Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Contentiously Contending!

New Book Release!

Back in 2007 this blog ran a series of messages by Pastor Anton Bosch on the topic of "contentiously contending." We are pleased to announce that these messages have been published in a booklet. Pastor Bosch explains why he wrote these articles in his Foreword:

I wrote the articles in response to several decades of participation with, and observation of, many apologetic or discernment type ministries. While I see a great need for watchmen who will faithfully sound the alarm at the attacks of the enemy, I also see the need for those involved in this vital ministry to go about this work in a godly way. I am deeply concerned that many who involve themselves in these ministries do so for the wrong reasons and/or with the wrong attitude. In the process they cause more damage than the very error they are trying to correct.

My intention with these humble words is not to discredit or discourage those who sound the alarm, but to exhort such to use the right methods, with the right attitude. I also wish to warn those believers who have become aware of the great deception going on in the Church that a wrong attitude is just as erroneous as wrong doctrine. It does not help if we have our doctrine straight but our attitude does not accord with the Spirit of Christ.

Herescope readers who loved the series will be happy to know that they can now order this in a printed booklet format - for only $3.00 per copy! Order your copies at the Discernment Products Page (Books) HERE, or by phoning 903-567-6423.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Destiny-Driven Dominionism

"Today is TRANSFORMATIONAL TUESDAY! I am decreeing that a serious transformation is already taking place with everything that concerns me! Everything in the UNIVERSE must line up to make it happen because it's my destiny and I am settling for NOTHING LESS! What is it that you need to be transformed today? Go Ahead! Speak it! Destiny blessings! Dr.V!"
-Driven By Destiny blog post*

As the Seven Mountain/Spheres Mandate is being launched on the American and global scene, a peculiar phenomena is accompanying it. Many evangelicals political and theological leaders with credible ministries and stellar reputations[1] are linking their names, goals and organizations to the 7 Mountain paradigm shift. It appears that there is a big "coming out" party going on. This whole 7 Mountain transformation/reformation/awakening agenda operates on marketing methods that utilize mainstream leaders to lead the pack of conditioned sheep straight into these bizarre goals to take over America and the world. There there is a massive realignment going on right now in the evangelical world. Its leaders are abandoning all discretion and common sense, and boldly launching out of the closet into open and unabashed association with the goofiest fringe of the Charismatic world, the New Apostolic Reformation......

The latest bit of strange goings-on has to do with Rick Warren, who once again has jumped into the center of a huge brewing controversy. He has publicly endorsed a book authored by a female pastor who is closely aligned with the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, the self-proclaimed "apostles" who are heading up this 7 Mountain Mandate for Dominionism.

We first became aware of this via a post on Apprising Ministries titled "RICK WARREN TEACHING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION?"[2] This article talked about a book being republished, scheduled for release this October (symbolically on 10/10/10), authored by Dr. LaVerne Adams. Rick Warren endorsed and wrote the Foreword to this book titled Driven by Destiny: 12 Secret Keys to Unlock Your Future,[3] which appears to be indicative of a new genre of New Thought/Word Faith self-help books.[4] Clicking on the links in the Apprising Ministries article, and following the various rabbit trails, we quickly ended up deep in the belly of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and the 7 Mountain/Sphere agenda.


Dr. LaVerne Adams credits Chuck Pierce, heir to C. Peter Wagner's NAR dynasty,[5] in her original book's "Acknowledgements":

The prophetic ministry of Dr. Chuck Pierce has literally transformed my existence in very practical ways. With his prayer focuses and timely prophecies, I was able to cycle out of some very dysfunctional patterns and make stride toward my apostolic and prophetic calling to the nations.[6]

She goes on to explain how she is connected to Chuck Pierce's Glory of Zion International organization:

...we are honored that Cathedral of Praise Community Church and International Kingdom Strategy Center, where I have served as the senior pastor since 1997, is recognized as a “Church of Zion.” This connection with Glory of Zion International strengthens our resolve to see the powerful prophetic flow of deliverance transform people’s lives to help them reach their fullest potential while expanding God’s Kingdom.[7]

Dr. Adams and Chuck Pierce are also connected via his new "GLOBAL SPHERES: ADVANCING THE KINGDOM" organization,[8] where you can "pursue a new level of dominion in your sphere of authority."[9] The story behind this is recent. Chief NAR "apostle" C. Peter Wagner, in a letter dated July 10, 2010, describes how "now is the time to explain how God has been directing us to transition Global Harvest Ministries which we founded in 1991, about 20 years ago, to our spiritual son, Chuck Pierce."[10] Wagner explains how Pierce's Glory of Zion (GOZ) International and his own Global Harvest Ministries are joining together by transitioning to this Global Spheres, Inc. that will be headed by Pierce:

As we began to plan for the transition of Global Harvest, it became obvious to Chuck that GOZ would not be an adequate organizational basket to receive another ministry like ours. Consequently, he, along with both of us, moved ahead and formed a new organization called Global Spheres, Inc. (GSI). We are now in the process of moving our administration and our ministry to GSI as of September 1, 2010.[11]

Global Spheres, Inc. is called "a New Wineskin" to "develop new spheres of authority, new relationships, and a new structure for the harvest that is ripening."[12] Its purpose is described in terms of the 7 Spheres/Mountains for Dominion:

Peter, Doris [Wagner] and I knew that the Daniels, Esthers, Deborahs, Hannahs, Josephs, Pauls, Lydias, Peters, and Johns for this age were to rise up, come together, and move into the formation of His Kingdom plan in the earth. We knew we needed a wineskin that would allow individuals from any number of backgrounds to align! This wineskin has to include spheres for missions, teaching, deliverance, wealth transfer, apostleship, government, education, arts and entertainment, family, media, science and technical development, to name a few we discussed.[13] [bold added]

In case anyone still thinks that this agenda is just about America, the Dominionist ambitions of this organization are clearly spelled out in international terms:
  • This will create a new Apostolic-Prophetic-Evangelistic-Deliverance Governmental Structure that will be ready to be used in the nations. This will be wineskin for the transformational thrust to “turn the world upside down in this era”....
  • This new wineskin will be both apostolic and prophetic – a new, sharp threshing instrument with teeth....
  • The most exciting aspect of this new wineskin will be its thrust to fulfill the Lord’s commission to disciple the nations. To do this, we need prayer, prophetic revelation, apostolic leadership, and a developed transformation strategy that will penetrate each molder of culture in a nation with God’s Kingdom plan. We are so excited about being able to connect with leadership from across this nation and many other nations, both in the Church and in the workplace. The Lord has shown me that one day I would be aligned with leaders in 153 nations. This will not be a national wineskin, but one that aligns apostolic, prophetic leaders around the world.[14] [bold added]
LaVerne Adams' close association with the NAR leadership would be cause for concern in itself. But the fact that she is a leader so early on with the NAR's emerging Global Spheres organization is even more disturbing. Why is Rick Warren promoting an author who is so closely aligned with this destiny-driven mandate to take over the "spheres" of the world? It is likely due to the fact that he is working on the same agenda.[15]


To understand the full scope of this destiny movement requires a brief examination of the author of the book. Dr. LaVerne Adams calls herself "The Doctor of Destiny."[16] The theme of Dr. Adams' life work and book is "destiny," described in esoteric terms:

