Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Restoring the Gospel of Salvation

Does not the salvation of sinners trump national restoration?

An Editorial by Rev. Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

There is a new virus going around. Its called Christian political war gaming. Once the virus strikes it becomes a near obsession. I know a number of people who don’t get enough sleep because they are at their computers doing political war games. Once they lived healthy Christian lives. Their passion was the Gospel of saving individual sinners. Now they rarely have the time or energy for their former passion. Their affections have been alienated. They need a Gospel intervention.

Former websites that defended the Gospel of salvation now are mostly devoted to restoring an illusive American past and proving our present president is a stealth Muslim attempting to make America a Muslim caliphate. Joseph Farah, World Net Daily Christian conspiracy expert, is sure Obama has specific plans for Christian concentration camps.

Even if all this is true, why should this divert us from our mandate of preaching the Gospel to every creature? Why should we be attempting to infiltrate and dominate every political entity before the time of God's vengeance?

Paul wasn't worried about imperial palace intrigue in Rome. Obama is just being a politician from the Left. Like all politicians before him he has an agenda. We do not have to accept these principles and we can vote our conscience and financially support the campaigns of our choice. In the current political stalemate this could qualify me as a liberal. Well! I didn’t vote for Obama and I didn’t vote for McCain. I was comfortable with making a write-in choice, one I know my every reader would support. I don't like Obama's stance on many things personally, and I deeply resent his reference to two fathers on fathers day. But neither did I appreciate "born-again" President Bush's statement to Muslim leaders that we both pray to the same God.

Nevertheless, Romans 13 states with clarity that God puts up rulers of His choice for His purposes. I may not agree with God's choice and can't always see His purpose, but I am commanded to pray for the rulers our Sovereign God raises up.

Is it for Christian evangelists to suffer near frenetic emotional exhaustion in the political war games arcade? Is the eternal purpose of God hanging on such a thin thread? Is the biblical Jehovah really such a wimp deity, and a weak onlooker to the affairs of men, hoping Christians will overcome politically and take back dominion our God supposedly lost in the Garden of Eden and a establish the kingdom of God in the earth?

America survived Clinton, Hoover, and a corrupt Ulysses Grant, and it will continue to survive if it is God’s will. My God is a sovereign who could overcome Egyptian Pharaohs (after Israel was in bondage for 430 years) and could even raise up Cyrus, a pagan ruler, to accommodate Israel’s return to Jerusalem. Paul never ever looked to Rome except to use his Roman citizenship for the furtherance of the Gospel.

How must we look to the persecuted church? Are we by example suggesting they become political terrorists for the Kingdom of God and unnecessary martyrs? Janet Porter, in her June 8, 2010 WorldNetDaily column, suggested that some of us were like the pious Germans who held high their hymnbooks so they wouldn’t see the cattle cars on their way to exterminate Jews. (A classic false dichotomy.) What could they have done? Lay themselves on the tracks? The German Christians were culpable, not because of their hymn singing but because they made common cause with the goals and destiny of the Third Reich, as did the Vatican in Rome.

Jesus, whom we say is our example, shunned (not a strong enough word) political pursuits in the name of the Kingdom of God. Recall the story of when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter rushed to action and struck off the soldiers ear. Jesus was so perturbed that He instantly restored it and said to Peter "put your sword in its sheath" (John 18:11).

The Jerusalem that Jesus entered was a political hotbed. The people were involved in every possible action to drive out the pagan Romans from the holy city. When Jesus entered on Palm Sunday He purposefully fulfilled an Old Testament prophesy of the coming messiah by riding into the city on a young donkey. "Hosanna in the Highest" the crowd cried. Hosanna means “save us now." They treated Him as political messiah who would use his supernatural powers to drive out the Romans and RESTORE JERUSALEM. Did they look for a suffering savior who would bear the sins of the people? Hardly! By the time Jesus went to the cross they were all long gone.

Even the Romans saw Jesus as political threat. The quisling Jewish leaders, in collaboration with the Romans, were afraid of a political uprising. But the Messiah came for the redemption of sinners, not a political restoration of the Jewish State. It is safe to say the reason Jesus died nearly alone is because it was not "His Hour" to Judge the nations. It was only "His hour" to go to the cross. Why did He die nearly alone?

The Jews, and even His disciples, expected Jesus "to save now, hosanna." The Dominionists today are crying "hosanna now." They claim we can restore what Jesus failed to do in His first advent. But the resurrected Jesus had to tell His disciples that it was not for them to know the times and the season that the Father has fixed, by His own authority," to restore the Kingdom to Israel.

On the cross Jesus could have called 10,000 angels for His rescue. But this would have totally contravened the plan of redemption from sin decreed by God (not "decreed" by a fake apostle!) from the foundation of the world. Redemption from sin remains to this day the focus of the kingdom of God. Jerusalem was filled with zealots (we would call them undercover militia). They were called the sicarii (Latin for dagger), for they hid daggers in their robes to assassinate Romans and collaborators. Even the Essene community at the Dead Sea was calling for a final battle between the Sons of God (Israel) and the Sons of Darkness.

Into this political milieu Jesus never uttered a solitary political word. He made it plain that “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). He, however, looked forward to when the Son of Man would RETURN and when He then would judge the nations. But until that great and awesome Day of the Lord, when the Savior would return on the clouds of glory, He was not striving for an earthly kingdom. He was content with establishing a church, His body upon the earth. Many in His day were offended by Him because He apparently had not political ambitions. Judas is speculated to be among them. Jesus asserted with force that His day to rule the nations awaited His second return, when He would judge the nations like a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats.

