Christ.
Peale related that at one time he almost resigned from his pastorate as his teachings came under heavy criticism from fellow clergymen. His father, a Methodist minister, came to the rescue and persuaded him to continue saying, “You have evolved a new Christian emphasis out of a composite of Science of Mind, metaphysics, Christian Science, medical and psychological practice, Baptist Evangelism, Methodist witnessing, and solid Dutch Reformed Calvinism.”
(Spirits in Rebellion, p.391)
Peale’s Occult Ties
Peale has acknowledged that his theology of positive thinking came from Ernest Holmes, founder of New Age/Occultic Church of Religious Science
(Ernest Holmes, The First Religious
Scientist, James Reid, p. 14). The phrase “Positive Thinking” originally came from Charles Fillmore, but it was Peale who made it a cultural icon.
Peale was very much involved in the occult as he claimed to have been in touch with discarnates on several occasions. Of one encounter, Peale wrote:
I was seated on the platform of a large auditorium.... Some ten thousand persons... were singing hymns
Then I “saw” him, my father who had died long before at age eighty-five. He came striding down the aisle... about forty years old.... I was spellbound... [by] what I was “seeing.” The huge auditorium faded away. I was only with him. Getting closer, he smiled that great smile of his. He raised his arm in the old-time gesture.... I arose from the chair, advanced to the edge of the platform, reaching for him. Then he was gone, leaving me shaken, somewhat embarrassed by my actions, but happy at the same time....
The bishop [on the platform]...when I told him of the incident... said, ‘Why shouldn’t we believe your father was here? He would like a meeting like this, wouldn’t he?’ (Cited in
Occult Invasion, Norman Vincent Peale, “When Loved Ones Leave Us,” in
Plus, The Magazine of Positive Thinking, pp. 6-8, March, 1985.)
Peale’s universe was “mental,” God was an “energy,” and “prayer” was the scientific technique for releasing God-energy according to definite “laws.”Who is God? Some theological being...? God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be re-energized! (“No More Stress or Tension,”
Plus: The Magazine of Positive Thinking, pp. 22-23, May, l986)
The popularity of the above mentioned evangelists indicates that vast numbers in the churches have imperceptibly lowered their standards to New Age and occult influences. The following chapter will demonstrate the impact of occultism and spiritism within large segments of evangelical churches.