Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Foundation Imperialism

It seems like an extraordinary coincidence. C. Peter Wagner launched his new "philanthropic apostles" at the same time that Bill Gates, the world's richest billionaire, retired from running the Microsoft Corporation to spend his time doing philanthropy at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

On the heels of this, Warren Buffet, the world's second richest billionaire, announced that he will give 5/6ths of his shares from his Berkshire Hathaway stock to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This isn't some wild-eyed conspiracy theory. The title of today's post comes from a quote yesterday in Forbes magazine, in an article entitled "Philanthropy With A Business Bent" by Paul Maidment, which explains the changing face of philanthropy:

"[Buffet's] Gates Foundation donation, marked a serious coming of age of entrepreneurial philanthropy. The skills and approaches of business are being applied to the work of doing good. A new breed of philanthropists is seeking to maximize the social impact of their actions, just as they sought to maximize shareholder value in their businesses.

"…The Gates Foundation is already moving beyond the pure medicine dimensions of health into agriculture and micro-financing. In the end, it and other foundations will inevitably find themselves in the business of promoting sound social infrastructure, open markets, the rule of law and transparent and corruption-free administration.

"Such a business-based approach to social and economic change will increasingly bring foundations into conflict with governments and special interests with their own political agendas….

"Nor will all cultures be comfortable with philanthropic foundations that promote Western values of freedom, technological progress and entrepreneurship to solve the world's underlying problems.

"That day is still a ways off, that of foundation imperialism even further."

It may be a myth -- a media reinforced myth -- that these philanthropic foundations will be promoting "Western values." In reality, these foundations are promoting a form of Western imperialism that more closely reflects the values, goals and agendas of the United Nations, especially the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Ground zero for the world's leading philanthropic efforts happens to be the continent of Africa. It is here where Bill Gates, Rick Warren, Ted Turner, Bono, Brad Pitt, the United Nations and an incredible array of multi-national corporations, think tanks, philanthropic groups, agencies, mission groups, churches, etc. have all focused their attention. The main public priority is global health issues, but underneath lurks all sorts of other agendas.

Domionism and the Great Outpouring of Wealth

Rick Warren's connection to all of this is quite significant because of his Christian dominionism -- that which he acquired from the New Apostolic Reformation (elsewhere documented in Herescope posts). The NAR leaders' "prophetic" predictions about a "great outpouring" of wealth may be connected to these recent philanthropic maneuvers. The Christian mission agencies, parachurch organizations and international groups who have been promoting NAR-style dominionism for the past two decades have positioned themselves globally to be on the receiving end of this great outpouring of philanthropic wealth.

Last November Rick Warren was invited to a Global Health Summit hosted by TIME magazine and supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At this summit he hobnobbed with over 400 leaders, including Bill Clinton (Clinton Global Initiative), Bill Gates, Condoleeza Rice, Ted Turner (who gave his fortune to the UN), Madeleine Albright, Bono, Paul Wolfowitz (World Bank), and others.

At this summit it was revealed that the World Bank was looking at "church-health facilities" to see how they could partner. Faith-based organizations took center stage as the participants were told that they "are able to reach those difficult areas that the government cannot reach." Significantly -- and perhaps an indication of future funding -- Rick Warren "noted…that many times churches are the only infrastructure in a remote village that lacks a post office, a hospital, or a school."

Following this summit, Warren traveled to speak to the Anglican Conference in Pittsburgh. At this conference he explained how churches would serve as a distribution network:

"He envisioned the church -- and here he includes non-Christian religious communities -- as a global distribution network that could deliver solutions in villages with no school, no post office, no clinic and no phone service."

An October 31, 2005 article in Fortune magazine entitled "Will Success Spoil Rick Warren?" confirmed this very point, also promising an "army of volunteers":

"PEACE stands for Partner with or Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation. 'We don't know how to do this,' he told the pastors in Kigali, 'but together we can figure it out. I'm going to get the best minds I can to help me.' About all he knows for sure is that the project will be driven by local pastors who will get help from churches in the developed world. 'The church has a distribution point in every community,' he says, 'and we have a massive army of volunteers that neither business nor government has.'"

The Truth:

Is the World using the Church? Or is the Church using the World?

Compromise with the spirit of the world and the spirit of the times will not produce a true love of one's neighbor. And charitable acts devoid of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true compassion.

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Voodoo Philanthropics

Despite the claims that there will be a great outpouring of finances to further the New Apostolic Reformation's dominionist expansion in the near future, there is an immediate crisis now according to head "apostle" C. Peter Wagner in a June 21 Global Harvest letter. He wrote:

I’m writing you today with a tremendous burden. A very serious financial situation has arisen here at Global Harvest. It seems as though a stranglehold over our finances has been loosed against us, and the usual gifts to the ministry have slowed down alarmingly. We are wondering where the money for our next payroll and for paying our bills will come from.

Usually our situation becomes difficult in August, but for some reason this year it has struck early. Frankly, we have no reserves at the present time from which to draw. We need your help. We have always been able to pay our bills when they come due. We have faith, but I must admit we are worried. We must have in excess of $130,000 within the next two weeks or we are faced with the possibility of missing a payment for the first time in 15 years!

The "spirit of poverty" is something that is supposed to be rejected according to the new "apostles." There is a 2-CD set by C. Peter Wagner entitled "The Transference of Wealth," and in his latest book The Church in the Workplace (Regal, 2006), poverty is called a "curse"(p. 56) and a "principality" (p. 69). In fact, Wagner claims that "prophet" Bill Hamon "gathered a small group of prophets, took me to a side room and decreed that the spirit of poverty would no longer have an influence on my life. . . . I was instantly delivered from that malicious demon!" (p. 70).

It is therefore interesting that Wagner has a financial crisis at the moment. According to another "apostle" of the NAR, Chuck Pierce, in a statement dated June 21 (same date as Wagner's letter above) entitled "Shout the One Little Word for Victory!" , apparently C. Peter Wagner issued an "apostolic decree" of some import back on June 9th:

Here is Peter Wagner's Apostolic Decree for Kingdom Wealth to be Released issued on June 9, 2006. Peter's great, great, great grandfather was Alexander Hamilton, the father of the economic system in our nation. Therefore, he has the authority to decree this for Kingdom Purposes. Read it! Decree it yourself! This is so incredible! [emphases in original]

These false apostles and prophets believe that they can "decree" things from the spiritual realm into existence into the physical realm. Therefore, this Apostolic Decree for Kingdom Wealth to be Released should be viewed as a major event conducted by the head honcho of all "apostles," C. Peter Wagner. The decrees of these leading men usually set the stage for the next phase of "transformation" (i.e., dominion).

