A Voice in the
November 10, 1999
Quite an eye-opener! This is a very long file. You might wish to save
it to your computer for reading off-line.
Quite an eye-opener! This is a very long file. You might wish to save it to your computer for reading off-line.
VOLUME 22 - NUMBER 1 (Summer 1999)
THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT
EVANGELISM VS. EVANGELIZATION
By Albert James Dager
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?'
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.
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... -
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... -
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.
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.
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:
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,
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,
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)
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.
A vital part of the corporate prayer methodology of world evangelization is warfare language that uses militaristic terms to describe its strategy. Some examples: "Take it by force," "Gather the troops," "Call to warfare."
Militancy is at the heart of the Sentinel Group and the March for Jesus. It is essential to the modern concept of spiritual warfare.
In Confronting the Powers, C. Peter Wagner describes spiritual warfare as having three levels:
Ground Level: Person-to-person, praying for each other's personal needs.
Occult Level: deals with demonic forces released through activities related to Satanism, witchcraft, astrology and many other forms of structured occultism.
Strategic-Level or Cosmic-Level: To bind and bring down spiritual principalities and powers that rule over governments 41
The strategic warfare designed to bring down principalities and powers involves corporate prayer gatherings festooned with liturgical practices. Several nations have had such prayer gatherings to bring down the spiritual powers over them. They are led by Christian leaders from all over the world, affiliated with various organizations we have mentioned, such as InterVarsity Fellowship, Campus Crusade for Christ, YWAM, etc.
This is the new worship form for dominionism. There are gatherings for every nation, every city, every block, to take control of that area through spiritual warfare.
During national gatherings, flags of the nations are carried in procession to invoke God's power over the nations. Many of the participants wear ethnic clothing and play ethnic cultural music in order to show God that they are in unity. Unity is crucial to having the fire fall so that they can have the power to conquer the nations. When we are in unity then God will save our cities and cleanse our land.
The Gathering of the Nations
The Gathering of the Nations is a meeting designed to move God to take authority over the demonic forces of any nation in which a Gathering is held.
Wagner's terminology is used in claiming that the Gathering of the Nations is strategic level spiritual warfare over territorial spirits.
There have been several Gatherings, and they all operate on much the same theme and plan of action. It would be beyond the scope of this writing to address them all. An example is the Gathering of the Nations held at Whistler, British Columbia, June 28 to July 2,1995, hosted by Watchmen for the Nations.
According to Rich Carey, pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Blackfoot, Idaho, this Gathering was called prophetically by a "prophet" from Cairo, Egypt. The Scriptures he says God gave for the Gathering are Isaiah 66:18 and Zechariah 10:8. Said Carey:
It is safeguarded by four spiritual "fathers"-Pastor Bob Birch, Pastor Jim Watt, Dr. John White, and Peter Jordan of YWAM. The leadership of this gathering includes Dr. Mohsen Demian and Pastor Gideon Chiu, and worship leaders David Garrett, David Ruis and Brian Doerksen. Others involved include Bob Jones, Reuven Doren [both of Kansas City Fellowship notoriety], Melody Green Severight [Keith Green's widow who has squelched Keith's writings on Roman Catholicism], Alistair Petrie and John Dawson YWAM leader noted for his writings on "taking your city for Christ."]42
At this Gathering of the Nations the theme centered on American Indian and Hawaiian ethnicity. It was video taped by Crossroads Christian Communications, from 100 Huntley Street, headed by David Mains who was in attendance.43 The video reveals the following scenes from that Gathering:
A team from New Zealand, led by David Garrett of Scripture in Song, led much of the worship using log drums, an Australian didgeridoo, and conch shells. They taught the people how to do a "haka"-a dance-mime used by Maori warriors to build up their courage.
During one Hawaiian warfare chant a leader stripped off his shirt and beat his chest as a show of strength against the demonic powers.
Many did "carpet time," having been "slain in the spirit," while there could be heard groans, screams and shrieks, similar to those at the "Pensacola Outpouring."
Reuven Doren asked the nations to forgive the Jewish people for failing to be the light to the world and the priests to the nations. This is a reference to the Abrahamic Covenant, which we will be addressing shortly. Doren then blessed the native people in his role as priest to the nations.
Many confessed the generational sins of their ancestors, conflicts between races, sins of fathers toward their children, whites against other ethnic groups. One woman confessed the sin of having a poor image of herself. She then stated, "In the name of Jesus I release everyone here from bondage, from poor self-image. I set you free to love your parents and to love God your true Father and Mother!"
And no one corrected her.
No one can release anyone else from "bondage." And our heavenly Father never speaks of Himself as Father and Mother. What gives anyone the right to call Him other than what He calls Himself? This woman needs to repent of her radical feminism.
While a man played and sang Psalm 150 in a middle eastern language two women did a modified belly dance, sans costumes. (They did wear clothes.)
Another man played two saxophones at once, while people "tripped out."