Destiny by Divine Design is a journey through the many divinely designed doors that we must go through to fulfill our ultimate purpose in life. In order to find our liberation from lifestyles that bind us we must be prepare to realign, reinvent and recreate our lives to look more like the destiny dream God has for us.[17] [bold added]

This sounds eerily similar to the "God's Dream" motif used by so many leaders of this syncretistic global transformation movement.[18]

Underscoring the esoteric nature of Dr. Adams' idea of "destiny," her original book Foreword by her friend Dr. Cindy Trimm[19] states how the concept of "destiny" is connected to "purpose":

Quantum scientists have now confirmed what the Bible revealed to us centuries ago, that there are parallel worlds and "portals" that give us access to them all. Using the door as a metaphorical expression, Dr. Adams takes us on a scholarly journey and offers us a destiny altering practical guide to discovering and mastering the secrets for success, happiness and prosperity.... Your destiny is determined the moment you make a decision. In other words, God determines your purpose but you determine your destiny. Destinies are decision oriented, and as such you are always only one decision away from living the life of your dreams.[20] [links and bold added]

To assist you with finding your divine destiny, you can sign up for any number of "Life Coaching Packages and Services," including a diagnosis, assessment, personal consultation, personal life coaching, teleconference, or wealth building, all of which carry expensive fees.[21] Using themes of "empowerment" and "prophetic personal deliverance" in classic name-it-and-claim-it NAR style, Drs. Trimm and Adams, along with Bennie Lagos of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, were featured on on "Deliverance to Destiny: Christian Women's International Empowerment Conference" in May 2008 in the West Indies.[22]


Adding the concept of "destiny" to the already aggressive 7 Mountains Mandate makes for a volatile combination. Which ideas about "destiny" will go beyond the personal "name it and claim it" type of self-help teaching? How will "destiny" be incorporated into the newly forming Global Spheres organizational agenda of Chuck Pierce? Is it possible that the term will be used in the sense of "manifest destiny," both personal and corporate?

Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.... Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only wise but that it was readily apparent (manifest) and inexorable (destiny).[23]

The Seven Mountains/Spheres is a manifest destiny belief that America - and also the whole world - must become "Christian." This is a societal transformation definition of "Christianity," not the biblical individual repentance of the heart. This Dominionism Mandate is seen as a manifest destiny, a "mission" to have an "awakening," a "reformation," a "transformation," and there are disturbing signs that some believe that it can be achieved by coercion, manipulation, force, and even "a new, sharp threshing instrument with teeth."[24]


Destiny is a word with mixed spiritual meanings. Is has eschatological significance. It is about the future. It has long been a theme of the Latter Rain cult (whose chief publishing house is called Destiny Image) which helped to birth the New Apostolic Reformation. Destiny is also an occult concept. It is described in an entry in the New Age encyclopedia The Seeker's Handbook: The Complete Guide to Spiritual Pathfinding as

From Latin, de-, "from" + sidere, "star"' something given from the stars or by a higher power, supposed to operate as the preset plan or design of an individual's life. Basically, the expression that results from the full unfolding of one's innate potential.[25]

Destiny refers to "a predetermined course of events.... It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the cosmos."

Some believe that one's destiny may be ascertained by divination or proclaimed as the prophecy of a prophet or sibyl. In the belief systems of many cultures, one's destiny can only be learned about through a shaman, babalawo, saint or seer.[26]

Tied in with the esoteric ideas about destiny are the concepts of Fate and Fortune. "Fate defines events as ordered or 'inevitable.'" And Fortune is often more connected with chance.[27] Interestingly, Destiny, the Fates and Fortune were worshiped as deities.[28] At least one Bible translation of Isaiah 65:11 (NASB) uses the words Fortune and Destiny, in the sense of false gods: "But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny."[29]

In this esoteric sense the concept of destiny has a very unbiblical foundation. It is more rooted in the occult idea of divination, and the idea that one can create (or "envision") their own future. This type of false teaching using mystical imagination is already wildly popular in the evangelical world. It presupposes that man can ascertain his divine destiny and actually make it happen, including by such methods as "positive thinking." In the NAR, this is related to a heresy that people can issue "decrees."[30] Dr. Adam's blog post quote (cited at the beginning of this post) seems to come right out of this false teaching.[31]

Creating one's own future has been applied corporately to churches, who have been trained in the technique of writing "mission, vision and values" statements based on envisioning their church's restructuring and transformation. Churches and entire nations must come into "alignment" with the global plan for Dominionism, often cleverly disguised in Great Commission, "missional" or "cultural renewal" language. This is why, applied corporately to the 7 Mountains, the strategy of envisioning one's destiny, especially if it means "manifest destiny," becomes a frightening prospect. According to this view "the spiritual destiny of entire groups (such as cities or nations) must be changed. In terms of this approach, the mission of the church relates to groups rather than to individuals."[32]


Another link between Dr. LaVerne Adams and the New Apostolic Reformation is her association with Dr. Mark Chironna. She describes him in the Acknowledgements of her original book as

an invaluable mentor, life coach, and friend. His brilliant style of ministry has not only challenged me to reshape my inner world but has tremendously impacted the development of my divine destiny. Because of his caring and visionary approach, I now see with clarity, a phenomenal future filled with endless possibility and abounding potential.[33] [bold added]

Chironna is listed alongside Rick Warren as a key endorser of her book, saying, "She has taken time to explain the rich heavenly meaning of destiny and brought it down to earth in practical and powerful soul-searching questions that will unlock things inside you that have been held back for a long time."[34] In this context he refers to destiny as a "quest,"[35] which is defined by The Seeker's Handbook as "the act of seeking... one's purpose.... Through questions, one comes to a sense of purpose as well as a state of enlightenment...."[36]

Mark Chironna Ministries is presenting a "Mantles, Measures and Mandates II" conference in Atlanta this coming September, in which they are going to talk about how to "profit from change" and "tap into the future" to "identify the trends of the Kingdom," which essentially means Dominionsm.[37] This prosperity message is also found in the K.E.Y.S. Kingdom Economic Yearly Summer meetings keynoted by Chironna, which is said to be patterned after the World Economic Forum. The K.E.Y.S. purpose is described ominously as:

Summits are governmental gatherings where apostolic leaders declare, decree, legislate, negotiate, set policy, plan the future, discuss issues, enter into agreements and treaties, and form alliances and coalitions, so this is not a conference, seminar or workshop. Instead, it is an intentional, strategic assembly of warriors, leaders and generals who are supernaturally taking the Kingdom of God by force and advancing it in the marketplace on earth as it is in Heaven.[38] [link added, bold in original]

Chironna has authored his own self-help destiny-themed books, including titles like Seven Secrets to Unfolding Destiny, Stepping Into Greatness, and Live Your Dream.[39] He is called a bishop, a prophet, and an apostle,[40] and he is solidly linked with the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation such as Heidi Baker and John Arnott,[41] Rick Joyner, Bill Hamon, Kim Clement, and finally - most significantly - Lance Wallnau,[42] who is the chief promoter of the 7 Mountains Mandate.[43] Chironna was featured at the "Let the Eagles Gather: The International Gathering of Prophets, Apostles and Intercessors" conference in Orlando in August 2009 along with top NAR "apostles" Chuck Pierce and Cindy Jacobs.[44] Chironna must be considered important in these circles, because he is also listed as an endorser of the Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet's recently released Jesus Manifesto book.[45]

Underscoring all of the concerns voiced so far is yet another prophetic message by Dr. Chironna posted on The Elijah List, seemingly talking about the Latter Rain's concept of a New Breed, titled "The Next Decade: A New Generation of Blessings, Entrepreneurs, and Creative Expression will Emerge." In this key article Chironna says there is a "generational shift" that will be "strategically prepared, strategically postured, and strategically positioned for what wants to emerge out of the invisible into the visible relative to Kingdom expansion and enlargement." Chironna says this requires "the opening of strategic portals, gateways and places of access and transition and change" for the "new era that is dawning."[46] Of course, all of this "prophesying" about the future has to do with the concept of destiny.

