A 10-day online event promises to make you a better you. It’s called the Self-Acceptance Summit, and I’ve seen several Christians promote it. The event is put on by a group called “Sounds True.” (Are you tempted to add the words, But Isn’t? I know I am.)
While Jesus tells us to deny self, pick up our crosses and follow Him, these spiritual leaders are doing the opposite: teaching hearers to worship self.
Sounds True is a New Age publishing business with a vision to inspire, support, and serve personal transformation and spiritual awakening, with books on Shakti Meditation, Mindfulness and other methods to waken the consciousness of your inner self. In other words, the humanistic manifesto of the New Age. To give you an idea, Sounds True recently hosted ministry partner and New Ager Eckhart Tolle‘s Practice the Presence retreat.
See our White Paper on the New Age
Many Christians, women in particular, are ardent fans of summit speakers homosexual activist Glennon Doyle, leftist Anne Lamott, and New Ager Marianne Williamson to name a few. These women are celebrity favorites often found in the Evangelical Christian conference circuit. I hope by now you’ve grasped that this conference is anything but Christian.
Yet the temptation for many believers is to glean strength from self-affirming messages. Especially if they are funny. “Spiritual humorist” JP Sears will share a three-hour audio called “Claiming Your Personal Authority,” plus key practices for authenticity with “10 Insights for Awakened Living.” (Christians, this guy’s humor videos mock Christianity, and y’all share them like he’s on your team.)
Over the 10-day summit, you will learn how to accept ourselves just the way we are, to “tend and befriend ourselves,” and to deal with shame as a human experience.
The promo video ought to be enough for discerning Christians to instantly recognize that this is not something believers should promote or attend:
I went through their site, the word AUTHENTIC kept popping up, it’s creepy. This is pop-popsychology with New Age/self worship/eastern influence hodgepodge, this is psycho-babble at it’s best, there’s nothing Christian about this, in the least. Here’s how one of these “me-worship” gurus expressed this abomination:
“Authenticity is Spiritual “Becoming”
To wrap up our discussion on what it means to embrace our authenticity, the subject we’ve been exploring in the last few Nuggets, I need to include the important subject of spirituality in our conversation. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about spirituality, or spirit-mindedness. They are two different subjects. Religion is an attempt to define the mystery of ultimate reality in human terms and human language. Spirituality is about the spirit that animates and motivates our soul.
When we enter the world of spirituality it’s best to leave intellect and words behind. They tend not to serve us very well. The journey toward the spiritual world requires soul language. Our soul perceives the world through the intangible spiritual lens of intuition, insight, awareness, and wisdom; the capacity to discern the hidden inner-nature and depth of things; the in-sight to see and openly embrace the intangible wind of spirit that blows through the universe.”
Can we see the gross errors when compared with scripture? Call it what you want, BUT don’t call it CHRISTIAN, it is antithetical to denying one’s self, it’s closer to the five I WILLS of the fallen one and his pride. Man worship. Also, if you go through the list of the 31 teachers you’ll find everything from radical femenists, zen advocates, life coaches, psychiatrists, social activists, entrepreneurs, former athlete, and no mention of JESUS CHRIST. STAY AWAY FROM THIS GARBAGE.! It is demonic through and through. Spiritual doesn’t mean it comes from God.
“Our brains are wired to be critical of ourselves and compassionate towards others because they are instinctively driven to seek acceptance from a group. The trick is learning to turn our natural compassion inward as well as outward.”
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. NLP’s creators claim there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. Bandler and Grinder also claim that NLP methodology can “model” the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire those skills. They claim as well that, often in a single session, NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, tic disorders, psychosomatic illnesses, near-sightedness, allergy, common cold, and learning disorders.
NLP has since been overwhelmingly discredited scientifically, but continues to be marketed by some hypnotherapists and by some companies that organize seminars and workshops on management training for businesses. There is no scientific evidence supporting the claims made by NLP advocates and it has been discredited as a pseudoscience by experts. Scientific reviews state that NLP is based on outdated metaphors of how the brain works that are inconsistent with current neurological theory and contain numerous factual errors. Reviews also found that all of the supportive research on NLP contained significant methodological flaws and that there were three times as many studies of a much higher quality that failed to reproduce the “extraordinary claims” made by Bandler, Grinder, and other NLP practitioners. Even so, NLP has been adopted by some hypnotherapists and also by companies that run seminars marketed as leadership training to businesses and government agencies.
“Erhard Seminars Training (marketed as est, though often encountered as EST or Est), an organization founded by Werner Erhard in 1971, offered a two-weekend (60-hour) course known officially as “The est Standard Training”. The seminar aimed “to transform one’s ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself”. It “brought to the forefront the ideas of transformation, personal responsibility, accountability, and possibility”. Est seminars took place from late 1971 to late 1984, and spawned a number of books from 1976 to 2011. Est has been featured in a number of movies and television shows, most recently in the critically acclaimed spy-series The Americans. Est is an outgrowth of the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s through to the 1970s.”
