VOLUME 22 - NUMBER 1 (April 1999)
THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT
EVANGELISM VS. EVANGELIZATION
By Albert James Dager
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For false Christs and false prophets shall rise; and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22)
The Lord's prophecy concerning the greatest end-time deception should warn us that things are not always as they seem. For a deception to be so seductive that even the very elect would take pause to wonder if it is of God, it would have to have all the earmarks of a true work of God. That means it would come in the name of Jesus, it would have a great deal of solid biblical truth, it would affirm the Gospel, and it would be a "good work." And signs and wonders would accompany it. Those who might recognize and expose the deception would be looked upon as divisive, hateful and deceived themselves. For the most part, the churches would go along with the deception.
Even as God is at work to consummate His purpose in the heavens and on earth, His enemies work behind the scenes, The greatest deceptions come in the name of Jesus to convince many into thinking they are serving God when, in truth, they are serving Satan. Working among Christians, the enemy's ploys are veiled in biblical jargon and works couched in terms that suggest God's direction.
Just as the world follows after cleverly crafted words and philanthropic endeavors that promise the betterment of mankind, so the Church follows after clever but deceitful applications of Scripture and "good works" that promise the advancement of the Kingdom of God. One weapon utilized in this deception is semantics - changes in the significance of words.
In the political world, semantics have been cleverly utilized to condition people into associating specific meanings to words that, in their proper understanding, are opposite to the conditioned meanings.
Take the word "fascist" for example. In the United States today leftist propagandists apply the name to constitutional conservatives - people (believers in Christ or not) who abhor socialist-oriented governmental programs, and wish a return to the limited federal government envisioned and instituted by the founders through the Constitution. While leftists readily accept that communism is on the "left," they also insist that fascism is on the "right." In truth, however, there is little difference between the two.
The reason communism regards all opposition as fascism is historically found in the struggle in Germany between Hitler's fascist National Socialist Party (Nazism) and Bolshevism imported from Russia. Ever since that time, Communists and their socialist sympathizers have lumped all opposition under the single derogatory term "fascist." The sympathetic media continue to propagate that falsity while applying the term "liberal" to the true fascists.
There are many other examples, but this serves to illustrate how people are easily led to believe that something is the opposite of what it really is.
In the churches today there are popular voices that are using Christian terms to mask an agenda of global, ecumenical dimensions. The goal is to enlist the support of the majority of those who call themselves Christians in order to advance that agenda under the name of "world evangelization" - a term originally coined by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in 1974.
World evangelization forms the basis of what has come to be called "the World Christian Movement." The goal of the World Christian Movement is to evangelize the world by A.D. 2000 through social and political action based on a mandate to alleviate the world of its suffering.
Getting to the truth has led us through a labyrinth of study that has revealed some of the most unlikely alliances. At the forefront of the Movement are some of the most respected leaders and organizations involved in evangelism.
Yet I believe that many of those involved do not understand the full implication of the work to which they have given their allegiance.
Therefore, I must say that not everyone involved in world evangelization- even among the leadership-is a deceiver. Many, if not most, especially at the grass roots level of the Movement, are brethren in Christ who are working in the field of missions to lead individual souls to saving faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot but recognize the selfless efforts on the part of those who minister both the Gospel and comfort to the lost out of love for all men.
Yet just as most Americans are unsuspecting pawns in the scheme of international politics, so most Christians are being used to further the global religio-political agenda of organizations promoting world evangelization.
I only ask that the reader reserve judgment until he has had an opportunity to see and understand all the facts. The journey to discovery will not only explain a lot of mysteries as to why certain things are as they are, but will be a liberating experience for those who are willing to place Jesus Christ and His Word above the political and religious aspirations of the Christian media personalities they have come to love and admire.
U.S. CENTER FOR WORLD MISSION
The World Christian Movement is not a single organization, but rather a network of organizations working toward the same goal. They use many of the same resources and incorporate the same buzzwords to define and implement their mission.
Acting as a hub for these organizations is the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM) in Pasadena, California, founded by Ralph D. Winter. (A list of some of the organizations working in concert with the U.S. Center for World Mission, or utilizing world evangelization techniques, is found in the Appendix at the end of this article.)
Besides its headquarters in Pasadena, the U.S. Center for World Mission has regional offices in other cities in the USA, and sister centers in more than fifty countries, each doing all-purpose, behind the scenes mobilization for the Movement.1
The U.S. Center for World Mission has developed a training course for world evangelization entitled Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It is based on a compilation of messages gleaned from well-known Christian leaders. The Perspectives course is used as a training manual by hundreds of missions organizations. Because of its far-flung influence as the primary source of these organizations' missions philosophy, the course forms the basis for much of our research, and will be cited often.
Besides the Perspectives course, the USCWM has several far-reaching enterprises. Ralph Winter states:
The USCWM is the backer and promoter of not only the Perspectives materials and the original and largest of the Perspectives study networks, but its relatively small number of full-time mission mobilizers puts out the Global Prayer Digest, the Mission Frontiers bulletin, the Vision for the Nations curriculum, the Global Countdown videos, the WorldView Video series, the World Christian Foundations curriculum (used by various accredited colleges and seminaries), and through the William Carey Library distributes mission books from eighty publishers as well as publishing a number of its own.(2}
The extent of the USCWM's influence is great, yet the average believer has been aware only of its influence, not of its presence.
A HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT
Before we progress too far into the details of the World Christian Movement it is prudent that we address some history that has led to its formation. We will leave the World Christian Movement for the time being to focus on how world evangelization came about, and how it has managed to capture the minds of so many Christians. Keep in mind that while we will be dealing with personalities involved in the movement, we are not judging motives. In some cases motives may become apparent, and even the faith of some may become suspect. But we will leave judgment of the heart to God
The historical highlights that follow are not arbitrarily cited, but are found in the movement's own histories.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century missions were conducted by denominations and individual churches with a vision to take the Gospel to heathen lands. Those going to the mission field took advantage of colonial expansion of Western nations in order to establish footholds in those lands. At the same time, the colonial powers saw the missionaries as allies in their attempts to civilize the peoples over whom they established their rule. The former were, for the most part, altruistic in their efforts; the latter, though offering some betterment in living conditions for less developed peoples, had as their primary motive financial profit. Thus, some engaged in unspeakable atrocities including genocide and slavery. The churches were either powerless to oppose those powers, or many chose to remain silent, seeking to provide spiritual blessings even if they could not provide hope for this world.
As the colonial powers began to lose their grip in some lands, missionary efforts began to wane also. Even so, some remarkable accomplishments adorn the history of missions, although it is not our purpose to go into detail.
At the turn of the century, notable Christian leaders such as D.L. Moody and A.T. Pearson, put forth the challenge to evangelize the entire world by the year A.D. 1900. Their appeal was not only to churches, but to youth on college campuses. Recognizing the energy and idealism of youth, they sought to mobilize them into an army of missionaries that would be willing to sacrifice their lives for missions.
Even before Moody, Pearson, et al put out their call to youth, campus movements had been active in missions for some 75 years, even at the turn of the eighteenth century.
The Student Volunteer Movement
In 1806, five students at Williams College in Massachusetts met in secret to study Scripture, confess their sins, and pray for revival on their campus. Ordinarily they met under the branches of a large maple tree under cover of night in order to avoid ridicule from the students and faculty steeped in the academic skepticism of the day.
