Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Modern-Day Divination

In the Church

And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter,
seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them,
saying, 'Thus saith the Lord GOD,'
when the LORD hath not spoken.”
(Ezekiel 22:28)
 

Divination was expressly forbidden in the Old Testament. It was included on a list of serious occult practices that were to be avoided:   

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch…. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”
(Deuteronomy 18:10, 14) 

Despite the prohibition the Israelites practiced this occult art, especially in the context of other idolatries, and it is one of the sins that caused God’s judgment to fall upon their land: 

“And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.”
(2 Kings 17:17) 

The prophet Jeremiah warned about “prophets [who] prophesy lies in My name… a false vision and divination” (Jer. 14:14). Jeremiah warned that idolatry was deceitful, wicked, vanity and folly. He said the people were guilty of walking “after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim” (Jer. 9:14). Baalam’s sin? Divination (Numb. 22:7, Josh. 13:22, etc.). Ezekiel spoke of the prevalence of “lying divination” (13:6,7) and “false divination” (21:23; see also 22:28).

In the New Testament the apostles encountered “a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination” who “brought her masters much gain by soothsaying,” indicating that divination can be a very profitable enterprise (Acts 16:16). The ancient Romans practiced a form of augury, examining flights of birds and the entrails of sacrificed animals, in order to ascertain their future fate. They also tracked omens, strange births, unusual natural phenomena, shooting stars in the sky, etc. Plutarch’s Lives, a historical account of many ancient Greek and Roman warriors, described how many battles were waged based on generals divining the “signs.” (See an example of this in Ezekiel 21:21.)

The ancient Greeks relied upon their oracles, most notably the Oracle at Delphi, which delivered obscure predictions about future events. These murky “prophecies” were believed to be inspired by the gods. Hence there is a strong correlation between divination and the gods of idolatry (and astrology). Any failure of a prophecy to come to pass was blamed on misinterpretation of the hearer, not the priestess who delivered the oracle.

Occult encyclopedias say divination is any method of finding out what will happen in the future. These methods can include Tarot, Runes, I Ching, fortune-telling, horoscopes (astrology), palmistry, reading tea leaves, etc. In our modern-day world many of these old forms of divination still exist, and some have been revived as the New Age Movement has risen in influence.

There has also been a notable increase in various forms of “divination” coming into the church. Much of what passes today for “prophecy” is, in fact, divination. So how can one tell the difference?

Divination is reliance upon reading “signs” in order to ascertain the future. But God’s Word has already told us everything we need to know about the future. Christians are in danger of putting too much stock in trying to read the “signs.” In fact, in the New Testament there are stern warnings about looking for “signs.” Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:4)

Ironically, a true sign of the endtimes is an increase in believing false “signs and wonders” and following “false prophets.” This will become such a severe deception that it could “seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22). 2Thessalonians 2:9 warns of the coming Antichrist, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”

It is true that there will be signs in the heavens – drastic and dreadful signs at the very end of this age – that will be unmistakable in their indication of God’s imminent judgment. According to Scripture, the entire earth will be engulfed in a fiery chaos. Peter wrote:  

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
(2Peter 2:10)

If you knew for certain that tomorrow the sun would turn to darkness and the moon to blood, wouldn’t you want to spend your remaining hours pleading with and warning your family and friends to accept Jesus as their Savior? Yet there is no certain day or date given in Scripture: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13; see also Rev. 3:10). Therefore, we are to live as though every day were our last. And not waste time trying to read (divine) the “signs” when we already know that “the hour is coming” (John 5:25). Jesus repeatedly told us, “Behold, I come quickly” (Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20).

Here is one way to sort out the truth. False prophets base their false prophecies on reading (divining) spiritual-sounding “signs.” If their teaching makes you fearful and scared, it indicates the error of divination. Note that producing fear can be quite a lucrative business. But Jeremiah warned the Israelites that the idolatrous practice of reading “signs” in the skies can provoke fear, and not to fall victim to it: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jer. 10:2).

What should be feared? Jeremiah wrote:  

“Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the LORD.
(Jer. 8:7)

Peter, after describing the terrible day of the Lord in 2Peter 3:11, calmly assures believers to have no fear but rather hope. We who “look for such things” should be even more diligent in making sure that we are living holy and godly lives:

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
(2Peter 3:12-14) 


This article has been adapted from the published version in the most recent March/April/May edition of the Discernment Newsletter. For further reading see the following previous posts:
False Profits & False Prophets
Prophecy Mongering
That Wicked Be Revealed
Unsagacious Seers 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The “Selfie” Gospel is No Gospel

The "New Model" Gospel


An Editorial by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

For over 50 years at least, a new message to call the unconverted to Christ has been inching its way virtually undetected into a dominant place among evangelicals. 

25 years ago, Christianity Today (the official neo-evangelical organ) published an article by Robert Brow, a Canadian evangelical, calledEvangelical Megashift: Why You May Not Have Heard About Wrath, Sin and Hell Lately.” Brow claimed nearly 25 years ago that there was a “new model” emerging in evangelicalism. Brow's “new model” sounded then, as it does now, as tired ole mainline Protestant liberalism. Turns out Brow's article was a precursor to Clark Pinnock's new open theism and the evangelical emergent movement. 

But evangelicals who have not yet espoused open theism and emergent teachings, without noticing it, have apparently accepted Brow's “new model” teaching about the reason for the death of Christ. The “old model” teaching of the cross is still in many doctrinal statements but a “new model” teaching of the cross has affected our hearts and so also our message. This hybrid/mutation has now found a secure position in evangelical gospel preaching. The appeal to the unconverted has gradually changed. It is now quite normal to suggest that Jesus died to rescue us from a life that “sucks,” and promises heaven to boot. What was completed at the cross when the Savior cried “It is finished” has now become a rescue from an unpleasant life we don't like anymore. 

This “new model” preaching of the cross to the unsaved has actually been around for a long time. I remember at least 15 years ago listening to a sermon by Franklin Graham. He was preaching a graphic sermon on hell. I was shocked when he made his call to the unconverted and, right at the point of the appeal, he slipped, without warning or hesitation, into a come to Jesus call appealing to a whole range of felt needs. What started out as a hell-fire and brimstone sermon turned into a therapeutic appeal. 

How did this become an acceptable gospel appeal to the unconverted? Since when did Jesus die to give us a new start and escape the vicissitudes of life in a commercial society? Well! Surely there was a convergence of causes, but probably the arrival of the church growth theory of missionary evangelism brought it front and center. It began with Donald McGavern's teaching of church growth. He appealed to human psychological needs in missionary evangelistic ministry. Later, Fuller Seminary began teaching Church Growth theory to missionaries on furlough. Finally someone said that this was not only good for missionary evangelism but it should be used as well in the good ole USA. Before we knew it, missiologist C. Peter Wagner and his student John Wimber were convincing everyone that the way to make the church grow was to appeal to the temporal needs of the unconverted, whether in New Guinea or New York. Before Wimber became famous as a signs and wonders evangelist, he traveled the USA teaching Church Growth principles to American pastors. 