On one occasion a woman took the microphone to thank God for the Catholic Church which she once hated. The Catholic Church, she said, brought her healing, and she asked that God would pour out a blessing on the Catholic Church.
In all, the Gathering was a hyper-charismatic display of unbridled emotion and unbiblical teaching passing itself off as spiritual warfare.
Another important element to this spiritual warfare is the blowing of the shofar-the ram's horn. At this gathering it was said, "When I blow the trumpet the veil into the heavenlies will break!" It was also stated that the shofar speaks "the wild voice of God"; if you listen you will hear God speaking.
The procession, blowing the shofar, corporate chanting, music, singing and ethnic cultural displays are said to be "prophetic acts." Performing these prophetic acts engages the people in "prophetic espionage."
At the conclusion, Gideon Chiu led the participants in prophetic works cleansing the land, cleansing the air and in identificational repentance.
The idea of identificational repentance is to stand in the gap as a substitute for a corporate people in order to nullify so-called "generational curses."
In essence, it is to identify oneself with a corporate group of people to confess that group's social sins ("m a white man who killed an Indian and stole his land). This is the basis of the Reconciliation Movement.
Identificational repentance, blowing of the shofar, and cleansing of the land were incorporated into the Promise Keepers Washington D.C. gathering, Standing in the Gap. (See our special reports on Promise Keepers.)
Space does not allow me to convey all that I witnessed on the video tape of the Whistler Gathering. Suffice to say that it was fraught with Manifested Sons of God false doctrine, erroneous, unbiblical attempts to manipulate God and free-for-all spiritual pandemonium.
For all this, the only dissimilarity between it and the Promise Keepers D.C. Gathering was that the latter was more reserved due to the need to not alarm the millions of rational people, believers and non-believers, who viewed it telecast live. But the same spiritual warfare elements could be seen in both.
Winning People Groups
It is the consensus of the World Christian Movement that, in order to win the nations to Christ, it is first necessary to win all people groups within the nations to Christ, not as individuals, but as whole people groups. Donald McGavran, whose essay, "The Bridges of God," appears in the Perspectives Reader, states:
Since the human family, except in the individualistic West. is largely made up of such castes, clans and peoples, the Christianization of each nation involves the prior Christianization of its various peoples as peoples.44
On one hand, McGavran seems to acknowledge that individuals must be won to Christ:
We wish to make this quite clear. The Christianization of peoples is not assisted by slighting or forgetting real personal conversion. There is no substitute for justification by faith in Jesus Christ or for the gift of the Holy Spirit.46
On the other hand, he takes this away with this statement:
It is important to note that the group decision is not the sum of separate individual decisions. The leader makes sure that his followers will follow. The followers make sure that they are not ahead of each other. Husbands sound out wives. Sons pledge their fathers (sic). "Will we as a group move if so-and-so does not come?" is a frequent question. As the group considers becoming Christian, tension mounts and excitement rises. Indeed, a prolonged informal vote-taking is under way. A change of religion involves a community change. Only as its members move together, does change become healthy and constructive 47
What McGavran is proposing is an appeal to a whole group to consider the practical advantages of becoming Christians. Where is the Holy Spirit in this? If so-and-so does not come, does that mean that the group will not be Christianized?
The following is a truly incredible piece of psychobabble:
Peoples become Christian as a wave of decision for Christ sweeps through the group mind, involving many individual decisions but being far more than merely their sum. This may be called a chain reaction. Each decision sets off others and the sum total powerfully affects every individual. When conditions are right, not merely each sub-group, but the entire group concerned decides together.48
"Group mind"? "Chain reaction"? This is what McGavran calls a "People Movement." How does this equate to regeneration of the the spirit and true conversion to Jesus Christ?
Did Jesus command us to "make all nations his disciples," or to make disciples of all nations? There is a vast difference in how this is phrased.
The Gospel has always been for individuals, to bring them to faith in Christ. So why do the "World Christians" insist upon converting entire nations? Remember what we said about semantics. We will find that those within the World Christian Movement use biblical terms, but their definition is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture. Thus their convoluted application of Matthew 28:19-20.
Donald McGavran states that extracting individual converts out of their culture, no matter how pagan, should not be done. He wants whole people groups to come to Christ within the context of their own cultures.49
Ralph Winter implies that world evangelization is a "secret mission" of the Church that we have missed from the beginning because we never understood it.50
Such a statement further proves that evangelization is not the same as evangelism, because evangelism has never been a "secret mission."
The Abrahamic Covenant
Winter, and others involved in the World Christian Movement, state that Israel was first entrusted with the Gospel, but failed to present it to the nations. It began with Abraham who failed in his mission to be a blessing, all the nations, they say, by not taking the Gospel to the nations.