Wagner decreed that, "God has declared through His prophets that the wealth of the wicked will be released to the Kingdom of God." This great financial outpouring is designated funds to finance dominionism across the globe, assisted by the setting up of 48 chosen philanthropic apostles into a "council":

I declare that this wealth will be distributed for the extension of the Kingdom of God by the apostles that God has set in the church. I consecrate these chosen apostles. Two days ago I completed the formation of an apostolic council of 48. These experienced men and women have passed the tests of giftedness, effectiveness, leadership, and exemplary character. I speak specifically to Mammon, you vile and destructive demonic principality, and I say you will keep your hands off these 48 chosen ones. Neither greed nor covetousness nor parsimony nor self-reliance will be able to influence God's chosen and anointed ones. They, among many others like them, will be mighty agents of God for the transformation of society. They will lead the way in restoring the rightful dominion and stewardship over God's creation that was lost by our forefather, the first Adam. [emphasis added]

Chuck Pierce's mailing also contained an example of a decree entitled "One Little Word Shall Fell Him." Apparently these decrees must contain a little "hocus pocus" anointing oil to be truly effective:

I had previously been given a bottle with the first fruits rain from this year mixed with the Costmary Watch Oil. As John sang I began to anoint the intercessors and decree that we would begin to watch for both latter and former rains. We shouted that our latter would be greater than our former, and that our end will be greater than our beginning. The former was good, but the latter will be better! We then began to declare that as our latter blessings start coming in and as the camels begin to enter into the procession that "No ambush!" of the enemy would be successful. We now are developing an anointing oil for each watch! [emphasis in original]

The very next section is entitled "The Prophetic Mantle Fell!" in this Pierce claims that "the Lord began to speak." These supposed words from "the Lord" below reveal that the purpose for this anticipated great outpouring of wealth is dominionism -- politically, economically, corporately (business) and spiritually. The following is very sobering evidence of aggressive "new breed" of Christianity that is arising:

"This is a time of aligning and repositioning and loosing within a gifted people that which has been held captive within them. When that happens, there will be a realignment of the nations that are holding control of the wealth. You are entering into wars over the supply for your future. The war for supply has begun. There are oil wars, gold wars, silver wars. Nations are realigning against nations in this war, but I have a people who will be a secret weapon that will begin to move in the war against nations and who will go in and take the spoils. I will create and position My people in economic structures, in political structures, and in businesses. . . .

Even in the days of Hitler, I positioned the cooks in strategic places. Now I am beginning to position people in places where they will be serving the enemy it would seem, but in serving the enemy they are gaining the upper hand over the enemy's strategy. They are not serving the enemy, but they are serving Me. By serving Me at the table of the enemy they will take the spoils of the enemy. I am removing the fear of the enemy from My people so they can be positioned to even smile at the enemy. If you will begin to smile at the enemy you will end up laughing at the enemy and the enemy will be seated underneath and submitted to the plan that I have in the earth. This is a time that I would raise you up and move you into a new place so that the enemy will be submitted to My plan." [emphases and typos in original]

The Truth:

The hocus-pocus nature of these "decrees" adds the necessary spiritual aura to deceive the gullible and undiscerning. And there is always the inference that if believers defeated these poverty demons in their lives they could become rich. But the "plan" for dominion is much more than spiritual antics or material covetousness.

This current crisis in finances is just a tiny speed bump on the road to dominionism for C. Peter Wagner and his network of global "apostles." The coming outpouring of wealth is already well underway. With the church's intentional intermarriage with corporate (business) marketplace and philanthropic endeavors, the greased wheels are already turning.

"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4b)

"Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil." (Isaiah 33:13-15)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wormy Straw Men

Reading the literature of the New Apostolic Reformation requires more than a little bit of discernment. Many of the writers rely upon faulty reasoning in order to make their points.

C. Peter Wagner, writing about "Kingdom Philanthropy" and his newly-invented "philanthropic apostles" (see past few Herescope posts on this topic), brought up the issue of "Responsible Distribution" concerning the distribution of wealth. Now, one might think that this topic would deal with the ethics of philanthropy. Instead, this is a treatise on self-esteem. Wagner wrote:

"It is another thing, however, to distribute this wealth responsibly. Here is where philanthropy comes in. Aristotle said that anyone can give money away, but only a few can give it to the right person at the right time, to the right extent, for the right reason, and in the right way.

"Philanthropy" comes from two Greek words meaning "loving people." It is a Godly pursuit because God loves people. Those who are born again by the Holy Spirit reflect God's love for people in their thoughts and in their actions. They are not self-centered because they feel that their destiny is not so much to help themselves, but to help others. It is important to recognize up front that philanthropy and selfishness are opposites.

If we are going to meet God's standards for philanthropy, we must first pass the test of selflessness. Loving others is more important than loving ourselves. [emphasis in original]

Having said this, we must at the same time cultivate healthy, biblical attitudes toward ourselves. The Book of Romans (see Romans 12:1-2), tells us that if we are to do the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, two things are necessary. First, we must not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. That reflects what I just said about selflessness. But the second thing in doing God's will is to think soberly of ourselves. In other words, we must come to a positive, realistic, accurate self-evaluation. We must know who we are and who God desires us to be.

Unfortunately, there has been some misguided teaching in some of our churches; teaching that we should denigrate ourselves in order to please God. Supposedly pious phrases like, "We are nothing" are common. One of Charles Wesley's songs has us singing, "Such a worm as I." God did not create us to be nothing or to be worms. He created us to be the head, not the tail (see Deuteronomy 28:13)." [emphasis added]

This reference to "worms" is a jab at so-called "worm theology." Worm theology is an old straw man argument. This wormy straw man has been propped up for the past four decades to justify the integration of the psychological concept of self-esteem into Christian theology.

There is a bit of truth -- that "worm theology" came to represent an overly self-depracating stance which denied the finished work of Christ on the Cross. But neo-evangelicals seized upon this exaggeration to demolish any remnants of true biblical theology about the nature of man. In its place was substituted the more humanistic "we may sin, but we have good intentions" synthesis.

What is a straw man? According to The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Six Lessons on How on Recognize Bad Reasoning by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn (Christian Logic, 2003), "The fallacy of straw man is changing or exaggerating an opponent's position or argument to make it easier to refute."

The straw man fallacy distorts an opponent's position just enough to make it weak. The new argument that is created is called a "straw man" because it is easy to knock down. ("I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your argument down.") The original argument was not nearly as easy to knock down. (p. 68)

Regular readers of Herescope may wish to purchase a copy of this book and use it as a study aid. It teaches the reader how to recognize and avoid the manipulations of bad reasoning.

The Truth:

A reference to being a "worm" can be found in the Scriptures in the context of Isaiah 41, which speaks about the coming Messiah, "thy redeemer."

"For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:14)

The first hymn to mention the phrase "for such a worm as I" was written by Isaac Watts in 1707 and entitled "At the Cross." Read the beautiful words to this hymn :

Alas, and did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sov'reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, thine,
And bathed in its own blood,
While all exposed to wrath divine
The glorious Suff'rer stood!

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his glories in,
When God, the mighty Maker, died
For man, the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While his dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do.

A later and lesser-known hymn was written by John Wesley (not Charles Wesley) using this same phrase, "for such a worm as I." The third verse reads:

If such a worm as I can spread
The common Saviour's name,
Let him who raised thee from the dead
Quicken my mortal frame.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

C. Peter Wagner's Situation Ethics

C. Peter Wagner, commander-in-chief of the rising apostolic army, has recently written a new book entitled The Church in the Workplace: How God's People Can Transform Society (Regal, 2006). Last week we noted that C. Peter Wagner has timed the introduction of a new type of "philanthropic apostle" with the launching of his new book.

The marketplace apostles, corporate businessmen, who are supposedly part of a new expanded ekklesia (church) definition (see 9/18/05 Herescope), are integrally interconnected with these new philanthropic apostles who will fund dominionism endeavors world-wide.