This felt needs gospel paved the way for the seeker sensitive approach to evangelism. It gave birth to Robert Schuller's self esteem gospel. Schuller called for a new self-esteem reformation. I heard him make this call in Minneapolis. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, trained directly by Schuller, demonstrated that you could grow huge churches if you appealed to the perceived needs of the people. Suddenly every church wanted to go mega or at least mini-mega. Well do I remember when our District Superintendent sent out the Church Growth book Unchurched Harry to every pastor. We were asked to go to classes on church growth. It wasn’t long till the marketeers were teaching us “the customer is king, etc. Eventually Schuller died in disgrace, and Hybels converted his mega church to the latest rage of Catholic contemplative prayer. Presenting the cross as the solution to a life thatsucks was here to stay, or till an authentic revival clears the deck. 

For the last 15 years, I have given special attention to the “new model” call to the unconverted in evangelical preaching. Oh! Sometimes there seems to be a throw away sentence, usually one quick sentence reference to Jesus dying for our sins, etc. But when the real pitch comes it is normally an emotional therapeutic appeal. You can have your best life now, aren't you tired of your unsuccessful life, Jesus wants a relationship with you, and you can escape your failures and your unsuccessful life. Jesus died for this, because He loves you so much, and He wants to give you an abundant life, and He has wonderful plan for your life. He wants to give you a new start in the kingdom of God, etc., etc. Now, if you preach this gospel you may indeed increase church attendance. But there is a price. The message must be adapted to the consumer. You are suggesting that Jesus can give what you desire the most and could not attain on your own. I have also heard these emotional appeals: “Make your impossible dream possible,” “One little yes can change everything,” “Your hopeless life can be filled with hope,” “The rut in your life can turn into a super highway,” etc., etc. Imagination is the only hindrance here. 

J. I. Packer has put it all on the line: 
“During the past century without realizing it, we have bartered the Gospel for a substitute product which, though it looks similar enough in points of detail, is a decidedly different thing.... It is undeniable that is how we preach, perhaps this is what we really believe.... This set of twisted half-truths is something other than the biblical Gospel. The Bible is against us when we preach this way.” 

The Gospel has indeed been changed to essentially Jesus died to rescue us from whatever is our personal pit. How was this mega shift accomplished? Slowly and surely. Some truths are ignored and just left out. Some truths are given a slightly different meaning. Over time, and when repeated by popular preachers and authors, truths are ignored or redefined. They are ultimately replaced by error.

Schuller, the unchallenged father of the church growth movement in the USA, in his seminal book Self Esteem the New Revolution, asserts man needs to have his negative self image corrected by the non- judgmental love of God. Schuller lived and died his new revolution. Unfortunately he died in disgrace and bankruptcy. His Crystal Cathedral now is owned by the Roman Catholic church. But his reformation lives on among his mega church disciples. Nevertheless, his very disciples are promoted in our evangelical churches. I have personally, again and again, heard these seeker sensitive disciples and their books promoted in our churches. 

But it is no small thing to change the meaning of Jesus' death on the cross. Its a big deal to ignore in the actual Gospel appeal to the unsaved, the biblical teaching of Jesus substitutional death for sin, and that Jesus died because of man's sinful depravity. 

A Deliverer has come, but not to get us out of a negative rut and give us a new start. Rather, Jesus died for our sin. But sinners do not like the word sin and unconsciously we know that. So mostly we don't talk about the sin and the cross very much. 

Recently I heard sermon. The crowd was told, “You can receive Jesus today. So if you need a second chance this morning... if you have been losing hope, His name is Jesus, receive Him today.” But it was our sin that was transferred to Jesus, and on the cross He stood in for us and bore the penalty and punishment of our sin. Our just God provided a sinless sacrifice for our sins. 

Funny thing, however: when challenged our uninformed “new model” preachers will agree. But when it comes to making an appeal they seem to forget it totally. If challenged they may even fight for a penal substitution view of the atonement. But its just that when appealing for souls so many just can't preach about sin and God's remedy at the cross. Unconsciously, I guess they must think conversions come easier that way and so church growth is more likely. 

Brow's “new model” for pan-evangelicalism seems firmly rooted in place. That a significant change will come without true biblical revival is highly unlikely. This revival will have to come from the shepherds, for the sheep usually follow the shepherds. 

Recently, a compassionate evangelical pastor called people to receive Jesus as Savior. He used the metaphor of exchange. Because of the love God expressed at the cross, just give God your deficient, unfulfilled life, and He will give you a new life and a new start. But, getting a new start is not specifically the exchange the cross accomplished. The biblical exchange at the cross effected something quite different. We repent of our sin and rebellion, and our sin is credited to Jesus on the cross, and we receive in return an annulment of sin and a righteous standing in God's sight. Because Jesus, God's Son, lived a perfect life and died in our place we can receive a righteous standing before God. 2Cor. 5:21 expresses it this way: “For He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might (receive) become the righteousness of God.” 

By God's grace, through repentance and faith, our status as sinners is thus changed. Jesus stood in our place and received the punishment of death for us. Jesus then returns to us forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life. This exchange delivers sinners from the just condemnation of God. We later will grow in grace and live a new life in Christ. In Colossians 2:14, 15 the apostle Paul states clearly that it was our sins that were metaphorically nailed to the cross. In ancient times when a debt was paid in full it was announced to the public by driving a nail through a copy of the indebtedness in the town square. It was at the cross that our sins were paid for and annulled, making a new life possible. The cross was about a holy God effecting a just transaction. Sin was punished for us by a loving and just God. Now God can justly acquit us of our sin. Indeed! we must get the cross right in order to get the Gospel right! 

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 
(Colossians 2:14,15)

See related post: Selfie Scriptura

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

God Wants to Prosper You

The Truth vs. the false prosperity gospel


By Pastor Anton Bosch*

One of the consequences of King Hezekiah’s diligence and obedience was that the Lord prospered him:

“Hezekiah had very great riches and honor. And he made himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of desirable items; storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of livestock, and folds for flocks. Moreover he provided cities for himself, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very much property”
(2Chronicles 32:27-29). 

This is a pattern one can trace right through the Old Testament. Whenever God’s people were obedient and faithful to the Lord, He blessed them with possessions, abundant rain, military victory and prosperity. When they were disobedient and unfaithful, they would experience drought and famine. Consistently the good kings of Israel and Judah were prosperous, while the bad kings plunged the nation into poverty and captivity.

Today many Christians feel that they can claim the same principle of prosperity and blessing. And they are right. God wants to bless and prosper us. He wants us to have His very best and to have abundance. Those believers who are faithful to the Lord and obedient to His Word are blessed with an abundance of riches, prosperity, victory and blessing. While those who walk in disobedience suffer poverty, defeat and the Lord’s discipline.

