Monday, March 26, 2007

The Synergy River

Networking the Church: Part 8

“'I set the rivers free for all mankind,’ says that most ancient of mystical writings, the Rig Veda. . . .
“Just as we must trust ourselves to the buoyancy of water if we are to swim, we can relax into that flow. . . . The novices in Zen monasteries are called unsui, cloud-water. They are meant to move freely, to form and reform spontaneously, to seek a way around obstacles. In ancient traditions, consciousness itself is pictured as an emergent wave from the source. . . . "
--Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy (J.P Tarcher, 1980) p. 380 [emphasis added]

“The prophetic streams across this nation are uniting to sound a clear trumpet for the future! This uniting of the streams will form the bedrock for revelation for the River of Revival! Prophets help to prepare the way for the Apostles to establish the Lord's Church.”
--National School of the Prophets Conference brochure, 1999.

“. . . [F]rom the Biblical revelation, the river normally represents the people of God. It is, in fact, a vivid picture of the people of God in motion: being fruitful, acknowledging the presence of God, experiencing the peace of God, receiving the provision of God, knowing the power of God to fulfill the plan of God. God's people in motion, as a source of spiritual life in a parched, dry world.”
--Luis Bush, “A Brief Historical Overview of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement and Joshua Project 2000, 1996.

“The River” is a network!

To understand the networking church, one must understand the metaphor of “the river,” which has been used as a motif for an endtime Latter Rain style signs and wonders “revival.” This "river" has been extensively written and talked about for the past several decades amongst the hyper-charismatic "prophets" and "apostles."

The architecture of a network corresponds to the imagery of a multitude of streams converging into one big river. Similarly, the tiniest nodes of the net connect with other nodes, forming networks. These networks begin by partnering and collaborating, then integrating and fusing, ultimately synthesizing and synergizing. New waves of this "river" come crashing in and create new networks. Walls are broken down from the cascading flood and more rivulets unite.

Unity in diversity. Each new co-mingling of the waves serves as a catalyst in which the whole becomes greater than the parts.

Think of all of the new movements within evangelicaldom the past 20-30 years. Each new movement is heralded as a new wave, a new force, an "emerging," a new work of the "spirit," a new "unity," etc. But all of these movements are streams that converge into this "River."

“The River” is a convergence, a new social force for cultural and spiritual change. It is a networking movement of the type described by Marilyn Ferguson in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, operating like other New Age movements by stealth and design to infiltrate the old structures and create vast uncharted waterways for new structures, and methods of information and control. Ferguson wrote:

“We will look at the undercurrents of change in politics and the emergence of networks as a new social form—the institution of our age, an unprecedented source of power for individuals.” (p. 41) [emphasis added]

“The River” is also “emergent” – the birth of a new spiritual creature upon the face of the earth representing unparalleled global ecumenism, cooperation and syncretism. This spiritual anomaly is rapidly gaining strength and volume. It is devouring everything in its sight, reaching into vast uncharted territories beyond the Church body itself. It intends to flood across the culture – changing the tide of economic systems, governments, education, the arts, health care, and much more -- all streams merging into a behemoth Corporate Spiritual State with unprecedented power.

One of the cutting-edge organizations, working to network these new streams into "The River" is Transform World. Its Transformational Covenant describes its nature as:

“This is a ‘God-movement.’ Streams of transformation from all over the world are converging into one great river of transformation so that the people of God are beginning to move with the power, the presence, and the peace of God. This is bringing healing in the churches that is overflowing in the healing of the nations. Transformation is becoming a unifying vision of the church’s mission.”

Transform World is dominionist, serving as a high-powered catalyst for collaborations between church and state worldwide under the guise of missionary activity. Its leaders include Luis Bush, Ed Silvoso, Graham Power, and a host of other well-known leadership in the mission arena. Its “transformation” agenda, achieved via networking, has to do with changing governments, the workplace, society, culture and ultimately restoring paradise to the planet Earth.

