Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Parliament of the World's Religions 2015

An Eyewitness Account
By Lanette Irwin

Participants lined up nearly a quarter mile to hear speakers
at the World Parliament of Religions on opening day.
The 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions was held October 15-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They estimated over fourteen thousand people attended this New Age (now called “interfaith”) convention at the cost of $500/person. This convention was well advertised for over a year. 

Many booths from differing faiths, political interfaith organizations, and seminaries were anxiously handing out their free literature and books to attendee’s as they walked through. 

As we made our way through the halls we saw Buddhist/ Hindu shrines and rooms filled with chanters. Tables were selling their t-shirts, books, sandalwood meditation beads, jewelry and pictures of the Dali Lama.

We were subjected to a constant hum of a drum and high pitched sounds ringing throughout the building, with signs hanging overhead that read “The earth is one we are one with the earth.” 

Environmental issues were a big topic because they believe we are part of the earth, and if the earth is sick we cannot heal the world. 

There were Indians dressed in their headdresses and clothing, seiks, Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis and, yes, Christians alike, jamming through halls to attend sessions. Media with their cameras conducted interviews, spiritual dancers in the background chanted, while late speakers were running up escalators to indoctrinate the masses. Most of the participants and speakers were women.

Many of us have read books, or articles about the New Age movement; however, the focus of the New Age has mostly been covert via networking, infiltration, and spiritual indoctrination, especially so far as their goal of uniting the world under a one world religion and one world government. 

The Parliament of the World's Religions has an agenda and they are now very open about it. It is now an outright attack on the Christian church and the Word of God. They have decided they cannot have unity at all cost so they are trying something else: changing the doctrine of the simple Gospel of Jesus and Who He is. I was handed a booklet titled Global Ethic: A Call to our Guiding Institutions that stated: “The Parliament of the world’s religion seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity.” (p.1) 

They are not afraid to say that “an orthodox Bible believing Christian does not fit in our world nor will they be tolerated.” It was in our face. This Parliament is a sort of coming out of the closet for them, as was the Parliament’s in the past such as the one in 2009.

One of the signs that hung in the hall said, “Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” Still another displayed, “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.” So the truth of the Word is not on their agenda. It is seen as unorthodox and mean-spirited. For example, note the phrase in blue below:

I attended several sessions to get a grasp on the coming agenda of attacks on the Bible-believing church. I attended these sessions reluctantly, biting my tongue, but I noticed several phrases repeated over and over - to the point I stopped attending the third day as I could recite the chant by heart! 

The Christian view of “salvation” has the inclusion/exclusion message of “we are in - they are not.” The interfaith movement cites this as an evil. In other words, to say Salvation is by Christ alone, and there is a Hell and there is a Heaven is not accepting of other faiths. It is exclusive, unaccepting of other religions, especially because they believe “God accepts all, God is in all.” The Christian orthodox view of Heaven and Hell will no longer be tolerated as they says it divides humanity.

This was the topic discussed by Rev. Kristen Largen, editor of A Journal of Theology and dean and professor of systematic theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She cited her new book about to come out, What Christians Can Learn from Buddhism: Rethinking Salvation.

“We must not have a you aren’t/we are mentality,” she believes. We must rethink this concept of salvation, which is seen as unloving, not really biblical. When advocating her 2013 book Finding God among Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Systematic Theology the review says that “she confronts Christian misconceptions and problematic issues of other traditions.” So our ideas that other religions such as Hindu or Islam is labeled a “misconception.” But I noticed that she cited Scripture to support her false beliefs and opinions. She said, “There is no definitive doctrine established by the Christian church that mandates one specific explanation of how Jesus saves.” (This is complete heresy!)

Rev. Largen went on to say that “there are many different theories about that and the church endorses all of them.” She said, “The doctrine of the trinity has been established but not the doctrine of salvation…. We must rethink, reimagine the doctrine of salvation and it is quite consistent with the Christian tradition of salvation not a violation of it.” She said, “Salvation has three aspects 1. A person in need 2. A problematic situation 3. A solution to that situation, and one who provides it. Beyond this, much is up for grabs.” She ended up with saying that “the doctrine of the church is called apokatastasis, better known as the doctrine of universal salvation; that everyone is saved, regardless.” In short, universalism. As a side note she did mention Emergent leader Rob Bell's book Love Wins, another who more or less teaches the Bible is not relevant for today’s society and also redefines Salvation and Hell. 

Another session I attended called “Religious Extremism: Effective Responses From Mainstream Religious Communities” with three scholars: Shanta Premawardhana, president of SCUPE; Dr. George Zachariah, co-presenter; and Salih Sayigan, Department of Theology, Georgetown University, who admits he is Christian and said, “Every religion has extremes, but exclusiveness leads to violence when we say you get to go to Heaven and you end in Hell then we have a problem when you exclude you sow seeds of extremism. When you say this is God’s way you create a political environment.” Next, Sayigan gave another example: “Excluding gays from your board your church that is exclusion.” And if you believe you have absolute truth this is said to create blind allegiance. 