Destiny appears to be an up and coming word, perhaps 'destined' to replace 'purpose' as the new mantra for the kingdom-building crowd. Destiny has a touchy-feely aspect to it that makes it personally appealing to those with lustful ambitions for power and wealth. It also appears to be yet another code-word for Dominionism.

The Truth:

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:13-14)

1. At least to the public eye, in the mainstream evangelical and secular media these leaders have these types of reputations. Those in the discernment community have expressed concerns.
2. "RICK WARREN TEACHING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION?" http://apprising.org/2010/07/08/rick-warren-teaching-the-law-of-attraction/
3. "New Book, 'Driven by Destiny' by Dr. LaVerne Adams, Foreword by Rick Warren Reveals 12 Secret Keys to Transform the Future," http://www.prweb.com/releases/dr-LaVerne-Adams/Driven-by-Destiny/prweb4212484.htm See Rick Warren's endorsement of the book posted here: http://www.drivenbydestinynow.com/praise.html
4. "DR. LAVERNE ADAMS AND RICK WARREN DRIVEN BY DESTINY?" http://apprising.org/2010/07/07/dr-laverne-adams-and-rick-warren-driven-by-destiny/
5. C. Peter Wagner letter, "AN URGENT APPEAL FROM PETER!" July 19, 2010.
6. http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/READ_THE_DDD_BOOK_.html
7. Ibid.
8. LaVerne Adams' is prominently featured at the top of the list of North American leaders in the Global Spheres organization on this webpage, http://globalspheres.org/northamerica.asp archived on July 8, 2010.
9. "We are Advancing the Kingdom in 2010: God is truly moving on the heart of people all over the world," letter by Chuck Pierce, http://globalspheres.org/. Page archived July 8, 2010.
10. C. Peter Wagner letter, "AN URGENT APPEAL FROM PETER!" July 19, 2010. See Herescope post from 2008 for more of the history on this Global Spheres organization: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/07/kicking-kingdom-into-high-gear.html
11. Ibid.
12. "About Global Spheres, Inc.," http://globalspheres.org/about.asp, Page archived July 8, 2010. This page contains video of Chuck Pierce describing this. Bold added.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. See http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/009/discernment/7-emerging-6.htm. See numerous Herescope posts such as: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/12/back-channel-for-peace.html and http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/10/rick-warren-is-he-scary.html
16. See bio posted on http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/About_Us.html and http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/WELCOME_.html
See YouTube videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIouuKWBCos&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WadwXcRVO5Q&feature=related
17. "DESTINY: BY DIVINE DESIGN - INTRODUCTION," http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/Packages.html
18. See Herescope's "God's Dream" posts http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/07/gods-dream.html and http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/08/gods-dream-peace.html
19. "Acknowledgements," http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/READ_THE_DDD_BOOK_.html
20. "FOREWORD," http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/READ_THE_DDD_BOOK_.html
21. http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/Services.html
21. Ibid.
22. http://www.blackgospelpromo.com/viewpromo.php?promo_id=01454
23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_Destiny
24. Link added to quote. http://globalspheres.org/about.asp
25. John Lash, The Seeker's Handbook: The Complete Guide to Spiritual Pathfinding (Harmony Books, 1990), p. 255.
26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny
27. Ibid.
28. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortuna, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moirae
29. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gad_(deity)
30. See Herescope post http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/05/kingdom-decrees.html for an explanation of this heresy.
Driven by Destiny blog post, http://drivenbydestinynow.com/blog/archive.php?category=expectation
32. Quote taken from the report by Professor Johan Malan, "George Otis and his Fallacious Teachings," subsection titled "The collective destiny of groups," http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/otis.html. Otis is linked to the NAR and its Dominionism at many levels.
33. Acknowledgements http://www.divinedestinydoctor.com/READ_THE_DDD_BOOK_.html
34. http://www.drivenbydestinynow.com/praise.html
35. Ibid.
36. The Seeker's Handbook, pp. 353-354. Emphasis added.
37. The Elijah List advertisement "Don't Miss the Mantles, Measures and Mandates II Conference," July 23, 2010. Emphasis in original. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=8500
38. The Elijah List advertisement sent out March 6, 2009. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=7422
39. http://www.elijahshopper.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=BK%2DMChi003 and book promo here, along with his other activities: http://www.markchironna.com/
40. See this Elijah List prophesy by Mark Chironna, "For the Tribulation You Are Enduring is Proving that My Kingdom is Expanding," http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/8792 and "You Can Hear My Voice," a prophetic message published by Charisma Magazine, July 7, 2009, http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/prophetic-insight/22522-trust-in-me
41. He is listed as a member of the International Coalition of Apostles http://www.apostlesnet.net/April%20ICA%20Short%20Directory.pdf and also see, for example, the "Florida Glory Breakthrough" conference held this past March, advertised by The Elijah List, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/8453
42. See http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=7762 and http://www.kingdomeconomicsummitblog.com/category/seven-mountain-symphony
43. See the letter where C. Peter Wagner launched Lance Wallnau and his 7 Mountain Mandate for Dominionism archived here: http://www.erwm.com/ApostolicLetter.htm
44. Advertised by C. Peter Wagner in a letter dated July 17, 2009. Audio and video available here: http://freshpublishing.com/global-harvest-ministries-orlando-fl-fresh-pr-33429.html
45. http://www.thejesusmanifesto.com/
46. Emphases in original. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/html/textonly-011410-Chironna.html

*Driven by Destiny blog post, http://drivenbydestinynow.com/blog/archive.php?category=expectation

Monday, July 19, 2010



By Gaylene Goodroad

When I finished my online E-booklet, My Life in “The Way”, exposing the Buddhist/Taoist/New Age roots of the martial arts,[1] I also documented the inseparable relationship to its Western point man, Chuck Norris.[2] Norris is a martial artist, actor, author, political activist—and professing Christian—which necessitates the need for discerning Christians influenced by his celebrity to weigh his beliefs, his associations, and his mission with the Bible.


Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them

(Rom. 16:17)

As I documented in My Life in “The Way”, Mr. Norris kept his 1988 autobiography, The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story, very secular. While there is no mention of a Christian conversion or belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, he admits to being influenced by New Thought/Human Potential gurus, Napoleon Hill and Dr. Joseph Murphy.[3] Mr. Norris routinely utilizes and affirms the use of visualization techniques throughout his book while recounting famous karate matches with other notable martial artists. Commenting on this practice I wrote:

Much could be said concerning the occult/metaphysical nature of the human potential movement, but suffice it to say, it is NOT Christian. Napoleon Hill was given his formula of success—the “Supreme Secret”—from unseen visitors on the astral plane calling themselves “The Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India.” They taught Hill the power of visualization and his famous maxim, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” His most popular book, Think and Grow Rich, influenced millions. This demonic philosophy is behind such motivational teachings of the late Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, and Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret.[4]

With prompting and inspiration from his second wife, Gena,[5] Norris wrote a second “Christian” autobiography, Against All Odds, in 2004. In it, Mr. Norris says that he trusted Christ as his Savior at age 12 (sometime in 1952), while making a commitment to Him sometime later after going forward at a Billy Graham Crusade.[6] Despite this public profession of faith, Mr. Norris fails to recant neither his New Thought/Mind-Science techniques nor the core philosophies of the martial arts—teachings and practices that are completely incompatible with true Christianity.[7] Also troubling is an underlying “might makes right” attitude inherent in the fighting arts. On page 30, Mr. Norris records this story:

The ambushers beat him up badly [an Air Force policeman] and robbed him. [He] was a black belt in tang soo do. When the slicky boys found this out, they were so horrified at the potential reprisal they might suffer, they printed an apology in the local paper. It did them no good. When somebody messes with one black belt, he or she is challenging the whole organization. One of our members tracked down several of the attackers. He killed one and injured two. The police arrested him, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. He was back out on the street in two weeks. The lesson was clear: Mess with one member of our group, and your messing with all.[8]

The Bible says that murder is wrong and that vengeance belongs to the LORD.[9]

On the contrary, Mr. Norris has retained this unbiblical mixture of beliefs and practices and has made them a primary part of his life’s work. I documented his most disturbing belief (and teaching) in my E-booklet:

Forty-four years after his professed conversion, and in between his two autobiographies, Chuck Norris published another book in 1996 entitled: The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems. This book is a real problem for Christians. The reader discovers the “secret power within” on pages 127-130: “Ki: The Universal Power.” “The fact is that everyone has ki, which is really little more than a technique of visualization allowing one to utilize the internal energy that we all have and letting it flow through the body…”[10]

On page 36 of My Life in “The Way”, I made this observation followed by a probing question:

By now, the Christian reader is rightfully confused regarding the source of Mr. Norris’ “secret inner strength,” and “secret power within.” Has he made the same deleterious leap as Michael Chen and Rev. Jordan in equating the impersonal “ki” force (kundalini power) with the Holy Spirit of the Living God—the third person of the triune godhead? Has he unwittingly become a de facto false teacher of Far Eastern mysticism in woolen garb like this author did before fully repenting—and renouncing the martial arts? Let the evidence speak.


For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you

(1 Cor. 11:19)

It has already been established that Mr. Norris’ faith is a heady mix of Christianity, New Thought and Zen Buddhism. A closer inspection reveals that his peculiar brand of Christianity is strictly of the charismatic Word-Faith variety. He has been a motivational speaker for T.D. Jakes Ministries and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN),[11] as well as Ed Cole Ministries. He will be a featured speaker at the 2010 Lion’s Roar Global Men’s Summit in Dallas in November,[12] a ministry of the Christian Men’s Network (CMN) begun by the late Cole.[13] Dr. Cole was nurtured under the ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, becoming an Assemblies of God pastor within two years of his conversion.[14] He later became a men’s motivational lecturer and the inspiration for Promise Keepers.[15] Cole has mentored many influential men including Bill McCartney, John Maxwell, Pat Robertson, Kenneth Copeland, Oliver North, Kong Hee, Sunday Adelaja… and Chuck Norris.[16] Adelaja, a key New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostle and 7 Mountain/Sphere Mandate promoter, has led teaching seminars with Norris, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mel Gibson.[17] Among many Word-Faith notables, Norris will share the Lion’s Roar Summit platform with Mike Hayes, Kong Hee, Brian Houston, Jack Hayford, Eddie Long, Phil Pringle, and Jim Garlow,[18] Christian right activist and chair of Newt Gingrich’s ReAL (Renewing American Leadership).[19]

Norris endorsed Joel Osteen’s 2004 book, Your Best Life Now,[20] and in the introduction to his latest book, Black Belt Patriotism, Mr. Norris commends Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.[21] Mr. Norris received an honorary doctorate from Liberty University in 2008,[22] the same school that hosted the “Awakening 2010 Conference” in April that featured prominent Dominionists,[23] and that invited Mormon Glenn Beck to deliver its 2010 Commencement Address.[24]

Chuck Norris, along with his wife Gena, is also on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS),[25] which appears to be a commendable organization until a closer examination is made. The vice president of this council is (Ret.) Col. Jim Ammerman, an apostle in C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), a component of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and personal friend to John Hagee and Kenneth Copeland.[26] Among the luminaries on the NCBCPS Advisory Board, is Janet Folger Porter, the May Day Event organizer who lost her Faith2Action radio program on VCY America after Herescope posted a series of articles exposing her ties to Dominonism.[27] Porter, like Norris, also writes a column for WorldNetDaily.[28]

Also noted is NCBCPS Advisory Board member, David Barton, a patriotic Dominionist and historical revisionist,[29] who has influenced not only the NCBCPS curriculum, but Fox News host Glenn Beck[30] and the Texas State Board of Education.[31] Barton’s version of history is also a prominent feature of Norris’ latest book, Black Belt Patriotism, How To Reawaken America.[32]

Todd DuBord, Chuck Norris’ chaplain (TopKick Productions) and researcher,[33] was interviewed on Wallbuilders Live! (Barton’s radio program) in March of 2009 by Rick Green, a former Texas legislator marked by ethical improprieties who failed an attempt at becoming a Texas Supreme Court Judge in April 2010—despite glowing endorsements from David Barton… and Chuck Norris.[34] In the radio interview, DuBord referred to Black Belt Patriotism as a “Christian Cultural Manifesto,”

…A hardcore look at what our Founders believed and a way to reawaken America and to get back to that vision—very similar to what Wallbuilders is all about. In fact, we [Chuck and Todd] use many, many resources from Wallbuilders and always appreciate your guy’s ministry.[35]

David Barton also has strong ties to former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, founder of Renewing American Leadership (ReAL),[36] and possible presidential candidate in 2012[37] —who also has a working relationship with Chuck Norris. In 2008, Norris appeared in drilling ads for Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future campaign.[38] In May, Norris was a featured speaker at the National NRA Convention in Charlotte, N.C., alongside Gingrich, Sarah Palin, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Lt. Col. Oliver North, and Glenn Beck,[39] who frequently features Barton on his TV/radio program[40], and related special events.[41]

