Thursday, June 15, 2006

A "clear-eyed, Christ-centered worldview"?

James Rutz wants to "restore the original, clear-eyed, Christ Centered worldview." What is this?

Rutz enjoys the endorsement of Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily. Farah has given him a platform upon which to write about his radical biblical worldview. WorldNetDaily appeals to the more conservative patriotic Americans. Rutz's presence at this news site bridges the divide between the New Apostolic Reformation dominionists and the patriotic dominionists. His role seems to be to promote some of the wacky new theologies that justify dominionism, especially including the views of George Otis of the Transformation video series and C. Peter Wagner, apostolic overlord.

His latest came on 6/13/06 in a column entitled, "Let's restore the lost Christianity." Rutz explains that his column is intended to erase "the most damaging misconceptions that have crept in through the years. Let us start right here to restore the original, clear-eyed, Christ-centered worldview."

Rutz's explanation of this new worldview is heretical on its face:

"The present messed-up condition of planet Earth is not – repeat, not – a permanent state of affairs that we simply have to cope with. It is a snapshot from an ongoing and rapidly changing drama in which God is constantly editing the story line, but the plot is inexorably leading to a foreordained conclusion in which He wins.

"Your destination is neither the pop version of heaven nor hell, both of which are a medieval farce. Heaven is real, but forget about halos, harps and fluffy clouds. Hell is real – and you never, never want to go there – but forget about the eternal torture chamber with people screaming their heads off for endless trillions of years. Scripture is clear, with dozens of verses stating unanimously that the main event of hell is dying – albeit very unpleasantly for those under greater judgment. Unbelievers do come to an end.

"Let us cut to the chase before the chase: The rebellion of Lucifer, the former No. 1 archangel. When he fell from his position by the throne of God, he left an empty spot that was an insult.

"But you can't surprise the Father. He was ready – not with Plan B, but Plan A, Part 2: Replacing Lucifer with something better: YOU! (And a few other people.) "

After a brief description of how the none "of the angels really understood God," and how terrible things happen to people, Rutz then launches into pure transformation dominionism:

"Yet your task is not merely to survive such things, but to work toward eliminating them by building Christ's kingdom 'on Earth, as it is in heaven." Your purpose is to destroy evil and 'the works of the devil.' (I John 3:8)"

This is a blatant distortion of I John 3:8, which was only partially quoted. The verse actually says :

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

C. Peter Wagner and his dominionist cohorts teach that the devil was not defeated at the Cross by Christ and that we must do it for him. What is particularly alarming about Rutz's column the other day is that he is teaching the New Apostolic Reformation doctrine that man can bridge heaven and earth. Elsewhere Rutz has written on restoring paradise conditions on earth, a Genesis 1 "stewardship" doctrine promulgated by George Otis and others. This doctrine, like the New Age "Armageddon Alternative" of Barbara Marx Hubbard, teaches that mankind can bypass judgment and Judgment Day. Note that this aberrant doctrine is linked to actual, physical dominionism in the quote below.

"And here is a verse that bridges Earth and heaven, tying our present and future lives together: 'Of the increase of His [Christ's] government there shall be no end.' In three places, the Bible clearly says that 'overcomers' here on Earth will be administrators in the next phase of life, e.g., 'To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne. ...' (Revelation 3:21) Imagine you with your battle scars sitting at the right hand of Jesus with His wounds from the cross. That's as awesome as it gets.

This is not the traditional understanding of the Revelations 3:21 verse. But it does eerily parallel the promises of paradise made to the suicide bombers in the Middle East. You can "overcome" by dominionism activities, even to the point of getting "battle scars" -- and then you are rewarded by being able to sit at the "right hand of Jesus"!?! But Rutz's promised "paradise" isn't some nebulous heavenly future, it is right now here on earth.

"You no longer face a disconnect between now and later. 'Thy Kingdom come' is no longer a vague hope for a distant future. It is the very heart of what you can start doing every day – both now and forever."

The Truth:

Run, don't walk, back to your Bibles and read the old commentators. Revelations 3:21 actually says, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Matthew Henry wrote:

"[T]hose who are conformed to Christ in His trials and victories shall be conformed to Him in His glory; they shall sit down with Him on His throne, on His throne of judgment at the end of the world, on His throne of glory to all eternity, shining in His beams, by virtue of their union with Him and relation to Him, as the mystical body of which He is the head."

"Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuse, and underfalsehood have we hid ourselves:

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

"Judgment also will I lay to teh line, and righteousness to the plummet: and hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

"And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." (Isaiah 28:15-18)

Also read "James Rutz's Megashift - A Critical Review" by Steve Muse.