Friday, February 29, 2008

"Reframing Jesus"

"The term kingdom of God, which is at the heart and center of Jesus' message in word and deed, becomes positively incandescent in this kind of framing. As a member of a little colonized nation with a framing story that refuses to be tamed by the Roman imperial narrative, Jesus bursts on the scene with this scandalous message: The time has come! Rethink everything! A radically new kind of empire is available--the empire of God has arrived! Believe this good news, and defect from all human imperial narratives, counternarratives, dual narratives, and withdrawal narratives. Open your mind and hearts like children to see things freshly in this new way, follow me and my words, and enter into this new way of living."
--Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope (Thomas Nelson, 2007), p. 99 [italics in original].

Be prepared for a total makeover of Christianity in Brian McLaren's most recent book, Everything Must Change. He calls it a DeepShift. And be cautioned: if you embark upon any criticisms of this book, you have already been caricatured, castigated, ridiculed and mocked. You are part of a bad old "suicide machine" metaphor that is destroying planetary peace, damaging the earth's ecosystem, creating "global dysfunctions" and contributing to "systemic injustice" (p. 34) -- all caused by your dangerously antiquated "conventional" theological "framing story." You are likely to be "tense, judgmental, imbalanced, reactionary, negative, and hypocritical." (p. 33) You are part of a failed religion "that has specialized in people's destination in the afterlife but has failed to address significant social injustices in this life." You have also neglected to "address the dominant societal and global realities" of "systemic injustice, systemic poverty, systemic ecological crisis," etc. (p. 33)

McLaren's new "framing story" is, naturally, the gospel of the kingdom, i.e., Dominionism. Mankind must save the earth. All of the "varied desires of millions of people" could be "harnessed into a unified corporate will" to create a unified "framing story" around "three societal systems" (pp. 65-66) which strongly resemble the 3-legged stool of Peter Drucker as McLaren explains them: PROSPERITY (corporate), EQUITY (church) and SECURITY (state).

According to McLaren's theology:

"Jesus' message is not actually about escaping this troubled world for heaven's blissful shores, as is popularly assumed, but instead is about God's will being done in this troubled earth as it is in heaven." (p. 4)

The big bad "conventional view" of Jesus and the "human situation" (original sin) is contrasted to the more "vibrant form of the Christian faith that is holistic, integral, and balance." (p. 34) This is the "emerging view" in which "you will participate in the transformation of the world" by "participating in his [Jesus'] ongoing work of personal and global transformation and liberation from evil and injustice." (pp. 79-80)

McLaren proposes to rethink the Scriptures --

"we could test an alternative hypothesis: that the Bible the story of the partnership between God and humanity to save and transform all of human society and avert global self-destruction." (p. 94)

"The Emerging View of Jesus" bears striking similarity to the Jesus of Liberation Theology, in which the "good news" is "political" (p. 122), Jesus is a revolutionary and the church is his agent of change. One example is this statement:

"Jesus will use a cross to expose the cruelty and injustice of those in power and instill hope and confidence in the oppressed." (p. 124)

In this revisionist context, it becomes necessary to redefine some key doctrines about Jesus. Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) is not about "God my Savior" but rather "Mary celebrates that God is going to upset the dominance hierarchies typical of empire so that the nation of Israel can experience the fulfillment of its original promise." (p. 103) Zechariah's Song (Luke 1:68-79) is not about salvation or redemption. Rather, "Zechariah celebrates the coming of Jesus as the coming of a strong king who will rescue--or liberate--the people of Israel from their enemies, the Romans, who hate and oppress them." (p. 104)

Salvation is redefined to become a component of Dominionism: "forgiveness of sins is inseparable from finding the path of peace." (p. 105) There is no Heaven, and there is no Hell in this theological construct. Everything is focused on the earth. After some convoluted semantic tapdancing, there is a complete twist in scriptural interpretation: "My kingdom is not of this world," then, means the very opposite of "My kingdom is not in this world." (p. 114) In other words, Dominionism.

The Truth:

John Flavel's historic essay, "The Causes and Cure of Mental Errors" addresses the many tactics of the enemy to alter the biblical thinking of Saints with heresies. He observed:

"It is a pernicious evil, to advance a mere opinion into the place and seat of an article of faith; and to lay as great a stress upon it, as they ought to do upon the most clear and fundamental point. To be as much concerned for a tile upon the roof, as for the corner-stone, which unites the walls, and sustains the building.

"Opinion (as one truly saith) is but reason's projector, and the spy of truth; it makes, in its fullest discovery, no more than the dawning and twilight of knowledge; and yet I know not how it comes to pass, but so it is, that this idol of the mind holds such a sway and empire over all we hold, as if it were all the day we had. Matters of mere opinion, are every way cried up by some errorists, for mathematical demonstration, and articles of faith written with a sun-beam; worshipping their own minds, more than God; and putting more trust in their ill founded opinions, than in the surer word of prophecy. much like the Humorist that would not trust day-light, but kept his candle still burning by him; because, saith he, this is not subject to eclipses, as the sun is.