Chuck Norris has not only thrown his celebrity behind a famous Word-Faith author (Osteen), a Texas Supreme Court judge hopeful (Rick Green), but also endorsed former Republican Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee for president in 2007-2008.[42] Incredibly, Huckabee appeared in an ad with money preacher, Kenneth Copeland, in the December 2007 issue of Charisma magazine and spent a week on Copeland’s TV daily broadcast, the Believers Voice of Victory—at the same time that the Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into the Copelands (and several other multimillion-dollar Word-Faith ministry moguls).[43] Instead of distancing himself from Copeland, Huckabee accepted a $29,000 personal donation from Copeland, held a fundraiser at the Copeland estate raising upwards of $100,000[44] —and even appeared in a live webcast pastor’s conference sponsored by Kenneth Copeland Ministries requesting emergency funds. One report says that following Huckabee’s plea, $111,000 in cash was raised for Huckabee, with an additional unspecified amount given in campaign pledges presumed to be in excess of a million dollars.[45]

As mentioned previously, Chuck Norris is a columnist for WorldNetDaily (WND),[46] a conservative online news source founded by Joseph Farah, a Dominionist sympathizer[47] with radical right views.[48] Farah just re-released his Dominionist-leaning 2005 book, Taking America Back: A Radical Plan to Revive Freedom, Morality, and Justice, as well introducing his latest work, The Tea Party Manifesto: A Vision for an American Rebirth earlier this year.[49] In September, WND and Farah will host the “Taking America Back Convention,” in Miami, FL. Speakers will include author, political commentator, and syndicated columnist Ann Coulter, Rep. Michele Bachmann R-Minn., constitutional lawyer Michael Farris, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Alan Keyes, Christian right political activist, and Bible teacher Chuck Missler (Koinonia House).[50]


Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ

(Phil. 3:17-20)

Despite the personal notoriety, Chuck Norris considers his life’s mission to be KickStartKids, a martial arts program for at-risk school children that former President H.W. Bush helped him start in 1992.[51] Norris has said, “martial arts training provides them [at-risk children] with the core values and philosophies associated with leading a productive and healthy life…”[52] According to Norris, those “core values and philosophies,” taught in the KickStart program, square with the Bible. “The martial arts is a philosophy that is pretty much the principles in the Bible. Even though we can’t talk about Jesus, we can talk about what Jesus talks about in the Bible—love, loving your neighbor, being good people.”[53]

It has previously been established that the root philosophies and underlying values of the martial arts are completely at odds with the Bible.[54] Nevertheless, Mr. Norris has a vision to establish this program in every school in America, growing his nearly 7,000 students into 24,000,000 and beyond.[55] All the proceeds from Norris’ book sales and projects like his World Combat League, airing on the Versus Channel, go to KickStartKids.[56] In 2009, Norris received the McLane Leadership in Business Award by President Bush Sr., “for his service to America’s youth.”[57] Accepting the award, Norris told the audience, “I’m a product of what martial arts can do for you, it turned my whole life around…It changed a young, insecure, nonathletic kid into a world champion and renowned actor.”[58]

In keeping with his “service to youth,” Chuck Norris and Pastor Todd DuBord wrote The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book in November of 2009.[59] The book (published by Tyndale Publishing) is a compilation of mythical sayings (in the spirit of Paul Bunyan) with inspirational messages woven in—“many of which reintroduce Americans, particularly our youth, to our Founder’s America.”[60] These Chuck Norris “facts” have become an Internet phenomenon, such as “Chuck Norris puts the laughter in manslaughter,” and “There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma.” Norris has even become a cult hero among American—and Iraqi forces.[61]

Norris posed the following questions in a March 2009 column posted in WorldNetDaily, “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?[62] Six months later, Norris wrote a piece entitled: “The Secret Weapon in America’s Revolution.” Here is the “secret weapon”:

I believe young people will play a critical role in reawakening and returning America again to its Founding Father’s vision, ways and principles…I believe there exists a latent power in this particular generation that waits to be awakened and reveal its full potential…I’m not talking about selling them on a partisan platform, but a patriot one (as our Founders had.)… [63]

(This sounds alarmingly like Dominionism’s “New Breed.”)[64] In the Black Belt Patriotism chapter entitled, “Calling All Millennials!,” Norris gives this charge to his younger readers:

We need you to help us reawaken America and rebuild what our Founding Fathers started…If you’re a Millennial, consider this an invitation. We need your help. I need your help to join me and millions of others in a revolution (or, if you will, a rebelution), not to abandon the principles of the past but combine them with social action in the present to build a better tomorrow. In other words, it’s time to make some noise![65]

In the introduction to this book, Chuck Norris makes this statement: “I’ve committed the rest of my life to help Old Glory rise again to her heights of splendor.” He followed his remarks with a visit back to the Alamo (coincidently the same locale for the Patriot Pastor’s Tea Party Rich Scarborough held July 7),[66] proudly detailing the human casualties in this infamous battle. He concluded the historical narrative by saying, “They lost that battle but would provide the inspiration to win the war. Their fighting spirit rallied the new found republic and still does to this day. So when you think all is lost in America, remember the Alamo!”[67]

Human beings were killed in this armed revolution. Is this the kind of “revolution” he has planned for the youth—the Millennials— of America? Decide for yourself. Norris closes this intro with a quote from General Sam Houston, former governor of Texas and leader of the Texas Revolution of 1835.[68]

We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the contest, and must conquer or perish. It is vain to look for present aid: none is at hand. We must now act or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard, and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father’s name.

