Volume 17 Number 6 November/December 2006
It Is All About Jesus!
As we approach the Advent Season once again, the reminder of the precious story of old brings fresh hope to our hearts. The babe in the manger caused the hosts of heaven to rejoice. The Son of God came to dwell among sinful men in order to become their Redeemer. Daily we need to be reminded that our walk here on earth is all about Jesus. Getting to know Him. Learning to lean on Him. Giving our all to Him.
Philippians gives us such a wonderful expression in chapter 3 verses 7-11. Paul’s greatest desire was to “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
The complete and fulfilled Christian is one who has laid down his life at the foot of the cross and has risen in newness of life with Jesus becoming the source of life, the center of the thoughts, words and deeds. This is accomplished by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God becomes the daily source of “life” for those who desire to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
Report on our Africa Trip
Expectations always are high when embarking on a new adventure. Nigeria was certainly an overwhelming experience. The first impression one gets naturally is the travel from the airport… this is an experience all of its own. Very amazing! The roads are unbelievable! These drivers are incredible! There are no road rules, no speed limits, no stop signs and not even rules on which side of the road you have to drive. The first Friday night was the worst. I was sure we were dead. The most incredible thing is that many people have beautiful cars and there isn't even a scratch on them!!! There are tons of beat-up African taxis (Yellow), buses, trucks, motorcycles, scooters with up to four people riding on them, etc. It had been raining so the potholes and mud were unbelievable.
Fortunately we stayed with wonderful Nigerian friends who welcomed us into their home as “family.”
Our days in Nigerian were involved with meetings in various churches where pastors would come together who are involved with the International Fellowship of Christian Believers of which Anton Bosch is the President. Anton, my husband David, and I would minister every day, and move to a new location after a few days. It was wonderful to meet the people and to see that there are those who sincerely love the Word of God and do want to live for Jesus and be faithful to the Word.
We did also witness another “breed” of Christian in Nigeria who have been greatly influenced by the Word/Faith prosperity teaching and also by the Apostles and Prophet movement.
T.B. Joshua would be one extreme example. Yet it is amazing that planeloads of “white” South Africans and people from other countries still come to his “synagogue.” This man is ministering in Korea and China also. In questioning Nigerian Christians, I found they had other things to say about this man. They said that he came from no-where! (In other words, didn’t have any links to any ministry.) He just “appeared like a magician.” He made claims that he could heal and then he started a relationship with pastors. He then used that as his way to attract followers. The Christians I spoke to said that he operates in a “water spirit” and a “python snake spirit” and is actually a witchdoctor who lives in a swamp! One pastor’s wife said that he has the “ministry of the devil” and that the people who go to his “synagogue” end up with lives that are really messed up. At the services people manifest demons and these demons beat up the people.
Thankfully the Nigerian Christians seemed pretty apprised of this ministry. Sadly, there are still followers flying in who are duped because of “supernatural” experiences.
Crusades. On Christian television we saw the filming of huge crusades. We do thank God when the Gospel is preached and people are saved. However, what is important is what happens after the crusade. Many “big” evangelists go to Nigeria. They “buy” the crowds. By advertising on Christian television in the U.S.A. and Europe they are able to raise millions of dollars to go to an African country. There they “buy” the pastors by giving contracts paying them for the printing, buses, food etc. that is involved in setting up a huge crusade. Pastors are also paid to be ushers and choristers at the crusade. I was told that the majority of the people attending the crusades were “migrating members.” They are “bused in” and fed, and wherever they hear something is happening, they are there! Healing Schools are set up to replicate what has transpired in the crusades.
I noted that the television has made big inroads into the land. There is one pastor after another featured on both the local television channels and also the satellite television (which features mainly the U.S. televangelists). A steady diet of “divine wealth” and “divine health” teaching is ministered. Billboards proclaim, “Get a new anointing,” “move up to another level.” It is very important to be known as “Apostle” so and so, or as a “Prophet.”
Sadly, when one starts checking into the lives of the Christians it becomes another story. People are “hiding” in the church with corrupt evil deeds. A woman Bishop who was a widow, has since had three husbands. Her latest husband is 20 years her junior and had a wife and children. There was one man who stole millions from a hotel, but is accepted in his church in leadership. Another woman who was a “troublemaker” ran off the pastor and took over the church. When questioned why she was allowed to carry on, the answer was “the church will soon have 1,000 members and they bring in a lot of tithes.” The offerings often seem to be the main focus of the meetings. There could be many offerings taken with a lot of fanfare and drumbeating. In many of the churches one could become an “elder” simply by the amount of giving to the church.
