Tuesday, February 24, 2009

False Profits & False Prophets

"We live in extraordinary times. The 21st Century is already shaping up to be a quantum leap from the 20th Century around the globe. We now live in the Second Apostolic Age in which the biblical government of the church has come alive once again. The Holy Spirit has begun speaking to the churches about taking dominion of God's creation as God originally intended us to do. Our 20th Century goal of saving souls and multiplying churches has been expanded to aim for nothing less than transforming our society.

"Along with all of these mega-changes is the impending fulfillment of God's promises through His prophets for the great transfer of wealth. My sense is that we are looking at unbelievable quantities of wealth moving from the control of the kingdom of darkness to the control of the kingdom of God."

- C. Peter Wagner, "Kingdom Philanthropy" (6/12/05) [links added]

Financial greed: occasion for spiritual deception.

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

First came WorldCom, and then came Enron. Having created fraudulent reports of illusory earnings, both corporations bilked thousands of naïve investors out of their hard earned life savings. Now, there's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal lending agencies that doled out billions of dollars in mortgage loans to borrowers who had little chance of repaying them. Fannie and Freddie proceeded to sell the bad loans to banks that in turn pawned them off to other banks that yet again resold them to other banks. Now many banks stand bankrupted, the Dow has been halved, people's retirement funds have been pilfered, and the whole nation is looking for the federal government to bail us out of this financial mess, a crisis caused by human greed. So to fill the coffers of the bankrupt banks, the President and Congress are creating a federal "stimulus package" that will further mortgage America's future with a mountain of bad debt. The American dream has turned into an American nightmare. It remains impossible to calculate how anyone can go into debt to get out of debt. This is financial insanity. But there's more . . . Greed is not only rampant in the public sector, but also in the private.

Nationally, Bernard L. Madoff now stands accused running a multibillion-dollar fraud scheme, perhaps the largest in Wall Street's history. A list of his clients reads like the "who's who" of the rich and famous. Locally, while passing himself off to be an investment advisor, Marcus Shrenker is accused of bilking people out of millions to maintain his lavish lifestyle. On the verge of being uncovered, like "D.B. Cooper," he tried to disappear by allowing his plane to crash after parachuting into safety. Dead men can't tell tales, and neither can they be prosecuted.

One client invested $79,000 with Schrenker, who then deposited the money into his business account from which he immediately paid the mortgage due on his $4 million dollar home. In addition to a plane, Schrenker owned several luxury cars. Another person invested $14,921 with Schrenker. "The money" reports the news media, "was supposed to go into a European investment account, which Schrenker promised to monitor through an online system." But when the investor checked his account online, he saw that Schrenker, using the person's password, withdrew the funds and deposited the money in his account. "I simply trusted him to do the right things on my behalf," the investor stated. "As it turned out, he did a lot of bad things on my behalf."[1] Financial fraud is epidemic in our nation. The words of Jeremiah are relevant. He said: "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain . . ." (Jeremiah 6:13).

The irony of all this fraud going on is that what is happening financially in our land is also happening spiritually. Prophets for profit are proliferating, and millions are buying into spiritualities that are cheating them out of their eternal life savings. Peter predicted the rise of Christ-denying false teachers whom people in their sensuality will follow thereby scandalizing "the way of the truth." Of these gospel swindlers, Peter warns: "in their greed they will exploit [i.e., 'make merchandise of'] you with false words" (2 Peter 2:3a; Read 1-3.). Paul denied possessing any such ulterior money-motive in his ministry when he stated, "Unlike so many ['hucksters,' NLT], we do not peddle the word of God for profit" (2 Corinthians 2:17, NIV). Likewise, Paul told Timothy that "the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang" (1 Timothy 6:10). On the one hand, greed is killing our nation, and on the other, it's also killing the church. The one seems to mirror the other.

If people want to give their money to support the vacuous platitudes of the spiritual hucksters, then let them. There's nothing, for the time being, that can be done about it. For those who follow any scam, an old Americanism says, "There's a sucker born every minute." And fraud like what's happening in financial America is also happening in spiritual America. Like the prophet told Judah, "All are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit" (Jeremiah 6:13). The spiritual fraud abounding in America these days capitalizes on the "felt" spiritual dissatisfaction of people with Christ. They, it seems, are ever in search of "something more." As for me, I'm quite satisfied (not smug) in Christ, for Jesus told His disciples, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). People satisfied in Christ are not looking for "get-rich-quick-schemes," either financial or spiritual.

