Megashift or Megaslip
Jim Rutz is the author of the book MegaShift. He is a promoter of the new ways of Open Church, he has been a freelance writer for groups such as, World Vision, Wycliffe, Youth for Christ, Prison Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee and Intervarsity. He is also associated with Peter Wagner's new apostolic reformation.
Rutz dedicates the book to “To the millions of intercessors and church planters who are turning the world into a temple and covering the land with God's glory as the waters cover the sea.”
From the beginning of the book we find a misapplication of the Scripture. This passage he refers to is for the Millennium time period when the Messiah physically brings His kingdom to the earth. Habbakuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
One only needs to look at Isaiah 11:6-11 for the same description in detail to know why this cannot be for today. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.” It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.”
The Main Premise- According to the website Megashift. com, “The world is rapidly becoming all Christian.” Christianity, not Islam is the worlds fastest growing religion. The “church” is exploding in growth by those who do not identify with Catholicism or Protestantism. The growth is so humongous that “There will be pockets of resistance and unforeseen breakthroughs,” writes Rutz. “By tomorrow, there will be 175,000 more Christians than there are today.” “Still, at the rate we're growing now, to be comically precise, there would be more Christians than people by the autumn of 2032, about 8.2 billion” (WorldNetDaily. com.)
Rutz continually mentions statistics such as “Christianity that has been growing since 1970 at a red-hot 8% a year” the world would have more Christians than people by the fall of 2032! (Welcome to my first column May 17, 2005, WorldNetDaily. com)
These are some boasting claims, sensationalized advertisements in Rutz's book that have found a continual running advertisement on the website.
Every day, there are 110,000 new Bible-believing Christians in the world”. About 35,000 from China, another 35,000 from Africa, almost that many from Latin America, plus more from elsewhere” With over 30 moves of God all over the world, among these are certain ones that stand out.
Who submits these names; who counts these names? What do these people actually believe? How can anyone say this without any real statistics. Without exercising any discernment Rutz accepts anything and everything taking place in Christianity as a valid move of God. The activities he points to in the book are for the most part questionable and some are rejected as false spiritual movements by those who hold to the Bible as being our rule and authority (Toronto etc.) more on this shortly.
Contrary to this exploding growth that Rutz claims to document, the Bible has this to say Matthew 7:13-15 few will be saved (more on this later on). Jesus also states will He find faith when he returns to the earth? (Lk.18:8)
In “Megashift,” Rutz introduces to us a new phrase to define this fast-growing segment of the population. He calls them “core apostolics” these are “the new saints who are at the heart of the mushrooming kingdom of God” (on WorldNetDaily. com) (this sounds similar to Bill Hamons saints movement an apostle under Peter Wagner). Despite a lack of evidence from the Scripture Rutz claims, “We are in the Throw’s of the birthing of a whole new order- A whole new dispensation!
How is this shift being done according to Rutz? Miracle, Miracle and More Miracles… “This book is not about a theory, but a worldwide fact: a megashift now producing documented miracles that stagger belief, the most shocking being the resurrection of hundreds of people in 49 nations, mainly since 1990. A whole new era of humanity is upon us, plus a fresh new phase of Christianity with a dramatically new way of living.”
On his website- “Miracles are happening like popcorn starting to pop. That is amazing enough, but they are also attracting numbers of people globally that no movement in history has seen before.”
He refers Joelnews. org and Jesus. org. uk/dawn/ for the weekly reports of the miracles. Of course the majority (if any) are not scrutinized to see if they are accurate or just a rumor). They are posted as fast as they come in.
Both Jesus and the apostle Paul warn us about last day miracles. That “signs and lying wonders” will bring about a “strong delusion” in the last days to those who refuse the love of the truth-God's word (Matthew 24:4,24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 ). And God's word does not speak about a tremendous revival without the accompanying tribulation and widespread persecution of the saints. This delusion we now see developing is becoming apparent- it is that Christianity will take over the world BEFORE Christ, the Son of God returns- before a tribulation. This is the dominionist worldview and it is completely wrong. The Great tribulation is replaced by a great unprecedented revival taking place NOW. Of course they quote the Scripture- Greater works than these shall ye do (p.89). Rutz clazims they “do types of miracles that aren't even mentioned in the Bible. Clearly, we are in the endgame described by the prophets of old (like Joel 2:28-30 quoted above). Again this Scripture is not for now but found in the tribulation- it is about the day of the Lord, and God saving the nation Israel. It is in the same timeframe as Joel 3:2. Known among the Latter Rain revivalists as Joel’s army. Though used by God, they do not end up surviving, God himself destroys them.
