Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reinventing Rethinking

Update to the Rethinking Culture post earlier today:

We happened upon the original Robert Schuller Rethink Conference materials that were posted a few months ago and noticed that the wording has changed in a way that sheds new light on the previous post that we put up earlier today (see below).

A few key quotes that have now disappeared from the conference promotional matter on the website--illuminating the fact that the original intent of the Rethink Conference had to do with "spheres" and leaders intent on shaping culture. The following was originally posted the speakers page:

"Throughout the conference, you'll hear from both Christian leaders and from leaders in media, technology, industry, politics, and business. These speakers are all at the top of their spheres of influence. They know what's happening now, and what's coming down the highway. The strategy is to learn from a group of top thinkers and implementers to understand the tools and techniques of effectiveness." [emphasis added]

The website also stated:

"More than 30 gifted communicators will challenge the way you lead in today's culture. You'll leave with fresh perspectives and new direction for being an effective influencer in a changing world." [emphasis added]

The "Why Rethink?" webpage used to say, in part:

When you're a leader, how do you influence a world that's ever changing, particularly when the culture around you reinvents itself quicker than a mouse-click? You need to rethink. . .

  • rethink. . . is about taking a hard look at what's happening in our culture, than strategically moving into new areas of growth.
  • rethink . . . is about knowing how to shape the people we lead so they effectively connect with others in their spheres of influence. [bold in original, color added for emphasis]

The "Rethink the Details" page used to answer the question "Who is this event designed for?" with the answer:

Pastors, leaders, and anyone who desires to know more about maximizing influence within culture. the purpose of rethink is to equip church and community leaders to really make a difference in their spheres of influence. That's why we'll have speakers from the media, business, politics, technology, and the church -- so we can gain insight on what's happening in today's culture and a new perspective on how to lead effectively. [emphasis added]

And the answer to the question "Why are non-Christian speakers being featured at a Christian-oriented conference?" used to be:

Throughout the conference, you'll hear from both Christian leaders and from leaders in media and business who are at the top of their spheres of influence. Our aim is to bring together the key leaders of today's culture so we can grapple with what's truly happening in our world. [emphasis added]

It seems fairly obvious that somebody changed the wording to cloak the Dominionist agenda of this conference -- the "spheres of influence." The term substituted for it is now "Cultural Icons." In that light, then, it is particularly interesting to look at what that term means:

An icon (from Greek εἰκών, eikon, "image") is an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it, or by analogy, as in semiotics; by extension, icon is also used, particularly in modern popular culture, in the general sense of symbol — i.e. a name, face, picture, edifice or even a person readily recognized as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities. one thing, and image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, and economic standing.

Throughout history religious cults or religious cultures[1] have been inspired or supplemented by concrete images, whether in two dimensions or three. The degree to which images are used or permitted, and their functions, whether they are for instruction or inspiration, whether treated as sacred objects of veneration or worship or simply applied as ornament, depends upon the tenets of a given religion in a given place and time.

Hmmmm. . . . Perhaps the organizers ought to have stuck with the original "spheres of influence" term. . . .

See original post below.

Rethinking Culture

"These culture pioneers know what is center-stage in our culture right now and also what is breaking on the horizon," says Rethink Conference executive director Bill Dallas. "This conference will confront outdated and pre-conceived ideas, offer new perspectives and open our minds to all kinds of possibilities that connect us with out [sic] shifting culture without compromising our core values."
--"What is Robert Schuller 'rethinking'?" WorldNetDaily, 10/30/07 [emphasis added].

On October 4th we posted an analysis of Robert Schuller's upcoming Rethink Conference, planned for this January 17-19th at the Crystal Cathedral. We linked to a report on the conference written by Berit Kjos and we cited some pertinent comments from ex-New Ager Warren Smith.

We want to call our readers' attention to today's headline story on WorldNetDaily, "What is Robert Schuller 'rethinking'? Crystal Cathedral conference accused of twisting biblical Christianity," and Warren Smith's accompanying article, "Rethinking Robert Schuller." And just in case this link is pulled, note the webpage where Robert Schuller is selling New Age Gerald Jampolsky's book Forgiveness, which is forewarded by Neale Donald Walsch who has written prolifically about his "conversations" with his New Age "God."

This Rethink Conference is, according to these articles, a key convergence of New Age and emerging neo-Christianity. It is this, and more. The hype for the conference states that:

Cultural Icons - Get inside their minds
For three days, you'll be immersed in the latest thoughts of respected icons in media, politics, faith, science, business and technology. Utilizing the latest media technology, each speaker will reveal their perspectives, discoveries, strategies and action plans in 20 riveting minutes. Challenged to deliver an information packed presentation, the speakers will weigh in on everything from life-changing world issues to surprising cultural trends to Christian outreach to secrets of success to the dynamics of relationships.

The conference promo urges: "take it from the top: rethink: new perspectives from global influencers." Anticipating a reaction from those who are concerned about the eclectic mix of "Cultural Icons" leading this conference, a webpage devoted to answering questions about the conference explains:

Why are non-Christian speakers being featured at a Christian-oriented conference?

Rethink is a convergence of thinkers, innovators and leaders from the Christian and global arenas. We’re purposely gathered a group of speakers you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear at a Christian conference. Our aim is to be immersed in the latest thoughts and perspectives of these respected cultural icons to tap into what’s happening in our world today and to grapple with how we respond.

I'm a pastor of a theologically- conservative church. Will I fe
el comfortable at the conference?

The Rethink conference aims to cut across denominational and cultural lines. Consider the line-up of speakers. The focus of the conference is to hear speakers at the forefront of culture.

Note the spheres of influence of each of these "Cultural Icons" -- media, politics, faith, science, business, technology. This is nothing but a version of the neo-Kuyperian "spheres" -- or what C. Peter Wagner refers to now as the "mountains" of society. In fact, there is a graphic image of the "spheres" in orange to the left of the "rethink. . . " statements here.

C. Peter Wagner, one of Rick Warren's mentors, and head of what he calls "The New Apostolic Reformation" in evangelicaldom, is now focusing the majority of his attentions these days on building the kingdom of God on earth via these "mountains." His letter of August 27, 2007 contains a graphic depiction (at the bottom) of these "7 molders of culture (religion, family, education, media, arts & entertainment, government, and business)." In this diagram, Wagner's apostolic "7-M Coalition" is arranged in a hierarchy presiding over the 7 spheres ("the 7 mountains = the 7 basic molders of culture").

