Dr. Leonard Sweet Responds to the ODMs
Every now and again, in the midst of controversy and negativity something very good happens.
For me, something good usually means getting to know a brother or sister I hadn’t known before.
With the current controversy surrounding Leonard Sweets appearance at a worship conference in Albuquerque, I sought out Dr. Sweet to inquire about what had happened.
When he was gracious enough to respond, I then used all my persuasive abilities to implore him to address the accusations being made against him.
He has posted that that response here…the response of a truly humble brother in Christ who it has been a privilege to cross paths with in the providence of God.
I ask you to read it with an open mind and an open heart as a letter from a family member.
“Let me say first of all that for me, New Age rhymes with sewage. I have such a low threshold for Gaia worship that in the middle of the movie “Avatar” I had to take a break, so severe was my attack of Gaiarrhea. In fact, I have challenged “new age sensibilities” (which now are known as “integral spirituality” or “Enlightenment,” not “New Age”) for the way in which they goddify the self and expect others to orbit in a Youniverse that revolves around them as if they were a god. “The Secret” of the universe is not that you can have life your way. “The Secret” is that Jesus is The Way (Colossians 3). Jesus did not come to make us divine. Jesus came to show us how to be authentically what God made us to be–human. Because of the culture in which we live, I have encouraged the daily ritual of starting the day by standing in front of a mirror and saying: “God is God and I am not.”
“By quoting and referencing people outside the faith, I am doing nothing more than Peter, Paul and Jesus himself did. Paul circumcised Timothy and made a vow in the temple. Some Christians could have easily interpreted these actions as proof that Paul was a legalist. But he was simply being “a Jew to the Jew,” speaking their language to get their hearing, yet not compromising the gospel at the same time.
Because I quote someone does not mean I agree with everything that person ever wrote. Paul quoted pagan philosophers in the Book of Acts. Quantum Spirituality was the first book that broke up the text on a page and inserted side-bars and images and quotes, a feature which is now the norm for most books. Some of the quotes I chose were meant to provide contrasting positions to my argument, some to buttress my argument, some even to mock my argument. The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not “Do I agree with them?” but “Does this quote energize the conversation?” “Guilt by association” is intellectually disreputable and injurious to the whole body of Christ.”
“It is doubly ironic that I am under attack for being Emergent or a leader in the “emerging church” movement when I am known in emerging church circles as one of its severest critics.”
“I can still call Brian McLaren (and others) my friends while critiquing their theology. The “emerging church” is a young movement grown old very quickly because . ..
It is prone to cause political ruckus when it should be rocking the world for Christ;
It is missing a hunger and longing for the salvation of others, a passion for others to fall in love with Jesus and the sense that there are things at stake here that have both earthly and eternal consequences . . .
It appears more and more to be a new evangelical form of the old 70s liberation theology
It makes the mistake of separating the Person of Jesus from His teachings
It deconstructs everything, including the historic creeds of the church and the divine inspiration of the entire biblical canon
It revels in spreading doubt more than faith”
The point to be made here is that we must talk with each other , ask of each other, dialog with each other before we cast stones at each other.
We are family…and I’m grateful and honored to call Leonard Sweet my brother.