The Global Transformation of Redeeming Cultures
The basis of the gospel message is about sin and man being reconciled to God through a savior that came through the Jewish people. Our commission by Jesus is to preach the gospel whenever we can to all people…Today we have various new concepts that neglect this and instead want to transform the culture like Ed Silvoso or the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) is promoting.
“A Church Growth Expert’s Observation s Observation” “We have attempted to transform our cities for years without success. I now believe the reason is because pastors and church leaders do not have the authority to do so. That authority lies within those leaders in the marketplace. When we recognize and affirm the apostles in the marketplace we will begin to see the transformation of cities.”
((quote of Peter Wagner,(Source: International coalition of workplace ministries)
All we have heard for years is that it is working! Now they blame it being unsuccessful because our leadership does not have the authority. This is mixture of oil and water. Once again the trail leads back to them, without their new apostolic leadership the cities will not be transformed.
Silvoso is on a mission which takes him to different continents with the method of market transformation.
Within the new evangelistic package of making marketplace pastors, he is training people to move from the concept of pastoring the Local Church to pastoring a city. There is a clear theme of Dominionism running through this program, with kingdom authority and the use of “territorial spiritual warfare” employed. By uniting together using the various methods he presents Satan can be bound and the Christian forces triumph.
Silvosos’ paradigm is no different than many others that have come into the church before, its basically “rethinking everything into a new strategy.” Using the magic word of “transformation’ (a word originally found in theosophy of the New Age Movement) it has found itself as one of the many new platforms for “mission” strategies” now being employed by the New Apostolic Reformation.
Silvoso says: “Government and politics are areas where we are more reluctant to believe that transformation can really happen.”
Ed Silvoso’s books – Anointed For Business and Women: God’s Secret Weapon.
On November29, two mayors and one congresswoman in three cities expressed before a crowd of 300 believers their appreciation for what our prayers did for their localities and for them personally. I firmly believe as we persevere in applying the principles outlined in Luke 10 to the marketplace (government, business and education) we will see the Philippines transformed in our lifetime.”
What principle? This was training for his disciples in Israel which occurred before Israel rejected him as their Messiah- it was never applied for the church in the book of Acts or taught in the epistles. But this is the main Scripture for their program to influence the business and government.
“In 1990 we prayed for young people to be protected as they ventured into the world to develop a career... Now we commission them to become politicians, CEOs, scientists and broadcasters, and the first fruits are evident. When asked about the future, a teenager stated confidently, “I will be the President of Argentina.” Another said, “I will change the economy of the nation to make it more fair.”
How is your spiritual stock today? Reap eternal dividends by taking the power and presence of God to the marketplace...
According to Romans 8:19 the entire creation is eagerly awaiting the manifestation of the children
of God. They are waiting for us and they want to know who we are. It is about time that we come out of our spiritual closet. The next time you go to work, declare “The Kingdom of God has arrived and the gates of Hades shall not prevail,” and begin to pray for and minister to everyone in your circle of influence until the place experiences transformation” (2004 Year-end Report Harvest Evangelism Ed & Ruth Silvoso).
Rom.8:19 is often used this way by those who hold to the Latter Rain teaching. But Silvoso takes this into a further misinterpretation, as if we reveal ourselves. But all one needs to do is read further for the Bible interpretation on this passage- it’s about the resurrection when we will be changed to immortality, not something we can do today, on your own.
Vv. 23-24: “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
The gates shall not prevail against the church (Mt.16:18)- NOT the kingdom of God in the workplace. Yet he teaches that we are to take the Kingdom of God (the church?) to the gates of Hell (whatever that means). Silvoso like so many others who espouse Latter Rain teaching can’t seem to leave the Scripture in its context and change its meaning to fit their own personal made up doctrine to influence the masses. Its business as usual.
The error of the Latter Rain clearly being promoted by Silvoso is a figment of his own imaginary agenda of changing the landscape with his workplace program – starting with pastors in the workplaces of the communities. Rom. 8:19: “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” When do the sons get revealed? When Jesus comes back not before, so how can this mean we subject the creation by our authority as Silvoso claims. What we are seeing is a new spiritual militant movement that wants to use their supposed kingdom authority on this earth before the King actually arrives.
