Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Cell Church

The New Structure
for the New Church
for the New Millennium

C. Peter Wagner's original vision for hierarchical networks.[1]

By Sarah H. Leslie

Twenty years ago I began researching the networking hierarchical cell church structure that was beginning to emerge in the evangelical church. I gave two "Cell Church" talks. One presentation was in 1997 at a Discernment Ministries conference in Missisauga, Ontario, Canada, and a few years later an updated talk was given in 1999 at a Discernment Ministries conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The following audio comes from the later 1999 talk.

Listen to the audio:

This talk was graphic intensive, so the referenced exhibits are available from Discernment Ministries ("A. Cell Church Structure with transparencies").

I had always intended to put the information in these talks into a written document. But personal life circumstances continually thwarted this plan. But by 2005 we had launched the Herescope blog, and a good deal of the research eventually ended up in articles. For the serious researcher Al Dager's 1990 book Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion is foundational reading.

A later book by Dager, titled The World Christian Movement: A Great Delusion Leading to the Religio-Political State of the Anti-Christ, also contains material referenced in my talk. Much of its research on the global mission movement originated through the efforts of the late Nancy Flint. In the mid 1990s Nancy took a trip across the United States, visiting with discernment researchers to share her disturbing findings. (Both of Dager's books are available from Discernment Ministries or

In 2007 a 10-part series of Herescope titled "The Doctrines of Dominionism" was based on Nancy Flint's research. Here we described the new doctrines that were being concocted by evangelical leaders:
Al Dager developed a chart (page 171, Vengeance Is Ours, 1990) that diagrammed the esoteric historical roots and interconnecting movements that undergird historical Dominion teachings. These include a mixture of Gnosticism, Theosophy, British Israelism, Identity, and Anti-Semitism. Some of this racism has been simmering for decades, embedded within Reconstructionism, the Latter Rain Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation. The most disturbing aspect of this is the idea of pure "bloodlines" of "new breed" of "elect seed." (Read "What Is Dominionism?" and "IHOP's New Breed Leaders," "Denying Dominionism," e.g.) 

These cell church talks reference the early stages of the New Apostolic Reformation which was being launched by C. Peter Wagner. His rapidly forming hierarchy was to be headed up by "self-anointed, self-appointed" apostles (see graphic at the top of this post, and read more history HERE). Wagner and others claimed that these new "apostles" would be infallible and would be able to re-define doctrine. Positioning these "apostles" and "prophets" at the top was marketed to the church as necessary to fulfilling the Great Commission. In the year 2007 a series of article were posted on Herescope that summarized these apostolic networking church structures and doctrines. It was titled "The Networking Church":

The Cell Church Structure
The exhibit below is a cellular chart from page 195 of Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr.'s book Where Do We Go From Here? A Guidebook for the Cell Group Church (Touch, 1990). Keep in mind that this isn't just about the local church. This is also the structure of a city-wide church (ecumenical) as envisioned and described by the cell church architects. It is also the structure of the multi-site church of Leadership Network. It would become the model for C. Peter Wagner's hierarchies -- now called the 7 mountains (quite literally a pyramid marketing structure) for apostolic dominion.
This chart above can also serve as the structure for downline network marketing, which appears to be the intended purpose of the reconfiguration of the church. This structure makes it easy to disseminate a novel idea (new heresy) across peer-driven networks. Read our 8-part series "The Dopamine-Driven Church" in 2007 here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The 1980 book Holonomy: A Human Systems Theory (Intersystems Publications) by Jeffrey Stamps is an authoritative summary of General Systems Theory applied to human evolution and behavior. This book is also a blueprint for how mankind's evolution could be best achieved via cellular networking hierarchies. The exhibit below is one of the charts referenced from the book (page 37):
Below is the most offensive exhibit from the book (page 38), depicting the esoteric belief that there are people who are failing to properly evolve due to a reptilian brain stem. According to this paradigm, those who are mystical in thinking and behavior are more evolutionary advanced than those who believe and act in terms of traditional absolutes (i.e., Christians). Assessments of people based on signs of evolutionary progress (as ascertained by their adoption of the mystical ideas and practices of the New Age Movement) can become a method of discrimination. Those people who aren't performing according to the new "systems" management of the government, church and corporate worlds will be subjected to penalties of various sorts.
The Role of Stanford Research Institute
In the late 1990s those of us researching this cell church structure in the church still didn't have all of the pieces of the puzzle. Because the esoteric doctrines and systems described in Holonomy matched what we were reading about in the emerging "apostolic" cellular church, we suspected a common root. Our best guess, based on our unique backgrounds, experiences and training, was that it was probably the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). We asked: had the SRI influenced evangelical leaders, even trained them, in these new systems methods?