In our previous posts we raised some serious ethical questions about this newfound "doctrine." C. Peter Wagner also raises some ethical questions (what he calls "minefields") in his book, but he relies upon the theory and techniques of situation ethics to answer these ethical dilemmas. He writes that his "major fear" is "to be misunderstood," particularly by those "who tend to see issues in black and white without wide areas of gray between them." And he says that these people "are likely to wonder if I am teaching so-called situation ethics." (p. 103)

In the next subtitled section, "Godly Ethics" (p. 103), Wagner denies that this is what he is doing. He writes, "No, I am not teaching situation ethics. I believe in biblical holiness," and then presents a quote that really isn't germane. He then explains:

"Drawing on my background as a missiologist, I see my task as defining these rules as best as I can. My approach is phenomenological. It is not philosophical or theological or exegetical or revelational, all of which are legitimate, alternative approaches that many of my good friends regularly take. I am simply trying to focus more on what is than on what ought to be.

"If I am successful, the minefields will be safer, and we, God's army, can move forward harmoniously toward transforming the societies in which we live." (p. 104)

These two paragraphs are quite interesting. First, Wagner acknowledges that he has taken on the "task as defining these rules" for his newly-created marketplace and philanthropic apostles. This is a scary proposition since he then admits that he going to employ a phenomenological approach to defining ethical rules.

Phenomenology is an interesting metaphysical philosophy. It only looks at phenomena, i.e., what happens," not ontology: why something happens. Below is a definition of phenomenology from

phenomenology, modern school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. Its influence extended throughout Europe and was particularly important to the early development of existentialism. Husserl attempted to develop a universal philosophic method, devoid of presuppositions, by focusing purely on phenomena and describing them; anything that could not be seen, and thus was not immediately given to the consciousness, was excluded. The concern was with what is known, not how it is known. The phenomenological method is thus neither the deductive method of logic nor the empirical method of the natural sciences; instead it consists in realizing the presence of an object and elucidating its meaning through intuition. Husserl considered the object of the phenomenological method to be the immediate seizure, in an act of vision, of the ideal intelligible content of the phenomenon. Notable members of the school have been Roman Ingarden, Max Scheler, Emmanuel Levinas, and Marvin Farber. [emphasis added]

Throughout his book C. Peter Wagner employs the same techniques as the values clarification experts. He raises ethical scenarios and answers these moral dilemmas -- NOT with Scripture -- but with case examples. This is precisely what is called "situation ethics." It is a nifty little psychological gimmick that manipulates the hearers/readers to look away from the Word of God for the answer. Here is how it works:

1. An ethical question is raised, often in the context of a specific situation.

2. The answer is presented in a series of stories, little vignettes, which create a very gray situation where black and white are not entirely clear. These little vignettes never disclose the full story, but rather paint a stark, bleak, gray dilemma for which there seems to be no way out.

3. The solution to the ethical dilemma is then presented as grayish pragmatism -- "This seemed to be the lesser of two evils, so I chose this route."

4. The Word of God is not presented as a viable alternative. Neither is fervent prayer -- yielding and leaning on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rather, man's reason and an extreme pragmatism are exalted as the only way out of this morass.

C. Peter Wagner admits that he is a pragmatist, and spends a considerable time quoting from one of his chief critics in this matter, John MacArthur, in his book When the Church Becomes Like the World. The result of this exercise is that Wagner stoically defends his pragmatism -- "I have carefuly read all that John MacArthur says about me and my pragmatism. Everything he says is true!" (p. 146)

The Truth:

The trouble with pragmatism, phenomenology and situation ethics is that in his new book C. Peter Wagner is employing them to justify the activities that his rapidly forming army of philanthropic and marketplace apostles will be engaging in across the face of the earth as part of a dominionism drive. This is scary stuff indeed!

Wagner wrote a chapter entitled "The Means and the End" in which he concludes:

"That the end does not justify unethical or immoral means is a sound, ethical principle. But beyond that, it is largely irrelevant to most of our lives in the real world, because day in and day out we choose means that will best accomplish our ends." (p. 145)

Without the Scriptures applied to the totally of one's life -- particularly the workplace and financial matters -- this is an alarming statement. Divorcing huge segments of one's life from the comprehensive guidelines of God's Word by saying that they are "irrelevant" is walking out on a dangerous precipice. The slippery slope of moral relativism is only a short drop-off away.

There is a wonderful, comforting Scripture which answers the confusing mutterings of moral relativists:

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:11-13)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mars Hill in Transformation

A Satire: How Acts 17:16-33 might be re-written today

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

17 Therefore he strove to reach consensus with other religions, and found common ground with the devout persons, and collaborated daily in the marketplace with those businessmen and government officials with whom he met.

18 Then certain New Age philosophers encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them a Jesus, which was freely interchanged with the names of pagan deities, and spoke little of the resurrection.

19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.

21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are wonderfully superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found altars to the gods of Prosperity, Purpose, Passion and Pragmatism. These whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, these declare I unto you.

24 A God that hath created perpetual change and all evolutionary futures therein, seeing that he is Change Agent to transform heaven and earth, dwelling in elaborate temples made with human hands

25 Neither is worshipped without a coherent vision that seamlessly weaves together truth-claims from such fields as physics and biology; the eco-sciences; chaos theory and the systems sciences; medicine, neurophysiology, biochemistry; art, poetry, and aesthetics in general; developmental psychology and a spectrum of psychotherapeutic endeavors, from Freud to Jung to Kegan; the great spiritual theorists from Plato and Plotinus in the West to Shankara and Nagarjuna in the East; the modernists from Descartes and Locke to Kant; the Idealists from Schelling to Hegel; the postmodernists from Foucault and Derrida to Taylor and Habermas; the major hermeneutic tradition, Dilthey to Heidegger to Gadamer; the social systems theorists from Comte and Marx to Parsons and Luhmann; the contemplative and mystical schools of the great meditative traditions, East and West, in the world's major religious traditions. [adapted from Jack Crittenden's foreword to one of Ken Wilber's books and linked to from]

26 And hath made all nations of men to be gods to perfect the face of the earth; and hath determined now is the time to build the kingdom of God on earth, before appointed dominion and the bounds of its habitation.

27 That they should seek other gods if haply they might feel good about themselves after them, and find themselves through alternative spiritual pathways.

28 For in marketing we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of other psycho-management techniques have also been our offspring.

29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of the merchandising, we ought to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by an art and man's device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now heartily agrees with, commanding all men everywhere to get on board this new thing:

31 Because he hath appointed a day, in which a great outpouring of financial blessings will rule the world by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that they will bypass Judgment Day.

32 And then they heard of the bypassing of Judgment Day, they rejoiced as co-creators and said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

33 So Paul sold books among them.

The Truth:

16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. 18Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 19And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

22Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33So Paul departed from among them.

Copyright 2006 Discernment Research Group

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ron Roth and Inclusive Spirituality

In a recent investigation of the ministry of Ron Roth, I was asked to identify whether this man and his ministry would or could be considered Christian. While researching this man and his ministry it became apparent that he is an unabashed New Ager in its truest sense. He does not even pretend to be otherwise.

