Part 4: The Next Great Awakening. . . Or Great Deadening?
The prophets are declaring that a 3rd Great Awakening has begun. There is a shift in the air ..... a GLORY SHIFT!
A significant change came in 1974 when the evangelical movement, led by Billy Graham, held the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. At that point, evangelicals began reconsidering the place of the cultural mandate alongside the evangelistic mandate within the total mission of the church. This was a very important shift for those of us who now advocate social transformation. It turned out to be only a partial shift, however, in that the Lausanne Covenant insisted on subordinating the cultural mandate to the evangelistic mandate. Still, we evangelicals then began to have social responsibility on our radar screens, even though it wasn’t front and center.
- C. Peter Wagner, "Let's Take Dominion Now!"
The idea of concocting a Third Great Awakening is not a new one. The early neoevangelical leaders, seeking to escape the stigma of old-fashioned biblical fundamentalism, took on the task of creating a broader, more appealing faith. By the 1970s there was a genuine revival going on in America, part manufactured, but part real, and many people were actually repenting of their sins and living transformed lives. The neoevangelical leaders met together and addressed the problem - yes, problem - that this created. They needed to shift people's worldview, change their theology, and move them over onto a new track - a reinvigorated, reinvented social gospel.
Five years ago when this blog first began to report on the rising tide of heresies, we wrote about two significant conferences attended by a very broad spectrum of evangelical leaders that were called "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns." These consultations were seeking to develop an alternative eschatological framework, and to assist them in this effort they employed Willis Harman, a leading Theosophist. Furthermore, these leaders had been profoundly affected by the controversial Club of Rome report that anticipated dire conditions on earth.
In addressing the church of the future, in Evangelicals Face the Future, the first Consultation report, the leaders proposed a shift in worldview, one where evangelicals "will actively seek to transform values" in the culture (p. 11). As evidenced by the quotation at the top of this post by C. Peter Wagner, this was part of the agenda of the Lausanne Congress in 1974. Below we will list snippets from the first "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" in 1977 that are indicative of this shift to the cultural mandate. Many of the speakers quoted below went on to become influential evangelical leaders in the ensuing decades.
NOTE: Even though these leaders did not yet use the terms "mountains" or "spheres" to describe the cultural centers of society to be taken over by the church, they are easily recognizable. As these men envisioned a new awakening in the church, they were defining it in terms of a social mission to change culture.
- "Evangelicals in the 1980s will seriously endeavor to penetrate the power centers of society so as to effectively challenge and expose the secular and humanistic sources of values operative in the media, advertising, lifestyles, public education, and government." - Warren Webster, p. 11
- "7. Increasingly encourage the laity and equip them for ministry where they work, helping them to recognize and accept the market place of their vocation as the frontlines of the faith in which to serve Christ (i.e. education, politics, medicine, jurisprudence, etc.). 8. Encourage the development of godly talent and its infusion into the media, arts and education." - B. Clayton Bell, p. 15
- "We will seek to bring together an evangelical 'think tank', a group of scholars and implementers from all major disciplines in order to develop both a theology of Christ's Lordship over every area of life and also concrete strategies and policy options for applying that theology." - Ron Sider, p. 19
Leighton Ford specifically addressed the topic of a Third Great Awakening in his talk to the Consultation which was titled "Images of the Future: An Evangelical Perspective." He said:
- "Socially concerned evangelicals are calling for the recovery of prophetic social challenge as an evangelical priority.... Are we watching real awakening?" (p. 32)
- "A study of the classical evangelical tradition shows that leaders in all millennial camps [during the 18th century] were working together to expand the rule of Christ on earth to the widest possible circle among the nations before his bodily return.... [T]heir labors to expand Christ's kingdom brought in revival and social reform.... It seems to me that one of our most urgent tasks is to think through a biblical approach to the future in which evangelicals of all millennial persuasions can close ranks today." (p. 35-36)