These three said, as had the other speakers, that “we are all members of the same family, we all belong to God.” A Hindu stood up from the audience dressed in his orange clothes, looking so timid and shy, but went into a rage yelling about evil Christians leaving pamphlets on the temple steps. He said, “Christians told me I was worshiping demons! How dare they!” The speakers nodded their heads, agreeing this was wrong and unacceptable. They then went on to redefine Jihad as they see it. The real Jihad is “a good dad, a good husband.” In essence, as long as there are those who define and have a theology based on the old patriarchal “Christian” perspective, the earth cannot heal and the violence will continue. We as Christians are now responsible for all evil in the world. They believe this.
Building a New Age/New World Order

I attended a session on Saturday, called “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice of Interreligious Dialog.” They advocated their journal, Journal of Interreligious Insight. Again I heard the same rhetoric of exclusion/inclusion and noticed that “compassion” was the key buzz word. One young man stood up and angrily said, “I get tired of Christians citing from the Bible. I will not go to Heaven if I don’t see the Gospel as they see it.” Some girl in a weak voice cited a Scripture about Heaven, several clapped, and the young man sat down next to her, smiling. She was praised for her insight by the panel of speakers! I guess he felt relieved he got to say his peace, and of course the speakers agreed. 

In essence they believe the old patriarchy is not for today. Our values must change if we are going to heal. New values are the child of the older patriarchy. For example, fairness is good but we need a new fairness. They admit there will be a backlash for which they are ready to defend. 
Walking the labyrinth at the Parliament

The following is an example of books the emergent interfaith movement are reading:

Thriving in the Crosscurrent:
Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change 
by Jim Kenney 
Posted by: DailyOM 

The 21st century is experiencing a rare global revolution. Are you prepared to ride the new cultural wave? Thriving in the Crosscurrent says that despite the overwhelming doomsday speak, it’s not the end of the world, but the birthing pains of a new one! Like two massive ocean waves colliding, one on the ascent and the other falling, societal paradigms are on the brink of a world-wide transformation! With the use of this two-wave sea change model, a tool for evaluating human cultural evolution, thriving in the Crosscurrent demonstrates the causes of our impending revolution and shares an optimistic forecast through the turbulence. 

With in-depth scholarly research, cultural expert Jim Kenney offers detailed descriptions of the groups that make up our current global consciousness. From “yeasayers” such as Catalysts, Actives, and Creatives to “naysayers”, including Militants, Buccaneers and Unexamined Lifers, this book explores the current and emerging beliefs of society. Kenney makes known what is required for the yeasayers to be effective. “The good news” Kenney states, “it’s a smaller percentage than you might think.”  [Excerpt]

Well I guess as Christians we are the small percentage! 

In her book Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, Diana Butler Bass is endorsed by Brian D. McLaren, Emergent church leader and author of Naked Spirituality. She began a diatribe on why Christianity has failed, why people are leaving the church, and the unfortunate circumstances of people getting hurt. She says there have been great awakenings throughout history and suggest we are in another but, “Conventional comforting Christianity has failed. It does not work. For the churches that insist on preaching it, the jig is up. We cannot go back, and we should not want to.” She explains, “Lot's wife turned into salt when she looked back… and Jesus reminded his followers that no man puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).” (p. 37)

Here is another telling statement from Butler Bass: “A new phenomenon seems to be developing in the west - the possibility of multireligious identity. In the same way that some people are biracial or multiracial, others are describing themselves as multireligious.” (p. 60)

Butler Bass suggests that Robert Wright is more correct when he suggests that God is currently undergoing an “evolution.” (p. 63) She goes on another diatribe that we have misunderstood the Scriptures and who God really is: “Finding one’s self in God is also to find God in one’s self…. The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” What does she recommend for reading? The New Agers' favorite Bible, of course, The Message (Eugene Peterson). She also says to practice faith, prayer, yoga, meditation. (p. 188-189) 

Butler Bass describes her anticipated new spiritual awakening this way: “I think the awakening might be a little like graduation… faithful people who have - willingly or unwillingly - left the old world for a new one…. The old religious world is failing, but the Spirit is stirring anew…. I imagine Christians carrying high the cross all different varieties with their bibles, prayer books, icons, rosary beads, Jews the Torah, Muslims the Qur’an, Buddhists with their Dharma wheel Is. 2:2-4.” (p. 268)
Example of the books being promoted at the Parliament

Sunday, the 18th session was called “Focus on Climate Change.” It was moderated by Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore Schiff. Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and a dozen more interfaith type books, spoke about saving the environment: “We must transform the world and to do what religion has to, to deploy vast numbers of contemplative activists. We are all sister and brothers. The reason there is hate and racism and war is because the human race has not united. The reason that there are so many religions is because everybody’s egos are in the way. If we love God we will love creation. Religion needs to be schools of love.” 