Knowing that this "Cultural Mandate" is an agenda of the "Rethink Conference" sponsored by Robert Schuller, the questions raised by Warren Smith and WorldNetDaily today are even more pertinent. The New Age leaders have their own plan for building a kingdom, and they have their own "God" and their own "Christ." These New Theosophists have been working on "rethinking" for decades, especially since Marilyn Ferguson issued their basic thesis that "A new world, as the mystics have always said, is a new mind." (The Aquarian Conspiracy [J.P. Tarcher, 1980], p. 36 [emphasis added])

In chapter 1 of her landmark book launching the New Age movement publicly, Ferguson included an interesting subheading entitled "Seeing the Emergent Culture" which claimed, "We will construct bridges between the old and new worlds." (p. 42) Describing this process, she explains how various projects and people will "serve as illustrations" as "bits of a great mosaic, an overwhelming new direction of human effort and the human spirit at this point in history." And she cautions that rethinking may have some negative consequences:

"These new paradigms ["rethinking," ed.] will raise some questions many may have preferred to leave unasked. Readers may confront certain crucial issues in their own lives. New perspectives have a way of altering old beliefs and values; they may penetrate denials and defenses of long standing. The ramifications of even a small personal revolution can seem more alarming to us than great impending cultural change." (p. 41) [all emphasis added]

Ferguson's underlying thesis was, "The proven plasticity of the human brain and human awareness offers the possibility that individual evolution may leave to collective evolution" (p. 70). And her Brain/Mind Bulletin, begun in 1975 and revisited in her PragMagic (Pocket Books, 1990), details mystical techniques to alter the brain. This was to equip people for the transformation of consciousness ("rethinking") to bring about the New Aquarian Age on earth -- an age of peace. So, to these New Age leaders, cultural change was always the intended consequence of putting people through processes of "rethinking."

It will be interesting, therefore, to see just how far things could go with this "rethinking" agenda headed up by "Cultural Icons" and focusing on the various "spheres" of influence in society. And it is significant that there are "Rethink Tanks" (TM) for the psycho-social processing of participants "rethinking."

Where is all of this heading? Why must people learn to "rethink" in order to address "life-changing world issues and "cultural trends"? Just examine one key "sphere" due to undergo this cultural transformation, which is "business" -- i.e., the "workplace" or "marketplace." Os Hillman, who is connected to C. Peter Wagner, has his own conference scheduled for January 24-26, 2008, just one week after the Rethink Conference, which is called "The Reclaiming the 7 Mountains" conference, featuring the latest leader on the scene, Lance Wallnau. The promo contains the story that has now become legendary (but is factually questionable) that:

Three decades ago, two generals in the faith, Loren Cunningham, of Youth With A Mission, and Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade For Christ, were given a simultaneous supernatural message for each other. They both saw 7 strategic mountains, or "mind molders", that shape the culture of every nation. God told each of them to inform the other that if they could capture these strategic places, they would reap the harvest of nations. . . .

Have you noticed a pattern yet — 7 mountains, 7 parts of land, and 7 enemies that needed to be displaced? [emphasis added]

In an ominous indication of what this cultural mandate really means, Os Hillman wrote in his October 22, 2007 newsletter, "Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture Next Focus of Faith at Work Movement" that:

The Bible tells us that in the last days there will be sheep and goat nations. Sheep nations represent those who follow Christ; goat nations represent those who follow other gods. "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats" (Matt 25:32). Whoever controls the seven mountains in a nation will determine whether that nation will be a sheep or goat nation.

Of course, the criteria by which an entire nation is determined to be a "sheep" or "goat" nation has yet to be defined. Perhaps that is why everyone needs to "rethink" things. Warren Smith writes in his article posted today that

"in his latest book, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow: Living God's Dream for Your Life," Schuller eagerly writes about the virtue of compromise. In this book, that bears New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky's endorsement on the back cover, Schuller states, "We need to learn the healing quality of wise compromise." He further states, "Perhaps the only way to deal with contradictions is to combine them creatively and produce something new. That's ingenious compromise." Whether Schuller knows it or not, he just presented the recipe for a New World Religion."

Just how far will the evangelical church go in its "compromises" with this "rethink" agenda? Just how far will its leaders go to build bridges, coalition and partner with the New Age leaders who also want to build a kingdom on earth for peace?

The Truth:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)

Monday, October 29, 2007

If It Looks So Good. . .

How Can It Be Deception???
Part 1
By Barbara Wilhelm

"Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any creature of the field which God had made" (Gen 3:1) (Amplified version)

"But also (in those days) there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines." ( 2 Pe 2:1)

"For certain men have crept in stealthily - gaining entrance secretly by a side door" (Jude 4).

How often do we hear the refrain - if it looks so good ("brings forth such good fruit"), how can it be deception? Are we expecting deception to be obvious? Why then would the Bible describe it as "more subtle and crafty, stealthily" gaining entrance as by a side door? Barnes Commentary states in the analysis of 2 Pe 2:1 that:

"...(false teachers) would not at first make an open avowal of their doctrines, but would, in fact, while their teachings seemed to be in accordance with truth, secretly maintain opinions which would sap the very foundations of religion. The Greek words used in the preceding verses means properly to lead in along with others. Nothing could better express the usual way in which error is introduced. It is by the side, or along with, other doctrines which are true; that is, while the mind is turned mainly to other subjects, and is off its guard, gently and silently to lay down some principle, which, being admitted, would lead to error. Those who preach error rarely do it openly."

THEREFORE, WE SHOULD EXPECT DECEPTION TO LOOK GOOD!! According to the Bible, the easiest method of deception is for error to ride on the back of truth. We hear what is, indeed, truth being preached. We assume that everything, therefore, being preached is truth, that everything being done is biblical, so we let down our guard. . . and error and deception can then enter "secretly by the side door." Do we forget that it is a little bit of leaven that leavens the whole loaf?

