The Global Church - Part 2
Church Management and Global Missions
By Berit Kjos, 2001
Part 1: The millennial church & A church in tune with the world
Part 3: The call to global oneness (Jay Gary and Global Missions)
Part 4: The Open Church
Part 5: Christians in the new millennium
You probably recognize the names: Lausanne, AD 2000, World Evangelical Fellowship.... These networks have been served by countless ambassadors for Christ who have brought His message of truth and salvation into some of the world's most hostile nations. Filled with God's love for the world's lost and hurting people, these faithful missionaries chose to leave the comforts of the western world to enter cultures that provide few of the amenities we take for granted: warm showers, clean water, abundant supply of food, a quiet place, physical safety, family and friends who speak their language, the protection of a police force that doesn't persecute Christians.... Shining the light of truth into dark and distant places, they transformed the towns and villages they touched.
Today, while the western church is fast embracing the values of world, dedicated Christians sent to third world nations continue to transform their environment -- not by "converting cities" but through the changed lives of individuals touched by the Word, cleansed by the blood of Christ, and filled with His Holy Spirit. They need our prayers and support.
That pure light of His Word and Spirit is now threatened by compromise, but few of God's most dedicated servants are told what is happening. Their own fruitful and demanding ministries leave little time to search out the implications of the fast-spreading church management system. Few see its ties to secular, governmental or anti-Christian systems such as the United Nations.
In contrast, many of the insiders who plan these changes are committed, not to saving the lost, but to an evolving human vision of global peace, unity and social equality. Others speak the Biblical message, serve God and share Christ in wonderful ways. Yet, their top-down management and marketing strategies are shaped, in part, by the surveys that expose "felt needs" which, in turn, draw people into groups where dialogue and consensus often become more important than God's absolute truth.
More important, the millions of people drawn into this process will probably learn to think dialectically. See Mind Control. Participants would be trained to interpret the Bible through the filter of personal feelings, nice-sounding ideals and group consensus. Even God's eternal, unchanging truths then become subject to the demands of changing cultures and human "wisdom." No longer grounded on the solid foundation of Scriptures, the people will flow with politically correct tides that are as unstable as the shifting sands of Matthew 7:27.
Please pray that God's Word and spiritual discernment would guide these massive networks that touch so many lives around the world:
1. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE). The first of these global networks, was launched by Billy Graham in 1974. At the first Lausanne Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, he challenged the Church to complete the task of world evangelization by AD 2000. In Manila fifteen years later, Lausanne II emphasized the same vision to more than 4000 participants.
The Lausanne movement has served a vital function of awakening the Church to the urgency of the Great Commission. Surely the intentions of Billy Graham and other faithful visionaries and organizers have been to share the gospel around the world. Yet, some unbiblical tactics have crept into “The New Lausanne.” Ponder the following statements from Lausanne’s magazine, World Evangelization (September 1993):
"...a new vision began to emerge - one of a Lausanne movement ‘owned and operated’ by the national, regional and special interest Lausanne committees. Taking this new direction also requires us to redesign the international structure of Lausanne so that it provides what the ‘new owners’ both need and can afford...."
The notion of virtual "ownership" is central to the new management systems. According to behavioral psychologists, this particular word communicates a sense of "empowerment" to participants or "stakeholders" in any project. They tell us that "empowerment" is a highly motivating "felt need" -- a strategic tool needed to manipulate the feelings of the members of a group.
But this empowering illusion of "ownership" hardly fits God's mission to a lost world. He (not we) owns the program for bringing sinners to salvation. And we, His children and servants, don't even own ourselves. "For you were bought with a price," He tells us. 1 Cor. 6:20
But if we inflate our egos with presumptuous claims, He may well turn our projects over to us, leaving us to rely on our own failing resources. As Paul told us in his letters to the churches in Galatia and Rome:
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galatians 6:7-8
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever." Romans 11:33-36
2. The Great Commission Roundtable serves as an umbrella system. It uses of the same TQM terminology that permeates UN programs see [Habitat II] as well as US government, education and corporate management systems. The article "One More Step Towards De-Fragmentation" shows its goal:
Three international movements have dominated the landscape of global mission in the last decade--the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization, the AD2000 Movement and the World Evangelical Fellowship. Sadly, participation in these networks has tended to divide the allegiances.... The GCR is an attempt to work together. It is a picture of how partnership can work on a global scale...." (John 17: 22)....
The dream of the GCR is to become an international community of networks, an energizing force for world evangelism: geographically inclusive, welcoming, coalescing around shared values, connecting existing networks through bridge-building, cooperating with shared vision, interdependent, integrated, flexible, building relationship and trust across the world with different communities, sharing news, research and communicating the "best practices in missions."
A general goal that was expressed in the Los Angeles meeting: ...To stir the churches -- evangelical, mainline and historical--to catch the vision for world evangelism which is the glory of the fullness of the body of Christ experienced by more people throughout the world. We seek to listen and distill from the entire body of Christ what the Lord is doing, especially from those who are very experienced but seldom heard; facilitating a network of networks....