The propaganda pushed at these sessions was love, love, love, but not for the Word of God. Peace, peace, peace, but only after divisive “Christians are put in their place,” wherever that may be. Dialog, dialog, dialog; however, dialog is seen as divisive if you are a dogmatic Bible believing old patriarchal Christian. 

So how are they going to bring about this change of doctrine and ring in the new? Well, of course they call it social action. But it is really circles of change, self-help groups, community social action groups, youth groups, college prayer groups, play groups for the kids, drug rehabs, online groups, you name it.

A book titled Moving Toward the Millionth Circle by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., is promoted by New Age leader Marianne Williamson (A Course in Miracles) on the back jacket cover: “The metaphoric circle is the tipping point into a post-patriarchal era, based on the premise that when a critical number of people change their perceptions and behavior, a new era can begin.” 

The words tipping point are another buzz term they use for winning! (She sure does not know the Lord God because He works in small numbers and wins every time!)

There is a chapter on the great awakening in Butler Bass's book Christianity after Religion. To paraphrase what she said: “Tuesday night we met in a college dorm calling it Bible study, but it was really church…. We read Call to Commitment. We wanted to be like the book said, combining our newly discovered understanding of ancient Christian theology, practice and liturgy, with our new passions for global community, the environment, and gender equality. Such experiments popped up all over campus….” 

They declared in unison these thoughts: “Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed. We pledge to work for such transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection, meditation, prayer, or positive thinking, for a conversion of the heart.” (p. 14, Karl-Josef Kuschel, Global Ethic: The Declaration of the Parliament of the World's Religions, edited by Hans Küng)

The common theme throughout the conference was Muslims uniting with Jews, Catholics and Christians at all cost. Drop doctrine, drop all differences to join together for the common core of one world religion, and government - and everyone must be engaged in some sort of service to be accountable in healing the earth.  

Love is pushed in all directions and is the end-all statement at all cost. Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love: Reflections of a Course in Miracles (which has sold over three million copies, by the way) is like the textbook for their interfaith movement. In so many articles and leaflets I have read “love” even if it means leaving your faith! Love becomes your highest priority. For all intents and purposes I will call them the “Love Bombers.” It draws the desperate into their web of deceit. 

Another doctrine was evident. These people are “feeling oriented.” Everything is based on their feelings: if it feels good, it is God. If it sounds good, it is God. Experiences are held as gospel truth. Their intuition is truth and reality. 
The Compassion Games 2015 are linked to the Parliament

Besides the “Love” word we heard the word “compassion” riddled throughout the sessions and over-used in their materials. While these words are not bad words they have become re-defined within the doctrines of this emerging interfaith movement. Unfortunately many mainline churches are pounding the same drumbeat for ecumenical doctrines, and finding fellowship with the world to be very palatable. 

Faith traditions united for a program at the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle. Here is a report by Marjorie Cortez, posted Oct 18th, 2015 @ 10:30pm: “But Parliament takes it a step further because of the wide array of faiths represented. You have people who could be in contention with each other who are not. We all seem now to realize as we're here that we are one humanity and we do believe in one God....”
Several booths at the Parliament

This conference left me sad as I noticed babies, and pregnant new mommies, having chants spoken over their bellies. Old people, hobbling or being wheeled in chairs to the next event, were promised karma and the next life. I never felt so helpless, but I realized this is what the Lord meant the Way is narrow and few will find it. Christians are now seen as mean and unknowledgable, even while warning those to get out of the fire. 

May the Lord Himself stifle their efforts and open the ears of those in our path for Jesus Christ. We need to witness now more than ever before, now before the door shuts and their time has run out.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)

Photos at the event were taken by the author. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Five Wonders of the Gospel

The Truth Proclaimed

By Johan Malan
Mossel Bay, South Africa
(October 2015) 

Scripture reading:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God”

(John 3:14-21).

John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Bible. This famous verse is also called “the Gospel in a nutshell” because it is considered a summary of the foundational New Testament doctrine of salvation: 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Five core truths in connection with our salvation are mentioned in this verse, which are all five divine wonders. They are the wonder of divine love, the wonder of a heavenly Savior, the wonder of faith in God, the wonder of salvation from perdition, and the wonder of eternal life. The Bible offers a full exposition of these supernatural works of God, and emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world and that no person can save himself from his state of spiritual deadness and moral depravity. 

The Wonder of Divine Love 
God is love, and that is one of His most important moral attributes (1 John 4:16). The agape love of God is completely different from the egocentric and covetous love of fallen man. God’s love reaches out to those in spiritual darkness and is inclined to fulfill their needs. All people on earth are slaves of sin and unrighteousness (Rom. 3:10-12). However, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). In His caring love and saving grace He offers a plan of salvation which makes it possible to every person in the world to be saved – even the most hardened sinner. 

The Wonder of a Heavenly Savior 
Depraved humanity need a mighty Savior from heaven to redeem them from their lost state. God Himself has decreed the death penalty upon every sinner, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:20). A perfect and sinless person therefore had to be found to die substitutionary on behalf of all sinners, thereby serving their death penalty. There was not such a person among sinful humanity who could redeem fellow sinners: “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – that he should live on for ever and not see decay” (Ps. 49:7-9; NIV). 