But, there is one big difference between the physical, literal descendants of Abraham (Old Testament Israel) and the spiritual descendants of Abraham (the Church). They were physical descendants and we are spiritual descendants (Romans 2:28-29; 4:16-17). The one is tangible, while the other is not. One can be seen and the other not. To the physical descendants of Abraham, God gave physical promises of blessing, but also of judgment and cursing. To us, who are spiritual sons, the promises are no longer physical but spiritual. Thus, physical promises and blessings are to physical descendants, and spiritual promises and blessings are to spiritual descendants.


It is right to speak about blessings and prosperity for Christians, but these are spiritual blessings, victories, harvests and fertility. Yes, the Lord wants us to be rich – not rich with money but rich with spiritual wealth. He wants us to be prosperous and to extend our borders – not of lands but of knowledge of His Word. It is God’s will for us to have many children – spiritual sons that have been born of the Spirit. (I have always been amazed that those who preach a physical prosperity never speak about the fact that part of the promises of the Old Testament including having many children!) Yes, He wants us to be victorious, not over the heathen nations, but in spiritual battles with the enemy of our souls and in our circumstances. The Lord certainly wants us to reap abundant harvests – not of wheat and barley, but of souls. There is an abundant inheritance for us – not in this world, but in that which is to come.

Sometimes we feel guilty to speak of these wonderful spiritual blessings because the money preachers have so perverted the Word. In fact, we have not only ignored but become suspicious of many of the Scriptures that speak of God’s blessings. In the process we have turned our backs on a very wonderful part of the Bible: that the Lord does want to bless us, and that His intentions toward us are only good: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). We must not overreact to the heresy of our age by ignoring some of the very important teachings of the New Testament. To do so robs us of our inheritance.

One of the most significant messages Jesus preached is called “the Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5 through 7). In his opening thoughts He used the word “blessed” nine times. The same word appears at least 55 times in the New Testament. Blessed means happy, blessed by God, and in a state of wellbeing which is to be desired. In these verses Jesus clearly teaches that He wants us to be blessed, but not in a worldly sense (Read Matthew 5:3-12 for yourself).

The Lord wants us to have more than just enough. He wants us to have abundance and to treasure up the extra. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

It is not God’s will that Christians be spiritual paupers who barely have enough spiritual food for themselves. No. He wants us to have superabundance so that we will be able to share with others, and so that we will be able to break down our barns to build bigger ones to contain all of His blessings in our lives. Sadly, however, we spend so much time trying to amass earthly treasure that we never seem to bother to find the true riches.

Also, if we set about searching for God’s blessings without seeking Him we will come away disappointed. For example, all the bad Kings of Israel chased after money, power and influence, and, in the process, forsook the Lord. Needless to say, they all came short. The few good ones who sought the Lord and His will first received God’s blessings. Hezekiah set out on the first day of his reign to seek the Lord and His honor. As a result the Lord blessed him and gave him everything else as a bonus.

I often come across Christians who consume many Christian things like books, DVD’s, preachers and churches. They are chasing after spiritual blessing, and that seems good. Yet they are spiritually bankrupt. Why? Because they want the gifts, but not the Giver. They want the blessings, and not the One who blesses. Moreover, they want the blessings on their terms, on their time, and not the Lord’s.

So, don’t chase after the blessings – chase after the Lord. Don’t long for more blessings, but hunger for more of Him. It is my desire and prayer for you that you will live a life of abundance. I pray that “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:2), and that “The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. (That) You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And (That) the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath” (Deuteronomy 28:12-13). I pray that as the Lord’s people we will truly know Him, and know His abundance in our lives.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”
 
(1Corinthians 2:12) 



*What you have just read is an excerpt from Anton Bosch’s soon to be released book Building Blocks of Encouragement – A Devotional. The book is a selection of 60 of his most popular articles written over the past 11 years. As the title suggests, the articles are encouraging and edifying. Each chapter is free standing and is designed to be easily read in one sitting. In addition to being encouraging, the articles are doctrinally orthodox and the book is therefore a safe gift for friends and family that will bless strengthen and encourage. To pre-order the book, contact the Discernment Ministries Book Center (903) 567-6423.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Little Boy

Little Boy: Believe the Impossible
An interaction with issues raised by a Roman Catholic Film 
Little Boy Trailer: http://littleboymovie.com/#

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you’.
—Jesus, Matthew 17:20b 

Little Boy: Believe the Impossible, produced by Metanoia films (the biblical word metanoia means to change one’s mind or repentance, or perhaps in this instance, beyond the mind), tells the story of a young boy, Pepper Flynt Busbee, upon whom psychokinetic power was bestowed to work miracles of faith, even shake mountains. Despite being bullied by other kids, the “little boy” believed the impossible. By believing in the power of faith without doubting he was not only able to perform supernatural feats that astonished the townspeople, but also bring his father and best friend, James Busbee, back from the battlefields and perils of World War II. As one promo puts it,

The movie tells an all-American story of a devoted 7-year-old son whose father goes missing in the battles of World War II. Motivated by Jesus’ words that faith can move mountains, the little boy asks a local priest how he can increase his faith to move a mountain and bring his missing daddy home. The film promises to be a heart moving film.[1]

The executive producer (other of the film’s execs include Roma Downey and Mark Burnett) and actor Eduardo Verástegui* asks of the film’s storyline, “Who is going to be against a little boy who is going to do whatever it takes to bring his dad back from World War II, because he loves him so much he wants to save his dad, and he’s going to do it through a list of actions [Acts of Corporal Mercy] that are universal—feed the poor, visit those who are sick and in prison?”[2] So a trap has been set. Who will dare to criticize a movie that brings people together and unites them to do good to other people? And didn’t Jesus warn His followers against causing “one of these little ones” to stumble? 
(Source)
No doubt the film, by creating the cinematographic feeling of a Norman Rockwell painting and departing from the standard Hollywood fare of sex and gore, will appear as a harmless and innocent fantasy to most viewers. The nostalgia for a long-gone era of American history, vaguely remembered by some of us seniors, will draw the hearts of many viewers into the story. Those who have seen the movie testify to its emotional appeal, and emotions are for most Americans the spiritual gateway to the soul.

Little Boy moving a mountain,
Trailer: http://littleboymovie.com/#
The stimulus for making the movie may arise from the director and producers’ desire to influence American culture for the good. One of the 7 Mountains Christian Dominionism aspires to conquer is the media, arts and entertainment industries. Some pre-release reviews of the movie have already praised Little Boy as an artful film though criticizing it for, among a few other things, depicting war violence and hatred of the Japanese. 

