April 1, 2006
"The Vision: Light and the Coming of Light. Contemporary mystical experiences from many individuals and many parts of the world have centered in recent years on a collective and intensifying vision, the sense of an impending transition in the human story: an evolution of consciousness as significant as any step in the long chain of our biological evolution." (Marilyn Ferguson, "The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time -- page 385.)
Leonard Sweet & Fred Peatross
THE EMERGING CHURCH SHOWS ITS HAND
Below is an article written by an Emerging Church author by
the name of Fred Peatross. He has written three books, one of which has a
forward written by Emerging Church leader Leonard Sweet. They are: Tradition,
Opinion, and Truth: The Emerging Church of Christ?, A Pixel in a
Greater Picture: The Emerging Church of Christ , and A Mobile
Church For E.P.I.C. Times: Moving Across Faith Community Borders,"
Foreword by Leonard Sweet. Consistent with other EC leaders, Peatross
quotes Catholic writers such as Thomas Aquinas in his own books. He is
also a writer for various Emergent Church magazines such as Wineskins
Magazine and Next-Wave
Below is the unedited article, "The Responsibility of a Change Agent," in which I believe the author exposes the true nature of the Emerging Church. The words of the article are in purple, and my comments are in brackets in black. The link below goes to the original article on his "Grace Awakening" webpage.
The Responsibility of a Change Agent
by Fred Peatross
One of my favorite quotes concerning the hazards of overlooking new paradigms comes from Andy Grove of Intel:
[Notice that Peatross’ spiritual guide is a secular Fortune 500 executive. Nowhere in this article does he quote Scripture or mention the leading of the Holy Spirit. Peatross instead uses the vocabulary of new age sociologists such as Marilyn Ferguson, author of "The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time," written in 1980 to prepare people for what she termed the "new paradigm" of the next evolutionary leap of mankind. Ferguson explained this transformation as a "conspiracy of love" a term coined by "the French scientist-priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin" an occultist on the fringes of Catholic mysticism. Ferguson explains, "Conspire, in its literal sense, means ‘to breathe together.’ It is an intimate joining." (The Aquarian Conspiracy, pg. 19.). This "new paradigm" that has already transpired in the world is now trying to bring the church into its transforming grip.]
"There is at least one point in the history of any company when you have to change dramatically to rise to the next level. Miss that moment and you start to decline."
[This shows how this Emerging Church writer views the body of Christ – a "company." This is all merely business to this man. He sees church as a business, and he looks for his direction from those in the business community. The Emerging Church change agents see the need to dramatically change the Christian worldview into the new cultural ‘church as business’ way of thinking. This needs to happen before the paradigm leap can occur in Christendom. To miss this evolutionary leap is to go backward, in his way of thinking.]
Spiritually speaking, our responsibility is to claim the moment we're living in for Christ. The Amish decided not to live their moment in history and they're not taking any cues from current culture. Their culture is frozen in the 1830s. They talk like it, travel like it, and dress like it.
[Here is the beginning of the straw man argument. Make a straw man, in this case a backward church, and then begin to tear it down. The straw man does not really represent Christianity as Fred tries to argue, but it’s easier to tear down this scarecrow than to tear down true Christianity, which in effect is what the Emerging Church is attempting to do. So we are to think that Bible-teaching churches are today’s Amish. That might have relevance in the tradition Fred comes out of – the Church of Christ where music is considered the devil’s territory – but it does not apply to Bible-believing, Spirit filled fellowships. But he has to characterize Biblical Christianity as old-fashioned in order to turn believers away from it.]
How do you convince the history-rich restoration heritage that change is worth the risk? First, you create a compelling picture of the risks associated with not changing. It's a sad truth but churches that aren't willing to fluidly navigate cultural trends may find themselves sitting on a street corner competing with Amish quilts and cheese.
[The picture they create is just that – a figment of their own imagination. It doesn’t really exist, so they just create it. Then they ridicule their creation to make it repulsive and out-of-date to those who go to Bible-teaching churches. The Bible itself becomes out-of-date and old-fashioned, and eventually repulsive. Since Bible-believers are not willing to follow after cultural trends, i.e., using culture as an inspiration for what to believe, they become obsolete. So their first strategy is not to "create a compelling picture of the risks associated with not changing" as they claim, but to create a compelling and lying picture of the Amish culture Bible-believers supposedly belong to. These are typical advertising strategies companies use to get people to change fashion so they can make more money selling them the latest styles. This is how advertisers sell the gullible public things they don’t really need by convincing them that they can’t live without them. As circus magnate P. T. Barnum observed, "a sucker is born every minute."]