The World Christian Movement's teaching on the Abrahamic Covenant is extensive and given in too great a detail to express fully here. The essence of the teaching, however, is pretty well summed up in the following statements by Ralph D. Winter:
[Some Bible commentators] agree that Abraham was to begin to be blessed right away, but somehow they reason that two thousand years would have to pass before either Abraham or his descendants could begin "to be a blessing to all the families on earth." They suggest that Christ needed to come first and institute his Great Commission that Abraham's lineage needed to wait around for 2,000 years be before they would be called upon to go [to] the ends of the earth to be a blessing to all the world's peoples (this could be called "The Theory of the Hibernating Mandate."). Worse still, one scholar, with a lot of followers in later decades, propounded the idea that in the Old Testament the peoples of the world were not expected to receive missionaries but to go to Israel for the light, and that from the New Testament and thereafter it was the reverse, that is, the peoples to be blessed would not come but those already having received the blessing would go to them. This rather artificial idea gained acceptance partially by the use of the phrase, "Centripetal mission in the Old Testament and Centrifugal mission in the New Testament." Fact is, there is both in both periods, and it is very confusing to try to employ an essentially mickey mouse gimmick to explain a shift in strategy that did not happen. The existence of 137 different languages in Los Angeles makes clear that now, in the New Testament-and-after period, nations are still coming to the light.
I included all the references cited by Winter in order that the reader may check them out for himself to see if they apply to what Winter says. Actually, some do indicate that Israel was to proclaim the glory of God to the nations, but some of those he cites are in reference to Christ's millennial reign. Others, such as Genesis 12:3 refer to Abraham's seed in whom the nations of the earth will be blessed. But how will they be blessed? Paul makes it clear that the seed to which the prophets referred was Jesus:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
While Israel was to proclaim to the nations the greatness of God, it was not in an overt missionary endeavor. Rather, we see that God commanded Israel to destroy the nations within the land He gave them, and to keep themselves separate spiritually and, in many cases, physically.
Many from the nations did come to Israel because they heard about the great exploits-the signs and wonders God performed for Israel to establish them in their land. But the land was their inheritance as long as they remained obedient. It was due to Israel's disobedience that God dispersed them throughout the nations with the full knowledge that they would succumb to the evils of those nations' gods.
The reason He retained Judah in the land was in order to bring forth the seed, Christ, in due season. After Christ came and was rejected by Israel the nation's identity with YHWH was destroyed with the temple in A.D. 70.
Only with Christ was the overt command given to "go ye into all the world."
The idea that Abraham and Israel failed to fulfill the Great Commission in their time was formulated, or at least popularized, by Helen Barrett Montgomery (another woman teacher) in the early 20th century. Ralph Winter attributes the social movement of that time to her ability to accomplish much in the way of teaching:
The amazing and powerful social movement which allowed her to do these things-and which amplified the effect of what she did-was probably the most significant movement in history for the completion of the Great Commission.52
The movement to which Winter alludes is the Women's Suffrage Movement, which elevated women to equal status of men in society. It also emboldened women to take more significant roles in the churches, striking out on their own in the fields of missions and teaching. Winter labels this rebellion against God's Word as "probably the most significant movement in history for the completion of the Great Commission." To equate a social upheaval with God's design in order to use women in roles contrary to that allowed in His Word is an indication of how far removed from God's Word Winter's movement is.
Of course, much of what Montgomery taught is biblical. Strange fire is still fire. Her teaching on missions, found in the Study Guide for the Perspectives course, outlines her belief that the Abrahamic Covenant is the basis for world missions today. She taught that throughout history everyone from Abraham to the present had failed to complete the Great Commission because the world had not been fully evangelized.
She chastised the Church for failing to bring about what she considered total evangelization. And she warned that should the Church fail, God might replace it with something else:
The Gospel will not fail. The Lord Jesus shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. The kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. But the Church may fail, may be set aside for another instrument. Today is the day of salvation for our Protestant churches. If we harden our hearts and close our eyes and refuse the plain call of God, other generations may see in us another Israel whose narrowness of vision was condemned by the very Scripture in which is our boast.53
Jesus said that He would be with us even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). Significantly, this is His closing statement to the Great Commission. The critics of the Church, as opposed to the churches, fail to see that the Church has not failed; those who remain true to Christ will minister the Gospel wherever He sends them. When we see the fleshly attempts to complete what these people think the Church has failed to do, we understand that, deep down, it is not the Church that has failed in their eyes. It is Christ and the Holy Spirit that have failed. As with most religious minds, God doesn't work hard enough or fast enough to satisfy them. Thus they succumb to false teaching and ungodly alliances to take over for God. They even go so far as to subordinate the New Covenant in Christ's blood to their concept of the Abrahamic covenant:
With this we understand once and for all that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the missionary God of the mission-covenant, the "Secret Mission!" Furthermore, these prominent references inaugurate the major narrative story of the Bible, which is essentially the unfolding story of the Secret Mission of God to all the nations ('Fulfillment"). It is not just the story of a nation blessed by God ("Fullness") in preparation for a task to be fulfilled 2,000 years later. We soon see that this covenant is in one sense the only Covenant in the Bible. It constitutes the grand plan, the only plan. 54 (Emphasis Ours)
Some may say that Winter was careless in his words. But one with his knowledge of Scripture cannot so easily be dismissed. In effect, he does subordinate the New Covenant to the Abrahamic Covenant. Thus, the World Christian Movement infers that Jesus also failed, but commissioned His disciples to take up the cause to evangelize the world as fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.