His website promotes inclusive spirituality (interfaith), which embraces all religions as being equal and good. He teaches that there is a common thread that runs through all religions connecting us to the Creator and that he can teach us to find that connection so that each of us can experience the Light, the Divine source, Creator, God or whatever name we wish to call this energy. Roth believes this all-powerful Divine Light does not care whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion.

Roth is as far away from true Biblical Christianity as one can get. By reading his testimony, it is apparent that he is following another Jesus, another spirit and there seems to be little evidence of anything resembling the Gospel. He has had many spiritual experiences throughout his life beginning at the age of seven that have taken him on a journey deeper into New Age Spirituality and Occultism.

What is the New Age?

The New Age consists of individuals who, in the context of historical occultism, are in mystical contact with unseen sources and dimensions; receive guidance and direction from these dimensions, and who promote this state-of-being to the rest of humanity. (Ray Yungen, For Many Shall Come In My Name)

New Age thought teaches that “everything” is made up of energy. That energy is God, and therefore, all is God. Since we are all part of this God-energy, then we, too, are God.

The core of New Age teachings state that man is born with this innate power, a divine connection to a Divine Light or Higher Self. New Age teaches that we just need to discover this fact for and about ourselves and this will unveil our own divinity. The goal of the New Age Movement is to bring this concept to a reality in all humankind.

The essence of New Age teaching is built upon metaphysics – meta meaning above or beyond, and physical – the seen or material world; relating to that which exists or is real, but is unseen. Metaphysics is about the spiritual evolution of the soul; realizing that you are God. This is the basic tenet.

The goal of metaphysics: attuning oneself to “higher consciousness” thereby gaining access to higher spiritual realms. The most direct way to achieve this goal is through the practice of meditation. It is the basic activity and primary source of spiritual direction.

From a Biblical perspective, meditation involves a deep, continuous thinking about the Scriptures. But New Age meditation involves ridding oneself of all thought in order to still the mind causing a shift in consciousness.

The two most common methods of New Age meditation are breath exercises, focusing on the breath and mantras, a repeated word or phrase.

The core of meditation is to reach the “Higher Self.” This connects one to the “Divine Essence” of the Universe, the part of man that is God. This is the ultimate goal in meditation and has always been at the very heart of occultism.

Names for the Higher Self include but are not limited to: Oversoul, True Self, Real Self, Inner Self - Teacher, Guide, Light, Essence, Source, Healer, Wisdom – Soul-self, Christ Self, Divine Center, Divine Spark, Atman, Creative/Intuitive Self and the list could go on and on.

By meditating it is believed that one can tap into the Higher Self to gain guidance and direction from this source. This connection is known as: awakening, transformation, enlightenment, nirvana, satori, Self-realization, Cosmic or Christ consciousness, and finding the “Kingdom within.”

The following is a direct quote from Ron Roth's website at :

A Prayer Exercise for You

In ancient times prayer was actually a time for listening to the Divine Spirit. Out of that tradition you are invited to join us in creating a sacred space for yourself. You will begin by relaxing and breathing in a certain way so your focus is centered inward. The three breaths you are to take will be drawn in through your nose while thinking "I am." When you slowly exhale through your mouth, think "God breathed." Repeat this three times. Next you will turn your attention to the sacred writing on the screen. Let those words flow into and through to the center of your being, where they will be metabolized by the Holy Spirit and become part of your being. You will rest in that state of receptivity for 3 to 5 minutes where you will experience true prayer which is listening. When you come out of that state, give thanks to the Divine Spirit in any way that is comfortable for you. Peace, Shalom...Namaste.
[End of quote]

The practice described above is really centering prayer, a form of New Age contemplative prayer recently revived from ancient religious traditions for the purpose of connecting with the Inner Divine.

Dennis Hughes, the publisher for Share Guide (a Holistic Health magazine), conducted an "Interview with Ron Roth," and asked:

The Share Guide: Are you saying that the phrase "Energy Medicine" is really tied with the Holy Spirit, the original healing energy of God?

Ron: When you get an understanding of what a true authentic prayer means and is, it is an "energy prayer." It is not something we do; it is something the Spirit of God at the center of our being does. That divine connection keeps coming up from the spirit essence. So when you put prayer and spirit together and understand what they truly mean, you can define it as a tangible energy that people feel.

The Share Guide: Is this the same energy which in India is called prana or in the Orient called chi, the life essence?

Ron: Yes.
[complete interview at]

Again, from Ron Roth's website we read:

"People have called me a modern-day mystic, a healer or a miracle worker. Some have even called me crazy. All I know is that I have had incredibly powerful experiences with the Divine starting at age seven, then again when I was eleven, and many more while I was a Catholic priest.

"Over the last forty years, these connections to this amazing Stream of Light Energy have brought about hundreds and probably thousands of miracle healings. People have been healed physically, emotionally and mentally. Many have shared that they’ve had life changing experiences.

"I have come to realize -- no, to KNOW -- that everything our heart desires is possible when we can connect with the Light, the Divine source, Creator, God -- whatever name you wish to call this Presence. And this all-powerful Divine Light doesn’t care which religion, race, gender or sexual orientation you are.

"The secret that has been hidden from people for thousands of years is that everyone has the potential to tap into this Stream of Light energy. I have learned how to do that, and I can teach others to make that connection so that their lives are transformed from fear, worry and sickness to peace, love, abundance, wisdom, health and power" (

Concerning his "Celebrating Life Ministries," Ron Roth's website states that:

"Celebrating Life Ministries is an independent Catholic (Universal) gathering of people from all faiths and spiritual paths coming together in the Spirit of Oneness. We are a church without walls and without rigid dogmatic doctrines, living as one in the spirit of the great command: Love God, love yourself, love others.

"As a Divine healing ministry, we are guided by the Holy Spirit and open to all the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, especially the grace of healing not only the individual person, but also as caretakers of all God’s creation such as animals, the environment and the planet. Albeit, we are a Christ-based spiritual society open to the teachings of the Great Masters of other spiritual paths, as we see them all under the direction of One God.

"Our ceremonies and rituals are intermingled with devotions of other traditions such as Communion (Samadhi), Darshan, Smarana Deeksha and many more. We are all for one purpose: to release the Love and Spirit of the Living God for healing"

The Truth:

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Timothy 4:1)

Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

This Herescope report was submitted by Steve Muse, Director
Eastern Regional Watch Ministries

For further information regarding Ron Roth read Ron Roth - Christian Theologian or New Age Charmer? by Bud Press, Christian Research Service

For further information regarding New Age Spirituality:
Eastern Regional Watch - Steve Muse
Let Us Reason Ministries - Mike Oppenheimer
One Truth Ministries - Brian Flynn
Lighthouse Trails Research Project - Dave & Deborah Dombrowski
Kjos Ministries - Berit Kjos

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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Announcing -- Philanthropic Apostles!

C. Peter Wagner, leader of the New Apostolic Reformation and Rick Warren's advisor, has done it again. He's concocted another new kind of apostle -- the philanthropic apostle. This new creature is obviously not a Scriptural term. But this role is an essential feature of the new kingdom dominionism/transformation agenda.

