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A Bridge over other Waters

Few have done as much to promote a sense of unity among the world's religions than John Marks Templeton. Templeton has become world renowned for offering a million dollars as his  annual prize from his religious research center that is dedicated to develop progress in religion.

The Council for a Parliament of World Religions promotes inter-religious dialogue and plans for the world's “spiritual future by having government institutionalize a global ethic.” Sir John Templeton serves on the Parliament of World Religions board of trustees. Templeton is also linked to some very important and wealthy people that have been known to be involved in Globalism, both politically and religiously.

Christianity Today introduced Templeton’s book, Discovering The Laws of Life to a Christian audience in 1994. They assigned the entire back cover of its April 24, 1994 issue with an ad promoting it. Headlined “Will inspire Millions of Readers.” In what one may seriously ask? The book was promoting New Age in its content. The ad contained the endorsements of Norman Vincent Peale (who also wrote the foreword), Robert Schuller, Billy Graham, and two prominent Catholic New Age leaders, Theodore M. Hesburgh (former president of Notre Dame University) arid J. Peter Grace (head of the Knights of Malta).

Templeton's beliefs are clearly expressed in his numerous writings: He is an evolutionist, pantheist, universalist, and has occultic views. His writings display a rejection of the God of the Bible, Christ as the only way to God. He claims that heaven and hell are states of mind we create here on earth that truth is relative, and that Christianity is no longer relevant today as it was in Christ’s day.

Sir John Templeton 's Biography it states Templeton and his foundation work on the premise that scientific principles of evolution and the idea of God as Creator are compatible.”

Templeton explains why: Microbes slowly evolved into worms, fishes, reptiles, and mammals. Humans did not appear until forty thousand years ago …the human mind is so potent... that no one knows what may happen next. Evolution is accelerating …traditional Judaism and Christianity are losing their powers to inform the contemporary mind … Theologians …must begin to explore the vast unseen dimensions of our evolving universe … The main purpose of the Templeton Foundations is to encourage enthusiast', for accelerating discovery and progress in spiritual matters … The next stage of human divine progress on the evolutionary scale needs… geniuses of the spirit …[who] can develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn't rely on ancient revelations or scripture [such as the Bible] …that is scientific …and is not disputed because of divisions between religions or churches or ancient scripture or liturgy…To encourage progress of this kind, we have established the Templeton Foundation Prizes for Progress in Religion” (John Marks Templeton, The Humble Approach (The Continuum Publishing Company, 1995, New Revised Edition), pp. 7, 30-33, 41, 58, 60, 135-39.) 

Here are few examples of his numerous quotes: “God is billions of stars in the Milky Way and He is much more …Time and space and energy are all part of God …God is five billion people on Earth…God is untold billions of beings on planets of millions of other stars …God is the only reality… God is all of you and you are a little part of Him (Templeton, Humility, p. 37-38.)

According to Templeton, “progress” is needed because the; world's scriptures (including the Bible) “were written … [by] men whose minds were limited by cosmologies long since discredited.” Nor does the Bible accurately record the words of Christ, because those who reported them “could write clown only what they understood … [as] ignorant and primitive…

“Templeton has been noted for saying “I am hoping to develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture (the bible)… The main purpose of the Templeton foundations is to encourage enthusiasm for accelerating discovery and progress in spiritual matters” (the Humble Approach p135-139).

Templeton's bio explains his intent Templeton’s goal has been nothing less than to change mindsets about the concept of divinity

Biography: Sir John Templeton,  Typical of Templeton's wide-lens view of spirituality and ethics, the dedicated Presbyterian admits to additional influence from the New Thought movements of Christian Science, Unity and Religious Science. Those metaphysical churches espouse a non-literal view of heaven and hell, and suggest a shared divinity between God and humanity. "We realize that our own divinity arises from something more than merely being ‘God's children’ or being ‘made in his image,”’

Templeton says, “No one should say that God can be reached by only one path” (The Humble Approach pp. 46,55). Templeton writes in his book Discovering the Laws of Life: “[T]he 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 Life pp. 6-7).

In keeping with his idea of “progress” in religion, Templeton suggests, “Maybe one of the attributes of God is change”(Humility p. 52).

“The 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...” (Templeton, Humility, pp. 48,53.)

It should be clear to anyone who reveres the Bible as God’s word that these statements are not for but against Christ and Templeton should not be welcomed as someone who is a friend to the church but someone who intent on changing the way Christians think. He is one who desperately needs the gospel.