Let's carefully examine what the Bible says about things that look
good. A few simple - yet startling - examples:
  • Gen 13:10 - What did God describe as looking "like the Garden of the Lord"? SODOM (where exceedingly great sinners lived, v.13)
  • Ezek 28:12 - Who did God say was "the full measure and pattern of exactness - full of wisdom and perfect in beauty"? SATAN
  • Mt 7: 15 - Who will come "dressed as sheep" on the outside, "but inside are devouring wolves"? False prophets. . . looking good.
  • Acts 20:29-30 also speaks of "ferocious wolves" that come from "inside," from those thought to be in the flock of Christ.
  • Mt 23:12 - Who "looked beautiful on the outside"? The Pharisees who "inside are full of dead men's bones and everything impure."
  • 2 Cor 11: 14,15 - Who will come as an "angel of light" and as "ministers of righteousness"? Satan and his servants.
Conclusion: deception looks good on the outside, but inside it is deadly.

It requires diligence to discern when Satan comes as an
"angel of light," bringing what looks like the "light" of new revelation on a holy subject: when he comes, not as a devil, but as "another Jesus"; not with out-and-out heresy, but with "another Gospel"; and when he does all this in a religious setting, as "another spirit" (2 Cor 11:4). Have we forgotten that Satan is a "religious" creature? Have we not realized that false gospels are not completely new gospels, rather they are true gospels with a few "minor" changes? Didn't the Galatians believe the basic truths of Christianity? Yet, Paul said, not once but twice, that "any man" would be "accursed" (Gal 1:8-9) for preaching a "different gospel," for making a few changes to the true Gospel.

Perhaps, we need to look at some passages of Scripture in greater detail so that we may grow in discernment and avoid the deadly dangers of deception. Let's start at the beginning. . .
Genesis 3 contains the foundational truths of discerning deception.

The Garden of Eden was a perfect religious setting; and into this perfect religious setting came deception. The relationship between God and the man and woman was so close that He
"walked in the garden in the cool of the day" with them. This was spiritual intimacy of the highest order. And therein was part of Satan's subtle deception - he tempted the woman in the realm of that spiritual intimacy to become closer to God, to be more like Him (v.5). Let's remember that deception came before the Fall, before sin corrupted her mind with the twisted knowledge of what good and evil were. Exactly because of the purity of her being, this deception had to come in a very good disguise - so it came disguised in a holy desire for her to be closer to the God she loved. Such a holy desire - but, in order for it to be fulfilled she had to disobey His one "small" warning: just take one bite of what looked "good" to her. Here was the first appearance of the "angel of light," bringing new "light" in a "holy" way. And she did eat. . . and Adam did likewise. And they lost everything. The temptation looked good; it sounded "holy"; and it would allow them to grow "wise" - how could this be bad when it looked so good? In their deception and sin, the man and woman did not even first realize there was any change in them:

"After Eve had eaten and apparently suffered no ill effect, this constituted an additional argument why Adam need not hesitate to adopt the same course." (Barnes Commentary)

After all, she hadn't died as God said she would if she ate of the fruit, so it must be safe. But,

"they eat, they expect marvelous results, they wait and there grows on them a sense of shame." (ibid)

When we are first deceived, we may still seem to be holy - perhaps we may even think we are more holy - but in time a sense of shame will grow on us. We have partaken of that which God has forbidden in His Word: we have fallen for that which we think looks

In the Garden of Eden, wasn't one of the things the Lord was saying was that He had already given the man and woman ALL they need? They did not need more than all the trees and fruits He had already provided for them. Today, isn't He trying to tell us the same thing? He has given us salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit - there is no "more" described in the Bible. Then why is the cry across the land for "more, Lord, more"? Biblically, what "more" is there? Do we not already have all we need?

Then there is the parable of the wheat and the tares in Mt 13:24-30.
Unger's Bible Dictionary defines tares as:

a poisonous grass almost indistinguishable from wheat while the two are growing into blade, at the beginning. When they come into ear, they can be separated without difficulty.

At the beginning all the crop looks
good, according to what the eye can see. But as time goes on the tares become visible. The wheat is sown first by the Lord. Then the enemy sows his tares as men sleep. Isn't this another way of saying that, first, the true Gospel may be preached, but alongside of that, tares are sown (remember 2 Pe 2)? The Matthew Henry Commentary states:

. . . when reason and conscience sleep, and people are off their guard then the enemy comes in. . . . Note, when Satan is doing the greatest mischief, he studies most to conceal himself; for his design is in danger of being spoiled if he be seen in it; and therefore when he comes to sow tares, he transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13,14). . . The tares appeared not until the blade sprung up and brought forth fruit,v.26. As the good seed, so the tares lie a great while under the soil, and at first springing up, it is hard to distinguish them. . . ."

All revivals may look good: great enthusiasm and devotion may be displayed. But, religious enthusiasm in itself is not evidence of the truth. The Pharisees had great religious enthusiasm, so do Catholic mystics and Mormon missionaries. Yet, remember Mt 7: 21-23:

Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in YOUR NAME, and driven out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty miracles in YOUR NAME? And then I will say to them openly, Depart from Me, I never knew you.

Who were in danger: just a few? No, many. Were evil acts being performed? No, they were doing miracles, great signs and wonders, prophesying. Were they done in a demon's name? No, in JESUS' NAME! In His Holy Name. Yet, He said - depart from Me. How good it all looks and sounds - in our eyes. Not in His.

Moses was a true man of God, working true miracles. Yet, in the beginning, his miracles were duplicated by Pharaoh's magicians (Ex 7:11-12, 22; 8:7). So that we do not forget how prone we always are to "signs-and-wonders" deceptions, 2 Ti 2: 5-9 makes references to these magicians, Jannes and Jambres by name. It warns against
"silly" (v.6) people who are "forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a knowledge of the Truth"(v.7). Verse 9 promises that these counterfeits will eventually be exposed. But, in the meantime, they will continue performing signs and wonders, counterfeit signs and wonders.

Counterfeits, in the real world, are only successful in so far as they, as closely as possible, imitate the real. Only very close scrutiny will show that that $100 bill is not legal tender. In the real world, if a warning went forth that there were counterfeiters at large, wouldn't we scrutinize our money with great diligence? Yet, there are "spiritual counterfeits" at large and so many are gullible enough to accept what they teach at face value. There is so much more at stake - our spiritual lives hang in the balance. The whole chapter of Deut 13 is a warning about deception, but perhaps the most alarming verses are 1-3:

"If a prophet arises among you and gives you a sign or wonder and the sign or wonder he foretells to you COMES TO PASS, and if he says, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them. You shall not listen to the words of that prophet; for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and with your entire being."