What in the world is a philanthropic apostle? C. Peter Wagner refers to them as "Agents of Kingdom Philanthropy" in his latest missive from his Global Harvest Ministries. Their purpose will be for the "distribution of kingdom wealth" when it begins to pour in. In other words, as the dominionism agenda gains momentum around the world, these transformative agents will be in charge of the disbursement of the funds. Wagner explains the rationale:

"We live in extraordinary times. The 21st Century is already shaping up to be a quantum leap from the 20th Century around the globe. We now live in the Second Apostolic Age in which the biblical government of the church has come alive once again. The Holy Spirit has begun speaking to the churches about taking dominion of God's creation as God originally intended us to do. Our 20th Century goal of saving souls and multiplying churches has been expanded to aim for nothing less than transforming our society.

"Along with all of these mega-changes is the impending fulfillment of God's promises through His prophets for the great transfer of wealth. My sense is that we are looking at unbelievable quantities of wealth moving from the control of the kingdom of darkness to the control of the kingdom of God. I know that it may be an exaggeration, but I have both faith and hope that it will be on the order of the wealth in Solomon's kingdom. . . ."

" . . . . I'm directing these thoughts on philanthropy mostly to those to whom God has given positions of leadership, primarily apostles (see 1 Cor, 12:28). I think it is quite obvious that most new kingdom philanthropists will be apostles, both apostles in the nuclear church and apostles in the workplace." [emphases added]

In C. Peter Wagner's recently released book, The Church in the Workplace: How God's People Can Transform Society (Regal Books, 2006), he expounds upon this topic in much greater detail. In order to justify these new agents of global dominion, Wagner must radically alter fundamental biblical doctrine. Wagner lays the groundwork with:

1. An open admission that "What I'm teaching is, in fact, Dominion Theology," with a brief exposition about how this is now the correct doctrine for the church. (pp. 38-39)

2. A call for "success" in social transformation to be "measured," including by "sociologically verifiable transformation" methods. (pp. 43-44)

3. A thorough description of his aberrant eschatology, which does not include the defeat of Satan at the cross of Christ, but leaves that up to the Church to accomplish (pp. 45-47)

4. A call for a new "dominion paradigm." (pp. 47-48)

5. A call for Apostolic Leadership to take Social Transformation. This is complete with a diagram in which Social Transformation is accomplished by the Workplace Apostles (described elsewhere in Herescope). These "Workplace Apostles" link the "Church in the Workplace" to "The Transfer of Wealth." (p. 51)

Reality Check:

Philanthropy has been used as a method of social transformation for over a hundred years. It was particularly used by the great tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the last century. Their charitable endeavors endeared them to the public, but also furthered the expansion of their corporate empires. Like C. Peter Wagner's diagram, the "social transformation" was accomplished by linking their corporate agendas to social agendas.

John D. Rockefeller financed religious and secular activities that furthered his economic goals, particularly the expansion of his oil interests in Central and South America. Later, Nelson Rockefeller was also able to change governments through his intelligence work. The activities of the Rockefeller family are described in-depth in a landmark book Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil by Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett (HarperCollins, 1995).

This ingenious networking of Corporate with State and Church (what Peter Drucker termed the 3-legged stool of Society) was most effectively accomplished by the use of philanthropic funds. Here is how it works:

Marketplace (Corporate) expansion increases profits $$$$----->

...Which are channeled into private foundation monies $$$$ ----->

......These $$$$ then are given to Charities and Mission agencies (Church), who in turn are expected to be "accountable" for how the $$$$ are used; i.e. fulfill Corporate goals----->

.........Which are turned back into Corporate profits $$$$ due to increased labor productivity, better health and sanitation, and religiously indoctrinated people groups----->

............And these Corporate $$$$ are turned into political action monies $$$$----->

...............Which in turn finance $$$$ political candidates, the media, and changes of governments----->

..................Who in turn grease $$$$ the way for new Corporate market expansion $$$$ ----->

And the cycle goes around and around. In recent decades philanthropic organizations (as well as political entities) have "pooled" their resources. PACs combine their $$$$ efforts, which makes it easier to make or break a candidate. Organizations such the Philanthropic Roundtable combine their $$$$ efforts to make or break ministries, charities and missions. (For more information on these points, see or Secret Records Revealed by Dr. Dennis L. Cuddy [800-837-0544].)

When C. Peter Wagner discusses measuring this new philanthropy by "socially verifiable transformation" he is really talking about setting up standards, criteria, and accountability structures. This "system" is purpose-driven and outcome-based.

It is important to note that this marketplace/philanthropic expansion model is precisely what is happening on the continent of Africa right now. Corporate expansion is working hand in hand with charitable, mission and philanthropic foundations to further dominionist "transformation" goals.

The Truth:

"Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks shall be confounded. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish." (Isaiah 19:9-10)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Emergent Organic Worldview

Brian McLaren of Emergent Church notoriety uses the terms "Jesus worldview" and "organic worldview" interchangeably. Both phrases carry dominionism connotations because, as Herescope explained in previous posts, they also mean "kingdom worldview." There is a deconstruction of Christian orthodoxy going on, some of which is quite disingenuous.

In his discussion of this "kingdom," McLaren writes:

"On the one hand, kings are not absent, disengaged, distant, and presently uninvolved like a machine engineer who designed and built a clock and now has left to let it run on its own, or like a pool shark who after taking his shot steps back from the table, leans against the wall, smokes a cigarette, and lets things happen from a distance. On the other hand, kings are not, strictly speaking, in absolute control. They don't control their kingdom the way a kid playing a video game operates the controls of the game, for example. No, in this more nuanced and organic worldview, kings have an interactive realtionship rather than either uninvolved distance or intrustive control; they have real power and authority, but that power and authority are used among citizens who also have wills of their own. The king may give orders, but the citizens may disobey. The king may make laws, but the citizens may ignore them. Then the king may respond to their incivility and so on, in an ongoing interactive relationship.

"So for ancient Jews the universe was not a simple, controlled, mechanistic system. It was a complex, organic community with both limits and freedom, accountability and responsibility. It had room for freedom both for God and for humanity. There were limits, and there was order -- but there were also breathing room and real possibilities to choose and make a life. In this universe, God gives us space and time to live our lives. We have a measure of freedom, but our freedom doesn't eradicate God's freedom. God has freedom, but God's freedom doesn't extinguish ours. As we've said before, it's a universe in interactive relationship with God. (In this light, Jesus' invitation into the kingdom of God was an invitation into the original universe, as it was meant to be.)" (The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 53)

In this universe of McLaren's, God's sovereignty is severely diminished. Note the phrase "accountability and responsibility." This phrase carries an entirely different meaning in a horizontal relational universe such as McLaren's. McLaren continues with a description of what is wrong with our conception of the universe:

"In order to understand what Jesus' signs and wonders meant, then, we need to try to expand beyond our modern, Western, naturalistic, mechanistic, reductionistic universe and make ourselves at home in this larger and more relational universe. We will understand neither signs and wonders in particular nor the idea of the kingdom of God in general if we try to shrink them into our restrictive universe. We have to meet these phenomena in their natural habitat.

"As we've already seen, the ancient Jews understood humanity to have been plunged into crisis because we humans have abused our freedom. We steal, kill, and destroy. We hoard, rape and plunder. We oppress, victimize, lie and cheat. We undervalue precious things and overvalue worthless things. As a result, the whole organism or community of the world has become sick, and its sickness is ugly, painful, and terminal, adversely affecting every woman, man, girl, and boy." (p. 54)

This relational universe of McLaren's is being marketed as a better universe than the old Western mechanistic universe. The rhetoric in the paragraphs above parallels that of the mystical environmentalists -- "Mother Earth is feeling ill, Father Time is running out. . . . " A "generous orthodoxy" indeed!

