Tuesday, February 28, 2006

First & Second Order Paradigm Change

Change results in "transformation." Transformation is a new paradigm, a new worldview. Transformation is systemic. It is global. It is not just affecting the Church, but all of the entire social and cultural systems of the planet.

Transformation is intentional and planned. It isn't just a "new world order" political change, but is also mystical and spiritual.

A key article explaining the transformation process was published in an obscure education reform journal Outcomes in 1991. Outcomes promoted Mastery Learning, a Skinnerian model of education based on operant conditioning methods (also known as Programmed Instruction) that evolved into what was more widely known as Outcome-Based Education (OBE). Education reform was built on the SAME systemic transformative model that is being implemented in the Church today.

Because the same model for transformation is being used, there is much to be gleaned from this article discussing "Paradigm Change: More Magic than Logic" by John C. Hillary. Below are some key excerpts from this article, with commentary that will assist in making the application to Church Transformation.

A bold pronouncement opens Hillary's article: "A new 'problematique' has unraveled the old order and we find ourselves in the open space between old and new eras. . . . Fundamental assumptions about reality are shifting, and we struggle to discover or invent ways to cope with -- if not take charge of -- change. . . . [W]e need leaders more than ever. . . . " [emphases added]

Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, is cited. Toffler is the official guru of Change, and his ideas about Change undergird all subsequent "transformation" efforts. He suggested creating "visions" and "imaginations" for the future. "Transformation" is all about envisioning and re-creating the future.

The next paragraph begins with the classic statement about Change: "Changes in fundamental assumptions about reality link with a shifting and realigning of purposes, cultures, and core processes. . . . [O]ur predominant world view has been called into question by contemporary issues and problems." [emphases added]

Hillary utilizes a model of First-order Change and Second-order Change, borrowed from others (Levy, et al), to describe this transformation process. This model is helpful to understanding "transformation" in the Church. According to Hillary,

First-Order Change is:

"First-order change does not challenge or contradict the established context of 'organization.' People are not usually threatened either personally or collectively by this type of change." [emphases added]

Second-Order Change is:

"The deeper changes that frustrate leaders and threaten followers are planned second-order changes. . . . These changes intentionally challenge widely shared assumptions, disintegrate the context of 'organization' and, in general, reframe the social system. This, in turn, generates widespread ambiguity, discontinuity, anxiety, frustration, confusion, paramoia, cynicism and anger as well as temporary dysfunction." [emphases added]

First-order Change, according to Hillary, happens in the context of "Core Processes" of an organization. This is superficial and "does not call into question the existing culture, mission/purpose, or organizational paradigm." In education reform language, "Core processes" referred to the basic operation -- the arena of the cafeteria, bus scheduling, building maintenance, etc. These could be changed without creating a paradigm shift in the overall structure and function of the local school.

Likewise, First-order Change in a church could mean changing the hours for services, renovating the building, choosing new choir robes, scheduling nursery workers, etc.

But Hillary's focus in his article is on Second-order Change, and this is where "transformation" is happening in the Church. Second-order Change challenges the existing CULTURE, MISSION/PURPOSE and ORGANIZATIONAL PARADIGM. Hillary notes:

"Change calls into question the status quo and disrupts the alignment among organizational attributes." [Meaning the items in caps in the paragraph above, which he also refers to as "domains," ed.] . . . The most disruptive changes -- second order changes -- . . . call into question the entire context of organization. . . . Paradigm change is therefore not only traumatic in and of itself, but also challenges other attributes and disintegrates the relationship among all domains. The eventual outcome of such change is a 'transformed' or 'renewed' organization."

This is a classic model of Change, which creates a crisis, deconstructs the old model, and substitutes a new "transformative" model. Tomorrow, Lord willing, Herescope will examine "orchestrating planned second order change." In particular, can you identify which type of "Change" your own church is undergoing? Is it superficial First-order Change, or is it dangerously encroaching on the Planned, Intentional Second-order Change that Hillary is talking about? And, what methods are being used to shift your church's paradigm?

The Truth:

The Bible contains many warnings about deception. The Church Growth Movement has been employing the methodologies of Second-order Change for at least three decades now, getting more sophisticated as time goes on. Much of this paradigm shifting towards Church "transformation" is done by methods of deception and coercion. Pastors and leaders are being trained in these methods. But people in the pew have little knowledge or expertise. All they know is that the music is changing, worship styles are different, or that new programs, curriculums, ideas and projects are being introduced in a manner which is compulsory. "If you don't like it, you can leave," parishioners are told.

Just what are these pastors/leaders being trained to do? Stay tuned. . .

"Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abominations to the Lord." (Prov. 20:10)

"Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel." (Prov. 20:17)

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts." (Prov. 21:2)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Joel's Army

Do you want to understand more fully this concept of "Joel's Army"? The second edition of Joel's Army, a booklet by Jewel Grewe, has just been re-published. This completely updated book is now available on-line at: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/JoelsArmy1.htm. It can also be purchased for only $3.50 a copy from Discernment Ministries. See http://www.discernment-ministries.org for details.

Today's Herescope reprints the Preface, which explains the historical significance of this book. Tomorrow's Herescope will continue the series about Transformation and Change.


This book is a snapshot in time. Originally published in 1991, it was a helpful sketch of the Latter Rain doctrines coming forth from the “Kansas City Prophets” and entering the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. This movement had existed on the fringes of the Pentecostal community, and there was little reason to worry that these aberrant teachings would affect the mainstream evangelicalism.

In retrospect, this book is so much more important than anyone ever realized. We now know that what was then called the “New Wave Theology” movement has now tremendously grown to become the New Apostolic Reformation.

This book is a still photo, capturing a pivotal moment in history. The new doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation were still “emerging” fifteen years ago. As such, these new doctrines were much more blatant. None of the church growth movement experts had come in to “tweak” them so that they would be marketable to the greater evangelical community. Nobody had come in to scale them down yet, in order to gradually introduce them as “progressive revelation.” In this book, you read the actual doctrines in their most pure, unadulterated form. And it is quite chilling!

The New Order of the Latter Rain, a cult that began in the late 1940s, taught a number of heresies, including 1) an overemphasis on “imparting” spiritual gifts and 2) the erroneous teaching that the Church must be built on a foundation of present-day apostles and prophets. Leaders at that time included William Branham, George Warnock, Ern Baxter, and George Hawtin. This cult eventually developed connections with the Shepherding and Charismatic Renewal movements, and the “Kansas City Prophets.”

This self-proclaimed group of modern-day “prophets,” at the Kansas City Fellowship perpetuated the doctrines of Latter Rain through the teachings of Mike Bickle, Paul Cain and others. It is here that this booklet picks up the story, for many of the quoted excerpts come from leaders at the Kansas City Fellowship prophecy conferences.

Just at this moment in history, a confluence was beginning which was to have massive repercussions throughout the rest of evangelicalism: John Wimber of the Vineyard Movement connected with the Kansas City Prophets. John Wimber had previously been picked up as an “experiment” by C. Peter Wagner at Fuller Theological Seminary for “signs and wonders” classes. For several decades Fuller had been laying considerable groundwork for the formation of new doctrines – ecclesiology, eschatology, missiology, soteriology, etc. Wimber’s connection to KCF proved to be the catalyst for the beginnings of what C. Peter Wagner was to later call the “New Apostolic Reformation.” The esoteric doctrines of the Latter Rain movement became an integral part of his post-modern evangelical canon. And because of Wagner’s influence, KCF leaders who would have been obscure in 1991, such as Mike Bickle, are now widely known throughout evangelicalism.

What you are about to read exposes some of the most pure forms of the New Apostolic Reformation doctrines – unadulterated – that can be found. They are wholly heretical and deeply disturbing. As this book goes to press as a second edition, these teachings are rapidly gaining impact and influence in the wider Christian world. What would have shocked fifteen years ago is now easily accepted.

May the Lord use this book to lead many back to His Word.
Sarah Leslie

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Friday, February 24, 2006


The Discernment Research Group has received numerous requests to discuss in more detail the PROCESS of transformation. The following series of posts will attempt to answer this pressing need.

CHANGE is a necessary component to create church "transformation." Change is a foundational assumption -- something that everyone must agree is necessary -- before the process of transformation can begin. Change is often predicated upon a "crisis" that is created in order to propel transformation.

The change model has come into the Church through a wide variety of mechanisms. Here is a short summary:

1. The business leadership training: Change is an essential component to Total Quality Management (TQM). It is known as "continuous improvement." Peter Drucker conveniently defined it as "perpetual revival" so this model could be applied to the Church. Creating a constant state of "crisis" or continual "need" in the business/church climate propels the institution forward towards transformation. The job of human resource training (freshly trained pastors in the new model) becomes one of equipping people to cope with constant change. There are no absolutes, everything is always in a state of flux.

2. The marketing model applied to function: Change is an essential ingredient to marketing. The marketing model has been brought into the Church via the leadership training seminars and workshops. This model primarily focuses on new practices and new methods of leadership to cause Church Growth. To create a climate of change, a discontent with the old models is focused upon. And extravagant claims of success (numerically in terms of converts) is promised with the new model. It is more "effective" or more "efficient." Sophisticated marketing strategies to create a "paradigm shift" are implemented so that these new methods and practices are adopted. Name brand identification is often a key to success ("I am of Rick Warren, I am of John Maxwell," 1 Cor. 1:4).