C. Peter Wagner, chief apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), made a tactical decision to see Dominionism as temporarily consistent with democracy. I have not been able to locate when and where Wagner made such an "apostolic decree." But, indeed, the Kingdom of God cannot ultimately be a democracy. For Wagner and any other Dominionist, the democratic process can only be a way station on the road to their "kingdom of God on the earth," which is prior to the real Parousia.

Wagner's tactical decision (as opposed to strategic decision) was a major change. It opened the way for the false apostles and prophets to enter the political arena. So now "apostle" Lou Engle is free to lay apostolic hands of blessing on 3-time divorcee Newt Gingrich. Now the NAR apostles and prophets, thanks to Janet Porter and WorldNetDaily, can take their equal places in politics. Now they have the blessing of James Dobson, who endorsed Janet Porter’s May Day event at the Lincoln Memorial. Now Cindy Jacobs, prophetess extraordinaire, who had a visit of the Seraphim in her room that caught it on fire, can share the stage with Newt Gingrich. Now Rick Joyner, who has his own political action organization which he calls the Oak Initiative -- and who reportedly made a trip to heaven and heard Martin Luther repent of the Reformation -- can rub shoulders with James Dobson.

So now these self-anointed, self-appointed apostles of the NAR, laden down with false signs and wonders, false apostolic decrees, and false prophets -- who compete with each other in imaginary "can you top this" fraudulent oracles supposed to be from God -- have been given the kiss of acceptance by Christian Right politicians, including James Dobson. The apostles and prophets see this as a match made in heaven, a giant step toward appointing apostles as governors of every state and province in the world, complete with in-house prophetic seers to make supernatural decisions.

But I for one see it as blip in church history (like the Montanists of the 1st century), a match made in the pit of political desire for power before our King returns in His glory.

For background information and documentation on today's editorial post, see the April, May and June posts on Herescope, and also http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain21.htm

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seven Mountains


"In the mid 90s the idea of societal transformation and social entrepreneurship began to emerge when Bob Buford, author of Halftime began to voice the need for social impact through one’s workplace call. Other groups like Pinnacle Forum, a ministry to key influencers and our own ministry, Marketplace Leaders and International Coalition of Workplace Ministries (ICWM) was birthed.

"As we entered the new millennium Christian
leaders like Billy Graham, Ed Silvoso, Henry Blackaby, and Peter Wagner became powerful voices to validate God’s move in the workplace....

"Today, a new trend is emerging in the
faith at work movement.... the idea that the culture is shaped by seven mind-molders, or mountains, in society. They include business, government, media, arts and entertainment, family, religion and education. If we, as workplace believers, can influence each of these areas for Christ, we will win the culture of our nation.
"Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture," Os Hillman[1]

This blog has recently been the focus of controversy[2] for publishing a series of articles about a May Day event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in which prayers invoking the Seven Mountains were recited.[3] Our articles expressed concern that this radical mandate for Dominionism, and the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) which birthed it, were becoming part of the political Right and evangelical mainstream.

We are now convinced that the 7 Mountains theme is about to go viral. The 7 mountains mandate is already becoming a unifying rally point among evangelicals from many diverse theological camps and from some very unexpected quarters. The May Day event served as a launching platform to give credibility to this agenda and to exalt key New Apostolic Reformation leaders promoting Dominionism. In the crisis to "restore America," Christian Right leaders have already shown that they aren't too finicky about theology, nor picky about their political bedfellows.

How far can this go? Is the 7 Mountains strategy about to become a political slogan for the Christian Right? The list of partners who have already aligned themselves with this agenda is far-reaching. Below is but a brief list, just barely scratching the surface, of who's who associated with the 7 mountains theology and its mandate to take dominion over the "spheres" ("mountains") of the culture, the country, and the world. Follow the footnotes to see the extensive lists of bedfellows:

  • C. Peter Wagner, Let's Take Dominion Now!"[4]
  • Restore America Conference 2008[5]
  • Os Hillman, Reclaim 7 Mountains Conferences 2008 and 2009[6]
  • Dr. Bruce Cook: The Kingdom Keys[7]
  • Pinnacle Forum[8]
  • Lance Wallnau[9]

On June 16, 2010 Cindy Jacobs, head prophetess of the New Apostolic Reformation, issued a political statement, an "Urgent Call to Prayer Concerning California's Proposition 8 and Defense Of Marriage Act." Written on the letterhead of her "United States Reformation Prayer Network" it has all of the hallmarks of a political action alert. This is a major first for the woman who has been associated with all sorts of strange doctrines and wacky practices.[10] By taking a political position on these high-profile issues Jacobs is obviously attempting to enter the Christian Right mainstream as an ally. Just this week she and fellow "apostle" Chuck Pierce have actually spoken out about the Gulf Oil Spill.[11]

This is an increasingly common tactic of the NAR - taking a politically popular Christian Right position and then using it as a basis upon which to gain greater credibility and garner access to the evangelical mainstream. It also gives them a chance to broaden their base of operations, spreading the word about the 7 mountains of culture and the agenda to mold minds, shape institutions, and take over governments.

Latter Rain "Kansas City Prophet" Rick Joyner set up his Oak Initiative, which this Spring was issuing political alerts and taking actions on a prolife bill in the Georgia legislature. An April 20, 2010 alert from the Oak Initiative titled "IMPORTANT GEORGIA PRO-LIFE BILL STUCK IN COMMITTEE" began in classic alert fashion:

As members and friends of The Oak Initiative, we want to make you aware of an urgent call to action in the U.S. State of Georgia as well as interventional prayer for the Body of Christ world-wide. This standard could be raised in every state and country and have great impact on Roe-v-Wade.