Though containing elements of goodness in it, the “spirituality” the movie portrays ought to concern biblical Christians. The movie contains a weird spiritual combination of themes that while admittedly Christian, also projects a magical and occult worldview like a Harry Potter movie. We turn now to a description and transcript of the movie’s trailer. As you read it, note the occurrences of the words “believe” and “faith.”

Trailer Scenes[3]

  • On the family farm:
    Father: “Do you believe we can do this?”
    Little Boy: “Yes, I believe we can do this!” 
  • Crossing an ocean in a fierce life-threatening storm (a dream?):
    Ship’s Captain: “Partner, do you believe you can do this?”
    Little Boy: “I believe I can do this!” 
    Magician show in Little Boy: http://www.littleboyresources.com/trailer
  • Attending a magic show:
    The marquee on the town theater reads—“Ben Eagle the Magician” Live Show Soon
    Ben Eagle, the costumed and goateed magician with dark piercing eyes looks at the audience of children and says: “The moment of truth. I am searching for the chosen one.”
    Chorus of audience’s kids shouting: “Me . . . me . . . me.”
    Ben Eagle pointing his magic wand at the little boy: “You!”
    (After embarrassingly slinking down into his seat, the Little Boy raises the courage to step up to the stage and sit at the end of a long table opposite from the magician. By the magician, the table has a pop bottle on it.)
    Ben Eagle to the Little Boy: “The movement of an object through inner power. Do you believe you can do this?”
    Audience of youngsters: A chorus of mocking laughter at the Little Boy.
    Little Boy to Ben Eagle: “Yes, I believe I can move it!”
    (The Little Boy stretches his arms from his body and points a hand at the bottle. From the other end of the table the bottle slides across the table to him.)
    Audience of little children: They clap and cheer for what they have seen. 
    The Magician in Little Boy: http://www.littleboyresources.com/trailer
  • Counsel from a priest in his office:
    Priest: “You wanted the bottle to move so much, it moved. Faith is (indistinct).”
    Little Boy: “But if I get enough faith nothing is impossible, right? Even bringing my dad home?”
    Priest: “Your faith won’t work if you have even the slightest bit of doubt.” 
    Note the posture. Little Boy must wield faith like Yoda does
    with "The Force" in Star Wars. http://littleboymovie.com/#

  • On Main Street (arguing with older brother):
    Little Boy: (Yelling indistinct words).
    Big Brother: “How? How are you going to bring Dad back?”
    Little Boy: “I can move a mountain.”
    Big Brother: (Taking the Little Boy to the middle of the street and turning him in the direction of the distant overlooking mountain) “Want ’a move a mountain? There’s one. Go ahead. Move it.
    Little Boy: (Assuming a stance of faith—one foot forward and the other planted behind) He points his arms, hands and fingers at the mountain as he stares the mountain down. The earth quakes and cracks beneath his feet. The mountain moves. A chandelier falls from a ceiling. Bystanders “Ooh . . .” and “Ah . . .” as they are amazed at the powers of faith emanating from the hands, posture and countenance of the Little Boy. 
    http://littleboymovie.com/#
  • Ladies and Nun in church (feeling the earthquake):
    Lady: Wow! Was that an earthquake?
    Nun: “It’s a miracle!” 
  • Override message: “It’s up to you (the movie’s viewers?) to achieve the impossible.” 
Little Boy after a session with the magician:
http://www.littleboyresources.com/trailer
  • Override voice (divine?) speaks to the Little Boy: “It takes courage to believe. Your father (God?) would be more than proud of you.”
So briefly, allow a few concerns about the worldview this movie’s trailer presents to be addressed.

Faith
Little Boy: “But if I get enough faith nothing is impossible, right?”
Priest: “Your faith won’t work if you have even the slightest bit of doubt.” 

On three occasions to His disciple-apostles, Jesus stated that faith could move a mountain (Matthew 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:23), a fig tree (Matthew 21:21), or mulberry tree (Luke 17:6). He did not utter the words regarding the power of faith to a “little boy,” or for that matter other children (though in Matthew 18 the Lord lauds children and warns of adults who might cause them to stumble in unbelief), but to grown men, to His disciple-apostles.
http://littleboymovie.com/#

Faith and Miracles
In the instance where Jesus spoke about mountain-moving faith, a father had brought his son to some of the disciple-apostles to be cured of demon possession (Matthew 17:14-20). (Peter, James and John had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.) The disciples could not rid the boy of his demonic affliction, despite having been given the kingdom power to do so (Matthew 10:7-8). So desperate to see his son cured of demon possession, the man brought the boy to Jesus. Jesus rebuked the demon and cured the youth (Matthew 17:18). The occasion for Jesus’ teaching on faith in this context was to account for the disciples’ inability. Their inability to cure the demon possessed boy caused the disciples to question whether their kingdom powers were legitimate and sufficient to do what Jesus had told them they could. We pick up the dialog between Jesus and His disciples as He explained why they could not exorcise the demon out of the man’s son. Note: Jesus’ words, as indicated by the plural pronouns and verbs, were addressed to twelve grown men, not one little boy.
Question of the Disciples:
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’”
Answer of Jesus:
“He [Jesus] said to them (Greek plural pronoun, autois)”
“Because of the littleness of your (Greek plural possessive pronoun, humon) faith”
“truly I say to you (Greek plural pronoun, hymin)

“if you (Greek plural pronoun, hymeis) have (Greek plural verb, echete) faith”
you will say (Greek plural verb, eirete) to this mountain”
“nothing will be impossible to you (Greek plural pronoun, hymin)”
 

In His explanation about mountain-shaking faith, Jesus was not speaking to children, but to grown men (Matthew 17:19-20). Though He did talk about children in the next chapter (Matthew 18:1-6), in the immediate context Jesus was addressing the disciple-apostles, not little boys. Furthermore, contradicting the little boy’s assumption (“if I get enough faith nothing is impossible”) and the priest’s counsel (“your faith won’t work if you have even the slightest bit of doubt”); Jesus told these “big men” that all they needed was “little faith” to move a big mountain, i.e. mustard-seed-sized faith. Putting aside the fact that Jesus probably employed a proverbial and hyperbolic expression used by Jewish rabbis to describe possible but improbable occurrences,[4] He was telling “grown” men that they could perform “big” miracles by exercising “little” faith. He was not telling “little” boys they needed “big” faith to work kingdom signs. 
Variety promo for Little Boy HERE.
Veterans are a targeted audience.


Lesson: In another analogous context regarding the relation of faith to the supernatural, Jesus told the disciple-apostles, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). The discretionary power to work miracles belongs to God, and to that end Jesus said that “mustard-seed faith” can dispose God to do miracles and exorcisms. So what is this Charismatic assumption that healing miracles depend upon the amount of faith either the healer or healee can conjure up? As commentator R.T. France (1938-2012) wrote, “It is important to observe here that it is not the ‘amount’ of faith which brings the impossible within reach, but the power of God, which is available to even the ‘smallest’ faith.”[5] This fact about faith is far different from its portrayal in Little Boy. It’s not big faith that causes God to respond, but little faith. 
The New Apostolic Reformation also wants to move mountains.
Ad on TheElijahList, 7/18/09, url was HERE.

