Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic Revisited

by Mike Ratliff

32 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν οἱ μὲν ἐχλεύαζον, οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· ἀκουσόμεθά σου περὶ τούτου καὶ πάλιν. 33 οὕτως ὁ Παῦλος ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν. 34 τινὲς δὲ ἄνδρες κολληθέντες αὐτῷ ἐπίστευσαν, ἐν οἷς καὶ Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀρεοπαγίτης καὶ γυνὴ ὀνόματι Δάμαρις καὶ ἕτεροι σὺν αὐτοῖς. (Acts 17:32-34 NA27)

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some were mocking him, but others said, “We will listen to you about this again.” 33 Thus Paul went out from the midst of them. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Many reading this may remember my post from June 2010, The Epistemology of Transformative Learning. Before I left to go on a short mini-vacation to visit my son in Washington D.C., I remember being inundated by emails and Tweets, et cetera about all of the stuff going on with Mark Driscoll and his church planting network and the reason he is so “bent” on doing it is that he had a vision or something like that directly from God to do that. However, this church planting is not done in any way like the Apostles did or those who followed them in the early days of the Church. No, the emphasis is not on following the Great Commission to the letter as given by our Lord in Matthew 28:16-20 which is to go into all the world making disciples from every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded them. They were to go with boldness knowing that Jesus would always be with them to the end of the age. (Paraphrase of the Great Commission) That is what we are to be about, which is taking the Gospel to the World, but that is not the same thing these people mean when they talk about “Church Planting” and “Transforming Lives.” 

Check out this site. A friend sent that link to me earlier today. I read most of the articles there and as I did, I did what I normally do while doing something like that, I compare what I am reading with the real deal. Is what is being described there compatible with the Great Commission? One of those fellows even says that he was trying to plant a church (via committee) and became frustrated “then as he returned home, “God appeared to him” telling him that he was right where he needed to be… I didn’t count, but I know there was at least a half dozen times in that site where it was made plain that the focus of planting those churches is to transform cities. Really? I thought the purpose of planting churches was to serve as a place for the sheep God saved in the area to gather, hear the Word, fellowship, and take the sacraments. Then they are to go forth and obey the Great Commission from there. That is NOT what these people are about at all. In fact, the focus is to work WITH the secular governments and groups in their areas to transform societies. I saw one of those churches in Washington D.C. over the weekend. It was not that far from the Kennedy Center. It had two signs that made it clear that it was totally apostate. The first was a large rainbow banner running across the front of the building. The other was blue with words, “All Are Pilgrims and Are Welcome Here.” On that sign was the “COEXIST” logo. There was no mention of the Gospel or the Cross…

In any case, as we compare these “Christ Follower” or “Missional” or “Transformative” initiatives with the real deal, which is our obedience to the Great Commission, the glaring difference becomes obvious very quickly. When Paul and his group of church planters were obeying God in spreading the Church, it was the Apostolic Age, which is not the age we are in now, but even so, when they “worked” it was not as if they were doing some sort of checklist to see if they were following God correctly off of some list every day like these jokers do. What does this mean? It means that the real missionary is not self-reliant, but is fully dependant upon that thing Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is not up to us. Yes, we obey. Yes, we share our faith. Yes, we must always be ready to explain to those who do not believe why we have this hope within us. Yes, we should support genuine missions. However, that is not the same thing as what they mean with their “Missional/Transformational” stuff.

The passage I placed at the top of this post is the conclusion of Paul’s address on the Areopagus in Athens. Many “Christ Followers/Emergent/Missional/Transformative” people have attempted to use Acts 17:22-31 to justify Gospel contextualization. Nope, sorry it is not. Paul pulled no punches. He makes it clear that all men need God yet cannot have a relationship with him unless they repent because judgment is coming. He also said the remedy is found in one whom God raised from the dead. Most of those hearing this scorned him and refused to hear any more yet a handful did believe and did join with Paul as I shared in that passage.

Now, that is how a church is planted. Look at how many refused to have any part in it. Yet these few did believe and from there Paul went to Corinth and planted a church there (Acts 18). How did he do it? Did he work to transform the city or the culture, which was wicked? No, he reasoned with them, all who heard the Gospel, whom God had given to believe, believed and were saved, and so that Church was planted. If you read 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians it is plain that the culture there was never “transformed” and that church continued to struggle with all sorts of sin. However, in Paul’s dealing with those issues, we have two wonderful books in our New Testament for our own instruction.