The Truth:

The First Reformation held to a biblical view of man, God and the universe. The "Second Reformation" sets about to change all of that. Since McLaren is aligned with leaders of the "Second Reformation" or "New Apostolic Reformation," it is important to know the doctrines of the First Reformation. This "Second Reformation" reverses the First Reformation.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer, in his book Escape From Reason (InterVarsity, 1968), which we have been quoting in Herescope the past several posts, carefully dissects the biblical Reformation apart from the humanistic Renaissance. Many of McLaren's arguments against Western machinations would be more appropriately directed if they targeted the philosophies of the Renaissance. Below is a useful series of quotations describing the biblical foundation of the First Reformation.

"[The Reformation] rejected the old and growing humanism in the Roman Catholic Church, and it rejected the concept of an incomplete Fall resulting in man's autonomous intellect and the possibility of a natural theology which could be pursued independently from the Scriptures. The Reformation accepted the biblical picture of a total Fall. The whole man had been made by God, but now the whole man is fallen, including his intellect and will. Only God was autonomous.

"This was true in two areas. First of all, there was nothing autonomous in the area of final authority. For the Reformation, final and sufficient knowledge rested in the Bible -- that is, Scripture alone, in contrast to Scripture plus anything else parallel to the Scriptures, whether it be the Church or a natural theology. Second, there was no idea of man being autonomous in the area of work of salvation -- [i.e.,] Christ died for our salvation, but man had to merit the merit of Christ. Thus there was a humanistic element involved. The reformers said that there was nothing man can do; no autonomous or humanistic religious or moral effort of man can help. One is saved only on the basis of the finished work of Christ as He died in space and time in history, and the only way to be saved is to raise the empty hands of faith and, by God's grace to accept God's free gift -- faith alone. It was Scripture alone and faith alone.

"Christians need to notice, at this point, that the Reformation said "Scripture alone" and not "the revelation of God in Christ alone." If you do not have the view of the Scriptures that the reformers had, you really have no content to the word Christ -- and this is the modern drift in theology. Modern theology uses the word without content because Christ is cut away from the Scriptures. The Reformation followed the teaching of Christ Himself in linking the revelation Christ gave of God to the revelation of the written Scriptures.

"The Scriptures give the key to two kinds of knowledge -- the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of men and nature. The great Reformation confessions emphasize that God revealed His attributes to man in the Scriptures and that this revelation was meaningful to God as well as to man. . . ."

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Col. 1:13-17)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Emergent Words

In order to create an Emergent "Jesus Worldview" (see previous Herescope post), or any other new worldview for that matter, new words must be created or old words are given new connotations or meanings.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his classic work Escape From Reason, which we quoted from the other day (InterVarsity, 1968), spent a considerable amount of time discussing the problem with undefined words in neo-orthodoxy. Schaeffer made the surprising statement:

"I have come to the point where, when I hear the word Jesus -- which means so much to me because of the Person of the historic Jesus and His work -- I listen carefully because I have with sorrow become more afraid of the word Jesus than almost any other word in the modern world. The word is used as a contentless banner, and our generation is invited to follow it. But there is no rational, scriptural content by which to test it, and thus the word is being used to teach the very opposite things from those which Jesus taught."

Dr. Schaeffer drew many diagrams in Escape From Reason which show the rise of existential mysticism in Christianity. He postulated that 20th century man has divorced spirituality from rationality. His "upper story" shows how man has spiritualized faith to become mystical and non-rational. Therefore faith has become esoteric, unmeasurable, irrational, and subject to mystical experiences. Schaeffer discussed one of the most alarming consequences of this:

"Men are called to follow the word [Jesus] with highly motivated fervency, and nowhere more than in the new morality which follows the radical theology. It is now Jesus-like to sleep with a girl or a man, if she or he needs you. As long as you are trying to be human, you are being Jesus-like to sleep with the other person -- at the cost, be it noted, of breaking the specific morality which Jesus taught. But to these people this does not matter, because that is downstairs in the area of rational scriptural content."

Earlier in the book Schaeffer specifically noted that the nonrational neo-orthodoxy used connotation words, devoid of any specific biblical meaning. He observed that:

"Neoorthodoxy seemed to have an advantage over secular existentialism because it uses words that have strong connotations, as they are rooted in the memory of the race -- words like resurrection, crucifixion, Christ, Jesus. These words give an illusion of communication. The importance of these words to the new theologians lies in the illusion of communication, plus the highly motivated reaction men have on the basis of the connotation of the words. That is the advantage of the new theology over secular existentialism and the modern secular mysticisms. One hears the word Jesus, one acts upon it, but the word is never defined. The use of such words is always in the area of the irrational, the non-logical. Being separated from history and the cosmos, they are divorced from possible verification by reason downstairs, and there is no certainty that there is anything upstairs."

Nearly 40 years ago Schaeffer warned what would happen if the Word of God became experiential and devoid of content:

"The evangelical Christian needs to be careful because some evangelicals have recently been asserting that what matters is not setting out to prove propositions [from Scripture, ed.]; what matters is an encounter with Jesus. . . . [emphasis added]

"If we think that we are escaping some of the pressures of the modern debate by playing down propositional Scripture and simply putting the word Jesus or experience upstairs, we must face this question: What difference is there between doing this and doing what the secular world has done in its semantic mysticism, or what the radical theology has done?"

It is interesting to note that the new style of evangelical writing, exemplified by McLaren's quoted material yesterday, no longer capitalizes the pronouns refering back to the antecedent word Jesus. This is more than simple disrespect or the use of new grammar rules. It is indicative of the new mystical Jesus image, which replaces the biblical Jesus in emergent and neoevangelical writings. Dr. Schaeffer warned that this would happen:

"We have come then to this fearsome place where the word Jesus has become the enemy of the Person Jesus, and the enemy of what Jesus taught. We must fear this contentless banner of the word Jesus not because we do not love Jesus, but because we do love Him. We must fight this contentless banner, with its deep motivations. . . which is being used for the purpose of sociological form and control. . . ."

Schaeffer concluded with this remarkable observation:

"This accelerating trend makes me wonder whether when Jesus said that towards the end-time there will be other Jesuses, He meant something like this. We must never forget that the great enemy who is coming is the Antichrist, he is not the anti-non-Christ. He is the anti-Christ. Increasingly over the last few years the word Jesus, separated from the content of the Scriptures, has become the enemy of the Jesus of history, the Jesus who died and rose and who is coming again and who is the eternal Son of God. So let us take care. If evangelical Christians begin to slip into a dichotomy, to separate an encounter with Jesus from the content of the Scriptures (including the discussable and the verifiable portions of Scripture), we shall, without intending to, be throwing ourselves and the next generation into the millstream of the modern system. This system surrounds us as an almost monolithic consensus."

The Truth:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou has magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Emergent "Jesus Worldview"

Herescope has warned about a "biblical worldview" and a "Christian worldview" in previous posts because these terms are loaded with extra-biblical agendas and meanings, particularly dominionism. The other day we encountered the phrase "Jesus worldview" from none other than Brian McLaren of Emergent Church fame.

