Friday, October 03, 2014

The MegaChurch Transit Authority...

...and How it Operates

The Culture Which Gave Rise to Mark Driscoll, Part 3
Part 1: "We Are Not ABANDONED" 
"You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus.
Those are the options; but the bus ain’t gonna stop."

-Mark Driscoll[1]

"To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus,
and the wrong people off the bus,
is absolutely the wrong approach."

"...if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters.
You may be headed in the right direction,
but you still won’t achieve greatness.
Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results."

- Jim Collins[2]


Every day you'll see the dust (Too much, the Magic Bus)
As I drive my baby in my Magic Bus (Too much, the Magic Bus)

- "Magic Bus," The Who 

 
Jim Collins, Good To Great, p. 41.[3]
Whoever heard of a transit authority that kicks people off its buses? How can one run a business this way? Leave it to Jim Collins, the management guru who trained several generations of MegaChurch, New Calvinist and Emergent leaders, to come up with such a radical idea.

Collins taught evangelical leaders his brand of "tossing people off the bus," including his own unique methodology. He advised bus drivers (i.e., church leaders) that before going in a certain direction they first needed to purge their bus of the "wrong people." Yep! That's right! Toss out the unruly "wrong people" that don't fit on the bus. Keep the "right people" on the bus and then get going on your mission to fulfill your vision. The following statement by Collins is alarmingly blunt:

You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you're going, how you're going to get there, and who's going with you.
 

Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they're going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances....[4][emphasis added]



Collins cited David Maxwell, identified as "CEO of Fannie Mae in 1981" when it was losing "$1 million every business day," as a role model for providing "seats on the bus for A-level people." Obviously no B-level people allowed, only the "smartest, and hardest working" people can sit on this bus:

Maxwell told his management team that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort. He interviewed every member of the team. He told them all the same thing: It was going to be a tough ride, a very demanding trip. If they didn’t want to go, fine; just say so. Now’s the time to get off the bus, he said. No questions asked, no recriminations. In all, 14 of 26 executives got off the bus. They were replaced by some of the best, smartest, and hardest-working executives in the world of finance.[5][emphasis added]
Collins' training for Leadership Network described, 1999


Collins wrote "three simple truths" about this bus ride that ensures the "right people" get on the bus. Notice the condescension. If you are a wannabe "good-to-great" CEO-type leader you need to have the "right people" on your bus. Ensuring this means you will be "faster and smarter," "self-motivated," and can "produce great results." But if don't do this properly, you will "have the wrong people on the bus," you "won't achieve greatness," and will end up with with "mediocre people" and "mediocre results."

When it comes to getting started, good-to-great leaders understand three simple truths. First, if you begin with “who,” you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you'll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions. Second, if you have the right people on your bus, you don’t need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated: Nothing beats being part of a team that is expected to produce great results. And third, if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.[6][emphasis added]

NEXT, Leadership Network
promotion of Jim Collins, May 1997


Bus Driver Training
Jim Collins' influence over leaders like Mark Driscoll was extraordinary. Many of the "buzz terms" used by Mega-Emergent-Missional (whatever) leaders were borrowed from Collins, such as the bus motif, "Big Hairy Audacious Goal," and "Level 5 Leader," etc. The early Leadership Network-trained pastors were exposed to Collins' style, which included a dose of Ying/Yang Eastern mysticism (look at the clock graphic and subheading graphics) in the May 1997 issue of Leadership Network's NEXT newsletter.

Below are examples of the teachings of Jim Collins that have permeated the evangelical subculture in America. Because Collins is a business/management guru, these teachings are also commonplace in the corporate sector. As we pointed out in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, the original idea of "abandon" as articulated by Peter Drucker is essentially the same bus concept taught by Collins. While Drucker first applied this to manufacturing, it was quickly interpolated to human relationship dynamics. Thus tossing PEOPLE off the bus when they weren't "effective" (a favorite term of Drucker's) has become the norm across society. It is unfortunate that the evangelical church world -- which should have functioned as a conscience, and defended and supported people who were getting thrown under the bus -- chose rather to adopt this very method, and even perfected it in the church.

Here is what Collins teaches about a "Level 5 Leader." Notice that a key qualification is that he must "Get the right people on the bus." Supposedly Jesus is a Level 5 Leader model. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus toss off those people who aren't the "right people"? This seems to be the dreadful implication.
Jim Collins, Good To Great, p. 47
Note in the next excerpt from Good To Great (text below) what Collins teaches about "Letting the wrong people hang around." It is "unfair to all the right people." Really?! This sounds like a Junior High clique in the extreme. For example, those who are in (hip, cool, on the cutting edge) don't want the untouchables (unhip, uncool, etc.) around. It might spoil their fun party, 'er their bus ride.

In fact, this first sentence in the text below could function as the mantra of this entire megachurch/emergent movements. The peer-driven culture of the MegaChurch Transit Authority does not want to let the "wrong people hang around it." They've made this abundantly clear. If you are not postmodern (the new authority), you're tossed off the bus. Note: any holding traditional views are summarily dismissed. Seeker-sensitive has replaced "salt and light" as the new operating system in the church. Old fogies must go!

BUT, if you are on the cutting edge of pushing the boundaries of immorality, new theology, and new ways of doing church -- Hey! You're in! You are the "right people." As long as you promote the postmodern brand and/or logo (by whatever name), you can ride this bus!
Jim Collins, Good To Great,p. 55
Notice also the language of the second paragraph above. Collins makes it sound like the leader is doing a favor to the "people who need to get off the bus," i.e., the "wrong people." It is for the own good that you toss them off the bus. They need to be tossed off, so that they can find a "better place where [they] can flourish." How nice.... How sweet.... You're doing them a favor. They'll feel so much better once they recover from their injuries, wounds and traumas of being hurled overboard and run over.
Jim Collins, Good To Great,p. 50

Here is a summary point, which appears highlighted in a box in Good To Great. This may explain the ideology behind financial fiascos[7] accompanying the bus fiascos at Mars Hill. Salary ("compensation") is how "to get the right people on the bus in the first place, and... keep them there." Bus driving can be a lucrative business, but it takes a lot of semantic, legal and financial deception to dupe the riders into paying the high fares for salaries of the "Level 5 Leaders." In fact, more stories keep coming out -- many got tossed off the bus for merely asking questions when they stumbled across these deceptions. Oops! The "right people" don't ask questions!

Advertised by Leadership Network,
email dated October 2, 2014, http://thenines.tv
Salt and light? Or seeker sensitive?

"Bullies" in the Church
This "toss off the bus" ideology now seems endemic in the evangelical church world. It was a major facet of Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven strategy and operation. Dan Southerland wrote a key book in 2000 Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change which details this "vision." Pastor Bob DeWaay critiqued it:

Rick Warren wrote the forward to Dan Southerland‘s book entitled “Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change”. The book is designed to show pastors how to transition their traditional church into a Purpose Driven one. Rick Warren sells the book on the Purpose Driven website.

Some of the chapter headings reveal how heavily it depends on the concept of vision: “Preparing for Vision; Defining Vision; Planting the Vision; Sharing the Vision; Implementing the Vision, etc”. The future Purpose Driven Church is what the vision is all about. The vision includes the process of removing people who oppose becoming Purpose Driven. This book is very revealing.

Reading Southerland’s book will help people whose churches have changed from gospel preaching and Bible teaching churches to seeker churches understand what happened to them. Southerland characterizes those who resist this transition as “leaders from hell” who are of the ilk of Sanballat who resisted Nehemiah on a mission from God (ie: to convert the church to being a Purpose Driven seeker church) and that all who resist are misguided, have evil motives, or are just unwilling to change because of their being caught in traditions.
[8][emphasis added]

In another critique of Southerland by Gary Gilley, more of this dump-the-sheep philosophy is explained. Note: just because a member chooses to leave doesn't mean he didn't feel dumped off the bus. There is usually a series of bad things that start happening, leading up to the actual leaving (however it happens):

Transitioning to the Flamingo Road model will require radical change such as replacing traditional music with “extremely” contemporary, becoming staff-led rather than deacon- or elder-led and replacing Sunday school with small groups.  Some of these changes will anger more traditional members, some of whom may leave (pp. 102-103).  But not to worry, Flamingo Road lost 300 traditionalists but gained 2000 people (p. 127).  Some traditionalist don’t leave, they just become critical, but Southerland sees all such people as ornery or wolves, and their criticism is not worth considering (pp. 116-117, 125, 127-128, 153).[9][emphasis added]

Pastor Larry DeBruyn also wrote about this phenomena in his 2007 book Church on the Rise: Why I am not a "Purpose-Driven" Pastor[10]: Notice in the quotation from Church Transitions Inc. that not only is the congregant tossed off the bus in one church, but that when they tried to board the next bus, they discover that they will be "barred" there too. This explains the awful experiences that some have reported. Once tagged as the "wrong people" the label can follow you for life:
 
Transitioning a Local Church
How can a church be managed in its move from traditional to contemporary and Purpose-Driven? Though not officially affiliated with Purpose-Driven, but working according to the organization’s philosophy, the company Church Transitions Inc. instructs pastors on how to affect change from traditional to contemporary in their local churches. Some of the methods employed are underhanded. Others are highhanded.
 