On this particular night a thunderstorm drove them into a barn where, huddled under a haystack, they resolved that a Great Awakening should take place upon America's campuses. According to Christian historians, the Spirit of God moved upon campuses to sweep away the entrenched atheism and skepticism that fueled academia. Yet, as with all "Great Awakenings," the results were short-lived, and the campuses again succumbed to humanistic philosophy.
In 1882, D.L. Moody spoke at Cambridge University in England. Out of that meeting seven students responded to Moody's message on evangelism. Calling themselves the Cambridge Seven, they connected with students at twenty state universities in the United States who had also been fellowshipping together on their respective campuses.
A few years later, in 1886, D.L. Moody and A.T. Pearson spoke to 250 college students, igniting in them the desire to serve in foreign missions. One hundred of those students signed pledge cards to involve themselves in foreign missions. Eventually, some 100,000 college students committed to working in foreign missions to "win the world for Christ."
By the 1890s the Student Volunteer Movement (SVM) had developed as the forerunner for other well-organized groups such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Student Mission Association. The leaders of the SVM had as their slogan "The evangelization of the world in this generation."
Out of the legacy of the Student Volunteer Movement came five people of prominence whose influence would impact the modern world of evangelism. The first of these five was a woman whose influence over the other four would set the course for today's youth movement for world evangelization.
Dr. Henrietta Mears was raised under the ministry of W. D. Riley, a Baptist pastor from Minneapolis. In 1928, she left there to become Director of Christian Education at Hollywood First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, California. While there she founded Forest Home Christian Conference Center in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. She also founded Gospel Light Press, which became Gospel Light Publishing, a division of which is Regal Books.
Mears became famous for developing Sunday School curricula, much of which is still in use today. Among her admirers she was dubbed "Mother of Sunday School." Her methods, revolutionary at the time, included the use of pictures to portray Bible stories, and the assignment of students into grades.
In a Christianity Today article for September, 1996, Henrietta Mears is called "The Grandmother The writer, Wendy Murray Zoba, tells of the influence Mears has had over the lives of millions of Christians through her Sunday school curricula:
Henrietta Mears has been called the "mother of Sunday school." Her revolutionary teaching methods (adding lively pictures and implementing grade levels) changed the landscape of Christian education in her day, and her imprimatur remains on today's models for curriculum. But I like to think of her more as the "grandmother" of modern evangelicalism. Her vision for the Christian life inspired a generation of young leaders who, in turn, inspired my generation.3
Mears was a stickler for planning. Her approach to Sunday school was a no-nonsense, well-oiled program that assured success at least in terms of numbers. Her zeal for missions was tempered by the belief that she could accomplish more for the Kingdom of God by training others than if she went herself.
Born to wealthy parents in Fargo, North Dakota, October 23, 1890, Henrietta exhibited at an early age a remarkable intelligence and a desire to know God. At age 11 she taught her first Sunday school class to beginners at the Berean Mission in Minneapolis. She became a student of Bible, earned a degree in chemistry, and was a teacher and principle in public school systems as a young woman. Her teaching methods were used to a great extent in formulating her revolutionary approach to Sunday school.
As a senior in high school, Mears was first filled with l for missions while attending a series of meetings on the subject in her church.
While studying at the University of Minnesota, she started a Bible class for university women, and was the sole teacher. After graduating in 1913, Mears took her first public teaching position in Beardsley, Minnesota, a small town of only 850 citizens. There she served as both chemistry teacher and principal, with speech and dramatics on the side. She also taught a Bible class at the local Methodist church, as well as one for the school football team. Her influence upon the youth of Beardsley preciated across religious lines.
Before Henrietta's year in Beardsley was to end, a Catholic priest called on her to thank her for the amazing changes she was bringing about in the lives of the town's young people and to express the gratitude of the community. They subsequently had many long, interesting talks together on spiritual matters.4
From Beardsley, Mears went to North Branch, Minnesota, where she again served the local high school as both chemistry teacher and principal, then on to Minneapolis where she taught mathematics and chemistry at Central High School.
In 1927, Mears took a sabbatical from teaching in order to seek God's will for her life. With her sister Margaret, she went to Europe for a time, then decided to winter in California. Having met Dr. Stewart P. MacLennan, pastor of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church, when he preached at their home church in Minneapolis, the two sisters decided to call upon him while there. MacLennon was delighted to see them and invited Henrietta to speak on several occasions. He then offered Henrietta the position of Director of Christian Education, which she accepted.
At the time, enrollment in Sunday school classes was 450 people. In two and a half years, the enrollment grew to 4,200.
While serving as Director of Christian Education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, Mears set out to publish her Sunday school curricula for the use of her staff. Eventually, due to the demand from other churches for her materials, she founded Gospel Light Press.
More than anything, Mears's talent was in organization. Her pragmatic approach to education spilled over into her duties as Director of Christian Education. Her pragmatism is evident in these words:
The work of the director of Christian education is too often thought of in terms of output or activity. It is to be admitted that productivity is the logical end for which a director is secured by a church, and it is toward this end that he must apply himself. This cannot, however, be measured by volume of action. It is accomplished only through purposeful action. Only that which is directed toward definite goals, which in turn are founded on sound educational philosophy, can be ultimately meaningful. The principles must always precede the activities.5
What Mears said, of course, is true in practical terms. But it is only sometimes true in God's terms. Human wisdom seeks organization, and sometimes God uses learned skills for His purpose. But what has organization done for the spiritual welfare of the Church at large? If organization is the answer to spiritual benefit, then the churches in America should be among the most spiritually mature. In fact, Roman Catholicism and Mormonism are the most well organized religions in the world. Yet in the churches suffering without organization in countries where they are persecuted, the faith is more vibrant and alive. It is God's Word, not organization, that wins souls and, with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, guides the believer to spiritual maturity.
So convinced was Mears that educational expertise was essential to organizing Sunday school, one of her considerations for teaching positions was whether or not one was a teacher in the school system. She reasoned that if one had teaching skills, one should be able to teach the Bible better:
Because Henrietta believed that God deserved only the best we can give Him, and because the best teachers are trained teachers, she kept an eye out for the public school professionals in her church, always assessing their potential for service in her Sunday School. Consequently, some of her most gifted associates were instructors, principals and counselors in the Los Angeles city school system.
But being realistic, Henrietta knew she could not expect that the public schools through her church would supply her with all the trained teachers she would need for her continually growing Sunday School. So the training of teachers became one of the great compulsions of her life. And knowing what made a good teacher, she determined to translate the knowledge she had gained herself through public school teaching into the life of her Sunday School, so that her teachers might be adequately prepared for their tasks.6
We do not fault Henrietta Mears for her position on organization and insistence upon trained staff; she learned it from organized religion. Still, the contradictory nature of her work is found in this description of her convictions:
Henrietta also insisted rightly that Christian education worthy of the name must be Christian. And being Christian meant that every lesson must honor Christ. And that, in turn, meant that every teacher must be faithful to the Bible. "Christian education recognizes the inspired Word of God," she would say, "not only as its text and the sum of its message, but also as the source of the principles by which successful Christian education must be carried on."7
If one is to insist upon ministry in conformity with God's Word, one must be willing to resist the urging of one's own desires as well as the urging others to take on a ministry contrary to His Word. That Mears took authority even over the elders of her church in directing their chores in Sunday school as well as teaching men herself, is evidence that she did not adhere to the Word of God in her own work.