McLaren has recently written a new book with the Gnostic-sounding title The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything (W Publishing Group, 2006). In chapter 7 titled "The Demonstration of the Message," McLaren expounds upon his premise that Jesus communicated His message secretly through parables and signs and wonders. He states:

"The term we typically use for these phenomena is not signs and wonders but rather miracles. Yet too often these days, the word miracle unwittingly roots us in a worldview that is foreign to the world of Jesus. To understand how miracles worked as vehicles for Jesus' secret message, I think we're wiser to immerse ourselves in Jesus' worldview rather than drag him into ours.

"A worldview is a way of seeing. It's not just what we see, but how we see everything else. It's the lens through which we see -- a lens of assumptions, beliefs, images, metaphors, values, and ideas that we inherit and construct from our family, our teachers, our peers, our community, and our culture. As we go through life, many of us find it next to impossible even to want to question our inherited worldview, while others do exactly that: we rethink, we imagine other ways of seeing things, and we sometimes experience radical conversions out of one worldview and into another." (p. 51) [bold emphases added]

Like other worldview promoters, McLaren uses worldview as a mechanism to deconstruct the old Christianity and imagine a new version, which he claims is a "more nuanced and organic worldview" (p. 53) The deconstruction of the old worldview goes like this:

"Most of us in the modern West -- religious or irreligious -- have inherited a worldview that was formed largely in the seventeenth century. In this perspective, our world is best compared to a machine. God, if God exists, created the universe like a huge clock: the complex mechanism was designed and wound up in the beginning, was set in motion, and has been ticking away ever since, slowly winding down through a process called entropy. . . .

"In this worldview, miracles -- if they occur -- would involve interference from outside. God reaches in and fiddles with the gears of the clock, or God intervenes and pushes a billiard ball so its natural path is redirected. In this view, God is the outsider, natural causes create effects mechanistically and automatically unless God intervenes." (p. 52)

This particular discussion about machines and clocks would not mean much to lay evangelicals. But this actually has quite a bit to do with the history of the First Reformation -- a Reformation which not only challenged the existing status quo in Roman Catholicism, but also stood against the rising influence of Hermeticism and Gnosticism. Certain philosophers, scientists, mathemeticians and alchemists held to a hierarchical (occult) view of the universe, and particularly a conception of the universe as a vast machine. Great treatises on "systems" and "machines" were written by men during the past 500 years. According to the on-line Dictionary of the History of Ideas,

"The Cambridge Platonists notwithstanding, the 'new philosophers,' even when not under the spell of Cartesianism, were increasingly obliged to separate spirit from matter and finally to reduce God to the level of an impersonal First Cause. . . . Scientists like Newton did not ostracize God quite to the same extent. They hoped that somehow the study of the 'the Mechanism of the World' would lead them to 'the very first Cause' which -- Newton rather anxiously remarked -- 'certainly is not mechanical' . . . . In fact, however, not only did Newton reduce the Scale of Nature to a hierarchical system of particles within matter. . . but argued that the First Cause intervenes only when required to mend the clock-like machine of the universe. The implications of this argument did not escape Leibniz:

"Sir Isaac Newton, and his followers, have also a very odd opinion concerning the work of God. According to their doctrine, God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion. Nay, the machine of God's making is so imperfect, according to these gentlemen, that he is obliged to clean it now and then by an extraordinary concourse, and even to mend it, as a clockmaker mends his work (The Leibniz-Clark Correspondence, ed., H.G. Alexander [1956], pp. 11-12)."

It is interesting that McLaren refers to this clock-like machine universe without attributing it directly to its sources. The Western worldview that he is busy debunking is not necessarily some old, dysfunctional Christian worldview. Why would McLaren do this? The answer may lie in what McLaren says next. In describing this new "Jesus worldview," McLaren says:

"But Jesus lived long before clocks, billiard tables, or complex machines of any kind. His worldview, his model of the universe, was very different -- more organic, less mechanistic. In many ways it was simpler, but in many ways it was grander, more alive, freer, subtler, and more dynamic. God was neither absent and outside the universe nor trapped inside it. Rather, God was connected to the universe, present with it, and intimately involved in it. So the universe was less like a machine and more like a family, less like a mechanism and more like a community. The very word kingdom suggests as much: Kings are relationally involved in their kingdoms. They are present, active, participatory, and engaged. They aren't simply part of the kingdom -- one part among many -- but neither are they apart from it." (pp. 52-53)

OOPS! We just ran into a bunch of gobbledygook! God isn't a machine. And His universe isn't a machine. Well, okay. . . . (But what about Creator?) And then we must take a gigantic leap to the family, the community and then voila! -- the KINGDOM! An "organic," "relational," "community of the world" type kingdom where we all must "open up to signs and wonders." McLaren states:

". . . I have become convinced that Jesus' worldview is better than ours. . . . the universe isn't a machine at all, it's more like a family, a community, or a kingdom. . . .

". . . God, the good King, is present -- working from the inside. The King is in the kingdom, and the kingdom is among us here and now. . . The incursion of the kingdom of God has begun. . . (p. 60)

It seems fairly apparent that this entire chapter of McLaren's book is intended to set the stage for a new "worldview" of the "kingdom" -- which is precisely what other worldview proponents are also working on from their various vantage points. Mysticism is a handy way to do this.

The Truth:

"Worldview" advocates love to selectively quote from Dr. Francis Schaeffer. In fact, he is often attributed by dominionists and leftist writers as the father of "worldview," i.e., "dominionism." However, a careful reading of his complete works, tells a much different story. Dr. Schaeffer, in Escape From Reason (Inter-Varsity, 1968), described the dilemma of science in our postmodern era (what Schaeffer termed "modern modern"):

"Early science was natural science in that it dealt with natural things, but it was not naturalistic, for, though it held to the uniformity of natural causes, it did not conceive of God and man as caught in the machinery. The early modern scientists held the conviction, first that God gave knowledge to men in the Bible -- knowledge concerning Himself and also concerning the universe and history -- and, second, that God and man were not part of the machinery and could affect the working of the machine of cause and effect. There was cause and effect, but in an open system. God could work into the cause and effect system, and people are not total prisoners in the machine. So there was not an autonomous situation in the 'lower story.'

"Science thus developed, a science which dealt with the real, natural world but which had not yet become naturalistic. . . .

"The early scientists believed in the uniformity of natural causes. What they did not believe in was the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system. That little phrase makes all the difference in the world. It makes the difference between natural science and a science that is rooted in naturalistic philosophy. It makes all the difference between what I call modern science and what I would call modern modern science. It is important to notice that this is not a failing of science as science, but rather that the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system has become the dominant philosophy among scientists."

The rest of Schaeffer's discussion on this point is relevant and interesting, but too lengthy to include in this blog post. Dr. Schaeffer predicted the rise of something like the emergent church -- a postmodern, irrational, illogical, immoral, irreverant and existential neo-orthodoxy that uses spiritual words that give an illusion of religion.

"And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:60-62)

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Fiery agents of transformation"

The marketplace transformation movement is about to explode upon the face of the earth. Leading the way are the marketplace "apostles" who are talking about a NEW BREED -- a "new breed of marketplace prophetic evangelists."

