Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rethinking Culture

"These culture pioneers know what is center-stage in our culture right now and also what is breaking on the horizon," says Rethink Conference executive director Bill Dallas. "This conference will confront outdated and pre-conceived ideas, offer new perspectives and open our minds to all kinds of possibilities that connect us with out [sic] shifting culture without compromising our core values."
--"What is Robert Schuller 'rethinking'?" WorldNetDaily, 10/30/07 [emphasis added].

On October 4th we posted an analysis of Robert Schuller's upcoming Rethink Conference, planned for this January 17-19th at the Crystal Cathedral. We linked to a report on the conference written by Berit Kjos and we cited some pertinent comments from ex-New Ager Warren Smith.

We want to call our readers' attention to today's headline story on WorldNetDaily, "What is Robert Schuller 'rethinking'? Crystal Cathedral conference accused of twisting biblical Christianity," and Warren Smith's accompanying article, "Rethinking Robert Schuller." And just in case this link is pulled, note the webpage where Robert Schuller is selling New Age Gerald Jampolsky's book Forgiveness, which is forewarded by Neale Donald Walsch who has written prolifically about his "conversations" with his New Age "God."

This Rethink Conference is, according to these articles, a key convergence of New Age and emerging neo-Christianity. It is this, and more. The hype for the conference states that:

Cultural Icons - Get inside their minds
For three days, you'll be immersed in the latest thoughts of respected icons in media, politics, faith, science, business and technology. Utilizing the latest media technology, each speaker will reveal their perspectives, discoveries, strategies and action plans in 20 riveting minutes. Challenged to deliver an information packed presentation, the speakers will weigh in on everything from life-changing world issues to surprising cultural trends to Christian outreach to secrets of success to the dynamics of relationships.

The conference promo urges: "take it from the top: rethink: new perspectives from global influencers." Anticipating a reaction from those who are concerned about the eclectic mix of "Cultural Icons" leading this conference, a webpage devoted to answering questions about the conference explains:

Why are non-Christian speakers being featured at a Christian-oriented conference?

Rethink is a convergence of thinkers, innovators and leaders from the Christian and global arenas. We’re purposely gathered a group of speakers you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear at a Christian conference. Our aim is to be immersed in the latest thoughts and perspectives of these respected cultural icons to tap into what’s happening in our world today and to grapple with how we respond.

I'm a pastor of a theologically- conservative church. Will I fe
el comfortable at the conference?

The Rethink conference aims to cut across denominational and cultural lines. Consider the line-up of speakers. The focus of the conference is to hear speakers at the forefront of culture.

Note the spheres of influence of each of these "Cultural Icons" -- media, politics, faith, science, business, technology. This is nothing but a version of the neo-Kuyperian "spheres" -- or what C. Peter Wagner refers to now as the "mountains" of society. In fact, there is a graphic image of the "spheres" in orange to the left of the "rethink. . . " statements here.

C. Peter Wagner, one of Rick Warren's mentors, and head of what he calls "The New Apostolic Reformation" in evangelicaldom, is now focusing the majority of his attentions these days on building the kingdom of God on earth via these "mountains." His letter of August 27, 2007 contains a graphic depiction (at the bottom) of these "7 molders of culture (religion, family, education, media, arts & entertainment, government, and business)." In this diagram, Wagner's apostolic "7-M Coalition" is arranged in a hierarchy presiding over the 7 spheres ("the 7 mountains = the 7 basic molders of culture").

