It’s staggering to stand back and look at the tidal wave of changes coming into the church. Not long ago things like New Age (contemplative) spirituality or the notion of the “Manifest sons of God” would not have been able to make headway in the mainstream Evangelical churches. One has to wonder – why is all of this dramatic change (apostasy) meeting such little resistance? How have Christians come to tolerate it?
The most effective tool in the hands of these leaders to bring dramatic, rapid change and at the same time absolutely subdue all resistance is through small groups. I find this to be very disappointing and disheartening. We all know that if there’s any chance of actual fellowship and growth, it’s in a small group context. Yet, this has been hijacked and subverted to serve other purposes.
Through the use of small groups, believers are being brought into a highly managed “transformative” process. This control mechanism is nothing new and has been employed by social engineers throughout the 20th century to very quickly transform the culture of entire nations.
The Hegelian Dialectic
In philosophy, the process is known as the Hegelian dialectic. The Hegelian dialectic was expounded by the German philosopher, Hegel. He offered it as an explanation for the way that society can “evolve” (particularly mentally.) Through a process of “Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis”, new understandings can be reached by groups through compromise and consensus. This process can be managed to produce predictable outcomes, and even bring about paradigm shifts in the way large groups of people think about any subject.
The Hegelian dialectic is a systematic approach to managing majority opinion by deliberately setting up scenarios where thesis, antithesis and synthesis (consensus) are worked out toward an expected end.
The Dialectic In The Church
As applied to the Church, believers (representing the thesis) and sometimes unbelievers or Christians without a Biblical worldview (representing antithesis) are brought together in small group meetings. Using group dynamics (peer pressure), various issues and topics are discussed. An issue is put forward, and reactions are expected. Everyone is encouraged to participate. The Bible believers state the word of God, the non believers state their worldly opinions, and the facilitator works to ensure that “fellowship” continues and that everyone feels comfortable and not threatened. Through the process, a new consensus is reached which is a group opinion that seems to satisfy everyone and everyone can stay “friends”.
Through this process, the message of God’s word is always watered down. Each time the group is brought together, the consensus of the last meeting becomes the new Thesis, and the process happens again. Each time, the consensus reached is a drift further away from the word.
Consider an example where evolution versus creation is being discussed in a facilitated small group. The believer in the word says that he believes that God created the heavens and the earth, just as the Bible says (thesis). The unbeliever who has been hanging around the church for a while says that he cannot believe this (antithesis). The facilitator asks everyone whether or not this should keep the nonbeliever from becoming a Christian. Everyone of course says No. Then the facilitator might ask “is it required that a Christian eventually believe in creation over evolution?” Someone might say yes, but the facilitator will answer “I thought to be saved all we needed to do is believe in Jesus.” Everyone agrees. The facilitator goes on to ask whether or not it is necessary to believe that Adam was a real man or that the story of the fall was literal or a myth. Believer says “yes”, unbeliever says “no”, and facilitator asks the group if this has to be another obstacle for the unbeliever to come to Jesus. Of course, everyone has to say no. The Bible believer might speak up, but he’ll be told he needs to learn to receive everyone regardless of their opinions because they believe in Jesus.
The take away point, the “synthesis” or “consensus” from that meeting is that believing in Jesus does not require that one subscribe to creation versus evolution or the literalness of the book of Genesis. The undercurrent implication is that to make an issue of it is divisive and intolerant. For the sake of unity, everyone agrees to set aside the “differences” and focus on what matters – “believing Jesus.” Never mind the fact that if He is not the creator, and if He is not the son of Adam or for that matter the Last Adam, then He cannot be the Second Man, or the head of the new creation either. The “Jesus” everyone is agreeing to believe in is not the Jesus of scripture.