Please read the following letter from Dean Nelson, Executive Director, Network of Politically Active Christians. We ask that you respond in any manner you are able - be it prayer, phone calls, and forwarding to your friends for the same.

Justice at the Gate, a lesser known group, opposes abortion and human trafficking - wonderful ideals. But it is also headed by Alice Patterson, an "apostle" listed under C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles which supports the 7 mountain agenda. Just today this group issued an alert calling for its "praying friends" to support Texas Governor Perry's "Proclamation" for a "Day of Prayer" for the Gulf Coast oil spill. Note: Prayer is the foot in the door, a strategic maneuver to rally everyone around a cause (who can be against prayer?). This formula inevitably leads to indoctrination in the Seven Mountain mandate.

A book could be written about Lou Engle of TheCall, and his extensive outreach into the politics of the Christian Right. He is directly tied to the Mountain Mandate movement in many ways. We wrote of his disturbing "God's Dream" Nazarite-youth Washington Mall event in 2008:

God's Dream is the theme of an upcoming pseudo-patriotic event scheduled in Washington, D.C. on the Mall sponsored by TheCall, an organization linked to Mike Bickle, Lou Engle and many other New Apostolic Reformation leaders, including many of the old “Kansas City Prophets.” But this is no fringe operation. TheCall... is interconnected with many mainstream evangelical organizations, including Campus Crusade for Christ.[14]

More recently Lou Engle has been the subject of a controversy concerning the Ugandan death penalty for homosexuals issue - a disconcerting fact which sheds light on the international goals and radical theonomic nature of Seven Mountain Mandate.[15]

Is the Seven Mountains Mandate currently being rehearsed for political prime time? The wheels have been greased and the list of interconnections of organizations and personnel could go on and on. There appears to be no stopping it. The New Apostolic Reformation leaders are now being welcomed into the mainstream evangelical world, with all of the credibility and esteem that goes with that sacred cow status. It now appears perfectly acceptable to stand on the same podium with the Todd Bentleys and share political platforms with those who openly proclaim a grandiose vision to gain control over the seven power centers of the culture.

The Truth:

"Not only does the Kingdom of God have a different King to the kingdoms of the world, but it has different citizens, has a different future and it operates by different principles. One of the principles that makes God’s Kingdom radically different to that of the world is the lust for power as opposed to the willingness to serve.

"Jesus said: 'Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.' (Matthew 20:25-28)."[16]

