Using CHANGE to facilitate TRANSFORMATION
The Discernment Research Group has received numerous requests to discuss in more detail the PROCESS of transformation. The following series of posts will attempt to answer this pressing need.
CHANGE is a necessary component to create church "transformation." Change is a foundational assumption -- something that everyone must agree is necessary -- before the process of transformation can begin. Change is often predicated upon a "crisis" that is created in order to propel transformation.
The change model has come into the Church through a wide variety of mechanisms. Here is a short summary:
1. The business leadership training: Change is an essential component to Total Quality Management (TQM). It is known as "continuous improvement." Peter Drucker conveniently defined it as "perpetual revival" so this model could be applied to the Church. Creating a constant state of "crisis" or continual "need" in the business/church climate propels the institution forward towards transformation. The job of human resource training (freshly trained pastors in the new model) becomes one of equipping people to cope with constant change. There are no absolutes, everything is always in a state of flux.
2. The marketing model applied to function: Change is an essential ingredient to marketing. The marketing model has been brought into the Church via the leadership training seminars and workshops. This model primarily focuses on new practices and new methods of leadership to cause Church Growth. To create a climate of change, a discontent with the old models is focused upon. And extravagant claims of success (numerically in terms of converts) is promised with the new model. It is more "effective" or more "efficient." Sophisticated marketing strategies to create a "paradigm shift" are implemented so that these new methods and practices are adopted. Name brand identification is often a key to success ("I am of Rick Warren, I am of John Maxwell," 1 Cor. 1:4).
3. The marketing model applied to structure: Change must be foundational. This is equivalent to re-vamping an entire corporate hierarchical structure from the bottom up. The popular Christian analogy is wineskins -- which is a misapplication of a Bible verse that now means new forms of church governance. Old wineskins must be discarded so that new wine can be poured into the new wineskins. This new structures must be built upon "apostles" and "prophets" who will bring in a total transformation, i.e. a new or second "Reformation." To get believers to "buy" the new structure, promises of heightened spirituality (Gnostic) are blended with promises of an increased "harvest."
4. Post-modern comprehensive change: The post-modern Church is by definition a church in perpetual change. This is an inviolable assumption that cannot be disagreed with. Everything is considered a variable, with precious few (if any) absolutes. Change permits the Church to "contextualize" to the culture and "integrate" with other spiritual traditions (including those outside Christianity). Perpetual change does not permit biblical separation, because this holds back the transformative processes.
5. Esoteric change: Change is part of a progressive revelation from God, and therefore treated as a new sacrament. God is supposedly giving new wisdom, new insights, and new words to this generation of believers. Therefore the Church must continuously adapt while in this "transition" period of hearing God's voice directing things towards a "consummation." The oracles of the false apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation give detailed instructions for how this change is to be conducted. There are dire warnings for those who do not go along with this change.
An example of Esoteric Change
Before examining the other forms of Change mentioned above, it is first necessary to examine point 5. Even though many of the other mechanisms to introduce Change into the Church do not blatantly introduce the new mysticism, the core doctrines are all similar (if not identical). Therefore business-marketing leaders, who are connected with the New Apostolic Reformation, can enter into denominational churches and market their version of Change unemcumbered by doctrinal disputes. Their version can appear to be pragmatic and utilitarian, without a hint of the underlying assumptions. But peel back a few layers -- e.g., conduct an Internet search on the interlocking leadership of the "New Apostolic Reformation" -- and it is easy to see that the Change mandate originates from the same esoteric foundation. Like all successful marketing strategies, diversified strategies are used in order to best market the message to each targeted audience.
In the latest WhiteDove Ministries, February 2006 E-Newsletter, Paul Keith Davis wrote an article entitled "Change is Imminent," http://tinyurl.com/z85zf. This article is a perfect example of 1) Latter Rain heresies and 2) the estoeric change process described in point 5 above. One is supposed to interpret Davis's words as prophetic from God, and therefore hearken to this heavenly mandate for change:
"Never has the need been greater for a clear prophetic word coming direct from God's heart. The Lord told us prophetically that 2005 would be a year of transition. We have now determined that 2006 will be a year of change. Transition is defined as 'the act of passing from one state or place into the next." Change is "the result of an alteration or modification.' The transition of 2005 initiated a process while the change of 2006 will manifest the results of our responses to this process. "
Davis' remarks are based on a key facet of Change -- acceleration. He claims that God's timetable is "accelerating." He also borrow from the evolutionary model of Change, which is based on human evolution theories. Note this quotation used the word "maturity" in an evolutionary sense, as Davis applies Change to the Church:
"The greatest change will be for the Bride of Christ to move from adolescence into maturity."
Note below that Davis employs a "progressive revelation" model of Change. In this instance, he claims that because the Apostle Paul received divine revelation directly from Jesus, that it is to be used as the standard for new interpretations of God's Word. This foundational heresy then opens the door to any other worse heresies that may be coming down the pike.
"The apostle Paul is another prophetic model for leadership to emulate today. His gospel came neither by the teaching of man nor by the reading of a book, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:12) His message was an absolute standard that the Lord was able to validate with the authenticity of Heaven."
Under the heading, "God's Absolute," Davis continues,
"The level of revelation granted to Paul is about to be released to the Church to present the 'plumbline' of God and establish a perfect standard. Our comprehension of God's word will rocket to incredible heights when we eat the now 'open book' of redemption that unveils the fullness of God's plan. It has been reserved in God from the days of Daniel until today. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ that will present the bride without spot or wrinkle will be delegated to her." [emphases added]
Just to underscore the significance of this, Davis gives a veiled nod to the "New Breed" doctrine, promising that "[t]here is something woven into the spiritual DNA of God's people today that propels us into this new place. . . ." [emphasis added]
The heresy of "new revelation" as a justification for Change is particularly disturbing because it encroaches upon the Word of God. There is a sinister implication that these new "apostles" and "prophets" will be getting new "words" from God for the Church today -- either in new revelations, or new "Scripture" itself! How can they claim this? Because they teach the Latter Rain cult 5-fold ministry heresy, which is based on an evolutionary model of Church maturity and growth.
Paul the Apostle (with a capital "A") was indeed given a revelation of Jesus Christ. But he was the last Apostle according to every traditional interpretation of Scripture. There were no more apostles with a capital "A." See 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1, and Titus 1:1 for starters. If you need help, read the good old commentaries such as Matthew Henry or Matthew Poole, which will equip the modern-day believer in a solid biblical foundation.
The "revelation" that Paul received is written down as doctrine in the Word of God.
"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Tim. 4:16)
"Hold fast the form of sound words, whcih thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 1:13)
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2)
"But thou has fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, . . . " (2 Tim. 3:10)
"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;" (2 Tim. 3:14)
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." (2 Tim. 4:2)
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:" (Titus 2:1)
This post begins a new series on Herescope about Change, Transition and Transformation. . . .