3. The marketing model applied to structure: Change must be foundational. This is equivalent to re-vamping an entire corporate hierarchical structure from the bottom up. The popular Christian analogy is wineskins -- which is a misapplication of a Bible verse that now means new forms of church governance. Old wineskins must be discarded so that new wine can be poured into the new wineskins. This new structures must be built upon "apostles" and "prophets" who will bring in a total transformation, i.e. a new or second "Reformation." To get believers to "buy" the new structure, promises of heightened spirituality (Gnostic) are blended with promises of an increased "harvest."

4. Post-modern comprehensive change: The post-modern Church is by definition a church in perpetual change. This is an inviolable assumption that cannot be disagreed with. Everything is considered a variable, with precious few (if any) absolutes. Change permits the Church to "contextualize" to the culture and "integrate" with other spiritual traditions (including those outside Christianity). Perpetual change does not permit biblical separation, because this holds back the transformative processes.

5. Esoteric change: Change is part of a progressive revelation from God, and therefore treated as a new sacrament. God is supposedly giving new wisdom, new insights, and new words to this generation of believers. Therefore the Church must continuously adapt while in this "transition" period of hearing God's voice directing things towards a "consummation." The oracles of the false apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation give detailed instructions for how this change is to be conducted. There are dire warnings for those who do not go along with this change.

An example of Esoteric Change

Before examining the other forms of Change mentioned above, it is first necessary to examine point 5. Even though many of the other mechanisms to introduce Change into the Church do not blatantly introduce the new mysticism, the core doctrines are all similar (if not identical). Therefore business-marketing leaders, who are connected with the New Apostolic Reformation, can enter into denominational churches and market their version of Change unemcumbered by doctrinal disputes. Their version can appear to be pragmatic and utilitarian, without a hint of the underlying assumptions. But peel back a few layers -- e.g., conduct an Internet search on the interlocking leadership of the "New Apostolic Reformation" -- and it is easy to see that the Change mandate originates from the same esoteric foundation. Like all successful marketing strategies, diversified strategies are used in order to best market the message to each targeted audience.

In the latest WhiteDove Ministries, February 2006 E-Newsletter, Paul Keith Davis wrote an article entitled "Change is Imminent," http://tinyurl.com/z85zf. This article is a perfect example of 1) Latter Rain heresies and 2) the estoeric change process described in point 5 above. One is supposed to interpret Davis's words as prophetic from God, and therefore hearken to this heavenly mandate for change:

"Never has the need been greater for a clear prophetic word coming direct from God's heart. The Lord told us prophetically that 2005 would be a year of transition. We have now determined that 2006 will be a year of change. Transition is defined as 'the act of passing from one state or place into the next." Change is "the result of an alteration or modification.' The transition of 2005 initiated a process while the change of 2006 will manifest the results of our responses to this process. "

Davis' remarks are based on a key facet of Change -- acceleration. He claims that God's timetable is "accelerating." He also borrow from the evolutionary model of Change, which is based on human evolution theories. Note this quotation used the word "maturity" in an evolutionary sense, as Davis applies Change to the Church:

"The greatest change will be for the Bride of Christ to move from adolescence into maturity."

Note below that Davis employs a "progressive revelation" model of Change. In this instance, he claims that because the Apostle Paul received divine revelation directly from Jesus, that it is to be used as the standard for new interpretations of God's Word. This foundational heresy then opens the door to any other worse heresies that may be coming down the pike.

"The apostle Paul is another prophetic model for leadership to emulate today. His gospel came neither by the teaching of man nor by the reading of a book, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:12) His message was an absolute standard that the Lord was able to validate with the authenticity of Heaven."

Under the heading, "God's Absolute," Davis continues,

"The level of revelation granted to Paul is about to be released to the Church to present the 'plumbline' of God and establish a perfect standard. Our comprehension of God's word will rocket to incredible heights when we eat the now 'open book' of redemption that unveils the fullness of God's plan. It has been reserved in God from the days of Daniel until today. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ that will present the bride without spot or wrinkle will be delegated to her." [emphases added]

Just to underscore the significance of this, Davis gives a veiled nod to the "New Breed" doctrine, promising that "[t]here is something woven into the spiritual DNA of God's people today that propels us into this new place. . . ." [emphasis added]

The Truth:

The heresy of "new revelation" as a justification for Change is particularly disturbing because it encroaches upon the Word of God. There is a sinister implication that these new "apostles" and "prophets" will be getting new "words" from God for the Church today -- either in new revelations, or new "Scripture" itself! How can they claim this? Because they teach the Latter Rain cult 5-fold ministry heresy, which is based on an evolutionary model of Church maturity and growth.

Paul the Apostle (with a capital "A") was indeed given a revelation of Jesus Christ. But he was the last Apostle according to every traditional interpretation of Scripture. There were no more apostles with a capital "A." See 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1, and Titus 1:1 for starters. If you need help, read the good old commentaries such as Matthew Henry or Matthew Poole, which will equip the modern-day believer in a solid biblical foundation.

The "revelation" that Paul received is written down as doctrine in the Word of God.

"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Tim. 4:16)

"Hold fast the form of sound words, whcih thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 1:13)

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2)

"But thou has fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, . . . " (2 Tim. 3:10)

"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;" (2 Tim. 3:14)

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." (2 Tim. 4:2)

"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:" (Titus 2:1)

This post begins a new series on Herescope about Change, Transition and Transformation. . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dominionism and Kingdom Now teachings

The following material is excerpted from the most recent Discernment Ministries newsletter, the March/April 2006 newsletter now posted on http://www.discernment-ministries.org.

This newsletter provides a broad overview of the history of the dominionism doctrines arising since the late 1940s, including some rare documentary material by pastors and organizations who opposed the various dominionism movements. A key response to the rise of the Kingdom Now teaching in the 1980’s came from George Wood. From a transcript of a taped message on the subject, Dr. Wood, the present (2006) General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, warned:

“What makes Kingdom Now teaching different from the normal emphasis of the kingdom being present is that the Kingdom Now teachers are saying that the kingdom is going to become externally visible in this age, prior to the Coming [of Christ]."

In a further article entitled "Kingdom Now and Missions," Mountain Movers, 1989, Dr. Wood further warns:

"…As its name implies, this theology maintains that God’s kingdom already exists on earth. This new wave, like the old waves of latter rain, shepherding, demon-casting from Christians, and positive confession is destined to be exported to foreign soil. But the acceptance of Kingdom Now theology by churches overseas would bring seven significant and disastrous results."

"(1) All biblical teaching regarding the literal fuillment of prophesied events would be abandoned…;

(2) The Church would have a larger mission than that of proclaiming personal salvation through Christ…. The political, social, and economic systems of nations and cultures would need to be 'Christianized'...

(3) ..The Church would need to be reeducated to understand that the teaching of the Rapture is a doctrine sold to it by Satan to lull it into an escapist mentality. Only when the Church is finished ‘Christianizing’ (exercising dominion over) the world could it finally summon the Lord to return from heaven

(4) The Church could no longer rely solely on written Scripture for doctrine. It would have to develop the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, from whom the Church could learn rulership. These new 'apostles' and 'prophets' words would be obeyed and not judged or tested by the Church. The door would be open to ongoing revelation through which God would reveal components of His will and ways not found in the Bible.

(5) The Church would take a new look at worship… it would also become a spiritual empowerment to restore the Church and to raise it to perfection... the lively and spiritually restored tabernacle of David.

(6) The revived Church anticipated by the Kingdom Now proponents would demand a new breed of Christians: supermen and superwomen. Believers would be taught that they are more than human… Some Kingdom Now adherents go beyond being ‘little gods’ to holding to the possibility that we are the ‘manifested sons of God,’ ...the race of Christians whose bodies will be transformed, not by the coming of the Lord, but by His inner secret coming from within themselves.

(7) Finally, the Church everywhere would be called to ‘unity.’ Since Kingdom Now teachers do not want their teaching to be challenged, they attempt to silence their critics by suggesting that Christians lay aside their differences and join in common witness. . . "

An Improper Emphasis

This current Discernment Ministries newsletter also notes the warnings issued by Robert Crabtree when he was the District Superintendent for the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God. He prepared a report which he delivered to the pastors of the district on January 13, 1987. It is well documented and shows the remarkable understanding of a godly leader who foresaw the dangers that lurked ahead. He said,

“Theology should not be written in the streets. The Bible should not be rewritten for the sake of society. Society should change because of the impact of the Scriptures. It should not be conditioned, reshaped or rewritten as a result of social pressures. The Scriptures must be the first line of authority. . . Those who seek to change God’s Word by either adding to it through 'new revelation' or deleting from it by 'academic exercises' should have their works judged accordingly. . .