The results of this unbiblical position, regardless of the numbers of adherents to her work, and regardless of the fame to which several of her disciples have attained, will, as we shall see, ultimately lead to spiritual error manifesting in the churches affected by her disciples.
Interestingly, Mears believed that the position of preacher is for men only. Her work was to teach men to be preachers. And the following excerpt from her biography attests to her influence over men:
Legion are the individuals who found Christ under Henrietta Mears' ministry, who entered into the highly charged atmosphere of dedication and service that she created at Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church and who went on to serve in positions of Christian leadership all around the world. They preach from hundreds of pulpits, serve in schools, speak over radio and television, lead choirs, direct Sunday Schools and work on dozens of campuses. Their feet have trod on European streets, in African jungles, on South America's high mountain ranges, in the sweltering cities of India and in all parts of the globe.
Most important of all, they are reproducing their kind wherever they go, for they learned from their beloved Teacher that the true disciple trains other disciples to take his place. The combined ministries of her spiritual children extend far beyond what she did in Hollywood, continuing to the present.8
There is no question that Mears's work has touched hundreds of thousands of lives directly, and perhaps millions indirectly. Consequently, she is at the heart of the subject with which we are dealing, and this is why we are going into so much depth on this biographical sketch.
No doubt many of those whose lives she has touched have had true conversions to the Faith. Nor should we judge Henrietta Mears's heart; she truly desired to serve God. But those who directed her early years into unbiblical ministry are ultimately responsible for whatever errors have resulted.
In today's churches it would be blasphemy to question the use of Sunday school, breaking up the family according to age and/or grades. But organized religion seldom sees the biblical model, which is for the elders to teach the men, and the men to teach their wives and children. Modern churches are too "enlightened" to follow that patriarchal system.
We hate to burst religious leaders' bubbles, but Christian education is not God's design. As I said, His design is for the elders of the assemblies to disciple the fathers, and for the fathers to disciple and educate their wives and children. Were they to do so, the end result would ultimately honor God, as would the elements of the progression to that end result.
But in most churches the elders (if they exist in some churches at all) do not disciple the fathers. The fathers, then, fail to disciple their families. All have forsaken their God-ordained duties. What recourse is left but for the churches to usurp the fathers' authority in spiritual upbringing by substituting their spiritual authority with that of Sunday school teachers, often young girls
The churches have created the problem, and then they offer the fix. Only the fix isn't God's fix; it's religion's fix.
Today we have women's ministries to teach women the Bible, and we have Sunday school to teach the children, but little if any biblical discipleship for men.
Can the end result really honor God, even if, in the process, individual lives are touched by the Holy Spirit Who will honor God's Word no matter who speaks it? No, the end result will be corruption-unbiblical applications of God's Word by people who mistakenly think they are serving God.
No one may question Henrietta Mears's devotion to her work, but had she obeyed God's Word, she would never have taken authority over men in any degree. Because she did not submit to God's Word, her influence, though well-meaning, has today resulted in a misguided religiosity.
Mears also founded Forest Home Christian Conference Center in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. She was not always the pragmatist, sometimes relying upon feelings or subjective applications of Scripture sought for guidance, not always considering the context. When trying to decide whether or not she should pursue the purchase of Forest
Home, her answer came to her in the following fashion:
The following days were spent in seeking divine confirmation. Henrietta finally received it when she read the Lord's promise to Joshua: "Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, into the land which I do give to them... Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you" (Josh. 1:2-3).
In these words, she found her answer and the assurance of the seal of God's approval.9
Almost from the beginning Forest Home Christian Conference Center was a success. Today it is world renowned for its teaching conferences, and many well-known leaders in Christianity have learned and taught there. It was at Forest Home that Mears's greatest influence in the lives of certain men of renown came to fruition.
Mears became famous for her preaching at the Forest Home Christian Conference Center to thousands of youth in the 1930s. These youth came from virtually every denomination. They were instilled with Mears's vision for "the Cause of Christ" and took that vision back to their churches.
Mears's fame was aided by a close friend, Charles E. Fuller, the second person in the association that would impact today's evangelization efforts. Fuller promoted Mears and her Forest Home conferences on his worldwide radio broadcast of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour. Dedicated to praying for revival, Fuller would announce conferences to which his listeners could go in order to work toward revival.
Mears's greatest impact upon the churches came through Forest Home Christian Conference Center during the rise of neo-evangelicalism, when the organized churches began melding the Gospel with the need for socio-political action. The desire to "win the world for Christ" burned in Henrietta Mears's heart. And that burning was not lost on her disciples.
The Fellowship of the Burning Heart
Henrietta Mears was completely sold out to what she called "the Cause of Christ." By "the Cause of Christ." she meant winning the world to Christ and establishing Christianity as the guiding force in society through evangelization of the world.
Mears established the Fellowship of the Burning Heart, wherein she encouraged her students to be willing to die for "the Cause of Christ." She laid her hands on them to receive her mantle. Thus they received within themselves a "burning heart."
The third person within the association at that time was Harold Ockenka, President of Gordon College and pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. Ockenga was instrumental in forming the National Association of Evangelicals (N.A.E.). As a very close friend of Charles Fuller, he met with Fuller in Chicago to assist him in developing the plan for Fuller Evangelical Seminary. As a result, Ockenga became the first President of Fuller Evangelical Seminary. Both taught the young people at Mears's Forest Home Christian Conference Center.
J. Edwin Orr, Professor at University, had experienced sweeping revival in Norway in the 1930s. He wrote many books and traveled to hundreds of universities and colleges all over the world as an expert in awakenings. In fact, in 1948 he earned a doctorate in "Awakenings" at Oxford. As the fourth person in the association he, too, spoke at Forest Home Christian Conference Center. It was his rule that he would only speak where there was an ecumenical representation-a diversity of youth from all denominations.
Armin Gesswein also experienced the Norway revival in the 30s. Upon arriving in the United States after his tour there, he stayed with Orr for a month.
Gesswein started Pacific Palisades Conferences, out of which came Prayer Revival Fellowship. The purpose was to get pastors together to pray for their cities. Eventually Prayer Revival Fellowships were started in every U.S. city, as well as globally. These precipitated today's ecumenical prayer breakfasts. 10
These five-Mears, Fuller, Ockenga, Orr and Gesswein-worked together closely to establish ecumenical campus movements. As stated before, we cannot judge the faith or the motives of these people. Many have zeal without knowledge - or with misguided understanding- much as Peter did before Pentecost. Whatever these people's motives, what they started has developed into something that portends a global religio-political agenda operating within the framework of a loose form of ecumenical unity. This, too, will become evident as we progress.
Accepted Anointed Evangelists
In June, 1946, Henrietta Mears, as was customary, preached "the Cause of Christ" to the young people at Forest Home. Among those who attended the teacher's conference at Forest Home one day were Richard C. Halverson, who, at the time, was the assistant pastor of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church. Louis H. Evans, Jr., the succeeding pastor's son, was also there, as were John L. Franck and William R.(Bill) Bright. Bright had become a Christian only four months previous to this time. After Mears's message, these four, along with some of the youth, asked Mears if they could go to her cabin with her to pray. That prayer session continued through the night.
In Dream Big.' The Henrietta Mears Story, a biography of Mears, the prayer meeting is described as follows:
As they knelt together, they were overcome by a sense of helplessness and inadequacy. They prayed on into the late hours of the night with much weeping and crying out to the Lord, confessing sin, asking God for guidance and seeking the reality and power of the Holy Spirit. At times no one prayed as God spoke to them.
