Saturday, August 26, 2006

Anne Lamott Endorses a New Age Writer

Anne Lamott, who has written two best-selling spiritual memoirs, and who is taken by some to be an evangelical, has endorsed a new book by the pantheistic author, Marianne Williamson, a long-time advocate of the channeled document, A Course in Miracles. Lamott says of The Gift of Change:" [Williamson's] voice is strong medicine for our woundedness, warmth, insistence, good humor, and a little light to see by." The book is also hailed by pantheistic author, Deepak Chopra:"Williamson takes her readers seriously enough to ask serious attention of them and to offer them much in return."

Once again, this indicates that many "spiritual" writers, even those claiming Christianity in some form, do not possess a biblical worldview. But one should not publicly teach or write without seriously pondering the stern and stirring warnings of Titus 2:7-8 and James 3:1-2.

7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8).

1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check (James 3:1-2).

Teachers must have integrity because of their influence. But Lamott cannot even discern that Williamson denies the gospel itself. Williamson teaches that Jesus atonement means that we are all already "at-one" with God, and that guilt and sin are unreal. Forgiveness, for her, means realizing that there is nothing to forgive. These are not small theological errors, but titanic spiritual counterfeits. (I assess channeling, including Williamson and A Course in Miracles, in Jesus in an Age of Controversy.) The gospel of God is nothing to play with, as the Apostle Paul warned:

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God's curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God's curse! (Galatians 1:6-9).

Let us, therefore, leave aside the teachings of the immature and embrace godly writers, well grounded in The Book of Books.


Craig Fletcher said...

If we are all at one with God due to Christ's atonement and the following scripture is the truth

Matthew 10:32-33 “32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."

.... then we'd better pull the missionairies out of the field! Everyone is already saved whether or not they consciously accept Christ as Lord! However, if missionairies take the gospel to people who haven't decided one way or the other, or whom haven't heard the gospel, then these people are damned if they don't accept Jesus, whereas before they were saved by default due to ignorance or apathy!

Quick everyone, call all of the missionairies you know and ask them to change their calling!

Oh yeah... and now it doesn't matter what you believe either, we're all saved without even choosing Christ, so metaphysical truth is irrelevant.

Wouldn't it be neat if personal relationships were that way? Everyone would love everyone, regardless of how we treated each other. You could get anyone to marry you without them even choosing to want to be with you too!

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Yes, if she is right, missions is absurd, at least Christian missions.

She doesn't even belief in Christ's atonement in a biblical sense, though. She thinks everyone is at one with God. Christ didn't accomplish it, he just taught it, being a guru. The theology is abjectly demonic. See 1 John 4:1-6; Colossians 2:8; 2 Cor. 11:14.

nancy said...

I taught a 4 week Bible Study on the Christian Worldview to the women at church last spring and they had no problem identifying the pantheistic worldview percolating in this statement by Williamson (too bad Lamott does not posess the same discernment):

“The concept of a divine, or ‘Christ’ mind, is the idea that, at our core, we are not just identical, but actually the same being. ‘There is only one begotten Son’ doesn’t mean that someone else was it, and we’re not. It means we’re all it. There’s only one of us here…. The word Christ is a psychological term. No religion has a monopoly on truth. Christ refers to the common thread of divine love that is the core and essence of every human mind.” – Mariann Williamson in A Return to Love p 29.

nancy said...

...and then there is Lamott's endorsement of Huston Smith's "The Soul of Christianity," which you reviewed in the current edition in CRI and included a short summery here on June 3rd.

Lamott says of Smith..."He is the wisest, sanest religious scholar of them all.."


Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Thank you for further documentation of Lamott's aberrations. I forgot about her endorsement of the execrable Huston Smith effort.

With "Christians" like this, who needs New Agers?

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

1. The Scriptures do apply. If you are writing a book, you are a teacher because people read and believe the books. If you are speaking of your experiences and reflections on Christianity, you are teaching something about Christianity. Moreover, we can apply Jesus' broader warnings about our words: "By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned." And there is a plethora of other texts on the need to control one's verbalizations.

2. Moreover, anybody who denies the Gospel in any way is under the anathema leveled by Paul in Galatians 1:6ff.

3. So, I am not misusing these texts.

Tom Fox said...