"And what more frequent, when controversies grow fervent, than for those that maintain the error, to boast every silly argument to be a demonstration; to upbraid and pity the blindness and dulness of their opposers as men that shut their eyes against sun-beams; yea, sometimes, to draw their presumptuous censures through the very hearts of their opposers, and to insinuate, that they must needs hold the truths of God in unrighteousness, sin against their knowledge, and that nothing keeps them from coming over to them, but pride, shame, or some worldly interest? What a complicated evil is here! Here is a proud exalting of our own opinions, and an immodest imposing on the minds of others, more clear and sound than our own, and a dangerous usurpation of God's prerogative in judging the hearts and ends of our brethren." (p. 437-8, John Flavel, Vol. 3)

"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Friday, February 22, 2008

The "Dread Champion Army"

As fanatical as it may sound to fundamental evangelical Christians, the Church is destined to subdue all things and put all things under Christ’s feet before He actually literally returns from heaven. Father God said to Jesus, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make all your enemies your footstool.”...

The Church is being prepared now for the next moves of God. After the Saints Movement will be the Army of the Lord Movement. The next movement after that will be the Kingdom Establishment Movement.

So we have three more movements yet to take place. So we are right now in the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement but then somewhere along 2012 or 2010 the preachers will start getting on the ball and teaching and training the saints. Then we will have the Saint's Movement that will demonstrate to every nation the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Then we are going to have the Army of the Lord demonstrate the power of God and go forth as mighty warriors and shake whole nations. Then we will have the Kingdom Establishment Movement. The Kingdom will be established and Jesus will return and change us in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye so we can finish the job with our immortal bodies. That's the purpose and identity of the movement of God for the Church. And I would say that about 98 percent of Spirit-filled, born again Christians do not have any concept of the overall purpose of God for His Church.

--Bill Hamon, "Dr. Bill Hamon answers your questions about the eternal Church," interview with Jennifer LeClaire [emphases added].

The false prophecy above has been touted by New Apostolic Reformation leader Bill Hamon for years. In keeping with this timetable, the pitch and intensity of the military rhetoric of this branch of the global Dominionist movement has substantially increased since the beginning of 2008. Hyper-esoteric language enshrouds the calls for warriors and warfare with increasing fervor and zeal. One can only wonder how long before this transforms into real warfare with actual warriors. Below are a few notable examples:

Jill Austin was published several days ago (February 20) on the Elijah List in an article that proclaims that "The Lord is Raising Up End Time Global War Generals" and "moving with radical holy alliances." She wrote: "We want to mobilize the generations for global warfare with a radical passion and love for Jesus." This is mystically described: "We need to to legislate from Heaven and bring it down to earth." [link added]

Spiritual warfare prayer activities have become an essential prelude to literal spiritual warfare. There is a desensitization that occurs when people repeatedly hear these militant terminologies. Jacquie Tyre, describing a Kairos Transformation/GA-Apostolic Prayer Network "Land Warriors" training weekend (February 7 & 8), wrote:

We are in a war -- a war to advance the Kingdom of God. This war [sic] consists of battles to reclaim land, occupy territory, and establish Kingdom rule "on earth as it is in heaven." The battle has intensified. The opportunities great. The stakes are high. There is a call coming forth from the Throne of God calling us to a greater level of understanding of the spiritual warfare that rages all around. If you desire to be more fully equipped for the battles that are at hand, and for those that are unfolding before us, you will not want to miss these two opportunities for training and equipping. [emphasis added]

Rick Joyner, one of the longtime Joel's Army cult leaders, proclaimed in a February 7th Elijah List post, "The Army of God Mobilizes--We Must Resolve that We Will Retreat No Further!" that the Church must begin "to take on more of its martial nature." He described changes in military strategies:

I have studied the military and military strategies for many years because I was shown that the Body of Christ at the end of this age would become the army that it is called to be. As we have discussed before, God uses the title "Lord of hosts," or "Lord of armies," more than ten times as much as all of His other titles combined. He is a martial God, and we must understand this aspect of His nature and how His people are going to begin to conform to it. How this practically relates is a very important issue for those who will be prepared for the times....

The Lord's Kingdom is going to come to the earth, and His will is going to be done on the earth, just as it is in Heaven. We are here now to help prepare the way for it. [link added]

Chuck Pierce described a timeline similar to Bill Hamon's (at top of post) when he wrote for C. Peter Wagner's Global Harvest newsletter in 2005. His mystical swords in the heavens appear to have earthly counterparts:

Future – Forward: “The clash of the swords begins”… Get sharpened! The swords of the earth, representing the spiritual realms of the heavens, begin to clash. This determines the future of the generations!

Pastor Sunday Adelaja's new book CHURCHSHIFT emphasizes the "7 spheres" of Dominion, and a promo piece emphasizes the "kings and priests" role of believers in imposing the Kingdom of God on earth:

In their correct sphere where God called them, they reign as “kings and priests,” according to Scripture. They don’t all become the most famous or noteworthy person in that sphere, but they all impose Kingdom values and principles upon their area of influence. [emphasis added]

The most alarming current example of this warrior teaching can be currently listened to and watched at the main page of, the website of Ryan Wyatt's Abiding Glory Ministries. This teaching would be an example of the Manifest Sons of God heresy:

He [God] is looking for those who will pick up this higher calling, this higher mandate of raising up a generation, an army, an offensive warring army.

We are in a fullness of time juncture. This generation, this time is so incredibly important to fulfill the destiny of God in the earth.... The Lord will not have a beat-up, wiped out, wasted bride that He sucks up out of the earth.... and He's not coming back until there's a body on the earth that is doing what He did in His body on the earth. He is wanting a generation that is fully inhabited by Him. There's going to be a generation of ... overcomers that rise up.... In one generation God is going to pour all that out at one time....

God is raising up a supernatural army of everyday people in these days.... As the sons and daughters of God in this hour, we were created to be gateways where heaven touches earth....