However, God’s perfect and sinless Son could pay this price. But then He had to leave behind His heavenly glory, making Himself of no reputation and taking the form of a servant, and die the humiliating death of a sinner on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). The self-sacrificing love of God compelled Him to pay this penalty. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “God demonstrates His love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). 

When the Israelites were bitten by poisonous snakes in the wilderness, Moses symbolically demonstrated the Messiah’s future work of redemption to them (Num. 21:6-9). He made a bronze snake which he placed on a high pole, and those who looked at it in faith were healed. People who failed to follow this instruction died from the poison of the snakes. In a spiritual sense, all people are contaminated by the poison of the snake, Satan, through the hereditary fall of Adam into sin (Rom. 5:12), thus accounting for the sinful nature with which each person is born. There is only one solution to this spiritual disease which causes certain death, and that is to faithfully look on Him who has taken our sins upon Himself and died for them. Peter says, “Christ also suffered for us, … Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth; … who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree … by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:21-24). Our pernicious spiritual disease is healed by His sacrifice. 

The Wonder of Faith in God 
Faith in God through Jesus Christ is a gift from the Lord which can only be imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. It happens when we hear the Gospel of salvation: “… faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). In the Bible, all people without a God-given faith are described as unbelievers, even though they may believe in one or other idol. Such people practice a false faith (actually superstition) which cannot save their souls. 

Unsaved people are described as those “whose minds the god of this age [Satan] has blinded, who do not believe” (2 Cor. 4:4). Unfortunately, there are many people who love darkness rather than the light, hence they do not come to the Lord Jesus to be saved. The temporary pleasure of sin keeps them away from the Lord’s saving grace, and that explains why they, due to their own foolishness, remain under the judgements of God. 

A true faith only comes from the Lord. Everyone who receives the Lord Jesus as Savior by faith becomes a child of God in a spiritual sense (John 1:12). He passes from death to life (John 5:24) and enjoys all the blessings which have been promised to faithful followers of Jesus Christ. At the same time, his faith exempts him from God’s judgements upon unbelievers: “He who believes in Him [Christ] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). 

The Wonder of Salvation from Perdition 
We are living in a transient world in which all forms of life are aging and eventually perish. Human beings are in two different ways subjected to the power of death: they do not only have mortal bodies but they also died spiritually as a result of the Fall (Gen. 2:17; 1 Cor. 15:22). Because of that, they are faced with the first death of the body as well as the eternal second death in hell because of their sins. Converts are saved from both these forms of death by virtue of the atoning death of Christ. At conversion we are immediately spiritually quickened and thereby saved from the threatening danger of the second death in hell: “And you He made alive, who were dead in the trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1; cf. Col. 2:13). 

As far as the body is concerned, our immortal souls still reside within mortal bodies which are subject to the first death. However, we have no fear for death because the Lord has promised to us immortal resurrection bodies which we will receive during the Resurrection of the just at the end of the church dispensation (that is the first resurrection): “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). The unsaved dead will not live again until the thousand years are finished (Rev. 20:5), after which they will be cast bodily into the lake of fire where they will be subject to the torture of eternal death – that is the second death (Rev. 20:14). 

Have you bowed down before the Lord in faith to be saved from death? He offers mercy to all since members of all nations walk in spiritual darkness and need to be saved. He invites people everywhere to be saved, “Look to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth!” (Isa. 45:22). 

The Wonder of Eternal Life 
Believers are not only saved from the power of death but they also receive a new life from Christ, which is eternal and perfect. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Every person has a choice between two destinies: he either accepts the forgiveness and eternal life which Christ offers to him, or he remains in his sin and heads for eternal perdition: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). 

All people will ultimately have to bow the knee before the Lord Jesus as Judge, who will condemn the wicked and confirm the eternal life and blessings of the just: “And these [the wicked] will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). 

We can right now have full assurance about our final destination since, after being born again, we receive the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that we are saved: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11; cf. Rom. 8:16). The unsaved people are convicted of their sin and lost state by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), but they fail to confess their sins to Christ and to trust Him for salvation. They live fatalistically under the domination of a bad conscience which accuses them of their sin, but that is not necessary as the gift of forgiveness, salvation and a new life is offered to all sinners. 

The Full Implications of Salvation 
The five wonders which form the basis of our regeneration transforms us into a new life in which we are commanded to put on God’s holiness by being conformed to the image of His Son. All five of the divine wonders which are mentioned in John 3:16 should increasingly manifest as characteristics of our new life in Christ. Our spiritual lives should therefore not only change basically at our salvation, but continue to develop qualitatively as we pursue higher levels of dedication. The Holy Spirit guides us along the path of sanctification and spiritual growth to equip us towards serving the Lord in a more fruitful way. The five wonders of salvation should therefore also be practically demonstrated: 

Divine Love as a Principle of Life 
The same agape love which moved God to send His Son to the world as Savior is also given to us as the foundation of the new life which is imparted to us. Through rebirth we receive changed hearts which function in accordance with the principles of divine love. Paul says, “… the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). At the same time, the Holy Spirit also comes to dwell in our hearts to guide us into all truth and to convict us of sin if we fail to observe the principles of this love. He convicts us of the righteousness of Christ so we may know how to single-mindedly walk in the light of agape love. He also gives us the strength and grace to give practical expression to our new nature. We are confronted by the challenge to be filled with all the fullness of God, as then alone would we be able to fully honor His love in our thoughts, words and actions. 