Change is certainly the right word to describe what is taking place these days both inside and outside the church. And this change is not a good thing.

So what does any of this have to do with Christianity? We find that the one of the most famous evangelicals, someone whom churches are modeling their church after is now associated with Templeton participating in an essay contest he is putting on. It’s called the Power of Purpose awards and Rick Warren is only one of five judges to determine the winner in the Power of Purpose Essays, (get it?).

I’m sorry but this shows a complete lack of discernment and judgment to have any cooperation with this man and his projects. Warren does not seem uncomfortable with the New Age that has not only been promoted by Templeton in the past but right on the same website this is event is advertised.

It was Norman Vincent Peale who called Templeton “The greatest layman of the Christian church in our time” (found on Jacket of Discovering the laws of Life, 1994). This he attributed to a man who is an evolutionist, universalist, pantheist, a non-Christian and even against Christian doctrine. How is this possible?

Templeton and his New Age views were first introduced to the church by none other than Robert Schuller in 1986. Schuller put Templeton's picture on his Possibilities Magazine front cover. In it he wrote, “The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not nothing exists except God” (Possibilities, pp. 8-12, Summer 1986).

So now we see Rick Warren who learned from Robert Schuller involved with Templeton. My how the circle is unbroken.

The Power of Purpose competition is a program Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. “The mission of the Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. In addition, the Foundation seeks to stimulate a quest for greater spiritual discovery and insight through research and reflection.”

The Power of Purpose is a worldwide essay competition with total grand prizes of $500,000 and the grand prize of $100,000. There is no entry fee. Essays should be no more than 3,500 words in English, entrants are to be 18 years of age or older. “The award-winning essays in this competition will be selected by this distinguished panel of judges, all of whom have exemplified throughout their lives and careers a strong and unmistakable understanding of The Power of Purpose.

The judges are Hugh Delehanty Editor in Chief, AARP Publications

Nancy Brinker -Founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Paul Davies Professor of Natural Philosophy-Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Marian Wright Edelman Founder and President- Children's Defense Fund

Rick Warren Pastor and author-The Purpose Driven Life

All these on the judge’s panel have made their mark in some human achievement. My articles intent is not to focus on these other judges. My concern is that a well - known leader of the “Evangelical church” is found working alongside Templeton on one of his projects to unify spiritual beliefs. Clearly Templeton is allowed to use Warren’s well -known trademark by permission and made this essay contest “The Power of Purpose” humanistic and generic to appeal to all faiths.

An editor's note is added that although the contest uses a theme of Purpose, the competition is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. they established the rules and selected the judges; we had no control over those matters. That may be true, however they have control over agreeing to join in with such an agenda of  Templeton's that always has the purpose of uniting people consolidating religions. Warren has on his page linked to Templeton says “we'd like a Purpose-Driven® Church to win the grand prize. On Templeton's site he uses warren to advertise this event. January 19, 2004 A Worldwide Essay Competition is pleased to announce that pastor and author Rick Warren has joined its list of judges. This international writing contest, which hopes to encourage people to think about the purpose in their lives, is being conducted entirely on the internet at …power of purpose.org

However we cannot overlook the people are that are chosen as judges. As we look closer we find a wide diversity of faiths and no faith.

Delehanty is a practicing Buddhist (there is no God in Buddhism). He wrote the book Sacred Hoops with Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls. On ebay part of the promo on Jackson “goes on to discuss his own life, growing up as the child of fundamentalist Christians, and his adoption of Zen principles in life and in coaching.”

Industry reviews (Jackson) “is considered a maverick for his unorthodox coaching methods, Jackson demonstrates how he adapts the precepts of Zen Buddhism, the ways of the Lakota Sioux, and other alternative styles to the task of coaching the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls.”

Before joining AARP, Delehanty was the editor of Utne Reader. A few of the partners of Utne are what are called globalist organizations. Bioneers is a “save the planet” organization. “The unique Bioneers culture focuses on solutions informed by the biological truth of interconnectedness that is essential to mending livings systems and our relationship as human beings with the natural world.” http://www.utne.com/partners/

Also True Majority is involved in social justice for children and “protecting the environment, and America working in cooperation with the world community.” It is endorsed by the National Council of Churches, Campus Greens, Greenpeace, The Interfaith Alliance, Rainforest Action Network and numerous other NA environmental org.

