Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Emerging: from Tradition to Transition to Transformation

In order to understand the Leadership Network's involvement with the formation of an Emergent Church movement, it is necessary to take a few posts to explain the bigger picture. There is a much broader historical and philosophical context in which to view this "paradigm shift" to an "emerging" church.

Last week Herescope examined the use of the term "paradigm shift." Today's post will look at the words "transformation" and "change." Both of these terms are integral to understanding the formation of the Emergent church.

There is a 3-step process that leads to "transformation." It begins with "tradition" and then enters through a phase of "transition" before finally reaching "transformation." This process is facilitated by the use of "change agents." The 1/25/06 Herescope post examined the three types of "innovator" described by Brad Smith of Leadership Network in his report. These three types of "innovator" -- Adapters, Revolutionaries and Groundbreakers -- fit the transformative model:

Tradition -- Adapters
Transition -- Revolutionaries
Transformation -- Groundbreakers


The word "transformation" is one of those words that has a double meaning. To the hearer it may call to mind Romans 12:1-2. To the speaker, it may mean something different altogether. Marilyn Ferguson introduced the new meaning of this word to the American public in her 1980 book that brought New Age Theosophy out of the closet and into the mainstream. In The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J.P. Tarcher, Inc.), Ferguson explains that the new meaning of this word is rooted in the heretical doctrines of human evolution:

"The term transformation has interesting parallel meanings in mathematics, in the physical sciences, and in human change. A transformation is, literally, a forming over, a restructuring. . . .

"And, of course, we speak of the transformation of people -- specifically the transformation of consciousness. In this context consciousness does not mean simple waking awareness. Here it refers to the state of being conscious of one's own consciousness. . . .

"Significantly, ancient traditions describe transformation as new seeing. Their metaphors are of light and clarify. They speak of insight, vision. Teilhard said that the aim of evolution is 'ever more perfect eyes in a world in which there is always more to see.'" (p. 68) [emphases added]

Ferguson's reference to the French Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin is important to note. Teilhard, censored as an apostate, postulated that just as man evolved from apes, that there would be an evolution of man to a higher order species he called homo noeticus (new man). This would be an evolution of consciousness, a collective cosmic blurp that would create a higher-order species of mankind. Marilyn Ferguson sums up Teilhard's beliefs when she stated, "The proven plasticity of the human brain and human awareness offers the possibility that individual evolution may lead to collective evolution." (p. 70)

Embedded in the modern usage of the word "transformation" is the idea of human evolution -- personal and corporate. This is the idea that mankind can perfect himself on Earth, that we can attain a higher-order level of spirituality, that we can facilitate our own evolution, and attain perfection by our activities.

The words "emergent" or "emerging" have to do with the evidence that new forms are arising from the ashes of the old -- that a new collective human consciousness is beginning to manifest itself upon the face of the Earth. That new human transformational forms are becoming evident as humans shed the old traditional forms.

Bear in mind that the use of the word "transformation" was borrowed by secular sources and has now become widely secularized. But, peel back but a few layers, and delve into the philosophy and context in which this word is being used, and one will discover evidence that the same evolutionary mindset is still at its foundation. Marilyn Ferguson describes the process by which this word entered mainstream acceptance. Today, there is a strong possibility that Christian leaders have embraced this term and its process, along with its embedded philosophy, without even thinking to question its source or its real meaning.


A key doctrine accompanying the idea of the evolution of mankind, is that of change. Change is necessary for personal, cultural and societal transformation to occur. Constant change is even better. Transformation leaders have been teaching people to accept the maxim that perpetual change is a necessary part of the modern world. Change facilitates transformation. Change, unfolding dialectically, creates a series of crises which propels the advancement of mankind forward to a cosmic collective whole.

There are three stages of change: traditional, transitional and transformational. These stages of change are embedded in the past 200-year history of modern social sciences, psychology, and philosophy. It is beyond the scope of Herescope to delve into this history, but for those who wish to understand the mechanics of this these three stages, we recommend a 4-tape video tape series by Dean Gotcher entitled "Research Seminar/Transitional-Transformational OBE/TQM/STW," available for $40 DVD or $50 videos at www.authorityresearch.com. This intellectual lecture series demonstrates that moving human beings from traditional to transitional to transformational is a manipulative process which has dire spiritual consequences. For readers who wish to understand the PROCESS of transformation, this video series is a must-see.

The goal of transformational change is to alter the human mind and spirit. This is done through a process of creating a state of "cognitive dissonance." New information is presented which is purposefully designed to conflict with old information. The intended result is that people abandon the traditional and begin to succumb to changing -- first through a transitional phase, and ultimately to transformation. The initial phase is often very seductive. Old values are discredited or broken down, which creates a crisis. New values, beliefs and behaviors are then explored during the transition phase, which is often highly affective in nature. New values become firmly grounded, replacing the old, in the final transformational phase. Marilyn Ferguson writes that "[c]onflict, pain, tension, fear, paradox . . . these are transformations trying to happen" (p. 76).

Marilyn Ferguson lists "four basic ways in which we change our minds when we get new and conflicting information" on page 71-72. She says that "paradigm change" in the fourth stage is transformation, which "can harmonize the [conflicting] ideas into a powerful synthesis. . . it relinquishes certainty." This is a perfect description of the post-modern maxim that there are no absolutes, that truth itself is evolving.

The Truth:

In the past 30 years evangelical leaders and seminarians have adopted the language and methods of "transformation." Christian leaders are being lured into the process by the initial degradation of the old (tradition). The process of transformation challenges tradition, and moves pastors through a transition phase towards the goal of attaining a "transformation."

Scripture teaches that there are two types of traditions: those traditions of men which supercede Scripture, which Jesus condemned in the Pharisees (Mark 7:7-8). And the good traditions which Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 -- "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

This transformational process begins simply -- by posing questions, challenging assumptions, and raising issues. But ultimately it intends to create a crisis in belief. Before succumbing to the rhetoric that characterizes the deconstruction of the old (tradition), pastors and leaders would do well to determine just how far that process intends to go. When it begins to erode Scriptural truth (doctrine) by supplanting it with new "transitional" doctrines, then it is time to stop.

"Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge." (Proverbs 14:7)

"For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth." (Psalm 33:4)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Africa Watch Update: Missionaries told "not to minister the Word"!

We interrupt our series on how the Emergent Church was formed by the Leadership Network to bring an important update on Africa!

We have been concerned for some time about the activities of Rick Warren and Bruce Wilkinson in Africa for a number of reasons. One of our concerns has been about whether true evangelism would be permitted. As we studied the material pertaining to short-term missionary training and follow-up, and examined the relationships between the 3-legged stool of Corporate-Government-Church partnerships, we began to suspect that these short-term mission projects were simply civic activities and had little or nothing to do with the presentation of the Gospel. We are sad to report that new information has just come in that confirms our grave suspicions.

Below is an excerpt from an article pertaining to this new development. As a matter of background information, on December 23, 2005 Discernment Ministries ran an article on the new AFRICA WATCH section of its website entitled "Wilkinson's Dream For Africa is Shattered" by Prof. Johan Malan, University of Limpopo in South Africa. Just today this article has been re-published and re-released with important new material. Be sure to read Prof. Malan's entire revised article at http://tinyurl.com/coy3j.

[ALSO: Don't miss Prof. Malan's brand new article, posted yesterday, about dominionism in Africa, "Dominionism and its Human Empire," at the AFRICA WATCH section http://www.discernment-ministries.org/AfricaWatch.htm ]

Below is an excerpt from Prof. Malan's revised article. It is the testimony of two eyewitnesses that the activities of Bruce Wilkinson and Rick Warren in Africa are not about the Gospel:

Addendum A. Response of a co-worker

Dear Professor Malan:

Today I was led to the Discernment Ministries web site regarding the Dream for Africa project. I had no idea that Mr. Wilkinson had left the "Dream" and possibly the ministry. I reverted back to the Wall Street Journal article and was truly amazed at what I read. More so, your article considerably put the Dream for Africa project in proper light. This morning I read it three times over and sent it to many friends of mine in the ministry and college.

You see, I was one of the students from Dallas Baptist University who joined over 100 students on the pilot project in May-June 2004. He came to speak at our school in Fall 2003 and asked 100 students to come forth. I felt called. The following winter I interned in Washington, DC with the House International Relations Committee-Subcommittee on Africa under Congressman Henry Hyde. This experience was delivered to me by the grace of God. I learned so much about Africa and US relations, and met many dignitaries.