Note: the man called himself a prophet of God. He came from among them, like the tares are among the wheat, like error comes alongside truth. And, incredibly, what he said CAME TO PASS! IT LOOKED
GOOD!! Yet, God says not to listen to him; on the contrary, v.8 says that that prophet is to be put to death for talking rebellion.

The Lord says all this deception is sent as a test to know whether we love Him totally.
Interestingly, the remedy for deception is for us to do our own "testing." In 1 Th 5: 21 we are commanded by God to "prove all things until you can recognize what is good; to that hold fast." The word prove in Scripture is a metallurgist's term. It is referred to in Jer 6: 27-30. An assayer or prover is to test ore closely because fool's gold looks so much like real gold (it looks good.) Once the assayer tests the ore and discovers it is gold, he then tests it further to see how pure that gold is - 10k, 12k, 24k. Interesting, isn't it? God tests us to see if we are gold and how pure gold we are, and we are to test all things to see if they are gold and how pure they are. In Acts 17: 11 the Bereans were commended as being "more noble" because they took the Scriptures so seriously that they even tested the teachings of Paul. Notice that they did not use the fluctuating criteria of emotions or experiences in their testing; they used the only one reliable, trustworthy, infallible standard - the Word of God. Isa 8:20 commands: "Direct people to the teaching and the testimony; if their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is because there is no light in them."

Where is the purest gold found? in the City of God (Rev 21:21). We are only fit for this Golden City as we, too, are purified and immerse ourselves in pure teaching. In Jn 17:17 Jesus Himself said: "Sanctify them by the Truth. THY WORD is truth." Not our emotions, not our experiences, not by how good it looks or sounds or feels. . . by THY WORD. I will close this by two simple examples of testing popular teachings by the holy standard of the Bible:
  • How many times have we heard that the end-times will be marked by revival? Yet, revival is NOT the sign of the end-times. DECEPTION is the sign of the end times. So says Jesus in Mt 24 in v. 4, 5, 11, 23, 24. So says Paul in 2 Th 2:3.
  • How often have we been hearing lately about "miraculous signs and wonders"? The problem is that whenever signs and wonders are mentioned in the Bible in relation to the end times, they are called LYING signs and wonders! So says Jesus in Mt 24:24 and Paul in 2 Th 2: 9 ( see also 2 Pe 2). Jesus in fact warns strongly against signs and wonders in Mt 12:39 and 16:4 --"An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." Then why are so many today being applauded for the "signs and wonders" in their midst?

Modern Day Application

There is a movement that began several years ago that, sadly, illustrates the principle herein described: error comes in alongside truth. I am speaking of the "Pensacola Revival" at Brownsville Assembly of God Church. I have personally viewed video tapes of numerous Brownsville services and read countless articles from Biblical authorities on their observations regarding the "Pensacola Revival." The Word that is preached may be holy. The burden for the lost and the heart's desire for the flock may be real. Individuals' lives may have changed for the better because of a sincere desire for God. BUT, were the "impartations," the "birthings," the physical manifestations and emotional excesses truly of God? Were they not, instead, errors that have come alongside truth? And are not those "little bits of leaven" in terrible danger of leavening the whole loaf?

We cannot test what we see and hear by our emotions or by experience: the only remedy for deception is the Truth, the objective truth of God's Word. We must discern what is light and what is darkness. We must test the origins of any revival, its teachings and its total conformity to Scripture. Only by testing can we know what is true and to be embraced and what is deception and to be avoided.
Our criteria for Truth, therefore, is not that it looks, sounds or feels good. Partaking of the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and evil was our first sin - thinking we knew what was good. The remedy for that sin in the Garden of Eden was "Yes, God HATH said!" Today, the remedy is still the same - has God said in His Word that it is good. Let our prayer be that in Isa 11: 2-3:

"(That) the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon ( us), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of he Lord. And make us of quick understanding, and (let our) delight be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And (let us) NOT judge by the sight of (our eyes) neither decide by the hearing of (our) ears . . . Nor by how good it looks or sounds or feels. Amen. (Amplified Version).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pragmatic Methodology

The nervous compulsion to get things done is found everywhere among us and right here is where the pragmatic philosophy comes into its own.

It asks no embarrassing questions about the wisdom of what we are doing or even about the morality of it.

It accepts our chosen ends as right and good and casts about for efficient means and ways to get them accomplished. When it discovers something that works, it soon finds a text to justify it, "consecrates" it to the Lord and plunges ahead. Next a magazine article is written about it, then a book, and finally the inventor is granted an honorary degree. After that, any question about the scripturalness of things or even the moral validity of them is completely swept away.

You cannot argue with success. The method works; ergo, it must be good!

The whole religious atmosphere around us is largely geared to pragmatic methodology. What shall we do to break its power over us?

The answer is simple. We must acknowledge the right of Jesus Christ to control the activities of His Church. The New Testament contains full instructions, not only about what we are to believe but what we are to do and how we are to go about doing it. Any deviation from those instructions is a denial of the Lordship of Christ!

The Truth:

"…Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13, 14)

[Adapted from October 26, "In the Church: The Lordship of Christ in Control," A.W. Tozer, Renewed Day by Day, Volume 1]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Latest "P" - Reconciliation

Now, Warren is building a PEACE Coalition of partners that includes the government and NGOs and businesses in addition to churches. The "P" in PEACE 2.0 now stands for "Promote reconciliation" while churches will continue to focus on planting churches.
--Lillian Kwon, "Rick Warren Launches New Plan to Multiply Impact Worldwide," Christian Post, 10/17/07 [emphasis added]

The church must show the world the true path to peace.
The planet's power elite will never find it on their own.
How do open church people find peace?
Through reconciliation to the triune God of peace and to each other.

--James Rutz, Megashift: Igniting Spiritual Power (Empowerment Press, 2005), p. 163 [emphasis added]

The "P" in Rick Warren's Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan has changed once again. It now means "Promote reconciliation," according to the latest press puff piece updating his ambitious plans to mobilize tens of thousands of churches and people.