1. Scroll down my blog page, http://mylifeintheway.blogspot.com, and click the (pdf) link on the bottom of the page to read my free e-booklet, My Life in “The Way,” From the Broad Way of the East to the Narrow Way of Christ. See Herescope review: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-life-in-way.html
2. My Life in “The Way,” pp. 29-36.
3. Ibid., pg. 29.
4. Ibid. (Note: For an in depth background on New Thought, see Pastor Larry DeBruyn’s excellent article: “Bewitched! Evil Eye Over Evangelicalism,” Discernment Group, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NL_MarchApril2010.pdf).
5. Laura J. Bagby, “A Powerful Witness: Chuck Norris Gets a Kick out of Life,” http://www.cbn.com/entertainment/screen/bagby_chucknorris_0904.aspx.
6. Carlos Ray Norris, Against All Odds, B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, pp. 22, 29-30.
7. My Life in “The Way,” pg. 30.
8. Against All Odds, pg 30.
9. See: Ex. 20:13; Rom. 12:19.
10. My Life in “The Way,” pg. 31.
11. Chuck Norris official website, http://chucknorris.com/html/biog.html. (Note: For an expose` on T.D. Jakes, see Pastor Larry DeBruyn’s article: “Eroticizing the Eucharist,” Pastor DeBruyn’s website, http://guardinghisflock.com/2010/03/04/eroticizing-the-eucharist-1/).
12. Lions Roar 2010, http://lionsroar.majoringinmen.com/?page_id=21.
13. http://www.lionsroar2010.com/?page_id=46; Black Belt Patriotism, pp. 163-164.
14. Ed Cole Library, http://edcole.org/index.php?fuseaction=edcole.main.
15. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Louis_Cole.
16. Ed Cole Library, http://www.disciplemen.com/node/829; Black Belt Patriotism, pp. 163-164.
17. Robert Duncan, “Sunday Adelaja: Europe’s Mega-Church Leader,” Spero News, Nov. 1, 2006, http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idCategory=34&idsub=127&id=6370&t=Sunday+Adelaja%3A+Europe's+Mega-Church+Leader; Pastor Adelaja’s church website, http://www.godembassy.org/en/news/news_publ.php?search=chuck norris&showdetail=538; http://www.godembassy.org/en/news/news_publ.php?search=chuck norris&showdetail=1160; (Note: to read more on Pastor Adelaja, see Herescope, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html).
18. Lions Roar 2010, http://lionsroar.majoringinmen.com/?page_id=21.
19. Herescope, “Mainstreaming Dominionism,” http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html.
20. Daryl Wingerd, “A Critical review of Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen,” http://ccwonline.org/osteen1.html.
21. Chuck Norris, Black Belt Patriotism, Fidelis Books, imprint of B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, 2010, pg. 9.
22. Katherine T. Phan, Christian Post, http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080514/chuck-norris-tells-liberty-univ-grads-to-let-god-direct-steps/index.html.
23. Liberty University website, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=17574.
24. Glenn Beck website, http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/40278/.
25. NCBCPS website, http://www.bibleinschools.net/About-Us/Board-of-Director-and-Advisors.
26. Talk To Action, Part Two – “Conspiracy as Prophecy,” http://militaryreligiousfreedom.org/press-releases/t2a_conspiracy.html; http://www.talk2action.org/printpage/2009/6/3/12516/15056.
27. http://www.crosstalkamerica.com/shows/2010/06/the_gospel_is_more_important_t.php;Herescope, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/may-day-prayers.html; http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/janet-porter-goes-warpath; (Note: For more info on Dominionism, see Derek Gilbert interview with Sarah Leslie, “VFTB 048-False Christs and False Prophets,” PID Radio, http://www.pidradio.com/?p=875 follow links on page); and Marsha West, “Damnable Heresies Invading the Church,” May 29, 2010, http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha197.htm.
28. WND website, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=46; http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=43&authorId=88&tId=8.
29. NCBCPS website, http://www.bibleinschools.net/About-Us/Board-of-Directors-and-Advisors; http://www.liarsforjesus.com/; Chris Rodda, “Chuck Norris Helps the NCBCPS Spread David Barton’s Lies,” http://www.talk2action.org/story/2007/4/15/04011/4130; Herescope, “Mainstreaming Dominionism,” http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html.
30. Karl Frisch, “Author debunks butchering of 1809 Adams letter by ‘Christian nationalist pseudo-historian” and Beck,’” http://mediamatters.org/print/blog/201006250036.
31. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/barton-named-texas-school-board-experts-panel; http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/education/tx_textbook_controversy_030810.
32. Black Belt Patriotism; See extensive footnoting of David Barton: pp. 246, 256- 257, 259, 261, 264, 266.
33. Todd DuBord’s Official website,
http://www.nationaltreasures.org/; Black Belt Patriotism, pg. 223.
34. Justin Elliott, “Leading Texas Supreme Court Candidate Has Checkered Ethical Past, Religious-Right Worldview,” http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/04/meet_rick_green_next_texas_supreme_court_justice.php
“Disaster (Barely) Averted: Rick Green Loses Texas Supreme Court Run-Off,” http://www.rightwingwatch.org/print/5194.
35. Todd DuBord with Rick Green, “Saving Our National Treasures,” Friday, May 08, 2009, Wallbuilder’s Live! Website, http://www.wallbuilderslive.com/archives.asp?d=200905.
36. Dan Gilgoff, “Newt Gingrich Steps Up Efforts to Mobilize Religious Conservatives,” http://politics.usnews.com/news/religion/articles/2009/03/20/newt-gingrich-steps-up-efforts-to-mobilize-religious-conservatives_print.html; Gingrich interviewed by Barton & Green, Mar. 23, 2009, http://www.wallbuilderslive.com/archives.asp?d=200903.
37. Des Moines, IA-AP, July 12, 2010, “Gingrich Calls Obama ‘Disaster,’ Says He’s Weighing 2012 Presidential Bid,” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/12/gingrich-calls-obama-disaster-says-hes-weighing-presidential-bid/.
38. Noel Sheppard, “Chuck Norris for American Solutions: Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less!”, http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/06/14/chuck-norris-american-solutions-drill-here-drill-now-pay-less
39. Jim Morrill, “NRA convention may draw 70,000 to uptown Charlotte this weekend,”
40. David Barton on Glenn Beck, Part 1 of 5, ReAL video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MTLG3_y_Xc; Barton interviewed on Beck’s radio program, http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/196/39831/.
41. David Barton was scheduled to speak on “faith,” at Beck’s “American Revival” meeting in Salt Lake City July 17; Glenn Beck website, http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/42960/.
42. “Chuck Norris Endorses Mike Huckabee for President,” Oct. 22, 2007, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,304096,00.html; http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=44234.
43. David Van Biema, “Huckabee Stands By a Televangelist,” http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1684330,00.html; Michelle Vu, “Huckabee Undeterred by Senate Probe of Copeland,” http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071123/huckabee-undeterred-by-senate-probe-of-copeland/index.html
44. “The Huckabee Copeland Connection,” http://thoughtsongod.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/the-huckabee-copeland-connection/.
45. Allie Martin, “Copeland Ministries accused of ‘shady’ Huckabee donation,” Jan. 31, 2008, http://www.onenewsnow.com/Printer.aspx?id-66025.
46. WND Authors & Commentators page, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=33.
47. A “clear-eyed, Christ-centered Worldview”? June 15, 2006, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/06/clear-eyed-christ-centered-worldview.html.
48. Herescope, “R & R Revival and Revolt: The Tea Party’s Strange Bedfellows and What They Believe,” Apr. 22, 2010, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/04/r-revival-and-revolt.html.
49. WND bookstore online, http://superstore.wnd.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=1755; http://superstore.wnd.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=3754.
50. http://www.takingamericaback2010.com/speakers.html.
51. Black Belt Patriotism, pg. 157.
52. Ibid, pp. 157-158.
53. Laura J. Bagby article; (Note: See My Life in “The Way,” pg. 34).
54. My Life in “The Way” (See endnote #1).
55. KickStart Official website, http://www.kick-start.org/chuck.html.
56. Chuck Norris, “Questions I am asked most about martial arts,” WND, http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56560; Meghan Cooke, “Chuck Norris draws long line of admirers,” http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/05/15/1437576/chuck-norris-draws-long-line-of.html.
57. Meredith Stancik, “Chuck Norris Receives Leadership in Business Award,” Mar. 31, 2009, http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/42236757.html.
58. Matt Woolbright, “Martial arts legend speaks about his life, accomplishments,” http://www.thebatt.com/2.8485/bush-presents-chuck-norris-with-award-1.1182956.
59. Todd Dubord’s Official website, http://www.nationaltreasures.org/.
60. Chuck Norris, “The Secret Weapon in America’s Revolution,” http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=33748.
61. Mohammed Abbas, “Norris Gains Cult Status Among Troops,” Mar. 3, 2008, Reuters, http://news.aol.com/story/_a/norris-gains-cult-status-among-troops/20080310090409990001
62. Chuck Norris, “I may run for president of Texas,” March 9, 2009, WND; http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=91103.
63. Chuck Norris, “The Secret Weapon in America’s Revolution,” Sept. 29, 2009, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=33748.
64. Jewel Grewe, “A New Breed Arising,” Discernment Newsletter, March/April 2009, Vol. 20, No. 2, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLMarchApril_2009.htm.
65. Black Belt Patriotism, pp. 156-157.
66. Vision America website, http://www.visionamerica.us/pastors/national-patriot-pastors-tea-party/
67. Black Belt Patriotism, pg. 12.
68. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Houston; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Revolution.