I believe you are part of that Dread Champion Army for Jesus. [emphasis added]

The Truth:

Many centuries ago John Flavel wrote that "Blind zeal is a sword in a madman's hand." In his treatise on The Causes and Cure of Mental Errors, he warned of the various manners in which men could become seduced by heresies. One method is a "rash and ignorant zeal" that could cause one to "receive easily, erroneous doctrines and opinions."

Flavel seems to write directly to this time period in church history when he exhorted his readers:

"Revolve church-histories and you shall find, that scarce any cruel persecution hath flamed in the world, which hath not been kindled by blind zeal. Turn over all the records, both of Pagan and Popish persecutions, and you shall still find these two observations confirmed and verified.

First, That ignorant zeal hath kindled the fires of persecution: and Secondly, That the more zealous any have been for the ways of error and falsehood, still the more implacably fierce and cruel they have been to the sincere servants of God. None like a superstitious devoto to manage the devil's work of persecution thoroughly, and to purpose. They will rush violently and head-long into the blood of their dearest relations, or most eminent saints, to whose sides the devil sets this sharp spur. Superstitious zeal draws all the strength and power of the soul into that one design; and wo to him that stands in the way of such a man, if God interpose not betwixt him and the stroke.

Now consider, reader, if thy judgment be weak, and thy affections warm, how much thou liest exposed, not only to errors which may ruin thyself, but also to tongue and hand-persecution, wherein Satan may manage thy zeal for injury or ruin of those that are better than thyself; And withal, consider how many dreadful threatenings are found in scripture against the instruments of persecution, so employed and managed by Satan.

Certainly, reader, it were better for thee to stand with thy naked breast before the mouth of the discharging cannon, than that thy should stand under this guilt, before such a scripture-threatening as that, Psal. vii. 13. "He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors." And none more likely to become such than those of thine own temper and complexion; especially if grace be wanting in the heart, whilst zeal for erroneous principles eats up the affections."

(John Flavel, Vol. 3 [Banner of Truth Trust, 1997], pp. 466-468) [spellings in original]

“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." (2 Peter 2:9)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Creating Heaven on Earth

"'At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, "Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven." It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.'"
--N.T. Wright, "Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop," TIME, 2/7/08.

The false gospel of building the kingdom of God on earth incorporates the age-old occult teaching that man's efforts and activities will bring Heaven to Earth. This teaching has been lurking off stage in the evangelical world for several decades. It is now building steam as the hottest new teaching to make the New Apostolic Reformation circuit. And it has gone mainstream with N.T. Wright's new book Surprised by Hope. In the recent TIME article, N.T. Wright sums up the new/old doctrine as:

  • "Jesus' resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return."
  • "the more important transformation will be when we are again embodied and administering Christ's kingdom."
  • "the new creation has begun, and we have a job to do."
  • "In Revelation and Paul's letters we are told that God's people will actually be running the new world on God's behalf. The idea of our participation in the new creation goes back to Genesis, when humans are supposed to be running the Garden and looking after the animals. If you transpose that all the way through, it's a picture like the one that you get at the end of Revelation."
  • "What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won't be going up there to him, he'll be coming down here."
  • "the end of Revelation describes a marvelous human participation in God's plan."

This rosy scenario bypasses Armageddon and ignores Judgment Day. It elevates man to God-like status, ignoring the Fall in the Garden and man's utter depravity of sin. It eviscerates the Gospel of Salvation. Man does not need a Redeemer, he must redeem creation. Therefore he must shift his attentions to perfecting the Earth.

TheElijahList is pumping out this teaching at an accelerating pace. Just the other day (Feb. 8) it was linked to the concept of a generation of "transformers" -- an endtime Joel's Army:

Though it is true that a great army of young people will arise, they will not arise alone! This is a chosen generation, made up of all those who are living on planet earth in this day. We are a great army of light . . .

For months now, the Lord has been talking to me about the restoration of His original intent for His people. He would tell me over and over,
"I'm taking back the original intent I had before the fall, before the creation of the world...back to the beginning." (Kathi Pelton, "This Generation Will Arise With--EARS to HEAR What the Spirit is Saying")

Another apostolic organization, which is even named Open Heaven, proclaims in a recent newsletter (2/8/08) that:

The fallen-world order will be dissolved.

It will be replaced with the redeemed world order of God’’s kingdom and His righteousness. . . .

A pure holy people are being prepared.
True sons of God are being made ready as conduits to flow the love and power of God, imparting the way of God to earth as it is in heaven. [bold in original]

A corollary doctrinal heresy teaches that Heaven is already beginning to come down to Earth through "portals":

New, Heavenly portals are being opened by His ministers, allowing His people to walk through and discover new realms of the glory and majesty of our Lord never experienced before, and His Kingdom. (advertisement for "Glory Invasion" conference, TheElijahList, 9/23/07)

Another ad for this same conference (8/8/07), contains a good dose of Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God teaching that we can all become little gods:

Released through the revelation of His finished works on Calvary, God is exerting the divine labor: Christ the hope of Glory be fully formed in you. In this hour, as all of creation cries out for the revealing of God's sons and daughters, the Glory of the indwelling Christ is beginning to shine through His people in tangible ways demonstrating the freedom of the new creation - freedom from the dominion of sin, and free to rule and reign with Christ.

None of this is new teaching, even though the false apostles and prophets and modern theologians would like everyone to think so. For example:

The stories of the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the Temple of Solomon are among the best known in the Old Testament. They were alluded to frequently during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and were often used at that time to frame accounts of the progress of knowledge. The narrative history which could be found in the Bible presented a coherent story of the growth and decline of knowledge, in which moral and spiritual factors helped to determine natural and practical outcomes.

