Thursday, May 11, 2006

The emergent nebulous Jesus & his kingdom

"I was there to meet Jesus, and I was: the new ruling Jesus, whose ways are secret." --Jeffrey Sharlet, Harpers.

What is this Washington, D.C.-based "Fellowship" group that found common ground with the Dalai Lama? (See this week's Herescope posts for details.) No one knows for sure because its past, present and future are hidden in the murky depths of secrecy. One fact readily discernible is its dominionist agenda to build some sort of "kingdom" on earth for their nebulous "Jesus."

An interesting follow-up article to Jeffrey Sharlet's groundbreaking Harper's Magazine article, was published online. This article entitled "Family Fortunes", in a paragraph quoting the president of the Fellowship Foundation, observed:

"'We have hundreds of people working all around the world. We see ourselves as a Family. This is a group that believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ and that believes in the spirit of Christ.' He even maintained you could be a Muslim or a Jew and be part of the Family. You just have to believe, he said, that the New Testament’s I Corinthians: 13 has a message for everyone:. . .

"But the Family is worrisome for other people, especially because its central mission is to capture the politically powerful within a governmental system supposedly based on the separation of church and state — and this government now has, both supporters and critics agree, imperial power over the world. . . .

"On the Fellowship Foundation’s annual Form 990 tax-exempt-organization report to the Internal Revenue Service, under 'Relationship of Activities to Accomplishment of Exempt Purposes,' the foundation declares that its aim is 'to identify laymen who have an understanding of what it means to work towards a leadership led by God and introduce them to others with similar goals and interests.' Theocracy literally means government by God, and it could be defined as 'a leadership led by God.'"

Note the emphasis on the goal of developing "leadership" in the quoted paragraph above. Leadership development happens to be a major global focus of neo-evangelical leaders working on dominionism and "tranformation." It is not known for sure how many of these neo-evangelical leaders might be members of the "Fellowship" because of its covert operations. But the Fellowship Foundation has a deeply disturbing philosophy about leadership, which was described by Sharlet in the Harper's article:

"The day I worked at C Street I ran into Doug Coe, who was tutoring Todd Tiahrt, a Republican congressman from Kansas. A friendly, plainspoken man with a bright, lazy smile, Coe has worked for the Family since 1959, soon after he graduated from college, and has led it since 1969.

"Tiahrt was a short shot glass of a man, two parts flawless hair and one part teeth. He wanted to know the best way 'for the Christian to win the race with the Muslim.' The Muslim, he said, has too many babies, while Americans kill too many of theirs.

"Doug agreed this could be a problem. But he was more concerned that the focus on labels like 'Christian' might get in the way of the congressman's prayers. Religion distracts people from Jesus, Doug said, and allows them to isolate Christ's will from their work in the world.

'People separate it out,' he warned Tiahrt. '“'Oh, okay, I got religion, that's private.'" As if Jesus doesn't know anything about building highways, or Social Security. We gotta take Jesus out of the religious wrapping.'

“'All right, how do we do that?' Tiahrt asked.

“'A covenant,' Doug answered. The congressman half-smiled, as if caught between confessing his ignorance and pretending he knew what Doug was talking about. 'Like the Mafia,' Doug clarified. 'Look at the strength of their bonds.' He made a fist and held it before Tiahrt's face. Tiahrt nodded, squinting. 'See, for them it's honor,' Doug said. 'For us, it's Jesus.'

"Coe listed other men who had changed the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their 'brothers': 'Look at Hitler,' he said. 'Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden.' The Family, of course, possessed a weapon those leaders lacked: the 'total Jesus' of a brotherhood in Christ.

“'That's what you get with a covenant,' said Coe. 'Jesus plus nothing.'”

Inventing a Dalai Lama Jesus for the new global kingdom

Astute readers may already be noticing the striking parallels between the nebulous "Jesus" of the emerging church movement and that of this Fellowship Foundation, which has found common ground with the Dalai Lama. The emerging church is also redefining the biblical Jesus Christ into a nebulous, mystical idol. Both groups are chipping away at any remnants of traditional "religion" and introducing neo-gnostic, quasi-Buddhist abstractions. Both groups are working to find common ground with Hindus, Muslims, etc. by adopting an inclusive, nebulous-Jesus worshipping religion. And both groups are dominionist.

Berit Kjos, leading expert on global church development, has recently written an article entitled "Who defines the Kingdom of God? A rebuttal to Brian McLaren's new book: The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything." She begins this important article by asking:

"Where is the Kingdom of God? How inclusive is it? Who defines the terms?

"'What if Jesus' secret message reveals a secret plan?" asks Brian McLaren in his new book, The Secret Message of Jesus. 'What if he didn't come to start a new religion--but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?'[1-page 4]

"Nothing secret about that notion! That's what many believed back when Jesus first demonstrated His power among His people. But Jesus corrected them with these words: 'My kingdom is not of this world.' John 18:36

"Yet emerging church movements today are still trying to move the boundaries of His Kingdom. They have redefined God's Word and are fast embracing the latest versions of the old Gnostic quest for secret knowledge (gnosis) and self-actualization, whether through mystical experience or collective imagination."

The Truth:

"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto ? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblines, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;" (Isaiah 1:11-16)