Rutz says: “Well, for us, the God of Miracles is giving a whole new category of blessings. For lack of a better term, I call them transitional signs and wonders.”
In July of 2000 I visited the Simsons in Germany. Sitting with their three boys around the table at breakfast, we started chatting about today's miracles. After a few minutes, Wolfgang casually reached up to the knicknack shelf on the wall behind him and retrieved a tiny schnapps glass filled with something sparkly. “Three times this Spring, Mercy was reading the Bible and praying by herself,” he said of his wife, “when she and the room around her were sprinkled with gold dust. We never gathered up any of it, but later my next door neighbor, Ulf, was visited by a very humble Brazilian lady named Silvana Machado, and this same gold kept appearing on her hands and arms and falling from her hair--a couple of handfuls during the day. So Ulf gathered up some of it and gave me a glass.” Wolfgang handed it to me... ( http://www.megashift.com/html/Miracles-Common-Man.html)
If this is the extent and the indicative of the people involved then we have no need to look any further. Machado was found to have gold placed in her hair from the local 5 and dime store- it was stationary glitter. She was associated with Ruth Heflin a proven false prophet from the end times Handmaidens. Rutz uses someone who has been proven to fake miracles. This is not the only problem surfacing in his presentation of modern miracle mania.
Rutz assures us that “The Megashift is major transfer of responsibility and power, not a change in beliefs. The New Christianity has nothing to do with new doctrines.”
So he says. He speaks about the: 2. House church 3.Open church, 4. A traditional church. 5. Old church is about the same as a traditional church, but the term emphasizes the characteristics that mark it as doomed to dwindle and fade in today's world. 6. Institutional church 7. Hierarchical churches (page 118).
Rutz claims that the saints have been given new power for the end times and the ability to be part of a miracle generation. “This book will draw you into a higher life, a new way of living … If you read it with an open heart, I promise you will be changed forever.” He promises Under the heading of “The new saints, 7 signs of today’s overcomers (p. 91). “Your new empowerment will depend on your willingness to accept your new freedom and run with it.” “Until our time, the ancient war between good and evil was hardly better than a stalemate.1 Now all has changed. The Creator whose epic story flows through the pages of Scripture has begun to dissolve the strongholds of evil. God has handed down a somewhat revised set of rules, delegating greater authority to more people.” (emphasis mine)
Where is this spoken of in Scripture? Oh, it’s from the new prophets! Even in Jesus’ ministry and the apostles time they did not eradicate evil, but now we are Super-Saints, we can do what the Bible never mentions.
He greases the readers wheels with personal empowerment. About God Rutz states, “He's trashing many of the mindsets and traditions that have held us all back for 17 centuries, and He's setting up networks of strong disciples who know how to hear and take orders from Him directly. This global power shift is giving you an opportunity to leave behind bad habits and sins, deadening relationships, a weak self-image, ignorance, sickly finances, fear, anger, bitterness in your past, or anything else that could slow your sprint to the finish line.”
Sounds like the new breed of the Latter Rain, the overcomers group, the Joshua generation or whatever name is in vogue now. All this promotion is nothing new, just repackaged to sound more real and make it more acceptable to those who are not educated in these particular matters.
He refers to John Arnott pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, who “wrote a lead article in Spread the Fire, TACF's magazine (Issue 5, 2004), entitled “Let's Get Back to Supernatural Church!” Some quotes: “If we are going to reach this world for Jesus, we need a completely new model of 'doing church.' I don't know why we can't have 'church' in homes, offices, schools, coffee shops, or even outside for that matter. Why can't we have church meetings that are facilitated by an army of non-professional yet anointed Christians and have them meet whenever and wherever it works for them?…”
One needs to look at the unbiblical manifestations of the spirit working at Toronto to understand the sources Rutz is referring to for this unprecedented revival. Rutz also promotes Alpha course (a Toronto birthed evangelism course).
Rutz says “In early 1993 I was having lunch at the CBN cafeteria in Virginia with Dr. C. Peter Wagner, often recognized as the leading authority on church growth today. As we discussed church progress, he said to me, “The biggest turning point for the church in this century was 1972.” The founder of the “New Apostolic Reformation,” C. Peter Wagner believes the foundation of the church is now finally taking place. Rutz just so happens to be on Wagner’s board, in other words he is connected to him and the agenda put forth by the ICA ( International Coalition of Apostles).