Whenever you run across something like this site, always go back to the Word of God and compare what they are saying with the truth. What is the purpose of the Church? What is the purpose of the Gospel? Are Christians on this earth to transform the world, cities, and countries or are we here to obey Him as we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling knowing that our Lord is coming back for us at the end of the age?

Soli Deo Gloria!

31 thoughts on “Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic Revisited

  1. Mike,
    I watched their video about muslims and christians together, it was fluff. Embracing dead religion is a sure sign one is dead in sin. You can plant churches all across America, that does not mean Christ approves or is a part of what you are doing. IMHO, this is nothing more than a push towards a one world religion.

    The Bible is the only source of truth and the basis for shaping, molding and bringing us to the fullness of God. All things must be done according to scripture, that includes church planting. These types prove they have no knowledge or fear of the living God.

    Good post brother, glad you and your wife returned home safely…praise be to our glorious God.

    Lyn

  2. Lyn, glad to be back my sister. What you said there was the very first thing that occurred to me when I hit that site, but I wanted someone else to say and confirm it. While I was on the East Coast I was in Washington D.C for 3 days and spent one day in Boston. I saw many churches. I even took my son by the church I used to attend in D.C. when I was in the Navy. Most of those “older” churches which were once very good and solid are what we call “mainstream” now and are as dead as they come. In Boston I visited the Church where John Cotton preached and tried to find his tombstone in the cemetery next door, but no one knew where it was. I did see a lot of Patriot Tombstones though…

    In any case, you are right, this sort of thing is probably very popular with everyone, but those of us who see through it will be viewed as just troublemaking fundamentalists…

  3. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t join New City Church (an Acts 29 plant) in the Waldo area where I lived in Kansas City. They kept talking about transforming the culture, and even though I agreed with the their doctrine and I liked the people there, I couldn’t get behind their understanding of the Great Commission.

    It is weird Mike because I cannot really clearly refute it either. I know we were commanded to subdue the earth.. Is this where they are getting these ideas? Now I am studying Church history and the church struggled with this question as well. Maybe I need to pick up “City of God”. There was Tertullian and his antithesis or Christ against culture and Justin Martyr who argued for Christianized philosophy. When Christians were persecuted they seemed to be pretty focused on all the right stuff. When they were persecuted less, they started venerating martyrs and forming acetic communes.

    I think that people in this movement forgot the real reason for the Great Commission. Their problem is wrong so their solution is wrong. It seams that they are concerned primarily with making the world a better place in this realm or life. They forgot that people will be burning in hell forever and whether their culture is transformed will not really matter on the second day of the Lord.

    There is a lot of confusion in this movement, and I don’t think they are united in their motivations that underline their purpose. In other words, I think many true believers are being distracted by the exciting idea of creating a kingdom and theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross.

  4. Hi Mike, as you say using the term “hegelian dialectic” these people are change agents using psychological manipulative methods to transform society, they also use the Delphi Technique which is manipulation often used by facilitators to arrive at a preconceived consensus. Change agents use psycho babble words like “vision” “collaboration” “global” “transform” “comfort zone” “network” “imagine” “community leaders” all of which i have spotted by a brief look at that website.
    Then they say “Education has always been a part of the Great Commission” what like the lies of evolution presented as fact. And not just education but this group have their fingers in all aspects of secular and civil life from entertainment to economics.
    Hardly being called out of the world and setting up a Church to the standards of first Timothy let alone a secular compromise that beggers belief.

  5. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” This is the message that needs to be facing the preachers at these churches, when they stand in front of their herds of goats. It dawned on me when Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life hit the markets: when a “Christian book” is loved by the world, it has very little Truth in it and much deception. The world hates God and His Truth. Churches that embrace the world are at war with God – and this apostasy oft begins with an obsessive focus on evangelism at the expense of discipleship, revealing the idolatrous perspective that the “pastor” loves people more than God and knows better than God who are His.

  6. Keith, you did well in staying clear of New City Church. Sure, all they do is appealing to the flesh, but that is not what the Gospel does nor will it ever. The Gospel is at the core of the theology of the cross and the natural man hates that. What these man-centered church plant efforts do replace that with one that I find nowhere in the Great Commission.

  7. Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill (Seattle) is planting a Mars Hill Portland. The pastor of this new church postponed the opening last month because he was made aware that the gay community was going to come and protest the church. So, the pastor went and met with the Q Center, a clearinghouse for all things homesexual here in Portland. The pastor said he had a really good conversation with the folks at the Q Center, but had not yet set a date for the new grand opening. He wants to avoid having a group of protesters outside the church.