Thankfully, we did find Christians that were not part of this scene. They were genuine and loved the Word of God and were faithful to the calling – living out the life of Christ day by day.
South Africa. It is always good to arrive back on the shores of this beautiful land. The traffic (even though on the “wrong” side of the road) still was very orderly by comparison to Nigeria.
Discernment Ministries has an office in Benoni, South Africa which is cared for by Helen Gevers. She is doing an excellent job and it was wonderful to see firsthand how the Lord is blessing her and making her to be a blessing to so many wonderful children of God.
Some years ago (1995), another friend from South Africa (Helen’s sister) wrote a simple poem after visiting our home in Michigan.
The World says “New Age” “New Era” “New Sign”
The Church says “New Thing” “New Breed” “New Wine”
The World says “One World” “One Order” “One Plight”
The Church says “Join Forces” “Network” “Unite”
The World says “Mystic Powers” “Metaphysics” “Open Mind”
The Church says “Experience Supernatural” “Leave Faith Behind”
The World says “Symbols” “idols” “Spiritual Ties”
The Church says “Close your eyes and visualize”
The World says “Transcendental Meditation”
The Church says “Further Revelation”
The World says “Revive the Age Old Tradition”
The Church says “Prophecy, Dream, Have Vision”
The World says “Astrology – your future intent”
The Church says “The Spirit-filled Temperament”
While the World chants their mantra faithfully
The Church laughs out hysterically
The World says “Bad Karma – Reincarnate”
The Church says “Psychology Determines your Fate”
The World says “Man is God and God is Man”
The Church says “How Great I am, How Great I am”
The World says “Apostasy – A Great Falling Away”
While the Church builds a kingdom and plans to stay
The World says “Maitreya is soon to Appear”
While the Church turns a blind eye and a deaf ear
The World says “The Man of Peace is here now”
While the Church in bending did finally bow
In going over the last 17 years of the Discernment Newsletter (available in the archives of the website at http://www.discernment-ministries.org), I am amazed on how steadily the Lord was preparing us for this time. Besides having a vacation, meeting old friends, and speaking on several occasions, I had the opportunity to visit a conference being held in Cape Town.
Report on Transformation Africa Conference
This conference was held in Cape Town and hosted by Graham Power. Graham Power was instrumental in forming the Global Day of Prayer (GDOP), March 2001, as the result of two visions. (See Discernment Ministries newsletters May/June 2005 and July/August 2005).
The launch in South Africa was representing the ‘next phase’ of transformation. Ed Silvoso was spearheading the meeting there as he is doing so world-wide. In actuality, he is engineering social change in the belief that “it is the good works of Christian believers in communities (which embrace ALL peoples of ANY religious persuasion) that will ultimately draw people to God”. What stood out clearly was that there was no mention of the cross, no sin and no repentance necessary. There also was no mention of the calling by the Holy Spirit – which leads to repentance. That leaves “transformation” devoid of any Biblical foundation – good works is the consequence of our faith and not a condition for salvation!
Dominionism and “territorial warfare” seemed to be the clear teaching presented. Satan is to be “bound through ecumenical prayer activities”. Hence the Global Day of Prayer becomes nothing other than the transformation’s movement to achieve social change.
Yes, the Transformation Africa is a means towards an ‘end”. That end is not leading folk to Calvary. It is an initiative which serves to promote the goal of those who have become “change agents” to bring in the new paradigm.
Ed Silvoso was leading the meeting on the day I attended. He started out by saying, “Surrender Your Mind to God – all your convictions, pre-suppositions, etc., and tell God to give you back what He wants.” He proceeded to talk about Hawaii, and someone who led the president of the nation to God – thus establishing the Kingdom there. Then he went on to speak about the “how to do it” of transformation from Elk River, Minnesota. The steps as follows:
1. Embrace a City-wide vision. Move away from the concept of the Local Church to pastoring a city. Think as a marketplace pastor. (He referred to his book, My City, God’s City)
2. Reconcile the pulpit with the market place. One way of doing this is to start by pouring oil on the ground. He mentioned levels of spiritual warfare. (He referred to his book Anointed for Business, page 174)
3. Ministry should be in the Marketplace from Monday – Saturday.
4. Intercede for extraordinary miracles – then you will see miracles in the marketplace.
5. Understand the spiritual jurisdiction of people in authority – God’s ministers.
There were speakers present from Minnesota and Hawaii. They gave examples of how they put these principles into practice in their cities and thus brought about “transformation.” Most of what they said was based on “words” from the Lord (where they heard direct messages from God), visions and strategies. Actually strategy seemed to be key. It is believed that “the transformation of South Africa is going to transform the world.” They said it had to be initiated at strategic points and form a canopy of prayer. The foundation is “repentance” and “reconciliation.” The walls between churches – Catholics, and even political parties, need to come down. The “gates” for “transformation” of the city were identified as: government, education, business, labor, youth, medical, entertainment, community, families. They said to identify a pattern and form leaders of either 1000, 100 or groups of 10.
