"Quantum spirituality bonds us to all
creation as well as to other members of
the human family. . . . This entails a
radical doctrine of embodiment of God in
the very substance of creation. . . .
But a spirituality that is not in some
way entheistic (whether pan- or trans-),
that does not extend to the
spirit-matter of the cosmos, is not
Shortly after Deceived on Purpose was
published, I came across a book titled
Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Dialectic
written by Rick Warren's "Evangelical" colleague
Leonard Sweet. Also, around the same time, I was
given a cassette tape set of a presentation
Sweet had done with Warren in 1995. Their
recorded discussion is titled The Tides of
Change and was packaged as part of an
ongoing series called "Choice Voices for Church
Leadership." At the time this audio project took
place, Sweet was a Christian author, Methodist
minister, and the Dean of the Theological School
at Drew University. According to information on
the tape set, this presentation was about
ministry on the emerging "new frontier."2
Challenging pastors to make changes in their
ministry to meet the emerging postmodern culture
and the changing times, Sweet and Rick Warren
present themselves not only as pastors but also
as modern-day change agents. In their
conversation together, Sweet enthusiastically
remarked to Warren: "I think this is part of
New Spirituality that we are seeing birthed
In listening to this cassette-tape series, I
found it interesting that Leonard Sweet was
talking about the birth of a "New Spirituality"
with Rick Warren way back in 1995. Since 9/11,
"New Spirituality" is the term that most New Age
leaders are now using instead of "New Age
Spirituality." By simply removing the word "Age"
from "New Age Spirituality," the "New Age
Spirituality" has suddenly become the "New
Spirituality." Emerging church figures like
Sweet, Brian McLaren, and others are also
employing the term "New Spirituality." They use
it to describe the "new" Christianity they are
practicing as "New Christians" and "New Light
leaders."4 What has become clear over the last
decade is that the "New Spirituality"--with its
bottom line belief that God is "in"
everything--is, in reality, the foundational New
Age "hub" for the coming New World Religion.
This panentheistic New Age/New Spirituality
teaching that God is "in" everything will be the
"common ground" melting pot belief that the
coming New World Religion will ultimately rest
In The Tides of Change, it is clear that
Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet are working toward
a "New Reformation" of the church.5 But as I
read Sweet's book Quantum Spirituality: A
Postmodern Apologetic, I quickly discovered
that Sweet's New Reformation is really just a
New Age re-formation of biblical Christianity--a
New Spirituality. And his New Age/New
Spirituality take on things is just one more
reason to be concerned about the further New Age
implications that are already so present in
Warren's Purpose Driven movement.
Serving Two Masters
Although I was not previously familiar with
Leonard Sweet, I knew that his book, Quantum
Spirituality, had raised some concerns about
his apparent affection for New Age teachings.
When I began reading through Quantum
Spirituality, I could see why people were
Highly intellectual and well-read, Leonard Sweet
almost dares you to keep up with him as he
charges through the spiritual marketplace.
Operating at lightning speed and quoting from
countless books and articles, he will impress
many readers with his quick wit and spiritual
insights. However, as he treacherously dives
into New Age waters and challenges his readers
to go there with him, serious problems arise
within his "postmodern apologetic."
In reading Quantum Spirituality, I
recalled the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus
warned that you can't serve two masters (Matthew
6:24). Leonard Sweet may be a professing
Evangelical Christian, but he also
simultaneously praises New Age authors and their
teachings. Observing Sweet's obvious New Age
slant to Christianity, I was not surprised to
see that he was one of the featured speakers at
a 2007 leadership conference at the Crystal
Cathedral.6 He also co-led two small-group
workshops with Warren in 2008.7
New Light Leaders?
While some Leonard Sweet defenders have argued
that Sweet's hybridized postmodern "New Light"
apologetic flies right over the heads of "old
light" "fundamentalist" types, the facts tell a
much different story. What I learned in reading
Quantum Spirituality is that Sweet is in
the process of trying to transform biblical
Christianity into a quantum/postmodern/New
Light/New Age/New Spirituality. Without apology,
Sweet writes that he is part of a "New Light
movement" and he describes those he especially
admires as "New Light leaders."8
In the "Acknowledgments" of Quantum
Spirituality, Sweet expresses his deep
gratitude and admiration to various "New Light
leaders" that he openly praises as "the most
creative religious leaders in America today."9
Included in his group are a number of New Age
leaders I am very familiar with--most
particularly Willis Harman, Matthew Fox, and M.
Scott Peck. Sweet describes these three
men--along with all the others cited--as
"extraordinary" and "great" New Light leaders.
He goes so far as to say that they are his
"personal role models" and "heroes" of the "true
nature of the postmodern apologetic." Sweet
They are my personal role models (in an
earlier day one could get away with
"heroes") of the true nature of the
postmodern apologetic. More than anyone
else, they have been my teachers on how
to translate, without compromising
content, the gospel into the indigenous
context of the postmodern vernacular.10
But many of the men Leonard Sweet
acknowledges have compromised the "content" of
the Gospel by translating it into the
"postmodern vernacular" of a New Age/New
Spirituality. For example, Willis Harman,
Matthew Fox, and
M. Scott Peck have all played
leading roles in the building and popularizing
New Age/New Spirituality
Therefore, how can these three leaders be
Sweet's "role models" and "heroes"? Sweet's
praise of these men says all you need to know
about his "postmodern apologetic." Rather than
commending these New Age/New Light leaders, a
self-professing Christian leader like Sweet
should be warning the church about them. A brief
look at these three "New Light leaders" and
their teachings will make this very clear. (This
is an excerpt from chapter 10,
A "Wonderful" Deception by Warren Smith.
To read entire chapter,
1. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A
Postmodern Apologetic (Dayton, OH:
Whaleprints for SpiritVenture Ministries, Inc.
1991, 1994), p. 125.
2. Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet, The Tides
of Change, op. cit, introductory information
4. Tony Jones, The New Christianity, op.
cit., pp. 2, 40; Brian McLaren, Everything
Must Change, op. cit., p. 296; Leonard
Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p.
5. Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet, The Tides
of Change, op. cit.
6. Faith Forward conference in 2007 at Crystal
Cathedral with Leonard Sweet, http://www.cathedralgifts.com/20fafoco.html.
7. For information on the small-group workshop
at the 2008 Saddleback Small Groups conference:
8. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality,
op. cit., p. viii.
9. Ibid., p. ix.
10. Ibid., p. viii.