By 2003 we had researched Peter Drucker and Leadership Network and found interesting connections. But it wasn't until 2005, when we stumbled onto the two Evangelical Consultations on the Future, when we discovered that SRI's Willis Harman had made presentations to key evangelical leaders, that we realized that our worst suspicions had been confirmed. Read the following accounts about these Consultations on the Future:

Several years ago while writing a book review of Chuck Missler's Alien Encounters we discovered even more linkages between evangelical leaders and SRI. The following 6-part article series investigated the influence SRI may have had on Missler's concoction of strange new eschatological doctrines regarding space aliens and adulterated human DNA: 

There are many other links that we could provide for further research. Suffice it to say that for the past ten years the Herescope blog has been the chief venue for documenting the preliminary findings discussed in the key "Cell Church Talks" of the late 1990s. More will be written on these topics in the days to come, Lord willing. For those who wish to read further on some of these topics, see the following background articles:

These talks are now 16 years old, and as such are a research "snapshot in time." Some of the things I said have changed as discernment researchers have delved deeper into these topics. For example, we weren't sure if we were looking at a multi-headed hydra or a one-headed octopus. The downline networks that were forming in Christendom seemed to be independent of one another, yet there was an ongoing call for unity. It seemed destined to culminate in a one-world church. (Read "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism.") For example, the false prophets of the NAR had been calling for a merging of streams into rivers for several decades.

It is now quite obvious that the downline networking model functions by stealth, superimposing its own structure on top of an existing model (such as denominations), until it sucks the old life out of it and ends up totally controlling it. Parachurch organizations such as Leadership Network, trained pastors and leaders across a global spectrum in this new model of church governance. The excessive evangelical fascination with leadership has given rise to cult-like status for its superstars and created lockstep blind followers. Read:

The future of this cell church structure will be seen in Tim Keller's emerging "Center Church" for New York City -- a collaborative "hub" model of church and state and corporate interests (i.e., Peter Drucker's "3-legged stool") that will transform the church into a webbed social welfare organization that oversees humans from cradle-to-grave, womb-to-tomb. See Leadership Network's Eric Swanson diagram below, where the 7 mountains for dominion are referred to as 7 "domains" -- i.e., networks. Compare this chart with the graphic at the top of this post.
Eric Swanson, To Transform A City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City (Zondervan, 2010),
Figure 2, Foreword, p. 11. This is a visual chart of the "7 domains of culture."
The Church in this diagram is seen encompassing the other 6 secular "domains."

1. *Exhibit 1: C. Peter Wagner, "A Letter From C. Peter Wagner," Global Harvest Ministries, Monday, August 20, 2007. Original url was: Read more about this at and also
2. This diagram was referenced in my Cell Church Talks along with several other "hub" diagrams from education reform plans in various states across the country. Many of these concentric circle charts incorporated the church into the state. They envisioned the school as the center of the community, providing lifelong welfare services, job training, healthcare, etc., and linking each citizen to the state in intrusive ways.

Read the previous two posts related to this one:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

“Network of Networks”

Networking for Global Peace

“The Aquarian Conspiracy is...
a network of many networks aimed at social transformation.”

“Rick Warren’s newly created Global PEACE Coalition...
a plan of epic ambition, to turn at least half
of the world's tens of millions of Christian churches
into a giant 'network of networks'
dedicated to relieving the poverty and misery of the developing world.”

Leadership Network's description of its organizational purpose,
NEXT newsletter, Dec. 1997, p. 3

Another older Discernment Ministries conference audio has been posted online (see previous post). This is a talk by Sarah H. Leslie from a 2007 conference. This talk was titled "Global PEACE Plan 1 Networking" and it covered a key transition period in the evangelical church world where everything was shifting over to networking structures and emerging new theologies.