- "[A] third image of our future... [is] a vision of completing the Reformation and reviving of all the fragments of the Body of Christ.... Certainly this is a vision which will be fully realized only when our Lord returns finally to rule in power. But is it not also a vision which should spur us to faithful, expectant labor now? Should we not anticipate the first fruits of the eternal kingdom to appear however imperfectly in our personal lives, in the body of Christ, and in society? Is Christ not now Lord? Has he not already received all authority? And should we not expect Him to win victories, however incomplete, even now in this present evil age?... [W]e must always be ready to extend His rule still further within history...." (p. 37)
- "We seem to be in the opening stages of what could be another great religious awakening.... Could we see evangelicals becoming cobelligerants with other Christians against social injustice?... Could we see evangelicals challenging critical issues like those of homosexuality and the teaching of values in education, engaging in 'power encounters' as Elijah confronted the false prophets, so that these encounters become evangelistic moments...?" (p. 38-39)
- "Could we see a future in which cultural depravity is no longer tolerated as an inevitable feature of modern life, with evangelicals taking up the weapons of prayer against pornography and the sexual revolution, drugs, and crime, and emerging from prayer to form voluntary citizens' organizations to fight these products of cultural decay?... Could we see believers at the grass-roots level of the local church being taught that Jesus Christ is Lord both of our personal and family lives, and across the whole spectrum of human affairs... [L]eaders meeting... and covenanting together to act and teach.... [R]ecognizing that a call from God to civic involvement may be as holy a calling as that of being a missionary?" (p. 40)
- "And may He stir us to act, believing as Abraham Kuyper once said, that there is not a 'thumb-breadth of the universe" about which Christ does not say, 'It is mine!'" (p. 41)
Gordon MacDonald called for rethinking theology:
- "[W]e must think new thoughts about the eternal gospel. I don't want to get in trouble in suggesting that we change the gospel, but that we ask ourselves; How can the old, old story be told in new, new ways to face the new, new realities?" (p. 86)
- "[W]e need a theology that is aware of the structures that humanity uses and which to some extent it seems to me are part of the common work of God in the world. I don't think the average Christian and Christian leader understands the nature and structure of government and business and education and the arts and how to proliferate them.... We need more Daniels who are in the structures of society today, but I don't think our theology adequately understands structures." (p. 87)
Martin Marty, commented near the conclusion of his talk that "I worry lest some of the Protestant scripts actually ask for a new, subtle theocracy" (p. 120). And Carl Henry was permitted to write a "Response to Conference Findings" in which he expressed dismay about its ecumenical nature, pointing to the "lack of an identifiable theological criterion for participation in the Consultation." He also raised many pertinent questions, including "How much pragmatism can evangelical Christianity accommodate without jeopardizing its own evangelical ingredient?" (p. 164)
"The Elijah Revolution"
Fast-forward three decades and see how far the plan to transform society by the church taking over cultural institutions has progressed. Johnny Enlow, associated with Lance Wallnau, in his book The Seven Mountain Prophecy: Unveiling the Coming Elijah Revolution, presents a radical new cultural mandate for the church that makes mincemeat of orthodox biblical theology. He proposes an actual revolution (p. 19), and redefines the Greek work apokatastasis ("restitution" in the KJV) in Acts 3:21 as "restoration of a true theocracy" (p. 23). He asserts that "Jesus is retained in heaven until Elijah's Revolution" which "clearly entails the crushing of Satan here on Earth before He returns for His bride" (p. 23).
Worse, he teaches a heresy that "The Lamb was slain, making the ultimate sacrifice, to enable us to disciple, or instruct, the nations in these seven foundations of culture so that we would in turn deliver them to Him,..." And he says that the "harlot" church on 7 mountains in Revelations is a "demonic entity" "under a demonic assignment" that must be "displaced" by the "seven pillars of society" ( p. 9), meaning the 7 mountains that he is working on building! He invents a story that God has told Jesus, "You will remain up here as the Head, and Your body on Earth will crush your enemies. The last generation will be the 'foot' generation and will rule on Earth over Your enemies... until she has accomplished this crushing of Satan" (p. 23-24).