After this came the trip to Africa. I started to realize that God was birthing a ministry of reconciliation for me, not like others where peace and prosperity came before the Word – as with Rick Warren's PEACE initiative, but true reconciliation between God and Man, repentance, and belief in Christ. I have been trying to strike a balance regarding humanitarian aid/development and evangelism -- wanting to get off on the right footing and establish a God driven ministry from the start. I would like to thank you for being a vessel used by God, and delivering many from deception. This was my cue from God to learn from Wilkinson's mistakes and pursue evangelism full speed, discipleship considered, and humanitarian development following.

We were trained in one week by his ministry. Ironically, we were told not to minister the Word of God and the atoning sacrifice of Christ to the school children. We were completely baffled, we simply excused what we heard and pursued the Great Commission with fervent passion. And a handful of children came to know Christ. We were not willing to compromise the Word for the sake of the making of a name, or represent the programs of man sustained by flesh. It was also confusing for me as a Christian. Was I disobeying authority?

It has been the most difficult season of my walk with the Lord thus far. But this seemingly has put an ending to the questioning of Dream for Africa. Again, thank you for preaching repentance, Godly truth, and delivering it in such an upright matter. I would just like to encourage you to continue the excellent work. I look forward to reading the other articles you have published.

Press on, press on.

Kindest Regards, and in His service,

Andrew Knutson

Addendum B. Response of another co-worker
(This letter is published anonymous)

Prof. Malan

I was recently forwarded an Article which you wrote regarding the "Dream for Africa." It was a stunning article, because I was a participant in the "Beat the Drum" month long project held in the summer of 2004. I was one of over a hundred American college students, who joined with Swazi, and South African students, to teach abstinence in High Schools around Swaziland. In truth, the experience was a great lesson in faith, and created in me a heart for souls.

Your article however described in perfect detail, the reasons why I felt, that our time and effectiveness in that project was greatly diminished. We were told that we had not come there to preach Christ, which was a surprise to me, because that was exactly why I had joined the team. Thus we were told to approach the terrible HIV/AIDS problem from a secular perspective. I have to say that I rebelled against that, because I took every chance I had to tell people what the real problem was, Sin.

By God’s grace I was able to lead dozens to Christ, and on one occasion an entire class made the life changing decision. I told those whom I preached to that "Christ was the only one who could give us power to live in abstinence before marriage, and faithfulness after. The flesh which wars against God does not have to power to keep such a commitment, but through Christ, we have victory over the flesh. I appreciate your article, because in confirms my thoughts about the approach that was taken, and encourages me to continue preaching repentance. . . Thank you for speaking the truth in this matter and encouraging my ministry in the process. I have also read quite a few of your other articles and have enjoyed them very much.

The Truth:

Praise God for these two young men who were not willing to compromise the Gospel and who were eager to "obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

". . . but the Word of God is not bound." (2 Timothy 2:9b)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Leadership Network "Process" of Innovation

The past few days Herescope has been critiquing a 2001 report by Brad Smith, President of the Leadership Network in which he described the plans and purpose for the Terra Nova Project, which later became the Emergent Church. Today's post contains new historical and philosophical material that sheds considerable light on how all of this was orchestrated. Yesterday's post explained the processes of group dynamics that may have been used. Today's post sheds more light on this process.

The Brad Smith report contained a section entitled "The Leadership Network Process." Note the word "process." In this discussion, Smith outlines how Leadership Network has served as a key agent for the transformation of the evangelical church for the past two decades. Keep in mind that this report was written in the context of describing how the Terra Nova Project was formed and its purpose. Smith detailed the "process" that was used to forge this "innovation."

"Leadership Network used a 'forum-style' process that doesn’t force a particular agenda. The process allows the selection of a group of leaders around a common affinity, the right environment to learn from each other, and the ability of LN to understand the implications of the discussion so other groups can be ‘spurred’ to greater innovation. After ‘identification,’ the most important part of this process is LN’s ability to ‘get out of the way’ and allow each affinity group to shape its own way of connecting. This allows LN to serve, for example, profoundly straightforward urban leaders in one meeting, and intensely complex large church executive pastors in the next with equal effectiveness."

Before proceeding, it is important to understand how a "forum" works. In the corporate world, as well as in the political world, a "forum" is a vehicle by which transformation is most easily orchestrated in a group. A "forum," by definition, is supposed to be an opportunity for open discussion. However, the manner in which "forums" have been conducted in the corporate, political and social world over the past two decades has been altered. A "forum" is now more likely to be a group setting in which the participants are "facilitated" to a consensus, most often a pre-determined consensus. This orchestrated "process" of transformation requires the use of "change agents," persons who are trained in psycho-social group manipulation techniques. (See yesterday's post for a detailed explanation of this process.)

In the next paragraph, Smith confirms that this "forum" process was indeed being "facilitated" for the purpose of "moving forward" towards "innovation."

"This process is part of what gives LN the essential strength of its mission – the ability to see the broader perspective and facilitate its friends to move forward. LN identifies leaders who have the mantle of God upon them, connects them with other mantle bearers and creates a 'safe place' for them to learn from and encourage one another in the difficult and often lonely task of innovation.

(Note the use of the terms "mantle of God" and "mantle bearers" again. This New Apostolic Reformation term was defined in the 1/24/06 Herescope post.) Smith proceeds to link this forum "process" to the three types of innovators (paradigm-shifters) which he had described previously in his report. In other words, these three change agent roles were pivotal for the "process" of "innovation" that has just been described.

"This general process works with Adapters, Revolutionaries and Groundbreakers although it is almost impossible to combine all three of them within the same network."

The Truth:

A Word of Encouragement to Young Pastors

It is not unusual for young pastors or new pastors to be intimidated by things such as 1) age, 2) maturity, 3) authority, 4) academic credentials or 5) peer pressure. The two books of the Bible, 1 and 2 Timothy, are particularly addressed to young leaders. In these two books young pastors can find great comfort to hold firm to the Truth of the Gospel. These two books also contain many grave warnings! Paul's final charge to his disciple Timothy, a young pastor, was strong. These words are particularly pertinent to young pastors facing the pressures of group apostasy today.

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Psalm 119: 97-104 is also particularly well-suited for encouraging young pastors:

"O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou has taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way."

Next -- more history of the early Emergent Church formation. . . .

Thursday, January 26, 2006

How small groups are "transformed"

The process of group dynamics is important to understand in the context of this current series of Herescope posts, which has focused on the evangelical post-modern paradigm shift envisioned and orchestrated by Leadership Network. Leadership Network focused much of their attention and energy on small group dynamics -- a setting which psychologists and social scientists discovered was ideal to mold and manipulate human beliefs and behaviors. The New Apostolic Reformation (Rick Warren's 2nd Reformation) also heavily utilizes small group dynamics (e.g., cell structures) to change people's beliefs and behaviors in order to propel forward this global church transformation.

In May 1996, The Christian Conscience magazine ran a sidebar to an article about education reform which was entitled “The Delphi Technique: How to achieve a workable consensus within time limits.” The original authors of this piece were Peg Luksik of Pennsylvania and Sandy Vanderberg of Washington State." The subsequent CC sidebar was then "tweaked" by Lynn M. Stuter. Stuter's website, which details much valuable information about the processes and philosophies of group transformation, can be found at http://www.learn-usa.com.

This brief sidebar below will be of some assistance to explain how the group process of paradigm shifting works to create "transformation." This method of changing a person's opinions, beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors is best done in a small group setting where peer pressure can be brought to bear on the participants to reinforce the process. Small group or cell structures have a built-in accountability structure that puts pressure on individuals to transform.

In leadership training circles, this group paradigm-shifting activity is performed on pastors or Christian leaders who attend focus groups, support groups, forums, conferences, training events, partnerships, collaborations, etc. Most of this training, but not all, is generated by parachurch organizations. To ensure transformation's effectiveness over the long-term, the group must have on-going contact or follow-up afterwards to ensure that the new philosophies become deeply embedded in everyone's new actions and activities. Routine monitoring and assessing of the pastors ensures that they are following the new doctrines and engaging in the new paradigm activities.

Not all group methods of transformation are as strong-armed as this example below. There are many more sophisticated, gentle, and subtle techniques that also produce results in changed thinking and behavior. Often the group facilitator role is accompanied by another change agent, who is deeply hidden and embedded in the structure of the group itself. In cell structures, group leaders have to report to higher-ups, and there may be great pressure placed on them to attain group conformity and transformation. In modern business language, they have to reach measurable goals for group performance and will be evaluated on that criteria.

