The names are familiar - Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life), Bruce Wilkinson (The Prayer of Jabez), Robert Schuler (The Crystal Cathedral), Eugene Peterson (The Message Bible) - and together they have made millions of dollars through their respective books and ministries. But their unsuspecting readers and viewers may never realize where their source materials can be found. Warren Smith, once deeply involved with the New Age movement, brings a nuanced perspective on the occult roots of much of the popular evangelical movement in his .
By having been familiar with the occult in his pre-Christian life, Smith is able to see them clearly and articulate them to those who might not be aware that there is something under the surface of these ostensibly authoritative Christian leaders. By examining these ministries and comparing them to deeply New Age teachers and teachings (Marianne Williamson's A Course in Miracles, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch, Bernie Siegel, Gerald Jampolsky) Smith traces the strains of influence going back to the core of New Age teaching and the Human Potential movement.
Not being greatly impressed with Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, I felt ready to read Warren Smith's critique of them, Deceived on Purpose. My three complaints with Rick Warren's books were: 1. the Holy Spirit gets little mention; 2. I, me, and my are overly used; 3. the idea, while marketed knowledgeably, is not unique.
In Deceived on Purpose, Smith critiques these books from a different stance. Christ rescued Smith from a deeply involved New Age background. Since Smith's salvation, he has researched the New Age movement extensively. With this background, Smith recognizes many New Age nuances in Rick Warren's works. Smith firmly considers the King James Version as the most reliable translation of the Bible. Rick Warren uses a superabundance of translations, picking whichever version presents his idea most clearly. In this critique, Smith uses Rick Warren's statements as springboards to also point out that the Bible version, The Message, and Robert Schuller, Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, are influenced by New Age thought.
This book begins with a look at some of Rick Warren's background, leading up to his two Purpose Driven books, finding similarities between these and New Age idea. Deceived on Purpose continues looking at Rick Warren's books and thoughts, introducing us to many New Age personalities via their quotes. Smith also quotes himself extensively, and, uses I, me, and my often. He closes with warnings about New Age ideas concerning Jesus, including His coming again, comparing them with Bible statements about our Lord. His last section encourages believers to ask God for His wisdom as new ideas are presented. All Smith's quotes from himself and others are fully annotated.
Right now, it is not clear that Smith is any more correct than Warren. The reader must ask God for His wisdom in handling all this. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this topic, whether you are a Warren fan or a Smith fan, or even rather disinterested, Deceived on Purpose is an interesting, challenging book, full of information applicable to subjects other than the one discussed. It will definitely start your thought and argument juices flowing. Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com