Then, the fire from heaven fell, for God answered their prayer with a very real vision. Before them, they saw the college campuses of the world, teeming with unsaved students who held in their hands the power to change the world. Yes, the college campuses-they were the key to world leadership, to world revival.
Theirs was a world to conquer for Christ, and the time for conquest was now!11
Mears and her charges saw the college campuses as the key to world revival. In order to accomplish this, it would be necessary to anoint "accepted evangelists"-men and women who had Mears's vision to "win the world to Christ."12 The following are just a few of the many well-known and influential leaders she touched.
Campus Crusade For Christ
After laying hands on Bill Bright to impart to him her mantle, and receive him into the Fellowship of the Burning Heart, Mears took Bright and his wife Vonette into her home. There they lived for eleven years, being groomed for leadership. It was in Mears's living room that Campus Crusade for Christ was born. All the converts from Campus Crusade for Christ, as well as other youth groups-the Navigators, Young Life, Youth for Christ, and other streams -are trained in the ecumenical doctrine and sent back into their churches to influence them for world evangelization.
Jim Rayburn, director of Young Life, was also impacted by Mears:
"As a young man just out of college, and beginning to work among young people, I heard of Henrietta Mears' ministry at Hollywood Presbyterian Church and particularly at Forest Home... .1 tried to incorporate into my work everything I heard about her way of doing things.... she has had a great deal to do with shaping the progress and ministry of the Young Life Campaign. 13
A Senate Chaplain
Richard Halverson, also a member of the Fellowship of the Burning Heart, became chaplain of the U.S. Senate, and a counselor and confidant to the senators of our nation.
At his funeral, several testified of his influence in the Senate. Halverson was responsible for the Senate declaring a National Day of Prayer through the National Prayer Initiative.
The Hollywood Group
Other organizations were begun in Mears's living room, such as Louis Evans, Jr.'s Hollywood Group, described in Mears's biography:
After the conference of 1947, the exuberant young people returned to tell their friends of what had taken place on the mountaintop. Louis Evans, Jr. shared his experiences with Colleen Townsend, a young starlet he was dating. A Mormon by choice, she had completed a year and a half at Brigham Young University in Utah when discovered by Hollywood scouts and catapulted into the dazzling heights of stardom. 14
We are told that Townsend dedicated her life to Christ as a result, and we assume she renounced Mormonism, although this is not stated. Mears's biography continues:
Other Hollywood personalities were also being influenced by the effects of the revival. Among them were Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Tim Spencer and Connie Haines. Henrietta had long sought how to reach the stars behind the celluloid curtain for Christ, and now the Spirit was bringing them to her. At one time, some of these Christian celebrities met in her cabin at Forest Home to pray for guidance as to how they could win their friends in the film industry to the Lord.15
Due to the celebrity status of its members, the Hollywood Group eschewed meeting in churches in favor of private homes.
Since Henrietta and Margaret had a home that compared favorably with those of the Hollywood great, and since it was located in the middle of the stars' estates, the decision was made to begin weekly meetings there. 16
Among the more notable things that transpired under the auspices of Henrietta Mears's work was her influence upon Billy Graham. According to Graham, Mears was, next to his mother and his wife Ruth, the one woman who impacted his ministry the most:
Dr. Henrietta Mears.. has had a remarkable influence both directly and indirectly, on my life. In fact, I doubt if any other woman outside of my wife and mother has had such a marked influence. Her gracious spirit, her devotional life, her steadfastness for the simple gospel, and her knowledge of the Bible have been a continual inspiration and amazement to me. She is certainly one of the greatest Christians I have ever known! 17
D.R. Riley, Henrietta Mears's pastor in Minneapolis, and later President of Northwestern Schools, envisioned that his mantle was to be passed on to Billy Graham just as Elijah's passed to Elisha. Graham at first balked at accepting Riley's impartation. Near death, Riley called for Graham. There Graham accepted his mantle.18
Thus, Graham was named acting President of Northwestern Schools. At the same time, he was teaching at Forest Home Christian Conference Center. There, one evening, J. Edwin Orr met with Graham and was persuaded that Graham had, indeed, received Riley's mantle. Orr then laid hands on Graham to receive his mantle. Thus, Graham became an accepted, anointed evangelist along with Bill Bright and Richard Halverson, all members of the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.
While Bright was able to start with a ready-made network of college campus meetings, Graham went into every major city under the auspices of Armin Gesswein's prayer meetings. Almost from the beginning, Graham would not accept any invitation to preach where ecumenical representation-including Roman Catholic clergy-was not present. That is still his policy today.
Fuller Theological Seminary
Many Christian colleges and universities have been influenced by the World Christian Movement. The most active is Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Fuller actually has three schools within the same campus: the School of Theology; the School of Psychology; and the School of World Missions.
The School of Theology
Fuller's School of Theology, although originally somewhat fundamentalist, has gradually adopted a more mystical approach. Through the influence of C. Peter Wagner and his prodigy on church growth, the late John Wimber, there has been a leaning toward signs and wonders as an essential aspect of evangelism. Wimber taught a course entitled MC:510, which sought to train students in practicing signs and wonders. Inevitably, the supernatural doctrines of the Manifested Sons of God - sinless perfection, spiritual power, restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, and dominion theology- crept into the course. Wimber is on record as stating that he had achieved the stage of going for long periods of time without sinning. 19
The School of Psychology
Fuller's School of Psychology blends secular psychological theory with Christian elements of counseling. The School of Psychology promotes the study of psycho-neural linguistics- the use of symbolic language as a means of persuasion. The concept of symbolic language is readily found in the New Age Movement. And psycho-neural linguistics is the basis for contextualization of the Gospel-the new missionary efforts promoted by Fuller and by the World Christian Movement.
The School of Missions
In the process of mobilizing for world evangelization, the staff of Fuller School of World Missions went to Korea in 1995 to learn about the cell church movement from David (nee Paul) Yongi Cho. The purpose was to learn how to plant churches in the same fashion and thus contribute to church growth.
* * *
Truly Henrietta Mears's influence has been wide spread. Today's youth evangelism movement is an outgrowth of her work, and is the motivating force behind the World Christian Movement.
All are working to present a united front against the evils of the world. They believe that without the unity of all who name the name of Christ-regardless of doctrine or practice - there is no power over the evil forces within the city or nation. Unity is where their power comes from. The first step to evangelizing the nation and, eventually the world, is evangelizing the cities. At the heart of the Movement, again, is the U.S. Center on World Mission's Perspectives Course. Therein we will find the goals and beliefs of the Movement's leaders.
THE PERSPECTIVES COURSE
In Mission Frontiers Bulletin, the official magazine of the U.S. Center for World Mission, Billy Graham says of the Perspectives course:
There is no volume of which I know that will inform, inspire, and motivate Christians for world evangelization like the Perspectives course. 20
As of January, 1994, when Graham made this statement, over 22,000 people had completed the Perspectives study program.21
The Study Guide for Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is the textbook for the World Christian Movement. The Study Guide presents outlines on its messages, and for course material refers the student to the Reader for Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The Reader is nearly 1,000 pages in length. In it are found the messages about missions by notable Christian leaders. Most are involved in the Movement, some are historical leaders who have passed on.