A national newspaper reported that in one Church Transitions seminar, leaders and pastors were coached “to trust very few people with their plans.” Then they were warned, “All the forces of hell are going to come at you when you wake up that church.”[i] Then in a seminar session called “Dealing with Opposition,” the leadership advised seminarians to,

. . . speak to critical members, [and] then help them leave if they don’t stop objecting. Then when those congregants join a new church . . . pastors should call their new minister and suggest that the congregants be barred from any leadership role.[ii]
 

The president of Church Transitions Inc., the Rev. Dan Southerland, remarked,
 

There are moments when you’ve got to play hardball. You cannot transition a church . . . and placate every whiny Christian along the way.[iii]
An example of "bullies" language surrounding Mars Hill fiasco

Pastor Larry DeBruyn began the next section of his book by describing "'Bullies' in the Church." Interestingly, he came up with this subtitle back in 2007 long before the Driscoll mess came to be identified with this same idea -- bullying. In the first paragraph Pastor Larry aptly summarized the problem:
 
“Bullies” in the Church 

Thus, the methods of Church Transitions can be summarized: With the under hand, work clandestinely. “Don’t tell the folks what the plan is for reason that ‘all hell might break loose’.” But what if the folks should discover and balk at the plan? Then with the high hand, disbar them from membership, and warn any church where the dissidents may subsequently attend that they are troublemakers, and unfit for leadership. Putting it into blunt vernacular, if people don’t get with the program, kick them out and “black ball” them!
 

Though he reportedly does not agree with kicking disagreeable folks out, Rick Warren himself has written,

I’m saying some people are going to have to die or leave. Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true.[iv]
 

He has also said, “There is no growth without change and there is no change without loss and there is no loss without pain.”[v] Question: How do these tactics align with the standards of New Testament spiritual leadership? Answer: They don’t.[all emphases added]


The Ultra Exclusive Bus Riders Club
Only the privileged need belong. The MegaChurch Transit Authority is very picky about who it lets ride on its buses. They are, after all, an authority. In order to ride on the bus you often have to sign a statement ("covenant") stating that you believe in and agree to support the leaders' mission, vision and values. There is definitely a sorting going on, a selection process for the "right people" bus riders. This raises some disturbing issues.

Leadership Network has a long history of being a Good-Old-Boys-Club organization mainly made up of upper middle class white males. It has been accused of being misogynistic and chauvinistic. Some women have now come forward to assert that Leadership Network's ethos and style created a climate of repression and abuse in churches, even adversely affecting their marriages and families. Here is a photo from its early years (1986) that appears in a promotion for Bob Buford's new book Drucker & Me. Not surprisingly, Jim Collins wrote the Foreword to this book.[11]
It may seem controversial to notice the obvious parallel here. But we didn't choose the bus metaphor; they did. There was a period of time in America when people were quite literally tossed off of buses. And they were neither white nor wealthy. They were cast off the bus because they were the "wrong people." Quite literally, the wrong color. Does the modern glitzy CEO-leadership model proposed by Jim Collins, and acted upon by Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll and these other men in leadership circles, sanitize the fact very evident in the photo above? Just ask the women and minorities (religious and otherwise) who have been cast off the bus. Again, we didn't choose the bus metaphor, they did.

Recall the original "off the bus" story in American history:

In 1900, Montgomery [Alabama] had passed a city ordinance to segregate bus passengers by race. Conductors were empowered to assign seats to achieve that goal. According to the law, no passenger would be required to move or give up his seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available. Over time and by custom, however, Montgomery bus drivers adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move when there were no white-only seats left.
The No. 2857 bus on which Rosa Parks
was riding before her arrest


The first four rows of seats on each Montgomery bus were reserved for whites. Buses had "colored" sections for black people generally in the rear of the bus, although blacks comprised more than 75% of the ridership. The sections were not fixed but were determined by placement of a movable sign. Black people could sit in the middle rows until the white section filled; if more whites needed seats, blacks were to move to seats in the rear, stand, or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Black people could not sit across the aisle in the same row as white people. The driver could move the "colored" section sign, or remove it altogether. If white people were already sitting in the front, black people had to board at the front to pay the fare, then disembark and reenter through the rear door.

Getting "the right people in the right seats"?


For years, the black community had complained that the situation was unfair. Parks said, "My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest...I did a lot of walking in Montgomery."


One day in 1943, Parks boarded the bus and paid the fare. She then moved to her seat but driver James F. Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again from the back door. Parks exited the bus, but before she could re-board at the rear door, Blake drove off, leaving her to walk home in the rain.
[12]


STOP Fueling the Bus! 
A MegaChurch Transit Authority bus cannot run unless it has fuel. Just as a real bus runs on diesel gasoline and oil, there are two kinds of fuel that run the system's buses:
  • FUEL #1: FINANCES. Obviously, finances. Quit paying bus fares! It has been repeatedly suggested that if people left these churches behind, and quit funding these megachurch bus empires, the entire toxic culture would collapse.[13]
  • FUEL #2: FEAR. Fear of man. This is a peer-driven culture. If only Christians could manage to extricate themselves, with the Lord's help, from the toxic elements of a peer-driven culture, maybe -- just maybe -- they would suddenly experience FREEDOM! Freed from the need to be liked. Freed from the terrors of being ostracized by peers. Freed from the stigma of being "uncool." Spiritual freedom from the toxic social-psychologies that manipulate the sheep. Freed from the postmodern lockstep mantras. Freed from the postmodern drivel -- a lot of "conversations" full of hot air. Freed from the pressures to conform and perform. Freed from the need to "spin" everything rather than truly repent. Freed to be real and authentic and autonomous. Freed to believe in and minister the Gospel. Freed to fall prostrate at the cross and receive Christ's redeeming Forgiveness. Freed to follow the real Jesus Christ of the Bible. Freed to step outside the purpose-driven box. Freed to be sheep quietly feeding on the Lord's hills.
    Stop paying bus fares!
Want to be truly radical? Become free from peer pressure? Want to become a real pace-setter? Follow Jesus and His way. To really live counter to the culture, one must separate from the collective crush and rush. The Bible talks about a narrow way. This dysfunctional MegaChurch Transit Authority goes down Broadway.

Want some advice? Get off the bus! On your own volition. Why stay on a dysfunctional toxic bus heading to a destination that only feathers the nest of an exalted leader?  

"Think outside the bus"*
The MegaChurch Transit Authority's bus system hopes that you will not think outside of its bus box. Don't think! Just go along with the flow! It needs you to blindly believe its management mantras, advertising jingles, and success slogans. It has set itself up as an institutional structure in evangelicaldom. But it is already showing dangerous signs of decay, deconstruction and disease. New stories are cropping up every day. People are gaining courage and sharing their stories openly. They were tossed off the bus, but they survived. They are now standing at the bus depot picketing, warning others not to step foot onto this bus.
“We Are Not Anonymous” demonstrators (Source)

Many jumped on this bus in the first place because they had become disillusioned with normative evangelical Christianity and all of its flaws. And who can blame them? They went along for the ride, which promised new and exciting alternatives to the status quo. Many actually made it their life's purpose to think, dream and communicate in a postmodern mindset. What an adventure! Others jumped onto the bus hoping to find answers, or peace, or community, or to have their "felt needs" met.

Regardless, there was indeed a starting point for the bus ride. And a point where they got tossed off the bus. That point of disembarkation might now seem like a wilderness. These folks may feel quite lost. And if they adopted a postmodern worldview, they may have no clue how to find their way. They may have already ruled out the Bible as a primary source of authority. In fact, it has been so badly discredited (did Paul really write this? Was Moses a real person? etc.) that it may seem utterly useless. The old authority has been deconstructed. Many even helped to do it. It is as if they know how to use a high-tech GPS but they never learned how to follow an old-fashioned paper roadmap. So now where do they go? What do they do?