As metaphors of knowledge, the four stories gave information about both the acquisition and the ideal state of human understanding. But they also issued warnings about the necessary difference between human and divine knowledge and suggested ways by which knowledge might be married to piety and wisdom in order to achieve an improvement in the condition of mankind. . . .

The Garden of Eden provided the setting for the Fall, a transformation which brought about the loss of both spiritual and intellectual perfection, corrupting the nature of humans and of the surrounding environment. The Garden symbolized the ideal state, when the earth had been spontaneously fertile, labour was easy and fulfilling, and human activity had been grounded on a complete knowledge of both words and things. A return to this paradise was considered by some in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to be possible through the restoration of learning, and through striving to bring the earth and its inhabitants back to a pristine state of grace. It could also be achieved by practical measures, such as the establishment of botanical gardens, which reunited the plants of the world in a single space, or the planting of fruit trees, whose cultivation mimicked the dutiful dressing of the Garden of Eden by its first inhabitants, Adam and Eve. By the zealous investigation of nature and the searching out of new varieties of plants and techniques of husbandry, the world might be rescued from corruption and infertility. Hard labour could make the Garden grow again, and restore the knowledge which humans had once employed to govern nature in paradise. . . .

The ideas of the humanists and reformers of the sixteenth century encouraged early modern readers of the Bible to interpret the Old Testament as literal history, not as allegory. This led early modern writers about natural knowledge to turn to the stories of the Garden and of the Tower to explain the present state of mankind. It allowed them to see the project of overturning the Fall, and recreating the Ark or the Temple, as an essential part of humanity's return to grace and understanding. The stories of the Old Testament were not just convenient metaphors, let alone fictions, they were facts which taught by example how human beings ought and ought not to behave in order to attain knowledge.

Perhaps it is more obvious to the reader now, after reading this, that the emphasis on recreating Heaven on Earth is always placed on man -- his endeavors, activities, knowledge and abilities. The onus is always on man, and nowadays Christians claim to have a more sophisticated knowledge base from which to operate these devices to reclaim Creation.

This heresy effectually teaches that it is within man's power to reverse the deadly effects of the Fall on himself and God's creation. This brand of theological heresy sublimates God and His authority to man's own idolatries and contrivances. There is little need of a Redeemer who died on the Cross for our sins. And our blessed hope becomes earth-centered.


In the 1600s, while men were busy perfecting nature (as described above), John Flavell cautioned believers to:

"Beware of such persons as are factors and agents for antichrist, and keep off from such a ministry, the tendency and scope of which is to entice and draw you to idolatry, Matth. vii. 15. and x. 17. Phil. iii. 2. Col. ii. 8.

"There is a generation of men now abroad, skilful to destroy souls, who would make merchandise of you, and by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple... such as mean well, but want prudence to discern such as mean ill. These are of two sorts; the generality of them are, by the righteous hand of God, given over to such dissoluteness and debauchery, that their folly and madness is made manifest to all men, 1 Tim. iii. 9. And others that have gifts and parts, how few are there of them, but employ them in defending abominable superstitions, and persuading their congregations to submit to them: So that you have your choice, whether you will drink poison, mixed with water, or infused into brisk and generous wine, which will give it a speedier access to the spirits. . . .

"Nothing must lie nearer thy heart, if thou be a Christian, than the glory of thy God; all ends, interests, and designs, must be subjected to that; and whatsoever cannot be subordinated, must be rejected. If this principle were but settled upon the heart, what brave spirits would it breed and raise in thy breast!"
(The Works of John Flavell, Vol. 4, [The Banner of Truth Trust, 1968],"Antipharmacum Saluberrimum, &c." pp. 530, 546)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Gospel of the Kingdom

"Like Joseph, God's put a dream in the heart of many Christians who have spent years being prepared for strategic influence in society. There are hundred-million dollar deals-in-the-making, righteous officials trying to get elected, musicians waiting to be discovered, books that need to be published, and scientific discoveries about to happen...
"In the past few years, so many have been on the verge of breakthrough, but most have just not gotten there yet! They have fought on, year after year; encountering massive resistance as they seek to pioneer in the area the Lord has called them to.

This is about to change! This is a year the Lord is releasing many into places of influence in the secular arena, and supernatural breakthrough has already begun. Supernatural promotion is coming!"
--Shawn Bolz, "The Promises of God are Finding Substance Right Now," Promo piece for TheCauseUSA's Mountain Mandate Conference Feb. 7-9, Elijah List 1/24/08 [bold in original]

The "do good" gospel talked about by Rick Warren since his recent trip to Davos (see previous post) is another name for the "Kingdom Gospel" which is rapidly displacing the Gospel of Salvation. The quotation above comes from a promo piece advertising yet another "Mountain Mandate Conference," described in mystical terms as:

The Mountain Mandate Conference is about the Marketplace and the Secret Place. In this hour, the Lord is sending us "outward" to go beyond the confines of the church to impact society. He is also calling us "inward" to go beyond the programs of the church to find Him at the deepest levels of our beings.

As we become aware of the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory, we discover the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places. Encountering the Lord in the inward place gives us the grace and empowerment to live in love and to impact the Seven Mountains of Society (Family, the Church, Education, Arts, Media, Government and Business). [bold in original]

TheCauseUSA, sponsoring this conference, is yet another radical kingdom-building organization, associated with the New Apostolic Reformation and connected with the Kansas City Prophets.