1. Os Hillman, "Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture: The Next Focus of the Faith at Work Movement," Marketplace Leaders Year In Review, December 2007, p. 3. http://60892.netministry.com/images/07YearInReviewSinglePages.pdf. Note that Bob Buford of Leadership Network is cited in this context. LN birthed the Emergent Church movement, and was interconnected with Peter Drucker the business guru, who facilitated the megachurch and purpose-driven movements.
2. An unanticipated consequence of our article series was that Janet (Folger) Porter was dismissed from her high-profile job as a radio talk show host. She lashed back in a WorldNetDaily article on June 8th http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=163597, calling us "cultural Nazis" who are "like the Christians who 'sang a little louder' from their hymnals so not to hear the screams from the trains headed for the concentration camps." VCY America responded here: http://www.crosstalkblog.com/2010/06/crosstalk-the-gospel-is-more-important-than-america-a-response-to-janet-porter/ and a transcript of a radio interview is posted here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4590 Ironically, we were defended here: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/print/5442
3. See our three posts: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/coalescing-of-christian-right-with.html, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/r-revival-and-revolt.html and http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/may-day-prayers.html
4. C. Peter Wagner, head of the New Apostolic Reformation, helped to launch the entire Seven Mountain movement. See the report posted here: http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain33.htm and here: http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain34.htm
5. The promo stated: "The 3rd Annual Restore America Conference will address more than 2000 registrants and will focus around the Seven Spheres of Influence that shape and manage our communities and our nation’s culture." See the Herescope post for details: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/01/seven-spheres-of-influence.html A list of mainstream speakers who seemingly had no problem being identified with this 7 mountain agenda included: David Gibbs III, David Crowe, Marshall Foster, Jonathan & Deborah Flora, David Kupelian, Dennis Marcellino, Charlene Cothran, Kamal Saleem and Star Parker. See http://www.restoreamerica.org/pdf/cdorderform.pdf
See footnote 1. Os Hillman helped to launch the 7 mountain mandate, and he received startup funding from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His story is told here: http://www.icwm.net/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=301&columnid=. Be sure to check out the list of speakers at the 2008 conference: http://www.faithandworkresources.com/apps/store/default.asp?view=profile&itemid=17690. The 2009 Reclaim 7 Mountains Conference "Breakouts" speakers included Os Hillman, Doug Spada, Lance Wallnau, Bradley Stuart, Fred Hartley, Bryan Hickox, Paul Hegstrom, Johnny Enlow, Julius Oyet, Tom Stansbury, Marc Fey (Focus on the Family), Laura Kent, Paul Cuny, See Lok Ting, Debbie Farah and others: http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/pages.asp?pageid=74130 See the line-up of mainstream organizations networking together, cited in this Christianity Today article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/workplace/articles/issue9-faithatwork.html
7. Bruce Cook is a member of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles, www.psa91.com/resource/ica.pdf. See http://www.thekingdomkeys.com/welcome/meet-bruce-cook/ and notice the mountain references at the bottom of the page. Then notice that the General Session speakers for 2010 included: "Os Hillman, Tamara Lowe, Michael Pink, Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Dr. Lance Wallnau, Dr. Pat Francis, Dr. Francis Myles, Dr. Peter Wagner, Dr. David MacDonald, Kenn Renner, Carolita Oliveros, Al Caperna, David van Koevering, John Muratori, Ken Beaudry, Morris Ruddick, Kyle Newton, Shawn Bolz, Robert Ricciardelli, Chuck Vollmer, Teri Werner, Paul Cuny, Peter Roselle, John L. Sorenson Jr., Mike Rovner, Greg Dalessandri, Nick Castellano, Dr. Marlene McMillan, Larry Cantrell, Jim Barthel, and Dr. Bruce Cook" http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/business-leaders-lance-wallnau-rick-joyner-kenn-renner-tamara-lowe-os-hillman-and-pat-francis-address-kingdom-economic-summit-137745.php and http://www.christianbusinessdaily.com/tag/dr-peter-wagner This organization's logo is seven keys rather than seven mountains. See this website: http://www.kingdomeconomicsummit.com/
8. Pinnacle Forum is made up of a huge number of credible, mainstream evangelical leaders, and its logo is a mountain. See these webpages that illustrate how deeply it is into the "transformation" of the 7 "spheres" or "mountains" movement: "Pinnacle Forum's Spiral of Influence," http://www.pinnacleforum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=268&Itemid=157 and Pinnacle Forum's Four 'E' Strategy, http://www.pinnacleforum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=257&Itemid=155 While this organization appears to be a promulgator of "Dominionism Lite," you can see a "National Conference 2009 Recap" photo of Lance Wallnau, keynote speaker talking about the 7 mountains of culture here: http://www.pinnacleforum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=201&Itemid=176. Those mainstream evangelicals who were keynote speakers at the 2008 conference included Lance Wallnau along with Anne Graham Lotz and Alan Sears, and other speakers included Mike Regan, Michael Berens, Ron Blue, Jonathan Crane, Maj Gen Bob Dees, Christian Overman, and Lloyd Reeb: http://www.pinnacleforum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168&Itemid=177
Lance Wallnau is scheduled to be a speaker again at this year's Pinnacle Forum National Conference in Scottsdale, AZ:
9. See footnote 8, and see this compilation of website links on Wallnau posted here: http://www.the7mountains.com/tag/lance-wallnau/ To see how far-reaching Wallnau's credibility extends into the broader evangelical world, see for example the lineup at the 2009 Conference Report Reclaiming 7 Mts of Culture http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/pages.asp?pageid=82164 :
10. Cindy Jacobs is the frequent subject of youtube videos, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAW_sl0MRDc&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d12HJN_m3s&feature=player_embedded. Note this article and video clip with Jim Garlow at Cindy Jacob's Convergence 2010 conference here http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/garlow-reveals-exact-moment-god-decided-pass-prop-8 which shows the broader connection between Christian Right mainstream and these false apostles and prophets. See also: http://www.god.tv/video/play?video=1348
11. See http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/generals-international-israel-oil-spill-and-demonic-vortexes and follow the links.
12. See http://www.theoakinitiative.org. Board members are listed as: Marc Nuttle, Rick Joyner, Samuel Rodriquiz, Lt Gen Jerry Boykin, Larry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs, Nicholas Papanicolaou, Lou Sheldon, Bob Weiner, Ardell Daniels, Janet Porter, Lance Wallnau, Negiel Bigpond, and Thomas Hall - http://www.theoakinitiative.org/content/board-members See the alert posted here: http://www.theoakinitiative.org/content/georgia-sb-529. And just to put this all into perspective, Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries is having "The Great Awakening Conference" next week, featuring the disgraced Lakeland Revival's Todd Bentley http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=8882
13. See the statement posted on the home page, http://www.justiceatthegate.org/. She is listed as an apostle here: http://www.psa91.com/resource/ica.pdf
14. See "God's Dream? A Kingdom Building Dream," http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/07/gods-dream.html. The Cause USA website promotes "Our Mountain Mandate" https://thecauseusa.com/mountainmandate.php. To see Lou Engle's list of recent mainstream political right associates, see, for example, these webpages: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/frcs-lou-engle-less-call and http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/religious-right-leaders-bash-obama-abortion-rights-non-political”-event
15. See these articles: http://wthrockmorton.com/2010/06/14/david-bahati-lou-engle-expressed-support-for-ugandas-anti-homosexuality-bill-guest-post-by-jeff-sharlet/ and http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/2836/engle_supports_"principled_stand"_of_ugandan_anti-gay_bill_promoters and http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/2816/lou_engle_attempts_to_backpedal_on_uganda_anti-gay_bill/ Interestingly, Bishop Oyet was a speaker at the key conference launching the 7 Mountain Mandate, http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/pages.asp?pageid=74130 and http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/focus-rep-attended-2009-7-mountains-conference-ugandas-oyet
16. Quoted from "The Two Kingdoms: Part 3" by Pastor Anton Bosch.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Great Confluence

The Emergent New Apostolic Reformation Flowing into the New Age

"If you’re a house churcher or emerging churcher (or baffled onlooker), what do you think of this confluence of HC [House Church] and EC [Emergent Church]?"
- Mike Morrell, zoecarnate[1]

The previous Herescope post looked at the big picture of how the Emerging Church movement is connecting with the New Apostolic Reformation, as exemplified by the release of the new book Jesus Manifesto co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. There are even more troubling connections, and these lead straight into the New Age movement.