Peter Wagner has this to say about his book: “MEGASHIFT is an upbeat, optimistic, faith-filled look at what God is doing today and what He will be doing tomorrow around the world. Jim Rutz helps us to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. You cannot afford to miss this book!” (Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Chancellor, Wagner Leadership).
Rutz introduces everything we have become familiar with in the church these days that are wrong, things we should avoid, i.e. Your words have power (speak something into being). We fast to gain empowerment liken to Franklin Halls Atomic power by fasting from the Latter Rain. Everything that is a trend or a miracle rumor is packaged as part of the new Christian era. Many of the names are part of the apostolic/ prophetic movement. He refers to George Otis Jr. and the Transformation tapes (p. 62-6) an apostle under Wagner. This is whom he looks to as the shapers of the new paradigm that is changing our world.
This book is so inclusive, we find that there is nothing wrong going on, all is right - every facet of what is called Christianity is now acceptable (even what some deem as aberrant or heresy). Rutz quotes T.B. Joshua (p. 28) for one of his miracles, he tells the reader to use the prayer of Jabez to be an overcomer on Jabez (p. 100). He mentions Tommy Tenny's pulpit split (p. 151). Charles and Frances Hunter (known as the Happy Hunters because of their complete endorsement of the laughter revival). A prophecy of Rick Joyner on page 141 calling him a true prophet, who prophesies a new Christianity is coming:
“A revolution is coming to Christianity that will eclipse the Reformation in the sweeping changes that it brings to the church. When it comes ... the way that the world defines Christianity will be radically changed.
“What is coming will not be a change of doctrine, but a change in basic church 1ife When this new church emerges, she will be so different from what is now perceived to be the church, that the whole world will not even recognize that there was ever a connection between the two. (emphasis mine)
“Ultimately home-groups will become the foundation upon which the entire church will be built.
“The church has been bound by forces that have greatly inhibited her from becoming all that she was created to be. Control spirits have dominated and crushed creativity. However, even under this extreme pressure, a transformation is taking place... There is about to be a jailbreak! ... [A] great people are about to emerge from the present forms of church that have been built upon the ways of men, and they will risk everything to seek that which God is building…
“[A] true union of the church is not possible until the forces of spiritual slavery are defeated and all people are set free to follow the Lord in their own quest This is not the license to depart from sound doctrine, or to rebel against God's established authorities. However, there is about to be a clear distinction between those who have received their authority from above, and those who have promoted themselves, or been promoted by institutions.
“The future leaders of the church are now being given a vision of radical New Testament Christianity being restored… It is time to heed the call and allow the Lord to lead His people to the new wineskins that will he able to hold what is about to break out upon the earth… The new dynamic of church life will overshadow the Great Awakenings in their social impact, transforming cities and even whole nations.”(p. 141)
What Joyner is saying is from the Lord contradicts all that we have from the Lord. In other words where the Bible says, “Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, we have had little throughout history. This is typical Latter Rain speak and has been proclaimed, prophesied, written since the late 40's. Should we ignore the Bible teaching of whole nations being transformed to be Christian before Christ comes back is missing from the Scripture. This becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy by the very people Joyner and Rutz who are associated with the New Apostolic reformation.
To make this perfectly clear we need to look at what else Joyner has been prophesying. The fact is, Rutz is only echoing Joyner and other cohorts have stated all through his book: “What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. The vision was given in order to begin to awaken those who are destined to radically change the course, and even the very definition of Christianity. The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord’s faithful servants. A great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles will be raised up with the spirit of Phineas… it will be said of the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up. Nations will tremble at the mention of their name.” (Rick Joyner. Restoration, May/June 1988, “The Harvest”).
It's all about YOU- “You, who have dreamed of one day being able to talk with Peter, John and Paul, are going to be surprised to find that they have all been waiting to talk to you” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest (MorningStar, 1990, p.9)
This is the saints movement Rutz promotes in his book- AKA Bill Hamon.
These new apostles are not alone as they intend to lead and empower a new breed of miracle workers, last century supermen, who will assume authority over secular governments and subdue them beneath their feet.
Joyner say’s that “the church will be a great hospital with the power to heal every kind of wound and disease. She will have a cure for every plague” (Mobilizing the Army of God p. 146). (Just like Benny Hinn has been teaching). “Miracles which exceed even some of the most spectacular biblical marvels will cause whole nations to acknowledge Jesus ... The Lord Himself will appear to councils of apostles and elders, to give them directives” (The Harvest, p. 33) Personal appearances of Jesus to the newly established leadership that Joyner is part of.