To what degree does your life conform to the nature and dictates of divine love? Your life will clearly show where you stand, since the following actions and dispositions are basic characteristics of this love:  

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. … And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love”
(1 Cor. 13:4-8, 13). 

Divine love is not puffed-up and self-centered but instead pursue the interests of others. It is not embittered and unforgiving but inclined towards mending broken and strained relations. It does not condone any kind of duplicity or lies but demands that the full truth about God and sin is revealed. It does not reflect on previous sins that have been forgiven but fixes attention on the principles of a pure life as well as the blessed hope of Christ’s second coming. Are you rooted and grounded in this love and do you comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height of divine love? (Eph. 3:17-19). 

God’s agape love is wonderful in its nature and unfathomable in its depth. A Christian literary woman once said that the noblest and most meaningful words that she had ever read in any book are the following three words in the Bible: “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8). What an exalted thought – everything around us perishes but God’s love for us prevails forever. Nothing can destroy this love in our hearts – not even the most hostile powers in this world or in the spirit world can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31-39). Abide in Him every moment of every day (John 15:4-6). 

We only have one basic command in the New Testament, and that is to demonstrate divine love on all levels of our existence. It should manifest as love towards God and love towards fellow human beings. If you truly love God you will not serve other gods, nor act dishonorably towards Him in any other way. You will also refrain from harming your neighbor, and therefore will not need any Old Testament laws to govern your relations with other people. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. … Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:8, 10). If you observe divine love you will not falter. 

The question is whether we fully honor the commandment of love? It should be particularly evident in mutual relations among Christians. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples: 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”
(John 13:34-35). 

Believers should also show divine love to a lost world since, by its very nature, this love is meant to be a basic motivation for proclaiming the gospel to all peoples and nations on earth. Nobody should be denied the opportunity of receiving the wonderful gift of salvation. To that end, love transcends typical human reactions and will move us to also love our enemies – not with a humanistic love which only prompts humanitarian aid and interfaith compromise, but with a divine love which leads to the proclaiming of repentance and forgiveness to all sinners. 

Complete Identification with Christ 
Jesus Christ is the mighty Savior who descended from heaven to fallen humanity. We should not only receive Him as Savior in our lives but also grow up spiritually until Christ is formed in our lives. We should not be bogged down and stagnate at the beginning of our spiritual journey, but grow up to the stature of the mature man or woman in Christ. Can other people see Christ in your life? We are called upon to be witnesses for Christ, the Savior of the world. A personal relationship with Him, rather than religious laws and rituals, is the key to salvation (Acts 4:12). 

Paul was anxious about the Galatians as they were more interested in maintaining a relationship with law and the celebration of Jewish festivals, than maintaining a relationship with Christ. His desire was that they would become conformed to Christ and that His divine love would shine through them (Gal. 4:9, 19). A life in Christ is the only solution to a fleshly life of sin, and that is the reason why Paul said to the church in Rome: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). 

A Strong and Unshakable Faith 
The gift of faith will be strengthened in our hearts if we are serious about our relationship with God. Jesus often described His disciples as people of little faith (Matt. 16:8). They realized this weakness and asked Him: “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). We should endeavor to be built up in our most holy faith (Jude v. 20), and prevent being children in our spiritual lives who are tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). 

The way of faith is a life of continuous struggle against an unbelieving world. As believers we should live like people who perceive the unseen world and experience the presence of the Lord Jesus in the spiritual realm. We must testify about His presence and look forward to the day when the kingdom of Christ will be visibly revealed on earth: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). There is a battle to be fought in a spiritually hostile world and a victory to be gained. 

Some Christians do not fight the good fight of faith; neither are they serious about the guidance of the Holy Spirit who warns us against evil through our conscience and also through the Word. Some of them even reject a life of faith. Paul counseled Timothy to commit himself to “faith and a good conscience which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” (1 Tim. 1:19). 

However, we should not backslide in our spiritual life but fight the good fight of faith with perseverance. Paul said to faltering Jewish believers: “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14). To the Colossians he said that they should commit themselves to be found blameless and irreproachable in the sight of Christ, “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel” (Col. 1:22-23).

Our faith must not become spiritually weakened but be built up and strengthened. The hope to appear before Christ one day and to be part of His kingdom, is a purifying hope which motivates us to live holy and blameless lives. John says: “And everyone who has this hope in Him [the revelation of Christ] purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). 