"Reconciliation" is an interesting choice of words. We refer the reader to the Herescope post of August 10, 2007 entitled "Identificational Repentance" that describes what this term means in the new "transformation speak." We noted that C. Peter Wagner has cited this new doctrine as one of the key "New Spiritual Weapons" for advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. In short, "reconciliation" has to do with apologizing for the sins of your ancestors. But it also has a great deal to do with "peace."

James Rutz described "reconciliation" as a key ingredient in the new way to do church in his book Megashift, which we have been reviewing:

"In fact, reconciliation is now happening on a large scale between historic factions in the church. At reconciliation gatherings cross the U.S., repentance and confession of past wrongs has occurred between whites and blacks, anglos and native Americans, men and women, etc. These events are major building blocks in the coming U.S. revival." (p. 163)

Put this quotation on a global scale and apply it to tribes and warring factions, people groups and nations, and you can see how grandiose this thinking becomes. It is tantamount to a revolutionary new gospel. In fact, Brian McLaren includes a quotation in his 2006 book The Secret Message of Jesus (W Publishing Group) which seems to tie all of this together:

"The radical revolutionary empire of God is here, advancing by reconciliation and peace, expanding by faith, hope, and love--beginning with the poorest, the weakest, the meekest, and the least. It's time to change your thinking. Everything is about to change. It's time for a new way of life. Believe me. Follow me. Believe this good news to you so you can learn to live by it and be part of the revolution." (pp. 32-33) [emphasis added]

In fact, McLaren devotes an entire chapter to this "reconciliation" concept (Chapter 12: "Hiding the Message in New Places"). He describes the shed blood of Christ as achieving "lasting reconciliation between humanity and God," but then goes a step further to apply it to "all the at-odds individuals and groups that comprise humanity." The focus shifts from Christ to reconciling relationships between "at-odds" groups of people.

"Today, he [Jesus] might speak of reconciliation of the war veteran with the pacifist protester. The tattooed and pierced granddaughter with her prim and proper grandmother. The Orthodox with the Catholics, and Pentecostals with Baptists. Christians with Jews and Muslims and Hindus. Tutsi with Hutu and both with Twa. Right-wing Republicans with left-wing Democrats. Believers with doubters." (pp. 99-100)

Then he shifts into a mystical Bible passage interpretation:

"What is this set of reconciled relationships other than the kingdom of God? Paul strikes the same theme in Ephesians 1:9-10: 'God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.' That unity--that bringing together under one head--is yet another translation of the kingdom of God. . . .

"Like Jesus, then, Paul has a secret message--a message that is both concealed and revealed. It is a message of reconciliation and unification, just as a kingdom brings people together under one king." (p. 100) [emphasis added]

Did you catch a whiff of dominionism in that statement? Sure enough! This call for unity, peace and reconciliation is not new. It is the same old "brotherhood of man" universalism that the Federal Council of Churches trumpeted early in the last century. Previously on Herescope we have pulled extensive quotes from Dr. Martin Erdmann's book Building the Kingdom of God on Earth (Wipf & Stock, 2005), an important history of how these doctrines were contrived and promulgated. The facts in his book detail a strikingly similar blueprint for the global "peace" and "reconciliation" and "unity" plan of the evangelical leaders. Just substitute "brotherhood of man" for "reconciliation" and see how easily things cross-reference. The only things missing in the early plan for kingdom-building were 1) computer databanking and technology, 2) sophisticated psycho-social group manipulation techniques, and 3) the psychic stew of eclectic spirituality spawned by the New Age movement that permits cross-over terminologies and ideologies.

Rutz's quotation at the top says that the planet's power elite will never find the true path to peace on their own. Probably not, if that true path is based on the way of the Cross. But the planet's power elite has always been financially and politically behind the transformation of the church, and "building the kingdom of God on earth."

The Truth:

"And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
(2 Corinthians 5:15-21)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Snake Oil Transformation

"Disciplined Christians are the apprentice owners of the world,
and intercessors who hear from God are its unseen regents."

--James Rutz, Megashift: Igniting Spiritual Power (Empowerment Press, 2005), p. 72.

James Rutz's book Megashift has been out for several years now, but it is not dated. This book is a rip-roaring excursion into the realm of evangelical transformation. It is fast-paced, exuberant, effusive, disorderly, and sometimes outright cantankerous. It is pure snake oil sales at its disingenuous best -- disparaging, mocking and ridiculing the last vestiges of tradition with entertaining levity and persuasive testimonials.

So, why would you want to buy this snake oil?

In the art of snake oil sales there are always vestiges of truth embedded in the marketing hype. We know that traditional "churchianity" has its flaws, even in biblical application. Evangelicalism has its deadness, hardness and apathy. We all know that. The Joel O'Steen-style of glitz, glitter and glamour has come to the point of ridiculous excess, turning church into an arena-based spectator sport. So we're embarrassed with its gross magnitude.

Snake oil sales wouldn't succeed if it didn't offer some truth in its cure for the disease. Going back to the Bible, going back to the cross, simplifying worship, making church more accessible to the unsaved, reviving our faith, ministering one to another. . . . all of these seem solid and biblical. Rutz even hauls out globs of evidence, reams of documentation, inspiring testimonials, riveting stories, and before and after photos to back up his hype: the old church doesn't work; the new church will cure what ails us.

So what's the problem with his snake oil? Well, as with any new product, you have to read the fine print.
If you study the ingredient label, it might inform you about the product. Megashift has lots of footnotes and resources, quotations and accolades, examples and emulations. Here you'll recognize all of the common denominators in the neoevangelical transformation model. You'll notice the leading experts and their standard recipe for cell/apostolic change.

In fact, the reason we are reviewing Rutz's book is because it is such an excellent example of formulaic transformation. If you have read this book and were captivated by its premise, it is time to re-visit the small print, check out the disclaimers, review the side effects, re-examine the description of the disease, and dispute the evidence of a cure. We've covered this topic many times previously on Herescope, including our lengthy series on marketing last spring. What you need to watch for is this classic pattern:

1. Deconstruction of the old model of Christianity
2. Reconstruction ("Reformation" or "Transformation") to a new model of Christianity

Here's the half-true sales pitch: The Christian Church of the past 2000 years has been horribly ineffective, terribly uninformed, unbiblical in its structure, unedifying, frozen and stagnant. It was run by a bunch of "control-minded elders" who created a "caste system" (p. 216) that resulted in a vast "theological compost" (p. 218). The Lord Himself couldn't even "break this king/peon mentality among his followers" (p. 214).
It is remarkable that anyone anywhere ever got saved it was so bad. . . .