As we watch the 7 Mountain Mandate unfolding, it is important to recognize that this is another gospel. Anton Bosch has written a brief synopsis and rebuttal to this rapidly spreading Kingdom Gospel for our readers' edification:

Recently, someone wrote in saying that we had a wrong understanding about the Gospel and implied that we are spiritually blind. The writer said: “the message of Jesus and the Apostles was the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the gospel of salvation. The gospel of salvation is only a part of the real and 'full' gospel.” [emphasis added]

This view is not that of this one writer only. He fairly represents the view of many churches and preachers today. To them salvation is only part of a bigger picture – and they are partially right. The bigger picture is the Kingdom of God. Again, they are partly right. But what do they mean by the Kingdom of God? To them it is a literal kingdom which the church is setting up here on earth so that once we have taken control and cleaned up this world and set up the “kingdom,” then Jesus will come back again.

Thus, to them, the bigger picture is transforming this world and its systems. This they try to do by gaining political and economic power. In order to achieve this goal, they believe that “Christians” need to be placed in positions of influence and authority and society needs to be transformed through social, political and economic programs.

While this all sounds very noble, it is a million miles away from the truth. The above-mentioned writer quotes the example of a church in a distant nation “that had a significant impact (on) the culture. Some of his members are in parliament, one is a leading DJ; one a beauty pageant winner; another wrote a curriculum used by the state to help alcoholics and children.” Let’s examine the “wonderful” fruit of this movement:

  1. “Some of his members are in Parliament.” Jesus and the apostles never gave a single instruction that we should take over governments. In fact Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world and that His servants would not defend the Kingdom on a human level (John 18:36). Both Jesus and Paul taught obedience to the state, but both were very clear that the Kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God were opposed. Paul is emphatic that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The tools of the politicians trade are rooted in power, self, ego and deception. Is this the place for a believer? I do not think so. All political systems are about a human kingdom which is always in opposition to the true Kingdom of God.
  2. “A leading DJ”: This poses a question: Is sensuality, bad music, drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality and everything else that happens in places where DJs “perform” good, wholesome and sanctified?
  3. “A beauty pageant winner”: Once again, is the parading of sex, immodesty, seduction and the glorification of the human body evidence of the power of the “gospel”? Maybe I misunderstand Proverbs 31, but I do not see winning cattle parades as a quality of a virtuous woman. God help us!
  4. "A curriculum used by the state": has to be stripped of any reference to Jesus Christ, repentance, being born-again, etc. It is most likely a humanistic 12-step program that teaches children the psychological model rather than the spiritual truth about drunkenness.

The gospel of the kingdom replaces the Gospel of Salvation by teaching men that they can improve the human condition through psychology, positive thinking, group dynamics and spiritual-looking antics. Thus it is teaching that the solutions to sin are to be found outside of the cross. This is at the heart of the false gospel of the kingdom. It is transforming the world on a human level without the true Gospel.

But what is the Gospel of Salvation? Paul defines it thus: “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand... that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:1-4).

The truth is that the church has no calling to change the world other than through the preaching of the Gospel. Yes, we are salt and light and we have an influence. But we do not change society by changing laws or governments. We change society, one life at a time, as people are born again and begin to be changed into the image of the Son. Anything else is superficial and does not deal with the real problem which is the sinfulness of the human heart. The true Gospel alone can do that.

If the writer had testified that former politicians, DJ’s, prostitutes and social engineers were now in the church and that they were now pursuing honest careers, then that would have been a powerful testimony! Paul testified of the Corinthians: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1Corinthians 6:11). Now that’s a testimony to the power of the Gospel of Salvation!

Furthermore, governments cannot be changed by “Christians” infiltrating positions of power. The kingdoms of this world are irredeemable and will be destroyed when Jesus comes. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed... it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). What could be plainer than that? It is important to note that He will destroy all the other kingdoms and He will then set up His kingdom in which the faithful will rule with Him. Earthly kingdoms cannot be transformed, changed or sanctified by us. They are part of a system which has to be destroyed and replaced -- by God.

The writer says further that God “wants to redeem the entire earth in all its dimensions.” The kingdom gospel teaches that nations can be redeemed. But this is not biblical. Redemption can only be used in the context of the price that was paid on the cross. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:18-19). Only the saints are redeemed. The precious blood does not redeem the political, economic, social and ecological things of the earth. But rather, they will be destroyed:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2Peter 3:10-13).

That is the truth. Anything else is another gospel!

Sandy Simpson of Deception in the Church summarized the errors inherent in the false gospel of the kingdom his December 2007 newsletter:

Dominionism is taking over the churches worldwide, yet is is an extremely damaging, deceptive false teaching. Jesus Christ is establishing His Kingdom in the hearts of men now. He will establish his physical Kingdom on earth during the Millennium. Our job now is to preach the Gospel and disciple all those who believe till He comes. This does not mean we are to take over the world, save the planet, get control of the business world, Christianize everything, solve the problems of poverty, disease, education, etc. That is not our mandate. The poor we will always have with us (John 12:8). We are to help those we can but, unlike what Rick Warren and other Dominionists claim, we cannot SOLVE those problems, nor should we. That is what Jesus Christ will do when He returns and swords are beaten into plowshares (Mic. 4:3) and the leopard will lie down with the goat (Isa. 11:6). Right now the prince of the power of the air is Satan (Eph. 2:2, 2 Cor. 4:4) and we must stand (Eph. 6:13-14) and resist him (James 4:7) by proclaiming and teaching the Word of God (Phl. 1:17, 2 John 1:9). Those churches and organizations like YWAM that have bought into the Dominionist platform are living in disobedience to the Great Commission. The Gospel is not "in addition" to some other global mandate, IT IS THE CENTRAL MANDATE of every believer! Paul did not spend his time trying to take over the world. He spent his time proclaiming the Gospel. We must do the same to stay away from the sins of Globalism and Dominionism.