Faith and Works
Not only does little faith endow the faithful to perform big miracles, but also to do Corporal Works of Mercy. Though with the exception of caring for bodies of the dead (i.e., “corporal” means body), these acts of mercy are derived from Jesus’ teaching about the coming judgment: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:34-*40). So according to Roman Catholic tradition, these works are defined as “feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned and burying the dead.”[6] The seventh and last work of mercy, burying a dead person’s body, is evidently added in “deference to the body’s being the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor 3:16).”[7] And as there are seven corporal works of mercy, so also there are seven Roman Catholic spiritual works of mercy.[8] Because of the power of emotions, one of the movie’s agenda is probably the hope that viewers will commit to imitate what they saw and leave the theater like they might on occasion leave church: to engage the to-do-list of Little Boy and make this world a better place. 
http://littleboymovie.com/#

Corporal Acts of Mercy are great, but only insofar as they go. The issue of the relation of works to faith is addressed by James in his epistle. Faith without works is dead, as is the corollary, works without faith is also dead (James 2:17; See 1 John 3:17-18). One cannot read the Old Testament without being gripped by God’s concern for the poor. And who hasn’t heard about the Parable of the Good Samaritan? (Luke 10:30-37) Christians do have an obligation to help people cope with this life’s physical needs. Hundreds of times as a pastor, and even now in retirement, I have helped homeless people or needy families pay for food, clothing, gas, utilities, etc. [9] All of us should cause us to look kindly and act benevolently toward organizations like Samaritan’s Purse and local rescue missions. But having said this, absent a Gospel testimony along with benevolence leaves a person no better off. Corporal Acts of Mercy may minister to people’s immediate needs, but they will not solve their ultimate need; and that is to be redeemed by believing that Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Look . . . if we’re going to believe the importance of acts of mercy based upon the words of Jesus of Jesus, then we had better also embrace the message of salvation based upon the words of Jesus and His appointed ambassadors, the apostles. What the Word has joined together no “do-gooder” should dare to separate. Liberal Christians are good at promoting doing good works while at the same time they are embarrassed by the simplicity and exclusivity of the Gospel (Revelation 3:1-6). Though not embarrassed by the Gospel, some fundamental Christians (Note: I say some because the rescue mission movement was initiated by fundamentalists.) do not always do works to help the needy out. God calls Christians to do acts of mercy while at the same time being bold to preach the Gospel. Jesus was bold for both, and so should we. But amidst all this, it should be noted that “Acts of Corporeal Mercy” is a distinctly, though not necessarily unbiblical, Roman Catholic categorization, as are other emphases in the movie Little Boy
http://littleboymovie.com/#

Nevertheless, the movie’s trailer presents faith as the activator by which quantum powers of energy, sound, light, vibrations can be personally harnessed, powers like those communicated by the various authors of The Physics of Heaven. Little Boy demonstrates how a kid can activate such powers by faith and by performing Corporeal Acts of Mercy, bring God’s kingdom to earth. As the override voice tells the viewers, “It’s up to you to achieve the impossible.” Having said this, the movie also raises issues regarding the little boy’s mission. Is it messianic?
Children in magician's audience wanting to be "the chosen one."
http://littleboymovie.com/#

The Chosen One
Ben Eagle the magician: “The moment of truth. I am searching for the chosen one.”
Kids in chorus shouting: “Me . . . me . . . me.”
Ben Eagle pointing his magic wand at the Little Boy: “You!” 

With the magician serving as a sort of conduit to bestow supernatural power, did he announce the appointment of the “little boy” to be a messiah? Or, if measured by his ability to work signs, did the magician reveal the boy to be a “manifest son of God”? Does the Little Boy portray what Charismatics believe becoming a member of Joel’s Army looks like?[10] Ironically, the designation “chosen one” introduces the doctrine of election.

On the point of a young messiah working wonders, it can be noted that ancient Apocryphal gospels (though removed a hundred years or so from the time Jesus lived) invented stories of the boy Jesus performing miracles between the ages of five and twelve years old—raising a controversy by fashioning five sparrows from clay while playing with other children on the Sabbath; resurrecting a playmate from the dead who had fallen off a roof; healing a young man who had seriously wounded his foot with an axe while splitting wood; etc.[11] On this point, the movie plays upon the apocryphal traditions of the child Jesus working miracles.

http://www.littleboyresources.com/trailer

In contrast to the relative silence of the Gospels regarding Jesus’ childhood days and despite the Gospel notice that His first miracle was performed at the Wedding Feast at Cana of Galilee (changing water into wine, John 2:11), these fictions were invented to fill in biographical “gaps.” As regards these invented stories, Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) wisely stated that the silence of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) stands “in contrast to the almost blasphemous absurdities of the Apocryphal Gospels, [and] teaches us once more, and most impressively, that the Gospels furnish a history of the Savior, not a biography of Jesus of Nazareth.”[12] In contrast to Apocryphal gospels, Luke reported of Jesus’ growing-up, of the supposedly lost years of Jesus, that “The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40; See also Luke 2:52). It was not until His baptism that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and public notice was given that He was commencing His public ministry which included the Spirit’s empowerment to work “signs and wonders” (Matthew 3:13-17; 12:24, 28, 31-32). This Gospel fact debunks the idea that in His youth Jesus performed miracles. While as a mature man Jesus became a “wonder worker,” He was not seen by His contemporaries as a “wonder boy,” the one exception being His dialoging with the teachers in the temple when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:41-52).

So the question becomes, why did the magician choose this little boy? In contrast to the magician and as chronicled by Matthew, Jesus said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14, KJV). But Ben Eagle the magician, mixing faith and power, gave psychokinetic or telekinetic powers to the little boy only. 
E-mail promotion of advance screening of
Little Boy from Paul Lauer, dated 2/17/15
Occult Powers
Magician to the Little Boy:The movement of an object (i.e., the bottle on the table) through inner power. Do you believe you can do this?
Little Boy to magician:Yes, I believe I can move it!” (The bottle slides from one of the table to the other) 
Little Boy moving the bottle, http://littleboymovie.com/#
Psychokinesis derives from root psyche referring to the mind or soul, and kenesis meaning energy or movement. Hence psychokinesis (often designated PK) refers to the power of the mind to affect the material world, i.e. mind over matter. Often PK is used to explain “miracles or the actions of spirits.”[13] Leonard George refers to the book of Fr. Herbert Thurston (1856-1939), The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, which presents a “collection of strange phenomena associated with Catholic saints.” George then states that,

Thurston reported many incidents in which the holy wafer of the Mass allegedly rose from the altar and deposited itself into the mouth of the communicant. The devout may consider such an event to be a divine act; but some have argued that it would more likely be caused by PK on the part of the priest or the communicant.[15]

Though beautifully produced, Little Boy will emotively introduce viewers of all ages to the weird world of the occult, something the Bible expressly first forbade Israel and now forbids the church to dabble in (Deuteronomy 18:9-15). Remember, George stated that psycho or telekinesis is often used to explain the actions of spirits. And Christians are at war the devil and unclean spirits who reign in the occult domain (Ephesians 6:10-17). 
Greg Reid's booklet critiquing Roma Downey.
Read more HERE and HERE.