Change Agents are Ambassadors
[It is no surprise that Fred Peatross has chosen the term "change agents" to identify the outspoken movers and shakers in the Emerging Church. This is an old term coined by the new age movement and promoted by The Aquarian Conspiracy. In fact, it was a favored term used by the leadership of the NEA, National Educaton Association," to describe how they must use teachers to subversively bring in liberal left ideas to complete their social engineering upon America’s children. ( See Nea: Trojan Horse in American Education by Samuel L. Blumenfeld, © 1984.) What we’re seeing today in the church is evidence that the new age movement and the NEA succeeded in their conspiracy since it seems to be the Christians who grew up in the 1980s who are the most vulnerable to the deception of the Emerging Church.]
This new era demands that our theology becomes a creative pursuit with passionate inquiry, like the best art and the best science. Psychology, sociology, the new physics, history, comparative religion, [as if all religions have value] and spirituality, not to mention postmodernism in general, all are calling for some creative Christian leaders to unfold some new paradigms for us to use in our explorations. Am I calling for new wineskins? Yes, but new wine will be required if we're going to navigate the dynamics of a new time.
[This is a profound statement of apostasy. Why would Bible-believing Christians turn to man’s wisdom of art, science, psychology, sociology, physics, comparative religion and spirituality for truth? There certainly are facts in history – but the only real truth to be found in history is when it is looked at from a biblical perspective. This is what God thinks of such "wisdom": "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:20-21). And: "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith" 1 Tim. 6:20-21.
Peatross says that our theology needs to change and yet truth does not change. Our culture thinks truth changes because our culture does not recognize any absolutes. The Emerging Church, it seems, does not have any solid ground but is built on shifting sands of whatever the spirit of this age directs. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), so if they want another Jesus, it isn’t going to be the Jesus of the New Testament – No, that would be old-fashioned. They are looking for "creative Christian leaders to unfold some new paradigms" to use in their "explorations," which basically means they want a truth that keeps changing and takes them to new places. Yet the Bible says that "the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). They do not want a closed canon, but want to have leaders who make it up as they go along. He ends the above paragraph calling for new wine for a "new time" (aka: new age). Yet, there is no "new wine" until the Lord Jesus Himself gives it to us. Jesus said when that would happen: "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matt. 26:29). If the Emerging Church wants some wine, the Bible spells out what wine will be given to those who join in this world’s rebellion against Him: "they also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger" (Rev. 14:10).]
It's time for Christian leaders to encourage first and second generation Christians to become creative thinkers, pursuers of truth, explorers, and learners, rather than old world memorizers, repeaters, and defenders of old formulations. What a challenge we encounter when we open ourselves to discover how Jesus Christ wants to theologically incarnate himself [with a small "h"] for the postmodern world, just as he did for the post-Enlightenment world of the old church.
[Right away, another attack on the word of God – "old world memorizers" – a call against the memorization of Scripture and against defenders of the faith. This tactic of Satan comes up again and again in cults and anti-Christian movements throughout history. This is where a study of history through biblical eyes trains a true believer to see the MO of the devil when he rears his proverbial ‘pointed tail.’ These "pursuers of truth" are looking for truth in all the wrong places – in the wisdom of this world. Yet God says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). The biggest motivation they have for turning people’s attention away from the Bible is that it exposes their bag of tricks.
This new "Jesus Christ" of theirs who wants to "incarnate himself for the postmodern world," is what the Bible calls "another Jesus." The Jesus Christ of the Bible is God incarnate and He has no need to incarnate Himself again. The Bible says He will return to judge the "postmodern world," not become an accomplice along with its anti-God, anti-Bible worldview. Pay heed: " For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!" (2 Cor. 11:4) Many today are putting up with another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel as this writing of Fred Peatross so clearly demonstrates.]
Preparing our people for change hasn't always been high on our agenda. Maintenance takes time and patience, yet change without caring, knowing, and understanding the people we're serving will only lead to massive chaos. We have to live with the sheep and smell like the sheep. We have to know and understand their concerns and worries?
[I see more teeth under the wool here. If they were true sheep, would there be a need to study how to live, smell and understand them? This is the strategy for a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And why does Peatross refer to believers as "our people"? They are the ones who have to change them? I thought the Holy Spirit living in the believer is the One who changes people. The "massive chaos" Fred is trying to avoid, no doubt, is the chaos that will follow him if his true affiliations were uncovered. So they have to play it smart!]
After showing our love and gaining their trust [aka: love-bombing—a common cult practice for drawing in the unsuspecting] we clearly communicate the reasons for change? Change agents patiently help their people understand that "postmodern" people experience God in different ways than "modern" people. In the modern world everything in worship is reduced mainly to the visual sense, but post-moderns need more than the visual. They need to hear God, smell God, taste God, and touch God. The Pentecostals and the Eastern Orthodox are doing this best, with Pentecostals using their bodies in worship and Eastern Orthodox having "the smells and the bells." Communication in a post-modern culture needs to be experiential, participatory, image-based, and connective. This "karaoke culture" isn't looking for rationalism. It wants participation, not the performance-based "sit-and-soak" worship of the modern era. It's a generation that thinks in images, not in words.