If their agenda is contrary to Christ's command, could it be that they are following the direction of another spiritual entity? Perhaps it is premature to ask that question given the scant evidence provided so far. It is merely posed as a rhetorical question to bear in mind as further evidence unfolds.
Traditional Missions Passe'
It stands to reason that if today's World Christian Movement sees all of God's history of evangelization as a failure, the blame must lie at the feet of those who have gone before. Old methods have failed; it is time for a new approach to the task.
It appears as if the new tack of incorporating social and political action as necessary elements of evangelization is the result of guilt placed upon American missions leaders for their failure by Third World evangelical leaders. As C. Peter Wagner stated above, it was first addressed publicly by Horace Fenton of the Latin America Mission. Ralph R. Covell, also writing in Perspectives, says of those who do not regard socio-political action as a mandate, that they preaching a different Gospel than that which Paul preached. He also states:
Many evangelical Third World leaders are reminding us that American missionaries are not able to see, let alone understand, the oppression under which their people live. Silence signals acquiescence.55
This isn't entirely true. While there are cases of missionaries who are unqualified and, thus, err in their attempts at evangelism, history is replete with examples of missionaries who have suffered right along with those to whom they ministered. For example, missionaries in China, both during and after World War II, faced persecution first by invading Japanese and then by Communist rulers. Missionaries in predominantly Catholic countries have suffered along with their converts at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church and its political allies. If they suffered in silence it was because they did not perceive as their duty the overthrow of regimes. They ministered God's love quietly and humbly among those whom He gave them.
This is not to say that there have not been problems-serious ones-with traditional missions. Many missions accompanied colonial expansion of Western nations. They were seen as a benefit to the colonial powers who encouraged them as a means to civilize the people they colonized, and to make them more complacent in accepting their fate as colonial subjects. As a result, indigenous believers were looked upon then, and continue to be looked upon today by Western missions agencies, as unworthy to inherit the mission fields in which they were raised.
Traditional missions organizations, especially in the U.S., still perceive Western oversight as the only valid means of missionary work. And the World Christian Movement is correct in accusing Western missions of trying to westernize the cultures into which they moved.
What is forgotten, however, is that traditional missionaries are responsible in the first place for the Latin American leaders' salvation. But today the Gospel is not sufficient; now missionaries must learn that their shortcomings in the socio-political arena are responsible for the suffering of the masses.
This guilt trip comes courtesy of the "World Christians" who comprise the World Christian Movement. Indeed, Ralph D. Winter implies that the Communist philosophy has, in many ways, derived from Christian tradition: ...
Just as a modicum of Christian faith in some ways strengthened the hand of the Barbarians against the Romans, so the Chinese today are awesomely more dangerous due to the cleansing, integrating and galvanizing effect of the Communist philosophy and cell structure which is clearly derived from the West, and in many ways specifically from the Christian tradition itself.56
Is Winter saying that communism is derived from Christianity, or that its cell structure is derived from Christianity? No matter, for neither are derived from biblical Christianity.
Scripture affirms the owning of private property and the master-slave (or employer-employee) relationship. There is not a hint of communism in the Scriptures. Some suggest that the first-century Church in Jerusalem practiced Communism because they held all things in common in the care of the Apostles. This is ludicrous, and originated in Communist propaganda designed to neutralize opposition from Christians. In the first place, the Church is not an earthly government; in the second place, this was unique to the Jerusalem Church due to the necessity of close dependency upon one another in the face of persecution.
Nor is the "cell structure" found in first-century Christianity. Every assembly was autonomous, while looking to the apostles and the Scriptures for instructions. The church "cell structure" is an invention of David Yongi Cho, of Korea, whose "church" numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Cho's success in church growth through the cell structure is a model for aggressive pastors all over the world who seek larger congregations. The cell structure is tied to a central authority whose oversight is authoritarian, not unlike the way Roman Catholic parishes are tied to the Vatican. This would be a separate study, and I don't wish to digress beyond this point.
At the same time the World Christian Movement is critical of "traditional" missions efforts, it relies heavily upon those efforts to bolster its appeal. And if we look deeply enough, we will see that the World Christian Movement is just as Western in its oversight. Only instead of sending qualified elders who have a record of soul winning and church planting in their native lands, they recruit students in "specialty" fields, most of which have to do with social action rather than with evangelism.