Not everyone is involved in the Latter Rain belief of putting the culture under the authority of the church. Chuck Colson holds to a modified teaching of reconstructionism and modern day dominionism to reform the culture, by taking the culture back: “Redeeming the culture is the never ending mission of the church (Chuck Colson Breakpoint Jan.2, 05, KLHT)’
"I was deepening my understanding of what we call the cultural commission, the command to the Church to take dominion and bring righteousness to our culture” (Chuck Colson, God's Inseparable Commissions, Prison Fellowship, 01/05/2005, http://www.pfm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=PFM_Site&temnlate=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentlD= 15120)
"Today-some 30 years into my ministry-I have come to believe passionately
that all Christians need to take their faith out of the pews and into the
trenches. We've got to be faithful to the cultural commission to have
dominion, to work for Christian values to arrest our worldview slide”
(Chuck Colson, Prison Ministry and Worldview: A Match Made in Heaven, Prison
One of Colson’s ministries objective is to institute Christian laws into our government to shape America into a godly nation. But you can’t find these ideas of culture, or society in the Bible. In fact if one looks at how the early church handled their relationship with Rome it is nothing like what is being promoted today.
Jesus gave the great commission as His last words to the Church. He expects us to be doing this when He returns for the Church, not something else. Nowhere does the Bible teach the church is sent to reform or redeem the culture or make the world a better place for mankind. Why? Because that is what HE WILL DO when He returns. Why? Because He is the “only one” with the ability to do it correctly. Until then we have a mandate of preaching the gospel, and discipleship. Teaching people what He taught, not something he did not teach.
One of the new strategies to evangelize the nations, and crush Satan under your feet (referring to Rom. 16:20) is called Redeeming cultures. It goes by a number of different titles- First Nations -cultural evangelism- cultural identification- indigenous people movement-cultural redemption etc.
The belief that in every culture-God has left treasures and worthy traditions within the indigenous cultures to be used. We are told that redeeming the cultures reestablishes people’s identity of who they are as nations and who God created them to be.
Terry Leblanc: referring to David Garrett from Scripture and Songs said it this way:
“God is now calling forth from among the indigenous communities of the world that good deposit which He has made in them of their cultures, their languages, their musical expressions and all that sort of thing ... as an expression of praise and worship unto Himself.” (Word to the World - host Danny Lehmann, KLHT, 2001)
To say God created these cultures, influenced them or deposited anything in them is the same as saying that these other religions had truth from God and worshipped Him (or her, or it) correctly.
The cultural redemption movement began mainly through Don Richardson books “The Peace Child” and “Eternity in Their Hearts” who proposed using redemptive analogies that are already found in cultures. Some of the ideas he presented were valid, some were not. Certainly there is advantage to indigenous people carrying the gospel to their own people but there is a disadvantage when one tries to make a connection to them by their own religion that is clearly not there in the first place. And instead of giving them the straightforward gospel it becomes a blend of their religion and the Bible to appease both parties. In the end the Christian gospel will be covered up with cultural traditions. The reason is because you cannot make a mixture like this have the gospel uncorrupted.
Is it appropriate to bring to people Jesus Christ through there own culture, and then leave them to worship God in their own cultures way. Did the apostles do this? The answer is No, but that is what is taking place today.
Richard Twiss one of the main promoters of “cultural redemption” states:
“...We’re introducing native leaders and native ministry organizations to the greater body of Christ by partnering with people like Don Richardson, John Dawson and George Otis …”(Interview- Richard Twiss, Word to the World with host Danny Lehmann, KLHT, 2001, show #547) this should settle any questions on whom these people are learning from and associating with. The majority are associates of YWAM and Dawson and Otis are involved in the NAR program of Transformation (i.e George Otis produced 2 films on global Transformation by spiritual warfare that are exaggerated and filled with proven inaccuracies. Otis jr. is part of Peter Wagners false apostolic reformation that is trying to change the way churches do things.)