The next time they get together, the consensus is the new thesis. “Since we’ve established that the peripheral matters such as creation and evolution don’t matter when it comes to believing in Jesus, what about marriage?” Again, the bible believer says that this is an institution setup by God between a man and a woman.. Someone else says that their best friend is gay and a Christian and he won’t come to church because Christians judge him. The facilitator says, “once again, what counts is whether or not they believe in Jesus”.
The Bible believer is in a dilemma because he must admit this is true, but he’s still frustrated from last week. The whole week he’s been overwhelmed at the implications of allegorizing Genesis and how it impacts all of the major doctrines related to salvation. However he doesn’t want to bring it up because it’ll just start an “argument”. What happens is that the believer is effectively silenced. He finds that in this forum he cannot speak the truth. Over the course of a few weeks, if he doesn’t understand what’s happening, a Bible believer will become very discouraged, and even if he tries to hide it, he will come across as “negative”. He will begin to stick out like a sore thumb. This is deliberate.
Tragically, these are persecuting environments for a sincere truth loving believer who stands on convictions. The persecution is through rejection and ostrasization done with a smile. Sadly, most believers don’t understand what is happening in these environments and may be bewildered for years thinking that something is wrong with them. I personally have shed many tears because of my inability to thrive in these kinds of dynamics.
Managed Social Engineering
Typically groups like this are convened temporarily to explore a topic. The topic is set forth by the leadership. There is a specific predetermined consensus that is desired. The leadership expects resistance, viewing it as part of the process. The resistance is typically by the Bible believers, who know that truth is absolute and unchanging. Through the group dynamic, resistance is stigmatized as narrowness and inflexibility. If a “resistor” stays rigid and “fights” it will eventually even be labelled as rebellion. They get exposed in these environments, because the goal is to continue the dialogue no matter what. A sincere believer eventually has to “shut down” because he will not budge from his conviction. So through this method he is exposed and dealt with. This is a very powerful group dynamic to accomplish what people in these movements call “transformation”. By transformation, they do not mean transformation into the image of Christ (although they may state that this is what they desire).
This kind of social engineering is being managed down a very specific path. Again, these small groups are not “bible studies”. They are facilitated laboratories of social engineers. Even the facilitator might not realize what’s going on. But the enemy can work freely to dramatically impact the Christian’s world view and his or her view of the Bible through these methods. This has been going on for a couple of decades now in most mainstream protestant seeker sensitive churches. It is rare to find a genuine “bible study.”
This is used with various goals in mind. In some places it’s used for social conditioning – to bring people to a more liberal point of view. In others such as the Purpose Driven and NAR, its more about control – transforming the congregation into a pliable group that is all united behind the agenda of the leadership. In the emergent, the outcome is a group of very broad people who embrace everything and everyone without discriminating or distinguishing between the holy and profane. Regardless of the goal, the ones who have discernment are weeded out by simple peer pressure. In the vacuum created by their silence, falsehood flows like a river.
Incidentally, the only way to get through this year after year is to be a people pleaser. There is no way to get through this successfully year in and year out without quenching the spirit and silencing the protesting conscience, if you are at all knowledgeable about the truth of the word.
If you do well in these settings you will be well liked and praised for your tolerance and ability to love everyone. Some people are able to do this again and again, knowing the truth but remaining silent and smiling and nodding their head even though inwardly they disagree. They believe they’re trying to “submit” and keep the “fellowship,” or walk in love, or respect the views of others. Actually, they’re practicing deception and damaging themselves.
While the scenario I described regarding whether or not to take Genesis literally is real, the topic would vary depending on the church. You might not find anything so obviously false happening at one of the more conservative churches. However, this leadership method – to transform the way people think through group dynamics without them knowing its happening, is manipulative, unbiblical and unethical at best. The Sheep should be fed with the plain teaching of the word of God. They should not be manipulated into reaching certain conclusions that match a leadership agenda.
Most small group leaders do not know anything about these agendas. They are doing small groups because everyone does small groups, and they’re doing them the way they were brought up to do them. However, Alpha type leaders do know how to use these techniques to push agendas through their congregation that their constituents would otherwise not embrace.