"An effort to unify the New Wave theologies, especially among Kingdom Now teachers is growing. Structurally it is similar to attempts to unify the Charismatic movement. . . Watch for the development of new terms and redefinition of old terms with new shades of meaning that will be utilized in an attempt to accommodate the various types of Kingdom Now theologies. Kingdom Now teachers have redefined the Gospel which requires ‘re-evangelizing’ the church without an emphasis upon Jesus Christ. [emphasis added] Salvation moves one from the kingdom of sin to the Kingdom Now of Christ on earth. This new kingdom is being built by waking up the professing Christians rather than reaching the lost. These renewed Christians are to seek control of the earth and assume stewardship responsibilities of the material world.”

To read the entire newsletter, visit: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLMarchApril_2006.htm. A special report is available from Discernment Ministries called the "Kingdom Now Theology Report," which provides historical documentation for the rise of this movement and its opposition (see newsletter page 7 for details).

The Truth:

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." (Phil. 3:10)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Joel's Army & "The Day of the Lord"

The following excerpt is from the Joel's Army booklet by Jewel Grewe, an important history of the late 1980s when the Latter Rain movement connected with the "Kansas City prophets." These groups then connected with John Wimber of the Vineyard movement, which had already been established as an "experiment" of C. Peter Wagner. These movements would all coalesce together by the 1990s and converge into the New Apostolic Reformation.

What began as a cult on the fringes of Pentecostalism would rise up to become mainstream neo-evangelicalism.

This history is very important to understanding the doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation. In the late 1980s the doctrines were much more blatant. The church growth movement experts hadn't yet "tweaked" the doctrines to make them less offensive to evangelicalism-at-large. What follows is an explanation of the new heretical teachings about "incarnation," Joel's Army and the "Day of the Lord."

The "Day of the Lord"

The “Day of the Lord” is re-interpreted by the false prophets to mean that Christ will come to His Church and incarnate (become God in flesh) an army of believers – thus giving them supernatural qualities to execute judgment on the Church. The “Day of the Lord” is also misconstrued to mean a time of judgment, starting with the Church. The key text they love to quote is from I Peter 4:17: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God.” The common orthodox interpretation of the text is that God will punish the righteous when they sin, and punish the ungodly at the coming judgment. This is quite adequate and clear. Ever since the inception of the Church, the Holy Spirit has been in the business of judging and purging the Church. God's sovereign judgment will continue to chasten, cleanse and purge the Church until the judgment seat of Christ when the saints will receive their rewards and the records of service are set straight.

The “Day of the Lord” as seen through the eyes of the New Wave “prophets” will be a time when Joel’s Army, led by these “prophets,” will pour out God's wrath on the church! Then, they claim, for the first time in two thousand years the “pure church” will come forth. In other words, the blood of Christ did not avail, nor will it, in the last days because this Joel’s Army and the “prophets” will do what Jesus Christ’s blood could not; i.e., “cleanse” the Church. If indeed it takes this Joel’s Army to purify the Church, then all the preaching of the Cross from the early Church to the present was in vain. And rather than the Cross of Christ being God's final answer to “walking in newness of life,” we should look for another.

This Joel’s Army heresy, as it is applied to the Church and the world, is not only in total conflict with the true Gospel of Christ, but represents a radical new rendition of the doctrines of redemption and purification. By all analyses it is “another gospel.” It poses a real threat to unstable churches because it is yet another great deception beguiling the Church.


The following is a further account of Jack Deere's “bloody slaughter on the church by Joel's Army” that will turn the scene of the Church to blood and darkness before perfection.

"The Scripture never encourages us to warn the unbeliever of the wrath that is to come. When the prophets speak to God's people, they warn God's people about what's to come. And then he says to God's people, not to the unbelievers, but he says to God's people, “let the land, those who live in the land of Palestine, let them tremble” – now how could that be? Our Lord Jesus is coming back, we all believe that. But why should God's people tremble? …He's going to come TO the Church. He's going to come TO the Church before He comes FOR the Church. 1 Peter 4:17 says that judgment is near and that it's going to begin with the House of God… The Lord Jesus, before He comes and visits judgment upon the earth, He's going to come and visit it upon His Church. And no one, no one, in His Church is going to escape that judgment….

"You really want the Day of the Lord to come? Woe to you, woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord. That Day will be darkness, not light… He's coming in judgment. He's coming to purify His Church. He will not come back for that Bride. He will come to purify that Church and make it His Bride and that's why judgment is going to come….

"How is God going to bring judgment upon His Church, and then judgment upon the land after His Church? He's going to do it with a large and mighty army. Now what is this army like? He says, first off in verse 3, well, first of all He said that this army is totally unique. This army, there's never been one like it, and there never will be one like it in ages to come… When this army comes, He says it's large and it's mighty. It's so mighty that there's never been anything like it before… “Begin the slaughter and begin it in the temple and begin it with the elders, the leaders of my people.” And they walk through the land and they start and they begin to slaughter and, you know God has already started that? He has already started with the biggest names in His household? He has already started the slaughter… and it is coming now among the Church. He'll start with the leaders, but He'll move out into the Church. That's why, when He says in verse 2, “It's a day not of rejoicing and happiness, it's a day of darkness and gloom. It's a day of clouds and blackness, like dawn spreading across the mountains.” You really want the Day of the Lord to come? Woe to you, woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord. That Day will be darkness, not light." (Jack Deere, “Joel’s Army,” Vineyard Ministry International, audio cassette, 1990) [emphases added]

This Joel's Army booklet is being republished into a second edition with important updates. Available soon from Discernment Ministries at http://www.discernment-ministries.org.

The Truth:

Reading and listening to the kind of war this Joel's Army is supposed to wage against the Church in the last days, we learn that not only is it totally unscriptural, but it reflects an ominous spirit. Far from being redemptive, it is destructive and even sadistic. It is a spirit that denies Jesus is come in the flesh and that the Church was purchased with His precious blood.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:25-27)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Reality Check: the POWER of the Word

The past few posts pertained to the new doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation. One of the key tenets of their heretical faith is the introduction of spiritual warfare. These activities are almost always done in lieu of a presentation of the Gospel. Prayer marches, prayer walks, "confronting the powers," etc. all consume precious time and energy. But they do not utilize the one resource that God has best given us with which to TRULY "confront" the darkness of sin that lies in the hearts of men -- i.e., the Word of God.

The Power of the Word

"In 1 Corinthians 2:4, the apostle says there, concerning the ministry of the Word, 'My speech and preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' See here two sorts of preaching. There is preaching that is with enticing words of man's wisdom, upon which a preacher may be commended as being a brave man, a witty man, a curious man, or any of a hundred other such epithets. 'But,' says Paul, 'we preach in the demonstration of the Spirit.' And look what follows: 'and of power.' So that the power of the Word follows upon the demonstration of the Spirit. When people apprehend a minister preaching only with his wit and his gifts, the heart of a man will condemn it. It may commend the man, but condemn the Word, for it has no power over the conscience; but when a minister of God comes in God's name, and preaches in the demonstration of the Spirit, then he preaches with power, such power as prevails with the consciences of men: the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

"It is said of Christ in Matthew 7 that He did not preach as the Scribes and Pharisees, but as one who had authority, as one who spoke to the consciences of men. So the ministers of Christ ought to speak in the name of Christ as being backed with the authority of Christ, as men who have to deal with men's consciences and not with men's fancies. . . . There is a matter enough in the Word of God to make any heart to tremble if it is delivered as the Word of God. What's the chaff to the wheat? 1 Peter 4:11: 'If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.' If any man undertakes to speak God's Word, it must be as the Word of God, the oracles of God.

"I remember reading of a man named Tully, who spoke so powerfully that he made Caesar's book fall out of his hands. And, certainly, if Tully could do so with his eloquence, there is that power and eloquence in the Word of God as will make the lusts of men to fall out of their hearts. 'The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, to the casting down of strongholds, and proud imaginations that cast themselves against God and His truth.' There is a power in God's Word; men are mighty through God. Not being carnal according to the flesh but spiritual, they come to be able to cast down the proud imagination and to make them tremble before the Lord. . . .

"In Revelation 6:9, it is said of some there that when the fifth seal was opened, 'I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.' That is, they would rather be slain than go contrary to the Word of God. They would keep themselves close to the Word of God whatever became of their lives and of their estates. 'I saw the souls of those and they were under the altar, they were under God's protection.' Oh, surely they were such as trembled at the Word of God -- and God looks at such souls. The soul of such a one shall lie under the altar; shall be in God's eye. That soul so trembles that it would rather lose life and all than do anything against God's Word."

This excerpt above is from Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), Gospel Fear: Developing a Tender Heart that Trembles at the Word of God by Jeremiah Burroughs (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1991), p. 48-50.

Monday, February 20, 2006

George Otis's Geographical Heresies

The previous Herescope posts noted the odd new doctrines and practices arising out of the New Apostolic Reformation which are in some way connected with geography of the land. Three of these new heresies were examined in the previous post. Today's post will explore several more.

Spiritual Mapping:

This term was coined by George Otis, Jr., of The Sentinel Group and producer of the "Transformations" video series, a close associate of C. Peter Wagner. This term has everything to do with geography, spirituality, and -- disturbingly -- ethnicity.