“As disciples of Jesus Christ we are also called to redeem our culture as we grow in God” (YWAM DTS, Island Breeze, http://www.islandbreeze.com.au/training.htm)
Are we called to do this? If one thinks this is evangelism they a very much mistaken, this is far different from the evangelism done from the first century on down to our day.
One of the main promoters of this evangelism through YWAM is Daniel Kikawa who took Richardsons concepts to their extreme. He is telling the Church “The Creator God of the Bible is not a foreign God. He loves indigenous people and has been a part of their history and culture from the beginning.”
Leon Siu: “The misconceptions that, as was expressed earlier, was that God didn't arrive until the missionaries arrived. You know, and so when we started to look at this we started to look into our culture and see what things within our culture what God had originally intended for this particular group of people, Hawaiians.” (Interview with three of the leaders from the indigenous peoples movements around the world, Word to the World, 2001)
Sui works with Kikawa and both share the same viewpoint. On Kikawa's video “God’s Fingerprints in Japan” Kikawa states Japan was worshipping the true God in the past accurately: “It makes perfect sense that the Japanese people would have this revelation of God.” Why? Because these men have a “world culture view,” that believes all is one, theirs is not a “Christian worldview.” In other words, this can also be applied to any culture since they interpret Rom.1 as all cultures in the past knowing the true God.
Here is how they represent what they are doing “The Lord God of Israel created all mankind in His own image. He separated us into different languages and dispersed us throughout the world. Our God gave to each people the knowledge and wisdom needed to survive in each place. His hand has always been present in each of our histories.... (Indigenous Expressions of Biblical Faith http://wcgip.org/)
It has? Where does the Bible say this? It is matter of opinion of a few that are promoting this to the church. In fact, the Bible says the opposite, all one has to do is look up in bible history to see how God related to the cultures of the world. Acts 14:16: “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” He gave the world their basic needs but was not involved in any of the cultures development or ways. To one nation only did he say, “And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name-- and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land-- before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods?”
There is no other nation that God chose to deliver and give his commands and Scripture to. This claim of God being involved in everyone’s history completely opposes the Bibles teaching on mankind’s true history. Though there may be good intentions behind these ideas, many “Christians” are becoming involved in this new philosophical view that affects their Biblical worldview. This does not excuse the fact that they are wrong on their main premise. The assumption is that God formed ALL the nations, cultures (specifically) and purposely put things in their culture that are equal to what He did with Israel. This is simply is not so. There are enough Bible examples contrary to this to explain that God did not approve of these cultures in ancient Bible times and does not today. What is ironic is that they call him the Lord God of Israel. But then what they teach changes Him to the Lord God of all nation’s cultures and people who were defiant and did not know him.
There is not one nation, before Christ, other than Israel where God speaks of their culture or priesthood as worshipping Him correctly. The one nation he gave the instructions to, otherwise they were making it all up. Even Israel, with all the commandments given directly and supernaturally, being instructed by God, often fell into idolatry which was influenced by the other cultures around them. God had written in Deut: 18:9: “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.”
Deut.12:30-32: “take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods.”
Some take the position that He revealed Himself at some point to nearly all indigenous people groups prior to the Gospel being brought to them. They believe that in every culture God has left treasures and worthy traditions within their cultures to be used. Thus when we bring Jesus Christ to people we can then leave them to worship God in their own cultural and religious ways as they did in the past. They Mix up concepts of God by using cultural history or methods to worship him.
“God loves the cultural expressions that flow from them. They are finding many things within that flow from their cultural identity that were ordained by God.” (Video God’s Fingerprints in Japan by aloha Ke Akua)
The idea that God put his truth in every culture through history, even with contradictory values and practices seems to be overlooked by these people.
Paul went through Asia - nation after nation was affected with his message and they gave up their gods and idols. But we are now being told to allow them to keep parts of their religion and the culture that is saturated by this false worship and turn into true worship- thus redeeming the culture.
Daniel Kikawa who was heavily influenced by Richardson states, we have “Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World,” claiming that hundreds of cultures in the world were already worshipping YHWH. Again this is revisioning actual history. Archeologists and historians know different.