This revolution is not a pretty picture as Enlow describes it, and it is apparent that those who resist (those who are defined to be of a "Baal" or "Jezebel" spirit) are slated for destruction. Reaching far into some inventive heresies, Enlow asserts that
"Elijah will first come and raise up that which will destroy the spirit of Baal and the spirit of Jezebel here on Earth. We are going to take on the false prophet and the beast, and we're going to annihilate both of them. When they are crushed, we will... present the nations of the world to the Lord as His possessions. They will be the dowry that the Father is providing for us to present to the Bridegroom. Lovesick for His bride, Jesus will no longer be able to restrain Himself and will burst through the clouds to come sweep us off our feet." (p. 24)
This man's false teaching is indicative of the extremes of the New Apostolic Reformation, what we have referred to as "Dominionism Dark." But the more respectable Leadership Network is also teaching the 7 mountains "domains of culture" mandate, particularly through the recent vehicle of Eric Swanson's and Sam Williams' new book To Transform A City (Zondervan, 2010). Theirs is more indicative of "Dominionism Lite," until one starts asking just how they intend to transform culture and build a Christian Society.
Like other Dominionists in the evangelical camp, Swanson and Williams rely heavily on Ralph Winter's reinvented notion of the Old Testament Abrahamic Covenant
, which he merged with the Great Commission, to come up with the idea that "God created a people to partner with him in his redemptive mission in the world" (p. 12), a mission that sublimates the Gospel of Salvation with the agenda for societal transformation.
To define "community transformation," the authors rely on Bob Moffitt (founder and president of Harvest Foundation), who brings in the Genesis 1-2 heresy, widely taught by Dominionists of all stripes, that claims that man must restore what was lost at the Fall:
"I define biblical transformation as the process of restoration to God's intentions of all that was broken when humanity rebelled against God at the Fall. it is not the same as spiritual conversion, though it begins there. It is God's work. He calls his people to participate with him in it. This ongoing process will not be fully completed until Christ returns." (p. 43)
The authors hearken back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as "a shining example" of the type of societal transformation they are talking about. However, they corrupt his original message and intent with their definition of "real community transformation" which they say "occurs when the 'dream
' of those who follow Christ are translated into values and laws that reflect the kingdom of God," which they define as "new values and new behavior... adopted by greater society for the greater collective good" (p. 45). As is the case with all Dominionists, they shift from personal spiritual transformation (based on Romans 12:1-2) to "Community Transformation":
"What if that same understanding of my personal transformation in Christ were applied to the idea of community transformation? Might cities be transformed in the same way that you and I are changed?" (p. 47)
Their example of community transformation? Yeast! Leaven! Which they say is like "externally focused churches that engage their communities with good works...." (p. 47)
"Similar to the way that the presence of Christ in our life begins the personal transformation process, so too an externally focused church that is present and involved in a community begins the process of changing that community. And just as it takes the thorough penetration of the yeast to transform flour, water, and sugar into bread, it takes the church penetrating every domain of the community to transform the community." (p. 47)
To be continued....
"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it." (Deuteronomy 30:11-12)
3. Evangelicals Face the Future: Scenarios, Addresses, and Responses from the "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" held in Atlanta, Georgia, December 14-17, 1977, Edited by Donald Hoke (William Carey Library, 1978). An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and Beyond: Addresses, and Responses from the "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" held in Overland Park, Kansas, December 11-14, 1979 (William Carey Library, 1979). The Discernment Research Group first broke this story in September 2005 in a series of posts that ran into October 2005. One can look through the posts to read more details about these consultations. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_archive.html and http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005_10_01_archive.html
4. An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and Beyond, Willis Harman, “A Utopian Perspective on the Future, ”pp. 27-37. For more information on this point, see our article "Quantum Eschatology" posted at http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/009/discernment/8-emerging-7.htm
6. There are two vivid illustrations of the seven "domains of culture" on pages 10-11 of this book, in the Foreword by Reggie McNeal, the second of which depicts the church taking over them. Leadership Network and its head, Bob Buford, are listed in the Acknowledgements on page 13.