Emergent leader Mike Morrell got the plum job of conducting the book-launching "Interview With Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet," which was posted on June 1 at Morrell's webpage HERE. Morrell, "an editor with TheOoze.com and founder of the popular ‘alt.Christian’ web directory zoecarnate.com,[2] explains how he originally hooked up with Frank Viola in his article "House Church: Ready for Prime Time? Frank Viola says 'Yes!'" Morrell, describing Frank Viola as a "family friend," records that he "started reading Frank right at the beginning of my house church journey in 1998, my freshman year in college" and how "[o]ne year later, he crashed on a pallet beside me and three other guys on my parents living room floor!"[3] He then explains the significance of connecting the Emergent movement to the NAR's "house church" movement. He began by relating that

Around 2005 Frank discovered what dawned on me in 2001; that these ‘emerging church’ folks were valuable friends and conversation partners in discovering the life, meaning and mission of Jesus’ followers in the 21st century. He asked me what he should be reading more of, and who he should be talking to. I introduced him to some friends, and gave him some contacts with the e-zines. After digesting more of ‘the conversation,’ Frank penned an article that went viral, Will the Emerging Church Fully Emerge? Andrew Jones and many othersweighed in. . . . [4]

This 2005 article of Viola's that Morrell is referring to, "Will the Emerging Church Fully Emerge?",[5] was a bold attempt to tweak the Emergent Church, moving it closer towards the ideal structural format of the New Apostolic Reformation's concept of "house church." At this point it is important to explain that the emerging "house church" concept in the NAR is engineered to be an organic whole that is facilitated and networked by a growing alliance of international self-anointed, self-appointed apostles and prophets - a living "body" on earth that is both hierarchical and cellular in nature. It is an "organism" that must be managed by the machinations of man (not God), assessed via feedback mechanisms, monitored and propelled towards an evolutionary target of a collective "emergence." Don't be misled by the rhetoric! The NAR concept of "house church" is not about humble little autonomous churches meeting in living rooms.[5]

By 2008, Morrell was explaining how Viola's ecclesiology was appealing to various Emergent leaders, and he opened the topic for further discussion:

So these days Pagan Christianity? and Reimagining Church hold their own in faith-based best-seller lists alongside other house church-oriented books (that you may or may not have heard of) like The Shack. Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk himself, thinks that emerging church practitioners should take Frank and his ecclesiology seriously. RTS prof Steve Brown is pleasantly surprised by house church ideas. And Relevant’s newly-launchedNeue Ministry discovers that house church folks really can care about the poor.

If you’re a house churcher or emerging churcher (or baffled onlooker), what do you think of this confluence of HC and EC?

Emergent Future Scenarios

On June 1st this past week Mike Morrell greatly assisted the marketing of Sweet and Viola's book by publishing the interview about it on his zoecarnate webpage.[7] The significance of Morrell's role in launching this book must be noted. Morrell is at the cutting edge of this Emergent "confluence." His online bio states that

Mike Morrell – Partner and Associate Consultant/Futurist: I am a Graduate Fellow in Emergent Studies, Master of Arts in Strategic Foresight program at Regent University, and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. I have six years experience in the publishing industry, working in editorial, marketing and consulting capacities for ABA and CBA publishers including Random House, HarperOne, Tyndale and Zondervan. I am an editor with TheOoze.com and founder of the popular ‘alt.Christian’ web directory zoecarnate.com. My passion lies in the intersection of media and sustainable futures, creating usable futures to function resiliently in a generative economy. This passion has resulted in a growing expertise in the areas of local and global food economies, generative community building, human development and social justice issues, and a focus on sustainable and resilient practices for global resources.[8]

In his capacity as a self-avowed futurist, Morrell represents the most forward wing of the Emerging/Emergent movement that is propelling the church forward into a New World Order/New Age. For example, Morrell was a featured speaker, along with Emergent leader Brian McLaren at the New Age World Future Society Annual Conference held on July 26-28, 2008 in Washington, D.C. At the time, we posted a report describing the significance of this event:

The World Future Society is a leading organization devoted to creating alternative future scenarios for planet Earth. According to Wikipedia, it has about 25,000 members in more than 80 countries.

Also listed on this year's conference program is evangelical leader Jay Gary, who has longtime associations with the World Future Society (see article written by Warren Smith entitled "Evangelicals and New Agers Together"). Gary was instrumental in writing the Perspectives course, which has trained an entire generation of missionaries in new theologies and practices.

Jay Gary and Brian McLaren have both been actively eschewing "doomsday" eschatologies, a fact which we have written about previously on Herescope (a very important read!).

Morrell has published his infatuation with the future on his blog.[10] He has been a student in the Masters in Strategic Foresight program at Regent University under the tutelage of Jay Gary, a global mission leader who has been for the past 3 decades closely associated with the leaders of what is now called the New Apostolic Reformation. Jay Gary, who has also been a speaker at the World Future Society,[11] is at the forefront of Christian Futurism. Over the course of the past decade, Gary has been working on an alternative eschatology of "transmillennialism",[12] which is an unabashed attempt to reformulate and update Teilhardian evolutionary philosophy into a new hybrid eschatology that will facilitate an evolutionary ecumenical convergence. Morrell describes how he works with Gary's agenda:

"Presence, an eschatologically adventurous think tank and activist cell living visions of a new reality. Together we’re helping mine creative futures for a world chock-full of the earthy and divine."[13]

Closely connected with this newly concocted eschatology is the idea of "transhumanism,"[14] that humans can evolve into a higher order species via techno-spiritual evolution.[15]

Jay Gary is a fascinating study in how an evangelical mission leader could hook up with the New Age so quickly. In 1996, Berit Kjos wrote about his connections with the New Age, explaining how he had joined

forces with Robert Muller, the former under-secretary of the United Nations, whose spiritual tutors include former Buddhist U.N. leader U Thant, former occult Masonic leader Foster Bailey, and Alice Bailey, his wife who channeled the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul.... On the first page of his Bimillennial Research Report (March-April 1992), Jay Gary gave an uncritical endorsement of Robert Muller, announced the coming “World Parliament of Religions"....