The Witness of the Redeemed in a Sinful World 
In His love and saving grace the Lord calls us from the darkness of sin into His wonderful light. He saves us from a depraved world which is heading for the judgements of God. Through faith we have an unbroken relationship with Him. We are no longer part of the perishing world as we are saved and were transferred from the broad way of sin and unrighteousness to the narrow way of God’s righteousness. This change imposes a big spiritual and moral responsibility on us since we have the obligation to follow the steps of Christ, walk as children of the light and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness – neither with false religions (Eph. 5:1-11). Our witness and values may cause confrontation with the wicked and perishing world around us, and that may even give rise to the persecution of the minority of believers. 

Although we have already been liberated from the power of eternal death in our inward man, we are living in perishable bodies which are part of the natural cycle of growth, aging and death. We still await the salvation of our physical bodies, but that will only occur at the resurrection of the just when Christ will come to catch us away to heaven. On that day we will be clothed with imperishable, glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-53). Right now we need our weak, earthly bodies to serve the Lord (Rom. 6:11-13), but these bodies also expose us to the wicked world which can tempt us through our senses to sin. Due to the weaknesses of our fallen bodies we may also suffer pain and tribulation. As this body grows old and feeble our hope is focused more strongly on the heavenly body which we will receive when Christ come again: 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent [our earthly body], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands [our future glorified body], eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven”
(2 Cor. 4:16–5:2). 

Proclaimers of Eternal Life 
With eternal life already established in our spirit and soul we should day by day live as people whose destiny far exceeds the temporary existence of our mortal bodies. This vision and future expectation compels us to be proclaimers and ambassadors for eternal life in Christ. We should not complain and ask questions on why we should still remain in this transient and spiritually dark world for a time. We have, after all, been appointed to be the light of the world with the express purpose of giving the lost new hope. It is exactly here, in the midst of the unsaved multitudes, where the Lord needs us so that many of them may also become partakers of the new life in Christ. 

We owe it to every dying soul to share the good news with him that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. The judgments are only destined to those who have despised the message of salvation because they love darkness rather than the light. 

However, do not be in a hurry to condemn the unsaved as many of them do not realize what exactly is at stake in their spiritual lives. The message of eternal life should be proclaimed in a very clear and convincing way so they can realize that sinners in their unsaved state are without God and without hope in the world. 

Only Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. The eternal life which He offers to lost humanity can be obtained in no other way than in prayer and by faith before His throne of grace. The opportunity to do so should be seized now because there will be no second chance for repentance from a life of sin after death.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

NAR Apostles For "Social Justice"

Coalescing with Southern Baptists

NAR "apostle" Cindy Jacobs telling "apostle" Samuel Rodriguez that
"we are in the birth canal for a great awakening." (Source)

For years, we have marveled that Samuel Rodriguez, president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has managed to maintain a reputation as some sort of a moderate conservative evangelical leader while, at the same time, regularly partnering with some of the most extreme voices within the Religious Right.

Perhaps nothing better demonstrates his ties to even the outermost fringes of the movement like the praise he heaped upon Cindy Jacobs when she appeared on his TBN program "The Lamb's Agenda" last month.[1]

Just when you thought this election cycle couldn't get any crazier. . . A report has just been issued regarding the latest activities of NAR "apostle" Samuel Rodriguez. He is now openly fraternizing with "apostlette" Cindy Jacobs.[2] Rodriguez has an extensive history of morphing himself into a mainstream leadership role despite his open association with C. Peter Wagner's dominionist New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and its many offshoots and entities. For example, in 2014 Rodriguez was a featured speaker on a panel at the Southern Baptist Convention.
Southern Baptist Convention 2014,
"Religious Freedom Is the New Civil Rights Issue, Samuel Rodriguez and Rick Warren Say" (Source)

In an Oct. 7 article by J.D. Hall titled "SBC Speaker Affirms Prophetess Cindy Jacob’s 'Prophetic Ministry'" can be found some amazing video footage of Rodriguez "affirming the prophetic ministry of arch-Apostle, Cindy Jacobs, from just last week." You have to see the video to believe it. Click HERE and scroll halfway down the article to view the embedded video:

Why is this so significant? Cindy Jacobs is a premier "apostle" of the NAR. She has been described by Wagner as the "national apostle" appointed over the United States:

Cindy Jacobs, who has been called a “prophet to the nations” is identified by C. Peter Wagner as “the U.S. national apostle” in his 2002 book Spheres of Authority: Apostles in Today’s Church. This book is one of the earlier attempts to describe his “New Apostolic Age” in which he calls the “New Apostolic Reformation” (NAR) – “the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation back in the 16th Century.” In this book, he lays out the principle that his newly conceived “apostles” will be in charge of designated “spheres of authority” for “the task of implementing what God wants done on earth.” Wagner endows these “apostles” with supernatural gifting to hear new revelation directly from God...[3]

Rodriguez has been a member of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles, a network of apostles "convened by C. Peter Wagner with the stated goal of taking Christian dominion over society and government."[4] Rodriguez, along with Cindy Jacobs, has also been associated with Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative which he marketed as a "social Justice movement."[5]

The Oak Initiative list of strategy and objectives includes:

"to raise up effective leaders for all of the dominant areas of influence in the culture, including: government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church."