A Tool For Transformation
Purpose Driven, Emergent and NAR are all using the small group structures to radically and quickly transform the views and belief systems of their congregations and direct them down a predetermined path, step by step. With the Hegelian dialectic, the agenda is not presented openly from the top down. It appears to be a “grass roots” movement where everyone gradually comes to the same conclusions “of their own accord”. Behind this, there is a very deliberate and sophisticated plan being executed. This is happening worldwide in the political arena as well, but we need to be aware of its implication for small group settings within the church. This is has been the primary tool used to break down resistance in the churches to “change”. Most of the discerning folks have left. Many of them are writing books like this one. Others are isolated and confused trying to figure out what is wrong with them that their love for God and His word has seemingly left them alone and with no friends. In the absence of resistance, the mainstream church has dramatically accelerated her plunge into apostasy.
This transformation tactic has the same effect as brainwashing. It is a mental conditioning. I have a few friends who I know are Bible believers, yet are very active in emergent churches that are full of unbelievers and where Christian Atheism is preached from the pulpit. I wondered how they could be happy in these environments until I finally came across the key to understanding my own horrific experiences in small groups over the years. In these “laboratories” you are conditioned to be positive, friendly, embracing of change, embracing of “otherness”. You are taught to believe that you are building up the Body of Christ, remaining in dialogue and fellowship, and refusing to allow differences to impact the unity. In one sense, there is some biblical wisdom in this and genuine service can be done to fellow believers. Paul spells it out in Romans 14 that we need to learn to not judge those who have various considerations, and to endeavor to keep the unity. However, in that situation, Paul was not using manipulative social engineering tactics to draw people further and further away from the word of God, or to build up counterfeit kingdoms and systems of error!
A Documented Agenda
In its inception in the Purpose Driven movement, all of this was spelled out in detail. One example of a deliberate spelling out of this methodology is a book called “Leading Congregational Change. A practical guide for the Transformational Journey”
The Summary of the book says: “With this much-needed handbook, the authors brilliantly combine their experience guiding dozens of churches through the change process with both the study of Christian disciplines and the sophisticated understanding of such important business thinkers as John Kotter on leading change and Peter Senge on learning organizations. In this eminently readable book the authors have distilled their insights and practices into simple but powerful concepts for leading congregations, whether long established or recently formed, through profound change.”
It was endorsed by Rick Warren and it was based on his church as a model. This book discusses openly principles of using small groups as tools to transform congregations, how to measure the progress of the congregations’ acceptance of dramatic changes, how to identify and deal with “resisters’” early on, and how the small group dynamic works to identify and even stigmatize them early on. This book incidentally was produced by the “Leadership Network”. This network seems to be a secret glue that holds together the Emergent, Purpose Driven and NAR movements. The Leadership Network centers around the business management practices of Peter Drucker (mentioned previously) known in the business world for “Total Quality Management”. He was mentor to three of the most influential personalities in the Protestant world today: Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Church), Brian Mclaren (who Time named “statesman” of the Emergent Church), and Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek. Each of these men has a network consisting of thousands upon thousands of leaders and pastors that buy their products, attend their conferences and put their management techniques into practice in their local churches.
So, in this lengthy section we’ve seen that there is indeed a dramatic, concentrated, deliberate and scientific push to transform Christianity into something else. The major movements have been the Purpose Driven, Emergent and the NAR, each appealing to a different demographic. However at least on a very basic level we’ve seen that they are networked and acting in concert (you can research this on your own and you’ll see that this is absolutely true) and calling for a worldwide ecumenical reformation/revival/paradigm shift that will culminate in a reconciliation with Rome. While they speak of everything in terms of the Body of Christ and the kingdom of God, what they’re building is a counterfeit kingdom, and their revival will unfortunately be a counterfeit harvest – a gathering of tares.