Conclusion 
Little Boy is a film containing overtures pointing to Roman Catholicism. The movie seemingly fails, based upon the material of the trailer, to integrate its themes faith, power, miracles and good works in a biblical way. In fact, the ways in which the themes are presented are anti-biblical. The introduction of occultism by the movie is wholly unacceptable to Bible believing Christians. Occult themes cannot be soft pedaled by calling them magic as other reviewers have done. The Bible teaches the faithful to avoid the occult. Even though the review does not use the word occult with all its sinister connotation, I agree with the assessment of the movie given by the Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment: “LITTLE BOY is a beautifully photographed, artistic piece of magical realism, but the movie’s overt Christian, redemptive, moral elements are diminished by too much magical thinking.”[16]

Endnotes:
1. Drew Zahn, “Major movie inspires faith to move mountains,” World Net Daily, March 3, 2015 (http://mobile.wnd.com/2015/03/major-movie-inspires-faith-to-move-mountains/). Producer calls ‘Little Boy’ ‘a fairy tale for adults through the eyes of a child’. 
2. Verástegui quoted by Zahn, World Net Daily. “Acts of Corporeal Mercy” (apart from a Roman Catholic interpretation, see endnote 6) may be understood perhaps like this: Christians serve as conduits for God’s good works as part of the Body (i.e., Latin, corpus) of Christ. The works of mercy they do to others is if they had done them to Christ (See Matthew 25:34-*40.). The idea is that good works to the bodies of the needy come from the Body of Christ. 
3. Little Boy: Believe the Impossible trailer can be seen here: http://littleboymovie.com/#. Note that there are other trailers, including this link: http://www.littleboyresources.com/trailer
4. See Donald Hagner, Matthew 14-28: Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 33B (Dallas, TX: Word Incorporated, 1995): 505. 
5. R.T. France, The Gospel According to Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985): 266. 
6. “Corporal Works of Mercy,” Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia, Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L., Editor (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1991): 265. I thank researcher Sue Conway for providing this quote. See: http://www.catholicworker.org/aimsandmeanstext.cfm?Number=28
7. Ibid. 
8. Ibid. 
9. I relate this reluctantly to avoid the accusation that I have not and do not care about the plight of the needy. See Matthew 6:1-2; 23:5 
10. See Sarah Leslie, “The NEW BREED Defined,” Herescope, February 3, 2006 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/02/new-breed-defined.html); “The New Breed and Incarnating Christ,” Herescope, February 8, 2006 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/02/new-breed-and-incarnating-christ.html); “IHOP’s New Breed Leaders,” Herescope, July 16, 2011 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihops-new-breed-leaders.html); and Jewel Grewe, Joel’s Army (West Lafayette, IN: Discernment Ministries, Inc., 2006). PDF download available: http://discernment-ministries.org/JoelsArmy.pdf. The idea current among NAR Charismatics is that at the end of this age God is going to raise-up youth to defeat godlessness in the world, thereby helping to establish and administer God’s kingdom on earth. They find precedent for this from the Prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (and work signs and wonders?, Joel 2:28, KJV). Never mind that the prediction-promise was addressed to the Jewish nation, not the contemporary church.  
11. See Oscar Cullman, “Infancy Gospels,” New Testament Apocrypha, Volume One: Gospels and Related Writings, Revised Edition, Wilhelm Schneemelcher Editor, R. McL. Wilson, English Translator (Louisville, KY, Westminster John Knox Press, 1991): 414-469. 
12. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, New Updated Edition (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993): 154. 
13. Emphasis added, Leonard George, Alternative Realities: The Paranormal, the Mystic and the Transcendent in Human Experience (New York, NY: Facts On File, Inc., 1995): 234. 
14. Ibid. Thurston was a Roman Catholic priest of the Jesuit order, a prolific scholar, and an expert on spiritualism. 
15. Ibid: 234-235. 
16. “LITTLE BOY: Faith Marred by Magical Realism,” Movie Guide: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment (https://www.movieguide.org/reviews/little-boy.html). 

*Note that the Executive Producer of Little Boy, Eduardo Verastegui, was listed as an Honorary Co-Chair at Texas Gov. Rick Perry's NAR and IHOP-sponsored event in 2010 called "The Response," The original url with Verastegui's name listed was here: http://theresponseusa.com/honorary-co-chairs.php but was archived by Talk to Action here: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/9/13/16346/7939/Diary/Wiped_quot_The_Response_quot_website_material.   This significant event was written about extensively on the Herescope blog including such articles as: "IHOP & the NAR," July 12, 2011 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihop-nar.html); "IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics,"  July 1, 2011, (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihop-enters-dominionchristian-right.html); "C. Peter Wagner Spins the NAR," August 22, 2011 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/08/c-peter-wagner-spins-nar.html); "IHOP: International House of Political Action," July 4, 2011 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihop-international-house-of-political.html) and "IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics," July 01. 2011 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/07/ihop-enters-dominionchristian-right.html).

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Mental Health Church

Kay Warren & Ed Stetzer of Leadership Network
Leading the Charge!


"Mental Illness Will Affect Families in YOUR Church in 2015.  Are You Prepared?"
Leadership Network e-mail, April 2, 2015
Ever since Kay Warren's husband, the famous Rick Warren of "purpose-driven" fame, launched his "Daniel Plan" a few years ago there have been concerns that his "health" agenda for the church would expand into "mental health." It appears from the above promotion that this is indeed happening. What role does Warren envision for the church in promoting "mental health"? It is more than meets the eye.