Mankind’s history is not one of submission but rebellion. Not long after man was judged for his lawlessness he united together to build a tower of his own way to worship the creation, not God. God destroyed the world of Noah’s time except for his family; God did not redeem any culture. God scattered the people at the tower of Babel for their disobedience. And they did not take the truth with them but took their false worship with them to cover the whole earth. They left Babel worshipping their false gods, they left looking to the stars, and developed further their false religions.
God did not give people their cultural “identities” or form their cultures. He confused their tongues at Babel as a judgment upon their trying to unify themselves without him. They were sent them away to populate the earth and the people of each separate language group began to develop their own culture Romans 1 tells us that men did not seek God, they instead traded the general revelation they had of God for worship of created things (Rom. 1:25) and from that they formed their cultures religions.
Can anyone find where the Bible teaches to redeem a culture? Before one accepts and implements this new methodology they need to think this through- BIBLICALLY. Do they have to abandon their cultural identity in order to come to Christ or use it express their faith in Christ. Their culture needs to be reevaluated through God’s viewpoint and not mans reasoning.
We have only one example of a massive revival of a people- Jonah. Jonah’s message changed a whole city and turned a vicious culture away from its own destructive tendencies but it did not redeem the culture. There was nothing to draw from it. Instead they forsook their gods to worship the true and living god of Israel.
God did not send angels to Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah and teach him how to improve living among the aggressive homosexual culture he was in, they took him out. God did not keep Israel in Egypt to restructure their worship or bring them under Israel’s blessings. God had no intention of sending Moses into Egypt to try to reform Egyptian society but to rescue Israel. God took Israel OUT from Egypt and destroyed their cultural identity with all their god’s. God destroyed many of the cultures surrounding Israel as He brought them into the Promised Land, he approved of NONE of them. We do not see a redeemed culture at any time in history and neither is He doing this today. So this whole concept cannot be validated by the Bible. This is made up theology and practice.
God was destroying cultures before Christ came, not redeeming them. In the flood he destroyed everything that had breath that did not enter the ark because of how far man went in his idolatry and disobedience to God.
And, He will do it again in the end as sin and lawlessness becomes like a flood- he will deal harshly with the wickedness of world in every culture and society.
Using redemptive analogy is justified as a valid method of evangelism. We are told the prophets and even Jesus used the technique in his story-telling by saying “The kingdom of God is like.” Jesus' method of communication was story telling (orality), and he used redemptive analogy within story-telling. Thus presenting the Gospel in terms which relate to the particular culture it is valid to use that culture to .
This is where we get to the basement and foundation of this whole mater. These are Grand Canyon leaps performed by those involved in this type of evangelizing. What they completely miss is that Jesus was communicating to the culture he formed by giving the Oracles of God to over millennia, the types and shadows , of everything their religious life (and secular which was not separate) were used to explain the true teaching of the law and the Scriptures
They change the meanings of their own religion and synthesize it to Christianity. Wiconi International endorses Eagles Wings (Randy and Edith Woodley) that claims the Great Spirit's son is Jesus Christ:
“Both Native Americans, their mission is "to present the Great Spirit's Son, Jesus Christ and His Words, the Bible to Native Americans in culturally relevant ways." (http://www.ethnicharvest.org/peoples/nativeamer.htm)
The Great Spirit who they claim created the earth, pervaded everything, this is not the Holy Spirit who is separate from the creation he produced.
We welcome Native Americans into the body of Christ like we should do to all people from everywhere people and every nation, but they need to know to leave their spiritual traditions behind and follow Jesus Christ as the Bible teaches, so they do not blend it with their ancient ways.
There is always a portion of the truth with error when these men promote their indigenous agenda. speaking of the apostles Richard Twiss says- Their worldview was too small they could not recognize the new thing that God was doing outside the box of their own cultural understanding so rather than rejoice that people were delivered out of the clutches of hell and sent into the kingdom they criticized Peter because he broke their religious and social and cultural traditions So God had to dismantle their old covenant orientation toward the kingdom, but here’s the problem for us. … yet because their worldview was too small they were born-again bigots. For Jesus, filled with power absolutely, anointing, completely but their worldview was too small.. He then tells the audience he will be with emergent church leader “Brian McLaren, equipping today’s church for tomorrows challenges…” (TBN Sept.27, 2005 Interview by Dwight Thomson).
