Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Go Into All the World and... Usher in a New World Order?

Pastors hope to spread Gospel, hasten End Time

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Pastors of some of the largest evangelical churches in America met Tuesday in Inglewood to polish strategies for starting 5 million new churches worldwide in 10 years, an effort they say they hope will hasten the End Time. The Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus have always been the ultimate goal of evangelicalism. But when that would occur was any Christian’s guess.

The Global Pastors Network’s “Billion Souls Initiative” aims to shorten the path to Judgment Day by partnering church resources with the latest communications systems to spread the Gospel of Jesus.

It it seems that we have here an Eschatological concoction of Dispensationalism and Postmillennialism that finds its way into how the Global Pastors Network positions itself in presenting the “gospel.” The aim in the “Billion Souls Initiative” is “to shorten the path of Judgment Day.” How will this be done? “By partnering church resources with the latest communications systems to spread the Gospel of Jesus.” What does this mean? It means more money going to more extra-local ministries that they might present the “gospel” through the “latest communications systems” (i.e, television) in order that we might somehow cause the “path of Judgment Day” to be shortened.

In an interview at Faith Central Bible Church in Inglewood, James Davis, president of the campaign, said, “Jesus Christ commissioned his disciples to go to the ends of the Earth and tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life. As we advance around the world, we’ll be shortening the time needed to fulfill that great commission. Then, the Bible says, the end will come.”

Close, but not exactly. The Great Commission is to make disciples, not simply to “tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life” (very anthropocentric words, by the way). The call isn’t to simply add a “Billion Souls” to a roster list and then conclude that Judgment Day might find fulfillment swiftly. What is the “gospel” that is being promoted? How is the Global Pastors Network achieving the call to make disciples?

Faith Central Pastor Kenneth Ulmer, who leads an Inglewood congregation of 10,000, agreed, but said church leaders have differing opinions of what to expect.

“Meeting our goal has messianic dimensions. It will certainly mean some kind of new world order,” he said. “I believe when that time comes, the power of peace will be greater than the power of war, the power of love will be greater than the power of hate, and fullness will be greater than poverty and hunger.”

And this answers the call of the Great Commission how? This promotes the gospel how? This makes disciples how?

The pastors group, which represents combined congregations numbering in the tens of thousands, was launched in 2001 by Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. Bright died in 2003. Over the past five years, more than 20,000 church leaders have attended Global Pastors Network events across the nation. Among them were key executives of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, National Evangelical Association President Ted Haggard and the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

“Next year will usher in a new dimension for us,” Ulmer said. “We’ll be kicking it all into gear internationally with a wedding of technology and vision. We’ll be sponsoring major events in Singapore, the Ukraine, South America and Africa.” The movement is already taking on political dimensions.

And…we’ll be de-emphasizing the centrality of the local church, muddying the gospel of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and creating a political mess in the spirit of John Tetzel with the Christian funds that would otherwise be used in promoting the Kingdom of Christ through the house of God.

In late January, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke to the pastors group in Orlando, Fla., on what it takes to be a leader in time of crisis, which is the subject of his new book. Giuliani, a practicing Catholic and supporter of abortion rights and gay rights, is weighing a possible 2008 presidential bid.

“There were those who questioned some of Giuliani’s philosophies, and some members would rather not have invited him,” Ulmer said. “But for most of us, he was invited to inspire, inform and enrich our leaders.”

Does that make sense to you? That doesn’t make sense to me…

Evan May.

HT: Carla Rolfe

1 comment:

  1. Evan,

    if you'd only become relevant, it would make sense. ;-)

    No, it doesn't make sense to me either.