Interesting words were thrown around:
“Be prepared to be God’s Agent of Change.”
“Are you willing to change your paradigm?”
After several speakers, the audience was asked to stand and raise their hands and say, “I am willing to be your Agent of Change and Transformation. I will change first… all the structures of my paradigm will be swept away.”
The meeting had started out by “emptying” the audience of their convictions and pre-suppositions and now the replacing has started, based on stories from other countries where this “strategy” has “worked.”
Ed Silvoso brought the meeting to a close by giving the following five points and Impartation:
1. You are called to disciple nations.
2. Nations are the marketplace, business, governments.
3. Labor is worship.
4. We are called to take the Kingdom of God to the gates of hell (Marketplace).
5. Eliminating systemic poverty is not our objective – it is the result.
Moment of Impartation. This was the incredible part of this meeting, and really what caused me not to want to attend another session. Years of research and writing passed in front of me as everyone stood and raised their hands to receive the “impartation.” I wondered what was going through the minds of the pastors and leaders who stood in the elegant Lord Charles Hotel, as they raised their hands – open to receive what came next:
“The Angel chose Mary… Holy Spirit came upon her. The Holy Spirit empowered Mary’s womb. Will you let God take your womb? Let Him overshadow you and deposit something you.”
As I ran out of the room in horror, I heard the crowd murmuring, “Overshadow my womb and deposit something in me!”
Change. This is an important word. It means that when the Paradigm Shift takes place – every person will co-exist in complete, absolute harmony, ready to compromise, reach consensus, resolve conflicts, co-operate and be ecumenical. Everyone will integrate into the mainstream – the middle road. Everyone will be moderate, non-judgmental, tolerant and united as a whole. Yes, every brain will be part of this collective consciousness – the Universal Mind.
People on the earth will experience unity and oneness under the direction of the Universal Mind of the anti-Christ.
So, what was happening in Cape Town? What was this Paradigm Shift about? What is the Old Paradigm? Could it be that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God?” Could it be the preaching of the cross? Could it be all about Jesus?
What are the Change Agents actually doing? Through their own words, they are bringing in the “Kingdom” through the marketplace. They are uniting the community. What better way to do this than prayer? This is a prayer meeting where believers can invite everyone to attend. It doesn’t matter. The prayers will be scripted. We are told we all must learn to be “non-confrontational.” Good works in the community will bring everyone together. We can all unite for the “good.” Together we can “repent” for the sins of the community.
The Moment of Impartation told me everything I needed to know. The horror of that moment returns to me vividly as I write this. I had heard of the overshadowing of the womb before. It was exactly as I had feared. The New Paradigm has indeed entered into the church. The spiritually blind are leading the blind. It is NEW AGE!
Let us look at some New Age authors and see if this sounds familiar.
M. Scott-Peck, a well-known and respected new-age author, calls the coming of the New Age a birthing process:
"When I think of what is required to bring an end to the arms race… it seems to me that a virtual second coming is required. In fact, that's what its all about. With all due respect to the traditional millennialists, I think what is meant by the second coming is not the bodily return of that one solitary man, but the coming of the mystical body of His true church, the coming of the Spirit of Christ to everyone, sweeping through the nations, sweeping through the world. Father, make us like Mary, to give birth to your Son, to give Him to everyone."1
Some see the birth as the development of an inner spiritual Christ-child. Matthew Fox says this:
"Indeed, the birthing of the Cosmic Christ is the purpose of the incarnation...Divinity wants to birth the Cosmic Christ in each and every individual"2
A leading New-Ager, Barbara Marx-Hubbard, has written several books showing the way to "Planetary Pentecost" – her term for the world instant of co-operation that will lead to a higher consciousness for all. One of them is called The Book of Co-Creation, The Revelation: Our Crisis is a Birth. In it she offers: "a positive alternative to the Armageddon scenario in the biblical book of Revelation." Her "inner christ" tells her:
"In each person on Earth there is an inner being in a chrysalis, ready to be born. Turn to it for guidance. Let it speak to you. It is growing rapidly now. The signal for its birth en masse is the gathering of the attracted people by the sound of the voice of God – the 'trumpet' that shall surely sound. Then we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye… At the Quantum Instant, Christ-consciousness will emerge at once in many who are prepared"3
What has arisen in the last twenty years has been slowly arising – like the Phoenix – to bring about a transformation. To captivate the hearts of mankind with a new spirituality. A spirituality that gives you a sense of godliness, other-worldliness, an infinity that cannot be explained. However, you know it is “real,” because you have “felt it.”
