WAS PETER DRUCKER A CHRISTIAN? THE SPIN VERSUS THE TRUTH

The other day here at Apprising Ministries I did the piece Rick Warren, Manny Pacquiao, And The Influence Of Peter Drucker concerning a “Bible study” Warren says he had with the devout Roman Catholic boxer.

Warren referred to Pacquiao as a “Bible-quoting maniac.” The whole thing struck me personally as a public relations ploy, which is why I covered it. So I pointed out that being a “Bible-quoting maniac” proves nothing.

As I said, the same can be said of the Mormon Missionaries, or even Jehovah’s Witnesses for that matter, who’re going door-to-door converting your neighbors. Certainly faithful Roman Catholics fit the bill as well.

From observing Rick Warren’s “file card orthodoxy” over these years, and knowing the influence of Peter Drucker’s mythology over him, I included the video below showing that Rick Warren was under Drucker’s sway.

It’s been my experience in studying such as these that, for them, as long as someone professes belief in God—i.e. being “faith-based”—it’s about all that they’re concerned with. Orthodox Christianity is a plus, but not required.

Oddly enough, the next day after my article containing the above Rick Warren Ode to Peter Drucker I noticed Warren sent out the following tweet:


(source)

Coincidence? I don’t know, but against this backdrop I now bring you the following article written by Sarah Leslie of Herescope. I believe you’ll find it to be quite interesting:

Was Peter Drucker A Christian?
The Spin versus the Truth

By Sarah Leslie

The issue of whether the business guru Peter Drucker was a Christian or not often comes up, usually in the context of Rick Warren or the history of the Leadership Network organization.

This story that Rick Warren tweeted today is oft-repeated: “Rick Warren: I asked Peter Drucker how he was saved by Jesus. He said ‘When I fully understood GRACE, I knew I’d never get a better deal”[1]

Leadership Network has repeated this story many times. The story, according to Bob Buford went like this:

[Ken] Blanchard, once in my presence, asked Peter Drucker, “Peter, why did you choose Christianity?” Peter said, “There’s no better deal.” [2]

Many would question the fact that a well-known New Age business guru (Ken Blanchard), with a highly questionable Christian testimony himself, would attribute salvation to Drucker! Do these personal anecdotes from Rick Warren, Bob Buford and Ken Blanchard (all of whom have a vested interest in perpetuating the story?) indicate that Drucker was truly saved?

In a recorded interview at Claremont College in 2001, Drucker clearly denied he was a born-againChristian:

“I am not a born-again Christian. I went to church and tithed, but no I am not a Christian.”[3]

Drucker & KIERKEGAARD:

Drucker had a lifelong fascination with the religious philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. His early history includes the following factual information:

Mr. Drucker was raised in Vienna in a family of intellectuals, the perfect incubator for the polymath he became. Jack Beatty, in his biography “The World According to Peter Drucker” (Free Press, 1998), passes on Mr. Drucker’s description of the family Lutheranism as “so ‘liberal’ that it consisted of little more than a tree at Christmas and Bach cantatas at Easter.”Then, at age 19, Mr. Drucker came across the works of the theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard – and was bowled over. He studied Danish in order to read Kierkegaard’s yet-untranslated writings….[4]

Kierkegaard’s spiritual view of man and God is not recognized as being “born-again Christian.”[5] Furthermore, Drucker was an Episcopalian, and his lukewarm faith was described in in a biographical article that cited two profiles of Drucker:

In a 1999 profile in Christianity Today, Tim Stafford described Mr. Drucker as a “practicing Episcopalian.” An interview in Forbes exactly a year ago described him as a “muted Episcopalian.”[6]

In the same article, Drucker is quoted as being a follower of “diversity” in theology:

“Very bluntly, people are dreadfully bored with theology,” he told the editors of Leadership in 1989. “And I sympathize with them. I’ve always felt that quite clearly the good Lord loves diversity. He created 2,500 species of flies. If he had been like some theologians I know, there would have been only one right specie of fly.”[7]

Drucker’s ZEN BUDDHISM  &  Japanese art

In an October 7, 2005 Herescope post, “Peter Drucker: Early Futurist,”[8] Drucker’s fascination and lifelong passion with Zen was noted:

Drucker wrote [in his book Landmarks for Tomorrow] about the necessity to create a “metaphysical science” for the coming “new age” — “The new view of the world, the new concepts, the new human capacities” (1996 Introduction, p. xvi). Drucker believed that man’s inherent problems could be overcome, apparently even the “problem” of Original Sin:

“Knowledge and power have been problems of man since the Garden of Eden. Now they are in the center of his existence. The solution to them which the new age finds will, in the last analysis, determine its character and meaning. If it fails to solve them, it will not only be a dark age without starts even to light up the night; it may well be the last age of man — and conquest of space will not alter this. If however the new age succeeds in solving these problems, it could become one of the greatest eras of man.” (p. 268) [emphasis added]

Expressing his religious philosophy, Drucker wrote, in an apparent reference to Genesis 3:5:

“Society needs a return to spiritual values — not to offset the material but to make it fully productive. . . . Mankind needs the return to spiritual values, for it needs compassion. It needs the deep experience that the Thou and the I are one, which all higher religions share.” (1996, p. 264-265)

In his early life Drucker was influenced by German mysticism. In his later life Drucker was influenced by Zen. Both philosophies incorporate the idea of holism. He defined it in the 1996 Introduction: “the parts exist in contemplation of the whole.” (p. 6) Elsewhere he expressed his Zen philosophy in an interview with Harriet Rubin for Inc. magazine (“Peter’s Principles,” 3/1/98 [http://www.1099.com/c/ar/ia/petersprinciples.html]). In discussing how Drucker sees the world, Ms. Rubin noted that he collected Japanese paintings. “They teach him about Japan, but they also teach him how to look.”

“Drucker takes me into his study. He points to a few black smudges on a yellowed piece of paper on the wall. The painting looks like nothing in the Louvre. I find myself thinking that it’s black and white and pitifully austere. Drucker adjusts his thick glasses and looks. “I bet you don’t see much in it,” he says. I rub my 20/20s. He’s right. He starts teaching me the way a Japanese painter would look at things.”He hands me a book, A Concise History of Japanese Art. Inside is a tiny pencil, nesting in a page that says the following:

“‘The Zen-inspired painter seeks the ‘truth’ of a landscape, like that of religion, in sudden enlightenment. This allows no time for careful detailed draftsmanship. After long contemplation, he is expected to be able to seize inner truth in a swordlike stroke of the brush. This ‘essentialism’ can be expressed equally well in a large landscape or in the branch of a tree, in the broadest panorama as well as in each of its minute components….'”…

Peter Drucker & Confucianism

Another Herescope post, “Peter Drucker & Confucianism,” October 17, 2005,[9] examined Drucker’s fascination with the Confucianism.

Another eastern religion that has influenced Drucker is Confucianism. In a Journal of Management History article entitled “The unfashionable Drucker: ethical and quality chic,” (2000, Vol. 6, Iss. 1,… [10] authors James S. Bowman and Dennis L. Wittmer explain:

“Drucker describes Confucian ethics as a guide for organizational ethics; indeed, it is ‘the most successful and most durable ethics of them all: the Confucian ethics of interdependence’ (1981a, p. 30). One of the reasons it is so fitting is that he views ethics as concerned with relationships and appropriate behavior between parties (e.g. managers and employees, manufacturer and customer, or faculty and student). . . .

“Convinced of the overall importance of Confucian ethics, he claims that ‘if ever there is a viable “ethics of organization”, it will almost certainly have to adopt the key concepts of Confucian theory: clear definitions of relationships, universal rules, focus on behavior rather than motives, and behavior that optimizes each parties’ benefits’ (Drucker, 1981a, pp. 35-6).” [emphasis added]

Here is what The Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths has to say about Confucius:

“‘Chung-ne (Confucius) handed down the doctrines of Yaou and Shun, as if they had been his ancestors. Above, he harmonised with the times of heaven, and below, he was conformed to the water and land. He may be compared to heaven and earth, in their supporting and containing, their overshadowing and curtaining, all things. He may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining” (G.A. Gaskell, [The Julian Press, 1960] quoting from J. Legge, Teachings of Confucius, in a definition on p. 169)

In other words, what Drucker calls “Confucian theory” is rooted in buddhic teachings of the occult. The ethical system of Confusius emphasized external behaviors — devotion to family and society, ancestor worship, justice and peace.