I'm familiar with Marianne Williamson's work. She is a delightful speaker, kind-hearted, and an inspiring writer, but she is not necessarily the most accurate interpreter for "A Course in Miracles." You also quaintly dismiss the Course as a 'channeled work,' as if Paul himself did not also claim to be a channel.

The suggestion is made that the Course is pantheistic, but it isn't. The suggestion is made that the Course is un-Biblical, but it is Biblical. The Course affirms the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, and most of what he is reported to have said in the Gospels.

If you are going to object to the teachings of "A Course in Miracles," and I expect that you will continue to do so, please do it for the right reason.

The Course teaches that Jesus was not unique among men, and that everyone (you and me included) can be like he was/is, simply by surrendering our own individual will and by coming into alignment with the Will of God.

There is a fair amount of support for this idea in the Gospels. The supposedly channeled writings of Paul are something else.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I address "A Course in Miracles" in depth in "Jesus in An Age of Controversy."

The primary, most reliable, historical documents for Jesus (the New Testament) cannot support what "A Course" teaches about Jesus. In fact, it denies everything central to the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It uses biblical words (incarnation, resurrection, etc.), but changes the meaning entirely. And it is no small thing to tamper with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is no way one can read the Gospels and come up with the idea that Jesus is no different than we are. He forgives sins, he has no sin, he died for sin,he rose from the dead!

Tom Fox said...

I did not write that "Jesus is no different than we are." I wrote, "The Course teaches that Jesus was not unique among men, and that everyone . . . can be like he was/is . . . ."

Jesus is different from you and me. He was able to overcome the world and to forgive those who tormented him. He was, in actual practice, what for us is only a potential.

Jesus calls to us to be like him, and to love one another. Jesus calls us to follow Him and to change. It is not a matter of philosophical argumentation, it is a matter of practical everyday application.

So, please forgive me for not buying the Pauline, and subsequent, distortions of Jesus' teachings.

Also, please forgive me for not buying your book to find out what you think.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Mr. Fox:

You don't have to buy my book. Simply read the entire New Testament. The Jesus of the Gospels (forget Paul for a moment) is never presented in the way A Course in Miracles presents him. Look at his claims and credentials. He is utterly unique. Consider:

1. He was born of a virgin, to fulfill predictions long ago.

2. His miraculous powers--over sickness, demons, and nature.

3. His perfect life.

4. His authority over Satan.

5. His view of himself as the only mediator between God and humanity: see Matthew 11:27 and John 14:6.

6. And on it goes.

On to Paul: Paul's writings were written only about twenty years after the death of Jesus. This is probably before the Gospels were written. He was endorsed by the author apostles and he endorsed them. See Galatians 1 and Acts 15. His teaching does not contradict Jesus in any way. See FF Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, and many other sources.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Mr. Fox:

If I can find it on my hard drive, I'd be happy to send electronic files from my books to back up what I'm saying.

Tom Fox said...

Douglas Groothuis said... "Mr. Fox: You don't have to buy my book. Simply read the entire New Testament. . . . "

I don't want to just drop this conversation and go away without saying goodbye, but I will also say this:

In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, the New Testament is rich with meaning and it speaks to many different levels . . . but unambiguous it is NOT.

I don't know what to say to someone who believes the Gospels have one meaning, and one meaning only. Or who considers that to be the apex of Christian learning.


"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

John 17:15-16

nancy said...

Tom Fox...don't disappear just yet. I'm not sure how long you've followed this blog, but from time to time various people enter some good debates. Many who comment here are jumping back into the vigorous teaching schedule and as such, time to comment is limited. I'm getting my kids back into the school routine and reentering the workforce right now so my free time has been sparse.

I would be happy to converse on this specific topic/thread in a day or so. So if you are still around, check back over the weekend. This is a topic that facinates me and I want to understand your arguement.

Tom Fox said...

Hi Nancy,

I have not gone far, and I'll likely be checking back here as time permits. I discovered Mr. Groothuis' blog the other day when I was searching Blogger for "A Course in Miracles," looking for others who are sympathetic to the Course's teachings.

I'm not much of an evangelist, even if I do think that Mr. Groothuis has been seduced by false prophets. I'm not sure I'm up to the job of putting him back on the path to salvation. I'd probably just be an aggravation to him, and what good can come from that? I don't know.

My recent post "Christianity and A Course in Miracles" might give you some idea of what I believe, even if what I believe is constantly being refined, and it is subject to change without notice.

That post can be found at:

Be of good cheer.