Keep in mind that those who oppose the new doctrine, idea or practice will be marked as "resistors," "late adaptors" or "laggards, " or "Jezebels." Heavy pressure could be brought to bear on any individual who opposes change. Or, possibly, the individual will simply be "dumped" by the wayside as the rest of the group forges on towards the paradigm shift. An interesting article series that exemplifies this process can be found at http://tinyurl.com/7k83l, "How to transition an established church" by Chuck McAlister at Rick Warren's website pastors.com.

Manipulated group processes are effectually stymied when one person or more refuses to "play the game." Sometimes a person can courageously expose the transformation process as it is going on. But this takes someone who is willing to endure open ridicule, belittling, name-calling and even hostility -- not only in the group session itself, but as a "marked" person afterwards. The only reasons to stay in such a group setting would be to be led by God to: 1) speak the truth, 2) expose the error, 3) expose the group manipulation mechanism, or 4) warn others to flee. The best advice, biblically speaking, is to never attend a group where one suspects this training method for transformation will be utilized (See Nehemiah 6). Believers are warned to flee temptation, not to engage in dialogues (Genesis 3:1 "Yea, hath God said. . . ").

How to achieve a workable consensus within time limits

The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face. In Educating for the New World Order by B. K. Eakman (Halcyon, 1991), the reader finds reference upon reference for the need to preserve the illusion that there is “Lay, or community, participation [in the decision-making process], while lay citizens are, in fact, being squeezed out.

A specialized use of this technique was developed for teachers, the “Minsky Method” (Ibid, p. 123). The setting or group is, however, immaterial; the point is that people in groups tend to share a certain knowledge base and display certain identifiable characteristics (known as group dynamics). This allows for a special application of a basic technique.

The “change agent” or “facilitator” goes through the motions of acting as an organizer, getting each person in the target group to elicit expression of their concerns about a program, project, or policy in question. The facilitator listens attentively, forms “task forces,” “urges everyone to make lists,” and so on. While s/he is doing this, the facilitator learns something about each member of the target group. S/He identifies the “leaders,” the “loud mouths,” as well as those who frequently turn sides during the argument – the “weak or non-committal.”

Suddenly the amiable facilitator becomes “devil’s advocate.” S/He dons the professional agitator bat. Using the “divide and conquer” technique, s/he manipulates one group opinion against the other. This is accomplished by manipulating those who are out of step to appear “ridiculous, unknowledgeable, inarticulate, or dogmatic.” S/He wants certain members of the group to become angry, thereby forcing tensions to accelerate. The facilitator is well trained in psychological manipulation. S/He is able to predict the reactions of each group member. Individuals in opposition to the policy or program will be shut out of the group.

The method works. It is very effective with parents, teachers, school children, and any community group. The “targets” rarely, if ever, know they are being manipulated. Or, if they suspect this is happening, do not know how to end the process.

The desired result is for group polarization, and for the facilitator to become accepted as a member of the group and group process. S/He will then throw the desired idea on the table and ask for opinions during discussion. Very soon his/her associates from the divided group begin to adopt the idea as if it were their own, and pressure the entire group to accept the proposition.

This technique is a very unethical method of achieving consensus on a controversial topic in group settings. It requires well-trained professionals who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against the other, so as to make one viewpoint appear ridiculous so the other becomes “sensible” whether such is warranted or not.

The Truth:

"Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth and is confident." (Proverbs 14: 7, 16)

Tomorrow: The Leadership Network process of innovation used to create the Emergent Church . . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shifting the Emergent Paradigm

Continuing from yesterday's post, this is part two of a critique of selected excerpts from a 2001 era report by Brad Smith, President of Leadership Network entitled "What's Next with Terra Nova Project: The Emergence of Terra Nova."

The next section of the Smith report is subtitled, "Three Types of Innovators and Paradigm Changes." This section represents a classic example of psycho-social and marketing methodologies. Smith begins by describing a "whole scale change in paradigms" and the "three types of innovators" that will help to shift a paradigm (worldview). In the case of Leadership Network, as Herescope reported yesterday, the paradigm that had to be shifted was theological, moving evangelicalism into post-modernism.

Smith lists 3 type of paradigm-shifters, or "innovators" --

ADAPTERS: "The Adapters…who innovate by adjusting and honing what exists while taking into account new realities."

REVOLUTIONARIES: "The Revolutionaries…who innovate by critiquing the flaws of the old ways. They dismantle complacency in the old and make people aware of foolish assumptions that have previously been taken for granted. Much of what Revolutionaries create is a polar opposite of what preceded them."

GROUNDBREAKERS: "The Groundbreakers…who emerge after the war is underway between the old and the new. Often, they naively accept the new assumptions without understanding the necessity or background of the previous war. Utilizing forms from both the old and the new, Groundbreakers have the freedom to create truly new things built on totally new assumptions."

How to Shift the Paradigm

The philosophy of the paradigm shift is quite significant. The concept originated with Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press). Kuhn, a scientist in academia, broke ground by applying Hegelian dialectics and existential thought to the field of science. He proposed that science itself is evolving and has no absolutes. Kuhn described science as a series of rocky shifts throughout history, created by a crisis when the old scientific model encounters new information that doesn't fit. When enough new information is accumulated, a "revolution" would occur and a new scientific paradigm would emerge; e.g. Newtonian science gave way to Einstein's theories.

Kuhn paralleled scientific revolution to political revolution, and noted that in "both political and scientific development the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is a prerequisite to revolution" (p. 91). In other words, it is necessary to create a crisis first before the paradigm can be shifted. Kuhn then makes the remarkable statement that the use of force may be necessary to shift to the new paradigm: ". . . the parties to a revolutionary conflict must finally resort to the techniques of mass persuasion often including force" (p. 92) .

Kuhn speaks about this paradigm shift in terms of a religious conversion. First, he remarks that a "mental transformation" is insufficient. "Rather we must look for indirect and behavioral evidence that the scientist with a new paradigm sees differently from the way he had seen before" (p. 114) .This statement, emphasizing an actual behavioral shift, hearkens back to explanations given in yesterday's Herescope post concerning "authentic" behavioral change. Kuhn advised that before a group can communicate fully, they must "experience the conversion that we have been calling a paradigm" (p. 149). This conversion is seen as a "transfer of allegiance" from one paradigm to another (p. 150).

New Agers and socio-political transformers took Kuhn's ideas to heart and applied it to the planned emergence of a new global mystical and political structure. Marilyn Ferguson cited Kuhn's ideas as significant, for example, in her 1980 book The Aquarian Conspiracy, which launched the New Age movement into the popular culture. It is therefore, of relevance to note Brad Smith's choice of language to describe the purpose of creating this emergent youth culture -- to propel forward a paradigm shift in evangelicalism.

[For a more thorough and in-depth discussion of Thomas Kuhn's philosophies, see http://cicministry.org/scholarly/sch002.htm, Bob DeWaay's article, "Thomas S. Kuhn's Paradigm Thesis and its Epistemological Applications in Theology."]

The 3 Innovators

Brad Smith of Leadership Network deviated from his discussion about the three types of paradigm-shifters for an historical interlude. His report expounds on the topic of "Understanding Tectonic Change from a Historical Example." "Tectonic Change" is, of course, another term for 'paradigm shift.' Smith explained the philosophy undergirding this change:

"The German philosopher, Hegel, described this adaptation-revolution-groundbreaking model as a process of thesis, anti-thesis, and eventual synthesis. Many historians, sociologists and other ‘world-view’ experts are declaring that the Western world is currently experiencing a 'postmodern' anti-thesis to a two-century reign of the thesis of modernism. . .

Smith then explained more about these three "Innovators in the Church" and "Why all three types are important." The following description is a peek into the inner world of Leadership Network and how it has positioned itself as a premier change agent organization. As you read the excerpts below, keep in mind that what was really being discussed was the abandonment of orthodox doctrine. We know this because it has been five years since Brad first issued this report. The Emergent Church has now risen and provocatively positioned itself as THE NEW PARADIGM. The "old paradigm" is traditional orthodoxy. The "new paradigm" is post-modern mysticism:

ADAPTERS: "In the church world, the strength of the Adapters is that they continue to minister well to the people whom God has given them. They adapt and bring people along. They innovate well within the boundaries of old assumptions and eventually allow the new realities to bypass them. Adaptors do not abandon effective present ministry just because a new paradigm has emerged, but they will move toward it as quickly as they can without abandoning their people. A few may even know they are trading long-term effectiveness for faithfulness to a present calling."