It doesn't help that many of the guru pastors who claim to represent traditional Bible-believing Christianity are now discovered to be part of the MegaChurch Transit Authority (i.e., Leadership Network) all along. Driscoll's career course, from Emergent to Reformergent, to being accepted totally within the fold of New Calvinists, is a case in point. Nothing is as it seems.

Here is a tiny bit of help. Read our 4-part series on Herescope about "The Cult of Evangelical Leadership."[14] We wrote at the time:

Sheep who read good old biblical material and start digesting meat will show signs of Strength and Vitality, and may suddenly pose a threat to the Shepherd! At this point there will be a crisis because the Sheep are listening and responding to another Shepherd – the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:” (John 10:27) Note: A Scurrilous Shepherd will be threatened by a Sheep that follows Jesus Christ.

We believe there is hope in the Bible. It actually feels like a radical idea to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us turned to Jesus Christ when we fled the postmodernism of the liberal Protestant denominations back in the early 1970s. There were bus disasters even then. We know firsthand that there is hope, and truth, love and life to be found in faith Jesus as our Savior.

By the way, the Bible even speaks to this "tossed off the bus" situation. For example, Pastor Larry DeBruyn, in the very next section of his book, penned the following words of encouragement:

As to underhandedness, such maneuvering is that of false teachers. Jude portrays false teachers as “certain men crept in unawares” (Jude 4; Compare 2 Peter 2:1.). To the Ephesians Paul wrote of “the trickery of men” and the “craftiness [of their] deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). Of his ministry to the Corinthians Paul wrote,

[W]e have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception. . . . On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 4:2, NIV)


Pastoral leadership must be conducted with openness and integrity. What the people see is what they should get. Pastors should not harbor secret agendas. Ministry should be pursued with integrity, godly character, and candor. As with the false prophets in the Old Testament, God’s people rightfully are alarmed at pastors and leaders who, figuratively speaking, “wear a rough garment to deceive” (Zechariah 13:4). Godly leadership should not be like that of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” that deceives, upsets, slaughters, and scatters a local flock (Acts 20:28-30).

Endnotes:
1. The late Pastor Ken Silva, our dear friend and member of the Discernment Research Group, was always ahead of his time. See the following articles where he wrote about the controversial Driscoll bus comments back in 2012. This graphic comes from his article: http://apprising.org/2012/06/18/mark-driscoll-vision-casting-dead-bodies-his-mars-hill-bus-will-roll-over/ and also see: http://apprising.org/2012/07/03/mark-driscolls-dead-bodies-and-chris-rosebrough-with-another-ones-off-the-bus/ Note that the full transcript plus audio of Driscoll's remarks is included. 
2. Jim Collins, "Disciplined people: 'Who' before 'what'," http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html. Emphasis added. Also listen to "FIRST WHO, THEN WHAT": http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/first-who.html
3. Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't (HarperBusiness, 2001), p. 41.
4. Collins, "Disciplined people," Ibid. 
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid. 
7. See partial summary of articles on this topic: https://dangeroushope.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/mars-hill-roundup-scandals-remain-not-much-changing/ Also see: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/08/mars-hill-church-announces-more-layoffs-blames-people-for-lack-of-giving/
8. Bob DeWaay, Redefining Christianity: Understanding The Purpose Driven Movement, p. 52, emphasis added. This summary was found at: http://apprising.org/2010/02/26/dan-southerland-and-cult-like-hostile-takeover-tactics-of-purpose-drivenseeker-driven-church-transitioning/
9. http://www.svchapel.org/resources/book-reviews/5-church/667-transitioning-by-dan-southerland

10. All emphases added. The footnotes in this excerpt from Pastor Larry's book are as follows:  
[i] Sataline, “Popular Strategy.”
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Pastors.com, Rick Warren’s MinistryToolBox, Issue #263, 6/14/2006, “What to do when your church hits a plateau.” Online at www.pastors.com/RWMT/default.asp?id=263&artid=4533&expand=1
[v] Sataline, “Popular Strategy.” In PDC, Warren states, “The church is a body not a business. . . . The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur.” See Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995) 16. Assuming the Purpose-Driven philosophy is the paradigm by which church health is to be measured, the only judgment that can be made of those who do not get with the program is that they are like a cancer in the body that must be removed.
11. See: http://leadnet.org/bob-bufords-new-book-drucker-me/ "Meet Peter Drucker Through the Eyes of Bob Buford." Here is a list of the men identified in this photo: Seated Front Row from the left: Randy Pope, Frank Tillapaugh, R. J. Ross, Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, David Hubbard, Larry DeWitt, Fred Smith, Jr.,Ted Engstrom, Paul Robbins. Standing Second Row from Left: John Huffman, Gordon MacDonald, Joe Aldrich, Bill Banowsky, John Vawter,Art DeKruyter, Bill O’Brien, Louis Knowles, Loren Mead, Norman Shawchuck, Carl George, Haddon Robinson, Leith Anderson. Back Row from Left: Robert Davis, Terry Fullam, John Pearson, Bobb Biehl, Bob Andringa, Bob Seiple, Paul Cedar, Gordon Loux, Bill Hybels, Harold Myra.  
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks 
13. Many people are calling this a toxic culture. See, for example, http://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2014/09/16/how-toxic-followers-enable-toxic-leaders/ and http://oboedire.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/ministry-musings-toxic-leadership/
14. Sacred Cows and Stars, CA$H COW$ & FAT CAT$, Stuffed Shirts & Their Sycophants, and Scurrilous Shepherds & Their Starving Sheep


*"Think Outside the Bus" This subtitle phrase ise credited to a comic strip in the Cleveland Plain Dealer called "Crankshaft," published on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Discern for Life Conference

A Conference for the Young....
...and the Young at Heart
More information can be obtained at: http://home.etcable.net/hestervanboven/Conferences.htm

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Under the Bus" and "Off the Map"

The Out-of-Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep

Part 2: The Culture Which Gave Rise to Mark Driscoll
Read Part 1: "We Are Not ABANDONED" 

Leadership Network's NEXT, Dec. 1997

Leadership Network's culture has trained several generations of megachurch leaders and spawned the Emergent/Emerging and New Calvinist evangelical "streams" (among others). Precisely WHAT was taught to these leaders that gave them the idea that it is okay for their sheep to "get run over by the bus"?"

NEXT, Dec., 1997, p. 3
Before proceeding it is necessary to establish that Leadership Network sees itself as a "change agent" organization, and a premier "network of networks." It believes it possesses replicating "DNA" that can be inserted into existing churches and faith-based organizations across the country. As a training outfit, Leadership Network reproduces its DNA downline throughout its multiplying interconnected networks. From the beginning, the DNA of Leadership Network was intended to become the DNA of the evangelical world.

Full first page of Dec. 1997 issue
In December 1997, Leadership Network's Megachurch bus shifted into a new gear and set the path towards "accelerating the emergence of the 21st century church." They stated that their "new paradigm" would not be "centered in theology" but rather "focused on structure" and organization." At the right is the full context of the opening quote at the top of this post. In this particular issue of NEXT, Leadership Network announced preliminary organizational structural changes that laid the groundwork for the next few years of paradigm-shifting. This would set the stage for the year 2000, and soon afterwards Emergent/Emerging would be launched.

From its inception the foundation of this "emergence" was fundamentally flawed. There was an inherent defect in the DNA. It did not originate from the Scriptures. It was a foreign organism, not unlike a virus. The full-blown disease is now in evidence at Mars Hill in Seattle. People are feeling the terrible symptoms, but few know its origins. And some may not want to know it.

Leadership Network's DNA is not about the Gospel of Salvation. It was never about Jesus Christ. The emphasis was always on "structure" and "organization" and the nuts and bolts of how to "transition" the church the church into the new "emerging paradigm." Yes, its emerging leaders spoke the hip-sounding intellectual language of theology and philosophy. But that was part of the structural change. They were charged with deconstructing the old mindsets of the old theological paradigm and building the new. Everything was to be turned inside out, upside down, and totally gutted. In this postmodern worldview there can be no absolute truth and God's Word is not the final authority. So the leaders actually threw out the road map and began careening down the road in an out-of-control bus. It was all a grand experiment.