The false revival in Toronto opened the doors to a false anointing, which has opened the doors to false teaching on a world-wide scale. There were men and women laid out on the floor during those days in the 1990s in “birth pangs” – they were birthing what they already were calling the “new thing.” Some of the prophecies then were already speaking that:
"Sarah is a type of the Church. The Church is 'withered' and its womb is dried up in many places, but God is sending a revival of joy to awaken and renew the Church so that she can bring forth the 'man-child' of joy, even the army of overcomers who will go forth in the likeness and image of the Lord in these last days"4
During a Toronto pastors' meeting back then, Byron Mode of Dallas testified:
"What's happening right now is a romantic thing. God is romancing his Church, and through that romance he says I'm going to then IMPREGNATE and through the IMPREGNATION will then come NEW BIRTH, and we're in the romancing and IMPREGNATION stage right now but we've got to pray in and cry out for the harvest. The harvest isn't just gonna' happen. This is the pre-stage of it, of God's romancing of his Church…..”5
What is so sad is that the people involved in “trans-formation” actually think they are doing a work for God. An advertisement from England reads:
“1999 there were 8 transformed communities;
2006 – there are over 700 transformed communities;
2007 – Where will God’s glory be?
The Lord is awakening His Church in England and the time to prepare our communities for His presence has come!”
The conference in Guildford is advertised as A National Conference on Presence-based Transformation. It was promoted by 60 Congregational and other Christian leaders.
What do they mean by His “presence”? The Scriptures say: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. However, if the “presence” is the same as the “impartation” I witnessed, I fear for the 700 transformed communities and more to be added.
The Word of God is no longer the measurement for truth. A spiritual slumber has come upon God’s people. A spirituality is being introduced that is not the answer to the hunger in the hearts of the people. What the world needs is Jesus! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is big enough to reach out to a lost and dying world and give hope in the midst of life’s storms.
By the way, I did have the opportunity to meet Graham Power. He is a very gracious man. The only words the Lord put in my mind to say to him were: “Graham, it is all about Jesus.” Those words have been ringing in my heart for weeks now and I remind myself every time I pick up the Bible – that this is what it is indeed all about!
I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Rom. 12:1-3
1. M. Scott Peck, What Return Can I Make, p. 152
2. Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p. 122
3.Barbara Marx Hubbard – The Book of Co-Creation, The Revelation: Our Crisis is a Birth, pp. 123-124
4. Discernment Newsletter, Sept./Oct. 1994
5. Byron Mode, taped at Pastors’ Meeting, Oct. 12, 1994
Report on Brian McLaren,
Emergent Church leader
On October 24, 2020 Brian McLaren spoke at the Wake Divinity School, Wait Chapel, North Carolina. A friend of Discernment Ministries went to hear this talk and below are some notes taken during this event:
The audience size was minimal. On the program was written:
“As we come together, let us settle into stillness. Slowly ever so slowly, we center our minds and our hearts. Let your cares and your weariness fall away. Enter deeply into silence. Rest in God's presence. Come Creator into our lives. Open now the windows of our soul.”
We sang a hymn to the tune of “Guide me Oh thou Great Jehovah”… but with different words:
“God of Grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power,
crown thy ancient church's story:
bring it's bud to glorious flower…”
McLaren stated things like, “If you ask me, the Gospel of Mark is where it all begins.… I'm not sure "the church really began at Pentecost.… We are the continuation of disciples of Jesus.” He spoke about King Uzziah at this point.
McLaren then that he had been out preaching on ‘VOCATION’:
Vocation – called to FOLLOW
Most important to be a follower of Christ
McLaren seemed to be bragging – “I’ve been told by one pastor that I am truly
one of the ONLY pastors to FOLLOW Jesus.” I was reminded of the Scripture in
McLaren said that “call” means to live in the way taught, to follow. His second point is that we are called to be sent – to serve. He used phrases such as:
o “ learning is to be sent out”
o “Jesus calls us to follow – to learn”
o “Fish for people”
o “Jesus doesn't call us to be someone else, but to be called YOU”
o “what we know He takes and uses that”
o “Jesus take who we are and uses it”
o “Fishing for human beings”
His third point was that we are called for something bigger. And the fourth point is that we are called to leave. He said that:
Our VOCATION in the Kingdom of God = Jesus' message
By now I was chuckling to myself because this was very predictable dominion theology. McLaren then said that “the Kingdom of God does not stop when we die, nor after we die, but it is KINGDOM NOW.”