K.P. Yohannan, recognized missions expert, wrote in 1991:
At the time this chapter was written, InterCristo, the leading evangelical placement organization, listed just over 5,000 overseas openings for missionary positions. Only 86 of the openings were for pioneer evangelism and church planting among Unreached people. Another 492 were for church positions that included church planting as well as chaplaincies, urban evangelism, child evangelism, discipleship and worship.
It is estimated that the cost to train a single missionary family, whether for evangelism or for social service, is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars:
...A typical missionary educated in the United States, for example, spends four years in college ($60,000); two years in seminary or Bible school ($40,000); one year raising support ($20,000)-none of which shows formally in the mission education process. These numbers double for married couples, of course, so the actual cost of training a missionary family might easily run as high as $450,000 to $500,000.59
Furthermore, the budgets required to send American missionaries overseas and to sustain them equate to billions of dollars. And most will not be on the mission field past one year, while many will never go to the mission field at all! Yohannan's projections for maintaining the American missions status quo are not promising:
As we do future planning, the cost of supporting Western missionaries becomes increasingly higher. If the average cost of supporting a North American missionary couple were to increase to only $75,000 a year by A.D. 2000-and if we don't have any increase in the number of missionaries sent-it will cost $5.6 billion just to stay even!
Perhaps we can now see why the World Christian Movement insists that we all subject ourselves to the poverty level so they can meet their goals.
Yohannan suggests that the best way to evangelize the world is to train native missionaries to plant churches and disciple the people in their own lands. This would not only make missions more affordable; it would greatly reduce the need for social action. The indigenous missionaries would be primarily involved in saving souls, which Yohannan also sees as the only legitimate reason for missions:
The cutting edge of biblical, New Testament missions is proclamation, conversion and disciple-making that leads to the establishment of local churches. Any time this basic task is confused with political or social action, missions lose the essence of their integrity and power.
While the World Christian Movement seems to champion indigenous missionaries, it is in partnership with the evangelistic and social action missionaries from the West. The Movement does not suggest leaving the indigenous believers on their own and trusting the Spirit of God to work through them without oversight by the Movement's numerous affiliated agencies, particularly through their youth missionaries. The World Christian Movement is still Western in the upper echelons of its infrastructure, and there is no indication that that will change.
The biggest problem facing missions today is not rejection of the West by individuals, but by government leaders. Says K.P. Yohannan:
In modern Africa there is an almost universal wall against Western evangelistic missionaries. The newly independent nations of Africa are demanding that Western missionaries bring humanitarian and secular skills into the economy. If missionaries cannot justify' their presence in the cause of nation-building, visas will not be granted.62
In such cases it is understandable that evangelists might incorporate some secular skill into their efforts. But, as Yohannan says, the jobs they perform cannot interfere with the primary purpose to win souls.
Another tactic used is that of engaging in social work. But even that has its pitfalls:
Substituting social work. This is by far the most popular substitute for evangelism on the mission field today. Since most Third World nations refuse to welcome foreign evangelists, many missionaries and sending agencies have changed their image in the host country. They now seek to come to the mission field as agricultural and development workers, child-care providers, medical missionaries and teachers.
This is news we don't readily hear from the gung-ho "we're going to win the world for Christ" group. In truth, we can see why missions leaders want to substitute, or at least qualify as equal with the Gospel, involvement in social and political action. In order to garner the financial support they need to keep operating they must convince the rank-and-file Christian that they are following the Great Commission in spite of their inability to do so.
Would it honor God to sign non-proselytizing agreements in order to get a foothold in a nation and confine themselves to social and political action?
We can also see why they regard as already evangelized those peoples who have been reached by Roman Catholic missions. It makes their work seem close to accomplishment if they count those peoples as already having been "Christianized."
The manner in which evangelism is presented as promoted by the World Christian Movement, is by "contextualization"-that is, being sensitive to the needs of different cultural groups in order to present the Gospel within the individual context of those groups. 'This is accomplished through the use of psycho-neural linguistics. John Stott explains contextualization in this manner:
The Gospel is thus seen to be one, yet diverse. It is "given," yet culturally adapted to its audience. Once we grasp this, we shall be saved from making two opposite mistakes. The first I will call "total fluidity." I recently heard an English church leader declare that there is no such thing as the gospel until we enter the situation in which we are to witness. We take nothing with us into the situation, he said; we discover the gospel only when we have arrived there. Now I am in full agreement with the need to be sensitive to each situation, but if this was the point which the leader in question was wanting to make, he grossly overstated it. There is such a thing as a revealed or given gospel, which we have no liberty to falsify.
The opposite mistake I will call "total rigidity." In this case the evangelist behaves as if God had given a series of precise formulas that we have to repeat more or less word for word, and certain images that we must invariably employ. This leads to bondage to either words or images or both. Some evangelists lapse into the use of stale jargon, while others feel obliged on every occasion to mention "the blood of Christ" or "justification by faith" or "the kingdom of God" or some other image.