Because their message was not about Jesus Christ, there was never a pathway back home, a bus route leading to real repentance. Once the mission was locked into gear there could be no reversal, no going back. Everything must go forward in the "system." This principle is deeply embedded in the DNA of the transition. In the reinvented church, sin was re-cast as something in the machinery that needed to be fixed. Sin wasn't even really seen as a moral issue, it was seen as anything gumming up the works. And if something couldn't be fixed, or spin-doctored, then it needed to be "abandoned." Leadership Network's own business guru, Peter Drucker, articulated this basic organizational ideology:

Change agents. To survive and succeed, every organisation will have to turn itself into a change agent. The most effective way to manage change successfully is to create it. But experience has shown that grafting innovation on to a traditional enterprise does not work. The enterprise has to become a change agent. This requires the organised abandonment of things that have been shown to be unsuccessful, and the organised and continuous improvement of every product, service and process within the enterprise (which the Japanese call kaizen). It requires the exploitation of successes, especially unexpected and unplanned-for ones, and it requires systematic innovation. The point of becoming a change agent is that it changes the mindset of the entire organisation. Instead of seeing change as a threat, its people will come to consider it as an opportunity."[1]

Study what Drucker was actually saying. This term "organised abandonment" means anything "shown to be unsuccessful." The organization must experience kaizen, "continuous improvement of every product, service and process," a concept he applied to the church. But it presents problems. First, it simply isn't biblical, and can't be found in the teachings of Jesus or the apostles. Much of the books published by Leadership Network leader/change agent authors have attempted to create a theology to justify this. Second, church "organisation" is made up of fallible and infirm human beings - who are not a perfect "product" and can't produce a perfect "service." Third, the only way to "improve" human beings is to preach the Word, the Gospel message of salvation that reveals God's grace, convicts the heart, and leads to our humble repentance. Jesus Christ our Savior died for our sins, and the transformation of the inner man by the power of the Holy Spirit leads us to daily die to self. Fourth, these terms need to be defined. What does "unsuccessful" mean? What happens to people who don't exhibit "continuous improvement"? What allowance is made for inability, infirmity, or inadequacy to measurably perform "continuous improvement" in one's daily life? How many people have been thrown under the bus because of this business principle?
Leadership Network's NEXT, Dec. 1997, p. 3.

Leonard Sweet, who was a poster boy for Leadership Network during the decade of the 1990s, writing about networking and this replicating organizational DNA, summarized the "gene shifts" from "focus on 'church growth' to 'church health" as new "learning":

In short, the changes in our learning paradigm require new structures and new core tools for the learning gene–active learning, interactive learning,
mutual learning, team learning, service learning, game learning, leisure/vacation learning, adventure learning, electronic learning, network learning, group learning, distance learning and cyberlearning systems and programs.[2]


Notice that Sweet makes no mention of Bible learning. It is not on his list. It is not in the DNA. A missing gene! Nevertheless, Leadership Network's networking-by-stealth DNA incorporated thousands of churches into its vast downline empires, that included Purpose-Driven and Willow Creek as well as Mars Hill.

But there was indeed "learning" in Sweet's new system. It came straight out of the occult New Age movement. It created the road map for the bus route.
NEXT, Vol. 6, 2000, partial page 1

Gentlemen, start your buses!
In the year 2000 Leadership Network brought to a head its decades-long work of facilitating the "emergence" of a 21st century church by launching a major conference called "Exploring Off the Map." It was at this groundbreaking conference that the "Mission and Values" of the church were totally overhauled, reinvented, re-visualized, re-imagined and re-created. The conference theme was based on the motif of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Participants were assigned to

✵ Learn to create your own maps. The old ones don’t work any more so you will have to chart your own course.



We first wrote about this event in 2005, and assisted our friend, author and ex-New Ager Warren Smith, with his research on this conference. In his book A "Wonderful" Deception.[3] Smith described how

In May 2000, Leadership Network sponsored a conference titled "Exploring Off the Map." Quantum Spirituality author Leonard Sweet was a featured speaker at this conference with New Age sympathizers Ken Blanchard, Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, and others. Disregarding the certainty of God-given prophecy in Scripture, Leadership Network was determined to provide a more optimistic user-friendly "map" to the future. For the conference, Sweet was given the lead role of Chief Scout.(p. 150)

Ying/yang symbol on p. 1, NEXT, May 1997
Something should be said here about experience. Our personal experience. The postmodern worldview puts great stock in experiential faith. Experiences are widely acclaimed and applauded as genuine and authentic. But our experiences, leading to the writing of this post, may be discounted. Why? Because they don't fit the "Mission and Values" of the paradigm. Some of us were exposed to postmodernism in the Protestant churches back in the 1960s when the first experiments at changing the map were tried. Warren Smith experienced the New Age, and he has continually warned other believers about where its roads lead. And, as we said in Part 1, we were trained in the change methodologies that operate the bus. Our criticisms of this "Exploring Off the Map" conference may be automatically disparaged, discounted or dismissed. Naysayers, including those of us who warn, are usually tossed under the bus. But, we studied the roadmaps, we've ridden similar buses, and we know that this one is heading off a cliff.

It is claimed that "over 500 men and women" attended this "Exploring Off the Map" conference. To date we have never heard a single attendee come forth and repent of their involvement. We pray for a man of courage to speak out about this experience. The intention of this conference was to toss out the old road maps, and plot out a new path for the future. Deconstruction can be destructive. Although the wrecking tools weren't necessarily visible, and the results wouldn't be evident for a awhile, eventually people ended up under this bus. We heard their stories. When they didn't fit the new paradigm, the sheep got tossed underneath. Their pastors had come under the influence of this new DNA and remapped the genes of their local church. Much of this was done under the radar and surreptitiously, and often by deception. We heard stories about local people discovering that their church had come under the networking umbrella of Willow Creek without congregational authorization (even if required in the church bylaws or constitution) or knowledge. Management by a select few at the top - self-anointed and self-appointed leaders with financial incentives - is the structure of governance in this operating system. Don't be fooled by the "laity" rhetoric.
NEXT, Vol. 6, 2000, page 1, next paragraph

Todd Hunter's report, page 5
Leadership Network admitted that they put 18 months into the planning and programming of this "Exploring Off the Map" conference, and they invested a lot of capital. The stated "mission" for "Corps of Discovery" attendees was said to "look beyond the present-day horizon and explore the changing national and global landscape for the purpose of charting new maps for the 21st century." This raises an obvious question. The old map would have been what? The Bible? It is often referred to as the road map for Christian believers.

Considering that New Age gurus charted the map, just where did they direct these church leaders? And considering that Leadership Network was highly influenced by the "futurist" beliefs of the New Age gurus - that mankind can create "alternative future scenarios" - what does that tell us about the direction the bus began heading?

At this time period Leadership Network was busy putting its core group of "young leaders" through intensive experiences and indoctrination in these new ways of thinking, believing, and acting. The pressure on these young men must have been extremely intense. The old ways were disparaged. They were given a hammer and told to start pounding away. They had to build a new road from scratch. What a heady adventure! But the mortar for the new road was untempered (Ezekiel 13: 10-15). The new mindset did not permit a return to the old paths. No wonder so many have forgotten how to repent and return to Jesus Christ and the simplicity of the Gospel. 
Who were these New Age gurus that taught evangelical leaders how to transform the church for the future? To throw out old maps and invent new ones? Here are a few very brief descriptions:
  • Peter Senge, a Buddhist New Age leader who developed the concept of "learning organizations" based on systems theory, in which we humans can recreate ourselves by visioning the future. His book The Fifth Discipline was heavily marketed by Leadership Network. Todd Hunter wrote his reflections on the "Exploring Off the Map" conference for newsletter NEXT. Sadly, he esteemed Peter Senge as a "prophet."
  • Margaret Wheatley, an eastern mystic New Age leader who teaches man's evolution of consciousness into a New Age on earth. Wheatley frequently uses the metaphor of maps, paths, and explorers to describe this process.[4]
http://www.margaretwheatley.com

  • Ken Blanchard, who has been a high profile leader. He is a business guru with obvious New Age leanings, and worked closely with Rick Warren on his Global P.E.A.C.E. plan.[5] 
  • Jim Collins, who is still on the Leadership Network dog-and-pony-show as a leader training their leaders. His book Built to Last is an all-time favorite. He recently wrote the Foreword to Bob Buford's (founder of Leadership Network) new book Drucker and Me.[6]
In May 1997 Collins wrote an article for NEXT  titled "Building An Enduring Church." This article employed Ying/Yang eastern mysticism symbols throughout the text, and in the photo below, showing him talking to a group of "30 senior ministers." Collins explained the concept of "core values" and how they must be shared. Left unanswered is what happens to those people who don't share the new core values. Tossed under the bus?