Kjos continued:

The World Goodwill Newsletter published by Lucis (formerly Lucifer) Press, which was founded by Foster and Alice Bailey, offers a clue. It describes BEGIN, the global networking organization founded and directed by Jay Gary, and endorses the relationship between Gary and Muller.

The Bi-MillEnnial Global Interaction Network (BEGIN) is a group of concerned world citizens who circulate information and ideas on celebrating the year 2000 as a planetary jubilee with an agenda of hope. The question which BEGIN seeks to address is: “How can the thousands of bi-millennial celebrations of life and civilizations truly leave a legacy for the entire human family that will endure the test of time?”

In a letter to World Goodwill, BEGIN Executive Director Jay E. Gary writes:

“One common project we are developing is an `International Year of Thanksgiving’ in 2000, especially through the United Nations. Dr. Robert Muller has given leadership to this proposal. If any of your readers would like to bring definition to a World Thanksgiving Year in 2000, marked by reflection, reconciliation, and gratitude between nations, cultures, and peoples, please have them correspond with us. We are collecting articles and papers on these themes for an upcoming Lets Talk 2000 Forum."

Apparently Jay Gary does not seem to discern the danger inherent in an alliance and joint celebration with occult world leaders.

All of this interaction with leading Luciferian futurists[17] has far-reaching consequences. Gary's student, Mike Morrell, is playing a key role in this great "confluence" of Emergent, New Apostolic Reformation and New Age. Morrell wrote the following explanation about how this has all come about in a piece entitled "Sunday Devotional: Matthew Fox, Cosmic Mass":

...no one processing religion, faith, and spirituality in a post* world can afford to ignore Matthew Fox - tempestuous, flamboyant, inventive; priest, artist, liturgist and theologian. The defrocked Catholic-turned-Episcopal priest was (with the unlikely influence-pairing of Vineyard revitalizer John Wimber) responsible for inspiring what was arguably the first ever emerging/postmodern congregation in the mid-1980s – the brilliant, controversial, combustible Nine O’ Clock Service. Inspired by a Wimber prophecy at St. Thom‘s in Sheffield and nurtured by Fox’s Creation Spirituality amongst working-class rave culture, the NOS was a potpourri of influences and expression.

Even after it’s untimely demise, the UK’s ‘Planetary Mass’ idea – shades of Teilhard de Chardin‘s Mass on the World – re-caught the attention of Fox himself, who brought it back to the US as a ‘Techno-Cosmic Mass.’ To this day, there are many interested in applying the ideas of Original Blessing and Creation Spirituality to communal expressions, as well as many of more staidly orthodox persuasion interested in alternative worship expressions...

A new article just posted on the Apprising Ministries website, "MIKE MORRELL ON MATTHEW FOX, JOHN WIMBER, AND THE EMERGING CHURCH," provides an in-depth examination of the background and far-reaching ramifications of all of this emerging "confluence."

Matthew Fox's Cosmic Christ is an alternative "christ" that is more in keeping with an ecumenical New Age than the Gospel of Salvation of orthodox Christianity. Which raises the question: precisely which Jesus is being talked about in Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet's new book?. . . .

The Truth:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" (Romans 6:3-5)

1. "House Church: Ready for Prime Time? Frank Viola says ‘Yes!’." October 23, 2008, http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/house-church-ready-for-prime-time-frank-viola-says-yes/ Typos and links in original.
2. Bio of Mike Morrell posted here: http://forwardonline.wordpress.com/meet-mike-morrell/
3. "House Church: Ready for Prime Time? Frank Viola says ‘Yes!’." Ibid.
4. Ibid.
4. "Will the Emerging Church Fully Emerge? An Invitation for Serious Reflection and Open Dialogue," by Frank Viola, http://www.ptmin.org/fullyemerge.htm
5. For a more complete explanation with documentation, see the Herescope series that ran in the Fall of 2007 called "The Networking Church," beginning here: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/02/networking-church.html
6. "House Church: Ready for Prime Time? Frank Viola says ‘Yes!’." Ibid. Red emphasis added.
7. "Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet on ‘Jesus Manifesto’" http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/frank-viola-leonard-sweet-on-a-jesus-manifesto/
8. http://constructingmeaning.com/blogs-worth-reading/
9. "Brian McLaren to speak at World Future Society," March 24, 2008, HTTP://HERESCOPE.BLOGSPOT.COM/2008/03/BRIAN-MCLAREN-TO-SPEAK-AT-WORLD-FUTURE.HTML. Links in original. The original conference brochure is still posted online here: http://www.wfs.org/MArch-April08/WF2008_preliminary.pdf
10. "The Future, Through the Eyes of Childhood," January 8, 2008, http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/the-future-through-the-eyes-of-childhood/
11. Speakers page, archived on March 12, 2007, no longer online: http://www.wfs.org/2007main.htm and "Values and Spirituality" http://www.wfs.org/2007values.htm
page no longer online:
12. See this key article by Jay Gary, "The Patterns of Biblical Transformation, July 30, 2002, http://www.christianfutures.com/print_btransform.shtml
13. New Agers Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer are also working on this concept of Presencing, coming at it from the New Age evolutionary perspective See: http://www.presencing.com/community/ and http://www.blog.ottoscharmer.com/
14. See Herescope posts "The Spiritualization of Science," May 20, 2009, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/05/spiritualization-of-science.html and "The BRAVE NEW BREED: Creatures in Pursuit of Autonomous Perfection," February 10, 2006: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/02/brave-new-breed-creatures-in-pursuit.html
15. For more information on Morrell's views, read "RICHARD ROHR AND THE EMERGING CHURCH AS THE THIRD WAY," by Ken Silva, March 30, 2010, posted at: http://apprising.org/2010/03/30/richard-rohr-and-the-emerging-church-as-the-third-way/
16. Berit Kjos, "Whose 'Global Kingdom' Come?" originally published in The Christian Conscience, October 1996, posted here: http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_D/JayGarybk2.htm
17. A year ago we ran a series about the history of the Emergent Church movement, and examined how futurism was embedded into the movement as an evolutionary concept. Pastor Bob DeWaay's book, The Emergent Church - Undefining Christianity, also covered this topic in-depth. The Emerging Church has always been enamored with creating an alternative future scenario which could bypass the biblical endtime scenario by promising to create a new man and paradise on earth.
See the series that begins here: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/05/emerging-church-circa-1970.html
18. "Sunday Devotional: Matthew Fox, Cosmic Mass," February 7, 2010, http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/sunday-devotional-matthew-fox-techno-cosmic-mass/ Links were removed, but can be accessed in the original. See wikipedia entry for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Fox_(priest)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Other Side of Emergent:

The New Apostolic Reformation

"Religious leadership must end its intellectual and imaginative failure to think through what it is doing in the light of the new emerging cosmology, which is hospitable to spirit-matter theories and mindbody experiences."
- Leonard Sweet[1]

Today is the launching of a new book, co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. This marks the open marriage of the Emergent movement with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Sweet and Viola's book, Jesus Manifesto, is subtitled "Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ," and it pushes the envelope on redefining Jesus, including "You can be a Jesus Manifest."[2] A quick glance at the lineup of key endorsers for this book includes a list of who's who in Emergent, the Latter Rain cult, neoevangelicalism and the New Apostolic Reformation.

In recent posts on this blog we have noticed that emerging church leader Leonard Sweet has links to the NAR.[3] The co-author of his book, Frank Viola, also has roots in the NAR. He has been connected with the House2House group, a movement that is ostensibly about "house" churches, but in reality is concerned with building the networking apostolic cellular model of church for the purpose of building the kingdom of God on earth. This is the same Dominionist goal that is characteristic of the NAR: "This amazing network of churches is rapidly transitioning as a network to embrace the simple church models that the Lord is blessing all around the world," leading to the "transforming work of God in bringing people to Christ. . . leading to dramatic advances of the Kingdom of God."[4] John Arnott of the Toronto "Laughing Revival" has been a notable contributor to the House2House magazine.[5]

A key name associated with Frank Viola is Heidi Baker, whose frequently appears with her husband Rolland. They flourish in the New Apostolic Reformation and can often be found on the Elijah List (chief organ for the NAR)[6] and OpenHeaven.com (a radical Dominionist group).[7] The Bakers spoke at the Global Awakening "Voice of the Apostles" conference, October 28-31, 2009 along with other NAR apostles Randy Clark, Che Ann, Bill Johnson and John Arnott.[8] Heidi was featured along with Latter Rain cult leader Rick Joyner at his MorningStar Ministries "Harvest Fest" held September 24-30, 2009.[9] The list of interconnections and associations with the NAR could go on and on...

Neil Cole is another well-known name associated with Frank Viola and the House2House movement. He is also connected with Leadership Network.[10] Furthermore, Frank Viola's book Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens is endorsed by such notables as Bob Buford (head of Leadership Network) and John Maxwell.[11]

Leonard Sweet endorsed one of Frank Viola's earlier books, Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity, by connecting it to the idea of "God's Dream," an increasingly common metaphor.[12] Viola has also authored From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God, described as "a whole new way of looking at the Scriptures, at Jesus, at the church, and at me,"[13] and endorsed by such Emergent leaders as Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne and many others.

Characteristic of all of these recent emerging convergences, a MANIFESTO accompanies the agenda being promoted jointly by Sweet and Viola. It is called "A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ a.k.a. A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church." This Manifesto does not hearken back to the written Word of God in order to follow Jesus or His teachings. Instead it speaks of "implantation and impartation" and "incarnation." This is based on imaging, imagining, visualization, meditation, and following a "Presence," even using the term "cosmic Christ."[14] The document also makes this amazing statement - an example of psycho-spiritual biblical revisionism:

The Bible does not offer a plan or a blueprint for living. The “good news” was not a new set of laws, or a new set of ethical injunctions, or a new and better PLAN. The “good news” was the story of a person’s life, as reflected in The Apostle’s Creed. The Mystery of Faith proclaims this narrative: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.

It also seems to claim we are Christ:

Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his church. While Jesus is distinct from his Bride, he is not separate from her. She is in fact his very own Body in the earth. God has chosen to vest all of power, authority, and life in the living Christ. And God in Christ is only known fully in and through his church....

We, collectively, as the ekklesia of God, are Christ in and to this world.

All of this is a very quick overview, and there is much more that could be said. There are many more connections and associations. The key point is the context of this new book by Sweet and Viola. It isn't just Emergent! This represents that much-anticipated, much touted New Apostolic Reformation great convergence, the many streams coming together into one big river!