REVOLUTIONARIES: "The strength of the Revolutionaries is that they clearly see the new reality and send out a clarion call for change. They point out the dangers of old wineskins and do not shy away from the pain of a tectonic shift. While they critique the old with crystal clarity, they express the vision of the new with obscure idealism. To use a biblical metaphor, Revolutionaries are the Davids, the career soldiers who carve out the new land and gather the resources, but may not be allowed to build the new temple. Sometimes, they are so focused on what is wrong with the old, they do not have the freedom to create the new. "

GROUNDBREAKERS: "Groundbreakers emerge on the scene and see a new, clean canvas unencumbered by old assumptions or even anti-assumptions. They have the freedom to create new expressions in a clean space carved out by the war between the old and the new. Groundbreakers are not necessarily better that the other two types of innovators, but perhaps, like Solomon, they show up on the earth at an opportune time. Having seen the shortcomings of traditionalism and idealism in their predecessors, Groundbreakers move toward practicality." [All emphases in above quotations are added]

The Truth:

Young pastors reading the material quoted above are supposed to feel ineffective, inept, incompetent and out of touch. They may feel like dismal failures. This use of language is very slick. In contrast, the three change agent roles were created for new pastors and young leaders who were willing to step outside the boundaries of Gospel Truth. They would be applauded and rewarded when they became facilitators for the emergent paradigm shift.

Young pastors, do not be discouraged nor dismayed! Flee back to the Word of God and cling to it with all of your might. For in these Scriptures you will find comfort in these last days of trouble, and you will receive strength to stand and stamina to endure the trials.

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." (I Timothy 4:12-13)

This analysis and discussion will be continued, Lord willing. . . .

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Terra Nova Project -- the vanguard for emergent postmodern evangelicalism

Brad Smith, President of Leadership Network, issued a 2001 report entitled, "What's Next with Terra Nova Project: The Emergence of Terra Nova." It is a significant report, not only for understanding the formation of the Emergent Church, but because it reveals how Bob Buford's Leadership Network was intent on creating a vanguard movement that would transform evangelicalism. The Smith report which is critiqued below can no longer be found on the Internet. Only a small remnant of the original post can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/9ktsl.

To begin this report, Brad Smith detailed an "important change within the Young Leader Networks." First he noted that the "national gathering of the Young Leader Networks" that had been planned for September 2001 in New Mexico had been postponed until the spring of 2002. The stated rationale for this change in plans was:

"The team that is putting this together is finding that an event based more on demonstration, rather than proclamation, is a very difficult task to pull off authentically. Add to that the challenge of a complex team of artists, church planters, urban leaders and theologians who are attempting to develop something that everyone can own and – we were not ready to do what we feel called to do by September."

Underscoring Leadership Network's commitment to finance and initiate an emerging youth leader movment, Smith noted:

"Leadership Network is more of a ‘cooperative’ than a stand-alone organization. Essentially, LN explores, prays and listens to discover the leaders who have the mantle of God upon them, allows them to design an experience that furthers their collective calling, and then provides the resources and leadership to make it real."

The use of the term "mantle of God" is particularly interesting, given its association with the New Apostolic Reformation. The New Apostolic Reformation teaches that emerging apostolic leaders must be appointed and anointed by other leaders, forming a hierarchical chain-of-command structure, in which one
man's "mantle" of "anointing" -- which they claim possesses a spiritual power -- is passed down to the next man. [See www.deceptioninthechurch.com for more information.]

The use of the term "authentically" is also quite interesting. The root word "authentic" carries a specific new meaning in corporate management and education reform circles. It has to do with behavior. Psycho-social research has shown that humans are more likely to change their values, opinions, beliefs and attitudes if they are put into a situation where they actually have to change their behavior, i.e., if they have to act on their beliefs. In this context, the phrase "develop something that everybody can own" means that a team of organizers was attempting to develop a situation in which the participants would be prodded into actually "owning" a new philosophy by "authentically" (real-life) participating in an activity that exemplified it. This technique can be manipulative and deceptive, especially for those who don't understand how it works.

The Birth of the Terra Nova Project

Brad Smith continued with a description of how Young Leaders Network formed the Terra Nova Project (which formed the foundation of the Emergent Church) in which he acknowledges that the plan was kept "underground."

"Finally, we are increasing getting questions about the new vision that was formed for the Young Leaders Network about a year ago called ‘Terra Nova Project.’ Below is a summary description of that vision which has been somewhat ‘underground’ as many network leaders have been forming it, but we’ve resisted putting it in a ‘linear’ document. . . . It is a long and exciting road ahead and we’d appreciate any help and participation in building on ‘new ground’ that you might feel called to provide."

A lengthy report then followed which is entitled, “'Terra Nova' Means 'New Ground.'” In this report, Smith outlined the philosophical underpinnings of the creation of what has now become the Emergent Church. This report is of concern for a number of reasons. First, Leadership Network was founded by Bob Buford, and it served a purpose of diffusing the social philosophies of management guru Peter Drucker throughout evangelicaldom. Second, the plan below indicates that Leadership Network viewed its role to be a "change agent" organization from the outset, purposefully serving as a vehicle to facilitate post-modernism within evangelicaldom. Third, the connection between Rick Warren and Leadership Network cannot be underemphasized, as Warren's Second Reformation looks very much like a hybrid of the emerging church that Leadership Network was working to create. Smith stated,

"You may have been aware of a new network called ‘Terra Nova Project’ or ‘New Ground’ that represents an emerging clean canvas for new creation carved out by the modern-postmodern wars. The postmodern-transition has primarily focused on postmodern words and definitions to counter modern words and definitions. By God’s calling and grace, Leadership Network was one of the first national organizations to platform postmodern leaders as early as 1994, and over the past seven years, we have watched mainstream publishers and conference providers, denominations and para-church ministries provide increasingly powerful vehicles for the postmodern message to be expressed."

In the following paragraph Smith uses the term "tipping point," which has to do with shifting a paradigm (worldview). In this comment, he acknowledges Leadership Network's key role in shifting the rest of evangelicaldom into a postmodern mindset:

". . . We believe the ‘tipping point’ has been reached and the message is one that cannot be re-caged. This expression of postmodernism will continue and Leadership Network will continue its role of supporting the efforts of other networks and organizations to further this message."

Below, Smith once again reveals that Leadership Network wasn't just going to talk about a new paradigm, they were going to DO it. The word "demonstration" used below is connected to the word "authentic" that we explained above. In other words, Leadership Network intended to create a real-life "actual demonstration" of this new, post-modern, theological paradigm shift.

"However, a new need is emerging. For years you have heard people at postmodern conferences PROCLAIM from the stage, “Postmodernism is not proclamation, but demonstration; not individualized, but communitarian; not information transfer, but relational transformation.” We all now know in words what we want to see in our own lives and ministries, but even the leading postmodern proclaimers express frustration at how long it takes for the actual demonstration of what they know is the future to be seen in their own lives and ministries. This is normal. It had happened at every point in history where a tectonic world-view change has occurred." [All emphases in above quotations are added]

Note above the use of the term "communitarian." This political-social philosophy was that a key tenet of Peter Drucker's model for societal transformation. Communitarian was seen by Peter Drucker as a "third way," an alternative to communism and fascism that would create a more utopian world. [See the "Pied Pipers of Purpose" monograph posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org for more information on this point.]

Note also the term "relational transformation." Social scientists and marketers know that human values and behaviors are much easier to shift when people are placed in a small group setting where the variables are controlled from the outside.

Do not miss the main point of these brief excerpts. The intent was to change theology, i.e., doctrine, for a new paradigm shift in evangelicalism.

The Truth:

"The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them." (Proverbs 12:26)

More on this topic tomorrow. . . .

Monday, January 23, 2006

How Leadership Network established Emergent

This is the 3rd in a series of posts that reveal some of the interesting highlights of Leadership Network's launching of the emergent movement.