Drucker & The False Gospel of Pragmatism

Elsewhere Drucker has always exhibted an extremely pragmatic version of spirituality, in which faith is a means to an end. And in his results-driven world, Christian spirituality was a perfect vehicle to get to the end result of societal perfection. In one interview the following beliefs were explained:

Drucker’s attitudes toward business management and government may not be economic in origin, but religious. “The only basis of freedom is the Christian concept of man’s nature: imperfect, weak, a sinner, and dust destined for dust; yet man is God’s image and responsible for his actions.”‘ He calls for a return to spiritual values, “not to offset the material but to make it fully productive.”[11]

Another interviewer, intimately acquainted with Drucker, stated plainly: “For Drucker there is no absolute answer for anything.”[12]

In a Herescope post dated November 22, 2005, “Peter Drucker’s Theology of Works,”[13] we divulged Drucker’s obsession with social engineering, particularly by using churches:

On November 18, 2005 in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Leslie Lenkowsky wrote an article entitled “Drucker’s Contributions to Nonprofit Management” [14]. This article highlights management guru Peter Drucker’s foray, in the latter part of his life, into transforming the social sector. This “third sector” of society was fertile ground for Drucker’s social philosophies. He believed that churches, foundations, charities and private institutions should all be reinvented according to his results-driven formula. He taught a gospel of accountability, performance standards, outcomes, results, measurability and assessment.

“For most of his career, Peter F. Drucker was renowned as an expert on business management, whose books and articles were widely read, and advice widely sought, by corporate leaders throughout the world. But late in his life, he turned his attention to the nonprofit world, writing a best-selling guide to running charitable groups and creating a foundation bearing his name to strengthen leadership in what he called the ‘social sector.’

“This shift is not as surprising as it might initially seem. Mr. Drucker, who died last week, was interested in nonprofit groups because he thought they played a key role in giving a purpose to modern societies, a task he felt that, despite their economic successes, businesses increasingly avoided. Unfortunately, as he would have seen it, there are now signs that nonprofit groups, too, are focusing more on their financial success than in serving others. . . .

“As he had with businesses, he saw in nonprofit groups a distinctively American innovation that could build community while providing valuable services and fostering innovation. Indeed, Mr. Drucker viewed nonprofit groups as leaders in the knowledge-driven enterprises that would characterize all economic activity in the future.

“But while management practices had been getting better, charities still had room for improvement, especially in producing results, if they were to retain the confidence and trust of the American public. Without that, their existence — and their ability to promote greater social equality — would be in jeopardy.” [emphases added]

The full implementation of Peter Drucker’s social business philosophies on the private sector is close to being achieved. Rick Warren’s “purpose-driven” life and church programs is “Christianized” Drucker theology for the people in the pews. Warren boldly proclaimed this past Spring that he was launching a New Reformation that would be about “works.” His new Druckerite church will rely heavily upon standards, results, measurements, accountability (not in the biblical sense, but rather in the Drucker sense), and a focus on performance. This is a new legalism.

Taking all of these things together, and considering them seriously, would you say that this man had the testimony of a biblical Christian?

Endnotes:

  1. http://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/211841017970835456
  2. Bob Buford ACVIVEenergy BLOG e-mail, “My Next Book…Year 7, Chapter 14…The Power of a Parable, August 9, 2011.
  3. Claremont Colleges Digital Library, Drucker Archives, Interview with Peter Drucker, 2001-12-05 http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/dac&CISOPTR=2176&CISOBOX=1
  4. See Herescope, “Peter Drucker’s Existential Purpose,” November 20, 2005, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/11/peter-druckers-existential-purpose.html citing Peter Steinfels, “A Man’s Spiritual Journey From Kierkegaard to General Motors, New York Times, November 19, 2005, originally accessed via: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/19/national/19beliefs.html?_r=1&oref=login and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/19/national/19beliefs.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
  5. Ibid Herescope, see subsection “The Significance of Kierkegaard” for a full discussion of the theological problems with Kierkegaard.
  6. Ibid. NYT article.
  7. Ibid.
  8. .HTTP://HERESCOPE.BLOGSPOT.COM/2005/10/PETER-DRUCKER-EARLY-FUTURIST.HTML
  9. HTTP://HERESCOPE.BLOGSPOT.COM/2005/10/PETER-DRUCKER-CONFUCIANISM.HTML
  10. This article originally posted here: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/drucker/pdf/the_unfashionable_drucker.pdf?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkpdf&contentId=871977&dType=SUB&history=false&PHPSESSID=bbl2jrpdjmh7lt3ndl753nrt55
  11. Mark Skousen, “The Other Austrian,” http://www.mskousen.com/Books/Articles/austrian.html
  12. Interview, “An Introduction to Peter F. Drucker – Eight Faces (An Interview with Weekly Toyokeizai), http://www.iot.ac.jp/manu/ueda/interview/e08.html
  13. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/11/peter-druckers-theology-of-works.html
  14. Article published here: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/nov2005/nf20051118_9372_db_085.htm