” “This is It: est, 20 Years Later,”
“I considered the training to be a brilliantly conceived Zen koan, effectively tricking the mind into seeing itself, and in thus seeing, to be simultaneously aware of who was doing the seeing, a transcendent level of consciousness, a place spacious and undefined, distinct from the tired old story that our minds continuously tell us about who we are, and with which we ordinarily identify.”
“In William Bartley’s biography of Werner Erhard, Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est (1978), Erhard describes his explorations of Zen Buddhism. Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging Zen as the essential contribution that “created the space [for est]”.
Bartley details Erhard’s connections with Zen beginning with his extensive studies with Alan Watts in the mid 1960s. Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging:
Of all the disciplines that I studied, practiced, learned, Zen was the essential one. It was not so much an influence on me, rather it created space. It allowed those things that were there to be there. It gave some form to my experience. And it built up in me the critical mass from which was kindled the experience that produced est.
Other influences included Dale Carnegie, Subud, Scientology and Mind Dynamics.
The roots of all this swill, is Eastern Paganism! No Christian has any business dealing with this.
I have been trying to understand what the basis of true-self / false-self is in order to refute it.
“I believe Hegel was a solid starting point:
The Unhappy Consciousness
1. This new world view Hegel calls “unhappy consciousness” and he identifies it as the religious consciousness of medieval Christianity.
2. The Medieval Christian has an unhappy consciousness because he is aware of himself as divided, as a split self in which there is an endless struggle between the true and false selves.
a. The true self longs for God but cannot reach him.
b. The false self clings to the world and to worldly pleasure.
3. The religious consciousness is unhappy because it knows itself to be a divided self.
4. The religious world view recognizes the truth, that what the true self longs for is God or Absolute Spirit.
5. Hegel says that the religious world view also has its own limitations.
a. Although it knows the truth, it is only figurative truth that it offers, pictures and symbols of the truth.
ie. The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
b. It also has not overcome the master-slave relationship.
To the religious consciousness, God is master and humans are slaves (according to Hegel).
1. Hegel maintains that religious consciousness must now pass over into the realm of reason and philosophy.
2. The truth which the religious world view expressed in pictures and symbols must now be grasped by the rational concepts of the philosophy.
3. The self must learn that the true absolute is not a personal God but is absolute mind.
a. It is the totality of truth which manifests itself dialectically in finite minds in human history.
b. The self must also learn that a free human being should be a slave to no one (not even God).” http://www.hoocher.com/Philosophy/kantandhegel.htm
It would seem to correlate to Hegel’s dialectical system. Marx the master-slave chapter in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is the true birthplace and secret of Hegelian philosophy.
Hegel says your thoughts, values, beliefs, attitudes are derived from the cultural totality of which you are a dependent part. You are a carrier of the culture, of the spirit of the people — you are also a carrier of the changing spirit of the times within your own culture.
Hegel: “All worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he has only through the state.” If you read through this document, it will become evident that Hegel through his dialectical is calling for a spiritual evolution that eventually lands its victim into subjectivity to the state. So there you have it – progressive Christianity. Look at Wikapedia and you will see Hegel is part of the formulation of the thinking of Progressivism.
Ego or self, are you familiar with Satan’s five I WILLs? Worship of man. Selfish and ultimately leads to destruction. The message of the gospels refutes the self or ego.
I can’t agree with you more as to the ultimate source being Satan. What I am looking at is the more recent carriers, whether it be Nietzsche’s will to power or Hegel’s spiritual evolution.
I found this excellent article by author Nancy Pearcey after posting the above comment. The article is entitled: “Hegel’s Deity: How Evolution Gave Us Postmodernism, Deconstructionism, and Political Correctness.” I would disagree with the article in one way, where Pearcey rightly identifies Hegel’s “”actualization of the Universal Mind” as a spiritualized version of evolution – she attributes it to pantheism.
I would rather attribute Hegel’s lies to panentheism as does author John Cooper in: “Panentheism: The Other God of the Philosophers–From Plato to the Present.”
I am only trying to understand this because of someone dear to me that is being caught captive to it – not to impress anyone with any pathetic understanding that I have of philosophy. It becomes for me a 2 Corinthians 10:5 issue.
I do think that when we look at the concept of “spiritual evolution”, as is spelled out in this Wikapedia article on it – we see all the players coming together – New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Occult, and Integral theory and spiral dynamics by Ken Wilber – that we see that it is an issue of the false belief of panentheism that is at the more recent attack on the Word of God.