It was inevitable that the NAR would eventually openly connect with the Emergent Church. First, they are related historically in many diverse ways, some of which we have previously documented on this blog.[16] Second, and more obviously, the aberrant beliefs of the New Apostolic Reformation are nearly identical to those of the emerging church movement in some of the following ways:
  • The same Gnosticism, mysticism and altered states of consciousness. The belief that we are evolving to a higher order body of believers here on earth, and that if we would just jump through various mystical or restructuring hoops, paradise or "culture" would be renewed.
  • The belief that we can transform the Earth and restore it to pre-Fall conditions -- either via a green environmentalism return to paradise (George Otis, James Rutz, Ralph Winter), or by building the kingdom of God on earth where Christians will reign and rule and finally "get it right" by imposing their kingdom authority on the whole planet (Dominionism).
  • The belief that God has assigned certain men with special abilities or supernatural powers to be rulers and kings, Apostles and Prophets (aka "leaders") now on earth, in this present age.
  • The belief that the church should realign into a networking downline marketing "apostolic"/cells/small groups for a more "authentic"or "original" New Testament structure.
  • The deconstruction (de-emphasis, denigration or mangling) of solid biblical theology and practice, and the concoction of new theologies augmented with old/new extra-biblical practices.
  • The belief that God is giving his church new revelations, new understandings, or "fresh words" for these times, especially by including old manuscripts, mystical writings, supernatural incidents, extra-biblical traditions and sources, etc.
  • The idea that we are somehow responsible for bringing back Jesus either literally and physically, or that we are evolving or "incarnating" into little christs and/or one big cosmic Christ.
  • The idea that onerous and manipulative psycho-socio and scientific technologies are benevolent tools to bring in the kingdom on earth, including even altering the basic nature of man.

This is not a complete list, but it does present an important overview.[17]

In conclusion, it is important to remind readers that Len Sweet has always played a pivotal role in charting a 21st century course for reinventing Christianity. As Chief Scout of Leadership Network's "Exploring Off The Map expedition" in 2000, he worked alongside New Age gurus like Margaret Wheatley, Ken Blanchard and Peter Senge to chart "NEW MAPS FOR AN ANCIENT FUTURE."[18] This is not a new role for him, and he is still right on course. In this regard, Leadership Network has also played a pivotal role, not only launching the Emergent movement, but also giving a platform for the New Apostolic Reformation consistently throughout the past few decades. But that's a topic for another time. . . .

The Truth:

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14)

1. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (SpiritVenture Ministries, 1994), p. 37.
This sounds eerily similar to the concept of "Manifest Sons of God," explained here: http://www.letusreason.org/latrain1.htm. Leonard Sweet tweet at http://twitter.com/lensweet/status/14441937454
See these two posts: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html and footnote 28 of this post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/coalescing-of-christian-right-with.html
House2House E-newsletter for June 18th 2007.
5. For this history of John Arnott, see the article series by Ed Tarkowski, "The Laughing Phenomena: Its History & Possible Effects on the Church," that begins here: http://www.velocity.net/~edju/apos1.htm. House2House magazine, Issue 9, August 2007, Url for this was originally here: http://www.house2house.net/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=4. The June 2006 issue of Charisma Magazine featured an article "God Is Out of the Box," by Ken Walker, which featured John Arnott, Neil Cole, James Rutz, John Eldredge, and others; the original url was http://www.charismamag.com/display.php?id=13085
6. The Elijah List promoted Heidi Baker as a keynote speaker at the "FLORIDA GLORY BREAKTHROUGH," held at Tampa & Boca Raton, Florida on March 3-14th, this year, where she appeared with John Arnott. See, for example: http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=8493.
7. For example, "Pressing on to the best yet!" by Rolland and Heidi Baker, OpenHeaven.com Digest, March 11, 2010. For an example of a Herescope post that gives examples of the extreme Dominionism of this group, see http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html
8. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=7912
9. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=7849

10. "Neil Cole Featured by Leadership Network," http://www.fgbcworld-blog.com/2005/09/13/neil-cole-featured-by-leadership-network/ See also Eric Swanson's post "Changing the Trajectory of the Church Part 3," at: http://ericswanson.blogspot.com/2006/03/changing-trajectory-of-church-part-3.html. Mark Driscoll, Emergent leader, also worked with Neil Cole, "Equal Time on Video Venues," by Darrin Patrick at http://www.the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue94/index.cfm?id=17&ref=ARTICLES_CHURCH%20LIFE_260 Also see this Leadership Network document, WHO STARTS NEW CHURCHES?" at: http://www.leadnet.org/downloads/State%20of%20Church%20Planting%20Report_Who%20Starts.pdf
11. See http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Church-Growing-Faith-Happens/dp/078798129X

12. See these two Herescope posts for an explanation of the significance of the "God's Dream" metaphor: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/07/gods-dream.html and http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/08/gods-dream-peace.html. Note that the original quotation from Leonard Sweet at the Amazon page has now been altered to remove his remarks about God's Dream. On July 31, 2008, at http://www.amazon.com/Reimagining-Church-Pursuing-Organic-Christianity/dp/1434768759 the following quote was found:

Leonard Sweet, author of Soul Tsunami, Soul Salsa, and 11 "Dissent is a gift to the church. It is the imagination of the prophets that continually call us back to our identity as the peculiar people of God. May Viola's words challenge us to become the change that we want to see in the church ... and not to settle for anything less than God's dream for Her." [emphasis added]

13. Endorsement by Steve Brown, described as a "seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary," http://www.frometernitytohere.org/

14."A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ a.k.a. A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church," by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, JULY 8, 2009 http://www.story.house2house.com/2009/07/08/a-magna-carta-for-restoring-the-supremacy-of-jesus-christ-aka-a-jesus-manifesto-for-the-21st-century-church/
15. Ibid. Emphases added.

16. See the series we ran last summer on the early history of the Emerging Church, for example, beginning here:
17. A more comprehensive listing can be found here: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/sarah-leslie/transformation.htm
18. See the Herescope post: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2005/10/christian-leaders-go-on-expedition.html. See also EXPLORER...field notes for the emerging church, An e-publication of Leadership Network, Number 12, June 5, 2000, "EIGHT CATCH 22’s of 21C. . .," by Len Sweet, http://www.leadnet.org/epubarchive.asp?id=30&db=archive_explorer