Listen to the audio:

As in our previous post, the following exhibits will provide the listener with documentation for the topics discussed in this presentation.

This presentation began with a book review of Marilyn Ferguson's landmark book that launched the New Age Movement, titled The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J.P. Tarcher, 1980). Quoted sections are read from this book and then commented upon. Note the prominent 666 logo on her book cover. We've often written about Marilyn Ferguson and her impact on the church. See, for example HERE, HEREHERE, and especially HERE.

In the year 2007 a number of article series were posted on Herescope on the topic of the networking church structures and doctrines. The first was an 8-part series titled "The Networking Church" which talked about how these networking ideas were incorporated into the doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation:

Another related Herescope series was titled "Networking P.E.A.C.E." Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Thomas S. Kuhn was cited regarding the philosophy of the paradigm shift in his book titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It provided a foundational ideology for the New Age Movement. A cursory overview of Kuhn can be read at and Herescope wrote about him HERE.

Several times Dr. Dennis Cuddy and his excellent research into the New Age and mental health was cited. Key quotes came from Dr. Cuddy's book Education Mental Health & Social Control. This is available at Dr. Cuddy is a regular columnist for NewsWithViews; see his articles HERE.

The disturbing documentation about Theosophist Willis Harman, and his influence over evangelical leaders in the late 1970s at two consultations on the future sponsored by the Billy Graham Association, is summarized in the following Herescope posts:
The Discernment Research Group first broke the story about Harman in September 2005 in a series of posts that ran into October 2005. One can look through the posts to read more details about these consultations.
There was a key overview article "What Is Transformation?" posted on Beris Kjos's website. See also the chart "New Age Terms in the Church" which is very helpful in understanding the vocabulary that is now part of church doctrine.  There is a helpful list of Discernment Research Group articles on her site:

For information on the collaborative New Age health model, now used by Rick Warren in his "Daniel Plan," see the following articles:
Ervin Laszlo's 1974 book A Strategy for the Future (George Braziller, Inc., 1974) was cited, mentioning a few key diagrams. Here are two exhibits from his book illustrating the networking cellular and global governance. 
Exhibit 1, page 126,
Laszlo's local neighborhood cells in a "world system"
Exhibit 2, p. 150,
Laszlo's plan for global governance structure
Many of the themes and topics on Herescope the past ten years have fleshed in the documentation of this talk in 2007. For example, read "Earth: The Old Story, The New Story" and view the charts HERE.

We have also written about the significance of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was cited frequently by Ferguson for propounding the doctrine of the evolution of human consciousness. Just a few of these articles include:
As more of these talks are published online, we will inform Herescope readers.

1. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J.P. Tarcher, 1980), page 217. 
2. David Van Biema, "Rick Warren Goes Global," TIME Magazine,,8599,1809833,00.html, May. 27, 2008. Cited in the Herescope post:
3. For yet another example of this same phrase "network of networks," see the Apprising Ministries 2/23/10 post "THE EMERGING CHURCH AND PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AFTER GOOGLE," quoting Tony Jones from the Foreword (pages ix and x) to Philip Clayton's book Transforming Christian Theology. The Emergent Church, like purpose-driven and Acts 29, was also spawned by Leadership Network.

Note: The audio file may experience problems in the Firefox browser. However you may download the file for playing offline.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Ten Years and Counting. . . 

"When you sign a membership covenant, you are signing a legal document.
Ask yourself if you were told that this is the case.
If you were not told this, ask why you weren't.
In every other venue outside of a church,
you would most likely get legal advice before signing a contract.
Why would you not do the same for a church contract?"

An audio file has just been posted online of a talk given over 10 years ago at a Discernment Ministries conference. The presentation was by Discernment Research Group member Sarah H. Leslie, and it was an early refutation of the Purpose-Driven church covenant model being widely disseminated by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California.

Early on we recognized and warned about the many problems that would develop as a result of the covenant church model which was based on the corporate business model introduced into the church by Peter Drucker via Bob Buford's Leadership Network. The purpose-driven brand name was the most recognizable, but many other networks within Leadership Networks' vast array of downline networks, especially including Acts 29, would also rely heavily upon this covenant-driven model. We anticipated that there would eventually be fallout in churches - particularly among women, children, handicapped, disabled, elderly and others - who would slip through the cracks, be damaged, or penalized for their imperfections. 