If you look at that Wikapedia article on Spiritual Evolution, you will see Alfred North Whitehead mentioned. Norm Geisler in his book: “”Christian Apologetics” goes into how panentheism is coming into the church via Whitehead and others. There is an online copy for anyone wanting to search in it: https://archive.org/stream/pppp8888212/2_djvu.txt
Anyways, thank you, Amy for bringing these things to our attention.
I very much enjoyed the links you provided. I see very much of what Pearcey is explaining in the church especially among those who are or wish to be academics. One of the ways it seems to have found its way into the church is by those who believe in the authority of church tradition. It’s as if they believe God is advancing theology through church history and they being much later are more evolved into God’s design and plan. I see it among those who were maybe evangelical at one time but have moved on to mainline protestant, catholic, and eastern orthodox churches not to say it’s not in the ‘evangelical’ church… It’s also in the reformed churches that have put a high priority on intellectualism and church authority. If you look at certain blogs you can see it very much in their thinking or should I say philosophy.
Thanks for the comment and links.
Lori, If you are still reading I would add that it also seems it can be seen in a large part from those who confuse the secular kingdoms of this world with the Church. They believe the Church is to be transforming the world rather than calling men out of it. They would consider a passage like “the least of these my brethren” to be anyone in the world who is suffering and are attempting to require their governments to be social justice crusaders. It becomes a social gospel that leads to ecumenism and postmodernism is required to make that successful. I think that is part of the spiritual evolution mindset. I see this as part of the coming one world religion under the banner of Christianity. I hope that makes sense.
Excellent observations, Amy – especially regarding social justice crusaders and those thinking they are advancing their theology through church history. I have an example for you. Have you heard of those calling themselves New Wave Emergents?
“When asked: What defines this new wave?
It is grounded in action and contemplation. This dynamism between inner and outer life forms the cornerstone of my own theology as I have learned it from master teachers such as (but not exclusively) Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, the late Marcus Borg, Thomas Merton, and Brian McLaren. Their teachings and understandings of the nondual way of pairing action and contemplation exemplify the ancient-future truths spoken ages ago by mystics (also known as contemplatives) like Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Meister Eckhart, and John of the Cross. It is the timeless ownership of beloved community embodied in the lives of contemplative actioners like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and Dorothy Day. It is the work of reconciliation done by people like Desmond Tutu, Thich Naht Hanh, and Nelson Mandela. It is the healing work of people like Bessel van der Kolk, Brene Brown, Gabor Mate, Pat Ogden, and Peter Levine.
New-wave emergents are missional community developers…New-wave emergents are LGBTQ-inclusive…New waves embrace the rich tapestry of liberation theologies, and continue to surprise and invert the entrenched hierarchies of church…New-wavers are not just thinking or intellectualizing in a postmodern framework, they are striving to practice and adopt postmodern behaviors, an orientation that seeks to destabilize and disrupt systems that are death-bringing.”
Into this space we breathe this new wave of emergence, emerging. Welcome to the revolution. It is action and contemplation birthing something new, which is also the most ancient thing of all. We are living into the birthplace of ancient-future faith. It is a revolution born of dancing, and like the adage (once attributed to Gloria Steinem but actually from Emma Goldman) we speak loudly into the space of possibility,”
So they are advocating Marxist revolution and prides themselves in destabilizing, disrupting, and bringing death, as it models itself after leaders like Cesar Chavez, and Nelson Mandela…Dorothy Day.
Dorothy Day was a radical feminist socialist who said she was caught up in socialist convictions. She stated that most of her friends were socialists and Communists.
Cesar Chavez? It is said that he “ruled a United Farm Workers communal living arrangement through the use of bizarre, 1970s pop-psych intimidation that he learned from a violent cult leader who was his long-time friend. Cesar Chavez and the mythology surrounding him didn’t rise mystically out of the fertile fields around Bakersfield. Chavez was created with the help of none other than Saul Alinsky, the father of modern community organizing and Obama’s spiritual mentor.”
Nelson Mandela? He suggested cutting off the noses of blacks deemed collaborators and what about the necklacing? “Necklacing is the practice of summary execution and torture carried out by forcing a rubber tire, filled with petrol, around the victim’s chest and arms and setting it on fire. The victim may take up to 20 minutes to die, suffering severe burns in the process.
So what are they proposing? By welcoming revolution from a tapestry of liberation theologies – do they propose to necklace Biblical Christians who disagree with them with tires sent on fire around our neck like Mandela did?
Mary Danielson wrote a piece for Lighthouse Trails regarding how a bloody revolution came by support of such progressives:
“Wallis supported the Sandinista Communists in their attempt to take over Nicaragua in the 80s, actively participating in resistance against the American military – AND working side by side in this cause with none other than Jeremiah Wright, the radical anti-American Chicago preacher who was our president’s pastor for twenty years.
In addition, Wallis supported the FMLN, a communist terror group from El Salvador itching to spread their Marxist revolution throughout South America. Men have been called “traitors” for much less than what Wallis has stood for.