Because the Reader is an eclectic mix of many writers from different religious persuasions, some of the messages are truly inspiring, convicting and solid their theology. It is not these with which we are concerned, but those that depart from sound doctrine and/or lead the student away from true service to Christ. In truth, the Perspectives course contains a good deal of conflicting material. Some, for instance, state that the saving of souls through the preaching of the Gospel is the fullness of the Great Commission. Others -. those who seem to be adopted by the Movement as evidenced in its leaders' statements and plans of action-insist that social and political action is as much a part of the Great Commission as is preaching the Gospel. This is one of several critical issues which we will be addressing.
As we address those areas of concern, we must also state that we are well aware that the World Christian Movement is having an impact upon souls. But the credit for that impact must be given to those individual missionaries who are remaining true to the Word of God, and are working to save souls. The glory, of course, must go to God Who will honor His Word no matter who speaks it, and no matter the motive behind the speaking.
Evangelism vs. Evangelization
In the Perspectives course we find a distinction between evangelism and evangelization. The distinction is consistent with that of the first International Congress on World Evangelization which came out of the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization in 1974.
Evangelism, of course, is a legitimate name and a legitimate endeavor It is the work of the Church to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to bring souls into the Kingdom of God True evangelism follows the spreading of the pure Gospel with the planting churches and the discipling of believers that will guard the biblical truths and practices vital to sustaining a viable relationship between individual believers and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Evangelization is the term used by the global, ecumenical World Christian Movement to gain the support of churches throughout the world. It denotes the "Christianizing" of all a world's "people groups" by means a work that combines social and political action as equal elements with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To the average Christian there is no distinction between evangelism and evangelization. But to the World Christian Movement there is a distinction. Essentially, that distinction is that evangelism involves the saving of souls, while evangelization means the saving of whole nations or "people groups spiritually and temporally through political and social action.
A major obstacle to understanding the true motives and goals of the World Christian Movement is the inability to discern this distinction. That such a distinction exists is openly acknowledged by the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization, from which the World Christian Movement has sprung. In an interview prior to the first International Congress on World Evangelization, Bishop A. Jack Dam of the Anglican Church in Sydney, Australia, who served as Executive Chairman of ICOWE, stated:
Lausanne is a Congress on evangelization, not a Congress on evangelism. [The World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, held in 1966] was the first of many congresses on evangelism. But I think now the present thought in the minds of many leaders around the world is that we need not only to think of evangelism, that is, the proclamation of the Gospel, but the whole task given to us by the risen Christ. This, I think more aptly, is called evangelization.22
The Lausanne Covenant, formulated at the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland, July, 1974, set the course for the agenda of the World Christian Movement. Article 5 of the Covenant states:
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share the concern for Justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men from every kind of oppression. Because mankind is made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with man is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and sociopolitical involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbor and our obedience to Jesus Christ.23 (Emphasis ours)
Affirming that the task of world evangelization involves not only the preaching of the Gospel, but social and political action to right the wrongs in the world, Dr. Billy Graham, Honorary Chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, summed it up this way:
Since the Lausanne Congress in 1974, Christians increasingly have been called upon to provide leadership in areas where they were a small minority or almost did not exist before. Evangelism has taken on a new meaning. It is a time of great opportunity, but also a time of great responsibility. We are stewards of our Christian heritage. We must evangelize at all costs where there is yet time. World problems of poverty, overpopulation and the threat of nuclear war mount by the hour. The world is in desperate need of the gospel, now!24
If we start from a wrong premise, we are sure to arrive at a wrong conclusion. In this case, Graham, stating that evangelism has "taken on a new meaning," infers that as Christians we have a mandate to infuse into our evangelistic efforts certain actions designed to stem the tide of human suffering (including the threat of nuclear war!). But human suffering is part and parcel of the fall of man. God uses and even causes human suffering in order to accomplish His act of redemption. In order for the Gospel to have the effect desired by Graham and the International Committee on World Evangelization, not only would true faith in Christ have to permeate virtually every individual on earth - certainly the greatest share of the world system's leadership - sinless perfection would have to characterize everyone's lives.
Considering Jesus' words that few would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and that we are destined for tribulation from the world system because it hates Him, where in His Word do we find the "whole task" of solving the world's problems?
On the contrary, Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11).
Does this mean that we should turn away from those in true need? Of course not. But while we may help individuals in need, we have not received a mandate to eradicate poverty from the earth, any more than we have received a mandate to solve the problem of overpopulation or the proliferation of nuclear weapons. These are personal agendas being foisted upon the Church as a whole by social activists. They are not part of the Great Commission.
There are enough causes to go around many times over. To require socio-political action as a mandate is to steer the Church in a direction not intended by Christ.
So pervasive has the Lausanne Covenant become among the vast majority of Evangelical churches that a Christianity Today article has stated, "The unifying question has quickly become: 'Do you subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant?"'
Our question is, "Are we to be united in Christ, or united in the Lausanne Covenant that forms the basis for the World Christian Movement?"
And why is evangelization called a movement?" The word movement connotes an organized effort by man with an agenda and a plan of action to meet that agenda. Proper evangelism is not a movement; it is a work of the Holy Spirit upon individuals to minister the Gospel to others.
But the World Christian Movement requires that a new meaning be applied to the term evangelism, which meaning encompasses social and political action. Yet it does recognize that evangelism is not, in itself, socio-political action, Thus, a new word has been coined to encompass both evangelism and socio-political action: "evangelization." We will see as we progress that evangelization is a "Christian movement" that manifests itself in any expression of Christianity, not in winning souls, but in maintaining a "Christian presence" among the world's unredeemed. Thus, Jesuit missions of the Roman Catholic Church are given equal standing with Evangelical Christian missions as valid expressions of "evangelization," This is why the term World Christian Movement is used to describe this new "move of God." It is a movement that includes, but is not limited to, the preaching of the Gospel.
Evangelization does include evangelism, but not exclusively, and not primarily to the unsaved in so-called Christianized nations. It promotes evangelism to "people groups" who have not heard about Jesus Christ, and then only in terms that can be understood within the cultural context of those people groups. This will be addressed later on. In the meantime, we must understand that personal evangelism-although a part of world evangelization is not the primary goal. Rather, the primary goal is the turning of whole people groups into Christianized organisms.
This is not to denigrate the aspirations of those involved in world evangelization - especially those who do not understand the true nature of its agenda, and are seeking to win souls to Christ. It is merely to delineate the distinction between what Christ commanded His Church, and what these people wish to force upon us as a mandate.
It is also to demonstrate the difference between biblical evangelism and man's plan for evangelization. Not everyone involved in the World Christian Movement is aware of that difference. Thus, we find that, in the Movement, the terms evangelism and evangelization are often used interchangeably.
A Simple Lifestyle Demanded
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization has published what it calls "Occasional Papers" which address the Committee's position on various issues related to its agenda. Occasional Paper #20 addresses "An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Life-style." In this Paper, Alan Nichols calls for a more equal distribution of wealth. We will quote several passages and address the author's position:
The 1980 Simple Life-style Consultation was one of the many consequences of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization 1974, at the end of which thousands of Evangelicals signed a Covenant which included this statement: "All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism." Thus, a primary motive in the Lausanne Covenant for developing a simple lifestyle was "the poverty of millions" and "the injustices which cause it."...
This issue was very prominent in the minds of the participants in the Simple Life-style Consultation in March 1980. While starting with the Bible, they were very conscious especially because of the presence of significant representatives of the poorer parts of the world-of the dramatic contrasts in both material standards of living and access to power which exist in the different countries of the world.