NOTE: Emphases in quoted material may have been added.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


My Cornerstone Experience*

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22)*

It is easy to cross the line from judging what is being taught to judging those doing the teaching. I am sharing my Cornerstone experience with you with a cautious heart and much trembling.

The Cornerstone Festival began twenty-seven years ago under the umbrella of Jesus People USA, a Christian community based in Chicago, Illinois.[1] This weeklong event takes place in a rural setting in the heart of Illinois. The Festival is known for its many stages where dozens of bands share time from dawn until well after dusk. It typically draws ten to fifteen thousand young people – many of which set up campsites.

I embarked on the journey after hearing stories – some good, but mostly bad. I purchased my ticket and organized my itinerary from the official Cornerstone website. The bands for this huge event were a strange assortment of artists from Screamo to Acoustic. Most notably were bands with names like Rodent Emporium, Sexually Frustrated, and Impending Doom… and a creepily-masked group called Grave Robber[2] who looked like they came off an episode of "Tales from the Crypt." However, the most interesting part of the Festival were the seminars that were being offered.

Not knowing what to expect the first day, I arrived at the Festival enjoying the beautiful weather and pretty scenery. The attendees were already milling around. After parking in a distant pasture and walking to the Festival site, I was pleasantly surprised to find a used book tent to browse.

During the next four days I attended 17 hour-long seminars on 9 topics under tents in a pasture with busy sounding activity going on all around. Water trucks kept the dust under control and flatbeds were taking care of full garbage cans. Bands performed nonstop in the near distance – including AC/DC’s "Back in Black" blaring from a car radio.

It was impossible to attend every seminar, but there seemed to be some common themes among most of the seminars I attended. These were: social justice, poverty, monastic wisdom, environmentalism, philosophy, evolution, and Bono. I quickly learned that terms such as “Fundamentalist,” “Evangelical,” and “those King James people,” were spat out with bitter animosity. I was also quickly learning that: (1) Protestants and Catholics aren’t all that different because we can all agree on the Nicene Creed; (2) the Desert Fathers should be held in high regard; and (3) that getting people to be productive in their community seemed much more important than the condition of their eternal souls. On one occasion the following question was asked by a college professor who wanted to prove that we evolved: “How can we come to peace with having an ancestry of apes?”

There were two specific speakers that were of the greatest concern.

Jason Barr:
He is a minister at Ecclesia Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana and a novice Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict who also maintains a radical Christian blog called “An Absolution Revolution.” Mr. Barr describes himself as a recovering right-wing fundamentalist-cum-Christ-archist, a “liturgical Anabaptist,” a “practicing deconstructionist,” and a “free church catholic.” His special interest is exploring the pacifist and proto-anarchist roots of the Stone/Campbell Restoration Movement, the tradition in which he was raised.[3]

This angry young man covered the topic of "Radical Environmentalism in Dialogue with Christian Theology." It was distressing to witness the nods of agreement and shared bitterness of the audience. In true Dominionist fashion, he held Creation (with its own agency) up with God as he explained the pronouns in Genesis 1:26, “Let US make man in OUR image,” he said were referring to God and Creation, not God the Father and God the Son. He explained that in Genesis 2:15, the real meaning of the word till isn’t “to work” but “to service,” as in we are to be Creation’s servants; the word keep means to maintain creation as a sacrament. We sat through the tirade of how the Earth was being raped, how we need to find a way to engage with the Earth, and how radical environmentalism is working to break the Earth’s oppression. To be honest, I was fearful for the people who kept messy, trash-strewn campsites at Cornerstone.

Mr. Barr made sarcastic comments about eschatology, the book of Revelation, and the Anti-Christ. Throughout the two sessions, he made statements like: “I do not endorse nor condemn blowing up bulldozers or breaking windows [for the cause of environmentalism], “and “I think that God is using the actions of these violent eco-people to protect the Earth and its resources.” At one point an audience member declared that he didn’t care if the FBI was there or not and proceeded to tell us about the Plowshares Movement which is a group of people who break into military bases to destroy weapons.

Debbie Blue:
The Pastor of House of Mercy in St. Paul, Minnesota, a church she co-founded fifteen years ago for cynical Christians.[4] Pastor Blue was leading two different three-day seminars based on books she has authored: From Stone to Living Word and Sensual Orthodoxy. The sessions were as follows:

From Stone to Living Word. This seminar dealt with our tendency to create an idol out of the Bible instead of focusing on the fact that our redemption is through the love and relationship with “a radically alive” God. You’ll notice there’s no mention of the atoning work of Jesus Christ nor the shedding of His blood for remission of sins. She made statements like, “The church [falsely] advertises faith as the key,” “We tend to think ‘inspired by God’ means inerrant and this stiffens the Word instead of setting it free,” and “It’s not good to read the Bible with the Platonic idea; we can get stuck on the idea that truth is static.”

Her teaching reduced Abraham to a crazy old hobo. The snake in the Garden of Eden was touted as being more smart than bad. The Fall was dismissed as she explained that the snake, who was a non-being, was referring to his own made-up, redefined god when talking to Eve. Pastor Blue encouraged us to read the Bible in the practice of midrash, which she defined as freedom to fill in the gaps and make guesses with ambiguity and an invitation to play. Noticeable was her resentment and bitterness towards her Bible Baptist roots. When faced with a question from an audience member asking her if there is a difference between knowing there is a God and accepting Jesus Christ, she seemed uneasy and unsure. This was especially obvious when a young man stated that there was a difference and why. But as with most of the questions, she threw it back at the questioner, asking him what he thought about it.

Sensual Orthodoxy. These sessions brought Jesus Christ down to our level complete with references to body parts that He possessed while here on earth. She also stated that He was a vulnerable four-limbed hairy mammal. (I could only handle one session.)

Viewing the Grounds

While walking around the grounds, viewing the stages and vendor tents, the music coming from the eastern region of the grounds sounded like twin turbo engines screaming. There were at least two places where tattoo and body piercing were available. Many skull-tattooed attendees were walking around. These tattoos seem to have had the same theme as most of the T-shirts offered by performing bands.

Goth and darkness were very popular. Cornerstone offered tents for Goth makeovers, a Halloween party, and movies. There was a late viewing of Troll 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or The House of the Devil. Also offered was a zombie walk with about 300 other people in the dark of night.[5] In fact, I had the pleasure of getting to walk behind a young women dressed up as a zombie, blood and all, as she contorted her way through the vendor tent, advertising an upcoming performance of a band on her cardboard sign.

I visited stages throughout the day, some mellow and some involving mosh pits. There were tributes to Alicia Keyes and Bob Dylan. A song was being sung about murder which was blaming the churches’ for their refusal to deal with spousal abuse. Most of vendors were representing the bands. Some were declaring social justice. A few of the Native American booths advertised their religious heritage in their wares.