Paul Davies is a Professor of Natural Philosophy also lectures to religious organizations around the world, and has had meetings with the Pope and the Dalai Lama. He frequently debates science and religion with theologians. http://www.abc.net.au/science/morebigquestions/davies.htm

Davies is a Philosopher who seems to hold to evolution, writes about God and science and debates religion with theologians.

He speaks on “multiverse theories predict the existence of infinitely many duplicate cosmic regions, including duplicate Earths and duplicate Guardian readers. There will also exist all possible variations on this theme” http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1047755,00.html

“The same physical processes that triggered the inflationary burst at the birth of the universe could, in principle, be recreated. With trillions of years to worry about it, our descendants in the far future might figure out a way to produce a new Big Bang in the laboratory, in effect creating a baby universe.” http://bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/bulletin/EdDesk.nsf/printing/ 87E9ADE402790E84CA256DDE001FDBEA

Marian Wright Edelman Wrote a book with Alison Wright called “Faces of Hope: Children of a Changing World.”

Alison Wright is the author of The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile and the photographer for A Simple Monk: Writings on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1577312236/qid=1080379775/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_ 7/104-3698633-7507122?v=glance&s=books

Marian is featured in another book called “Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World” along with the Dali Lama, Deepak Chopra, Lao-tzu, Rumi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marianne Williamson, St. Francis, and St. Teresa of Avila.

Quotations range from sources such as the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Koran, the Torah, and Native American texts, as well as from Deepak Chopra, Rumi, Martin Luther King Jr., Marianne Williamson, and others. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1573245224/104-3698633-7507122?v=glance

On her site is a page dedicated to The Sisters of the Gold Moon, an international Sisterhood of diverse beliefs. It appears to present a New Age feminist quality. A wide variety of non-religious and religious concepts are listed on her site including Christianity.

 I have made only a small synopsis on these beliefs of some of the judges. People are free to believe what they want, my intent is not to mar what these people have done in their lives. My point is to show the diverse spiritual beliefs of the judges. What I don’t understand is how someone who is a Christian and well known teacher about Christianity can be involved with this. What comes to mind is the Christian principle of not being unequally yoked. Here is Rick Warren sitting with these same people to judge a contest on the Power of Purpose that is an offspring of his books theme (Psalm 1).While Warren's association does not have any great influence, his affiliation with this project should give any Christian unease. On Warren’s purposedriven website is a link to pastors.com which advertises The Power of Purpose Awards:  by their Staff. It explains The John Templeton Foundation is sponsoring The Power of Purpose Awards, that it is an international writing contest, which aims to encourage people to think about the purpose in their lives and is linked to powerofpurpose.org

On the power of purpose website we find the link to Templeton’s own website:  The links off the Templeton website lead to various humanitarian groups, other faiths and even occult beliefs of the New Age. So this becomes a springboard into who knows what! 

The Templeton Foundation funds more than 250 projects studies, award programs, and publications worldwide. “The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. Using “the humble approach,” the Foundation typically seeks to focus the methods and resources of scientific inquiry on topical areas which have spiritual and theological significance ranging across the disciplines from cosmology to healthcare. In the human sciences, the foundation supports programs, competitions, publications, and studies that promote character education and the exploration of positive values and purpose across the lifespan. It supports free enterprise education and development internationally through the Templeton Freedom Awards, new curriculum offerings, and other programs that encourage free-market principles.

On the Power of Purpose website under the topic of Resources and in the section of Religion and Spirituality: you have Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation Established by the Lilly Endowment Inc., Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Guideposts Magazine, and The Purpose-Driven Life.

Under suggested themes for this essay: In the section personal reflection they have mother Theresa as an example of humanitarian work on this page they state “Essays explaining one’s own internal development, either personally or professionally, and the role that purpose has played in that evolution would constitute one type of structure for this type of essay. “Traditionally a religious concept, in which men and women were literally supposed to find their “calling.”

Under suggested themes - scientific inquiry they quote Stephen Hawking and on this page it states: “In his work, Natural Religion and Christian Theology, Canon Charles Raven, a naturalist and a theologian, commented on the joy he derived from studying butterflies.

Under the section of Fiction they have a quote from the Buddha which makes this all the more diverse.