From the Elijah List, 06/01/06 comes the latest missive: ""JOIN this LAST DAY'S ARMY and CHANGE the COURSE of HISTORY!" which is a book promo for Sean Smith's book Prophetic Evangelism. Once again, note how the rhetoric is heating up:

What if you could step into an exciting new dimension of world impact???

What if this dynamic influence was only a revelation away?

You have been God-ordained to be on a collision course with the destiny of the multitudes. You are going to launch into a fresh empowerment becoming fiery agents of transformation. The quest for real truth is on; summoning a new breed of marketplace prophetic evangelists to rise to the challenge. Prophetic Evangelism issues an invitation to reinstate prophecy to its rightful place in evangelism. This book reveals that God wants to speak through you directly into the conscience of unbelievers. It's time to break free from futility and frustrations to experience a release that will see Heaven freshly populated with souls that you've impacted. Get ready to see 21st Century evangelists fully restored to the original New Testament status. You hold the key to the outcome of your generation. [emphasis in bottom paragraph added]

In previous Herescope posts we have covered the topic of "New Breed" extensively. It is connected with the idea of Joel's Army -- an endtime army of latter day 'dread warriors' who will subdue the earth. Presumably these "fiery agents of transformation" are the Joel's Army warriors.

Note that these heretical concepts of a New Breed and Joel's Army are now being intertwined with the marketplace apostolic movement. The marketplace movement, as conceived by C. Peter Wagner, one of the leading "apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation, expands the concept of "church" (ekklesia) to include economic enterprise. The marketplace movement views its "change agent" role as pivotal to the global "transformation" of nations and peoples.

Perhaps this idea doesn't seem alarming to Christians in America, who have been trained to conduct business with their local Christian businessman. But "marketplace evangelism" is a planned global expansion of corporate profit-making interests, working hand-in-hand with church (mission) leaders and fragile (and vulnerable) national sovereignties. Because of our form of government in America, there are many safeguards ensuring that that people are not tyrannized by the excesses this collaborative structure. This collaboration is also known as the 3-legged stool, and it is being viewed as a useful tool to implement this virulent new dominionism. The potential for abuses to freedom, liberty, and to true Gospel evangelism are unlimited.

The Truth:

"Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood." (Psalm 94:20-21)

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Global Day of Prayer 2006 - Part 2

In just two days (June 4, 2006) millions will gather at selected locations throughout villages, towns and cities in countries worldwide for the Global Day of Prayer (GDOP). The stated mission of the organizers seems simple enough: To call Christians from all nations to unite in repentance and prayer, and to collaborate as God’s instruments for the blessing and healing of the nations.

In many respects the GDOP organizers are correct in what this event will ultimately accomplish but do we really understand what they intend to do. We question the Scriptural validity of their long term goals which are not clearly defined for the average Christian to comprehend. It is not what they say that gives concern but what they do not say that should cause us to have some serious questions about the direction of this global event.

There seem to be a number of goals that differ from the stated mission or maybe these have been part of the larger picture all along.

Bill Laye of the Calgary Sun wrote :

Breaking down barriers

The key aim of the Global Day of Prayer, now in its second year, is breaking down denominational barriers, said event co-director Rev. Murray Dodds.

“The biggest thing I’m seeing out of this is the unity of the church ... all different kinds of persuasions of people can all agree of the power of prayer,” said Dodds of the Institute for Global Affairs, an international prayer and worship ministry.

“Secondly, it changes the spiritual climate of where we live and how we operate when we take spiritual responsibility for our country by praying in a blessing of the Lord on us.” [emphases mine]

Here is another from the UK Evangelical Alliance GDOP:

Exciting London prayer event joins Londoners with millions of Christians across the Globe

Christian Churches and organisations (including the Evangelical Alliance, Holy Trinity, Brompton, Premier Radio, and Glory House) have today announced an exciting London Prayer Celebration that will enable Londoners to join with millions of Christians from across the globe as part of the 2006 ‘Global Day of Prayer’. The event takes place between 6.30 – 8.30 on 3 June 2006, at Westminster Chapel in central London.

Unity, Prayer and Transformation will be the key themes of the London celebration. The event aims to capture the Spirit of the Day of Pentecost where the Church was united in prayer and commission across cultural, racial and geographical borders. [emphases mine]

And another from the Atlanta Global Day of Prayer:


You are invited to join Christians from around the Atlanta area on June 4, Pentecost Sunday, on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol, Washington Street side from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm as part of the world’s largest prayer gathering: the Global Day of Prayer. We will join this global movement – which is transforming cities and nations – along with an estimated 200 million people in 175 nations praying with one voice on one day.

The Atlanta event will be based upon Psalm 24 and prayer will be structured around “gates” of the city. The event will be followed by 90 Days of Blessing in which we will reach into the heart of Atlanta and surrounding communities in tangible ways to demonstrate the love of Christ. [emphases mine]

This is from the USA GDOP site:

What is the Global Day of Prayer?

The Global Day of Prayer is a world-wide celebration centered around Pentecost Sunday. The mission of this celebration is to unite the global body of Christ, to seek God for revival, intercede on behalf of our world, and collaborate for the blessing and transformation of our cultures. It is preceded by ten days of prayer (Acts 1:14); celebrated in public venues on Pentecost (Acts 2:1) and followed by “90 Days of Blessing” on communities after Pentecost (Acts 2:42). [emphases mine]

What has been emphasized above are key terms that are found within the current teachings of the Latter Rain movement which is Dominionist theology. So the question then arises, what is the Global Day of Prayer really about?

Here are some excerpts from The Second Reformation: The Global Day of Prayer Part Two by Sarah Leslie:

The Global Day of Prayer appears to be a chief mechanism for launching a “Second Reformation” in Christianity. The GDOP provides a convenient vehicle to transition the church from the old order to a new global order. Rick Warren is quoted as saying at the Global Day of Prayer event, “The first Reformation was about belief; this one’s going to be about behavior.” ( [emphasis added] An official press release from Saddleback Church states that if “Christians mobilize to confront the five ‘global giants’ of spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and lack of education, it could spark a second Reformation.”

Latter Rain leadership has been openly promulgating the necessity for a Second Reformation for well over a decade now. It is sometimes referred to as the New Apostolic Reformation. C. Peter Wagner, Luis Bush, Ralph Neighbour, Ralph Winter, Bill Beckham, Mike Bickle, Lyle Schaller, Todd Bentley, Jim Goll, et al, have all written and spoken about a new reformation. The Latter Rain’s Second Reformation is characterized by a reversal of tenets of the First Reformation. It teaches that revelation can supercede the Word of God, that believers must come under apostolic leadership, and that works are necessary for the Kingdom.

The organizers of the GDOP are moving swiftly to implement their dominionist agenda on an unsuspecting Church that is unable or unwilling to discern the truth; like leading lambs to the slaughter.

For more information on the GDOP and its Latter Rain/Dominionist connections please read these previously posted Herescope articles:

George Otis, Transformation & Spiritual Mapping

Christian Imperialism: Update # 7 The Namibian "Dream"

Christian Imperialism: Update #8 African Formation

Spiritual WAR - fare

Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!...

Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar: (Ezekiel 13: 3, 10)