In his 1991 book, The Last of the Giants: Lifting the Veil on Islam and the End Times (Chosen Books), Otis included a chapter on "Spiritual Mapping," in which he introduced this new concept. He defined spiritual mapping in esoteric terms as a "new way of seeing. It involves superimposing our understanding of forces and events in the spiritual domain onto places and circumstances in the material world." (p. 85)

There are two components to spiritual mapping. The first is esoteric. Otis commended C. Peter Wagner in a section subtited "Spiritual Territoriality and Human Systems," in which he noted that "Wagner has written a book on the subject suggesting that Satan delegates high-ranking evil spirits to control nations, regions, cities, tribes, people groups, neighborhoods and other significant social networks." (p. 87) Indeed, without Wagner's extensive writings on these new doctrines of demonology, and "confronting the powers" of dark spiritual forces, Otis's spiritual mapping wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.

While Otis carefully made the disclaimer that "[t]here is not evidence that satanic powers have any natural predilection for particular geographical areas of ethnic groupings," he then noted that "demonic activity is more pronounced in certain regions and among certain peoples today." He attributed this to what he calls "spiritual beachheads" set up by a previous generation which "welcomed evil spirits to dwell among them." (p. 89)

He explained that the "trick is determining precisely where" these spiritual centers of power are "concentrated. For Christians the focal point is nothing less than satanic command and control centers. . . ." (p. 93)

Otis gave credence to the occult belief of "sacred sites" (i.e., geomancy -- see previous Herescope posts). He stated:

"Although it is not easy to do so, spiritual strongholds should not be confused with the thousands of sacred sites -- such as Australia's Mt. Uluru and Sweden's Gotland -- that lie scattered across the global landscape. While such sites are often located within strongholds, the two are not synonymous. Sacred sites (which are visible) represent meeting points between the material and spiritual domains, while strongholds (which are invisible) represent the dwelling places, command centers, and workshops of unclean spirits." (p. 94)

DATABANKING: The second aspect of spiritual mapping has to do with census-taking, profiling, assessment, and databanking. In his excellent critique of the new doctrines emerging from the New Apostolic Reformation, Al Dager devotes an entire chapter to the topic of spiritual mapping. According to Dager [The World Christian Movement (Sword Publishers, 2001)]. "Spiritual mapping is nothing more than keeping data on the beliefs of people according to the geographic areas. The purpose at the WPC[World Prayer Center], however, is to disseminate information to its constituents so that they may engage in unbiblical forms of 'spiritual warfare.'"

Dager cites the World Prayer Center, which is connected with NAE head Ted Haggard's church in Colorado Springs, which "is giving spiritual mapping a tremendous lift through its database designed to provide the spiritual climate of not only nations, states and cities, but down to the blocks and individual residences." (p. 133) Dager explains:

"Through a spiritual census. . . it is planned that every home -- first in the United States and then worldwide -- will have its beliefs catalogued in the WPC's computers. Their computers are linked to those of Global Mapping International (GMI), . . . on the campus of the U.S. Center for World Mission. GMI is now also located in Colorado Springs." (p. 134)

Spiritual mapping has been widely utilized by the mission groups worldwide. Much of this activity has been documented in Mission Frontiers, a technical journal for global neo-evangelical mission activities. (This journal also articulated the emerging new doctrines to justify these unconventional and even bizarre new practices.) In particular, the Joshua Project and other entities began databanking the "unreached people groups" by ethnicity, going back 4 generations. Note: these mission groups have emphasized ethnicity, as opposed to language, which would be the logical imperative if the spreading of the Word of God was paramount. But substituting for old-fashioned evangelism are the new tools of spiritual warfare, in combination with the high-tech methodologies of assessments and monitoring.

The rationale for this disturbing global mapping practice is a new doctrine concocted by C. Peter Wagner. It is called IDENTIFICATIONAL REPENTANCE. Databanking by ethnicity is said to be a crucial step before one can proceed to abolish demonic strongholds. If one's ancestors participated in unholy or demonic activities, one must repent of them. In other words, "identificational repentance" teaches that one must confess the sins of one's genetic ancestors. Dager notes that "the idea of identificational repentance is to stand in the gap as a substitute for a corporate people in order to nullify so-called 'generational curses.'" (p. 125)

Again, a teaching from the occult is being incorporated into Christianity. The blood that Christ shed on the Christ, and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believer, is nullified by this concept. Human bloodlines are emphasized instead.

This new doctrine has given rise to a "Reconciliation Movement," i.e., an "apology movement" in which various ethnic and religious groups have apologized to one another for persecutions and abuses that may have occurred hundreds of years ago. This "identificational repentance" is seen necessary to breaking down spiritual strongholds in geographic regions where these abuses may have happened.

Al Dager summed up the whole mess by noting,

"With all the hoopla, sweat, screaming, wailing and jumping up and down that have gone on over the spiritual plight of cities these past several years there isn't a single one that has been won to Christ. And there won't be any. These efforts create nothing but black holes that suck up Christians' time, energy and money while exalting leaders as God's anointed apostles and prophets." (p. 134)

The Truth:

A "nutshell" description of the New Apostolic Reformation and these beliefs can be found at: http://www.agetwoage.org/ApostolicJustFacts1.htm. An excellent brief history critique of the spiritual warfare doctrines can be found at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel8.html.

A disturbing parallel to the ethnic databanking can be read about in Edwin Black's groundbreaking history entitled IBM and the Holocaust (Three Rivers Press, 2001).

"But evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:13-16)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Geographical Heresies of the New Apostolic Reformation

The new doctrines arising out of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) have much to do with a theology of the spirituality of the land. Among these newly concocted heresies are:

Portals or open heavens
Prayer marches, prayer walking and Labyrinths
Prayer circles
Spiritual mapping
Identificational repentance
Confronting the powers and principalities


Each one of these new NAR doctrines, and the accompanying practices and methodologies, are not located in the Scriptures. This fact is well-established in an outstanding collection of apologetic writings posted at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com.

A Noteworthy Historical Example

These heretical doctrines above are strikingly parallel to some philosophies that began to take hold over Germany during the 1800s. As the strength of the Protestant Reformation waned, in its vacuum a pagan Voelkisch (folk) religion, a metaphysical Naturphilosophie, began to rise which was based on a theology of the spirituality of the earth.

The following quotations are from The Jung Cult: Originations of a Charismatic Movement by Richard Noll (Princeton, 1994). This book presents one of the most concise and intellectual histories of the rise of pagan movements and philosophies in pre-WWII Germany.

Count Hermann Keyserling wrote a book entitled The Travel Diary of a Philosopher (1925) which was a "volkisch exposition on how geography shapes the souls of the inhabitants of the lands" he visited. According to Noll, "Keyserling's work is. . . very much an exaltation of the mid-nineteenth-century concept of Bodenbeschaffenheit, the 'formative forces of the soil.'" (p. 93) Keyserling was also a sun-worshipper who set up a "School of Wisdom" to train a "metaphysically superior elite to lead the spiritual reawakening of the world" as "metaphysically 'chosen' agents of cultural change in the modern world." (p. 94) [emphasis added]

Carl Jung was influenced by Keyserling and authored an essay about how the "'earthly environment' shapes the human soul" for a book that Keyserling edited, Mensch und Erde [Man and Earth] (1927). Noll reports that

"The idea of Bodenbeschaffenheit gained further scientific credibility in an age of increasing materialism through a volume by the German natural scientist Bernhard von Cotta, . . .(Germany's Soil: Its Construction and Effect on the Life of Humans), published in 1853. Cotta's thesis was to demonstrate 'what influence the geological structures of countries have on their peoples.' The union of Volk with landscape, of Blut und Boden [Blood and Soil], was supported by Cotta's vision of 'ideal natural regions' that were interpreted by other volkisch commentators as justification for the idea of a German nation-state as an organic natural body. Such 'soft inheritance' was still a credible idea in some German scientific circles at the turn of the century." (p. 96) [emphasis added]

Carl Jung taught that in the evolution of mankind "the mind has been molded by earthly conditions" that pertain to "soil" and "climate" which affects their "psychic" and "physical" attributes. (p. 92) These ideas that geography shaped man's "phenotypic expression" (physiology) gave added impetus to the anti-semitic and racial purity philosophies. Jung wrote that the Jews were "not 'rooted' to the land as the German peoples are." (p. 93) Noll points out that Jung's writings served a "political use by the anti-Semitic elements in the volkisch movement to establish the superiority of the Aryan peoples of the verdant Northern Europe over those Semitic peoples whose inferior souls were shaped by millennia in the dry, arid lands of the Middle East." He even went so far as to lecture on the "'geology' of the personality" on July 6, 1925, in which he combined "evolutionary biology and the earth sciences to make his more metaphysical ideas comprehensible to his students." (p. 99)

The New Geographic Spirituality

The common denominators between the Voelkisch paganism of Germany and the modern New Apostolic Reformation are:

1) both movements stress a geographic spirituality which is applied to the physiology, culture and spirit of man;
2) both groups promised that an elite group (race) of super-spiritual men could arise from a proper alignment of these things spiritually;
3) both groups developed and implemented exhaustive surveying tools to databank population groups by ethnicity and geography in order to further religious and/or political aims.