Under the sites section What is Purpose we read “Purpose in Humanity:” “In day-to-day life, we encounter men and women who seem driven by something outside of themselves, whose commitment to their profession or volunteer activities, their community, or their cause seems to rise above the necessary, above the possible, above even the human. Indeed, we say that in such people we see “the divine spark.” “Many religious traditions, both Eastern and Western, subscribe to the idea that there is something of God’s presence in each of us.”

This is the essence of mysticism and Gnosticism that is more understood as New Age. Warren by his appearing on this site in conjunction with Templeton’s program is inadvertently sanctioning this. This is failing to be careful of what one associates with in the public. People make mistakes however this Essay contest is clearly having a universal appeal and could not be missed.

It also states “Many religious traditions, both Eastern and Western, subscribe to the idea that there is something of God’s presence in each of us. Even for the growing number of people who describe themselves as spiritual, but not necessarily religious, there is a certain attachment to this concept of the divine spark. It is the sense that our lives can be guided from within by something more important than our simple survival, something not merely intellectual either, something in our souls.”

Clearly there is a spiritual undertone with Templeton’s goals. They may be noble and humanitarian yet they have a spiritual theme-unity of all. The intent is what is called Interfaith cooperation. Examples are numerous, some are blatant some are subtle in their presentation. This can be further understood in the section Organizational Purpose. Henry V, the Archbishop of Canterbury describes the way the English army can effectively win its war with France: “As many arrows, loosed several ways, Fly to one mark; as many ways meet in one town; As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea; As many lines close in the dial’s center; So may a thousand actions, once afoot, End in one purpose, and be all well borne Without defeat.”

Welcome to The Power of Purpose Awards Forum.
“The value of having an individual goal-or purpose-has been around since the beginning of time. Everyone, it seems, would like to have a life filled with more meaning. Would you? This forum hopes to encourage you and others around the world to think and talk about purpose in your life. Purpose drives ordinary people to step up to the plate, to take risks, to influence others.”

Another statement says “In recent years, there has been a new symbiosis created between religious belief and science as each field looks to the other for greater understanding of nature’s mysteries. An essay in this category might examine some new points of contact between science and religion.”

In the section Synergy of Man’s Purpose and Nature’s Purpose
”Though the evidence of purpose in man and purpose in nature are often observed separately, man and his environment are ultimately connected, and so are their purposes. Indeed, it could be said that part of man’s purpose is to learn nature’s purpose.”

The Gaia hypothesis comes to mind as well as new age pantheism. On almost every portion of this site there is something for believers to beware of. 

“Entrants may want to consider the idea of vocation. Traditionally a religious concept, in which men and women were literally supposed to find their “calling,” vocation has become an important notion for people of various faiths and spiritual beliefs who are trying to discover their natural talents and enjoyments. What kind of life gives you the most fulfillment? How do you know? How has your life changed since you discovered your own purpose? How have you changed the lives of others.

“Entrants may hail from such fields as physics, biology, and chemistry. Their task is to explicate for the general audience how natural purpose and order have become evident in their field. The confirmation could exist on the cosmic or the microcosmic level.”

Interesting that these concepts of purpose coincide with Warren’s premise in his Purpose Driven Life book; that our natural abilities are given by God to everyone for his purpose. Yet we find that in writing an essay, your power of purpose may or may not have to do with God (especially Jesus Christ). Your purpose may be scientific, humanitarian or religious. The fact that this can be used in a humanistic way or be applied to other religions shows how broad a concept this really is. In Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life page 25, Warren writes, “We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives.” Obviously, from a Christian point of view anything else but Jesus Christ would not do, yet Warren is contradicting this by participating in such a wide-open concept for the essay. Does Warren have a conflict of interest?

Let me conclude by asking what eternal good is there if someone has led the most fulfilled and meaningful life, had a purpose that left their mark in history; when without Christ they have lost their own soul? This should be a Christian’s ultimate concern. The worlds ways are temporal are passing away.

In 1987 there was a gathering of religions all over the world called the “Harmonic Convergence.” New Agers, Universalists and humanists etc. were involved in uniting together to make a change in the world by employing tolerance, and people united together for a spiritual cause.

What really becomes the purpose of this essay contest by Templeton? I see this as a way to merge Christians with those of other faiths in a common goal - a focus on purpose. A global spirituality is fast becoming the norm, the question we have to ask ourselves as Christians is whether we will  participate with them.


Quotes of Templeton from the research of Dave Hunt and Gary Kah and Internet.


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