Listen to the audio:

The Herescope blog began posting 10 years ago, so if you listen to the audio file you will recognize the references to the many of topics that have been posted on Herescope. However, for those who seek additional documentation, and wish to research these issues further, below is a partial list of topics mentioned in this comprehensive overview conference report.

The audio talk was given shortly after the 2004 monograph The Pied Pipers of Purpose was published. This monograph is available for purchase at the Discernment Ministries office, 903-567-6423, and it is also available for download here:

The talk mentions education reform issues, specifically the book the deliberate dumbing down of america by Charlotte T. Iserbyt, available at or for a free download at:  Also read the 3-part article series about so-called school "choice" titled "The Choice Charade".
The conference talk specifically references an earlier article critical of church covenants published by Discernment Ministries. Recently this paper, originally titled "The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age," was republished on the Herescope blog: 

Here is the issue of Leadership Network's newsletter NEXT that included the eastern religious Ying/Yang sign in its discussion about management guru Jim Collins. Notice the clock graphic and note that each subheading includes a ying/yang graphic. The use of such a well-known occult symbol has raised many questions about which faith Leadership Network promotes.
Leadership Network, NEXT, Vol. 3, No. 1, May 1997

Regarding Rick Warren, our early warnings in 2005 were sadly quite accurate. We believe that the most important post we ever wrote about Rick Warren is "Rick Warren - Is He Scary?" Most of the questions that we raised in this post have never been answered. Rick Warren took his entire P.E.A.C.E. "missionary" plan under the radar and the press has given him a free pass to work his global agenda without critical scrutiny. Below is a sampling of articles (including some that are part of a series) we wrote about Rick Warren's attempt to turn purpose-driven into a global movement:

Missionaries who were specifically told to NOT preach the Gospel is documented here: Africa Watch Update: Missionaries told "not to minister the Word"! Rick Warren's early partner, Bruce Wilkinson, experienced a failed venture in Swaziland: Breaking News! Mr Jabez's Dream Turns to Nightmare

The original 2-part article about Rick Warren's launching of his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is archived in the Discernment Newsletters:

For our writings on the recent Mars Hill debacle, and its connections to the Leadership Network organization and these same organizational structure and ideologies, see the series "The Culture Which Gave Rise to Mark Driscoll":

Finally, we wish to point out that many of the topics covered in this 2005 talk were influential in the publication of Paul Smith's book New Evangelicalism: The New World Order.  Read about his book here:

Discernment Ministries has recently authorized Dr. Martin Erdmann to post a number of our current and older, but still relevant, conference files on the Internet. As Dr. Erdmann puts up more of the Discernment conference videos and audios online, we will post notifications and links for Herescope readers.

1. "The Village Church/Matt Chandler: The Problems With Membership Contracts," 6/1/15, For another recent covenant horror story, see "Do Acts 29 Churches Share the Same DNA as the Mothership – Matt Chandler’s The Village Church?" 1/3/15,

Note: The audio file may experience problems in the Firefox browser. However you may download the file for playing offline.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Battle of the Mind

Pulling Down Strongholds 

By Pastor Anton Bosch

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
casting down arguments and every high thing
that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

(2 Corinthians 10:3-5) 

The Christian is locked in an intense war. Many of us, however, are so interested in fighting an external war with the Devil that we forget that the most important battle is not with external forces, but within our own mind, heart and thoughts. These verses above contain the keys to victory in an area where most Christians are constantly defeated.

Paul reminds us that our weapons and strategy are not fleshly or carnal. This is the first key to victory. Most Christians employ fleshly, psychological and human strategies to deal with spiritual problems. Many books that provide “seven easy steps to victory” employ human wisdom. They simply add a few Bible verses to sanctify a system they have borrowed from the world. Strip those Bible verses out of the book and you are left with a motivational message that the world will pay money for. When something is that acceptable to the world we need to question whether it is indeed authentic Christianity. I have no doubt that many of these formulas work to some extent. They are just like the many “cures” for weight problems that are touted every day – they provide quick solutions, and may even work for a time, but in the end leave you worse off than before.

Our battle is a spiritual one and can only be won when we employ the spiritual weapons that God has put at our disposal. Sometimes people don't use these weapons because they either seem too simplistic or too much like hard work. But they work because God has designed them and the Holy Spirit empowers them. In fact, the battle for (and in) your mind cannot be won unless you use the spiritual weapons God has given you.

