Evangelicals Embrace New Future
Herescope blog has been highlighting a 1979 Consultation of leading evangelicals for the past few weeks. This "Continuing Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" was summarized in a book of "Addresses, Responses, and Scenarios" entitled An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and beyond. The Consultation was sponsored by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and brought in evangelical leaders from several disciplines for several days of controlled presentations, in which dissenting opinion was stifled.
The Consultation also brought in a leading New Age Theosophist, Willis W. Harman. Harman was a leading futurist, and one of the key leaders to bring New Age propaganda to the mainstream through his various affiliations and organizations. Christian researcher Constance Cumbey warned in the early 1980s that
"The year 1975 was a banner year for the New Age Movement. That was when its disciples had permission from the deceased Alice Bailey to 'come out of the closet' and spread the New Age message to the world. Wiuth joie de vivre they did go public. [David] Spangler, Mark Satin, and a host of other New Age personages and organizations launched their public work." (The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, pp. 52-53)
This Consultation proves to be a watershed event in evangelical history. It became a launching pad for bringing the New Age Movement into the evangelical church. It laid the groundwork for many new strategies and doctrines that would influence the next 25 years -- key years in which evangelicalism swept into the mainstream of American society and began affecting politics and culture.
The doctrine of the FUTURE is particularly relevant to what happened next. This is because the Consultation embraced an alternative future -- one not found in Scriptures -- as a way to harness evangelical energy to work towards a new age/new world order. Using the standard change methodology, the Consultation first worked to create a crisis and then offered a solution.
The Crisis defined:
Hudson T. Armerding, Chairman of the Consultation and then-president of Wheaton College, defined the crisis in his Foreward in a way that demonstrated that he had already been influenced by the futurist rhetoric wildly proliferating during the chaotic 1970s:
"Our age is characterized by increasing uncertainty about the future and by mounting anxieties that are both personal and corporate. The questions of survival in the event of a nuclear holocaust are being asked... massive energy shortage, a world-wide monetary crisis..., or an overpopulated planet."
Armerding next warned Christians that this bleak future would be dismal for them:
"For the Christian there is the prospect of moral and ethical disintegration in the society in which he lives and the distinct possibility of rejection or even persecution in a world increasingly hostile to the Gospel." [emphasis added]
The proposed Solution:
Armerding proposed a solution that was consistent with the New Evangelials since the 1940s. Neo-evangelicalism had long-since repudiated separatism and fundamentalism, and preferred to "dialogue" with the culture:
"The Consultation described in this volume attempted to develop a perspective that was realistic rather than naively optimistic or hopelessly pessimistic. A sense of urgency and a sense of truth were both evident....
"The real test of the effectiveness of this Consultation lies in what difference it will make within the Christian community in the days to come.
We trust that [this Consultation] will enlarge the vision of God's people and enable them to have a still more effective stewardship of time and opportunity in these critical days." (An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and beyond, pp. vii-viii) [emphases added]
In other words, in order to escape potential persecution or rejection -- which might have happened if evangelicals had boldly proclaimed God's prophetic future to the emerging New Age Movement -- these evangelical leaders chose to embrace an alternative worldview, a new paradigm about the future that came straight out of the bowels of Alice Bailey's Luciferianism!
The Scripture has much to say about the Future, particularly in prophecy. Believers can be reassured by the Word of God and need not be swayed by fear-mongering, future crisis scenarios, current events, or aberrant doctrines. God promises believers that:
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6)
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)
"For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death." (Psalm 48:14)
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 21)
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Rev. 1:8)
Next: the long-term repercussions of the 1979 Consultation