Again, semantics is at play. The words sound good; they seem to imply that "wooden" conveying of the Gospel is ineffective. But they also imply that images'' such as ''the blood of Christ'' are not always relevant to the cultural context when evangelizing. Indeed, Stott suggests that Scripture must be made conformable to the culture if it is to have any meaning. Obviously he does not wish to offend anyone with the Gospel; therefore it takes studying the contemporary scene to make sure that however it is presented, the gospel of the World Christian Movement does not fail for having offended. But what does Peter say?
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1 Peter 2:6-8)
Likewise, Paul did not offer much hope for the world as a whole:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)
The Gospel is offensive to every culture of man. It was offensive to the Hebrew culture which should have been ready to receive it with gladness the truth is that the Gospel is offensive to most people. There are few who surrender to it:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Contextualization is explained in the following from the Lausanne Committee Addressing two traditional approaches to the Gospel-the first, study of the Biblical texts without regard to the reader's culture, the second, discovering what the text meant in its original language and how it relates to the rest of Scripture - the Committee offered a third, "superior" approach:
A third approach begins by combining the positive elements of both the "popular" and the "historical" approaches. From the "historical" it takes the necessity of studying the original context and language, and from the "popular" the necessity listening to God's word and obeying it. But it goes further than this. It takes seriously the cultural context of the contemporary readers as well as of the biblical text, and recognizes that a dialogue must develop between the two.
We see that, in the eyes of the Lausanne Committee, Scripture must be approached with one's personal cultural context in mind in order to properly understand what God is saying. The "concerns" of one's culture, of course, include socio-political issues. Because God's Word does not actually mandate our involvement in sociopolitical issues, we must read that mandate into the contextualization of the Gospel. Subtle, but very effective in advancing the "evanglization" process.
The greatest evil, as the new evangelical. put it, is to take Western culture along with the Gospel. Ralph Winter tells us to listen to the cry of the lost:
But if we would stop and listen we would hear a thousand voices from around the world screaming at us, "Give us your faith without your Western clothing (and vices)."67
Is this true? It may be, where certain cultures have been propagandized by anti-Western elements against the "ugly American." But generally, cultures all over the world are trying their hardest to copy Western culture. Why is MacDonald's found in virtually every nation on earth today including Russia and China? Western clothing is so popular manufacturers can barely keep up with the demand. Western movies are hot items all over the world. Why is the Gospel not viable in its own right, simply because it has been so identified with Western culture?
Speaking at InterVarsity Fellowship's Urbana Missions Conference, in February, 1997, Winter stressed the need to "de-Westernize" the Gospel. According to Winter, the key task of the West should be to allow other cultures to develop their own distinct kind of Christianity. "If they're reading the Bible, they will even out and become orthodox," he said. "The Bible will correct more than foreign missionaries."68
If this is true, why do cults from Roman Catholicism to Mormonism to Jehovah's Witnesses, and even the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon remain entrenched in damnable heresies in spite of their strong use of the Bible?
Utilizing contextualization, the Fuller School of Missions promotes the idea of group decisions. They believe that if leaders can be made to understand the Gospel within the context of their specific culture, their influence upon the masses within their culture will result in wholesale conversions to Christianity.
Donald McGavran states in his book, Bridges to God, that people all over the world can be evangelized by targeting the "unreached people groups." He also defines what he calls "spontaneous people movement," or "group decision." He theorizes that every group can be won to "the Cause of Christ" if we could know their "heart language"-if we can contextualize the Gospel to be meaningful to them. If we can find the picture the symbolic language to communicate to a people, we can substitute the Gospel.
But what does Scripture say?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
It is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically, that leads men to salvation. Wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached the Holy Spirit draws men to the Father. This is the "calling" wherein Jesus said, "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).
The Gospel does not present a Western cultural milieu. It stands alone as God's Word, made alive by the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. The need for contextualization is a myth promoted by Western religious leaders who, in their own right, detest Western culture for its perceived exploitation of the poor. It fits into the liberal social milieu that hates everything Western.
This is not a defense of Western culture, which admittedly is as ungodly as any other culture. It is, rather, a challenge of contextualization which will lead to its own subset of evils.
The truth is that, without proper guidance, and relying upon any cultural context, Western included, error will result. In the case of allowing people in heathen animistic cultures to place the Scriptures within their own context, the errors could be particularly evil. In response to Winter's remarks, one delegate from Ghana argued that such an approach in a pantheistic culture would just mean adding one more god to the pantheon and devaluing the significance of Christ.69
But Winter and the new evangelization leaders don't want to think of that. Instead, they insist that the only way to be effective in reaching their goal is to scrap any hint of Western culture from their efforts.