Particularly noteworthy is the 2004 post below, which indicates that Leadership Network was actively involved in the financial and publishing aspects of setting up this movement. Which raises a key question: For what purpose did evangelical business tycoons and megachurch leaders finance and organize the creation of this youth leaders' movement? In other words, how did it suit THEIR purposes?


http://tinyurl.com/d9pn5 “To Everything There Is a Season. In 1993, Leadership Network was located in Tyler, TX, and our primary focus was a national network of senior ministers and staff of large, and mainly, suburban churches. In August of that year, a new guy literally rode into Tyler and the life of Leadership Network. Brad Smith joined our team, coming to us from The Leadership Center at Dallas Seminary. Brad brought with him a passion for building relationships with leaders and a commitment to making the church effective in an ever-changing culture. . . . Leadership Network moved to Dallas and has grown to be a primary resource to which 21st century congregations and church leaders turn for information, innovation, and networking. Under Brad’s leadership, our services expanded to include networking the next generation of church leaders through the Young Leaders Network and the Terra Nova project. We launched the Leadership Training Network that has focused on equipping and releasing the laity in ministry and service. Our large church forums have grown to include urban as well as suburban churches and a new network is focusing on missional church leaders who are pioneers in community transformation.”

http://tinyurl.com/aw64n “IDEAS: Building the Externally Focused Church (BEFC) - Key Church Learnings With nearly 100 in attendance, the BEFC Briefing was a success. The event was a joint effort of Leadership Network's Missional Church Network, Terra Nova Project and Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Releasing capacity (people, resources, etc.) was the underlying theme of the briefing. The BEFC participants toured the Windsor Village campus and saw firsthand the fruit of Windsor's community transformation initiatives, which is called the Power Connection. With a membership north of 15,000, Windsor Village is the largest United Methodist Church in the denomination and also has the highest weekly attendance. Under the leadership of Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell (author of The Gospel of Good Success) Windsor offers it members nearly 100 "ministry" opportunities and has birthed eight independently operated non-profit (501c3) corporations.” [Ed. note: The LN publication cited here is “Equipper.”]


http://tinyurl.com/7r7t5 “Several years ago, Leadership Network began to see a shift in the ways the church was growing. We gathered young leaders from around the nation to discuss how differently they perceived the world and the relevant issues of the church. The topic hit a nerve and we began to hold conferences and identify the key spokespeople for this emerging expression of the church. Some of you may have attended one of those Terra Nova conferences or a Young Leader event where Rex Miller spoke. When we heard him present his "Millennium Matrix" we felt he offered a framework and a significant tool for sorting through the wide-ranging issues and debates being raised over emerging theology, expressions of worship and generational differences. That tool provides a bridge for the different camps in this ongoing debate to work together in defining how the church can adapt and remain relevant and true to its mission and beliefs. To view this tool, click here. Through his work Rex was beginning to offer new models to help churches adapt to the emerging social and spiritual realities. We liked the fact that those models transcended the normal discussions over style, traditions or brands of church, and instead provided insight and a map for mainline churches, contemporary churches and emerging churches. We initially interviewed Rex for the Spring 2000 issue of our NEXTpublication. The response to that interview generated so much interest that we asked him to write a book to answer questions and address more of the practical implications of how the church can adapt to a rapidly changing culture. Leadership Network then partnered with Jossey-Bass publishing and, together with Rex, proceeded to publish his book this past July. Recently we sat down with Rex to talk about his book, The Millennium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past and Reframing the Future of the Church.” [Ed. note: Be sure to click on http://tinyurl.com/8mo6f to see the graphic, a chart that portrays an emergent view of evolutionary church history.] [All emphases above are added]

The Truth:

"Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession." (Proverbs 28:10)

Tomorrow -- important new information about how Emergent was formed!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Leadership Network and the Terra Nova Project

This is part 2 of a series of posts about how a "youth leader" movement was created. More important documentation below, from the years 2000-2001, reveals how the Leadership Network spawned the Young Leaders Network and the Terra Nova Project, which would then go on to become the Emergent Church. This annotated list of urls comes from a series of E-publications called “Church Champions Update” put out by Leadership Network.

Note the use of the term “labs” – laboratories in which to experimentally create this youth movement. Note the many activities, forums and events that were sponsored by Leadership Network.


http://tinyurl.com/a3kvb “The first Large Church Team Forum for staff teams of churches over 1000 in attendance will be held at Calvary Church - Westlake Village, California from February 8-10, 2001. There will be peer-learning forums for the following groups. . . And in cooperation with our Terra Nova project, a special forum for Youth Pastors.”

http://tinyurl.com/79qdkThe Terra Nova Project - an initiative of the Young Leader Networks, September 5-7, 2001. Hold the date. I have been told that several church planting agencies are sending large groups of Church Planters to this gathering. Look for more details soon.”

http://tinyurl.com/9dz9q “YOUNG LEADER NETWORKS UPDATE CHICAGO FORUM-Sponsored by the Young Leader Networks and Christ's Church of Wrigleyville. The purpose of this forum is to gather emerging leaders in the Chicago region (and beyond) in order to model and facilitate skills for effective ministry and to provide access to resources that help these leaders navigate the emerging culture with the gospel. We hope to inspire hope and action through the holistic experience of worship, conversation, teaching, art, and prayer. We want each person to discover friends for mutual encouragement and ongoing learning. Saturday, October 28th, Christ's Church of Wrigleyville, 1242 West Addison, Chicago, IL. Begins 8:30 A.M. - 6:30 P.M. Cost: $45 - includes lunch."


http://tinyurl.com/cot64 “. . . 2001 will bring two large events: The Terra Nova Project designed for Younger Leaders on September 5-7; as well the New Century: New Church 2 on September 23-27 brought to you by Leadership Training Network.”

http://tinyurl.com/7rj5h “THE LAB. As mentioned last week, the Terra Nova Project/Young Leader Networks LAB event is next week. Our Young Leader Networks are hosting their first working lab of the year down in Waco, Texas this month at the University Baptist Church on February 22, 2001. The cost is a very reasonable $50. All of these labs are building towards the Terra Nova National Event in September. Read all about all the events targeting young leaders at www.youngleader.org. For more information or to ask for a copy of our new event and information catalog, call our customer service team at 800.765.5323.” [Ed. note: be sure to read the article at the above url, entitled “Assisting Systemic Change,” because it has much to do with how leaders are manipulated into accepting change (“transformation”).]

http://tinyurl.com/946ss “THEY'RE DOWN IN THE LAB CREATING SOME NEW STUFF. When a research organization or company tells you: 'The people down in the lab are working on it' you know something is going to be created useful. Our Young Leader Networks are hosting their first working lab of the year down in Waco, Texas this month at the University Baptist Church on February 22, 2001. The cost is a very reasonable $50. The day seeks to provide immersion in the kingdom of God by communal experience, teaching, reflection and practice. It will seek to allow people to experience the various facets of leadership, compassion & justice, theology and the arts. We will be looking at what it means to embody these four areas within our culture and act as a transforming presence in the Christian experience. The event is designed for people who are doing ministry within churches and other non-profit settings. Those that are church planting, church leaders, artists, urban leaders, social justice advocates, and others. The event will coincide with the beginning of the Art and Soul Festival that is taking place at Baylor University Feb. 23-26, . . . All of these labs are building towards the Terra Nova National Event in September. Read all about all the events targeting young leaders at [Young Leader's former website, ed.].”

http://tinyurl.com/dvpkz “ANOTHER YOUNG LEADER LAB. As I mentioned last week, the best way to understand this younger generation is to go hang with them. Here is a safe place where you can do that later this month. TERRA NOVA LAB, SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2001, CAPO BEACH CALVARY CHURCH, CAPISTRANO BEACH, CALIF. Interact with a number of artists, theologians and practitioners who seek to worship and learn through various means. The process for the day will include: experience, teaching, reflection and practice. This one-day connection event, sponsored by the Young Leader Networks of Leadership Network, will seek to provide a place to ask questions and be a part of various art experiences including: Photography, Music/song writing, Multi-media worship, Painting, Film. To register: [Young Leader's former website]. Cost: Individual $50.”

http://tinyurl.com/btrua “In May 2000, Leadership Network held a major learning experience called "Exploring Off the Map(EOTM)." Field reports from EOTM have appeared in past issues of EXPLORER. Audiotapes of most of the sessions are available at http://www.conventioncassettes.com/. One of the featured spots at EOTM was a series of "Man-On-The- Street" interviews filmed in San Francisco by Jason Mitchell, leader of LN's Terra Nova Project. This six-minute video contains responses from a demographically diverse crowd to questions such as, "What really makes you angry about the world today?" "If you could add/subtract one thing to/from your life, what would it be?" The interviews are "brain binoculars" for understanding the unchurched.” [Ed. note: The “Exploring Off the Map” conference was reported on in Herescope on October 10, 2005. Interestingly, this newsletter signs off with Leadership Network: Advance Scouts for the Emerging Church. http://www.leadnet.org/ 800.765.5323.]" [All emphases above are added]

The above urls reveal just a small fraction of the total picture of how this youth leader movement was birthed. It is clear that the formation of this movement served a useful purpose for those leaders trying to bend and shape neo-evangelicaldom into a new mold.