Each teaching from the list of New Apostolic Reformation doctrines listed at the top of this post could be examined through this geographic spirituality paradigm. Below is a brief summary of the first three doctrines cited above.

Portals or Open Heavens: This heresy teaches that there are geographic locations on Earth that possess super-spiritual access to the heavenlies. A corollary doctrine teaches that intercessors can open up portals to the heavens by cleansing geographic areas of demonic spirits, including ancestral or territorial powers and principalities. As recently as Feb. 11, 2006, John Paul Jackson was teaching on the concept of "Heavenly Portals" on the Elijah List http://tinyurl.com/8bpor. He wrote:

"One of the marvelous mysteries of God is the existence of portals--doors and passageways--leading to and from the heavenly realms. When you are standing in a portal, it feels like an open Heaven. A heavenly portal is a spherical opening of light that offers divine protection by which angels and heavenly beings can come and go, without demonic interference. God has designed portals to begin in the third Heaven, travel through the second Heaven, and open upon Earth."

A solid refutation and history of this ridiculous doctrine can be found at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/threefallacies.html. The only "portal" to heaven is through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Prayer marches, prayer walking and Labryinths: Supposedly modeled after Joshua's march around Jericho, this teaching implies that if one isolates a geographical "stronghold" of the devil, that marching around it accompanied by intercessory prayer will topple or disable the geographic and/or ancestral principalities. Prayer marches and walks sadly are now easy substitutes for a courageous presentation of the Word of the Gospel. These pagan methods are replacing traditional missionary evangelism.

Labryinths, an increasingly popular form of prayer walking, are described at the www.geomancy.org website (cited in yesterday's Herescope).

"Labyrinths are a sub-class of sacred spaces. These magical single path tools are undoubtedly the most popular of the new sacred spaces that are being built today. A geomancer's job is to set the stage for the spiritual production." [http://www.geomancy.org/sac-index.html]

See the 10/16/05 Herescope post on Labyrinths for more information. A thorough explanation, history, and solid refutation of this prayer marching/walking heresy can be found posted at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel9.html

Prayer circles: In the pagan world circles are open "forms" that produce a concentrated energy for spiritual purposes. These forms are said to possess spiritual power. These forms can be geographic, or they can be man-made and created. They are a vessel or "channel" to harness occult power and create a "ritual space" for heightened spiritual activities. An extensive description of the occult use of prayer circles can be found in part two of a three-part article series by Ed Tarkowski posted at http://users.stargate.net/~ejt/circles2.htm. Be sure to read parts 1 and 3 also.

Prayer circles are a special part of the doctrine of the Latter Rain cult, particularly as it applies to the significance of using stadiums (large circles) to conduct mega-events. In a landmark article by Ed Tarkowski entitled "The Significance of Filled Stadiums," posted at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/pgn3_sd2.htm, stadiums are seen to be a crucial mechanism to manifest the presence of God on Earth ("Manifest Sons of God" heresy). First Promise Keepers in the 1990s, and now the Global Day of Prayer -- which links stadiums all over the world via sophisticated telecommunications satellite hook-ups for added spiritual "power" -- have utilized stadiums for the purpose of "ushering in the presence and/or kingdom of God." The unity at these geographical locations is considered to be key to this spiritual "manifestation of God's glory." Background information on the Latter Rain cult "Joel's Army" heretical teachings undergirding these events can be found at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/JoelsArmy1.htm.

The Truth:

"Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties." (Psalm 141:4)

Next: A look at other New Apostolic Reformation heresies on the list. . .

Thursday, February 16, 2006

New Doctrines of the Land

New heretical doctrines have come into the evangelical church during the past half century. These doctrines did not exist in the previous 1950 years of the church. That is because they are not found in the Bible. Sometimes the heresies are newly defined old terminologies, a new "understanding" of an old doctrine. But most often these heresies are easily recognizable as such because a phrase or word is used that cannot be located anywhere in the Bible.

The justification for these new doctrines is found in the overarching doctrine that the Body of Christ is evolving. The word used for this is "maturing." Christians are told that the Body is more enlightened because we are in the last days and that we are receiving new "understandings" or "revelations" from God. Leaders are trained that there are new methods, new tools and new strategies that will usher in the completion of the Great Commission task. The old wineskin must be discarded and a new wineskin is to be put in place. This is the popular mantra for "transformation."

Where are these heretical doctrines coming from? Often they come from the occult! This is easier than one might think, considering that these terms and activities already carry spiritual meanings. The practice of "dressing up" a pagan practice in Christianized garb has been going on for quite some time. It is not new to this generation of believers, as any student of church history knows. But what IS new to this generation, is the overwhelming number of paganized doctrines that are flooding evangelicalism without discernment or challenge.


Yesterday's post discussed Green Dominionism and mentioned the term "geomancy." Many of the new heresies that have come in through the New Apostolic Reformation have to do with the "land." These "land" doctrines have no foundation in Scripture unless a highly allegorical method of biblical exegesis is employed. This is sometimes referred to as "replacement theology," in which the New Testament Church is said to "replace" Israel literally and figuratively. Old Testament passages are mis-applied to the Church in unorthodox ways and/or given an esoteric meaning that is neo-Gnostic or pagan. The Latter Rain cult teaching about the endtime Church coming into the "Promised Land" as an allegory for the empowerment of the "New Breed" would be a prime example of "replacement" theology.

"Geomancy" -- for lack of a better term in English -- means "divination by or of the earth." This term has very precise definitions in the occult world, some of which are mentioned at http://tinyurl.com/dcwkz or http://tinyurl.com/dpot4 . At www.geomancy.org several definitions state:

"Geomancy explores the realm where human consciousness meets and dialogues with the Spirit of the Earth. It empowers the harmonious interaction between person and place. Through the art of appropriate placement of both secular and spiritual structures, places where we pray, work and play, geomancers locate and shape spaces in harmony with both the physical and the spiritual environment of the place. Geomancers are spiritual ecologists."

"All the Earth is sacred - it's just that some places seem alive, and it is easier to be aware of that spiritual connection. We have found that these sacred spaces are aligned astronomically, constructed using sacred geometery, and built over Earth energy power centers." [http://www.geomancy.org/sac-index.html]

"Geomancy" is described more generically in a New Age dictionary, The Seeker's Handbook: The Complete Guide to Spiritual Pathfinding by John Lash (Harmony Books, 1990), as a term currently used to describe "a vast system of knowledge and practices based on the theory that the earth is an intelligent and sentient being whose natural processes are permeated by supersensible fields and currents that conform to consistent mathematical and geometric laws, not recognized by modern science, though they were carefully plotted and manipulated in ancient methods of technology and mathematics that are now being widely revived. . . ." (p. 277)

The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary by Bletzer (Donning Co., 1986) describes a "geomancer" as "a psychic who communicates with nature spirits,. . . also skilled in palmistry and clairvoyance."

Doctrines and practices categorized under the generic term "geomancy" include dowsing, ley lines, labyrinths, feng shui, magic circles, Fibonacci series (popularized in The DaVinci Code book), sacred geometry, golden section, the Great Pyramid, Solomon's Temple, etc. The term "alignment" is used in archeo-astronomy, which is coordinating things on earth spiritually with the heavens (astrology).

One can read the list above and catch a glimmer of the new heresies taught as doctrines by the New Apostolic Reformation. In the coming days, Herescope will examine a few of these heresies and explain their occult origination, including important historical information that will shed light on the real meaning behind many of the new doctrines.

The New Age doctrines of the sacredness of the land and its connection to human spiritual evolution, are particularly familiar to some discernment researchers because of its connection to education reform in the 1980-90s. Many of these spiritual terms were first introduced into elementary education classrooms in the 1990s via environmentalism and global education curricula. Many of these curricula were based on former UN Under Secretary Robert Muller's model World Core Curriculum, which was credited to the spirit guide (Djhwan Khul) of Theosophist Alice Bailey. This curriculum teaches children various forms of geomancy. For more information on this topic, visit Berit Kjos' excellent website http://www.crossroad.to. Be sure to note the many charts posted on this website that list OLD definitions contrasted to NEW definitions of terms -- both in the schools and in the churches. This website has information that explains many ways in which the New Age terminology has crept into the Church.

Another helpful chart is posted at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NEWAGETerms.htm, which describes "Ambiguous New Age Terms Used by Church Growth Leaders." This chart presents a comprehensive overview of the integration of New Age terminology with neo-evangelical theology.

The Truth:

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou has not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the eath even unto the other end of the earth: Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him. . . ." (Deuteronomy 13:6-8)

More tomorrow, Lord willing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Christian Imperialism Update #9: Green Dominionism

Many evangelical Christians were stunned last week when the national news media carried the story of leading evangelicals signing "The Evangelical Climate Initiative." This document, subtitled "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action" spoke of global warming as a reality and called for urgent action to safeguard the environmental issue of climate change.

The public reaction to this document was narrowly based on looking at this issue from the typical Left-Right political lens. In fact, the document was issued with a strong dialectic of opposing voices within evangelicalism.