Urbana Director Dan Harrison stated that multicultural teams are emphasized because they are both "morally correct" and the most effective means of missions work. Also preferred arc teams made up of the so-called Generation X, aged 18 to 30.70
If multicultural teams are "morally correct," does that mean that non multicultural teams are immoral?.' What does morality have to do with it'.' The Holy Spirit is the one who leads any ministry authored by the Father To be immoral, one would have to be it sin-acting contrary to God's Word The Jewish evangelists of the first century would be immoral according s this reasoning.
Is it not significant that believers from virtually every culture throughout the centuries never had the Gospel contextualized for them, yet they believed through the proclamation of God's Word? We did not need a contextualized gospel to accommodate our world view or our culture. Just as John Wimber's theory that the Gospel is ineffective without signs and wonders is debunked by the history of true evangelism, so the theory of contextualization of the Gospel is debunked by the history of true evangelism.
Contextualization of the Gospel is what leads to a mishmash of religious confusion. People might "accept" Christ, but still go to their Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine. They might be Muslims and pray toward Mecca five times a day, but they would think they are praying toward Jesus if the Gospel can be contextualized to fit their cultural frame of reference so that there is no offense.
Does this seem far-fetched? Consider that one of the most prominent leaders among Christians in modern times, the late Norman Vincent Peale, was a 33rd Degree Mason who, when visiting the Orient, would meditate in a Shinto shrine. Consider that, in some Catholic Countries, voodoo is actually practiced inside Roman Catholic churches under the watchful eyes of Roman Catholic priests. In fact, contextualization of the Gospel in Rome resulted in a blending of pagan and Christian symbols and practices. It is the reason pagan holidays are observed today, yet dedicated to Christ, contrary to His Word not to do as the heathen do.
The work of the World Council of Churches is basically contextualization of the Gospel. The WCC has been expert at utilizing psycho-neural linguistics, using biblical terms with altered meanings. This has allowed for non-offensive elements of Scripture to remain, while eliminating the most essential doctrines of the Faith for the sake of unity. And the unity they seek is not just with other professing Christians, but with members of all faiths.
John Paul II, the most popular pope in history, is celebrated for his tolerance and ecumenical outreach to all religions, not to bring them to Christ, but to affirm the elements of "truth" they all allegedly contain.
There are many throughout the world who call themselves Christians and are members of Bible-believing churches while at the same time being devout Freemasons or members of pagan and even New Age groups. In truth, every cult contextualizes the Gospel to fit its world view.
Even the World Christian Movement has contextualized the Gospel to fit its leaders' beliefs of what Jesus meant when He gave the Great Commission.
That Urbana leaders wish to use such young "missionaries" from Generation X is a telling factor. It reveals the general approach of the new evangelization process to use youth to accomplish its goals, rather than relying upon mature elder-quality men gifted by the Holy Spirit in evangelism and apostolic ministry (church planting). But, then, when we consider the history of the World Christian Movement we see how this transference from evangelism by godly elders to evangelization by youth came' about.
As our series on the World Christian Movement expands, we will be addressing some serious issues. Among them will be the ecumenical stance that the Movement has embraced, including the Roman Catholic influences. We will also be addressing the Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan of the Global Evangelization Movement. The Plan includes listing opposition to the world evangelization movement, making it difficult for them to continue; massive redistribution of wealth everywhere; international environmental concerns; support of U.N. social agencies; and many other topics.
We believe that the final picture will reveal that the Gospel is taking a back seat to social and political concerns due to the influence of liberal elements within the World Christian Movement. And that influence is so great--as is the Movement's influence among the world's churches-that virtually every Christian's life will be touched to some degree.
It is our belief that this is the most important issue on deception with which we have dealt in the twenty-two years of our ministry. Considering the importance of such writings as those on Promise Keepers, Holy Laughter and Pensacola, that's saying quite a lot, we know. However, it appears as if all these others were merely small parts of this greater whole. The leaders of the World Christian Movement expect adverse reactions to the ideas that come out of their think tanks. But they are prepared to deal with those reactions. Nor are they overly concerned. They know that opposition is sparse and lacking in resources to get their message out to enough people to seriously hamper their efforts. They also know that once opposition has had its say, people tend to forget, or they choose to believe those in whom they have placed their confidence. Everyone wants to spread the Gospel; anything that appears to be in opposition to that goal will be looked upon as satanic in its origins. We realize that this could include us.
Yet, again, we wish to stress that we are not judging everyone associated with the Movement, or involved in these organizations. We are not against missions; we support missions financially and with whatever encouragement we can offer.
It is our hope that those who read this series on the World Christian Movement will recognize those areas in which they may participate without compromising the Gospel, and which to avoid. It i6' offered in love toward our brethren involved in true evangelism.
May we not be deceived into offering to God strange fire that looks like the real thing.*
Following is a list of some of the organizations involved in the world evangelization movement. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but should give the reader some idea of the extent of the movement's influence within the Christian community.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
1. Ralph D. Winter, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Study Guide, 1997 Edition (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1997), p. L-2.