With this dominion mandate, who needs Jesus to come back and rule? We can take care of it ourselves; all we need is this new power and authority Rutz is proclaiming along with his fellow Latter Rain promoters. Rutz makes it perfectly clear-“We have asked for and received kings--too many of them. Now we have the Real King, and He is taking the reins as Lord of Lords. The kingdom is now, and now is the time to take your place in it” (p. 230 Megashift).
It is NOW- Without Jesus’ physical return- this is serious error. As Rick Joyner so bluntly puts it: “Those who live in the reality and power of His kingdom now will preach the message of the kingdom. We do not wait for the millennium for Jesus to reign over us. His kingdom is already 'at hand” (A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century, p. 163)
And we know from others how this will be implemented “The Government of God [sic] kingdom will be established through the apostolic and prophetic authorities in cities and nations. ... (Jim Goll, “Entering The New Millennium” End Time Prophetic Vision web site http://www.doyou-love-me.org/wsomers/enewmill.html.) This means the new apostolic reformation of C. P.Wagner. The New Apostolics are the heart of the new saints movement that Rutz along with others believe will bring the great revival that we are supposedly already experiencing. He wants you not to hesitate, just get on board.
“God is creating a more Biblical type of Christianity to carry out these huge changes. It is still based solidly on the Bible, and it still has strong leaders, but it's not a hierarchy” (Article: Welcome to My Observatory. There's Room for You Up Here).
How is this more Biblical if it goes against the clear teachings explained in the Scripture for the end times? Matthew 24 does not teach things are getting better and this worldview directly challenges Jesus’ own words.
Rutz proclaims “It announces a massive power transfer, into the hands of the common man ... and gives us practical ways to take a giant step up, to play a role in this final Transformation, the endgame of the plan of God.”
Transformation is the new cliché for the spiritual army now being gathered to take on the world and transform it. An anti-tradition bias comes through loud and clear as total freedom is touted as the alternative. In the writings the popular dominionist worldview is present- WE are going to change this world. We have become an unstoppable force and it all happening NOW. The “Second Reformation” is underway with the new paradigm methods integrated into city churches with the goal of nothing short of a complete restructuring of the Church under a “new” apostolic leadership led by prophets and the motivational change agents that are part of this transforming force.
I do agree there is a new Christianity that is now mushrooming on the scene and growing, and it is one we all need to be “very” concerned about. Because if it is not connected to the Scripture that came from the apostles, it is what the Bible warned of in the last days. It is a counterfeit before the real thing takes place.
As far as the tremendous growth- it is the mustard tree that Jesus described that grows out of control.
In Matthew 13 Jesus begins a series of parables, starting with the sower and the seed, He moves to the wheat and the tares and then to the Mustard seed parable. In this story Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a grain of a mustard seed, which is one of the smallest seeds in Israel. This mustard seed has abnormal growth and turns into a tree where all kinds of birds become attracted to and make a home in. These birds represent Satan's demons that steal and destroy the true Word of God (Matthew 13:4, 19). In other words, there will be a counterfeit Christianity in the world and within the church (called Christendom). Jesus predicted that as the church grows extremely large an unfavorable element occurs that will affect us. Both Jesus and Paul taught that true believers would not be the majority but a flock that will be among wolves (Luke 13:23-25; Matthew 7:13-15, 10:16; Acts 20:29). Nowhere did they teach the church would become the majority in the world nor become in charge of the world.
Under the Starters menu on the main page of the Megashift website, under the sub-heading Main Article: “The Ultimate Adventure” is the article titled “You Just Found What You've Been Looking for All Your Life”. Here are the first few paragraphs: We Call It Total Transformation You are invited to join a worldwide network of very devoted people, a takeover force that is doing at last what it was supposed to do 2,000 years ago: make Christian disciples and destroy evil. (emphasis mine)
“We are a rather new type of alliance composed of adventurous teams that offer you personal transformation including more genuine power and in-depth support than you ever dreamed of! Along with helping individuals spiritually, we expect to clean up every facet of human culture and transform society (eventually). If that intrigues you and you're willing to pay the price of making it happen, then you've found a new family of 100 million eager brothers and sisters. (http://www.megashift.com/html/mainA.html).