BUT, it is a mistake to look at this global warming document solely in terms of the POLITICAL dominionism sect of evangelicalism. The greening of evangelicalism has been coming into evangelism via both the mission sect and the prayer warfare sect of dominionism! The call for environmental stewardship within evangelicalism is inextricably tied to the dominionist doctrines that are emerging from these two sects. To understand the background on this point, please read the article posted at Discernment Ministries' website [ http://www.discernment-ministries.org ] entitled "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism."


The original Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism held in 1974 included a paragraph 9 in the Covenant that said, "All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simply life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism."

A subsequent document prepared a few years later, entitled "An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Life-style: Exposition and Commentary by Alan Nichols," reflected the views of an International Consultation on Simple Life-style held at Hoddesdon, England in 1980. Instigated by Ron Sider, this document called for a radical restructuring of wealth, both personally and corporately at a global level, including a call for evangelicals to embrace a lifestyle of voluntary poverty.

This document did not have much impact on evangelicalism at large at the time. This is because of the widespread influence of the 1980s decade of evangelical media glitz, glitter and glamour. The "name it and claim it" faith teachers such as Bakkers, Copeland, Hagin and other TV evangelists lived a rich and luxurious lifestyle and promised incredible wealth to every believer who followed their heretical teachings.

But this Lausanne-spawned document did have an impact on the mission movement, and this was reflected in the next 25 years in subsequent global mission statements. The Green ethic was taught at Bible schools and seminaries and began to quietly influence a new generation of evangelical mission leaders. By the late 1980s the drum began to beat loudly for a fulfillment of the Great Commission by the year 2000. Within the "Global Evangelization Movement" there was a renewed call for evangelical Christians to embrace a lifestyle of sacrificial sustainability in order to give all of their monies to the burgeoning mega-mission cause. The "Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan" issued by prominent mission leaders in 1990 indicated that most of this money was going to go into building a high-tech computer database of networked international mission groups. It would further the dominionism agenda.


The newfound environmental concerns can best be understood by examining the new doctrines that have been issuing out of the Prayer Warfare sect of dominionism for the past several decades. The architects of this movement, have been teaching a radical form of dominionism which is cloaked in the language of "stewardship" of the Earth. This has been done by linking the Great Commission Matthew 28 "mandate" to "make" disciples of "all nations" to the Genesis 1 "mandate" to have "dominionism" (stewardship) over the Earth.

The prayer warfare sect has gradually been incorporating pagan doctrines into Christianity, which include variant forms of GEOMANCY (literally "divination of the Earth"). They have been teaching that there is a spiritual significance to the land -- the actual earth on which we live --and that certain geographical areas have "powers" that are good (such as open "portals" to heaven) or bad (such as those that need "cleansing" from demonic strongholds). These heresies emphasize spiritual warfare ACTIVITIES that either 1) invoke more power from God over parts of the earth, or 2) cleanse the earth from powers of Satan. These doctrines are based on the erroneous premise that Satan was not defeated at the Cross and therefore the Church (as an "incarnation" of Christ) must defeat him by engaging in these "cleansing" of the land activities.

George Otis, Jr. of the "Transformation" video series (see yesterday's post), has been articulating this view of the sacredness of the land since his earliest writings. He is an influential leader who spans both the prayer warfare and mission dominionist movements. His concept of spiritual mapping is a combination of 1) "mapping" the geological locations of supposed spiritual strongholds of the devil for the purpose of engaging in warfare against him and 2) computer databanking of information of people groups in this geological location for the purpose of conducting "evangelization." Otis' book The Last of the Giants: Lifting the Veil on Islam and the End Times (Chosen Books, 1991), includes a chapter on "The Earth Is the Lord's" based on Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it (NASB)."

There are quite a few verses in the Bible that indicate that the Earth is the Lord's, and traditionally these verses have been viewed in context as pertaining to the sovereignty of God. But Otis puts a humanist dominionist twist on this verse:

"My question of the Lord was a simple one: If the earth really was His, then why did there seem to be so little evidence of it? In His goodness, the Lord reponded gently. The earth is Mine, He said, in the same manner that Canaan belonged to Israel -- it is rightfully owned, but unpossesed. The latter is your responsibility." (p. 25) [emphasis added]

Otis' warfare and mission dominionism is also reflected in this comment from page 228 of this book: "If Christians -- especially in the West -- are truly serious about fulfilling the Great Commission and bringing back the King, then a major redeployment of personnel and finances is in order." [emphasis added] In other words, it is up to human effort to create an environment on earth for Jesus to return. This environment to the dominionists is both spiritual and physical. They believe they must set up His kingdom for Him, and they must "incarnate" Christ by their activities.

"The Evangelical Climate Change" document is simply the most current manifestation of the confluence of these doctrines. While most view it as a political statement (and indeed it is!), it is also a religious statement that indicates that there is now a MOVEMENT to "advance" the "kingdom" of God on Earth. Because many of these evangelical leaders teach this pagan concept of "sacred space" (a variant of "geomancy"), they believe that the EARTH itself is sacred. This is not unlike the teachings of the New Agers; e.g. James Lovelock and his "Gaia hypothesis." They must prepare this Earth to be sacred for the arrival of the "King," and this "stewardship" includes working to return it to a Genesis 1 pre-Fall condition. Nowhere is this doctrine more evident than in the recent "Transformation" videos by George Otis, Jr.

The Truth:

It is good to be reminded of the absolute sovereignty of God.

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? . . . . Have ye now known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundation of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitaants thereof are grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in . . . . To whom then will liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. . . . Hast hou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." (excerpted verses from Isaiah 41)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

George Otis, Transformation & Spiritual Mapping

Whenever you hear the word "transformation" you need to keep George Otis and his new uses of this term in mind. Global church transformation is inextricably connected to George Otis and his "Transformation" video series. The nutty new doctrines and unorthodox methods that this man has promulgated have had widespread influence far beyond the confines of the New Apostolic Reformation. These "Transformation" videos were behind the Global Day of Prayer, which began as an African initiative, and were later picked up by Rick Warren and others to create a 5-year global "transformation" event.

An excellent article by Professor Johan Malan was recently posted at the Discernment Ministries website http://www.discernment-ministries.org under the new AFRICA WATCH section. [ http://www.tinyurl.com/c2dxw] Below is a brief excerpt from Dr. Malan's article, entitled "George Otis and His Fallacious Teachings." This particular excerpt is on the topic of the history of the new heresy called "spiritual mapping" and how it spread so rapidly across evangelicaldom.

"World-wide propagation of spiritual mapping

The following major events during the past twelve years are the driving force behind the rapid spreading of spiritual mapping all over the world. Otis played a key role in the process:

· In 1989, John Dawson of the International Reconciliation Coalition published his pioneering book, Taking Our Cities for God. Unity is a key concept in the book. Dawson is a fervent advocate of racial, ethnic and cultural reconciliation.

· In 1990, George Otis coined the term “spiritual mapping”. In 1991, he published his book The Last of the Giants in which he further expounds the concept.

· In 1993, Tom White’s Breaking Strongholds was published, as well as a book by Hawthorne and Kendrick, Prayer-walking: Praying On Site With Insight. This exercise is offered as a prerequisite to radical city transformation.

· Also in 1993, the Sentinel Group of Otis conducted the first North American Consultation on spiritual mapping in Washington.

· In 1994, Otis accepted the role as coordinator of the Spiritual Mapping Division of the AD 2000 United Prayer Track. In the same year, spiritual mapping was presented at the first International Conference on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare in Anaheim, California.

· In 1995, George Otis introduced spiritual mapping to hundreds of delegates at a Prayer Track plenary session during the Global Congress of World Evangelism (GCOWE 95). In the same year, Disciple a Whole Nation (DAWN) began teaching spiritual mapping principles in CitiReach seminars. In Ted Haggard’s book, Primary Purpose, published in 1995, it is said that the spiritual climate in your city can be changed to such an extent that it will be hard for people to go to hell from that city.

· Also in 1995, Strongholds of the 10/40 Window was published by the Sentinel Group to assist journeyers in their effort to pray on-site with insight.

· In 1997, Peter Wagner’s Breaking Strongholds in Your City was published, and also The Twilight Labyrinth by George Otis. In the latter, insight into the spiritual darkness in cities is given, as well as methods to map and confront the powers of darkness.

· In 1998, the spiritual mapping repository at the Observatory opened at the World Prayer Centre in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also in 1998, the Sentinel Group initiated the Ancient Pathways project in Lynnwood, Washington.

· In 1999, the “Transformations” video of Otis was first shown in the United States and then throughout the world. In it, a survey of four communities is presented as tangible proof of the success of united, intercessory prayer and strategic spiritual warfare.

· Also in 1999, Otis published his book Informed Intercession with a guide on how to transform your city or region for God. In the same year, Jack Denison’s book City Reaching was published and strongly recommended by Otis. The idea of the city church is discussed in this book.

· From 1991 to 1999, Dr. Wagner taught spiritual mapping as a critical element for effective missions in his MC551 course at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Approximately 800-900 pastors, ministry leaders, and lay persons received the fundamentals of spiritual mapping through Fuller courses.