The solution is, of course, the New Apostolic Reformation with all of its cell/apostolic trappings, new "kingdom" doctrines, and signs and wonders. Breaking down the old structure, building up the new model. That's the name of the transformation game.

When reading Megashift you'll have to be prepared for the barrage of ridicule and mockery that will be flung your direction. If you haven't been part of fabulous miracles, there's something wrong with your faith. (Never mind if you appreciate the tiny miracles of everyday life where God's grace abounds.) You are most likely a "pew potato" (p. 65) in a "tradition-encrusted church--with all its faults" (p. 28) bound by "dead prayers" (p. 58). Your denomination is a "network of miniature hierarchies enmeshed in outdated traditions" (p. 78) with "deformities," "weakness and stagnation" -- an "ecclesiastical monstrosity" (p. 110) presenting a "downsized" gospel (p. 96). Here's a classic Rutz overstatement:

"You'd think that by now the word 'traditions' would have acquired an aroma of month-old raw oysters, but no, it still warms the hearts of millions who have spent their lives marching in little circles in the trackless wasteland of good old-fashioned churchianity. They simply have no idea of what they're missing." (p. 121)

In other words, "you poor, ignorant fools." How condescending. Rutz justifies his strong rhetoric with the guilt-producing statement that:

"My main excuse for the tone of ecclesiastical hatchetry is that it's just darned hard to be diplomatic and tactful while pointing out flaws that can be seen from orbiting spacecraft, especially when those flaws are destroying thousands of lives daily and inoculating people against the church." (p. 112)

Wow! Did you realize that your tradition-bound faith was doing all of that? No wonder you might want to rush out and buy this snake oil solution!

But buyer beware! This snake oil doesn't include preaching, pastors nor doctrine. These things are now considered toxic to the system. Big bad doctrine has been "a war banner, a flag we waved to flaunt our differences from other denominations" (p. 134). Pastors are passe', to be replaced by "a new breed of powerful, secure, competent men" (p. 165); i.e., apostles and prophets. And the "first thing we do, let's kill all the sermons" (p. 159) and "dump the orations" (p. 167).

To be continued. . . .

The Truth:

Back in the "dead" old 1600s, Matthew Poole wrote in his Commentary:

"We must have leave to think that our greatest work which our Lord and his apostles were most employed in, and do think others will be of our minds as soon as they shall understand, that if the end of preaching be not turning men from one opinion to another, but from the love and practice of sin to God, there is as much need of it as ever; and that the turning of men from one opinion to another, without a change of heart, as to the love of sin, is but a turning of men from one quarter of the devil's kingdom to another." (p. 150, Vol. 3)

"And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no not so much as about the door: and He preached the Word unto them." (Mark 2: 2)

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Lord's Way

Let us not think that waiting on the Lord will mean getting less done.

The truth is that doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way we will accomplish more, not less.

You need not fear that if you wait for God's Spirit you will not get as much done as if you charge ahead in the flesh.

After all, who can do the most, you or the God of heaven and earth?

--Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People, p. 72

Friday, October 12, 2007

What of the Watchmen?

How to Discern: Part 6
By Anton Bosch

Each believer has responsibility for himself to be on the lookout for error and deception (Revelation 3:11). The Lord has also set the elders in the local church with the duty to watch for wolves who would seek to attack the flock (Acts 20:28-30).

In these last days error is multiplying and spreading faster than the average believer or shepherd can track. Every day brings some new heresy, and modern electronic media and world travel has resulted in new heresies spreading across the globe within hours of being hatched. Often these teachings are so cleverly disguised that it literally takes a specialist to recognize them and to formulate a defense against them.

As a result the Lord has raised up a special group of people who have been uniquely gifted and prepared to act as watchmen to the churches. When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, the attacks were so incessant that in addition to every man carrying his sword whilst building (Nehemiah 4:17-18), a select group was tasked with looking out for the enemy (Nehemiah 4:9, 16). As a shepherd in a local church, it would be impossible for me to fulfill my duties and keep track of the many new errors that arise almost daily. I am therefore very grateful for those who have dedicated themselves to the work of monitoring, researching, warning and formulating answers to the many winds of false doctrine of our time.

But, as in every area of the Lord’s work, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. Just the fact that someone points out error does not necessarily make them devoid of error themselves. Some err in doctrine, and others in their attitude or lifestyle. It is therefore important that we establish what the difference is between the good and the bad amongst discernment ministries. (I use “discernment ministries” [lower case] as a generic term distinct from Discernment Ministries which refers to a specific organization).

In one sense, this is the easiest ministry that anyone can get into these days. This is true simply because it is much easier to point out mistakes in others than to correct those mistakes. Some who could not write or preach a single word to edify the church get involved in throwing stones. Pulling down is easier than building up and finding fault is easier than teaching truth. Many are involved in these ministries because they want revenge for past hurt, or because they want to be involved in ministry but do not have the gifts to do so, or even because they have a problem with pride.

Here are some important questions to ask about discernment ministries:

What attitude do they display? Is it one of arrogance and pride and do they feel that they are better than those poor heretics over there? Or do they genuinely mourn and weep over the state of the church? Do they speak with humility and grace, recognizing that it is only the grace of God that has kept them? Do they feel that they are superior to everyone else and God’s only remnant? (The series “Contentiously Contending” deal with this in much detail.)

Who are the faces behind that particular ministry? What are their personal lives like? Do they have a history of serving the churches and standing for truth? Are they in fellowship with other believers and ministries, and do they serve a local church? Or are they loose cannons?

What is their motive? Is it revenge, profit, fame and importance? Or is it love for the Lord, His Word and his People? (The previous article “Who’s Who?” applies as much to discernment ministries as to preachers.)

Are their accusations based on thoroughly documented research supported by credible witnesses and empirical proof? Or is it based on second-hand rumor and guilt by association? Many of these ministries could discredit someone just because that person happened to pass through the same airport as a known heretic, even though there is no connection between them.