This is a reference to the "Reclaiming the Seven Mountains" campaign promoted by the NAR in order to take control over arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.  They are supposedly being reclaimed from the demonic forces which the NAR leaders say have taken control over these mountains of culture.[6]

Rodriguez and Rick Joyner's The Oak Initiative summit, archived HERE

In the opening remarks on the Rodriguez show Cindy Jacobs repeats a frequent NAR theme that "God has a dream for us." This "God's Dream" reference is off-repeated, particularly whenever there is a "social justice" agenda looming. This is no accident. Rodriguez has been associated with Lou Engle of The Call,[5] who set up a "God's Dream" youth rally on the Washington D.C. Mall in 2008. Here is the sort of "social justice" that Engle was planning:

“[a] dream of launching massive solemn assemblies of fasting and prayer” [that] will “release justice over the earth” and start prayer cells (called “prayer FURNACES”) that “will transform cities, finish the task of the Great Commission and prepare a way for Jesus to return to the planet to establish his kingdom forever and ever....”[7] 
Rodriguez agreeing with Cindy Jacobs saying, "It is a dream and not a nightmare."
Rodriguez: "We believe we are standing at the precipice of a new awakening"

The two "apostles" above are referencing a "new awakening," which is another NAR theme song for Dominion.[8] Rodriguez then openly gushes over Cindy Jacobs, telling his audience she is a "legitimate instrument of God." He even says he calls her "Momma Cindy."
Rodriguez: "One of the most anointed prophetic voices
in the kingdom of God, Dr. Cindy Jacobs"

Rodriguez then tells his audience to text their friends to watch his show because they are about to hear a "women of God" who has the "anointing of God" speak.

Watch this shocking video for yourself. It is archived in its entirety HERE.

The New Face of Social Justice
Why is all of this significant? Because Samuel Rodriguez is highly influential in American political circles, especially in his role as a Hispanic leader. He has also been able to mainstream himself into prominent evangelical leadership positions. On April 8, 2010 we published an article on this blog warning that that NAR was shifting into politics, boldly attempting to mainstream itself: "The Coalescing of the Christian Right with Apostolic Dominionism." In that article Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, a longtime expert on the NAR, observed:

Samuel Rodriguez is an apostle who is also a passionate speaker/orator. He heads Wagner's National Christian Hispanic Leadership Council and has also been invited to the Freedom Federation Summit at Liberty University April 15. Speaking earlier at a Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative gathering at Fort Mill, with great emphasis, Rodriguez rallied the crowd asserting that the Oak Initiative, Joyner's political action group, is "the New Jerusalem and also Washington DC. We will mobilize for cultural reformation, not just engagement. We will not be held hostage by a donkey or an elephant."

Dr. Steinkamp also wrote an editorial on September 17, 2012 titled "NAR in the Political Limelight: A Theocratic Dominion Apostle Gains Political Exposure at the RNC" in which he documented Rodriguez's longtime association with the NAR as well the many other hats that he wears. 
"At RNC, Samuel Rodriguez Prays for Holy Spirit Outpouring"

And now it gets worse. J.D. Hall's article states that Rodriguez, an ordained Assemblies of God minister, was recently a

keynote speaker at Russell Moore’s 2015 ERLC national conference last August. Rodriguez spoke on a panel for the 2014 SBC annual convention, with Russell Moore, David Platt and others (he was there by Moore’s invitation). Rodriguez co-wrote an article with Russell Moore in the Wall Street Journal on how evangelicals can win the Hispanic vote by lightening up on illegal immigration (which they so predictably call “immigrant bashing”). You might notice that Russell Moore is a recurring theme when it comes to Rodriguez’ platform among Southern Baptists. 

Hall refers his readers to a 6/12/15 article by Jeff Maples titled "Russell Moore partnering with New Apostolic Reformation to advance the 'Social Gospel.'" This article explains the common ground that Rodriguez is sharing with Southern Baptist leaders in advancing "Dominionism Lite," a term we coined to describe a toned down Dominionist stance not unlike the old Social Gospel. We described it as "a cultural renewal, social gospel, eclectic cocktail that appeals to the the type of evangelical elite who aren't off doing the wacky signs and wonders." In other words, "Social Justice." So Rodriguez is working with both the hard core and soft core Dominionists. Note: none of this is about the Gospel of Salvation.

Maples explained the significance of Rodriguez's association with the Southern Baptists:

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has been at this for quite some time. He is known for using his high ranking positions in the Church to promote his social justice causes.... All of these causes diminish the importance of personal responsibility for one’s actions–personal responsibility, of which is a prerequisite to salvation in the Gospel.

Now, in the latest show of his positional authority, and intent to advance and propagate his cause through the Church, he has teamed up with social justice advocate and political activist, president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Samuel Rodriguez....