    I was befuddled when I read of this because I would have thought that if God was directing you to start a new church, you had the building, the pastor, the staff, why would you let the world stop you? In addition, as a pastor, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to have a group of unsaved people outside your building? Surely, you could preach the Gospel from your front steps and let God sort it out. That prospect sounds exciting to me. Maybe I’m just weird. :)

  8. Inviting unbelievers to join in “fellowship” at the place where believers are supposed to worship God is an abomination. So many churches build bridges until one day they have built a bridge of salvation that does not always need Jesus.

    II Jn.: 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

    10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

    11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

    The end draws nearer.

  9. Mike, I met Bob Roberts years ago when he was brought here to teach us about “Glocal” churches. It was the first time I’d ever heard of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. I’m not surprised at all by what is on that site. As I began to stand against this junk, that is how I became a “pariah” in some parts of the SBC.
    If you want to read a great devotional on what a real missionary is and does, read today’s (Oct. 26) Oswald Chambers.

  10. I have been blessed by your articles for sometime, Mike. Thank you for clarity in a time of great deception.

    Carol, I am in the Portland area too. Do you have a good church home? Our family has not found a solid church in the area.

    Michelle

  11. Pingback: Missionaries and the Methods of Missions « Possessing the Treasure

  12. Michelle, I haven’t regularly attended a local church since 2005. I have given up on looking and am much at peace just taking it day by day with the Lord in His Word. However, I do miss regular fellowship. Feel free to email me at mail @ tonyabetz.org.

  13. Mike,

    You know, digging into that website Vision 360 it appears that the “deceased” Bill Bright and his wife Vonette Bright are behind this thing. I copied and pasted a portion from their website.

    The Bill & Vonette Bright Global Collaboration Center has been established to help foster this global environment. This dream of global transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is advanced by: (1) Facilitating Global Collaboration Communities where key global leaders interface for the purposes of learning from each other and accelerating church planting. (2) Providing a two-way distribution platform for training materials accessible anywhere in the world and translated into 50 different languages. This makes training available for global leaders who otherwise would have no training and allows leaders in the U.S. to learn from the movement of God’s Spirit at the global level. (3) Instituting a “train the trainer” model resulting in indigenous coaches who will work with the church planting networks in global cities. (4) Developing the world’s largest repository of training materials for Christian leaders. This will include a two-week, ten-module core essentials course for church planters. (5) Interlinking Christ’s global community through on line communities of practice that will enable sharing of ideas and establishing of relationships across cultures. It will also provide a real-time tracking tool to help verify ministry effectiveness. (6) Training Events: Global, national, and regional conferences, assessment centers, business leader symposiums, and monthly domain-leader round table discussions that are captured and distributed to our partners.

    Bill Bright is one of men, the other Lauren Cunningham, who had the vision of the 7 mountain or seven sphere of influence in cultur,, they we need to take dominion over. Now it is called the 7 mountain mandate, nothing more that “dominionism” and is connected to the movement I came out of “New Apostolic Reformation” which is all over the internet cause they are up to know good. This is the making of a one world religion. I sure all you guys know this.. I just wanted to share my thoughts. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks mike T

  14. Bob Roberts is this outfits “Chief Visionary Officer” so its a corporation not a Church. I was recently reading the plight and praying for pastor Yousef Nadarkhani in Iran who is under the threat of execution if he does not recant his faith. He is the Pastor of Iran’s largest home Church movement and we have seen the problems some house church groups have had in the US. It seems no matter the country the “underground church” faces more persecution than the official churches as they are outside the authority of the chosen or programmed leaders. The underground Church apparantly is really growing in places like China and Iran and they humble us for the persecution they face if caught.
    Are the elect being called out of the apostate and fallen churches? and as home churches are outside the authority of these movements is this the answer to spreading the Gospel that we should adopt and encourage as an antidote to this movement?

  15. I’m fairly new to your blog but just wanted to say thank you! May the Lord continue to use you to bring Him glory!

  16. Andrew, the Gospel is not being spread by these “movements,” but only through those who obey the Great Commission hence they, according to our Lord’s own words, they will always be hated and persecuted by those who are entangled in the ways and means of the world.

  17. Andrew,

    I am not picking on you but with all due respect according to their web site Bob Roberts did not become the “Chief Visionary officer” until 2011.