Do they rely on innuendo, rumor and quotes taken out of context to make their case? Or do they rely on facts, track-records, history and documents?

Are they credible? In other words how do you know you can trust them? Do they exaggerate or embellish to make a point? Have you ever noticed them lying, or are they people of integrity? Is their assessment balanced, or are they biased? Do they ever have something good to say about anyone, or can they only speak about what is evil and wrong?

Are they conspiracy theorists? One such man teaches that the Jews are to blame for every form of evil that plagues our world, that NASA found dinosaur bones on the moon but conspired to conceal the matter, but at another time claimed that man never went to the moon and that it was all a conspiracy! Yes, this man is one of the most prominent speakers, broadcasters and writers against “error.”

Do they teach the truth or only against error? Do they provide an antidote to the heresy, or can they only point out what is wrong? The Lord and the Word never reveal a problem without providing a solution to that problem. Yes, the Bible speaks against sin, but it also provides the antidote – the precious blood of Jesus. It reveals the wickedness of man’s heart but offers the righteousness of God to those who believe (Romans 3:22-23).

Just the fact that someone has a discernment or apologetic ministry does not exempt them from all the checks and balances we have spoken about in this series. They need to be checked. The bad need to be rejected and the good need to be valued. I would urge you to know which of these ministries can be trusted and to read their material regularly. If you are a pastor or preacher, you need to attend a good discernment conference every year in order that you may be warned of the new devices of the evil one.

If you do use their services you need to support them by your prayers, encouragement and gifts. The good ones will never speak of their needs, yet it costs a lot of stamina and finances to keep those ministries going – help them so they can better serve you. Above all, pray for them. It takes a lot of courage and they pay a very high personal price for their stand as they are constantly being attacked. They need your prayers and encouragement.

The fact that Nehemiah set a watch and dedicated some to bear arms, did not absolve the rest of the people from being on guard:

“Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, "The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:17-20).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who's Who?

How to Discern: Part 5
By Anton Bosch

It is important that we check every word we hear or read against the plumbline of the Bible. In addition, we need to check the source of the information as well. We must check two things: The message and the man.

Many times we will hear messages that sound spot-on, and may even be doctrinally correct, but the speaker is a deceiver. Remember, the Devil will present truth in order to get you on his hook. No Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness will knock on your door and begin the conversation by saying that they have come to present another Gospel and another Jesus. They all begin by affirming that they believe exactly what you believe. The problem is that by the time they get around to the lie it is often too late. Our only defense is not to listen to a single word from someone we have not checked out thoroughly first. Mormons and JWs are easy to recognize by their outward appearance. But how do we recognize someone who appears to be an evangelical, Bible-believing preacher? Here are a few hints:

First, who is he and where does he come from? In other words who does he relate to and who has influenced his thinking? This can easily be established from his bio, personal history or curriculum vitae. Where did he train? Where does he fellowship? Who is he in relationship with? Who does he quote? Who quotes him? If he has a website, look at the other sites he provides links to. These questions will often reveal a lot about the messenger. Obviously, he may have had bad connections in the past and may have repented. If he has repented from former evil associations, has he publicly repudiated those links and doctrines and broken fellowship with them? If he has, his past should not be held against him; but, at the same time, some of those influences may continue to taint his thinking and one should be on the alert for signs thereof. “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1Corinthians 15:33) and a man can be known by the friends he keeps.

Second, and closely related to the first: What qualifies him to be a teacher? By this I don’t mean whether he is ordained or has papers, but what gives him the right to teach you anything? You need to ask questions about how long he has been a believer, how old he is, does he have a proven track record of serving the churches, or is he just a maverick who has set himself as a “prophet”? Is he in submission to others? Since the advent of the Internet and self-publishing any misfit who cannot work with others, and who has no desire to be a servant to the churches, can set himself up as a “ministry.” Does he exhibit skill and integrity in the way he handles the Word, or is he a workman who needs to be ashamed? (2Timothy 2:15). Does he faithfully teach and preach the Word, or is his message based on stories, testimonies and jokes? Finally, does he challenge as well as encourage, or does he only speak those things that will not offend the hearers (2Timothy 4:2)?

Probably the most important qualification is his life! How many times has he been married? Does he have a testimony of integrity, uprightness and holiness? How does he relate to money and material things? These are but a few of dozens of questions that need to be asked about the fruit of his life. Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). By their "fruit" Jesus did not mean the fruit of his ministry (how many converts, books etc) but the fruits of his life. What does his life produce? Do you really think that if he produces thistles at home he will produce grapes in your life? (2Timothy 3 and Titus 1 contain additional questions you may need to ask.)

Fourth, what does he believe? This gets a bit harder since if he is a false teacher he will very likely hide the real truth under language that appears to be sound. Sometimes error can be discerned by carefully scrutinizing his statement of faith. But mostly you will have to read and listen carefully. The Internet may contain hints at what may be wrong, but don’t accept anything you find on the Internet without thoroughly investigating that information and its source. Anyone can publish anything on the Internet, and many work very hard to discredit legitimate ministries through this means. But read carefully what is said about the individual and use that information as a cue what to look out for in his teaching. But allow me to emphasize: information from unknown sources on the Internet can only serve as red flags; it cannot be trusted to approve or disqualify anyone. “Whoever… does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him" (2John 1:9).

Fifth, we must ask the question; what do the witnesses say? In the third article in this series ("The End of Orthodoxy") we established that we need to look at the credibility of the witness as well as the testimony of the witness. Who approves of this man? If known false teachers give him a good testimonial, or if he appears on the same platform as they, then you know he has to be a false teacher himself. Likewise, if those who are proven to be ministers of light condemn him, you had better take note.

This is why it is important that we surround ourselves with those whom we can trust to advise and counsel. Many “discernment type” ministries have an axe to grind, but there are a few that can be trusted to give a balanced assessment of a particular ministry. These people who have been gifted to be watchmen to the church can save us a lot of time and research. (Next week we will examine the qualifications of a good discernment type ministry.) Check their websites and blogs for warnings about specific ministries, speakers and authors. The Lord says about watchmen that: “whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head” (Ezekiel 33:4).