[For whom are these "change agents" working? Again, a study of Bible history shows the pattern. The people want a "God" they can hear, see, smell, taste, and touch. Study the Exodus to see how these same carnal desires of the Israelites turned out in the Wilderness. They demanded such a ‘God’ from Aaron when Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain. So he gave them what they wanted – the Golden Calf. This idolatry is alive and well in the postmodern church. And the people get the leaders that will give them what they want. The Bible again warns us of this: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth" (2 Timothy 4:3-4) That time has surely come! They play "karaoke" for the lost masses instead of giving them the truth. These pipers are leading the throngs right into the pit – the blind following the blind.]
[There better be a Resistance. Whenever the wicked have tried to dominate the righteous, a righteous standard must be raised. Remember "The Resistance" during World War II? Without that Resistance, we would all be living under tyranny today! "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).]
The flip side of change is resistance. So expect it! Human beings inevitably exaggerate the joys of the past, the pain of the present, and the risks of the future. It's perfectly natural. So don't take it personally. I made that mistake. People would push back and I'd want to scream, "Why can't you see it?"
[They warn against those who "exaggerate"
because that is their way of doing things. They don’t want to hear about
the "joys of the past" such as the Gospel narratives. Nor do
they want to talk about the "pain of the present" – the
current apostasy going on in the church. And don’t talk to them about
"the risks of the future" because they don’t want to know
where they could spend eternity. Their motto: "Hear no evil; See no
evil; Speak no evil." Even though the personification of evil itself
is blinding them to the truth. By getting this agenda across to their
followers, they implant this message to ignore all warnings that they’re
headed for danger. The writer of this diatribe shows his frustration that
others can’t see the vision of what the fowler has put into his mind.
Could it be because he loves not the truth of God’s Word and suffers
this outcome: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the
working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all
unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive
the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God
will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that
they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure
in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2: 9-12).]
[Fred Peatross and the Emerging Church are the ones who are being covert in admittedly trying to be change agents, secretly introducing people to "another Jesus." No, "The Resistance" is working out in the open in obedience to Scripture: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret" (Eph. 5: 11-12). Fred Peatross’ entire thesis is how to change people bit by bit into accepting the things they wouldn’t go for if they operated out in the open.]
I've made a list of the codes I hear again and again: "What will the East Side Church of Christ think?" "We're not in the entertainment business." "Things are just fine the way they are -- we don't need to turn the place upside down." Whenever I hear those statements, I know what's going on. I've cracked the code.
[On the contrary, Mr. Peatross, I’ve cracked your code. The very same vocabulary the Emerging Church uses is that of the new age movement. Here’s a sample for those not yet initiated:
These terms were taken directly from the Index in the back of the book, "The Aquarian Conspiracy." When a believer hears a "church leader" using such terms, it should raise a red flag.]
It's the change agent's responsibility to take the fear out of change. Maybe you've heard the phrase, "Carry the wounded but shoot the stragglers"? Take the time to carry the straggler. Attempt to do everything in your power to bring people along.
[Admittedly, the followers of these new "Change Agents" will have to walk in their own power, not the power of the Holy Spirit since He is not involved in these changes. Fred is calling for his Emerging Followers to "bring people along" to his way of thinking. But they forget the warning: "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:30). It isn’t the Jesus of the Bible that Fred is uplifting!]
I remember back in my high school baseball days when we would go outside for our pre-season one-mile run. The coach would start us off together, but eventually a group would start to straggle. So the coach would take those of us in the lead and run us back around the stragglers, and recreate the group. After a while another group would straggle, and we'd circle back again. The coach moved forward in a series of concentric circles that helped everyone get to the final destination.
[Interesting that Fred is suggesting that you all follow him by running in circles. When you run in circles, there is no destination. It is a mere act of tail-chasing, something the philosophers of this world have been doing for eons. This is the opposite of the straight and narrow road that Jesus has called His true followers to. This "circle" has been personified in other writings of old such as Dante’s "The Divine Comedy" in which hell is portrayed as nine circles of punishment. Many artists have captured those scenes and since the Emerging Church is into religious art, they might see the similarities to their circles with those of Dante.]
Change agents are coaches who see the future and pull the church along attempting not to lose any, but there comes a point when you have to be very clear about where you're going. And remember, no matter what you do, some will refuse to come along. Some people are just not going to agree with forward thinking. That is the time when you let them know that the boat is leaving the dock. Remind them that there are plenty of seats for everyone, but they have to choose whether they're going to get on board.
[Now Fred mentions some sort of "destination" without even once saying what that ultimate destination is. I guess his followers are just supposed to trust him that his circle will end up somewhere. Well, at least it is moving forward. They don’t want the old, only the new. For Bible believers, that may sound familiar. Remember in the book of Acts. "Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new" (Acts 17:21). But as this shows, there is nothing new under the sun!]
"If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on the horror of the Same Old Thing." Screwtape to his demon nephew Wormwood in "The Screwtape Letters," by C. S. Lewis, page 117.
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