The Truth:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-7)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The new "do good" gospel

“The future of the world lies in religious pluralism.”
--Rick Warren, "Pastor Argues Faith is Missing Link," by Maria Kefala, 2/5/08

Rick Warren's idea of religious pluralism is taking the evangelical church onto the international scene as a major player in global affairs. As the church becomes a global activist in this emerging new world, it is quickly shedding its unique ability to spread the Gospel. Instead the focus is on programs, networks, and activities -- a call Rick Warren is making to the church to "do good."

Warren explains this shift in focus on a YouTube segment, and mentions once again his involvement with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). One of his roles with the CFR is connected to their Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative, where he and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) work together on a "Religion and Foreign Policy Meeting Series" that has to do with the "impact of religious doctrine on foreign policy." The CFR has historically been active in getting the churches to assist them with their goals to set up a global government via a "social gospel," a fact documented in intricate detail in Dr. Martin Erdmann's groundbreaking book Building the Kingdom of God on Earth (Wipf & Stock, 2005) which we have reviewed previously on this blog.

Like the liberal Protestant churches of the last century, the evangelical church is now becoming effectually neutralized as it emerges as a bigtime player on the global scene. Rick Warren commented on the new neutrality in a Washington Post article this week, "Megachurch Pastor Warren Calls for a Second Reformation" by Michelle Boorstein:

Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor and philanthropist who is courted by political leaders worldwide, says he thinks Christianity needs a "second Reformation" that would steer the church away from divisive politics and be "about deeds, not creeds."

In this interview, Warren also indicated that he has now shifted his attentions away from "hot-botton issues" to "changing the culture. . . through politics, art, music and sports." This culture-changing gospel is the same "spheres" dominionism that this blog has been writing about the past few months. Rick Warren has put shoe leather on this dominionist agenda and taken it international. Missing from this whole scenario is the Gospel of Salvation.

Warren described the 3-legged partnerships he is forming between the church, governments and industry, and indicated that this new global activity isn't about the Gospel anymore. In "Pastor Argues Faith is Missing Link" by Maria Kefala, posted online, this fact becomes clear:

government and industry can't succeed in solving social problems unless they include faith groups, with their large volunteer forces and their worldwide networks.

"People are so worried churches are going to be about conversion," he said, "but everyone has a motive. Everyone has a world view. Christianity is a world view. . . . I don't care why you do good as long as you do good." [bold added]

Substituted for the missing Gospel of salvation is the "do good" gospel. This is the apparent sequel to the "feel good" gospel of the past several decades of evangelicalism. Now nobody will be feeling good unless they also "do good." And this "do good" mantra bears a striking resemblance to the social gospel of the last century. The new "do good" gospel doesn't mention man's need for a Redeemer. Rather, it is described by Rick Warren here:

Warren pinpointed the world’s problems in five main broader issues: spiritual emptiness (lack of God’s love in life), egocentric leadership and corruption, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases and illiteracy.

“Jesus did five things, the antidotes for those five problems: He promoted reconciliation, equipped servant leaders, assisted the poor, cared for the sick and educated the next generation.”

This led Warren to create his P.E.A.C.E. plan, which explains what ordinary people should do regularly to “do good.”

“I don’t care if you do good for political, economical, personal or religious reasons, as long as you do good; there is no ethical or moral aspect in that,” he said. “I serve a savior named Jesus Christ who said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ and that’s why I do what I do.” [bold added]

"Do Good" Pluralism

The "do good" gospel is, by definition, pluralism in action. It brings in everybody and everything, and stands for nothing but to "do good." It partners with anybody--governments and corporations, and even other religions--for the overarching purpose to "do good." Its dominionism seeks to build the kingdom of God on earth with whatever tools are handy, with whomever shows up on the scene, by whatever methods, doing "whatever it takes," never minding the integrity of the Gospel.

Pastor Larry DeBruyn, in his new book Church on the Rise: Why I am not a "Purpose-Driven" Pastor, describes the new rationale of evangelical leaders for the formation of these pluralistic partnerships. We have pulled out a few relevant excerpts and posted them below:

At the heart of pluralism lies thinking typified by Pastor Rob Bell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who reportedly stated, “One of the lies is that truth only resides in this particular community or that particular thought system. I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it’s true, it belongs to God.” Then comments the reporter, “While calling Christ’s way ‘the best possible way to live,’ Bell says Jesus did not claim one religion is better than another when He said He was ‘the way, the truth and the life.’ Rather, states Bell, ‘his way is the way to the depth of reality’.” What, it can be asked, is “the depth of reality”? By His claim to be “the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus was not pointing the way to a reality on earth, but the way to eternity in heaven, the way to come to the Father (John 14:6).

In contrast to pluralism, Jude appealed to believers during the apostolic era to, “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). In the New Testament the word for faith... can refer to either the
dependence of trust (believing on the Lord Jesus Christ), or the deposit of truth (the Christian Gospel and the doctrines that surround it). The latter is the sense of Jude’s appeal. Christians are to contend for “the faith,” the Gospel message and truth deposited in the apostolic writings. As Paul referred to the astonishment of early Christians regarding his conversion, “they kept hearing, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy’” (... Galatians 1:22-23). Obviously, “the faith” Paul preached was the Gospel, which is the sense in which Jude speaks of the faith.