In 1983, the organization, Accuracy in Media published a lengthy book on the far left policies of Wallis and his organization, documenting 53 political positions of Sojourners on such issues as Israel’s right to exist, terrorism, socialism, capitalism, human rights, etc. In all 53 position statements, it was found that Sojourners’ views were completely in line with the views of hard-line Soviets.
Marxists, by Sojourners’ own definition, cannot violate human rights.” Wallis calls himself a “Progressive” – but keep in mind that “progressive” is as far left as you can go politically without actually taking a right turn in the process.
Wallis believes that Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela, and Ortega’s Nicaragua are the Marxist paradises the US should emulate. It is not extreme at all to say, that one of his goals is to see the end of the US as we have known it — “Post-Americanism” finally realized. So, after being arrested by the US government 22 times in forty years, where has he soft-landed? As spiritual advisor to President Obama…He is a living, breathing advocate for total government control, complete socialism, or “totalitarian socialism.
The roots of the social gospel go back to the 19th and 20th centuries. That was when many Protestant denominations took on liberal theology, which includes the post-millennial view that Jesus cannot return until mankind has brought justice to the earth by ridding itself of all social evils.
Wallis has also found a kindred spirit in Willow Creek. Pastor Bill Hybels’ wife Lynne is a regular contributor to Sojourners magazine, clearly resonating with the magazine’s goal. No surprise – Willow Creek offers classes on social justice, (at least one of those classes used Wallis’ book, The Great Awakening) .”
So when the progressive Christians base their reasoning back on Hegel where Marxism came from, should we be surprised is it doesn’t result some day in those that think they are doing God a service through violence?
Good afternoon Lori,
I find your train of thought interesting. I won’t name names, but I’m friends with a gentleman who is perhaps in the top three philosophers today, obviously a PhD and if I’m not mistaken a Nobel candidate. Written countless books and has traveled the world lecturing,. Yet with all his learning, expounding and wisdom, he is but a fool, you see my friend is an atheist, he has no room for God, he is one of the most pleasant and we’ll mannered person you cukd speak with, yet he is lost, blind and headed to perdition, only God can break through his human pride.
“Sounds true” – I read this quote but don’t recall who said it – “The true is not new and the new is not true.”
That video was truly disturbing. Despite the apparent calm of her voice that would be turned to instantaneous rage if she was confronted with the real truth of God. We need to be careful of this type of “syrapy affection” coming from so-called compassionate people with agendas that have no basis in God’s Word or truth.
I have to wonder though…….we Christians spend so much time exposing people, institutional churches, religious organizations and the like that do not echo nor expound truth. No argument here as this needs to be done, but wouldn’t it serve the people of God best to simply reject everything that originates with men’s/woman’s imaginations altogether? Who taught professing Christians to long for and chase after the “strange god’s” of these worldly organizations, conferences and self-titled “ministries?” Are these even scripturally based? Does anyone even care?
In the midst of our busy schedules it doesn’t seem normal to simply gather daily in a spontaneous manner as the Spirit may lead us with local saints. We’d much rather prefer to schedule and choreograph everything- including “religious services” that have no basis nor precedent in scripture. Again, does anybody even care?
Fight we must, but I implore you- not back to the better days, not back to a so-called reformation or to the latest revival but back to God Himself, His design and His perfect will and what pleases Him. Are there really myriads of ways (vehicles) through which God’s purposes are fulfilled? Can you do one thing in a name you choose and I in another name? Are we so blind not to recognize the sectarian nature in doing so? Can we not see how our names, titles and institutions fracture the one body and how our self-imposed earthly hierarchies promote and bind us under these loads? Isn’t it time we own these failures and call to account those who continue to lead us in these directions and duties? Why be bound when you can be free!!
Go back to the beginning people. Pursue God’s one means of impacting this world in His name alone and for His name’s sake. What supports the truth of God? Is it the innumerable creations of men on every corner and country that keep us divided? I think not.
Judgment begins with the household of God. Those qualified to call out the obvious heresies of the New Age and other falsehoods cannot simultaneously promote their own worldly religious organizations as if they are justified. They are not and never have been. It is those separated of these things, whose allegiance is exclusively Jesus Christ and His name alone that will storm the gates of hell and turn the confused and deceived back to the One True God.
Are you exclusively devoted to Jesus Christ?
There is no such thing as a good church for their is no such thing as good (righteous) people. Their is only the righteousness of Christ personally embraced, and corporately expressed. This is what this world’s people need so desperately to see and know……without all the inventions of men that so often accompany His name.
Sadly, many, many people cannot, or will not see or admit to the Great Apostasy happening right now, they don’t understand that like birth pangs that get stronger and closer as the time nears for the baby to come forth is the same as described in scripture for what is happening today.