PSEUDO-MISSION: Creating A "Social Ethic" Worldview
Wine must be pressed while the wineskin is forming! Revelation must be gained while wisdom is developing! Apostles need prophets! Prophets must have intercessors! Intercessors must understand the gaps throughout the earth!
That is why the International Congress on the Changing Church for Changing Society is so important! I want to encourage you to attend this gathering that Peter and Doris Wagner are hosting in Dallas on August 29-31."
(Chuck C. Pierce, letter to "Global Apostolic Prayer Network Leaders, Jul 31, 2005)
The mainline denominations moved to integrate sociology with theology early on. They didn't have to hassle with the stalwart fundamentalist who insisted on doctrinal purity. It was easy for mainline leaders to simply blend the latest intellectual "scientific" research into their functioning, particularly on a global mission scale.
The evangelicals lagged behind by several decades. It became necessary to concoct persuasive new doctrines to gradually ease in the transition. One of the primary vehicles became the gospel of "change." This tactic -- often couched in the language that "God is doing a new thing" or "we must fulfill the Great Commission in our generation" -- created a sense of urgency whereby evangelical mission leaders would be lured into accepting the pragmatic solutions offered by sociologists, social scientists, anthropologists, ethnologists and psychologists.
Another primary mechanism to integrate sociological tools into the evangelical framework was the necessity to develop a global, international mindset. The purpose of "mission" -- as redefined by C. Peter Wagner in an excerpt posted on Herescope several days ago -- became that of creating a new global mindset for internationalism and ecumenism. The seemingly neutral social sciences provided important cover for transforming the worldview of missionaries, pastors and people in the pew.
One of the early historical examples of this type of integration was the 1937 Oxford Conference on Church and State. This conference, according to historian and theologian Dr. Martin Erdmann, "marked the recognition of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America (FCC) as the dominant force within the ecumenical movement." (p. 102) Noteworthy is the fact that John Mott "was appointed chairman of the Business Committee,"(Ibid) indicating one avenue in which this conference would eventually impact the fundamentalist mission groups.
In his book Building the Kingdom of God on Earth, which is a history of the first half of the 20th century and the mainline denominations' move towards a social ethic, Dr. Erdmann describes how the social sciences were impacting a drive towards global ecumenical unity. A report from the Oxford Conference, drafted by John Foster Dulles and entitled "The Universal Church and the World of Nations," was "to formulate the Church's position on world order in cooperation with a team of renowned scholars of international affairs."(p. 103)
"The report continues to define the nature and purpose of the ecumenical movement, in being the first indication that the Church as begun to act on the 'God-given vision of the Church Universal', a new realisation of the fundamental truth that 'the Church is one'. The authors pay special tribute to the missionary movement of the nineteenth century, which by being obedient to the Great Commission, has made 'the bounds of the Christian community co-extensive with the habitable globe.
"The ecumenical leaders at Oxford tried to define the international character and communal nature of the Church, as a supranational brotherhood, which transcends racial and cultural distinctions. It is telling that they advanced a sociological, rather than a biblical, concept of the Church, and thus revealed their primary intention of pursuing a socio-political, rather than a spiritual, agenda in addressing the needs of the world." (pp. 103-104) [emphasis added]
Dr. Erdmann continues this point in the next section subtitled "World-wide Brotherhood":
"In 1938, the implications of this ecumenical program were spelled out explicitly by William Paton in his book World Community. He argued that, by creating a world-wide brotherhood, the Christian churches had succeeded in establishing a degree of unity among themselves which was unprecedented in human history. The reality of a unified Church would not only provide a model for secular designs of an international brotherhood, it would also be a strong stimulus to unite the nations under one government." (p. 106-107) [emphasis added]
In a review of a pivotal book written in 1939 by Sir Alfred E. Zimmern, Spiritual Values and World Affairs (Oxford: Clarendon Press), Dr. Erdmann explains that Zimmern saw the need to create an "international mind-set among the parishioners."
"Granting the church the right to exert its moral influence on political and social issues, including international affairs, he [Zimmern] still doubted whether the ecumenical movement would be able, 'to frame judgements, to educate opinion, and to construct policies in regard to these issues', without drawing on the expertise of the Royal Institute of International Affairs." (p. 108) [emphasis added]
The recent foray by evangelical leaders into active and open association with the globalist/internationalist Aspen Institute indicates just how far along the road neoevangelicals have traveled. That which would have been unheard of seventy years ago is now openly lauded as a way to "advance the kingdom of God on earth."
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." (Isaiah 65:17)