Feeling a great emptiness, I walked by a tent where there were no instruments except a hand drum as a group of siblings led children’s church. It was hard to keep the tears from flowing as I heard them sing "Wayfaring Stranger." Their voices were honest and pure as they were declaring that one day they would go to that bright land to see their Father. The memory of it still refreshes my soul.

My Cornerstone experience ended shortly after a conversation with a T-shirt vendor as we tried to hear one another over the noise and screams coming from across the lane. He was also perplexed and said he wasn’t coming back next year.

Among the bands and speakers, there were a many Dominionists, Vineyard, and Protestant/Catholic combined peoples putting out their theology. The Gospel may have been presented, but not once did I hear mention of Jesus Christ's sanctifying work or His precious gift of salvation. Instead I heard about the greatness of the monks and the need to make productive communities.

The Truth:

The greatest lack in this Festival was the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the real Chief Cornerstone:

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:8-12)*

1. http://www.jpusa.org/lessons6.html
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaBycAHenrE
3. http://propheticheretic.wordpress.com/jason/
4. http://www.houseofmercy.org/?page_id=8
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHOuSTab-M

*This article was authored by a "concerned Christian," who embarked on this mission with the prayer support of Discernment Ministries.
**Emphases added in Bible verses

NOTE: This article has subsequently been re-published with permission and includes the author's PHOTOS of the event. It is re-titled "A READER’S EXPERIENCE AT THE CORNERSTONE FESTIVAL." See: http://apprising.org/2010/07/16/a-readers-experience-at-the-cornerstone-festival/

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Change America

How to Change the World

An Editorial by Pastor Anton Bosch

Everybody wants change. People want the way the city and the country is governed to change, and people want changes in their churches. President Obama won the presidency on the slogan “change you can believe in,” and currently every political candidate of every party in America is promising change. Many Christians and churches are actively campaigning for change in the country. There is no question that things need to change, but the question is how is that change going to be achieved and by whom?

Everybody expects change to come from the top. The President and the Pastor must change the country and the church. And if they can’t do it, then we need to get the right man in the job that will make the changes we need. But the truth is that leaders cannot bring about change when the people refuse to change.

Moses was the greatest spiritual and the greatest political leader of all time but in spite of all his gifts, skills and anointing could not get the people to change from a nation of fearful slaves to a victorious people of God. This left God with only one option and that was to destroy that whole generation. It is no different today. Even if Moses came back as the leader of this nation or of your church, he would not be able to make the people change if they did not change themselves.

The Leader is not the people. The Pastor is not the church and the President is not the nation. The ability and desire to change lies with each individual and change in the church and the country will not come until we, the people, begin to change.

The first five chapters of Isaiah reflect the political situation in many countries and the spiritual situation in many churches today. Judah was filled with corruption, sin, materialism, immorality, addictions, arrogance, hedonism and a perversion of justice. Isaiah saw that and had as much to say about it as we have to say about our society. Six times Isaiah pronounces woe on the sin and the sinners, but in chapter 6 something dramatic happens. Isaiah saw the Lord and he saw himself in comparison to God. This time his response is “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah finally understood that it was about his own imperfections and problems first, and that change for the nation had to start within his own heart and life.

That’s the problem. It is so easy to blame everyone else and to enumerate the nation's and the church’s problems. But we often fail to recognize our personal problems and see that change has to begin with each one of us.

  • We want the Ten Commandments written in stone in the court house, but it is not written in our hearts. In fact, we can’t even recite them!
  • We lash out about the impact that Islam is having on our society but we have done nothing to impact our community with true Christianity.
  • We will picket against abortion clinics but will use the same clinics when our licentiousness bears fruit.
  • We are angry about the 4,000 babies that are aborted every day in America (and we should be!). But no one cares about the millions of spiritual babes that never come to be born again and are aborted because of the stumbling blocks and hostile environment they find amongst Christians and in churches.
  • We protest against same-sex “marriage,” yet our own marriages are a mess.
  • We complain about homosexuals and their rising visibility and influence. But we are not an example to our children of what a godly man and woman looks like.

We emasculate men and smile when boys are effeminate and fathers are either brutes or wimps, and we wonder why boys become homosexual. Men do not know the meaning of true love, and they do not take responsibility to be leaders in their homes, and yet they wonder why girls grow up to hate men and love women.

Everyone is frustrated about corruption, pork barrels and special deals in government. Yet we bribe our children and spouses when we have not done the right thing, or we bribe them to get them to do the right thing. We show favoritism to children, church members and others, and at the same time we blame the government for favoring special interest groups and for nepotism. We complain about the government bailing out big business when big business deserved to crash. At the same time we bail our children out every time they paint themselves into a financial corner.

Very few Christians read the Bible and pray regularly and even fewer read the Bible and pray with their children. Yet those same people are angry about the removal of prayer and the Bible from schools.

Everyone is perturbed by the rising national debt and the inability of the government to curb expenditures. Meanwhile their personal credit is maxed out and their own greed drives them to spend more than they earn.

Who Removed the Cross?

Many complain about the removal of the cross from public places, but very very few live a crucified life. This is the problem.

It is much easier to lobby, picket, protest and blame others for the very problems we are not willing to fix in our own lives. We can have a cross on every street corner, but until Christians, individually, learn what it means to take up their cross daily (Luke 9:23), nothing will change. Like the fornicating, drunken celebrity who wears a cross around his/her neck, so Christians think that architectural crosses will cover the nation and church’s backsliding and sin. But it does not.

Many Christians want revival in their church and complain about the state of the church, but they themselves are cold and far from God. The same people who complain that the church does not grow, never bring an unbeliever to hear the Gospel, let alone witness to anyone. Some Christians wonder why the meetings are not full, but they themselves miss meetings for any excuse. People complain that the worship is dead, but they themselves do not sing with all their heart, and never open their mouth to say a few words to praise the Lord.

Christians complain about the lack of love in the church, but they themselves will not go out of their way to show love to others. Every church has a group of people who wish they could have a better pastor, but they never pray for God to anoint him and make him better.

You see we all think that if we can get different leaders in the church and in the nation that things will change. They will not. Change begins with you and me. If every Christian in your church suddenly began to serve the Lord the way He should be served, revival will break out in your church, in spite of the pastor. When Christians in this nation begin to be true, real Bible Christians -- instead of the fakes most are -- the nation will change, no matter who is in power.

Change begins with you, personally. That is the only area you have jurisdiction and control over. When you change, your spouse will change and your children will change. When you change, your church will change, and when the church changes it will begin to impact the community and eventually the nation. Jesus said we should begin in Jerusalem, then Judea and then Samaria and then the rest of the world (Acts 1:8). But we want to begin in Washington, London or Pretoria and then work back. It does not work that way. Change begins with me and you.

Peter – just one man, changed (John 21) and then the twelve changed; that spread to 120, and eventually to 3,000, and then another 5,000, and soon the whole world was being affected by the Christians (Acts 17:6).

Every nation in the world desperately needs change and so do most churches. But the change will never come from the top down. True change starts in your heart. Won’t you begin that change today? Yes, we need the Lord’s help, but He is not going to force-feed you. He has sent you this message and it is up to you to take the next step and respond to Him.

The Truth:

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6)

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24)

"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)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)