The Truth:

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." (Proverbs 30:5-6)

To be continued . . . . !

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Leadership Network Spawns Emergent Church

Do not be deceived. The “emerging church” movement did not spontaneously erupt. It was a well-funded and well-organized movement from its very inception. It appears to have been fashioned by a handful of corporate business leaders who wished to create a counter-cultural evangelical movement. The intended purpose appears to have been identifying and recruiting potential young leaders for comprehensive indoctrination. One of the chief outcomes has been the further degradation and deconstruction of traditional Christianity.

In 1998, Mother Jones magazine ran an article about the Emergent Church as it was in the process of being formed. The July/August article by Lori Leibovich was entitled “A look inside fundamentalism’s answer to MTV: the postmodern church.” This article contains some interesting factual material about the 1990s history of this movement. Keep in mind that this article comes from the political Left and therefore it mistakenly (and ludicrously) lumps the emerging Emergents in with fundamentalists.

The author visited Mars Hill Fellowship,

“a self-described ‘postmodern ministry’ founded in 1996 by 27-year-old Mark Driscoll. It is one of approximately 150 such ministries that have sprouted up around the country since 1992 designed to do nothing less than rescue a generation from an un-Christian fate.”

The Mother Jones article continues with an interesting description of the early Emergent Church, calling them “postmoderns.” The author then notes that the “postmoderns' relationship with the baby boomer megachurch movement. . . is somewhat like a young adult desperate to be independent from Mom and Dad—but still relying on them for rent.”

The author then details who is paying the “rent” :

“Postmoderns receive crucial support—financial and otherwise—from the megachurches. These postmodern ministries are loosely organized by the Leadership Network, a Dallas-based umbrella group for many of the nation's megachurches. It's the Leadership Network that keeps Driscoll's bohemian Mars Hill ministry in touch with the fast-growing, but more traditional, University Baptist Church in Waco by holding conferences and seminars. For the past three years the network has sponsored national conferences that bring together postmodern leaders. The first one attracted nearly 300, the second 500, and the next one, this fall in New Mexico, is expected to draw 1,000.

“The network also helps arrange necessary seed money, for example, setting up key contributions from megachurches for the University Baptist ministry in Waco. ‘We target young, innovative ministries because they are the future of the church,’ says Doug Pagitt, 31, of the Leadership Network.

“So what's in it for the megachurches? Reaching a new generation, says Pagitt. Eventually, churches like Mars Hill will continue their growth and splinter, with younger leaders taking over the job of ministering to twentysomethings. Ideally, this pattern will continue over and over again. . . .” [http://tinyurl.com/cdpfa] [All emphases added]

This piece of information is particularly interesting because of the extensive influence of Bob Buford and his Leadership Network. Buford was mentored by business guru Peter Drucker. Buford is one of the leading “change agents” transforming the church by bringing in the psycho-social business philosophies and practices of the corporate world. Buford’s Leadership Network was Peter Drucker’s main outreach into the “private sector,” that important third leg of Drucker’s societal stool which needed “transformation.” Through the active involvement of mega-church leaders such as Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, the Leadership Network gained widespread respectability and influence.

Additional in-depth information on the Emergent Church can be found at http://www.emergentno.blogspot.com/ (particularly the post on January 16, which relates more information about Mark Driscoll), and http://apprising.org/, which contains a number of well-written articles critiquing the movement theologically.

The Truth:

“There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12)

More documentation on this topic tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Change Agents for Church Transformation

Discernment Ministries recently received a letter from a Nigerian pastor who wrote:

"Dearly beloved, Thank you for your help. I am a regular recipient of your newsletter. You did a fantastic research on "mentor" sometime. Could you please do a similar research on 'agent.' Our Convention in Nigeria has her annual theme as AGENTS OF TRANSFORMATION. Please help me find out the genesis of the word, 'agent.'"

The best description of "change agent" training and history can be found in Charlotte Iserbyt's history of education reform entitled the deliberate dumbing down of america: A Chronological Paper Trail (Conscience Press, 1999). This book is now available on-line at http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com. Iserbyt chronicles the early history of change agentry:

"National Training Laboratory (NTL) was established in 1947. The first laboratory session on human relations and group processes was held at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. Founders of the National Training Laboratory had important connections with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- World War II forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The NTL would become -- with the National Education Association (NEA) -- a premiere agency for human relations training (change agent/brainwashing).

"A 1962 book published jointly by NTL and the NEA entitled Five Issues in Training addressed the process of 'unfreezing, changing, and refreezing' attitudes in order to bring about change by stating the following: 'The Chinese communists would remove the target person from those situations and social relationships which tended to confirm and reinforce the validity of the old attitudes.' (p. 49)"

"This process is widely used in education, theology, medicine, business, government, etc., by pressuring individuals to participate in 'retreats,' removing them from familiar surroundings to 'unfreeze' their attitudes and values. People have been coming from all over the world to attend these retreats at NTL in Bethel, Maine since its founding. An excerpt from the 1977 issue of NTL Newsletter follows:

"'From the New Britain workshop dialogues of the founders emerged the notions of "action research laboratory" and "change agent" which were terms coined to denote a very vigorous proactive social change kind of posture, a merging of radical education, deviant behavioral science, and humanistic democracy.'" (pp. 38-39)

Retreats may not be as common as they used to be. Now most change agent training takes place in leadership training seminars, conferences and workshops. The way that the training is reinforced is through repeated contact with the participants -- monitoring, assessing, and following up on their progress to ensure that their new belief structures are still maintained. Iserbyt continues the history of change agentry on page 120 of the deliberate dumbing down of america in an entry for the year 1973:

"Ronald G. Havelock's The Change Agent's Guide to Innovation in Education was published (Educational Technology Publishing: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1973). This Guide, which contains authentic case studies on how to sneak in controversial curricula and teaching strategies, or get them adopted by naive school boards, is the educator's bible for bringing about change in our children's values. Havelock's Guide was funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and has continued to receive funding well into the 1980s. It has been republished in a second edition in 1995 by the same publishers."

Change Agent training for the purpose of global church "transformation" has been going on in evangelical circles for at least three decades now. Ken Blanchard, a widely popular pseudo-evangelical business guru who has trained many pastors, has been directly connected with the National Training Labs [http://tinyurl.com/byhvf]. For more information on Ken Blanchard and his nefarious activities, see postings at Christian Research Service at www.christianresearchservice.com. Blanchard's close associate, Warren Bennis, has also been associated with the National Training Labs, as has Willis Harman, a leading Theosophist [both cited in The Age of Heretics: Heroes, Outlaws, and the Forerunners of Corporate Change by Art Kleiner]. Harman's activities with evangelical leaders was the topic of many Herescope posts this past fall.

All three of these New Age leaders have strong interconnections with the evangelical community, particularly through their workshops and seminars and books that bring the corporate business model into the church through the mechanism of leadership training.

Beware of leadership training!

It is modeled after the change agent training described by Iserbyt above. It utilizes very sophistical psychological and sociological techniques to:

1) UNFREEZE old attitudes, beliefs, opinions, values, and mindsets. This means that traditional theology and doctrine must be broken down. Very persuasive arguments, coercion, questioning, peer pressure and indoctrination techniques are used to facilitate this process.

2) CHANGE the mind. This means altering one's opinions, beliefs, values, attitudes, philosophies and theologies. There are many ways to do this. One is to call into question the validity or meaning of the old way. Another is to sell a person on the "new" way as better, more productive, more effective, etc. At this point it is very important to disparage the old way so that the new way looks bright and promising.

3) REFREEZE to the new way. Establish it so that it takes over control of the person. Now there are new beliefs, opinions, values, attitudes and behaviors that have taken root and gained a foothold. This is the new paradigm, a new "transformation." Psycho-social research shows that the new beliefs are more fully integrated when someone signs a covenant or has to put the new beliefs into action (take measurable steps to reach a goal).

[For more information on the topic above, see the current (Jan./Feb.) Discernment Ministries newsletter article entitled "The Necessity of Separation from Heresy" posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org.]