Sixth, what is his agenda? Sometimes a speaker or author can pass all the tests and still have the wrong agenda. It is therefore important to ask what it is that drives him. Is it money, ego or power? Does he bear a grudge or bitterness? Is he trying to prove that he is right and everyone else is wrong? Watch and listen carefully and his motive will shine through. If he is not driven by a love for the Lord, a love for God’s Word and a love for God’s people – then he probably has nothing to say. When Jesus commissioned Peter, there was one question that mattered: “do you love me?” (John 21:15-17). If the speaker does not exhibit a love for Jesus then he is disqualified no matter how much he knows (1Corinthians 13:1-3).

Unless you are able to verify the bona fides of a speaker or writer, you should never receive from them. Very few would knowingly invite the devil to preach in their church, yet many are willing to have his messengers speak in his place.

The Truth:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1John 4:1).

(To be continued)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rethinking and Reinventing

"Imagine a busy street crowded with people. A young man has gathered a crowd in a corner of the local market. Someone shouts out, 'What's your plan? What's your message?'"

He responds, 'Change your way of thinking.'"

--Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus (W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 14 [emphasis added].

In a new article posted online, "Mysticiam & Global Mind Change," Berit Kjos, expert researcher and writer on the New Age/New World Order, has compiled a series of quotations on re-thinking the future. Re-thinking is a strategy for creating "more experiential religion, an end to 'separatism,' and an inclusive oneness" that fulfills the utopian vision of an "earthly 'Kingdom of God,'" says Kjos.

Interestingly, immediately after the quotation from Brian McLaren, Emergent church leader, cited above, he continues with his paraphrase of Jesus's words:

"'The kingdom of God is available to all. Believe this good news! The empire of God is now available to all!'

"The kingdom of God, the empire of God? What could Jesus mean by this? One thing is sure: he did not mean what many - perhaps most - people today think he meant. He did not mean 'heaven after you die.' Maybe the meaning would be clearer if we paraphrased it like this: 'You're all preoccupied with the oppressive empire of Caesar and the oppressed kingdom of Israel. You're missing the point: the kingdom of God is here now, available to all! This is the reality that matters most. Believe this good news and follow me!'" (Ibid, p. 14) [emphasis added]

On page 18 McLaren refers to this as a "revolutionary political agenda."

Kjos discusses several old Herescope posts that documented the early integration activities between evangelical and New Age leaders, especially including noted Theosophist Willis Harman, whose passion in life became the transformation of the human mind and consciousness. One of Harman's goals was to create an alternative future for planet earth.

In this context, Kjos reports on a Re-think Conference planned for January 2008:

Scheduled for January 2008, the upcoming Re-think Conference shows the latest phase of this unholy quest for unity in diversity. Considering its team of speakers, it will surely encourage more dialogue, compromise, and fuzzy convictions. Visionaries will establish new norms for "positive thinking" and feel-good relationships while closing the door to the old "divisive" truths.

The list of speakers could hardly be more diverse -- or influential:

  • Robert Schuller (co-host). Founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral.
  • Erwin McManus (co-host). Lead pastor and "Cultural Architect" of Mosaic and author of The Barbarian Way -- "whose primary focus is to serve the post-modern, post-Western, and post-Christian world."
  • Rupert Murdoch. The controlling shareholder and chairman of News Corporation.
  • Kay Warren. Wife of Pastor Rick Warren.
  • Larry King. Internationally-known broadcaster and author.
  • Lee Strobel. Author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.
  • Chuck Colson. Founder of Prison Fellowship.
  • George Barna. Founder of the Barna Group and Good News Holdings. Author of Revolution, Think Like Jesus, The Power of Vision, and Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.
  • Former president George H. W. Bush who previously served as UN Ambassador and Ambassador to China. When introducing his version of our current US/UNESCO education system in 1991, he said, "Nations that stick to stale old notions and ideologies [Biblical Truth and values?] will falter and fail. So I'm here today to say, America will move forward.... New schools for a new world.... Re-invent--literally start from scratch and reinvent the American school...." [See HERE for full article]

The Rethink Conference website explains what is meant by the term "rethink." It has to do with alternative futures:

"Why Rethink?

"This is not yesterday's world; this world is now--and now just changed.

"'We need to know where things are going so we can get there first.' Erwin McManus

"How do you stay on the cutting edge in a world that’s ever-changing, particularly when the culture around you reinvents itself quicker than a mouse-click? You need to rethink.

  • rethink... is about getting into the minds of the most influential thinkers, innovators and leaders.
  • rethink... is about being on the cutting edge of ideas about our ever-changing world.
  • rethink... is about discussing and brainstorming in high-energy Rethink TanksTM.
  • rethink... about taking home fresh perspectives and new directions for your work, your ministry and your life"

Interestingly, ex-New Ager Warren Smith has noticed this same "re-think" agenda, and he has connected it not just to a false kingdom, but also a false "king" -- a "Christ" that has been re-imagined and reinvented. In the introduction to his book Reinventing Jesus Christ, he wrote:

"There is an amazing thing happening in the land. Jesus Christ is being 'reinvented' in front of our own eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice of care. 'Reinvented' is a term now being popularly used to describe the transformation of something from one form into a thing uniquely different. . . .

"[T] architects and promoters of a 'new gospel' and new 'Christ' are audaciously ignoring God's Word. They are inventing a 'Christ' of antichrist proportions." (p. 7)

The fact that Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral is hosting this Rethink conference is particularly relevant in light of his close association with Rick Warren, a relationship discussed in detail in Warren Smith's book Deceived On Purpose. Kay Warren is one of the "Leading Inflencers" invited to make a presentation at the conference. Note that many Emergent/Emerging church leaders, such as Erwin McManus (quoted above) are also presenting.

This Rethink Conference is aptly named. It represents a major convocation of "Leading Influencers" among various camps of neoevangelicals -- all of whom are jointly launching the next "revolution" in "re-thinking" doctrine, building a "kingdom," "reinventing Jesus Christ," and creating an alternative future.

As Barbara Marx Hubbard's "Christ" said, in her Theosophical treatise about creating an alternative future, The Revelation* (Nataraj, 1995),

"Armageddon is, dearly beloved, the dreadful script which you and I rewrite now." (p. 204) [emphasis added]

The Truth:

"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know now when the time is." (Mark 13:33)

*[For more information on this topic, see Chapter 8, "The Armageddon Alternative" and its update posted at http://www.reinventingjesuschrist.com.]