Core ideology need only be meaningful and inspirational to people inside the organization; it need not be exciting to all outsiders. A clear, and well-articulated ideology attracts people to the company whose personal values are compatible with the company’s core values, and conversely, repels those whose personal values are contradictory. You can’t get people to share core values... you get the people who are attracted to the values you share. What are you doing today to develop a deep bench of people who share the values of your church? [emphasis added]

Note the ying/yang on the screen. Photo p. 2, NEXT, May 1997

Take a Look Under the Bus
This article series does not even begin to touch upon a key theme - how all of this impacts the sheep. This article identifies the "Mission and Values" of Leadership Network that had caused so much harm. But it goes beyond this. Read more about the process in Berit Kjos's article "Dealing with Resisters."

The business gurus entered the church via Leadership Network, at the invitation of Peter Drucker and Bob Buford, and put forth their own brand of organizational change and methodology. Leadership Network gave them a platform, visibility, credibility, and an eager market for their wares. These men (and women) were exciting, savvy, clever and adept at communicating a New Age worldview through the lens of their own management theories. Their ideas seemed state-of-the-art, cutting-edge, and workable. They promised pastors success, influence, wealth and power. They even helped write new theologies. The church must be redesigned to bring it up to speed for the coming global order of the world. This was Drucker's vision.
NEXT, May-June 1998, "Young Leader Universe" page

Despite its utopian pretensions, things have been going wrong with this transformation. The "DNA" of these operating systems is incompatible with the Gospel because it is sourced from the occult. The New Age paradigm is evolutionary. The gurus believe only those who are "aligned" and "connected" in "synchrony" will "cause a shift in the consciousness of Earth."[7] Much of this has been re-articulated by Brian McLaren into Christian-sounding language.[8] These New Age business gurus envisioned the church as a corporate "organism," a "system," an "entity" in a mystical sense. In their New Age worldview, there is no room for "cancer" in the "body." Cancer must be eradicated, eliminated, excised - abandoned. How much of this toxic ideology has seeped into the church?

Mark Driscoll's "under the bus" statement transcribed below, which was posted in its entirety at the "We Are Not Anonymous" site of those who have fled Mars Hill (audio clip: http://tinyurl.com/pjkbylp). Notice Driscoll's opening statement: "You cast vision for your mission." This is directly out of the Leadership Network training manual. Notice what Driscoll says next: "and if people don't sign up you move on." What happens to these people? Driscoll employs the exploration motif of the "Exploring Off the Map" conference: "There are people that are going to die in the wilderness." His people, his sheep. If they gum up the works they need to be discarded. His bus runs on the new operating system.

Mark Driscoll: Here’s what I’ve learned. You cast vision for your mission and if people don’t sign up you move on. You move on. There are people that are going to die in the wilderness and there are people that are going to take the hill. That’s just how it is.

Um. Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate people.

Um. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckle) and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options, but the bus ain’t gonna’ stop


And, uh, I’m just a, I’m just a guy who is like, look, we love you, but this is what we’re doing.

Note that he says "the bus ain't gonna stop." This is the outworking of "continuous improvement" applied to human lives in tangible and hurtful ways. The church is the bus that has to keep moving on. Harsh! Some "gotta get run over" because they stand in the way of this transformation. And who gets thrown off the bus? Those who "wanna go somewhere else."    

There’s a few kinda’ people: There’s people who get in the way of the bus—they gotta get run over!

There are people who wanna’ take turns driving the bus—they gotta’ get thrown off (chuckle). ‘Cause they wanna’ go somewhere else!


Leonard Sweet described team building in his 1997 article for NEXT. He identified "The TEAM Gene" in the DNA, and it requires "very different skills" for leadership, including facilitator and coach. In the new system, the top-down hierarchy of control works differently. People are manipulated and maneuvered into change, often deceptively, which enforces compliance with new methods of coercion. Thus, Driscoll can say that "helpers and servants" and people "who sit on the bus and shut up" are welcome. Why? Because they can fit into of the "Mission and Values" of the organization. As long as they "serve somewhere and help out in a minimal way" they're okay. 

There are people who will, uh, be on the bus—leaders and helpers and servants—they’re awesome!

There’s also just sometimes nice people who sit on the bus and shut up. Um. They’re not helping or hurting—just let them ride along. Um. You know what I’m saying?

But don’t look at the nice people that are just going to sit on the bus and shut their mouth and think, “I need you to lead the mission.” They’re never going to. At the very most you’ll give them a job to do and they’ll serve somewhere and help out in a minimal way. If someone can sit in a place that hasn’t been on mission for a really long time, they are by definition not a leader—and so they’re never going to lead.


Finally, look what happened to the leaders who spoke out against the systemic corruption inherent in this faulty DNA. They were tossed "under the bus." Driscoll explains why: "They were off mission." The DNA of these leadership organizations cannot tolerate anyone or anything "off mission." And Driscoll has the audacity to claim that the apostle Paul occasionally "puts somebody in the wood chipper"? What violent language! 

You need to gather a whole new core.

I’ll tell you guys what, too. You don’t do this just for your church planting or replanting, I’m doing it right now. I’m doing it right now. We just took certain guys and rearranged the seats on the bus. Yesterday, we fired two elders for the first time in the history of Mars Hill last night. They’re off the bus, under the bus.

Um. They were off mission, so now they’re unemployed. I mean. You. This will be the defining issue as to whether or not you succeed or fail. I’ve read enough of the New Testament to know that occasionally Paul puts somebody in the wood chipper. You know?


All this has created a toxic culture. And many are hurt and wounded. This bus system needs to be examined and exposed. People are experiencing the nasty fruits that are evident above. But it is time to examine the roots - the entire cultural milieu that created this devastation. It isn't just happening at Mars Hill. May God bless those people who have courageously come forward to tell the truth. Their acts of courage are creating a counter paradigm shift, opening a pathway for true repentance. May they lead people back to the simplicity of the Gospel. May many more wake up, flee the toxic stew, study what just happened so they avoid it in the future. And finally - have mercy - pull others out of the fire (Jude 1:23).

The Truth:

For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD:
therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

(Jeremiah 10:21)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Endnotes: 
1. Peter Drucker, "The way ahead," The Economist, 11/1/01, bold in original, color added. Original url was: http://www.economist.com/node/770887?Story_id=770887.  This quote by Peter Drucker can be found as an opening quote for a Herescope post, OCTOBER 02, 2006, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/10/global-health-leadership-management.html “Global Health Leadership & Management”
2. Leonard Sweet, "Eleven Genetic Gateways to Spiritual Awakening," NEXT, Leadership Network, May-June 1998, p. 2. 
3. Warren Smith, A "Wonderful" Deception (Lighthouse Trails, 2009), pages 150-153. See also: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/discernment/5-29-earth-newstory.htm 
 4. Ibid., p. 151, which cites articles by Wheatley. See: http://www.margaretwheatley.com/writing.html Also see her article published by Frances Hesselbein's Leader to Leader journal, "Lost and Found in a Brave New World,"  http://media.wix.com/ugd/a7b5e7_1980e72c748b408f9dac5ccadb4687ec.pdf Wheatley was also featured in Leadership Network's April 23, 2001 "Church Champions" newsletter, where she got a rave review on her book Leadership and the New Science, which delved into quantum spirituality.
5. Smith, Ibid. See the index for the many places where he wrote about Ken Blanchard's controversial activities and New Age beliefs.
6. Jim Collins is currently promoted by Leadership Network here: http://leadnet.org/book_list/ and for his influence see him listed here: http://awakengeneration.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/the-books-that-andy-stanley-thinks-you-should-read/ 
7. These words come from a quote by Barbara Marx Hubbard in her book The Revelation, p. 243. Warren Smith quoted this in his book Reinventing Jesus Christ, p. 58. 
8. See our article, "Earth: The Old Story, The New Story," http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/05/earth-old-story-new-story.html, also posted here: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/discernment/5-29-earth-newstory.htm and view the charts here: http://www.crossroad.to/charts/new-story.htm

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"The Power of the Zero-Point Field"

The Physics of Heaven
A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction
Read Part 1

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Part 2: Review of CHAPTER ONE authored by Judy Franklin:
The Power of the Zero-Point Field
[1]

“At present, nobody knows how to exploit the zero-point energy in a macroscopic device that delivers sizable amounts of energy. There is, however, a considerable fringe element (similar to those attracted to UFOs, astrology, numerology and so on) of people who speculate and fantasize about the possibility of exploiting the zero-point energy to achieve various technical marvels and the long-sought ‘perpetual motion.’ Consider yourself warned.”
Atomic Physicist Steven K. Lamoreaux, quoted by John Obienin, Materials Science Researcher at the University of Nebraska at Omaha[2]

The Manifest Sons of God
The Apostle Paul told believers that “the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Emphasis added, Romans 8:19, NASB). About this verse and others in the passage, the author of Chapter 1, Judy Franklin, testifies that something “latches onto your spirit and you just have to understand what they [the verses] mean.”(TPOH, 1)  So she asks, “Hadn’t the children of God already been revealed by the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans?”(TPOH, 2) Well... her answer is a qualified “yes” and “no.”