It is very clear that the African continent is being "transformed" according to the new "kingdom" dominionism theology. American mission groups are bringing in this "change agent" style of leadership training with the pastors. One pastor at a time, one leader at a time, one church at a time, they are "transforming" the continent by "unfreezing" the old theology, "changing" into a new theology (based on the Great Commission "dominionism mandate" to "make" disciples), and "refreezing" this new theology by requiring the pastors to put it into action.

Also beware: these groups are establishing a monitoring and assessment network to ensure that the pastors comply with the new theologies they are introducing.

The Truth:

"My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:" (Proverbs 24:21)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Namibian Dream or Nightmare?

Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) is connected with The Namibian Dream in a list of non-governmental organizations connected with the country-wide "transformation" process [ http://tinyurl.com/ay9my ]. One might ask what common ground Planned Parenthood has with a Christian dominionism mandate. Conversely, one might ask what common ground adherents to the Christian Gospel have with an international organization that promotes abortions.

This Namibian Dream project is inextricably connected with Bruce Wilkinson, and also Rick Warren (see previous Herescope posts). Obviously, the existence of these strange bedfellows raises some very disturbing questions about the African "transformation" process and agenda.

The Namibian Dream is a classic example of the 3-legged stool concept of business guru Peter Drucker, which builds a societal communitarian governance structure upon the three pillars of Church, Business and Government.

The Namibian Dream is also a model of the open collaboration among the three main groups of neo-evangelical dominionists -- spiritual warfare, political, and mission. This merger is explained in the paper posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org entitled "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism."

The Namibian Dream is well on its way to launching the 3-legged stool "transformation" process for the entire country. It is building a base of business, church and government leaders in order to further dominionist goals. These dominionist goals are interspersed with genuinely good and compassionate activities that could better Namibian society. A September 2005 Transformation Namibia News, posted at http://tinyurl.com/9l2bw reveals the dominionist influence:

"We have a dream for Namibia: Our dream is for Namibians to humble themselves before God. Our dream is for them to serve Christ as their one and only king. Our dream is furthermore for all spheres of our society – from the government through to the business sector and the church - to work together to address the real needs of the people: that of spiritual and physical starvation and hunger. Only then, we believe, will we be able to reach the goals set out in the blueprint for development and growth in our nation, Vision 2030." [emphasis added]

The newsletter text links Transformation Namibia to an organization "Disciple Namibia" and to the "greater Transformation Africa" process:

"Transformation Namibia, which forms part of the greater Transformation Africa process, started operating in Namibia to help transform the country through unity and prayer and to mobilize the Body of Christ in all spheres of society – community by community and eventually nation by nation –with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. Transformation Namibia seeks to make The Namibian Dream a reality by uniting Government, Business and Church leaders in joining hands in addressing the real needs of the people of Namibia." [emphasis added]

The Truth:

"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be be destroyed. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 13:20; 14:12))

Friday, January 13, 2006

Christian Imperialism: Update #8 African Formation

"Pastor Luke took us to each of the six classes. In each class, he asked the students the question: 'What is your purpose in life?' Their response: 'Our purpose in life is to dominate and subdue, for the purpose of transforming our community Soweto, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, and the whole world in the name of Jesus Christ.'"

Students in African classrooms are being indoctrinated in dominionist theology. This event took place in an elementary school in Soweto, a slum of Nairobi, Kenya, which was started by a pastor who wanted to use his church to "transform" Africa. He had been indoctrinated in the new theology by the dominionist leadership training ministries from the U.S. The above quotation can be found in two locations: http://tinyurl.com/7wf7m and http://tinyurl.com/avuvd [emphasis added].

This activity in the schoolroom is glowingly reported on by Bob Moffitt, Founder and Director of Harvest Foundation, and author of the book If Jesus Were Mayor (Harvest Publishing, 2004). Moffitt commented,

"These children said that with such conviction that it made the hair on my arms stand up. Normally when you go into a poverty-stricken community like this one, children are poor and do not see themselves as having control over their future lives. But these children had a vision for the transformation of their community and of the world, for the sake of Jesus Christ. And you could tell by the way that they said it that they believed it. These children are incredibly rich in vision and in energy." [emphasis added]

Moffitt's book If Jesus Were Mayor is a treatise on how to implement dominionism in a local community. Promotional literature at the Harvest Foundation website [http://www.harvestfoundation.org/materials.htm] describes it:

"Dr. Moffitt asks the readers of his new book to think about the possibility of Jesus being the mayor of their community. Elaborating on that supposition, he summarizes the ministry philosophy of Harvest and shares examples of churches around the world who have put these principles into action. In so doing, he challenges local churches everywhere to reconsider how they are meeting their biblically assigned role to serve in their communities."

In October 2004, Harvest Foundation issued a newsletter (Vol. 1, Iss. 2,) which chronicled this group's activities on the continent of Africa:

"On September 9-12, 2004, an event called the Africa Formation Group Meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose was to create an alliance for local church-based transformational training for the entire African continent.

"Those attending were the following: · Harvest US: Bob Moffitt and John Wood. · Africa Working Group (AWG): Chris Ampadu (Ghana); Demelash Lemma (Ethiopia); Simon Nziramakenga (Rwanda); Dennis Tongoi (Kenya); Buingo Mateene (Congo); Stephen Langa (Uganda) and Hein Van Wyck (Namibia). · Food for the Hungry International (FHI): Scott Allen and Darrow Miller. · World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): Gary Edmonds and J. Paul Fridenmaker. · More than a Mile Deep (MMD): Johan Boekhout (Netherlands); Andre Chitlango (Mozambique); Liphadzi Tshililo (South Africa). · Africa Evangelical Alliance (AEA): Daniel Bitrus and Stephen Mugabe. · Church of Christ in Congo: Sita Luemba. · International Sports Coalition: Cassie Carsten.

"A grand plan was developed during this meeting which will train trainers for all 58 countries on the African continent, beginning now and continuing through 2005. In January, a two-week training event for leaders from throughout Africa is planned to equip approximately 150 people to carry out conferences in all 58 countries. The event will consist of a large vision conference, followed by a week-long trainer-of-trainers session." [ http://www.tinyurl.com.7wf7m/ ]

Moffit's "Report on the Africa Formation Group Meeting" held on Sept. 9-13.2004 reveals the strategy by which American mission groups are coalescing around a kingdom agenda for the purpose of exporting dominionism internationally. Some key excerpts follow:

"Executive Summary
"Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA) encourages association among Christian organizations with the objective of awakening the church worldwide to the full intentions of Christ, and equipping the church to fulfill its purpose in God’s agenda for transformation.

"Recently, World Evangelical Alliance, which represents churches comprising approximately 300 million Christians in about 120 countries, became interested in partnering with DNA. The decision was made to initially focus on work in Africa, coming alongside our African brothers in Christ to teach, encourage, and mentor churches throughout the whole continent for fulfilling their role in God’s agenda.

"A meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya, September 9-13 to explore with African Christian leaders with whom we have worked over the past several years how this might be most effectively accomplished. . . .

"One of the African leaders in our meeting has connection with Transformation Africa, an international prayer movement that gathers Christians in stadiums to pray for transformation. Transformation Africa is currently planning to hold national prayer events in all 58 countries of Africa and the Indian Ocean. We discussed a potential partnership with this group. As Transformation Africa gathers pastors for national prayer meetings in stadiums, we would provide training in biblical worldview and wholistic ministry, to equip local churches as agents of God’s transforming love at the local and national levels. [Ed note: see yesterday's Herescope for an explanation about how Transformation Africa was a precursor to the Global Day of Prayer.]

"If such a partnership could be developed, and the training we envision occurs at each event, the idea of transformation through the local church could literally explode throughout Africa." [emphases added]

The major players in this massive agenda to overhaul the belief system of Africans includes DNA, an ominously named group whose sole purpose is to further the dominionist agenda. [Ed note: DNA is not just an acronym. The dominionists are using this term generically to mean exporting kingdom theology "DNA" into church cell groups for the purpose of transformation and cellular replication in their model.] It is described in the "African Formation" report:

"DNA a Catalyst
"Disciple Nations Alliance (DNA) was birthed in 2001 as an outgrowth of a partnership between Food for the Hungry and Harvest that began in 1997. DNA’s purpose is to encourage association among Christian organizations with the objective of awakening the church worldwide to the full intentions of Christ, and equipping the church to fulfill its purpose in God’s agenda. We show how God has appointed the church to be His primary agent for bringing transformation and restoration. We teach a biblical worldview and wholistic ministry—serving the needs of the whole person. We equip local churches to both proclaim and demonstrate the love of God, advocating and working for the rule of Christ in every sector of society. . . .