So, please don't let any spiritual huckster bilk you out of your eternal life savings! Find satisfaction in the Word and Spirit of Christ.

The Truth:

"But He said, Ye rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28)

[1] Francesca Jarosz, "Mistress, client detail Schrenker dealings," The Indianapolis Star, January 31, 2009, A1,6.

Reprinted with permission: http://www.frbaptist.org/bin/view/Ptp/PtpTopic20090214173023

Note to reader: We have interrupted our series for a brief post by Pastor Larry DeBruyn which is very timely and pertinent.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Manifestos, Declarations and Covenants

Part 2: The New Global Civility

We must find a new understanding of our place in public life. We affirm that to be Evangelical and to carry the name of Christ is to seek to be faithful to the freedom, justice, peace, and well-being that are in the heart of the kingdom of God, to bring these gifts into public life as a service to all, and to work with all who share these ideals and care for the common good. Citizens of the City of God, we are resident aliens in the Earthly City. Called by Jesus to be "in" the world but "not of" the world, we are fully engaged in public affairs, but never completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, class, tribe, or national identity.

Be prepared for an onslaught of global “common ground” and global “civility” documents in the days to come. These carefully-worded manifestos always cite pressing crises, or a “momentous challenge” or a critical opportunity that requires a “clarification” or “unity” statement about “where we stand” on carefully delineated issues. This strategy of issuing declarations achieves several key aims: 1) it is always accompanied by an orchestrated public relations and media campaign to bring about public awareness; 2) it redefines issues, often creating or seizing upon a crisis; 3) it posits a pre-manufactured solution and calls for a new broad consensus to achieve its aims; and 4) it becomes a watershed event historically, collecting runoff from all of the nearby slippery slopes of compromise, so that thereafter the document is viewed as the definitive statement.

In the past few years we have witnessed the rise of global ecumenical declarations that use the all-important strategy of enlisting key leaders to serve as signatories. Using prominent leaders puts the stamp of approval on any potentially controversial activities. The leaders then speak at well-sponsored forums, conferences, media tours, and publicity events to promote the new mandates. These common ground statements and corresponding activities have the effect of neutralizing opposition, while at the same time shifting the paradigm to address “new realities” that appear to be more “relevant.” The idea behind all of this is to build momentum and pound the drumbeat for change.

These recent global common ground statements include “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’” – which called for “peace and justice” between Muslims and Christians. Another example would be Bono’s “Make Poverty History” campaign where citizens can sign on to “The ONE Declaration” – an “historic pact for compassion and justice.” In May 2008 evangelical leaders issued “An Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment,” a re-defining and re-positioning of evangelical Christianity document that was designed to have far-reaching repercussions.

A closely-related strategy that is becoming more common is to enlist a diverse array of religious leaders to sign onto open letters to elected officials and/or the media advocating a position such as helping Gulf Coast hurricane victims or “We Stand With Rick Warren and Barack Obama” on the AIDS issue.

A plethora of common ground organizations and advocacy groups have been spawned to promote the “common ground for the common good” agenda. These are well-funded groups that cover the entire political spectrum from Left to Right, and play out a well-orchestrated dialectic dance. The ideology behind this, however, is unified – at its core this is raw, unadulterated Communitarianism with all of its corresponding beliefs.

The linkages between organizations, leaders and agendas are easy to prove historically, and author Berit Kjos has done a commendable job in this regard. She has spent several decades researching and documenting the history, interconnections and strategies of the global “common ground” movement, resulting in an encyclopedia compilation of articles on the topic posted at her website www.crossroad.to. Her impeccable research comprehensively links together diverse elements of the evangelical world with some of the most radical political agendas in the past century. As she points out, all of this “common ground for the common good” activity is inextricably linked to the history and agenda of education reform. This is because it is necessary to shape public attitudes through such means as character education, values clarification, and global education. All of this is connected to the “worldviewmovement to create a universal civic religion and global culture of “tolerance,” “reconciliation,” “justice” and “civility.”