Because Paul wrote Romans years after Jesus’ life and death, and according to Acts “miracles and healings and deliverances and even resurrections from the dead were almost common-place,”(TPOH, 2), the author reasons that in part, the wait was over. With “signs and wonders” as their calling card, sons of God were manifested during the apostolic era and intermittently throughout church history. But Judy felt there was a deeper meaning in the verses (Romans 8:18-22). So she “began earnestly seeking the Lord as to what they meant.”(TPOH, 2) In three stages, God explained to her the future and deeper meaning of “the revealing of the sons of God.”

Stage 1—God spoke: “The Sound” is coming
God told her that from the first Pentecost He had continued to distribute power to the church to do greater works than Jesus did (See John 14:12.). But He explained to Franklin that “no child of God [even the old Apostles] has ever fully realized the power that has been put within us.”(TPOH, 2) She clarified that, “God has given us the power to raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out demons and we’ve done that to a point, but... but no Christian in history has exceeded Jesus’ works.”(TPOH, 2) So given this deficiency among Christians from the first Pentecost to the present, God explained more....

The Sound and the Sons
He promised He was going to release a “new sound” from heaven, vibrations that will shake the church and change the way Christians think and live.(TPOH, 2) The Lord told her that His release of a new “sound” from heaven will transform Christians and enable them to fulfill the mandate He gives them to rule over God’s creation (See Genesis 1:28.). By His release of the “sound,” God would introduce earth to the “the physics of heaven.”(TPOH, 2, 6-9)
NAR's Chuck Pierce's sound "prophecy"

The Sons and their Signs
When “the sound” comes, the manifest sons of God will rescue the groaning creation from tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters by ordering them to cease. “Jesus calmed storms,” she states. “We should be able to do that too.”(TPOH, 8) Provided they keep their hearts are in “an upper room posture,” reception of the “sound” will empower Christians to work signs—to heal the sick, exorcise demons and raise the dead.(TPOH, 8) By the God-activated energy they control in and around them, upper-room believers will cure children of cancer to live the long life God intends for them (See Psalm 90:10; Genesis 6:3.) Sick people who even pass near the shadows of the emanating vibrations of these new Pentecostals will be cured of “every disease or infirmity” (See Acts 5:15; 19:12.).(TPOH, 10) The new Pentecostals will carry within and around them therapeutic healing energy believed to reside in dolphins.(TPOH, 10) The benevolent sound, light and frequencies within their beings, these “vibrations from God,” will cure a creation that currently “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). The “sound” will be in “the sons,” and fully at their disposal. Welcome to the “new heavens and new earth” (2 Peter 3:13).

But where would this power come from and how would it work? To find out, she began to explore the principles of quantum physics, what she calls “kingdom insights about sound.”(TPOH, 3)

Stage 2—she studied: Quantum Physics
She relates that the whole idea of the word “sound”—the revelatory “hint” God once gave her during a quiet time and a word whose meaning she amplifies by describing it as the light, energy, vibrations and frequencies inherent in the science of quantum physics—reverberated in her mind and caused her to research everything she could about the subject of “sound.” In her study, she came across an Internet article by a German astrophysicist Bernhard (whose first name she spells “Bernard”) Haisch, Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter and the Zero-Point Field.[3]

The article begins by noting the contradiction between the findings of science and the Genesis account of creation; that God created “light” three days before made the stars, sun and moon (Day 1, “light,” Genesis 1:3-5; Day 4, “lights,” Genesis 1:14-19). Haisch proceeds to reconcile what he calls the poetry of Genesis’ opening verses with the physics of quantum science. He explains how an invisible and omnipresent zero-point energy (ZPE) permeates the universe. Though unseen, the phenomenon of visible light is predicated upon ZPE’s existence (the human eye can only see light-waves which exist above zero-point energy). So from the perspective of the quantum physical observer, “light” exists before “lights.” This understanding of a duality of invisible and visible light reconciles the seeming contradiction between science and the order of creation in Genesis. God first created the invisible ZPE field. Then He worked on creating the other visible “lights” (the sun, moon and stars) from ZPE. Admittedly, this knowing about origins is fascinating. But for Franklin, it did not stop there. Her fascination with ZPE stimulated her consciousness to see something.

Stage 3—she saw: A Vision of Creation
Overwhelmed by the knowledge in the opening paragraph of Haisch’s article, ecstasy overwhelmed her soul and transported her back to the beginning of time. As she describes it, she

[L]ooked up and saw God the Father at the beginning of time and . . . our universe with nothing in it. It was completely empty, formless and void. Then the Father said, ‘Let there be light’ and out of His being came wave after wave of what appeared to be light. The light waves were curved, not straight.(TPOH, 4)

She adds that, “as I watched the light [ironically, she saw the un-seeable zero-point energy field] I instantly thought, ‘Just like an artist prepares his canvas before he paints on it, God prepared our universe so he could create us, and the space in that universe needed light.”(TPOH, 4)

Franklin evidently, or not so evidently, saw a vision of the type which God denied to Job. Scripture tells us that unlike speaking in quiet “hints,” the Lord challenged Job from out of “the whirlwind [like a hurricane].” He asked him:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7, KJV

About being transported back in time (a very long time ago... to see the moment when God said, “Let there be light” and to see the “curved” waves of light (meaning the rays were colliding with matter) emanating from the Father, it must be asked, “Where were the Son and the Spirit?” Scripture tells us creation is originally sourced in all three members of the Trinity—the Father (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:20), His Son (John 1:2-5; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2). In her vision, why did she not also see the Son and the Spirit? Hebrews tells us that, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3, NASB). On this point it must be asked, does some claimed vision of the invisible contradict how in our inhabited reality, we are to understand creation; and that is by faith, “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)? Any vision of creation contradicts the means by which we are to understand it; and that is by faith!

But NAR’ers [New Apostolic Reformation followers, ed.] get to look beyond the restrictions imposed by faith (e.g., the evidence of things not seen). These seers peer beyond the boundaries imposed by time, matter and space into realities that God had previously revealed only and exceptionally to Moses (God did reveal to him the events of original creation) and other of the biblical prophets.(TPOH, 2)
NAR "apostle" Cindy Jacobs on the "release" of a "new sound"

So what Franklin saw was a new Pentecost coming, when God will release the “sound” that will activate the “square yard” of zero-point energy in and around every believer—“enough energy to boil all the water in the world.”(TPOH, 7) (The field surrounds unbelievers too. Theirs’ just won’t be activated.) With this energy, which becomes especially potent when “two or three agree,” the new Pentecostals will work miracles greater than Jesus did, “signs and wonders” unprecedented in human history. They will become lightning rods to funnel “positive” energy on and into this planet. Really electric... awesome! By sending the sound, God will activate the zero-point energy field (ZPE) in and around believers thereby empowering them to, among other stunning—even outlandish—signs and wonders, “say to this mountain ‘be removed’ and it will be removed’.”[4] (TPOH, 7)
(Rick Joyner's "prophecy" - Source)
They will possess presence-energy like that NAR prophet Rick Joyner, who once spent a workday in heaven (8 hours) and regularly converses face-to-face with Enoch (the great-great grandfather of Noah who, “God took him,” lived six generations after Adam, Genesis 5:21-24) and the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-2 Kings 2:14), claims. Recently Joyner reportedly informed his TV audience that on a recent heavenly visit he

learned that there is no Ebola virus in Heaven and that Christians are capable of taking authority over the disease here on earth. In fact, there are certain people who are given “total authority over Ebola,” allowing them to cure people infected with the disease simply by being in their presence. “Somebody with Ebola, they come into the room, the Ebola is gone,” Joyner said. “That person is healed. It cannot live, cannot exist in their presence.”[5]

Then Joyner says that one day [At the second Pentecost?] every Christian will have this power. He even saw “a vision of children clearing entire regions of radiation simply through prayer.”[6] But just what is ZPE, and is it possible that humans can harness it?
(Source)
What is Zero-point Energy?
In the science of quantum physics and like the God particle or Higgs boson, the zero-point energy (ZPE) field attempts to explain why the universe continues to cohere and does not disintegrate. In their separate ways, both theories seek to address the mystery of the universe at the quantum level of reality; is light comprised of energy (waves) or matter (particles)?[7] As to the energy side of things, quantum physicists marvel that light or energy exists throughout the universe, even in vacuums. They observe that light ever oscillates at its zero-point (when it can’t be seen). The oscillation or movement is everywhere and constant. That’s why they call it a field. The existence of the field may viewed as the perpetual motion machine within nature (thus contradicting the laws of thermodynamics and entropy; that energy lost because of friction is wasted and unrecoverable). Named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir (1909-2000), this ever oscillating field of energy is also called the Casimir effect, or vacuum energy.