The parameters of the Gospel that Paul preached and Jude wrote about are definite, not indefinite; absolute, not relative; fixed, not in flux; and closed, not open. Because “the faith” was delivered to the saints “once” will not change or continue to be delivered. Christians are to contend for the Gospel message (excruciating exertion is implied) because, “certain persons have crept in unnoticed [we’ll call them ‘creepers’], those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Thus, the Gospel confronts the pluralistic and post-modern mindset. Post-modern evangelicals speculate that the door for discovering salvation truth is still open, while the New Testament declares that it’s shut. Rob Bell speaks of the faith as if God is somehow continuing to deliver it, that it possesses no fixed boundaries, and that it can be repainted in whatever color might be pleasing to us. Are there no fixed boundaries for what Christians can believe and still be considered Christian? In the thinking of those like Bell, is there no such thing as a deposit of divine truth in Scripture (See 1 Timothy 3:9; 4:1, 6; 2 Timothy 4:7.)? For those of a post-modern bent of mind, everything, it seems, is up for grabs. Christianity is still an emerging religion.

Larry King Live [11/22/04] during the time given for viewers to phone and ask him questions, Rick Warren commented:

And by the way, there's truth in every religion. Christians believe that there's truth in every religion. But we just believe that there's one savior. We believe we can learn truth--I've learned a lot of truth from different religions because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there is one savior, Jesus Christ.

What is readily observable from Warren's comment is that though believing there is but one savior, Jesus Christ, he views that various other religions possess truths from which Christians can learn and profit. But the Bible does not agree with his statement that "there's truth in every religion."...

Every generation of Christians faces the temptation of syncretism. In our desire to be ‘with it’ or contemporary in our practices and beliefs, we yield to the temptation of being conformed to the patterns of this world. We accept pagan practices and ideas and seek to ‘baptize them.’ Even when we confront and engage alien religions and philosophies we have a tendency to be influenced by them. Every foreign element that creeps into Christian faith and practice is an element that weakens the purity of faith....


...The Pastor-Apostle John wrote to his flock, “. . . we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:20-21). Christians understand that Jesus is God, and therefore worship Him (John 20:28). Like the ancient prophet Elijah, the Apostles’ teaching neither approved of nor incorporated a syncretic approach to religion. [emphasis added]

[Excerpted with permission, Church On the Rise, pp. 69-70, 73-74; footnotes can be found in original]

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

God is Downloading New Strategies?

Below is a compilation of diverse voices from the evangelical community that are calling for great change, a paradigm shift, a tipping point, a transformation, etc. required to build the kingdom of God on earth, i.e. dominionism.

So many of these "prophecies" or predictions carry the implication that God Himself is changing His plan, His strategies -- even His doctrines -- in order to accelerate this transformation. This would sound silly, if it weren't for so many people who are totally captivated by this new false gospel of the kingdom.

In this emerging view, the 'new heaven and new earth'... means, not a space-time universe, but a new way of living that is possible within this universe, a new societal system that is coming....

This is our call to action, our invitation to move mountains and so reshape the social and spiritual landscape of our world. Yes, change is impossible through human effort alone. But faith brings God's creative power into our global crises, so the impossible first becomes possible and then inevitable for those who believe.

Mountains can be moved and everything can change. . .

--Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope (Thomas Nelson, 2007), pp. 296, 300-301 [link added]

Our Heavenly Father has shifted to a higher gear, and He is inviting His people to join Him in this ride.

This is the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). It is a paradigm shift. It is agreeing with the dominion mandate.
--C. Peter Wagner, letter dated May 31, 2007.

Change is inevitable in revival and reformation. The future will be marked by those that will change and those that will not. One will move forward the other will move backward. There is no middle ground. Forward is the future and backward is what is comfortable and convenient. Which road will we choose?

The vision was cast during this event. We have a world to win and their is [sic] divine strategies God is downloading currently to make this possible. Lance [Wallnau] talked about the seven "mountains" that rule the minds of the nations. Some of those are "arts and entertainment", "business", "family", "governments", "sports", etc. If we capture them we capture the people.

Yet there is something more that will mark you. It involves a certain shift that has come to pass concerning the secret place. Namely, there is a whole lot more involved in the secret place than just coming into God's presence to rest, soak and marinade, as good as that is. We're shifting! In fact we need to shift; and it's into something much deeper...being the point that we actually become a resting place for the Lord.
--Todd Bentley, "Prophetic Directions for 2008," The Elijah List, 1/24/08 [bold in original].

The secret of Pastor Sunday’s success is to release church members from the pew and send them out of the four walls of the church to find their own Promised Land. In their correct sphere where God called them, they reign as “kings and priests,” according to Scripture. They don’t all become the most famous or noteworthy person in that sphere, but they all impose Kingdom values and principles upon their area of influence. Because of this, people are attracted to them and want to follow them to church.

When this CHURCHSHIFT message is embraced by leaders in America, and by church members who are working in these seven spheres, it will change America. Churchshift will help American Christians not be a self-serving but to be society-serving so we can bring about change in our society.