"DNA has served as a catalyst in Africa since we began working there in 1999. We are involved with African Christian leaders now, . . . The African leaders are in charge of the effort, but DNA will continue to assist in bringing local churches to a place of understanding and participation in God’s transformation and restoration agenda." [ http://www.tinyurl.com.avuvd/, emphasis added]

To underscore the domininionist indoctrination mandate that this DNA group serves, at one of its official websites http://tinyurl.com/8upkw the group's agenda is explained more fully. The group essentially teaches a "think globally, act locally" global transformation, by re-training local churches and pastors in the kingdom theology (what they call "worldview") and then exporting it to entire cities, regions and nations. Note below the emphasis on "spheres," which is discussed in the "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism" article posted at the Discernment Ministries website:

"The vision of the Disciple Nations Alliance is to see engaged, credible, high-impact local churches, in critical mass, effecting real transformation in their communities and discipling their nations. Our mission is to launch and support movements of local churches around the world that are envisioned with a biblical worldview and equipped to practice a wholistic, incarnational ministry in all spheres of society. We accomplish this mission by advancing a specific set of ideas, or a “school of thought” rooted in the teachings of Darrow Miller and Robert Moffitt."

The Truth:

Dominionism is alarmingly pervasive. Today's Herescope post represents only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. Each link here, and each group named, could be more fully explored. Only a broad overview was presented so that one could see the vast interlocking network of parachurch organizations intent on restructuring the continent of Africa, and then on to the whole globe.

Each one of these ministries above is widely popular and very credible in the evangelical subculture of America. Each exists without controversy or question. No evangelical press covers their real purpose or agenda in Africa. No respected theological seminarians challenge the kingdom doctrine that these groups are re-training 3rd world pastors to believe and implement. No one inquires about the massive funding empire behind these groups.

"And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes." (2 Kings 22:10-11)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Christian Imperialism: Update # 7 The Namibian "Dream"

Discernment Ministries has been following the development of a global "dominionist" agenda and recently posted an article at the website entitled "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism." Today's Herescope post is an update and expansion on several topics that were brought out in this article.

Transformation Namibia

The May/June Discernment Newsletter reported on the international event called The Global Day of Prayer (GDOP), which was a kingdom-building activity to bring about global "transformation." The GDOP event also aided in the global launching of Rick Warren's "Second Reformation," as reported in the July/August newsletter. [Click on archived newsletters at http://www.discernment-ministries.org to read these important background articles.]

The official press accounts of the history of the Global Day of Prayer linked it back to Graham Power, a businessman in Africa who supposedly saw a vision from God to have large prayer stadium events. Thus began the prayer event in CapeTown in 2001, which incorporated South Africa the next year 2002, then moved to reach all of southern African continent in 2003, and then finally the entire African continent in 2004.

Important NEW historical information has come to light pertaining to the history of the Global Day of Prayer. The GDOP and its parent, Transformation Africa, were completely interconnected with George Otis, Jr.'s Transformation video from the onset . This Transformation video series has been one of the key vehicles to market the kingdom dominionism theology worldwide, particularly in vulnerable 3rd world countries. The video is modeled after the old snake oil sales -- it promises miraculous results and a "restoration" of the entire planet Earth if these principles of kingdom transformation are implemented.

This new, more complete history of the GDOP can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ba34n. This website is about the "transformation" of the tiny country of Namibia, which has been a guinea pig for the rest of the continent.

At "The Namibian Dream" [http://www.thenamibiandream.info/] the website indicates that its "purpose is to help transforming Africa for Christ." At the link "About Us," one can see one of the clearest examples of Peter Drucker's 3-legged stool diagram, incorporating Business, Government, and Church into a 3-armed logo [http://www.thenamibiandream.info/AboutUs.aspx]. The information states: "Our ambition is all about government, business and church leaders joining hands. . . ." The "mission" statement on this page is indicative of the prayer dominionist agenda.

Bruce Wilkinson's Turn the Tide organization has been a prominent player in this "transformation" of Namibia. Wilkinson intended to take his Swaziland transformation initiative into Namibia, and his weekly "Turn the Tide" press releases mentioned these activities. "The Swazi model will hopefully be replicated in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and parts of South Africa," according to an article from the Christian Post at http://tinyurl.com/a27o8, by Katherine T. Phan, "Campaign Calling Students to Abstinence in Swaziland Ends Saturday" (Jul. 31, 2004) [emphasis added].

A key partner of Bruce Wilkinson in Namibia has been John Maxwell. Maxwell is another evangelical leader who enjoys wide credibility with few critics. Maxwell's activities frequently come up in conjunction with Bruce Wilkinson and Rick Warren's African endeavors, and the three men worked closely together on the "transformation agenda." Maxwell's role is particularly pivotal because he involved himself in "leadership training" through various entities, including his Global Pastors Network, Million Leaders Mandate and EQUIP. In brief, his leadership training identifies, databanks, assesses and monitors indigenous pastors in a given area for the purpose of intensive re-training in the kingdom dominionist mindset. Some of Maxwell's activities in Namibia are are briefly described at http://www.thenamibiandream.info/AboutUs.aspx :

"When John Maxwell and a few friends launched EQUIP in 1997, their vision was to equip international Christian leaders to effectively serve the growing Body of Christ around the world. . . . MILLION LEADERS MANDATE (MLM), a six year global initiative to train and resource one million international Christian leaders, was launched in Asia in 2003 and is being introduced continent by continent in successive years."

The original Christianity Today article about Bruce Wilkinson's activities in Africa, "Mr. Jabez Goes to Africa: Bruce Wilkinson expands his borders to include racial reconciliation and HIV/AIDS," by Timothy C. Morgan, posted 10/17/2003 [http://tinyurl.com/7nrsu] had much to say about his activities in Namibia. As Herescope noted a few days ago, the evangelical press accounts of Wilkinson's activities were laudatory, not critical. A few excerpts follow:

"Testing Ground
"In Namibia, influential Christians have begun a renewal movement that they call the Namibian Dream, anchored by an annual outdoor celebration, Transformation Namibia. They invited Wilkinson to be their keynote speaker for the May 1, 2003, gathering at a sports arena in Windhoek, the nation's capital, surrounded by the barren and beautiful mountains of the ancient Namib Desert.

"Diamond-rich Namibia has not been as afflicted by pestilence or coups as have other African nations. With a Christian majority and a relatively prosperous economy, Namibia is a missions success by the numbers. But latent racism, chronic poverty, and white control of agricultural land have held back Namibians. . . .

"The Namibian Dream movement is trying to build such friendships; it is one stream of a larger spiritual renewal underway in southern Africa that has gained little attention outside the region. Three years ago, Graham Power of Cape Town, South Africa, launched Transformation Africa with a stadium-based event not unlike Promise Keepers' 1997 Stand in the Gap gathering in Washington, D.C. . . .

"Transformation Africa's top leaders and Wilkinson have the same goal of focusing the power of Christians for a continent-wide spiritual and social renewal around biblical teaching. Southern Africa's conservative Christians provide the workers, while Wilkinson provides new strategies for evangelism, church planting, pastor training, and holistic outreach."

[Some readers may wish to read a disturbing article about Namibia which raises many ethical concerns about the Transformation Namibia actitivies in the context of complex issues of western, white and Christian imperialism. It is posted at http://tinyurl.com/9h4d8. For two other articles which present a troubling portrayal of the May 1, 2003 Transformation Africa event in Namibia see: http://tinyurl.com/bewl5 and http://tinyurl.com/cfnwy]

The Truth:

Herescope is just one tiny blog which currently is highlighting concerns raised by the dominionist mandate, particularly as it pertains to the questionable activities of evangelical leaders in Africa. The fact is, this is a daunting task because of the limited amount of material to research. Of all of the ethical concerns that could be raised concerning the dominionist agenda in Africa, perhaps this is primary. There is little or no scrutiny, oversight, accountability, or authentic publicity about what is being implemented in Africa under the banner of Christianity. Will the stories only come out after there is an "incident" of the type reported by The Wall Street Journal regarding Bruce Wilkinson (See Herescope 12/19/05)? How many more stories are there like this?

Or, worse, will the stories coming out be highly scripted media puff pieces designed to stimulate more short-term volunteer trips to "advance the kingdom"? Will pre-digested stories be sent out with glowing reports of wonderful successes, miraculous events (such as George Otis' foot-long carrots), or supposedly marvelous results?

More stories from Africa, Lord willing, tomorrow. . . . .

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 3:13)