May the Force be with us!
When looking at the universe as a clock, ZPE theory represents physics’ attempt to answer the question, “Who or what wound it up?” Science’s answer is, “Nobody,” because the wave-energy is observed to be ever (and ever is part of forever) oscillating.  Obviously, this eternal “Energy” explains the universe’s existence. ZPE theory doesn’t need God because in and by itself “Energy” is the sustainer of everything. Such knowing about this present reality—that this power as Franklin states, is “within us and around us”—compliments a panentheistic view (divinity permeates everything) or pantheistic (divinity is everything) of God. New Age and mystical religion is based upon this non-personal understanding of God. Furthermore, if ZPE is universal, then the invisible light equally and indiscriminately resides in and around every human being, not just the “two or three” that Franklin envisions.(TPOH, 8) “Surround sound” is equally exoteric and esoteric to all people. As such, any distinction between Christian and non-Christian is lost (Contra Romans 8:9.). But humanly speaking, can ZPE be harnessed or controlled?

Harnessing ZPE
Scientists are skeptical that zero-point energy can be packaged to benefit humanity (i.e., on a cold winter day houses can’t be heated with it). Though dreamed of, construction of a perpetual motion machine is beyond the realm of reality. Scientist Matt Visser calls those dreaming about harnessing zero-point energy “the free-lunch crowd.” After affirming the reality of the ZPE field (a.k.a., vacuum energy or the Casimir effect), Visser continued to say that though “technologically interesting,”

Notions of mining the ZPE should therefore be treated with extreme skepticism. From the way some enthusiasts talk about the zero-point energy, one might think that unlimited power is lying all around just waiting to be harnessed. Like many ideas that seem too good to be true, this one falls apart on closer examination....[8]

ZPE Bankruptcy
John Baez, a member of the mathematics faculty at the University of California at Riverside, illustrates the fallacy of thinking ZPE can be technologically harnessed as follows:

It is a bit like this: say a bank found it more convenient (for some strange reason) to start counting at 1,000, so that even when you had no money in the bank, your account read $1,000 [i.e., the deposit of ZPE residing in the universe]. You might get excited and try to spend this $1,000, but the bank would say, “Sorry, that $1,000 is just an artifact of how we do our bookkeeping: you’re actually flat broke.[9]

To me, the above illustration suggests that thinking God is going to amplify the first Pentecost by releasing a “sound” (thus activating ZPE field in and around believers, provided their hearts are in an “upper room posture) is illusory at best, but quantum quackery at worst. The illusion infers the relative spiritual deficiency and bankruptcy of the first Pentecost, thinking that impugns the both the sovereignty and omnipotence of God for as the Apostle Paul stated, the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Emphasis added, Romans 1:16, NASB). The “sounding” of the Gospel are the words which transform a person’s life (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.).

Yet despite this scientific opinion, Charismatic Christians like Franklin believe that when He unleashes the “sound,” God will connect believers with the power of the ZPE field in and around them thereby activating a second Pentecost that will be more dynamic than the first (Compare Acts 2:1 ff.). With the power of the ZPE field at their control, Christians will be enabled to perform miracles unlike any ever worked on earth before.

But the Bible reminds Christians that because “the earth [waxes] old like a garment,” only the sovereign and omnipotent God can make new what is now growing old (Compare Isaiah 51:6 and 2 Peter 3:11-13.). This means that in the end, harnessing ZPE holds no promise for saving the universe. Only the Creator can save His creation.

Interestingly, physicist Stephen Hawking now predicts the coming of a quantum doomsday when the Higgs boson field (that’s the gravity or “glue” in the universe which holds particles together to form mass) will collapse and everything will disintegrate at the speed of light.[10] One physicist, Dr. Alan Duffy of Swinbourne University in Melbourne, Australia, explains (though currently the Higgs field is stable) that any potential quantum instability (the state physicists call “metastable”),

[P]uts the Higgs field in a position [that may be compared] to that of a rock rolling down a valley. “It may get lodged in a crevice high up from the valley floor. We [he and other physicists] think that the Higgs field could be at this point, and something might nudge it to fall to the true floor (lowest energy state).”[11]

If that “tipping point” happens, Duffy tells us that this universe “will change into a new universe (called a phase transition). This would look like a fireball spreading out at the speed of light, converting the old universe into a new one,” he says.[12] Upon reading this physicist’s description of the end of this universe and the beginning of the new, one can only marvel at the Apostle Peter’s prescience (knowledge of events before they happen) when he wrote,

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements (Greek, stoicheia, the fundamental components of the universe) will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements (Greek, stoicheia) will melt with intense heat! (Emphasis Mine, 2 Peter 3:10-12, NASB).

To this point of the universe’s stability, Hebrews informs earthlings that as to this system’s continuance, it’s Christ who “upholds all things by the word [Greek rhema, or “sound”] of His power” (Hebrews 1:3a), just as Paul adds that “by him [Christ] all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17b). What holds the universe together is neither a quantum particle (Higgs bosom) nor a quantum power (ZPE), but the Person of Christ! Now to return to the question asked at the chapter’s beginning....
"Physics" conference advertised by TheElijahList 5-24-14
“When” will the Sons of God be manifested?
Judy Franklin asks, “Hadn’t the children of God already been revealed by the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans?” (See Romans 8:19.) Then she proceeds to give qualified “no” and “yes” answers to her question; “no,” explaining that from Pentecost to the present there has been a minor manifestation of the sons of God, but “yes,” predicting that a soon-to-be-released “sound” from heaven will signal the coming of another Pentecost. This second Pentecost will be more dynamic than the first as recipients of the “sound” will to the amazement of a watching world, perform signs and wonders greater than those Jesus did two-thousand years ago when He was physically present on earth. This will be the greatest manifestation (Greek, apokalupsis, Romans 8:19) of the sons of God. She, as her co-author and other of the book’s contributors, base their “sound scenario” by interpreting Scripture according to received revelations (voices they hear and visions they see). But the Apostle Paul, upon whose statement Franklin bases her question, should be allowed to answer to the question (Had not the children of God already been revealed when Paul wrote Romans?). His answer to the question is, “No, not yet.”

The Unrevealed Sons of God
The Apostle in Colossians informs believers that they “have died [in relation to primary interest in earthly things] and [their lives are] hidden with Christ in God” (Emphasis added, Colossians 3:3, NASB). “Hidden” (Greek, krupto, means to conceal or to escape notice) means that at that time genuine Christians were not known, had not been fully manifested as to their identity “in Christ.”[13] Because believers’ lives are “hidden with Christ in God,” we currently appear in the world as a people “without visible means of support.”[14] Hence, Christians can be despised, persecuted and executed by the adversaries of Christianity. But this anti-Christian prejudice will not continue indefinitely. It will end when the world finds out who we really are.

The Revealed Sons of God
Returning to the Colossians text, Paul proceeded to write in chapter three verse four that, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed [Greek, phaneróō], then you also will be revealed [phaneróō] with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). See it . . . when . . . then? Christians whose lives presently are “hidden with Christ in God” will be revealed for who they really are when Christ is revealed for who He really is at the time of His Second Coming in glory. Our revelation will not be a moment sooner or a moment later than His. We will be revealed with Him. As F.F. Bruce comments, “But when Christ, the true life of all his people, is manifested in his parousia, then you who share his life now will share his glorious epiphany.”[15] Genuine believers will be transformed not when heaven releases the “sound” of a coming-second Pentecost (The New Testament says nothing about such a Pentecost.), but at Christ’s Parousia. As the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). That’s the chronology for the manifestation of “the sons of God.” So about our current state of “hiddenness” and the expected moment of the believers’ unveiling, the Apostle writes: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (Emphasis added, 1 Corinthians 13:12).

It should also be noted that Christ Himself “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). The time of the full manifestation of the sons of God will be, as was Jesus’, when, coordinate with His Second Coming, they too shall be raised from the dead and their bodies are redeemed from “corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:23, 21). This will happen, the Apostle Paul states, when Jesus comes and translates the church (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57.).