While recognizing that God still calls some to voluntary poverty, participants expressed the strong affirmation that involuntary poverty is an offense against the goodness [of) God, and added that it is related in the Bible to powerlessness, for the poor cannot protect themselves.25
No true believer in Christ would look upon those in poverty without compassion and a desire to alleviate whatever suffering is in their power to address. What the Lausanne Committee is requiring as our "Christian duty," as stated in Article 5 of the Lausanne Covenant, is that all believers in Christ deprive themselves of other than the basic necessities of life in order that their "wealth" may be redistributed.
This idealistic theory sounds magnanimous except for some pertinent truths:
1) Wealth is not static; it is created through industriousness and hard work. To take from those who have in order to give to those who do not have will only result in nobody having anything. It is a Marxist principle, not a biblical principle. It is to kill the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg! Scripture lauds those who work in order that they not be a burden to others.
2) Wealth is relative. Rulers in some countries do not enjoy the material benefits that the average citizen of the United States enjoys. Who is to say that one has too much? How much is too much?
3) Poverty is often due to government policies. The nations upon whom the Marxist-minded leaders in Christendom heap their condemnation have created their wealth through industriousness and hard work, True, there is some "exploitation" of the working class, if exploitation is seen as those implementing the ideas of industry receiving a disproportionate share of the income derived from the resources they sell. But kings of old would give their all to enjoy the benefits that the average person in a First World country enjoys as a result of that "exploitation."
Does this mean that Capitalism has no problems? Of course not. But it is the fascist leaders of industrial countries wishing to lavish the fruits of its citizens' labors upon political allies that has created the disparity in scale of living between nations. We could deprive ourselves of every possible amenity outside of a grass hut, grubs to eat and barely potable water to drink, and we would not alleviate one iota of the world's suffering poor. Administration costs for the World Christian Movement would suck up the initial offerings and leave nothing for the future As far as "redistributing the wealth through government, forget it. The wealth we give up in foreign aid through our taxes lands in the pockets of the rulers, not in the hands of the people. And that is true of socialist nations no less than in dictatorships.
It is true that the Lausanne Covenant recognizes the problem of governments Thus it calls upon Christians to suffer with the poor, and to take political and social action to "call upon rulers to fulfill their God-appointed role."26
Reality dictates that most rulers are not regenerate men; they couldn't care less about the poor. And this is why God's Word does not place upon the Church the burden of solving the world's problems.
However, we are commanded individual situations to help those who are the suffering, especially within the house hold of faith (Galatians 6:10).
4) Is it better to give to charity then to invest in enterprises that create wealth? The axiom that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish is true. They are misguided who deride the wealthy whose charitable giving of hundreds of millions of dollars is a small fraction of their worth. Were the wealthy of the world to give away their fortunes, millions of people would be out of jobs, and the benefits realized from their enterprises would vanish.
Let God judge the wealthy; and let God judge each believer for how we handle that with which He has blessed us.
But this is not the Lausanne view Rather, wealth is equated with greed:
Another of Jesus' sayings which to use Ronald Sider's phrase - is "largely ignored by rich Christians," is Matthew 19:23,24; "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
The corollary is clear, as the Apostle Paul taught (e.g., 1 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 5:5): namely that the greedy also will be excluded from the kingdom.27 (Emphasis ours)
Such a statement is inflammatory. It judges as greedy all who are rich in this world's goods. Yet it is wealthy Christians who give generously for the cause of the Kingdom. It is not wealth, but covetousness that is a sin. Covetousness has to do with desiring another person's possessions; it does not have to do with honest gain.
Greed, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to possess things. It may or may not involve covetousness toward another person's goods.
To work hard in order to provide for one's posterity is not greed. Scripture is full of examples of godly men who had wealth. But the Lausanne Committee conveniently omits Jesus' concluding words that, although it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, with God all things are possible. The Committee wants Christians to strip themselves of material possessions so that they can be given to those who do not have. Depending upon how the Holy Spirit works in individual hearts this may be God's will for some. Yet He often blesses His children with material blessings without such a demand. Or, He may demand it sometimes but not at other times.
Ralph D. Winter states that it is sin to be at ease with, and focusing attention on, one's family. The world is at war, and it is unconscionable for Christians to behave as if we were not in a war.
Bill Stearns, writing in Paraclete Magazine, relates a story from Don Rodgers, a staffer at USCWM who tells of a time when Winter came into his dorm room at Penn State in the mid-70s:
"He insisted on doing the dishes. And we couldn't get him a motel room or anything. He said, 'Oh, I'll just need a blanket and some space on the floor.' Then he stopped by my room to talk and looked in my closet: 'How many guys live in this room?' I told him two. 'Both use this same closet?'
"I couldn't tell what he was getting at," says Don. "I told him that the closet was just mine. 'How many feet do you have?' he asked. I shrugged, 'Two.' 'Then why do you have 8ix shoes in here?' It was my introduction to a 'wartime lifestyle.'!"28
Such guilt trips lie at the heart of the World Christian Movement. But why pick on a hapless student? How many pairs of shoes does Winter own? I doubt the answer would be one pair. And why not rather put a guilt trip on some of his contemporaries in the movement whose lifestyles are far above that of the average Christian?
Movements such as this rely upon a hierarchy of controllers-generals and others of high rank - who issue the orders to the masses of troops. The hierarchy may enjoy the privileges of rank, while the troops must content themselves with whatever scraps of pleasure the hierarchy allows them. But, then, how else could "God's generals" "win the world for Christ?" The troops must be deployed according to the strategies of those in command if the nations are to be subdued.
When religious leaders lay their personal demands upon all believers at all times it infringes upon our freedom in Christ and suggests that we cannot be led by His Spirit to do what is right. At the same time, those demands engender in those who don't have many material possessions, a covetousness which demands the taking from those who do have.
There is no more virtue in poverty than there is in wealth. In fact, there is probably more covetousness among the poor than among the wealthy. It is the condition of the heart that counts with God. And everyone, regardless of monetary standing, is greedy and covetous by nature. It appears as if the Lausanne Committee is quick to judge the hearts of those who have material possessions beyond what the Committee feels they should have.
Self-deprivation is fine if giving is from a heart of love. Paul's instructions on giving speak to this:
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity.- for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
It is as each purposes in his own heart that one should give, not out of coercion or guilt. And God is able, regardless of how much is given, to meet the needs of all men. That some are not able to have their needs met is largely the result of their not knowing God. And generally it is because of the policies of unregenerate rulers.
To place self-deprivation upon the Body of Christ as a mandate fueled by guilt is unconscionable. Yet this is what the Lausanne Committee does:
Our Christian obedience demands a simple life-style, irrespective of the needs of others. Nevertheless, the facts that 800 million people are destitute and that 10,000 die of starvation every day make any other lifestyle indefensible.29 (Emphasis ours)
If our Christian duty demands this of us, where is it clearly stated in God's Word? And how does the Committee define "simple life-style"? What is simple to one man is lavish to another. And note that this "demand" is "irrespective of the needs of others." In other words, even if there were no poor in the world, Christian obedience "demands" that God's people not enjoy anything beyond the basics needed to sustain life. If it allows for more than this, how much more? We are not told.
Yet how many of the leaders in this Movement are leading lifestyles far above those of their constituents? Listed among those attending the Lausanne Consultation are wealthy leaders in Christendom. I have not heard of any of them stripping themselves their own wealth to set an example!