--Promo piece for Pastor Sunday Adelaja's new book CHURCHSHIFT [links added]

Is this the “Emergent Moment”? Is this this tipping point, the time for us to really have an impact on the future of the church? It sure seems so. The interest continues to build, and the pressures continue to mount. The cries of “Heresy!” continue to come from one side of us, as we push into some new theological territory.
--Tony Jones, "The Emergent Moment," Emergent Village Weblog, 11/6/07 [bold added]

We are seeing a megashift in the basic direction of human history....

For reasons we know only in part, God has handed down a somewhat revised set of rules, delegating greater authority to more people. He has apparently decreed that plain folks like you and me are now a central part of an accelerated plan for a total transformation of the world.

--James Rutz, MegaShift: Igniting Spiritual Power (Empowerment Press, 2005), p. 2 [bold added].

The Truth:

"My Son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change; for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?" (Proverbs 24:21-22)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Save to the Uttermost

"Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
–Hebrews 7:25

We have been covering the many heresies found in the curricula called A Course in Miracles the past few months. We've noted that the Course teaches a false Christ. But who is the real Lord Jesus Christ? The following is an excerpt from a sermon that answers that question, by J.C. Philpot:

. . .There is something to my mind very sweet and expressive in the words, "to the uttermost." It seems to my mind to convey two things. It seems first, to convey the desperate condition of those whom He saves; and it seems also to convey the all-sufficiency and omnipotency of that almighty arm that can pluck a poor sinner out of the very depths of hell.

Now, first, see whom the Lord is able to save to the uttermost.

The Lord Jesus Christ had a mighty work to do. Would God have sent His only begotten Son into the world to do a little work? Would God and man have been united in one glorious Person to do a little work? Would an everlasting covenant have been entered into between the three Persons in the Trinity to do a little work? And would the only-begotten Son of God have came out of His Father's bosom, where He dwelt from everlasting, to do a little work? Does not the very act of the Lord Jesus Christ, in taking our nature into union with His own divine and glorious Person, clearly show what a mighty thing salvation must be, when such an act was needful to accomplish it? And do we not see by it how desperately sunk man must be to require such a sacrifice, – that nothing would do but God's co-equal and co-eternal Son; that He who was from everlasting to everlasting, should stoop so low as to bleed and die to save us from the Fall, and go into the depths into which we were sunk, and into which our first ancestor plunged himself and all his race.

When God the blessed Spirit, then, is pleased to open up in their hearts the depths of the fall, depend upon it they want every word of the text – One who is able to "save to the uttermost." They want that "uttermost" to be revealed to their hearts' experience.

For instance, some of those who are coming to God by Jesus Christ, are full of doubts and fears. Is the work genuine? Do my feelings spring from the work of God on my heart? Is my religion such as will stand in the last day? Is it the mere hypocrisy of my fleshly heart or the teaching of God the Spirit?

Others of the Lord's people are passing through grievous temptations; temptations to infidelity, temptations to blasphemy, temptations to suicide, temptations to curse God, temptations too base, too black even to be hinted at. And when their poor souls are groaning and labouring beneath these temptations, can a little Saviour do for them? No; they want just such a Saviour as Jesus is, one who is able to save to the uttermost; if I may use the expression, one who has an arm long enough, and one who has an arm strong enough, to reach to the ends of the earth; aye, and in some cases to reach to the very gates of hell.

Others are passing through deep convictions; they see the length, and breadth, and spirituality of God's law; that God requires a righteousness perfect in all respects; and they have proved that they sin in all they think, say, and do. They see they must have the righteousness of God, and be clothed in it, that they may stand before God without spot, or blemish, or any such thing.

Others are mourning and sighing under a sense of their helplessness, that they cannot raise up one gracious feeling, that they cannot move nor melt their own souls, nor utter one single breath of prayer; nor can they create in their own hearts any faith, hope, or love. Others are mourning and sighing on account of the deep depravity and desperate corruption of their nature, that all manner of wickedness is lurking and working in their carnal mind, and that do what they can, sin works in them, and that continually. Others can get no answers to their prayers; they have cried, and the Lord has not heard; and they have begged and prayed, but fear they shall never come forth into the light, life, and liberty of the gospel.

Now all these want a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost; not a one-half Saviour, not a nine-tenths Saviour, but a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost, that can look down from the heights of the sanctuary into their soul, that can apply His blood to their conscience, that can sweetly whisper to their heart, "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee;" that can bless their souls with the sweet enjoyment of this love, lift them up into His bosom, and assure them that when they die they shall be with Him in glory.

The very exercises and afflictions, and the sore temptations through which God's family pass, all eventually endear Christ to them. They thus learn salvation is of grace, not of works, that Jesus alone must save, that nothing but His blood can pardon sin, nothing but His righteousness can justify. And depend upon it, if you are a child of God, you will sooner or later, in your travels through this wilderness, find your need of Jesus as "able to save to the uttermost." There will be such things in your heart, and such feelings in your mind, the temptations you will meet with will be such, that nothing short of a Saviour that is able to save to the uttermost can save you out of your desperate case and felt circumstances as utterly lost and helpless.

This a great point to come to. All trials, all temptations, all strippings, all emptyings that do not end here are valueless, because they lead the soul away from God. But the convictions, the trials, the temptations, the strippings, the emptyings, that bring us to this spot – that we have nothing, and can do nothing, but the Lord alone must do it all, these have a blessed effect, because they eventually make Jesus very near and dear unto us. . . .

"THE EVERLIVING INTERCESSOR," Preached by J.C. Philpot, in the Baptist Chapel, Bedworth, on Wednesday Evening, April 1, 1846. To read the beginning and ending of this sermon, click here.