... the need is not for big, centralized structures to run these efforts. Rather, there was a conviction to continue encouraging networks to meet and dialogue. The gathering of GCR is a welcome step forward toward the fulfilling of the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ in a corporate manner. ... [see comment below]
Old familiar definitions tend to veil the new meanings of these TQM words and phrases: networks, partnerships, best practices, shared values, bridge-building, cooperation, shared vision, flexible, relationships, facilitate, dialogue.... But since the Great Commission Roundtable uses them in the context of today's "quality management," they all point to different facets of the massive and "seamless" systems that now reach around the world. [Reinventing the World]
Dr. Samuel Escobar, a presenter at a 1999 World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) conference, seems to share our concern. "Missionary action is reduced to a linear task that is translated into logical steps to be followed in a process of management by objectives," he wrote in his report. The WEF's Missiological Consultation Bulletin 3 summarized his message:
"The pragmatic approach to mission has received major impetus over the past decade.... Evangelism can be organized according to marketing principles. A focus on numerical evaluation leaves no room for paradox or mystery, suffering or persecution, and leads to a reductions understanding of the gospel and Christian mission. <http://worldevangelical.org/igua-bltn3b.htm>
But that's not all. Behind the promise of "decentralization" and "small (cell) groups" hides a tangled web of centralized controls and unbiblical standards for dialogue and relationships, assessments and training, monitoring and remediation. [See The UN Plan for Your Mental Health] Like today's "corporate" structures, these multi-level networks would ensure that each group conforms to the rules of the consensus process and its evolving "truths" -- which inevitably clash with the Bible. God's Word is no longer The Truth when its meaning and applications are determined by positive feelings, cultural values, facilitated dialogue and group consensus.
This dialectic process works as well today as it did in the Soviet Union. Now as then, it shifts even "Christian" group members from the solid rock of God's Word to the shifting sands of an evolving set of truths needed to manage the new social order.
In contrast, God's Word is neither "inclusive" nor "flexible." It clashes with popular thinking, and it doesn't teach "bridge-building." But it continues to offer wisdom and strength to those who trust in God rather than human wisdom and group relationships:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil...." Prov. 3:5-7
3. AD2000 & Beyond Movement was "born during the preparation of the second Lausanne Congress in 1989. In a short span of one single decade the Movement has received acceptance and cooperation from Christ's global body and has been operating in over 100 countries of the world. Through its initiation, names like 10/40 Window, Joshua Project, Gateway Cities have become household terms among churches and mission agencies today."
Its International Office closed on 31 March 2001, but its work continues through its Missions Resource Organizations, many of which have been renamed.
4. DAWN (Discipling A Whole Nation) International Network (Discipling A Whole Nation) International Network defines itself as "a virtual network, based on visions, values, synergy and friendship.... It consists of likeminded individuals, ministries, churches, networks and movements which do not need to be part of the same organization, but who know they are part of the same contemporary move of God to fill the earth with His glory through seeing one church established...."
This network includes all the above global mission systems and dozens more. Its founding chairman was Agustin B. (Jun) Vencer, Jr. a Filipino management consultant, who also served as International Director for the World Evangelical Fellowship from 1992 through May 2001.
5. The World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) "is a global network of 120 national/regional evangelical church alliances, 104 organizational ministries and 6 specialized ministries" headquartered in Singapore." Its mission statement explains that...
"The central objective of the World Evangelical Fellowship is to enable local congregations of believers to disciple their own nations for Christ. "By discipled nations," explains Dr. Jun Vencer, WEF's former International Director, "we mean those where a growing Christian witness exists, and increasing justice for all, diminishing poverty and sharing of human resources is being realized."
To fight its battle against social injustice and poverty, WEF works with the United Nations as well as other evangelical networks around the world. Two of its advisors to the WEF Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) are Slavi Pachovski, former Bulgarian Ambassador to the United Nations, and Robert Seiple, former president of World Vision and the current U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom. [Two Ambassadors Appointed as Advisors to Religious Liberty Commission]
While Mr. Pachovski provides a personal link to the United Nations, the WEF's endorsement of the UN Declaration on Human Rights suggests a commitment to an anti-Christian standard:
The purpose of the World Evangelical Fellowship Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) is to promote freedom of religion for all faiths worldwide as defined by Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, and in accordance with Scripture. Our aim is to help all people, but especially Protestant Christians, to exercise their faith without oppression or discrimination. Because the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) represents some 150 million Christians in 115 countries, it is both an effective and influential global network." [http://www.worldevangelical.org/rlcintro.htm]
Article 18 does sounds good. It upholds "the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion..." Article 19 affirms "the right to freedom of opinion and expression... and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (See Trading U.S. Rights for UN Rules)
But Article 29 in this deceptive Declaration states that "these rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." In other words, these "rights" or "freedoms" don't apply to those who would criticize the UN or its policies. Human rights and religious freedom would be conditioned on compliance with UN rules and standards such as those outlined in UNESCO's Declaration on the Role of Religion in a Culture of Peace and its Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Both outlaw Biblical absolutes and God's "intolerant" values.
We shouldn't be surprised. Remember the ouster of the United States from the UN Human Rights Panel the first week in May 2001. Pakistan and Sudan -- perpetrators of unthinkable persecution of Christians -- were voted in. [See 3 Million Sudanese Face Starvation and Her All for Him]
The UN Declaration on Human Rights does encourage unity. But its vision of oneness has redefined the meaning of freedom and fueled the world's hostility toward those who refuse to compromise God's unchanging Word.
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." Matt 24:9-13
Next: Part 3- The call to global oneness