· In 2000, new spiritual warfare practices were introduced in association with spiritual mapping. The most significant of these, and also the most controversial, was the activation of the gift of prophecy and the role of prophets and apostles. Prophecy enables the church to see beyond data collections and demographics. Prophets hear the secrets of the Lord and declare His timing while apostles are sent out to mobilise the church.

· In 2001, the “Transformations 2” video was released by the Sentinel Group of Otis to give further credence to the strategies of spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare in breaking demonic strongholds and promoting revival, unity and socio-economic transformation in societies around the globe.

(The above list of events was derived from Trimble [1997:4-7] and further updated)."

The Truth:

Be sure to read the entire article posted by Dr. Malan for a more thorough understanding of the new "transformation." In particular, the charts near the end of this article are very helpful for sorting out truth from error.

"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (I Timothy 4:16)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Do Not Exceed What is Written

Today's Herescope post is an excellent devotional prepared by Professor Anton Bosch on the heresy of adding to Scripture. This devotional refers to the heretical doctrine of the "New Breed," which Herescope has been examining the past few weeks. Bosch's specific comments on this doctrine appeared in an earlier Herescope post 2/03/06.

Do Not Exceed What is Written

By Anton Bosch

Do “not go beyond the things which are written” (1Corinthians 4:6, ASV).

Adding to the Scriptures is a very old problem amongst religious people. The Rabbis were particularly adept at adding many books, sayings and traditions to the Word of God. This had become such a problem that Jesus said: “you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition… in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:6,9). In spite of all their knowledge, they had forgotten that written into the Law was the clear command that “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2). (This instruction is also repeated in Deut 12:32, Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-19).

Instead of learning from the mistakes of the Jews, the church perpetuated this trend of adding all sorts of things to the basic Word. These added extras take the form of traditions, church council decisions, creeds and apocryphal books. Then there are the cults who have their own writings that are given the same, or higher, authority than the Word.

Even more disturbing is the trend that has developed over the past 30 years in Evangelical circles of adding prophecies, dreams, visions and the random statements of preachers to God’s Word. Many of these sayings are wild and wacky, and many blatantly contradict scripture, but that does not matter to a generation of Christians who have been trained to simply swallow the rubbish that they are fed without discrimination and discernment.

But is the Bible complete and does the cry of the Reformation: “sola scriptura” (only scripture) have any relevance? We have to turn to the Bible itself for the answers.

As mentioned above, it is a direct command of scripture not to add to it. This command is repeated at the beginning (Deuteronomy), the middle (Proverbs) and the end (Revelation) of our Bible. It is interesting that it is also repeated in each of the major genres of the Word. (Law, poetic books, epistles and prophetic books).

Jude says: “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The words “the faith” refers to the truths that Christians regard as “the doctrine.” It was delivered “once for all,” meaning that it will not be added to or be changed. Thus the body of truth which was committed to the writers of the Bible is complete and final. The book of Hebrews opens with the statement that “God has spoken by His Son.” Yes, in the Old Testament He spoke in many different ways through different vessels, but He has spoken. He is not continuing to speak and neither is there any new thing or any progressive revelation. What He wanted to say He has said through His Son and that is recorded in the Scriptures and all that remains is for us to obey that Word. The notion that people today are so special that they are receiving revelation that God did not give to His Son or Apostles is rooted in sheer arrogance.

When we add to the scriptures our own dreams, traditions and ideas we basically call Paul a liar when he said: “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Of course this does not mean that Paul knew and delivered all of God’s knowledge but rather that everything we need to know for life and eternity has been delivered through those whom he chose to write the Bible.

That men will add their own ideas to scripture is not surprising since many of these dreamers see themselves as superior to Paul and the other apostles. However, what is surprising is that so many Christians are swallowing the rubbish that these false prophets and teachers are spewing. It seems that it no longer matters that they clearly contradict Scripture, firstly because people do not know their Bibles and thus are open to grievous deception. Secondly people are deceived by these teachings because they have elevated men to positions where their words become the very Word of God. No longer is it only the domain of the Pope to claim infallibility, but every second preacher has fallen into the same trap and claims to speak on God’s behalf and to be inerrant.

Of course, when latter-day prophecies, dreams and “words” contradict Scripture, either the prophet or the Bible is wrong and in error. Can you imagine the arrogance of a man who declares that the Bible is mistaken since God has “revealed” the “truth” to him?

One of many examples of this blatant contradiction of Scripture is the "New Breed" doctrine that claims that God will raise up a super-race of Christians in the last days who will have powers and an anointing that even the Apostles did not have. These people will supposedly lead a world-wide revival that will bring over one billion converts into the Kingdom. The Bible’s version of Christianity in the end-times however is very different and predicts a great falling away (2Thessalonians 2:3, 1Timothy 4:1) and people that indulge in all sorts of immorality, who love themselves, pleasure and money have a form of godliness without any power. (2Timothy 3:1-5)

Often these extreme errors are so disjointed, irrational and void of any truth that a rational and biblical response becomes very difficult. Consider the claim of one man that Jesus Himself would appear on his platform during a particular meeting. How do you respond to something so outrageous? (Not surprising, the date set for this “event” has come and gone and Jesus never appeared.)

Believers feel intimidated by these personalities and feel that they are not in a position to argue with someone who claims such a personal revelation from Heaven itself. And, yes one should not argue with those who are so deluded. But, there is one thing every true believer must ask himself and the preacher: “Where is it written?” The youngest believer amongst us can and should ask this question of everyone who claims to speak on the Lord’s behalf.

So the next time someone says something that sounds strange to you – simply ask for proof from the Bible. If proof is not forthcoming then reject the teaching, no matter how wonderful it sounds.

1 Thessalonians 5:20 and 21 says: “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” Yes, test everything against the Word of God. God does not change His Word and His Word contains everything that we need to know. If the Word does not support some idea, then reject it outright no matter how good it sounds and what miracles the speaker may provide in order to prove that he has been sent from God.

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

Friday, February 10, 2006

The BRAVE NEW BREED: Creatures in Pursuit of Autonomous Perfection

This Herescope series on the "New Breed" would not be complete without an examination of the rising science of biotechnology known as "transhumanism." This high-tech, bio-tech concept is working to create a physical "new breed" of man. There is a mystical component to it that comes from Hermeticism and Theosophy. This represents the ultimate mixture of science and religion.

There is every reason to believe that this new utopian science will have particular appeal to New Apostolic Reformation leaders who already teach and believe these mystical doctrines. There is every reason to fear that the Church today, which is rushing to contextualize itself within every perverse culture, will not stand against this rising tide.

The Discernment Research Group solicited an article from Dr. Martin Erdmann, Christian professor and author, and an international expert on the ethical implications of nanotechnology, to write a post for today's Herescope. To more easily read and print out this article, click on http://www.discernment-ministries.org and go to the "What's New" section, or use this link: http://tinyurl.com/axfwu.

Creatures in Pursuit of Autonomous Perfection

By Dr. Martin Erdmann

Medicine is no longer restricted to healing. Biotechnology’s popular uses constitute a long list, among them weight loss, hair growth, birth control, teeth straightening, and sex selection of children.[1] Transhumanism takes human enhancement further, in morphing the vision of perfect man into a human-machine complex properly called “posthuman.” This is an effort to break every human limitation and redefine personhood. Nick Bostrom, Oxford philosophy professor and co-founder of the World Transhumanism Association, writes that posthumans will realize eternal youth and health, gain complete control over their minds and emotions, and “experience novel states of consciousness” that present human minds cannot imagine.[2] Posthumans may even choose to discard their bodies in favor of life as “information patterns on vast super-fast computer networks.”[3] Though this sounds bizarre, human-mechanic existence has entered mainstream movies as a radical potential – and many scientist, doctors, and philosophers call it attainable within decades. As the President’s Council on Bioethics writes, bioethics demands a current and public discussion of “what it means to be a human being and to be active as a human being.”[4]

Transhumanists distinguish the value of human life from biology and creation, to place its value in human ideals and experiences. As long as man’s values guide him, this paradigm allows him to redefine all aspects of life.[5] There is no attempt to retain “humanness” (that would be “bad”), but rather to be humane.[6] In its Transhumanist Declaration, the World Transhumanism Association affirms “the feasibility of redesigning the human condition” in areas including “aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering, and our confinement to the planet earth.”[7] Technology joins education, culture, and politics as a tool for advancement. Asked whether transhumanism tampers with nature, Nick Bostrom replies: “Absolutely, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is often right to tamper with nature.”[8] The basic conditions required for posthumanity are global security to safeguard the explosive potential of transhumanism, technological process, and wide access to that technology. Transhumanism credits man with the potential to create an environment wherein he is perfected.

The actual work of transhumanism involves technologies such as brain-computer interfaces, neuropharmacology, and perhaps most notably, nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is a molecular science, whose other pursuits range from alternative energy to cancer cures. Since posthumanity requires futuristic nanotechnology, transhumanists advocate cryonics, or freezing of the human body, in the hope that posthumans will transform frozen humans into posthumans like themselves. Nick Bostrom argues that “even a 5% or 10% chance of success could make cryonics contracts a rational option for people who can afford it and who place a great value on their continued personal existence.”[9] In the same article, he also proposes ennobling “personality pills” and space colonization. Far from the isolated ideas of an Oxford don, anti-aging and intelligence enhancement are also pursued by the United States government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative. Yet rather than confining itself to “simple” goals of healing cancer or even restoring sight, transhumanism posits that men are in an early stage of evolution, and pushes to enhance fundamentally humanity through nanotechnology and other sciences.