Knowing that this "Cultural Mandate" is an agenda of the "Rethink Conference" sponsored by Robert Schuller, the questions raised by Warren Smith and WorldNetDaily today are even more pertinent. The New Age leaders have their own plan for building a kingdom, and they have their own "God" and their own "Christ." These New Theosophists have been working on "rethinking" for decades, especially since Marilyn Ferguson issued their basic thesis that "A new world, as the mystics have always said, is a new mind." (The Aquarian Conspiracy [J.P. Tarcher, 1980], p. 36 [emphasis added])

In chapter 1 of her landmark book launching the New Age movement publicly, Ferguson included an interesting subheading entitled "Seeing the Emergent Culture" which claimed, "We will construct bridges between the old and new worlds." (p. 42) Describing this process, she explains how various projects and people will "serve as illustrations" as "bits of a great mosaic, an overwhelming new direction of human effort and the human spirit at this point in history." And she cautions that rethinking may have some negative consequences:

"These new paradigms ["rethinking," ed.] will raise some questions many may have preferred to leave unasked. Readers may confront certain crucial issues in their own lives. New perspectives have a way of altering old beliefs and values; they may penetrate denials and defenses of long standing. The ramifications of even a small personal revolution can seem more alarming to us than great impending cultural change." (p. 41) [all emphasis added]

Ferguson's underlying thesis was, "The proven plasticity of the human brain and human awareness offers the possibility that individual evolution may leave to collective evolution" (p. 70). And her Brain/Mind Bulletin, begun in 1975 and revisited in her PragMagic (Pocket Books, 1990), details mystical techniques to alter the brain. This was to equip people for the transformation of consciousness ("rethinking") to bring about the New Aquarian Age on earth -- an age of peace. So, to these New Age leaders, cultural change was always the intended consequence of putting people through processes of "rethinking."

It will be interesting, therefore, to see just how far things could go with this "rethinking" agenda headed up by "Cultural Icons" and focusing on the various "spheres" of influence in society. And it is significant that there are "Rethink Tanks" (TM) for the psycho-social processing of participants "rethinking."

Where is all of this heading? Why must people learn to "rethink" in order to address "life-changing world issues and "cultural trends"? Just examine one key "sphere" due to undergo this cultural transformation, which is "business" -- i.e., the "workplace" or "marketplace." Os Hillman, who is connected to C. Peter Wagner, has his own conference scheduled for January 24-26, 2008, just one week after the Rethink Conference, which is called "The Reclaiming the 7 Mountains" conference, featuring the latest leader on the scene, Lance Wallnau. The promo contains the story that has now become legendary (but is factually questionable) that:

Three decades ago, two generals in the faith, Loren Cunningham, of Youth With A Mission, and Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade For Christ, were given a simultaneous supernatural message for each other. They both saw 7 strategic mountains, or "mind molders", that shape the culture of every nation. God told each of them to inform the other that if they could capture these strategic places, they would reap the harvest of nations. . . .

Have you noticed a pattern yet — 7 mountains, 7 parts of land, and 7 enemies that needed to be displaced? [emphasis added]

In an ominous indication of what this cultural mandate really means, Os Hillman wrote in his October 22, 2007 newsletter, "Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture Next Focus of Faith at Work Movement" that:

The Bible tells us that in the last days there will be sheep and goat nations. Sheep nations represent those who follow Christ; goat nations represent those who follow other gods. "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats" (Matt 25:32). Whoever controls the seven mountains in a nation will determine whether that nation will be a sheep or goat nation.

Of course, the criteria by which an entire nation is determined to be a "sheep" or "goat" nation has yet to be defined. Perhaps that is why everyone needs to "rethink" things. Warren Smith writes in his article posted today that

"in his latest book, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow: Living God's Dream for Your Life," Schuller eagerly writes about the virtue of compromise. In this book, that bears New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky's endorsement on the back cover, Schuller states, "We need to learn the healing quality of wise compromise." He further states, "Perhaps the only way to deal with contradictions is to combine them creatively and produce something new. That's ingenious compromise." Whether Schuller knows it or not, he just presented the recipe for a New World Religion."

Just how far will the evangelical church go in its "compromises" with this "rethink" agenda? Just how far will its leaders go to build bridges, coalition and partner with the New Age leaders who also want to build a kingdom on earth for peace?

The Truth:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)