Charisma magazine interview with Rodriguez,
who politically plays both Left and Right
This is quite a significant partnership, as the Southern Baptist Convention, and the ERLC are among the most influential evangelical organizations in the world. Rodriguez, and the NHCLC also have strong ties with the New Apostolic Reformation and Cindy Jacobs, a highly controversial and well known false teacher within American evangelicalism. Any true God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian should be running from this camp at full speed. So what does Rodriguez actually stand for? According to NHCLC website, their mission statement reads:

Joining the Christianity of Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham.  The Lamb’s Agenda reveals the crucial connection between biblical social justice and spiritual righteousness.

Maples' article takes note of Rodriguez's use of Martin Luther King's "Dream" speech which has also been hijacked by the other "God's Dream" proponents of the NAR as a motif for their aberrant views on "Social Justice."[10] The definition of "Social Justice" that Rodriguez and Jacobs are bringing to the table is a radical Dominionism. One writer described it quite accurately:

The Apostles' Brand of Social Justice

The goal of these faith-based "social justice" initiatives is clearly spelled out in the writings and media of the movement.  They teach that the cure for societal ills - poverty, corruption, crime, and even environmental degradation - is the expulsion of demons from society, mass evangelization, and Christian dominion.  They believe that prayer events..., which bring together large numbers of people at one time for "corporate repentance," supernaturally advances their agenda.[11]

Rodriguez and 7 mountains architect Lance Wallnau with other NAR leaders,
TheElijahList advertisement, 7/25/09[12]

The Truth:
In his excellent article, Maples effectually refutes Rodriguez and his Southern Baptist friends' call for "Social Justice":

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to make the world a better place, and provide justice and equality to all people. He came to save people from their own sin, through repentance and trust in Him alone....

This intertwining of social justice and Christianity is a total abuse of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. As if it isn’t enough to take the Gospel to the lost, calling them to repentance and salvation, and teaching them personal responsibility; Rodriguez believes it is the commission of the church to solve the social problems of the world. The root of the social problems in the world is sin (Galatians 5:19-21, Romans 3:23, Jeremiah 17:9, etc.). And that problem has already been solved, on the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 3:21). And the solution is the Gospel–the Great Commission.

1. Kyle Mantyla, "Samuel Rodriguez Hails Cindy Jacobs As 'A Legitimate Prophet Of God'," 10/8/15, links removed. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/samuel-rodriguez-hails-cindy-jacobs-legitimate-prophet-god Note that the Left is making this observation.
2. We couldn't resist using the satirical term that the late Pastor Ken Silva coined for describing Cindy Jacobs and her outrageously wacky performances. See: http://apprising.org/2013/01/24/new-apostolic-reformation-apostlette-cindy-jacobs/ and http://apprising.org/2011/09/14/nar-apostlette-cindy-jacobs/ Note: If you google Cindy Jacobs on YouTube you will see some of her most notorious prophetic outbursts.
3. Rachel Tabachnick, "Samuel Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative - Marketing Religious Supremacism as Social Justice," 9/2/11, http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/9/2/133338/8422/Front_Page/Samuel_Rodriguez_and_the_Oak_Initiative_Marketing_Religious_Supremacism_as_Social_Justice  Note that Rodriguez attempted to deny his association with the ICA. Tabachnik set the record straight in her 9/24/11 article "Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church." http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/9/24/155523/590
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Bruce Wilson, in his article "Rise of the Charismatic Leaders Council," Dec. 8. 2008, wrote: "Rodriguez claims to preside, as an apostle, over his own international apostolic Five Fold ministry network. But Rodriguez also, as the head of the National Hispanic Leadership Council (NHLC), represents up to ten million Hispanic protestant evangelicals and up to five million charismatic Catholics. Rodriguez and other top NHLC leaders are currently listed as advisory board members to Lou Engle's The Call." http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/12/8/162939/009  See also Bruce Wilson's 9/16/11 article "Rick Perry's 'The Response' Boasted How Many Wagner Apostles? Let's Count" http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/9/16/144354/102/
7. "God's Dream? A KINGDOM BUILDING DREAM" http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/07/gods-dream.html
8. See our post "A Political Platform": http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/09/next-great-awakening.html 
9. http://www.charismanews.com/politics/32148-samuel-rodriguez-says-obama-meeting-was-like-conversation-amongst-believers Read: "NAR in the Political Limelight: A Theocratic Dominion Apostle Gains Political Exposure at the RNC" by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2012/09/nar-in-political-limelight.html 
10. See our 6-part article series "The Next Great Awakening. . . Or Great Deadening?" detailing the New Apostolic Reformation's involvement in attempting to create a "new awakening."
Part 1: Rallying Around the Seven Mountains
Part 2: A Political Platform
Part 3: Building the 7 Mountains
Part 4: Concocting A Great Awakening
Part 6: "The Emerging Order"
11. Tabachnik, "Samuel Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative," Ibid
12. See "Mainstreaming Dominionism," http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/05/mainstreaming-dominionism.html