Our spiritual weapons are mighty in God. They are powerless in and of themselves, but in God they are mighty, powerful and able to bring every thought under control. These weapons include the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), prayer (Ephesians 6:18) and the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

One of the reasons we need such strong weapons is because bad thought patterns are so deeply entrenched in our minds that they literally become strongholds. Paul did not use the word “strongholds” by chance. This is the same word which Philo, the Jewish Greek philosopher (probably known to Paul), had used to describe the bastion of arrogant human reason. Philo likened this desire of man, i.e., to fortify his arguments against God, to the tower of Babel. What does this mean? It simply means that the thought-patterns that cause us to act as we do can become so powerfully entrenched in our minds that they become like military forts that are impregnable. Have you ever tried to reason with someone, who is obviously wrong (by all standards – not just your own), only to come to the conclusion that you are up against a stone wall? Well, that is exactly what it is. These are like strongholds built out of stone. Our arguments against God’s will, His Word and His wisdom become so fortified in our minds that nothing short of a miracle is able to penetrate them.

Such strongholds are built, stone by stone, argument by argument, until they become a fortress behind which we hide from God and our responsibilities. They are built over years through self-justification and rationalizing our bad behavior, addictions and unacceptable values. They are further reinforced as we fill our minds with the world and its systems and values.

When we come across this in a person, they may have an almost irrational denial of reality. We say such a person is unstable or emotional (as opposed to rational). But the text refers to the reason as “arguments.” (The King James incorrectly refers to this as “imaginations.”) The Greek word is logismos from the same root as “logic.” We all have rational, logical reasons for why we are disobedient to the Lord. Allow me to share some hard-earned advice: do not even try to argue with such a person. They are not interested in the truth, and will simply retreat behind the castle of their reasons, firing at you with all sorts of criticism.

So what are we to do to help others? Our weapons are not human – remember? We can only allow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to do the work. Our part is simply to pray. That is all. The Lord must change the person’s mind through His Word and Spirit, and these begin to tear the fortifications down. Without God, your attempts will simply cause the person to entrench, and even go over into attack. It is hard to learn not to argue with such a person. But you need to simply walk away, and pray, and trust the Lord to deal with them. Trust me. If you try to “help” them you will only buy yourself much unnecessary heartache and pain. One of the hardest things in Christian work is to hand such a person over to the Lord when we feel we should actually be doing something.

More important than other's problems is the fact that we each have such strongholds in our own lives. Strongholds of fear, doubt, unbelief, greed, lust, anger, addictions, and the list goes on and on. There is only one place we can actively participate in this work of tearing down the strongholds in our own lives. Sometimes we want to be free of the hold these things have in our lives, but often we secretly enjoy them and are not willing to let them go.

But the text reminds us that we are not just wronging ourselves by allowing these thoughts to control us. It is sin against The Most High. Paul speaks about “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (v5). Is that not what they did at the Tower of Babel? They built this tower in defiance of the Lord. That is what we often do when we harbor these things in our minds – we permit, even encourage, these things to lift themselves up in rebellion against God!

 If we are going to be the people the Lord wants us to be, these strongholds must be torn down and the thoughts hiding behind them brought under control. Paul says these arguments that elevate themselves against God must be cast or pulled down.

Do you feel defeated even before you have begun? Maybe it is because you have been trying to overcome these entrenchments using human methods in your own strength. It will not work. I hope you will have realized that by now. We need the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit to explode these fortifications. God can, and will, do it – with our permission and cooperation.

This article is Part 1 of a series of 4 covering these verses in 2 Cor. 10:3-5, recently published in Pastor Anton Bosch's new book of devotionals Building Blocks of Encouragement – A Devotional. The book is a selection of 60 of his most popular articles written over the past 11 years. As the title suggests, the articles are encouraging and edifying. Each chapter is free standing and is designed to be easily read in one sitting. In addition to being encouraging, the articles are doctrinally orthodox and the book is therefore a safe gift for friends and family that will bless strengthen and encourage. To order the book, contact the Discernment Ministries Book Center (903) 567-6423. The book is also available as a printed book as well as a Kindle book from