Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bruce Wilkinson's "morality lite"

The American evangelical press never embarked upon a thorough examination of precisely how Bruce Wilkinson (and Rick Warren his partner) intended to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. The photo ops and carefully staged press events portray the men giving quasi-spiritual sounding messages that could be best defined as "morality lite." Given the neo-evangelical propensity to heavily dilute the gospel message with watery platitudes, this isn't much of a surprise. But it did serve an important purpose. This "morality lite" message provided the perfect foil for the real activities of these men in Africa.

Before we proceed, let us first peel off the veneer. Bruce Wilkinson's "morality lite" message was sadly lacking in true Biblical morality. The following quotation appeared in JOY! magazine, the South African counterpart to Charisma, in April 2004. Bruce Wilkinson was being interviewed by Chante Hinds, "Specializing in the impossible," about his activities in Africa, and his abstinence work in Swaziland. He was asked, "Do Christians need a brand change? I've heard, 'We love the message -- pity about the messenger.'"

Wilkinson answered: "Not so much a brand change as a behaviour change. We have promoted an unbiblical message that becoming born-again is the answer to everything. It's not. It changes your eternity, but it doesn't change your sexual behaviour, for instance. The gospel does not always have the answer for modern-day dilemmas." [emphasis added]

Obviously, given the quote above, Bruce Wilkinson never intended to work on the HIV/AIDS issue from a traditional Christiain perspective of preaching the Gospel. Why not? Because over the past 30 years the evangelical church has been thoroughly permeated with the kingdom (dominionist) gospel. This new gospel teaches that one can change governments, laws, structures in society, cultural norms, etc. by political action and education. This focus is misplaced on changing the external affairs of mankind (the new definition of "transformation"), not the inner condition of the heart of man (Romans 12:1-2 definition of "transformation").

The type of education that kingdom gospel adherents practice is best defined as "affective" education -- based upon the humanist psychological methods developed by Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and William Coulson. This style of touchy-feely education is not didactic, nor is it cognitive. Although it may be "spiritual" in a secular moral sense (such as "character education") it is not biblical. It is also ineffective in changing human behavior. This style of education is what is taught by the evangelical management gurus in their "leadership training." [For more information on this topic see to read excerpts from Charlotte Iserbyt's excellent book, the deliberate dumbing down of america.]

In a sense, the Liberal Leftists have been right. The kingdom dominionists have been trying to impose their morality on society. Particularly in a way that supplants true biblical evangelism.

The Truth:

Modern-day dominionists rely upon the external machinations of man, the manipulations of psycho-social dynamics, the political powers-that-be, the entrapments of financiers, and the coalitions with heathen. Gone is the emphasis on the power of the Word of God to change the hearts and lives of man.

The new dominionist way emphasizes "making disciples" in a way that would force every man to bend the knee to Christ. The old Gospel way relied upon the Scriptures -- "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:24) and repent.

The OLD definition of Matthew 28:18 is one that many Herescope readers may have never heard before. This "Great Commission" Scripture has been twisted to justify building a "kingdom" here on Earth and the original message has been lost. Below is a quotation from Gospel Fear: Developing a Tender Heart that Trembles at the Word of God, by Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646):

"So where the Word of the Lord is, there is power to make it good. In Matthew 28:18 Christ says, 'All power in heaven and earth is given unto Me.' What follows? 'Go therefore and preach.' What may we observe from the connection? It is as if He should say, 'Know that all the power in heaven and earth that is given to Me shall go along with you while you are preaching My Word, to make good that Word of Mine that you preach.' So whenever you hear any truth of God preached out of His Word, you must know that all power in heaven and earth is sent forth to assist it and make it good. If it is a threatening, to make it good that way; if it is a promise, to make it good that way. In Isaiah 55:11, the Lord says there that His Word will not be a vain thing; it will not return unto Him void, but one way or another, it shall perform the work that God sends it for. . . .

"God will have every sinner to know that He is the Lord, and that He does not speak in vain. It is as if God should say, 'Then My Word shall prevail, shall take hold upon them, all the power that I have shall go along with My Word to make it good." (p. 13-14)

"[Wisdom] crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled, Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." (Proverbs 9:3b-6)