The Indigenous Peoples Movement
The Doctrines of Dominionism: Part 7
The other day we received the following letter from a friend working for a private contractor in Iraq. Here is his experience:
I just came back from a military Bible Study with an Assemblies of God chaplain. Unfortunately my experience with Bible Study was not as good as that in the church service. We were studying in Romans Chapter 2. When it came to Romans 2:16 through the end of the chapter, the chaplain told us that this proved that if you were an aborigine and never hear of Jesus you could still be saved if you had a good heart. At this point I stopped him and asked if that meant that he need not believe on Jesus to be saved. He said that was right. What was worse there were many that agreed with him. I reminded them that man was not that good: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And “There is none righteous, no not one.” I told them that no one was good enough to go to heaven on their own. I was told this did not matter because Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world and not just some. I said I agreed with that, but there is still only one name given under heaven whereby we must be saved. To this I was labeled as judgmental, factious, and divisive. The Chaplain then came right out and asked if I believed that if a person had never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and was a good person if God would be so unmerciful as to send them to hell. I told him they were going to hell even if they were the nicest person on earth. I went on to say that we obviously have a responsibility to take the good news to the lost. Here the chaplain stopped me and I was told not to pursue it anymore. When in the end we all were allowed to say what we got out of the passage, I read to them from John 3:16-19:
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:16-19 KJV)
I told them that it really is about the heart and our relationship to Jesus Christ; and if you do not have that relationship you are not going to heaven, end of story. I then told the Chaplain that I hope that someday he gets saved. He obviously believes in the goodness of man more than the total depravity of man.
What is happening here? This type of teaching is becoming more and more common in the evangelical world. Sadly, it is affecting our friend's ability to witness in Iraq. According to Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer in their new book, Idolatry in Their Hearts,
"A new missiology is being promoted in mission work and it is spreading quickly. It is called 'redeeming the cultures,' 'cultural identification,' 'first nations' and a number of other terms. The new idea being presented is that God has left certain elements in every culture that are redeemable qualities, pathways to Himself. Some take the position that He revealed Himself to nearly all indigenous people groups prior to the Gospel being brought to them. They believe that in every culture God has left treasures and worthy traditions within the indigenous cultures to be used. They teach that we can bring Jesus Christ to the people and then leave them to worship God in their own cultural and religious ways. . . (p. 17)
"The assumption is that God formed ALL the nations, cultures (specifically) and purposefully put things in their culture that are equal to what He did with Israel." (p. 257)
"What they are looking for are 'new approaches' to 'build bridges' to indigenous/religious people groups and cultures. What is taught is that God set forth His plan of salvation through all ancient cultures and that 'redemptive analogies' can be found in most, if not all cultures" (p. 17-18)
In other words, the new heresies teach that man can come to Christ without the Gospel of Salvation but by some other avenue inherent in their culture and religion. And they don't need Jesus to be saved, but can call upon their own local deity. And once they get "saved," they can "redeem" the pagan religious practices in their culture and make it part of their new faith. They never need to separate from their old ways. In fact, they are encouraged to bring back the old pagan ways!
According to Idolatry in Their Hearts, the Indigenous Peoples Movement (IPM) and its corresponding "The World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People (WCGIP) is a front for the Third Wave." The gurus heading up this effort include Richard Twiss, Leon Siu, Terry LeBlanc, Charles Kraft (Fuller Theological Seminary), John Dawson, George Otis, Daniel Kikawa, Don Richardson, Ed Silvoso and many others -- all of whom are connected with C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) in one way or another. There are several false ideas connected with these heresies, one of which is Dominionism:
". . . Dominionism. . . [is] often espoused by YWAM and these men. It teaches that we must Christianize the whole world before Christ comes. It is important to understand the use of the term 'world evangelization.' Though it sounds like the word 'evangelism' it bears little resemblance to preaching the Gospel to all nations. It is really talking about Christianizing and 'redeeming cultures' and preparing the world for Christ to return because allegedly He won't come back until this Christianizing work is done." (p. 48)
Another one of the false teachings in this movement is "that indigenous peoples had 'gifts and callings and anointings' before the Gospel had even been preached to them." (p. 49) This, of course, utterly discounts the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, and it permits the retention of occult practices.
The leaders of the Indigenous Peoples Movement also "teach that God can be worshipped using cultural methods heretofore used to worship other Gods." (p. 65) In a shocking videotape of a premier Gathering of the Nations conference, held in Whistler, British Columbia in 1995, there were vivid examples of pagan religious practices that were being revived in the name of redeeming the culture. The participants were told that these formerly evil activities, which by all appearances were lascivious and idolatrous, could be "redeemed." Al Dager, in his book The World Christian Movement (Sword, 2001) described a few of the lengthy proceedings:
"A team from New Zealand. . . led much of the worship using log drums, an Australian didgeridoo, and conch shells. They taught the people how to do a 'haka' -- a dance-mime used by Maori warriors to build up their courage.
"During one Hawaiian warfare chant a leader stripped off his shirt and beat his chest as a show of strength against the demonic powers." (p. 124)
Dager summed up the Whistler event as "a hyper-charismatic display of unbridled emotion, ecumenism and unbiblical teaching, passing itself off as spiritual warfare." (p. 125)
Simpson and Oppenheimer document this practice extensively in the Pacific Island culture. For example, there is a attempt to revive hula dancing in churches, a practice which had been previously rejected, because "it caused men to lust and was a dance dedicated to their former gods" (p. 69) They wrote,
"Hula is a spiritual dance dedicated for centuries to false gods. To take that dance and make it a large apt of the Hawaiian Christian experience is to deny the dreadful and shameful use of hula in the past. Why not uplift other cultural activities not tied to worship of the demonic? Isn't the idea to make a clean break from our past when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?" (p. 70)
In Idolatry in Their Hearts, Simpson and Oppenheimer address this heresy head-on:
"Let's address the two false assumptions above, namely that (1) God is in the business of redeeming cultures and (2) that God placed in cultures a way of redemption apart from the Gospel. "First the only 'culture' that will be redeemed will be that of God's chosen people, the Jews (Ps. 130:8), during the Tribulation (Zech. 13:1). But this will be because the Jews (Rev. 7:3-4; Rev. 14:3) will come to understand and believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (John 3:3). Other than this example there is nowhere in the Bible where it talks about God redeeming cultures. Rev. 7:9 speaks of nations, tribes, peoples and languages standing before the throne of God, but not 'cultures.' This verse is talking about individuals who have believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord from all the nations of the earth. Cultures are the traditions of men (Mark 7:8-9, 13; Col. 2:8), not God-created as many of the IPM people claim. God is in the business of redeeming individuals from sin (1 Pet. 1:18-23; Gal. 3:14), not cultures.
"The idea of the redemption or 'transformation' of whole cities, societies and cultures is actually a Dominionist idea from the Latter Rain and NAR. This has no basis in Scripture whatsoever. Each man must believe for himself (Acts. 16:31; Rom. 10:9) upon conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9). Notice that though the Holy Spirit is sent into the world to convict of sin, He is convicting men who do not believe in Jesus Christ -- not whole cultures.
"Second, there is no way for men to come to believe in Jesus Christ without having heard the Gospel (Eph. 1:13). You cannot hear the Gospel without it being preached to you (Rom. 10:14-15). The Gentiles had no knowledge of the Gospel message until that mystery was revealed to them by way of the apostles and missionaries (Eph. 2:12)." (pp. 59-60)
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God thy faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" (Philippians 3:7-10)