Consider what he is saying; it is not what it says in the Scripture. The Bible teaches that in the last days (until Jesus comes back to earth) the world will become worse not better. Jesus described the world as being like “the days of Noah,” Jesus said it would get worse and worse, Paul did, did Peter did, John did, and so did Jude. The writers of the Scripture are in agreement. No sanctified earthly or spiritual government of man will turn it around
A 100 million we are told are all part of this new program, that’s a huge percentage of the church. Where did these figures come from, whose keeping track? There is a mixture of truth and error throughout his premise. Rutz is megashifting the minds by the presentation of “new” ways of doing things for this program to work. He wants those who read his “transformational advertisement” to be open and accept this “new paradigm,” and become part of this dominionists agenda.
Who's Part of His Megashift
Lets look at whom he considers the leaders. He has specific names and an extensive list of thirty movements involved in the Second Reformation. Among the names are those that that have no direct involvement or are aware of his Megashift, (such as the deceased Dr. Walter Martin who would oppose a number of these men’s doctrines. Others do no miracles and would have nothing to do with this paradigm powershift Rutz promotes). There are some people we certainly need to be aware of and some that we should shun- Dr. Hugh Ross, Zig Ziglar, Alan Greenspan, Mike Farris, Cal Thomas, Eustice Mullens, David Barton, Dr. John Avanzini John Dawson, Mike Bickle, Ed Silvoso, Gene Edwards, Francis Frangipane, Jack Hayford, Rick Joyner, Dr. Jay Grimstead (COR, Reconstruction), R. J. Rushdooney (Reconstruction) Carlos Ramirez (G12 cell movement).
He ends with this assurance “If you felt good all the way through the list, congratulations! It's probably a sign you're in tune with God's panoramic agenda of work, worship, healing, revival, restoration, reform, strengthening, warfare, renewal, service, growth, witness, obedience, and praise.”
This is his measure of being with God, agreeing with these men and ministries (many of which are beyond question). And if one were not in agreement -obviously they would not be on the cutting edge of going with the flow of the river, wherever that may take them.
Yet he also makes the statement “You may have a legitimate concern about the theology or practices in several of the movements above. Perhaps you're 100% right in every case, and the flaws you perceive are all too real. “ “Still, you are called by God to labor alongside your brothers and sisters in every corner of the Kingdom. Today, Christian competition is out, love is in. And love works.
Rutz admittedly knows the controversies surrounding some of these men. Are we called to work alongside those who do not hold to the doctrine of Christ correctly (Rom. 16:17; Titus 1:10-13)? Those who distort it, or use it for their own gain as the word faith prosperity teachers do. In other words, Rutz does not care where one is wrong, he wants us to unite no matter how we disagree, thus you have joined megashift for the sake of unity that is not based on true unity (by doctrine) but for work sake only. One needs to know about the various ministries before they accept their validity or be willing to work with them no matter what they teach. It has nothing to do with competition but everything to do with not allowing leaven in and being good stewards.
Here is what he attributes these moves of God to- Spiritual Warfare A laity-driven attack on spiritual strongholds has been moving through the American church for over 20 years now. Spiritual/prayer warfare is sustained, offensive prayer aimed at repentance, restoration and reformation. The movement has recently matured and become better grounded. Key Leaders: Dr. C. Peter Wagner Global Harvest Ministries; John Dawson, YWAM; Cindy Jacobs, Generals of Intercession; Francis Frangipane, River of Life.
Prayer-Walking Beginning in England in 1988, the March For Jesus. Steve Hawthorne & Roger Forester, Graham Kendricks, Gerald Coats, March For Jesus; Ed Silvoso, Harvest Evangelism; Kenny Foreman, Cathedral of Faith; Rich Gazowsky, Voice of Pentecost.
Toronto Revival 1994. Starting in South Africa with evangelist Rodney Howard-Brown, Lakeland, Florida, at Carpenter's Home Church, Airport Vineyard Fellowship of Toronto, Canada, have now quickly spread throughout the U. S. Key Leaders.- Dr. Karl Strader, Carpenter's Home Church.
Spiritual Mapping is the intelligence wing of the spiritual warfare movement. It is helping leaders to identify the historic spiritual strongholds region by region-or even house by house! The goal is to focus our efforts on big, pinpoint targets, thus avoiding years of fruitless evangelism. He mentions George Otis, Sentinal Communications.
Restoration of Family, Home School Movement, Men's Movement, the Reconciliation Movement, Cell Church, Open Church, Church Growth Movement Key Leader: Dr. C. Peter Wagner of Global Harvest Ministries.