He went on to explain things like,
“Save us from our weak resignation. We want to live this HOUR, We want to live these DAYS. What does this mean?? NOW!! We are a secret agent of the Kingdom of God wherever we are.”
At this point McLaren made the most startling theological claim. He said that:
To REPENT means to RETHINK
[Ed note: Many Scriptures come to mind. Repentance is much more than ‘re-thinking.’ It also means “turn from your wicked ways.” But this ‘re-thinking’ process is how the change agent leaders are getting people in the pews to drop their old theology, convictions and holy lifestyle so that they can then think and live in these new ways to “build the Kingdom on earth.]
McLaren showed a slide on a screen of a tortoise and a baby hippo. This showed how this orphan baby hippo is lonely and for days wants to be cared for by the stupid tortoise. In my opinion, it was sad to see this. Then he showed how eventually with the small brain the tortoise had, that it somehow had a little emotion of caring for the hippo. And they stayed near each other.… There were numerous slides showing this story on the screen.
We were to compare the Christian to this tortoise. McLaren said that in the situation today we live in a culture orphaned. We are left high and dry. He said, “The government has failed us,” and that there are “arguments and trivial disorder” and “an exercise in weapons of mass distraction.” He stated that science leaves us orphaned, culture leaves us orphaned, and that we lead our lives at a busy pace with less peace so that we destroy ourselves. The economy leaves us orphaned. Makes some people richer, instead of solving problems.
He then claimed that religion doesn't matter. Religious people will use verses to legitimize things. He said, “Religion has betrayed our culture.” Here I could see McLaren's hate for believers and disdain for the cross… seriously!
He said that believers need to follow Jesus – to join him. And then we are sent back into the world with hope. He said we are to follow Jesus into the world!
Then he quoted a Sonnet from Edna St Vincent Millay from Huntsman What Quandry. One can read it here:
This is a very bleak poem in my opinion!! Incidentally, in 1944 Millay suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to write for two years. Read about it at:
McLaren spoke of our impact “upon this age that never speaks its mind….” He then said:
“We have a shower of facts – desperate for wisdom.… Hear Jesus say, Follow me…. I want to send you into the world…. Today is the beginning of creation, like wind on the water…. We can become more preoccupied with our vocation…. Follow Jesus to hear our vocation….”
Excerpts from his final prayer include these statements:
“Let us approach God and let us hear Him…. Say through Jesus we hear Him to follow Him…. Weave a fabric -- we and purpose. Here we are Lord. You just speak the word and we will be healed. AMEN”
There was no “in Jesus’ name” at the end of that prayer. We left at this point. Evidently they sang “We are one in the spirit” and recited from the program:
“Lord have mercy upon us
Christ have mercy upon us
Lord have mercy upon us
Christ hear us
“From all sin, form all error, from all evil.
From famine and disease, disaster by fire or flood,
From pride and trust in our own wisdom and strength,
From needless worry and anxiety,
From the selfish desire of becoming great.
From Envy, green malice
preserve us gracious Lord and God.
“Unite all the children of God in one spirit;
Put far from your people all who deceive;
bring back all who have gone astray;
bless our labor and make us diligent in our daily tasks;
teach us to love our neighbors and our enemies;
grant that we may pattern our lives after your example.
Hear us Gracious Lord and God
“Direct all governments in the way of justice and peace;
Deliver us from the sins which lead to war and conflict;
enable us to love this world as you love it;
Have mercy on your whole creation;
Hear us, Gracious Lord and God.
Good Shepherd, we commend to your care those in need;
watch over those who travel;
Help those in danger, trouble, or anguish;
Protect and provide for the poo, the hungry and the homeless;
Bless and strengthen the sick and the afflicted;
Hear us gracious Lord and God. Amen.
The meeting concluded with a benediction by Dr Richard Groves of Wake Forest Baptist Church, a choral benediction and an organ postlude.
[Ed. note: Much of this talk about vocation and creation is characteristic of the marketplace transformation movement, of which Ed Silvoso (see first report this newsletter) is a leader. These men have created new doctrines that teach that man can restore paradise conditions on Earth by building the “Kingdom of God” on Earth.]
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