3. Wendy Murray Zoba, "The Grandmother of Us All," Christianity Today, September, 16, 1996.
4. Ethel May Baldwin & David V. Benson,Earl 0. Roe, ed., Dream Big: The Hennetta Mears Story, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990) p.77.
5. Ibid., pp.98-100.
6. ibid., p.121.
7. Ibid., p.100.
8. Ibid., p.224.
9. Ibid., p.246.
10. Richard M. Riss, Latter Rain, undated, p.19.
11. Dream Big, The Henrietta Mears Story, Op.Cit., pp.280-281.
12. Riss, Latter Rain, Op. Cit,, p.26.
13. Jim Rayburn, quoted by Richard Riss, Latter Rain, Op. Cit., p.28.
14. Dream Big, Op. Cit., p.297.
16. Ibid., p.298,
17. Ibid., pp. 304.305.
18. Billy Graham, Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (San Francisco: Harper Collins, Zondervan, 1997), pp.113-115.
19. Testimony of former members of original Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
20. Billy Graham, Introduction to "Reviving the Church's Vision for the Final Frontiers-Perspectives on the World Christian Movement," by Brad Kent Cronhaugh, Mission Frontiers Bulletin, January-February 1994, Vol.16, No.1-2, p.12.
22. A. Jack Dam, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, The Lausanne Story (Charlotte, NC: Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 1987), p.13.
23. The Lausanne Covenant, International Congress on World Evangelization, July, 1997.
24. Billy Graham, The Lausanne Story, Op.Cit., p.5.25.
25. Alan Nichols, An Evangelical Commitment To A Simple Lifestyle, Lausanne Occasional Papers (Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 1980), p.12.
26. Ibid., p.13.
27. Ibid., p.14.
28. Bill Steam, Praclete Magazine, p.16.
29. Alan Nichols, An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Lifestyle, Op. cit., p.17.
30. C. Peter Wagner, "On the Cutting Edge of Mission Strategy," Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, A Reader, Revised Edition (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981,1992), pp. D-45-46.
31. Edward R. Dayton & David A. Fraser "Mission and the Church," Ibid., p. D-21.
32. Ibid., pp. D-21-22.
33, Leighton Ford, Perspectives Reader, Op.Cit., p. xii.
34. John R.W. Stott, "The Bible in World Evangelization," Ibid., p. A-4.
35. Michael D. Semlyen, The Foundations Under Attack: The Roots of Apostasy, (Hertsfordshire, England: Dorchester House Publications, 1998), pp.13-14.
36. Ralph D. Winter, "The New Macedonia, Ibid., p. B-173.
37. John D. Robb, "Strategic Praying for Frontier Missions," Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Study Guide, 1997 Edition, Pasadena: William Carey Library,1997), p. A-7.
38. Ibid., p.1-8.
41. C. Peter Wagner, Confronting the Powers, pp.21-22.
42. Rich Carey, Pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Blackfoot, ND, email letter to constituents.
43. Stewart Wilson, Pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Victoria, B.C., Canada, email letter to constituents.
44. Donald McGavran, "The Bridges of God, Perspectives Reader, Op. Cit., p. B-139.
45. Ibid., p. B-138..
46. Ibid., p. B-139.
47. Ibid., p. B-140.
49. Rick Wood, "A Church-Planting Movement Within Every People," Mission Frontiers Bulletin, May-June 1995, p.14.
50. Ralph D. Winter, "The Secret Mission, Mission Frontiers Bulletin, Vol.8, No 3MArch 1986, p.10.
51. Ralph D. Winter, "Four Men, Three Eras, Two Transitions: Modern Missions," Perspectives Reader, Op. Cit, pp. B-33-34
52. Ralph D. Winter, Introduction to The Missionary Message of the Old Testament by Helen Barrett Montgomery, Perspectives Study Guide, Op. Cit., p. A-1.
53. Helen Barrett Montgomery, Ibid., pp. A-6-7.
54. Ralph D. Winter, "The 'Secret' Mission, Mission Frontiers Bulletin, Vol.8, No. 3, March 1986, p.10.
55. Ralph R. Covell, "Missions in the Modern Milieu," Ibid., p. B-218.
56. Ralph D. Winter, "The Kingdom Strikes Back," Ibid., pp. B- 10-11.
57. K.P. Yohannan, Why the World Waits (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1991), p.62.
58. Ibid., p.78.
59. Ibid., p.43
60. Ibid., p.47.
61. Ibid., p.68.
62. Ibid., p.27.
63. Ibid., pp.34-35.
64. Ibid., p.31.
65. John R. W. Stott, "The Bible in World Evangelization," Op. Cit., pp. A-5-6.
66. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, "The Willowbank Report," Ibid.,p. C-168.
67. Ralph D. Winter, Editorial Mission Frontiers Bulletin, September-October, 1996.
68. Ted Olson, News "Missions Leaders Seek to'De-Westernize' Gospel, Christianity Today, February 3,1997.