It should be apparent to anyone who is educated on the new movements that many of the same names involved are teaching heresy and aberrant practices. These should in no way looked top as leading us into another reformation when they are undoing the first one. Toronto can hardly be called a move of God by anyone who has looked at its unbiblical practices, (crawling on the floor, barking, spiritual drunkenness, women acting like they give birth etc.). But one name continually comes up -Peter Wagner. This makes this concept he is promoting all the more serious.
The Easy sell
“A whole new form of Christianity promises to bring a far greater impact than the Protestant Reformation.”
- Millions of ordinary people are doing miracles. - God has brought hundreds of people back from the dead, mostly in the last 15 years” believers whom the book of Revelation calls “overcomers” (Welcome to my first column May 17, 2005WorldNetDaily.com)
This is not what the book of Revelation describes as overcomers. Eight times Jesus speaks to “he who overcomes” and none have anything to do with miracles. This conquering in the believer’s life is over the conflict of sin, the world and Satan. The promises are offered to all individuals in the church who overcome the problem of that particular church by obeying Christ.
In short- Rev. 2:7 it is about returning to their first love. Rev. 2:10-11 is about suffering for the faith and being faithful. Rev. 2:14-17 is about the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the doctrine of Balaam, and committing sexual immorality. Rev. 2:19-26 is about false prophetesses and sexual immorality. Rev. 3:1-5 is about strengthening the things which remain and not being defiled. Rev. 3:6-12 is about those who persevere, will be kept from the hour of trial that comes upon the whole world, to test them (in fact a number of times those who are not overcomers are said to be cast into the tribulation). Rev. 3:14-21 is about hearing his voice and openings the door to be saved and ruled by Jesus. Rev.21:2-7 is about new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven for the overcomes who will have a relationship with God forever. We are promised by Jesus “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Rev. 21:7). John writes in his epistle, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” -- our faith, which is in the Son of God (I John 5:4-5). Our victory is overcoming the world and its sinful influences by our faith, because we believe Jesus is the Son of God and continue in our faith. And to do this we must be people of the word. This is not about some miracle working army or Christian influence that permeate society.
On some of these points Rutz is correct on others he is not. Rutz says, “Here are the signs that will mark you as an overcomer: on point 5. He makes the comment “The new understanding of the gospel in which Christ's resurrection is not an afterthought or bonus, but an essential (p.103).
Has anyone treated the resurrection as an afterthought, something that is trite? Or is it essential to our understanding of what Jesus did, who He is and the promise to all of us who believe. It also has to do with our sanctification, for that same Spirit that raised Christ dwells in us today to conform us to the likeness of the Son of God.
Rutz claims “we have seen a flood of recent miracles, some of which go beyond those mentioned in the Bible.”
REALLY. What can be greater than raising the dead, giving sight to one born blind. How many have walked on water, or been supernaturally transported? Where is the proof of such a statement?
Rutz claims his research has found 52 countries where God has raised people from the dead, mostly in the past 15 to20 years—all duly footnoted in MEGASHIFT. (Footnotes to his sources are books, faxes and the internet, some he has gone to the people personally) And that’s only the tip of a gigantic iceberg of healings and other miracles too vast to catalog.”That's not “near-death experiences”, but real, cold-body resurrections.”
Rutz refers to Daniel Ekechukwu “At a Reinhard Bonnke meeting in Nigeria, Daniel Ekechukwu, dead for two days, was brought to the lower level of the meeting in his casket.”
Rutz seems to neglect that many people were killed at Bonnkes crusades by the sheer size of the African population attending and NONE were raised in front of hundreds of thousands of people when they died. Instead he cites a story that has questionable facts all through it (see our articles on the facts of this miracle and its unbiblical statements). If this is indicative of what he is claiming are miracles then one would need to examine all the claims of resurrections stories he is citing for accuracy and not take them point blank. I have no doubt that some stories can be true and may not have been reported to grace the pages of books or the news. However, to claim these as facts on mere testimonies in third world countries without anyone's thorough examination of them does not help his case for God breaking loose on planet earth for the last time. All he is doing is passing on the miracle rumors he and others have heard; they are mostly stories without any substance. Not discerning what is Biblical or not Rutz accepts everything that has taken place in Christianity in the last 20 years.
“When I was a kid in Sunday School, I was really impressed that 3,000 people were saved on the Day of Pentecost,” he says. Now that happens around the globe every 25 minutes.
Yes there may be thousands saved each day, but every 25 minutes! Besides, Pentecost was 3,000 at once in one place, among those who first rejected Christ. There is no comparison here to those who physically saw Jesus and those who hear the gospel for the first time today. There will be “175,000 more Christians than there are today in 238 nations around the world.” He cites at a 2000 Reinhard Bonnke meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, 3,400,000 registered decisions for Christ of the six million that came.”