So the time for the revealing of the sons of God has been set. This manifestation will not happen when a second Pentecost comes, but when the Lord Jesus Christ comes. Then at the time of the Second Coming (Parousia) our corrupted/decayed bodies will be either translated or raised from the dead. Then our position as “sons of God” will be fully manifested. This NAR idea of the soon-to-be-released power from heaven does raise an issue regarding the nature of the church and her relationship to Christ.
NAR "apostle" Dutch Sheets' "prophecy" about the "sound"
“Thy Kingdom Come,” Dominion Theology and the NAR
Thinking that a worldwide revival will take place when the “sound” is released, the second Pentecost commences and “sons of God” are manifested, stems out of the NAR assumption the “church” is the present incarnation of Christ, that,

[T]he Church is Christ in the sense that Jesus is the head, and the Church is the body. The Second Coming of Christ, therefore, is through the Church, not Jesus returning in the flesh; we should not wait for Him to return in order to set the world in order, but we are to take His authority over the world and spiritual realm now.[16]

But to do that, Christians need power. That’s why the New Apostolic Reformation is about power... more power... and much power; energy to transform the world, spirit power greater than Jesus’.[17] Such thinking about “the kingdom, and the power, and the glory” (See Matthew 6:13, KJV), “reduces Jesus” says Al Dager, “to just one part of a greater whole.”[18]  So Jesus really doesn’t even need to come back “in the flesh” because He’s already present in and through the Church. The presence of the Church makes unnecessary the presence of Christ (i.e., parousia). Thus, the promise of Jesus’ personal and physical return is very nearly reduced to a non-event (Contra Acts 1:11.). After all, to bring God’s kingdom to earth, who needs the Son of God when you’ve got sons of God? That the body (the church) usurps the head (the Christ) in establishing the kingdom of God reduces Jesus’ first coming to be as unexceptional even as it makes His second unnecessary, and this despite John’s declaration that Jesus is “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14, KJV). The NAR prophetic scheme places Jesus far beneath the dignity Peter ascribed to the Lord when he said to Him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

We shall not be manifested as “the sons of God” independent from the personal and physical revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven. The “the sons of God” will not be manifested by their doing “signs and wonders,” but when there occurs “the sign of His coming and the end of the age” (Emphasis added, Matthew 24:29-30). His glory will be our glory! When He finally returns to reign, then we too shall either be translated or resurrected from the dead to reign with Him on earth in glory (Revelation 20:6; Romans 8:17). Our lives are hid with Christ now. Our lives will be glorified with Christ when He comes again.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. . . . The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Emphasis added, Romans 8:14, 16-17, NASB

TO BE CONTINUED . . . . .


Endnotes
REVIEW OF: Judy Franklin, Ellyn Davis and others, The Physics of Heaven: Exploring God’s Mysteries of Sound, Light, Energy, Vibrations and Quantum Physics (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, 2012): xiv + 188.

[1] Judy Franklin, Chapter: “The Power of the Zero-Point Field,” The Physics of Heaven: Exploring God’s Mysteries of Sound, Light, Energy, Vibrations and Quantum Physics, by Judy Franklin & Ellyn Davis (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, 2012): 1-9.
[2] John Obienin interacts with article written by Matt Visser, of Washington University in St. Louis, MO. See Matt Visser, “FOLLOW-UP: What is the ‘zero-point energy’ (or ‘vacuum energy’) in quantum physics? Is it really possible that we could harness this energy?” Scientific American, August 18, 1997 (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/follow-up-what-is-the-zer/). In his interaction, Obienin quotes Steven K. Lamoreaux whose words are sourced in Physical Review Letters, Vol. 78, No.1, January 6, 1997, pp. 5-8.
[3] Bernhard Haisch, “Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter and the Zero-Point Field,” zpenergy: new energy revolution, December 26, 2005 (http://www.zpenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1669). In the science of quantum physics the zero-point energy field attempts to account for on the energy side of things—as the God or Higgs Boson particle on the matter side of things—why the universe coheres and does not disintegrate (i.e., gravity). Both theories address the issue of light—mysteriously, is it energy (a wave) or matter (a particle)? As to the energy side of things, quantum physicists observe that though out the universe, even in a vacuums, there resides an immense and ever oscillating energy field (like a perpetual motion machine). Named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir (1909-2000), this infinite oscillating is also called the Casimir effect. The existence of the zero-point energy field is science’s attempt to answer the question, looking at the universe as a clock, “who wound it up?” The answer is, “Nobody,” because energy is perpetual and eternal. “May... the Force be with you!” The theory doesn’t need God so it becomes difficult to understand why NAR’ers are trying empower the sound with the field.
[4] The full text reads: “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you’.” (Matthew 17:19-20, NKJV) We would note that again the words cited vary from the NKJV.
[5] Emphasis added, Kyle Mantyla, “Rick Joyner Says Some Christians Can Cure Ebola Simply Through Their Presence,” Right Wing Watch, September 12, 2014 (http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-joyner-says-some-christians-can-cure-ebola-simply-through-their-presence). Joyner reportedly said this to his TV audience on the program “Prophetic Perspective on Current Events” which aired on September 11, 2014. Also see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrLohL8PMtw and
[6] Ibid.
[7] “Some refer to a wave-particle ‘duality’, but it might be better to talk of a wave-particle ‘ambiguity’. Light may be better described as neither energy nor mass, but something in-between or encompassing both. How to deal with this matter is a philosophical question as much as a scientific question.” Emphasis added, G-zilla, “Is light matter or energy?” Yahoo! Answers: Science & Mathematics, Astronomy & Space (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AwrBT7adoQVUilEA8zBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzODU0MGRrBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDM3Nl8x?qid=20070307202253AAuEU3P).
[8] Emphasis added, Matt Visser, “FOLLOW-UP: What is the ‘zero-point energy’ (or ‘vacuum energy’) in quantum physics? Is it really possible that we could harness this energy?” Scientific American, August 18, 1997 (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/follow-up-what-is-the-zer/).
[9] Quoted in Visser article cited previously, “What is the ‘zero-point energy’ (or ‘vacuum energy’) in quantum physics?”
[10] “Stephen Hawking says Higgs boson has potential to destroy entire universe,” News.Com.Au, September 8, 2014 (http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/stephen-hawking-says-higgs-boson-has-potential-to-destroy-entire-universe/story-fn5fsgyc-1227050890169).
[11] Ibid. The “nudge” causing the system of our universe to collapse in a vacuum could be the building of a collider (a machine) that will create enough empty space to begin the collapse of matter within it, which collapse would then spontaneously spread throughout the universe (kind of like one atomic bomb going off and triggering more and more subsequent explosions until our whole planet is engulfed in a ball of fire and a cloud). As Hawking explains the doomsday scenario he envisions, “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.” Note his repeated use of the word “could.” Because it could happen does not mean that it will happen, at least not yet. But who really knows, other than God?
[12] Ibid. Emphasis added.
[13] Bruce comments that, “the life of believers is hidden ‘with Christ’ because they died with him and have been raised with him [see Romans 6:1-11]; it is hidden ‘in God’ because Christ himself has his being in God and therefore those who belong to him [who are “with” or “in” him, see Ephesians 2:4-10, etc.] have their being there too.” See F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984): 135.
[14] Ibid: 135-136.
[15] Ibid: 136. The verb “shall appear” (KJV, Greek, phaneróō—“is revealed,” NASB, NRSV; “appears,” NKJV) belongs to the family of Greek words (both verbs and nouns) which in the New Testament can refer to Christ’s Second Coming (parousia, James 5:7; epiphaneia, Titus 2:13; and apokalupsis, 1 Corinthians 1:7). Murray J. Harris, as do other commentator/scholars, notes that the clause, “When Christ . . .  appears” (Colossians 3:4) refers to His Second Coming. See Colossians & Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991): 139. When combined with a verb in the subjunctive mood as in this verse, “when” (Greek, hotan) means “whenever.” Thus, the timing for the revelation of the sons of God is dependent upon the imminent (impending or any moment) return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
[16] Albert James Dager, Vengeance is Ours: The Church in Dominion (Redmond, WA: Sword Publishers, 1990): 148.
[17] Franklin uses the word “sound” at least twelve times in chapter 1 and “power” at least eighteen, both of which relate to the energy, vibrations and light which when soon activated, will be more greatly revealed to the world through and by the “manifest sons of God.”
[18] Dager, Vengeance, 148.

See the recent Herescope 6-part series on the NAR and IHOP teachings about a Second Pentecost:  “The Passion of the Presence & the Purpose of the Passion,”
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3
Read Part 4
Read Part 5
Read Part 6