Luis Bush articulates the various streams of this "River" movement in a paper he authored several years ago, which has been widely dispersed in various forms throughout the mission world, entitled “Transformational Streams are becoming one Fast-flowing River for the Healing of Nations.” Bush’s AD 2000 & Beyond Movement was lauded by C. Peter Wagner as ”the central catalytic movement of the decade for synchronizing the numerous worldwide forces for evangelism that God has been preparing for these times."

Bush identifies “Five Major Transformational Streams” in his article:

"Five major transformational streams are flowing across the world: the revivalist stream, the church growth stream, the city-reaching stream and the stream engaged in the transformational development of the poor and market-place redemption stream. These diverse transformational streams converge into the same “transformational river.”

". . .There are five main streams of transformation:

  • Saturation church planting movements working in a spirit of cooperation, resulting in healthy churches in every class and kind of people, and within practical and relational reach of every person, that are permeating every segment of society with the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ.
  • Emphasis on divine visitation and revival. God acts on the Church bringing revival and He acts on society bringing spiritual awakening. What is taking place in Fiji today is an example of this transformational stream. [Ed. note: This is George Otis's planetary "transformation."]
  • City-reaching: Obedience to God as an apostolic people with an apostolic mission to transform peoples, places and the culture within which the Church lives.
  • Pioneer marketplace redemption. The marketplace—the combination business, education and government—constitutes the heart of a nation. To change an individual his or her heart must be changed, and similarly, a nation transformed the marketplace must be transformed. An important key to take the Kingdom of God to the marketplace is found in Jesus' parable of the Minas (Luke 19:10-27) where believers are instructed to business to gain authority over cities by using Kingdom principles.
  • Transformational development of the poor through community development. This involves creating a better future for the poor. Jajakumar Christian, World Vision, India, sees poverty as a set of disempowering systems. There is the biophysical system--body and mind--which represents the basic human needs of health and education. There is the cultural system in terms of inadequacies in worldview. There is the captivity to god-complexes of the non-poor and deception by principalities and powers, promoting anti-life and deception through the religious systems. These all interact and contribute to a the disempowerment and marred identity of the poor. [Bold in original, italics are added for emphasis, errors in original]

Luis Bush describes this mission transformation process in dominionist terms:

“An effort to define a comprehensive approach to transformation must be ‘rooted in the theology of the mission of the Kingdom of God and seeks to express the Lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life, economic, religious, personal, political. It does not give priority to any area of life as an area for mission . . . but this change will be effected whenever people address issues of life directly, rooted in a gospel perspective.’ As the head of the church Christ initiates and His body responds—as one body. Transformation associates are now gathering to contemplate then seek to cooperate with the beauty of God’s movements. The basic idea behind ‘transformation coordination’ is that, not only can we do more together than we can separately, but we move to a new ministry realm which operates on entirely new laws of input and output. Like the gushing forth of the waters the love of God through the people of God unleashes multiple mission initiatives in which divine resources are channelled through willing servants to meet human needs to the glory of God. A comprehensive movement to bless the nations includes many emphases." [bold added]

Bush concludes the document with this description of transformation:

The word transformation and its cognates have emerged as an expression of mission throughout the Christian world today. For example, representatives from seventeen Christian relief and development organizations met in February 2004 and agreed on a statement that expresses their vision as a collective association that the whole Church become a transforming and transformed sign of Christ’s Kingdom among all people.

Different transformational streams, each with its own approach, are flowing into a river of transformation. As the river of transformation moves across the earth individuals, churches, communities, cities and nations are being transformed by the power of God through the people of God for the glory of God.” [bold emphases added]

To see the new face of global missions carefully examine Luis Bush’s “Community Transformation Indicators” article, which has a graphic illustration of the confluence of all of these streams into a "Transformational Development Framework” with “Domains of Change” that encompasses the totality of society. This “World Vision’s Transformational Development Indicators” evidences extreme social controls, a globalized welfare system for the poor, and an exhaustive and intrusive data collection process with "inputs and outputs" continually evaluated with complex assessments. In other words, this is what C. Peter Wagner calls "sociologically verifiable transformation." This human development system obviously isn't going to be paradise for the poor on earth!

And this “Synergy River” of networking movements obviously isn’t about the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Truth:

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.” (Revelation 17:1)