This blog, along with our research friends Warren Smith[1] and Berit Kjos,[2] previously published articles exposing how Rick Warren was relying on openly New Age doctors to tell Christians how to become mentally, spiritually and physically “healthy.” Review the following articles we posted at the time:

Warren Smith's booklet is downloadable file HERE
HERE
or purchase at Amazon HERE.
Thus the Daniel Plan was always intended to be much more than just a mere diet plan. It was a comprehensive mental, physical and spiritual "health" program. Warren Smith described the New Age spirituality inherent in Rick Warren's healthcare model in his booklet Rick Warren's Daniel Plan:

Who would have believed it? Occult/New Age doctors being invited into the church to teach Christians how to be healthy? Charles Spurgeon must be rolling over in his grave. On January 15, 2011 a fifty-two week health and wellness program—the Daniel Plan—was initiated at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. More than six thousand people attended the well promoted and carefully staged event. Warren took the opportunity to announce that his own personal goal was to lose 90 pounds in 2011. The Daniel Plan website states that "the Daniel Plan envisions starting a movement so the result is better physical and spiritual health for current and future generations." It describes how Rick Warren recruited three best-selling authors to create and oversee the Daniel Plan Curriculum—Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. Although these three physicians are all involved with New Age teachings, they describe themselves respectively as a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew.[3]

"Mental Health and the Church"
It is noteworthy that this "Mental Health and the Church" summit was a Leadership Network event. Leadership Network is the premier organization committed to peddling psycho-social transformation in the church. It was launched over a generation ago by Peter Drucker and Bob Buford to train pastors and leaders in state-of-the-art methods of marketing and social change.[4] In our initial review of Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, titled "3-Legged 'Health' Care," we made the following connections:

With Rick Warren at the helm, the CHURCH is now in the BUSINESS of health care REFORM. This is the 3-legged stool. It is the integration of church/state/corporate that business guru Peter Drucker (Rick Warren's mentor) proposed as the method for restructuring Society.[2] In this model the Church assumes a powerful new role as Change Agent Provocateur, a cheerleader for change and transformation in Society.... [5]

Mental health needs to be defined
Just what is "mental health"? In our postmodern society "mental health" is rapidly being recast into aligning one's personality and behavior to politically and spiritually correct norms — norms which are rapidly changing as society's Christian base erodes. Thus those who hold to old-fashioned or biblical opinions, beliefs, attitudes, values and mores may soon find themselves labeled mentally UN-healthy. 

Increasingly, we are hearing a drumbeat from the global elite calling for societal "mental health" standards. This push is facilitated by the mainstream press which hypes each new "mental health" disaster (such as the recent tragic Germanwings air crash incident). Indeed, this whole agenda comprises much more than simple mental health. It includes a global plan for developing "community" and attaining "sustainable living." In the "3-Legged 'Health' Care" we cited an eyewitness account of the launching of the Daniel Plan at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church:

Researcher Jennifer Pekich wrote an account of her personal experience at the Saddleback Health and Fitness Seminar. Her report on Rick Warren's new Daniel Plan revealed that the real agenda is not about healthy parishioners. It is about radical community transformation. She writes:
By the time I settled into listening more intently, the second speaker, Mark Hyman, began. It didn't take too long to figure out what the basis of his message was. We "need to heal with community" (he termed this "accompaniment"), "we're here for the sake of each other," this plan "is our way out," this plan "saved me," and in fact will "change the world." Saddleback was being told they were a "test community" to show the world how to live "healthy and sustainably."
Jennifer continues her report:
I about fell off my chair when Dr. Hyman stated, "The key to the success of the "Daniel Plan" is "group living"..."individuals" will not succeed, our only hope lies in "community." And with that, it was announced that the "Saddleback community" would be an example of "sustainable living" and would set the course to "change this world"...and the crowd went wild!
When the CHURCH becomes the CHEERLEADER for mental health screening — as is evidenced in this Leadership Network event — then a significant voice of conscience in society is either blunted or shut down. The church is that voice that should by all rights be opposing the injustice of "messing with" people's souls (Gk. psyche, i.e., psychological mental health). Yet with Rick Warren's wife Kay leading the cheers, the church is becoming complicit, even furthering this agenda along. The Warren's own personal family tragedy, losing a son to suicide, is what gives Kay Warren a platform upon which to be promoted as an "expert" on mental health. After this sad event, in a 9/18/13 article titled "Rick Warren Tells Story of Son's Suicide on CNN," Christianity Today reported that

When he returned to the pulpit at Saddleback Church six weeks ago, Rick Warren launched a sermon series on grief and a campaign to help churches address mental illness. "There's no shame when any other organ in your body fails, so why do we feel shame if our brain is broken?" he asked.

While superficially seeming to sympathize with mental health issues, this public stance is also a tactical maneuver. The Leadership Network elites (Ed Stetzer and Rick Warren's wife Kay) are advancing a cherished agenda to "transform" the church. In fact, this may do more harm to people. And it will likely advance the church further into the bullying tactics we observed in the recent Mars Hill debacles.[6] After all, it is Leadership Network that originally set up the church as a high-demand "organization" with performance-driven standards for achieving "measurable results." It is not a stretch to take this to the next level which is church-based assessment of spiritual, physical and mental health. What will happen to certain members of the local body (elderly, handicapped, infirm, disabled, sleep-deprived young mothers, or others simply having a "bad hair day") who cannot attain the goals of "mental health" assessments? Meet physical health attributes? Perform spiritual health objectives? Will there be punitive measures put in place?

This whole agenda extends far beyond the parameters of the church. In Leadership Network's plan of action, the church is supposed to be the cheerleader for global transformation! Note the following exhibit taken from a book by Leadership Network author and leader, Eric Swanson:
This illustration is a graphic representation of what this post is concerned about. It comes from Eric Swanson's book To Transform A City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City (Zondervan, 2010), Figure 2 in the Foreword, p. 11. This is a visual chart of the "7 domains of culture," of which Healthcare is the 7th. The Church in this diagram is seen encompassing the other 6 secular "domains." Swanson explains, "The missional church sees itself as the people of God... already deployed across all domains of culture." This is a disturbing visual of the Dominionist church model, illustrating the 7 mountains of culture[7],  which Swanson prefers to call "domains." Swanson acknowledges Bob Buford of Leadership Network on p. 13. To put this chart in a larger context, listen to Eric Swanson's new version of the "gospel" at his YouTube video discussing his "Externally Focused Churches" which is also posted as an exhibit in the context of an article "What Is Dominionism?"
Watch Swanson speak HERE or HERE.
Swanson's model explains the reason why the elite church leaders of Leadership Network see their "leadership" role as pivotal in society, overarching across the secular spectrum, and superimposing the CHURCH on top of every other major institution — and for what purpose? To be salt and light? Or to rule and reign over the 6 other societal structures? Will this mixture of church and state effectually supersede representative government through collaborations toward a new form of "governance"? In this Swanson image, Peter Drucker's original 3-legged stool now looks like a 7-headed hydra, with the church optimistically placed as the center of orchestrating change. This brings to mind Tim Keller's "Center Church," which is the global model, but this is a topic for a future article.    
(Source) (See Keller's Center Church book HERE)
Meditative Mental Health
A news article today (4/17/15) reports that "a group of top doctors" were demanding that "TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz" be removed from his faculty position at Columbia University, "citing his 'egregious lack of integrity' for promoting what they call 'quack treatments.'"

"Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine," said a letter the 10 physicians sent to a Columbia dean earlier this week. They say he's pushing "miracle" weight-loss supplements with no scientific proof that they work....