To get a sense of how vast this global “civility” movement is, and how incredibly interlocked yet “diverse,” scan the following articles and follow the links:


A key element of these “common ground for the common good” pronouncements and manifestos is the idea of signing a “covenant.” These open declarations with signatories often serve as a means to cement commitment to the cause. Rick Warren, and his mentor Peter Drucker, were masters at using this method:

Purpose-Driven churches have a built-in mechanism upon which to eventually pressure or compel their members to volunteer: the membership covenant that is to be signed. This covenant-signing is connected to the idea of “human capital.” One management expert has proposed that “organizational capital” (“a kind of human capital”) is increased when there is a formal “joining-up process,” a type of psychological contract in which one aligns their life’s purpose with the organization’s purpose. Which raises the obvious question – did the Purpose-Driven “covenant” idea actually originate in “organizational capital” theories? Has a psycho-social concept been dressed up in biblical language to make it palatable?

Interestingly, these church covenants are so vaguely worded and undefined that new meanings could be assigned to the terminology as time goes on.

Jeffrey Sharlet in his groundbreaking work The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (HarperCollins, 2008) noticed that the secretive shadowy group known as the Washington Fellowship utilizes “covenants’ to cement the doctrine of Dominionism among its cult adherents. He observed that the biblical term “covenant” had been assigned new meaning, a semantic deception tactic typical of all of these global change documents:

They view themselves as the new chosen and claim a Christian doctrine of covenantalism, meaning covenants not only between God and humanity but at every level of society, replacing the rule of law and its secular contracts. Since these covenants are signed, as it were, in the Blood of the Lamb, they are written in ink invisible to nonbelievers. (p. 44)

The Fellowship (otherwise known as The Family) is one of the groups lurking just beneath the surface, managing the global consensus movement, as Sharlet so well documents in his book. One of their chief tactics has been to enlist recruits to sign onto documents such as “Our Common Agreement as a Core Group” – a “publicly invisible but privately identifiable group of companions” that through a series of outer relationships built like “concentric rings” can wield power from an “inner circle” (i.e., “cells”) of initiates. (pp. 44-45) [2]

The major thesis of Sharlet’s book is that the Washington Fellowship plays all sides of the political and religious spectrum in order to conduct a covert dialectic transformation process towards an elite world religious (as well as political and economic) order. The “Jesus” of the Fellowship is a nebulous “Jesus plus nothing – a formula” into which one could “plug any values. It was a theology of total malleability….” (p. 217) which suits the needs of those building common ground in the world. Interestingly, this nebulous Jesus isn’t the weak-kneed, ineffective, effeminate type that has so characterized ecumenical movements of the past. In the context of the current global “cultural evolution” (i.e., Dominionism), Sharlet describes him as “the American Christ on methamphetamine.” (p. 290)

The Washington Fellowship sponsors an annual National Prayer Breakfast that serves a purpose far beyond mere prayer. This is an event that attracts powerful political leaders and dignitaries who are associated with all sorts of controversial causes that further a one world common ground agenda. This is the tip of the iceberg of the murky underworld where both the political Left and Right of all stripes converge, working together on a common goal.

It is therefore relevant that the Fellowship’s most well-known personage, Chuck Colson of Watergate born-again fame, is one of Rick Warren’s partners in – of all things – a “worldviewcurriculum that teaches “such key issues as truth, tolerance, terrorism, creationism vs. Darwinism, sin and suffering, and the purpose of life.” And Os Hillman, one of the “marketplace leaders” of the ultra-Dominionist 7 mountains (“spheres”) movement, recently wrote a letter to his supporters (1/20/09) promoting this past weekend’s 2009 Reclaim 7 Mountains conference in Atlanta and referencing his connection with Chuck Colson:

I have just returned from Washington D.C. from a meeting hosted by Chuck Colson and about 140 other leaders of Christian organizations who have a desire to reclaim culture for Jesus Christ. We collectively decided to join hands together to set our priority on reclaiming the godly culture that has made this nation great.

Constance Cumbey, who broke the story about the New Age movement several decades ago, has written a series of insightful columns on The Fellowship, linking them to a more covert occult agenda. All of this coming global “civility” is directly connected to the Theosophists and they also have a “Jesus” who isn't going to be Mr. Nice Guy. See these article links for some fascinating in-depth reading on this topic:


Stay tuned for Part 3. . . .

The Truth:

"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." (Luke 12:2)

1. The Pied Pipers of Purpose: Human Capital Systems and Church Performance, p. 42.
2. The author of this post saw one of these concentric circle documents firsthand in the autumn of 1986 when Pat Robertson abruptly shut down his Freedom Council operation in order to run for president. A Robertson operative came through the state of Iowa and handed out this plan to a handful of Christian Right leaders as he described the next phases of Robertson's plans, including his ambition "after he lost the election" to set up what would become the Christian Coalition.