The Cultural Mandate
In the Reader for Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, C. Peter Wagner, mentored by the late John Wimber, and so-called "expert" on church growth, calls social and political action "the cultural mandate" of the Gospel:
The cultural mandate, which some refer to as Christian social responsibility goes as far back as the Garden of Eden. After God created Adam and Eve, He said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing... -
Both the cultural mandate and the evangelistic mandate are essential parts of biblical mission, in my opinion. Neither is optional. There is a growing consensus on this point in Evangelical circles.
This was not true as early as twenty-two years ago when the Berlin World 'Congress on Evangelism was held in 1966. One of the first Evangelicals to stress the cultural mandate in a public forum was Horace Fenton of the Latin America Mission at the Wheaton Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission, also held in 1966. Following that, the social consciousness generated by the social upheavals of the 1960's brought the cultural mandate to prominence until it was given a relatively high profile on the platform of the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne in 1974.30
Mankind is in dominion over the earth, always has been, and always will be. But Wagner makes the assumption that God's instruction to Adam and Eve has not been accomplished because Christians are not in dominion over the earth. This argument is presented by dominionists of every stripe, from Manifested Sons of God adherents to Christian Reconstructionists. (See my book, Vengeance is Ours: The Church in Dominion, for an in-depth analysis of 'Kingdom Now" or "dominion theology.")
The "cultural mandate," then, is the need for Christians to take dominion over the earth by means of social and political action. And, according to Wagner, it was inspired by the "social upheavals of the 1960's." So now we not only have hippies in the White House; they're in control of world missions, too!
Scripture tells us that God is over the nations and places in power those whom He chooses-men of base nature (Daniel 4:17).
Those who wish to change the world are in for a sore disappointment. They decry the awful condition of mankind, and feel that it is their duty to clean things up. They are with good reason horrified at the evil that is manifested today. And each generation perceives that evil as increasing.
The United States is especially marked for its sins. Cries abound that crime is epidemic, divorce is rampant, immorality pervades society, America's inner cities are filled with anger and hopelessness, our moral foundation is weakened.
But that is how it is in every city all over the world. The United States is still the most civil country on earth in spite of its many shortcomings. Yes, America is going to be judged for its sins, but so is every nation on earth.
Does this mean that we should not care? Of course not. But to decry the state of a fallen world for the purpose of mobilizing Christians in the hope of transforming that world is futile. Sin will continue to wax worse until Jesus Himself returns to judge the nations. And even then, during His righteous reign on the earth, many hearts will not bend to him even if the knees do bend out of fear or force.
Therefore, this berating of Christians is unfounded when directed at motivating them to action on behalf of these men's doomed efforts to "win the world for Christ." If the Church needs berating it is because we have ignored the Lord's command for holiness in lieu of seeking comfort through the world system, not because we have failed to conquer the world system.
The dominionist agenda of the World Christian Movement is evident in the following Perspectives article by Edward R. Dayton and David A. Fraser. Addressing the distinctions between those who stress the socio-political mandate over the evangelistic mandate and vice-versa, they find agreement with both:
Both sides have some areas of agreement. Both argue that a more humane and non-oppressive social order and a more just distribution of resources are important concerns of the Church... -
We are convinced that only a theology of the Kingdom of God can bring coherence and order to the debate. Jesus' proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom of God is the basis and content of mission. God is bringing about the extension of his rule over an unruly world. The Missio Dei is the Kingdom of God and the integrating aim of mission.31
Dayton and Fraser criticize the "traditionalists"-those who believe that the Gospel is the sole mandate while voluntarily involving themselves in relieving the suffering of those to whom they minister. At the same time, the authors affirm the dominionist mandate of Johannes Verkuyl:
The degree to which they [traditionalists] have stressed a personal-social salvation to the exclusion of the political-social dimensions of the Kingdom is the measure to which they have narrowed the nature of the Kingdom and made it less than what Jesus proclaimed.
Johannes Verkuyl is right in the way in which he sketches the various elements of mission as implicated in the Kingdom of God:
The Kingdom to which the Bible testifies involves a proclamation and a realization of a total salvation, one which covers the whole range of human needs and destroys every pocket of evil and grief affecting mankind. Kingdom in the New Testament has a breadth and scope which is unsurpassed, it embraces heaven as was earth, world history as well as whole cosmos.32
Did Jesus mandate that the Church destroy every pocket of evil and grief affecting mankind? Has He commanded His disciples to fight for the kingdoms of the world? This will, of course, be the result of the full reconciliation of God to His creation at the New Heavens and New Earth. But even during the millennial reign of Christ, evil will flourish in men's hearts, and grief will come upon those who are disobedient. The only way to destroy every pocket of evil is to destroy every man, woman and child upon the face of the earth! But blessed hope! Those who are in Christ when He returns will be resurrected and changed to sinless perfection (I Cor. 15:52). The best we can do now is lead souls to Christ and disciple them to be conformed to His image.
In their zeal to see the "Kingdom" come to fruition, Dayton and Fraser assign equal value to liberal, unbelieving "missions" with Gospel-proclaiming missions.
In the Foreword of the Perspectives Reader, Leighton Ford, Chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization states:
God is raising up a new army of Kingdom volunteers in our day.
Across every continent are emerging 'World Christians"-young women and men with world horizons, committed to "Exodus" lifestyles, possessed by the goal of discipling the nations to Jesus Christ the Lord.33
The "Exodus lifestyle" refers to the Israelites being prepared to leave Egypt with nothing but their staffs in their hands and their feet shod. This term, "Exodus lifestyle" is a buzzword of the World Christian Movement which suggests that Christians should not possess anything but the basics of life. The fact that the Egyptians gave the Israelites great spoils to take with them is not considered.
The term "discipling the nations," as used in the World Christian Movement, is a dominionist term that denotes the "Christianizing" of the nations. It is a convoluted meaning attributed to Jesus' command recorded in Matthew 28:19-20:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The dominionists teach that it is not only individuals that Christ wishes to convert, but entire nations or people groups. Their goal is to reinstitute the Old Testament Laws that God gave to Israel, and impose them upon the nations, thus "converting" the world to Jesus Christ. Why does the World Christian Movement use the same reference?
Their agenda is generally referenced in modern English versions of the Bible, most notably the New American Standard Version and the New International Version, which, in many churches, have superseded the King James Version. The NW renders Matthew 28:19-20 thus:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And 8urely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The NAS is similar:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The Greek rendered "teach" in the KJV, and "disciple" in the NAS and NW, is matheteou--to teach or disciple. It does not mean "to make disciples," which carries another connotation. To teach the nations meant to take the Gospel beyond Israel to the gentiles. It did not mean to make the nations, as entire ethnic groups, into disciples.
The first and proper understanding is to disciple individuals (whosoever 'win believe [John 3:16]) within the nations. The second understanding, held by dominionists, is to disciple the nations is whole people groups. This, of course, infers a political power which was never conferred upon the Church by Christ.
Within the World Christian Movement are those who promote the latter idea that the Church is mandated to make the nations, not individuals from within the nations, Christ's disciples. This is borne out in the language chosen by John R.W. Stott in his contribution to Perspectives:
... It was in consequence of his [Jesus'] universal authority that he commanded his followers to make all nations his disciples, baptizing them into his new community and teaching them all his teaching (Matt. 28: 19).34
Stott is Rector Emeritus of Ml Souls Church in London, President of Christian Impact, and an Extra Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. His credentials are extensive. He is known for his strong ecumenical position.