The doctors wrote that Oz, for years a world-class Columbia cardiothoracic surgeon, "has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain." They said he has "misled and endangered" the public.[8]
(Source)
While many readers (the authors included) may agree with Dr. Oz's advocacy of a healthful lifestyle and nutritious eating, and while it is evident that his critics may have less-than-stellar motives, the fact remains that Dr. Oz is an occult New Age doctor. Yet Dr. Oz has found a comfortable station in the church as a top doctor for Rick Warren's healthcare plan. We observed the New Age connections between health and mental health in our original article:

This New Age blueprint for health care reform altered the very meaning of the term "health." In modern American society today the word "health" now connotes the entire "body-mind-spirit" connection. Three decades after Ferguson's book came out, the evangelical world has comfortably adopted the "body-mind-spirit" worldview of the New Agers.[6] Many eastern mystical "holistic health" ideas were simply re-written into biblical terminology and passed off to evangelicals as higher forms of spirituality. Today, meditation, contemplation, drumming, etc. are becoming commonplace. This is the face of the seeker-sensitive church. By accommodating itself to the eastern worldview, the Church fools itself into thinking it is more "culturally relevant." So the next step in the seeker-sensitive journey is for the Church to become an "agent" of "cultural renewal."[9]

Thus it is likely that in the future that "mental health" may come to be associated with meditation and contemplation. In other words, those who "meditate" may perform better on the performance-based assessments with their predetermined "mental health" criteria. Those who practice contemplation could be said to be more mentally healthy than those who don't. Those who think esoterically may be evaluated as more spiritually mature. The list could go on and on.

Keep in mind that the agenda to re-define mental health is many decades old and it impacts many of the "domains" of society, especially education, government and healthcare. The eradication of conscience and morality was the stated intent:

During 1948 ALGER HISS, who would later be convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, wrote the preface to Gen. Brock Chisholm’s lecture, “The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress,” which was re-published in International Conciliation (No. 437, March, 1948, p. 109). Alger Hiss was at that time president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the publisher of International Conciliation. The preface to Chisholm’s lecture (Feb. 21, 1948), redefined the word “health”:
Defining health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” it includes not only the more conventional fields of activity but also mental health, housing, nutrition, economic or working conditions, and administrative and social techniques affecting public health. In no other field is international cooperation more essential and in no other field has it been more effective and political difference less apparent.[10][emphasis added] 
General Brock Chisholm, a Canadian psychiatrist and friend of Soviet agent Alger Hiss.... asserted that
The reinterpretation and eventually eradication of the concept of right and wrong… these are the belated objectives of practically all effective psychotherapy.[emphasis added]
Brock Chisholm went on to recommend that teachers all over the world be trained in “no right/no wrong” psychotherapeutic techniques found in the schools today.[11]
The Truth
Ex-New Ager Warren Smith, after reviewing Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, concluded:

One can only wonder if the prophet Daniel's vision of the end days included a look at Rick Warren's Daniel Plan — a compromised pastor and three New Age doctors with their psychics, spirit guides, tantric sex, necromancy, yoga, Reiki, Transcendental and Kundalini "sa ta na ma" meditations and more — all in Daniel's name. If so, it is no wonder that the Bible records that he "fainted" and became "sick" for a number of days (Daniel 8:27).[12] 

In our critique of Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, we warned:

So while Rick Warren activates the Church leg of the stool, other pressures are being brought to bear on the Corporate and State legs to bring all into conformance with global consciousness and standards. And thanks to Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, we are provided with an obvious clue that these standards will be managed and monitored by the New Age/New Spirituality model of health care reform.

So it might be questioned, should Bible believers, like Daniel of old, choose not to defile themselves by partaking in the Daniel Plan with its obvious New Age and One World overtones and control mechanisms? How much better it would be for Christians to choose to satisfy their spiritual appetite by feeding on Him who is the Bread of Life.
[13]

"For my people have committed two evils;
they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters,
and hewed them out cisterns,
broken cisterns, that can hold no water." 
(Jeremiah 2:13)

"But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness,
nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
but by manifestation of the truth
commending ourselves to every man's conscience
in the sight of God.
But if our Gospel be hid,
it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded
the minds of them which believe not,
lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ,
Who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 
(2 Corinthians 4:2-4)


Endnotes:
1. Warren Smith's booklet is downloadable file HERE, HERE or purchase at Amazon HERE.
2. See the articles by Sarah Leslie and Berit Kjos:
Part 1: Rick Warren’s New Age Health Gurus
Part 2: Reiki "Power"
Part 3: The “WOO” Factor
Part 4: Changing Science, Changing Mind 

Part 5: The Aquarian Conspiracy
3. Warren Smith's booklet is downloadable file HERE, HERE or purchase at Amazon HERE.
4. For further reading on these topics, read: The Pied Pipers of Purpose and Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism
5. "3-Legged "Health" Care," Herescope, 2/10/11, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/02/3-legged-health-care.html
6. See the multi-part series we wrote about Mars Hill and the influence of Leadership Network on the "bullying" culture:
Part 1: "We Are Not ABANDONED"
Part 2: "Under the Bus" and "Off the Map" - The Out-of-Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep
Part 3: The MegaChurch Transit Authority and How it Operates

Part 4: The "Visionpath" Bus Route: The Road Most Traveled 
7. Read the following posts, and follow the many links to other articles: 
Seven Mountains Set To Go Viral
The "7-M Mandate"
Building the 7 Mountains
Seven Spheres of Influence
Seven Apostolic Spheres
May Day Prayers: What Repentance?
Who Invented Dominionism?
Mainstreaming Dominionism
Denying Dominionism
8. "Physicians demand removal of 'Dr. Oz' from Columbia University faculty," 4/17/15, http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2015/04/17/physicians-demand-removal-dr-oz-from-columbia-university-faculty/
9. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/02/3-legged-health-care.html. Note that the footnote embedded in the quotation cites Marilyn Ferguson's book The Aquarian Conspiracy that launched the New Age movement. We wrote: One of the subheadings in Ferguson's chapter on "Healing Ourselves" is "Health and Transformation." Transformation and reform are words used interchangeably when she discussed the emergence of the holistic health care model. It is important to note that Ferguson emphasizes the role of "spirit" in healing, but this has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. This is not unlike psychic healing, which she says "may prove a useful adjunct to medicine in the future." (p. 276)
10. This quote is cited in the article "Common Core "Mental Health": The Death of the Conscience," http://abcsofdumbdown.blogspot.com/2014/11/common-core-mental-health.html, and the quotation is excerpted from pages 42-43 of the deliberate dumbing down of america by Charlotte T. Iserbyt. 
11. Ibid, edited slightly, and excerpted from the deliberate dumbing down of america, pp. 27-28.
12. Warren Smith's booklet is downloadable file HERE, HERE or purchase at Amazon HERE.
13. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/02/3-legged-health-care.html