“We err greatly if we think of intimacy with Christ as some lofty level of mysterious, feelings-based communion with the Divine–as if it involved some knowledge of God that goes beyond what Scripture has revealed. That idea is the very heart of the gnostic heresy. It has nothing in common with true Christianity.” ~ John MacArthur
Who is Leonard Sweet? He is described as an author, preacher, scholar, futurist and ordained United Methodist clergyman. On his website is this: “These are but a sampling of responses to Len’s three-ring mission: as a historian of American culture; as a futurist/semiotician who “sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;” and as a preacher and writer who communicates the gospel powerfully to a postmodem age by bridging the worlds of academe and popular culture.
Is it not a bit frightening that a pastor, or any other self professing Christian for that matter, claims that he sees things others cannot see? And that their imaginations are limited compared to his? If we believe what he says in one instance, how do we know when he errs in his pronouncements?
Leonard Sweet is a big hit in evangelical Christian circles. He is very popular among Nazarene emergents and with many Nazarenes in general, and has spoken at Pastor Leadership seminars. He spoke at a leadership conference at European Nazarene University last year, along with Jon Middendorf, one of the leading emergent church promoters and ecumenists in the Nazarene denomination. He uses the cool sounding hip terminology of “follower of Christ” instead of Christian. He calls John Wesley the founder of my “tribe”, another cool hip emergent word instead of…denomination? In many places where he is a conference speaker, there often seems to be a connection with other Nazarenes. Recently he was a speaker at a conference called “Synergize 3!”, which had a theme “Where The Global Church Gathers To Save the World.” (Can someone explain to me, what is synergizing??) There were several Nazarenes as featured speakers, including a Nazarene General Superintendent, Dr. Stan Toler.
Leonard Sweet says that he is not emergent. He has written a defense of his theology at his website, called A Response To Critics. He claims that his theology has been “minsinterpeted.” He rejects the thought that he supports emergent thinking, or that he is a New Age sympathizer and promoter. He says, “Because I quote someone does not mean I agree with everything that person ever wrote.” (As a pastor, is it wise to quote in your sermons someone who is a false teacher?) Then he tries to make the case that the apostle Paul did the same thing! And he says about his book Quantum Spirituality: “Would I write the same book today? No. Would I say some things differently? Yes.”
Here is one of many quotations from Quantum Spirituality:
Yet in all this defense, he did not renounce, and has not yet done so, this book and others such as Soul Tsunami; he continues to sell these books on his website, which does not make sense; and now he continues with more of his mystical mumbo jumbo. Yet, look for him to be a featured speaker again at the next Pastor’s Leadership conference.
On his website, you will find him promoting a series of retreats called “Advances”, with this description supposedly derived from Scripture:
Now look deeper into where Jesus “came apart“:” the mountains, the desert, and the water. Three different bons vaux, sacred spaced, landscapes of the sacred. The three natural places which have the power to help restore us to physical, mental and spiritual harmony. Your soul needs three sacred spaces. Which one depends on the state your soul is in.”
Where does Leonard Sweet come up with the teaching that “your soul needs three sacred spaces?” Is there really power in these natural spaces to restore us spiritually? Christ is not enough and all that we need? Apparently this is part of his ability to see things the rest of us can’t see! Can you see the problem here though? None of this is Scriptural! Can we all please wake up to the absurdity of this man’s imaginations?
The time is long overdue for Bible believing evangelical leaders, including Nazarenes, to part ways with Leonard Sweet, until he repents from all this foolishness that he is trapped in and is disseminating to countless Christians. Until then, we should not be associating with him as if his theology is sound. It clearly is not.
So here below is the latest example of more heresy from Leonard Sweet, as reported by David Cloud. Do our Christian leaders agree with Sweet that we too can “breathe God?”
“EVANGELICAL” BELIEVES IN BREATHING GOD
(Friday Church News Notes, January 27, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) – Leonard Sweet, a very influential “evangelical,” believes you can breath God in your nostrils. In his 2012 book I Am A Follower, Sweet quotes Sufi poet Kabir who says, “God is the breath inside the breath.”
Sweet then makes the following blasphemous, pagan comment: “All of creation is made alive with the holy breath of the Creator. Breathing Yahweh breath is breathing the holy breath of life. Yahweh. … Our breathing and heartbeat are in tune with the name. Breathe in ‘Yah’ and breathe out ‘weh’ … I guarantee you will relax.”
This heresy is the product of contemplative prayer, which Sweet is recommending in this passage. Sweet is the author and co-author of more than 30 books. He was twice voted “one of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport magazine. Rick Warren recommends Sweet’s book Soul Tsunami (his recommendation is printed on the cover). Warren and Sweet collaborated on an audio set entitled Tides of Change, and Sweet spoke at Saddleback Church in January 2008 for a small groups training conference. Sweet has spoken at Bill Hybels’ Willowcreek Community Church. Sweet’s book Jesus Manifesto (co-authored by Frank Viola) was recommended by Southern Baptist Ed Stetzer, who has spoken at Southwide Baptist Fellowship and Trinity Baptist College, Jacksonville, Florida.
David Cloud, www.wayoflife.org
For further research:
Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, and “New Light” Leaders
For a thorough treatise of many of his quotations from various books, I recommend you read Sandy Simpson’s article at his website: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/leonardsweetquotes.html. I have attached the same article for those who want to add to their resource library.