This is counting numbers only and if these crusades are any indication of what we see in America (that happens to be much more controlled) then we must admit the fall away rate is upwards to 90%. That may burst your bubble if you buy the Megashift paradigm but it is the cold facts on evangelism with weak discipleship; we lose nearly as many than we see respond.
Do You Believe These Famous Fables?
This article will attempt to puncture seven stubborn myths. Stated far too briefly:
1. You are a sinner.
2. It is your duty to sit quietly in a church building every Sunday morning for a worship service.
3. The final, most important thing in life is to get to heaven.
4. Your chances of ever working miracles are almost nil.
5. Modern church practices are based on the Bible, and they are a permanent part of the church.
6. The church isn't growing much.
7. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. Yes, you can spot some partial truths there. But overall,
these myths should come with a warning label: HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.
He answers each one of these. “The answer to No. 1 is 1. You are a saint. I love to ambush my students by starting off fast, barking the question, HOW MANY SINNERS DO WE HAVE HERE?
Most of them raise their hands . . . while glancing around nervously to make sure they're not the lone sucker to fall for a trick question. I quickly inform them that it is a trick question-and they are relieved. “When,” I ask them, “did Paul ever write a letter to the sinners in Ephesus? … or Philippi or Colossae or Corinth or Rome?”
It should seem natural to think of yourself as a saint. See how jarring it is when you yank out “saints” and insert “sinners” into these familiar verses: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His sinners.”
This is kind of argument is like trying to capture a cloud; Rutz is indescrimanently deconstructing everything we have learned from the Scripture. Yes we are called saints but for all practical purposes we are also said to sin. The apostle John says, “All unrighteousness is sin” (I Jn. 5:17), Paul also states, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Conversion brings a sinner to become a saint but then we are told to mature to become a child of God that would not be pushed around by every wind of doctrine. True, sinner's are those who continue in sin, and that we are now called saints, but we should not forget we are sinners saved by grace and that we do continue to sin. In fact, at times we are called sinners in the Scripture - Gal. 2:16-17; James 4:8; Rom. 7:17-23. Most of the letters explain how not to sin or to be trapped by it. I John 1:8 “If we say that we have NO SIN, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is NOT in us.” We are to be called saints but not to the exclusion that we not sin. We need to be careful not to give the impression that we are holy - without sin.
On number 2. Rutz- It is not your duty to sit quietly in a church building for a worship service every Sunday. That we would have “70 years if you keep your nose clean, and you have 3,500 sermons to endure. Whoa! What did you ever do to deserve that?” Get clear on this: We are kings, queens, and priests. If you have a problem with that, take it up with St. Peter when you see him! He's the one who wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, a people belonging specially to God, that you may make known the [multi-faceted] excellence of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9) See also Exodus 19:6. Kings, queens, and priests should not have to stay seated as if they were second-class citizens of their Kingdom … or remain silent as if they had nothing to say about God's multi-faceted excellence.”
Actually this verse in Peter says nothing about Kings or queens (our being kings is in reference to the Millennium when Christ himself will reign and we will serve under him, not now). We are priests now (Peter is specifically writing to the Jews who have been scattered from their homeland) and as priests we bring people to the sacrificial lamb-giving them the gospel.
As far as the comment of enduring all these sermons, we have need to learn under good teachers that teach sound doctrine. If one hungers for righteousness and truth and wants to grow spiritually then they will love to go to church. They have 6 other days and even part of the day they go to church to do whatever ministry the Lord has led them to do, so this is a straw man argument for the new church model (cell churches, home groups).
As for No. 7 the Bible says the world would become worse, that it would be like the days of Noah before Christ comes. Unless one is reading a very different translation I find the time of Noah to be our time period and escalating. Paul makes it clear in1 Timothy 3 that we would be in perilous times, did these pass unnoticed? When did God change his word?
Rutz says, “The revolution now upon us is a complete paradigm shift, taking us back to the time of Christ. (Megashift, p. 230). Is it? So many want to go back to the apostolic era to prove that their Christianity is real but they neglect to include the persecution and hardships that all the Christians experienced living at that time. In the early church they were not the dominant religion in the land.
Albert Mohler President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writes “A cadre of revisionists now seeks to redefine evangelical theology through a theological “Megashift”that looks remarkably like the liberal theology evangelicals once rejected. Central doctrines such as Christ's substitutionary atonement, verbal inspiration, the exclusivity of the Gospel, the reality of hell, and justification by faith alone are rejected in favor of a new evangelical paradigm.