While creation of posthumans is based on human values, transhumanism allows room for posthuman values to differ from current ones. This is because values “come from minds.”[10] Since a man’s values are but the ones he chooses, posthumans may embrace values that current men do not. The Transhumanist Church credo states unequivocally:

"The memories we have, the thoughts we consider, the emotions we feel; these form the essence of who we are. For without these qualities we would cease to be us. And there need be no supernatural explanation for these qualities. ... Our soul may arise from the structure of our brain, but it need not be reliant upon it."[11]

It continues: “We are our own saviors. We cannot rely on supernatural or external forces to guide us on our journey. Responsibility is on our shoulders to create the world we wish to live in.”[12]

Despite transhumanist rejection of supernatural force, its philosophy mirrors mysticism. Mystics such as Hermeticists and Theosophists deliberately pursued self-transcendence. It was an ethical imperative and life’s best aim, while success merely hinged upon proper technique and attitudes. Transhumanism and mysticism alike rely on human technique. Since transhumanism’s stated goal is to transcend all limits, these philosophies must share their final goals: “either total union with the metaphysical One or total and perfect spiritual autonomy.”[13] With remarkable consistency, transhumanism makes the implied mystical aspects of secular humanism explicit. Thus it becomes clear that humanism has always been a form of mysticism hiding behind a secular veneer.

Transhumanists are creatures in pursuit of autonomous perfection. While denying creation by any supernatural being, they freely claim their “ability and right” to “plan and choose their own lives.”[14] This is a transhumanist ploy to deceive the unwary. Transhumanism is totalitarian to the core. Only to a small group of “posthuman scientists” (cultural and economic elitists) is “total freedom” granted. Their goal is clear: in order to dominate humankind they want to remake creation, including man, to suit their own purpose. C. S. Lewis’s question bears asking. He wrote that “human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man. The battle will then be won.... But who, precisely, will have won it?”[15] Considering all the odds, it is rather doubtful, if transhumanism will finally succeed in its stated objectives to overcome human frailty and achieve paradise on earth. Despite tremendous advances in science and technology, most humans still suffer a cold during winter time. A brief glance at the obituaries will show that death is as grim a reaper as it always has been.

Utopians of all shades have, in the past, embraced pursuits similar to those found in Transhumanism and Gnosticism. As Jean B. Quant observes, “This secularization of the postmillennial tradition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries cut across the lines which divided theology and social science, clergymen and intellectuals.”[16] As is the case with today’s Transhumanists, technology plays a rather large role in helping to develop man’s pursuit of utopian goals. Referring to the clergymen and intellectuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Quant states that, “Technological developments were particularly significant for hastening the arrival of the new era. Man’s progress toward the kingdom [of God] had heretofore been slow because individual development and social solidarity always worked at cross-purposes.”[17] Quant qualifies that not “all reformers who believed in some form of progress shared in the optimism of a religious or secularized postmillennialism.”[18] Unlike the progressive ecclesiastics, these future-oriented Christians “did not belong to the mainstream of reform thought in the decades which surrounded the start of the 20th century.”[19] Quant suggests that the “believers in a this-worldly utopia did belong to the mainstream. And these modern postmillennialists lent to reform thought much of its optimism, its perfectionism, and its faith in the ability of brotherhood, united to the modern scientific spirit, to conquer all the evils of the world.”[20] Yet attempts to establish the perfect society is not only a futile attempt, but also contrary to God's eschatological plan, as revealed in Scripture.

To a certain extent, the Church has compromised on the issue of transhumanism. Most notably, a large number of Charismatics and Pentecostals have already adopted similar views and many more are being drawn to it. Mike Oppenheimer writes, “It is the new trend to think of the Church in a powerful way and this is not going away.”[21] In fact, he continues, this “is fast becoming the norm for a Church already operating under a new (fresh) anointing.”[22] Some of those Christians who do not fully embrace Transhumanism accept many of its philosophies and are drawn by its motivations, particularly by the possibility of a kingdom of God in this world. They are being drawn to the Latter Rain movement, or the belief that Christians are Christ’s “on-going incarnation in the world” who will bring forth a Kingdom of God on earth.[23] According to supporters of this movement, Christians will usher humanity into a new stage of its existence. Through individual Christians’ labor, death will slowly be conquered until it is no more. Then, immortality will be achieved and Christ will return. According to Mike Oppenheimer, “the new focus is on an earthly inheritance for the church.”[24]

Proponents of similar movements are called Dominionists (a distinct group of postmillennialists[25]). These people believe that Christians will continue to better the world until it is a kingdom of God on earth, as a result of human effort. Only at this time, they believe, will the Second Coming occur.

Why are Christians drawn to these movements? There are three reasons: 1) the belief that human cooperation helps in establishing God’s kingdom, 2) the appeal of God’s establishment of His kingdom through persuasion, and 3) encouragement and comfort for those in crises. James Moorhead writes that the “emphasis on human cooperation as an instrument of the Kingdom of God” appeals to many Protestants.[26] Christians like to think that they play a part in furthering Christ’s redemptive work by effecting a good Christian society on earth. A sense of pride comes from the thought of the Church’s role in quickening Christ’s Second Coming. Also, many Christians are drawn to the belief that God will establish His kingdom through persuasion. To them, it would be offensive for God to subject a rational world by force. Moorhead sums this up: “Postmillennialism also guaranteed the rationality of the universe by asserting that God would win his dominion by persuasion.”[27] Additionally, the belief of Christians helping to build God’s kingdom on earth and bring about Christ’s Second Coming comforts those facing troubles and encourages them to work toward this goal. In the history of the United States, postmillennialism has been revived during times of crisis for this very purpose.

Transhumanism calls for vigorous response from the church, though that response is currently lacking. The critical realization is that while transhumanism aims at posthuman perfection through technology, it misses the true nature of moral “perfection” (progressive sanctification) in its rebellion against God. The transformation Christians should be seeking is not the physical or psychological enhancement found in science, reason, or technology, but rather the transforming work found only in God’s supernatural work through His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” This is the ultimate kind of transformation; and the only kind that can be truly attained with God’s help in this world. The goal is the ultimate (post-judgment) attainment of perfect humanity in heaven, not the attainment of full technological perfection on earth, as a quasi divine being (Phil. 3:20-21).

Christians need to be aware of Transhumanism and its various forms, but they need not concern themselves with seeking something they cannot and should not attain – autonomous perfection in a utopian world society. Man’s salvation is found only in the perfect and complete atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his promise of eternal life, as a free gift, to those who believe in him (Rom. 3:23-26; Eph. 2:8-9).

Dr. Martin Erdmann is author of "Building the Kingdom of God on Earth: The Churches' Contribution to Marshal Public Support for World Order and Peace, 1919-1945" (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2005). For four years he headed up the New Testament department of the Staatsunabhaengige Theologische Hochschule Basel, Switzerland. In his position as Senior Scientist at the University Hospital in Basel, he has been involved in researching the ethical implications of Nanotechnology.

[1] President’s Council on Bioethics, Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, chapter one, footnote three, http://www.bioethics.gov/.
[2] Bostrom, Nick, “The Transhumanism FAQ,” #1.2, World Transhumanism Association, http://www.transhumanism.org/.
[3] Ibid.
[4] President’s Council on Bioethics, Beyond Therapy, chapter one, section two.
[5] Bostrom, Nick, “The Transhumanism FAQ,” #1.1.
[6] Ibid., #4.3.
[7] World Transhumanism Association, “The Transhumanist Declaration,” http://transhumanism.org/.
[8] Bostrom, Nick, “The Transhumanism FAQ,” #4.2.
[9] Bostrom, Nick, “What Is Transhumanism?” http://www.nickbostrom.com/old/transhumanism.html.
[10] Bostrom, Nick, “Transhumanism and the True Nature of Mind: Creation and Discovery!” World Transhumanism Association, http://www.transhumanism.org/.
[11] Transhumanist Church, “The Beliefs of the Transhumanist Church,” http://www.transhumanistchurch.org/.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Bostrom, Nick, “The Transhumanism FAQ,” #1.1.
[15] Lewis, C. S., The Abolition of Man, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, [1944] 2001) 76-78.
[16] Quant, Jean B., “Religion and Social Thought: The Secularization of Postmillennialism” American Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Oct., 1973) 390-409
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Oppenheimer, Michael, “Kingdom Triumphalism 3rd Wave.”
[22] Ibid.
[23] Ibid., part 1, quoting Paulk, “Held in the Heavens.”
[24] Ibid.
[25] Postmillennialists believe that Christ’s thousand year reign has already begun. Christ will return at its conclusion.
[26] Moorhead, James, “Between Progress and Apocalypse: A Reassessment of Millennialism in American Religious Thought,” The Journal of American History, 71, no. 3 (1984): 529.
[27] Ibid at 530.