    They also go by Lausanne covenant, so does C. Peter Wagner with the New Apostolic Reformation. There is always a root and it is rotten to the core.

    There are so many “so called” religious movements out there that will come together as one world religion cause the bible says so.

    Maybe Bill and Vonnette did not start this but they were and are involved…that tell me alot. It all looks to familiar to me. It appears to have the same agenda as the New Apostolic Reformation….same agenda wrapped in a different package.

    The 7 mountains mandate. The agenda is to infiltrate and take over the mountains of government, church, education, family, media, arts, and business or workplace. They say this can be done either overtly or covertly, as “infiltration” They are all crazy “This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ as in the Word of God.

    This is pasted from their web site………

    WHO WE ARE

    .Vision360 was founded in 2004 as a collaborative
    effort between business leaders and ministry leaders
    to plant churches.

    Vision360 is an emerging movement of leaders in business, education, governance, agriculture, civil society, and the arts that comes together around the central question of what it looks like for Christ-followers to see transformation happen in their city. It always leads to the mobilization of Christ-followers in serving their city and the multiplication of churches. In six short years Vision360 has planted over 265 churches in the United States and helped facilitate other movements around the world in the planting of thousands of churches.

    In 2011, Bob Roberts began serving as the Chief Visionary Officer for Vision360.

    Bob started Northwood Church in Keller, Texas 25 years ago which lead to the planting of over 150 churches throughout the United States. In addition, Bob has worked with global leaders in government, business, and the church. He is the author of several books on making disciples, engaging the world, and planting churches. He speaks globally both at Christian and secular events.
    In our home city of Orlando, Florida, the first Vision360 city, we have helped serve and empower our communities to start 27 churches in just 5 years. This is possible because we don’t start new churches. Instead we help serve and empower city movements that start multitudes of churches.
    These movements are not only multiplying churches but are also engaging locally and connecting globally. This is what we call thinking “glocal.” The fastest growing churches in the world are not in North America. It is vital that we work together to learn and grow from global leaders while committing to change the very cities we live

  18. Teresa, yes I read that page WHO WE ARE as well and you are right. This is simply another version of NAR and it is spiritually rotten to the core. It is not true Christianity at all.

  19. Mike,

    All religions will emerge into one…The one world religion….even Islam. Just like on that website. This is somehow is connected to Rick Warren. Guess What? they tweet each other

    ——————————————————————————–

    »
    RickWarren Rick Warren
    Ministry that costs you nothing is worth nothing.
    16 Jun in reply to @RickWarren ↑

    @brobertsjr
    bob roberts @
    @RickWarren very true and very painful, thx Pastor
    16 Jun via web

    Rick Warren is mentioned in one of his books and for wards one of Bob’s books. BTW Bob Roberts went to Fuller Seminary here is the link http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Authors/Author.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan&BioID=RobertsB
    Guess what C Peter Wagner, Rick Warren, John Piper and all when to Fuller. Sometimes you’ve just got to connect the dots and it is amazing who the dots connects to.
    Sorry Mike I get on a role, I am done. This just is SO dangerous and as you said Mike it is not the true gospel. One the front of the Web site is say “Change the only option”…..No, the only option is The true Gospel and Christ Alone.

    Mike, thanks for all you to in contending for the faith. God’s speed T

  20. Mike,

    Sorry, I can’t help myself. LOL I guess I am not done.
    Bob Roberts wrote a book called Transformation…. In his acknowledgements he mentions
    Bob Buford, Rick Warren, Len Sweet aka Lenord Sweet, Richard Foster and Dallas Willard…thanking these men, these false teachers.

    I hate deception, I really do. Later

  21. Teresa, of course i dont i feel you are picking on me and i fully agree with what you say. I mentioned the point that Worldly Corporations have chief visionary officers not Churches because the manipulative words and titles used by this outfit mirror the religious, corporate and political change agenda of the world and should be an instant red flag to the discerning. Some other versions of NAR and the mainstreams Churches compromises with it are more subtle but they all work toward the same goal.
    Yes sister its all part of the one world world religion unfolding before our eyes.

  22. Andrew,

    Amen! I always want to give God all the glory for even opening my eyes to the truth because my husband, myself and our two children could still be in that mess.

    To these people………It is all about money, power, control, sex, look at me syndrome, how big there church is, taking over America for Jesus and so forth..

    They have by passed the cross and the blood of Jesus. It is no longer about Christ and him crucified.

    God’s speed…..T

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