The Reformation foundations of the evangelical tradition are to be replaced with a new doctrinal platform complete with a wrathless deity and an unnecessary cross. This is no minor alteration.
Advocates of this “Megashift” declare that the revolution is inevitable as younger evangelicals reject the old doctrines. The shift may be hidden by the continued use of traditional language, but the older words have been redefined. As one leading proponent of this new evangelical theology bragged, younger evangelicals already think this way, so the resistors will simply be replaced with the revisionists” (Tuesday, March 16, 2004 The Evangelical Identity Crisis--It's Really About Integrity)
One has to present proof before they make such magnanimous statements. He is only parroting what he has been hearing from the false apostles and prophets reports and collected it together in a book. In the new apostolic reform they come up with so many stories its hard to even number them, much less see how many are genuine. If this is part of the new apostolic reform than it is all questionable, for the very premise of a new church government being put into place is not biblical. In fact Rutz' presentation of the church asleep for 1700 years parallels Peter Wagner's statements of his government C. Peter Wagner states “I believe that the government of the church is finally coming into place … that the foundation of the church is apostles and prophets” (CBN interview Jan. 3, 2000).
Wagner, “The second apostolic age began in the year 2001”… nothing has happened because the government of the church has not come into place. … And the only way to overthrow a government is with a government” (C. Peter Wagner Arise Prophetic Conference Gateway Church San Jose, CA 10/10/2004)(emphasis mine)
Paul wrote I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor.3:10-11). The governing factor for the church has already been poured as the foundation and we have built on it for nearly 2,000 years.
All of history Christianity has never been the majority and the end will be no different. Christianity is being defined as so basic that anyone who names the name of Jesus and is doing something in his name are part of this end time revival. But going in the general direction is not the narrow way. Contrary to the view of dominionism presented in Megashift “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt 7:14; Luke 13:23-24).
Some may argue that we have not done it right. But if we look back at the Churches birth and the true apostolic movement when all the apostles were alive at the same time they did not Christianize one city, not even Jerusalem where all the events transpired. Yet we are to believe that we have suddenly been given more power and influence today than the apostles and all the saints throughout history. For those who look at the facts and go the Scripture for their proof this becomes a hard sell no matter how many stories of miracles are presented.
The Bible says that all the tribes of the earth mourn when Christ comes again. It doesn't sound to me like the whole world is saved. In fact, Scripture states the armies of the nations will gather to fight against Him when He comes back. Because these men eliminate the Great tribulation from their worldview they can find justification for a great unprecedented revival, which they claim is taking place now.
Do the math: There are over 6 billion people on earth today. Lets say several years from now there are 8 billion people on earth by the time of the tribulation. How can the whole world be saved when you have less than half the people surviving God’s judgments on the earth.
Rev. 6:7- The 4th Seal: Death released. One quarter of the world’s population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth.
Rev. 8:7- The1st Trumpet: Hail, fire, and blood. One third all grass and trees burned up
Rev. 8:8 – The 2nd Trumpet: Great mountain hits sea. One third of the oceans becomes blood. One third all sea life dies.
Rev. 8:10- The 3rd Trumpet: Wormwood star hits earth and one third of the freshwater is poisoned.
Rev. 9:13- The 6th Trumpet: demons are released and a 200 million army kills one third of the world's population.
Rev. 16:3- The 2nd Bowl: The entire ocean becomes blood. All sea life dies, which would affect human life as well. In fact by the time its is done God says, “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir” (Isa. 13:11-12).
By the end of all these judgments there will not be many people left living on the earth. The question that needs to be asked is why would God judge an earth that is the majority Christian?
Megashift into what? A new worldview that is necessary for one become part of the new paradigm publicized in Megashift. How anyone can say Christianity will take over the world and that we have such a wonderful future on earth when the Bible tells us a tribulation is coming? The whole world will not become Christian. The fact that Jesus warned about the deception and confusion of our time beforehand should give those involved a second thought. Both are fulfilling the Scripture.
Megashift is about the paradigm shift that we have been seeing, now it is repackaged in one book. It is trying to convince us that we are advancing in an unprecedented manner and the whole world will soon be the churches territory. Only unstable and ungrounded Christians will accept this new worldview of the last days. Since the Bible does not say any such thing we should dismiss this. At best it becomes the good intentions of those with zeal and overactive imaginations; it is shifting sand.