Michael de Semlyen, addressing the United Protestant Council on November 1, 1997, said of Stott:
It is well known that leading evangelicals including John Stott convinced themselves that there is no literal Hell. Now just a few years later the doctrine of eternal punishment has been "officially" abolished by the Synbod of the Church of England. Annihilationism is the reformulated doctrine of the Anglican Church - flying in the face of 2000 years of orthodoxy and the plain teaching of our Lord in Scripture.35
Stott is a contributor to the Perspectives course via his messages used in the Reader.
Ralph Winter, as do many involved in the new evangelization process, uses a term that betrays their ultimate objective. He states that there are practical evangelistic strategies which we must have if we are going to "win the world for Christ."36
Well, we are not going to "win the world for Christ." We were never commanded to "win the world for Christ." That is the dominionist agenda, not the Great Commission.
Scripture tells us that, when Jesus returns, the whole world will be united to wage war against Him. His question, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) reveals the apostate condition not only of the world, but of the churches.
Are we going to "win the world for Christ" only to lose it to Satan again? What, then, is the purpose of those "strategies" designed to "win the world for Christ"?
The purpose is to establish Christendom as the moral bully to force unregenerate men to act right, thus establishing a "moral and just" society in keeping with the philosophical tenets of the world's religions. Governments want moral citizens as well, since it best serves the governments' interests.
While all godly men would like to see a moral and just society, true believers trust in Christ to accomplish this when He returns. We do not trust men, no matter how pious their words.
The dominionist agenda presupposes an unbiblical end-time scenario: that the nations will be brought into submission to Christ before He returns. It also presupposes that the Lord's Body is huge and well-heeled. But what did Jesus say?
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8b)
For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matt 22:14)
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not in any wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Mission Frontier, the magazine for U.S. Center for World Mission, asked the question, 'Will the meek succeed in inheriting the world when throughout history violent men have failed?" The premise is that, indeed, God's people will inherit the earth, not when Christ returns, but before, through the World Christian Movement.
Yet to "succeed" implies an agenda and a concerted effort to fulfill that agenda. But the truly meek do not have an agenda; they trust in God to take vengeance for them upon those who abuse them. In the World Christian Movement the goal is not really to "inherit," but to "conquer."
The dominionist agenda does not end with social and political action. It also wars against demonic principalities and powers in order to destroy their strongholds over cities and nations.
The World Christian Movement has adopted the modern deliverance mode of spiritual warfare to a large degree. This involves a charismatic form of "spiritual warfare," confronting demonic powers through liturgical acts, prayer walks, demonstrations of spiritual power, signs and wonders, and other means. C. Peter Wagner's influence is evident in the Movement's approach in this direction.
One approach with which we find no fault is, of course, prayer. To pray for the Lord to open doors to minister the Gospel is scriptural, as pointed out by John D. Robb in the Perspectives Study Guide:
The Apostle Paul urged the Christians of his generation to "devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us too that God may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ" (Col. 4:2-4).37
But there is prayer, and there is prayer. Biblical prayer is based upon the desire to see the will of God done. It is not affectatious, and does not seek to manipulate God. The prayer of today's spiritual warfare movement, which is engaged in by many in the World Christian Movement, is liturgical. It involves railing against principalities and powers, which is forbidden by God's Word (2 Peter 2:11; Jude 1:9).
Much of what Robb says in his dissertation is biblical, yet he also presents as truth the spiritual warfare teachings of C. Peter Wagner:
Peter Wagner in a symposium on power evangelism at Fuller Seminary affirmed: "Satan delegates high-ranking members of the hierarchy of evil spirits to control nations, regions, cities, tribes, people groups, neighborhoods and other significant social networks of human beings throughout the world. Their major assignment is to prevent God from being glorified in their territory, which they do through directing the activity of lower-ranking demons."38
He also quotes Francis Frangipane who gained his understanding of spiritual powers as an apostle in the Manifested Sons of God movement:
There are satanic strongholds over countries and communities; there are strongholds which influence churches and individuals.... These fortresses exist in the thought patterns and ideas that govern individuals... as well as communities and nations. Before victory can be claimed, these strongholds must be pulled down, and Satan's armor removed. Then the mighty weapons of the Word and the Spirit can effectively plunder Satan's house.39
This teaching is based not on God's Word, but on a misapplication of His Word as seen from a dualistic perspective of the spirit realm. Those who hold this view of spiritual warfare, whether they realize it or not, are subscribing to the dualistic concept of equal (or almost equal) but opposing forces: God= Good, Light, Love, etc.; Satan=Bad, Darkness, Hate, etc. In Christian dualism (the heart of the word-faith and charismatic movements), God is more powerful than Satan, but Satan can do as he will unless God gets some help from mankind and/or His angels. To those who subscribe to these ideas, it is a matter of legality. God is powerless to confront Satan unless He can establish a legal precedent to do so.
At the heart of this thinking is the belief that man surrendered control over the earth in the Garden of Eden, placing it in the hands of Satan. Now God is on the outside looking in, and must be invited back by man once man has taken control back from Satan. It is man, not God, who must pull down the strongholds.
Granted, not all involved in this concept of spiritual warfare are aware of the implications and where they came from. But this Manifested Sons of God teaching is at the heart of the liturgical attempts to "bring down the strongholds."
Amazingly, C. Peter Wagner, a major proponent of this form of spiritual warfare, is not even sure that it's true:
It goes without saying that if this hypothesis concerning territorial spirits is correct, and if we could learn how to break their control through the power of God, positions on the resistance-receptivity axis could change virtually overnight.40
There are a couple of important concerns that arise from this statement.The first is the idea that we can break demonic control through the power of God. This implies that man can use the power of God. But no, we cannot use the power of God; we pray for God to use His power to accomplish His will.
The second is Wagner's uncertainty "if this hypothesis" is correct. Does this not question the validity of using such a method as an important aspect of world missions?
Remember now, we are not talking about praying for God's will concerning the lost; we are talking about spiritual warfare methodologies that are rooted in Manifested Sons of God theology. (For an explanation on Manifested Sons of God theology and occult roots, see my book, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church In Dominion.)
Scripture does call demonic forces principalities and powers. Yet it also reveals that God uses those powers to test the hearts of men. God's testing of Job, the evil spirit from God that tormented Saul, Paul's thorn in the flesh, are a few examples.
It is true that demonism is rampant in so-called primitive cultures where people live in fear of their "gods." But demonism is just as rampant in advanced civilization, as evidenced by the different "gods" worshipped there. It is also true that God may, at His discretion, use men to manifest His power over those "gods" through miracles But that is the exception rather than the rule, arid is always initiated by God, not by man.
Yes,Christ's true disciples have the victory over the enemy of our souls, and the evil one cannot touch us except by God's permission. Yet God tells His people that we should expect tribulation in this world, that the world would hate us, and that we must be on guard for our souls because Satan roams about seeking whom he may devour. But God's grace is sufficient for us.
His Word and His Spirit are not at our command; we are at His command. And He is not moved by our liturgical attempts to get Him to move in the manner we expect He wants to move Yet liturgy-involving corporate 'prayer' -is at the heart of the spiritual warfare attempts by many in the World Christian Movement.
CONTINUED IN PART TWO
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