I don’ think it is right to call the apostles bigots even if it is tongue and cheek. Besides ignoring the fact that it was God who led Peter to open the door for the Gentiles to be part of the Body of Christ (Acts 10). Who criticized Peter because he broke their religious and social and cultural traditions. Twiss has misrepresented the actual history making it seem that it was It the church
Acts 10:45 “And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”
Acts 11:2 “And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him”
We find out whom those of the circumcision are, the same ones that tried to ruin the Galatian church- the Judaizers.
Acts 15:5 “But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses." In vv.11-12 the apostles gave testimony of God’s work among the gentiles. Acts 15:22: “Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas”
So we can see by the Scripture that a slight twist or wrong interpretation and one can make the apostles prejudice when they were not, it was the religious sect of the Pharisees that were. No doubt the church had to reconcile these matters and that is exactly why the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15 was for.
Many misuse Rev.7 “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
They have taken this out of its context and made it a pretext to their own presuppositions. It’s talking about people taken FROM NATIONS-TRIBES, THOSE OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. It does not say whole cultures, societies or nations. They are individuals from these various groups who have believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
To redeem, (redemption) in the biblical sense means to be brought back from a slaves marketplace. What we find is that God redeems individual people. Each person is spiritually born by making a personal choice in the gospel.
The Biblical concept of redeeming does not mean what these movements say it does. Nowhere does this imply that a culture had portions of true worship God put there and He was no going to bring them into a fuller understanding of what they already had. They did not have anything.
They use the word reconciling in a secular sense and remove it from its biblical definition. Reconciliation comes one way only-
Rom. 5:10: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
Now that we are reconciled by the crucifixion- the gospel, we are to bring it to others.
2 Cor. 5:18-20: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.”
What is that word? The gospel- which has to do with men’s trespasses- their sins. Not with a nation, a belief system, political or religious.
Reconciliation is in Greek- katallage-exchange (figuratively, adjustment), i.e. restoration to (the divine) favor:
KJV-- atonement, reconciliation (-ing).
The same thing is for the word redemption- Greek- exagorazo-1) to redeem a) by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, to buy off b) metaphorically, used of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death 2) to buy up, to buy up for oneself, for one's use to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own.
redemption -lutroo- 1) to release on receipt of ransom 2) to redeem, to liberate by payment of ransom a) to liberate b) to cause to be released to oneself by payment of a ransom c) to redeem d) to deliver: from evils of every kind, internal and external.
Rom. 3:24: “the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” How, by the blood shed by the sinless son of God. As it says in Eph 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, (also Col.1:14)
In the New Testament only people who believe the gospel are redeemed, there are no whole nations redeemed.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” If you as a missionary go to a tribal group anywhere in the world and find that they are worshipping a god, you would not say, “I’m going to tell you who YOUR god is”—or the “good things that he has left you in your culture”--that’s not a biblical approach to evnagelism. This completely different from saying, “Let me tell you who the true God is” showing them the difference and encouraging them to abandon the false gods and ways that they’ve been worshipping. Working with them patiently as they discover what they are doing is wrong. This was the approach of the apostles, i.e. Paul to the Gentiles. This was the approach of missionaries. I agree that sometimes the culture of the missionaries was sometimes brought into the conversion. Sometimes it was for good reason, (i.e. dressing up in western clothes than to continue walking around naked) other times it was mistakenly part of the package. We are to make a distinction between the religious and social aspects of a culture. One is neutral the other is not.
Deut 12:2-5: “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. “And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. “You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things.” The Bible principle is made clear, do not use the former religious practices or items for worship to the true God.
In Joshua 7:10-12 Israel sinned, by taking the accursed things and put it among their own. V.12: “Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.” Joshua 7:21 tells us it was “a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels”
Israel would be ensnared with pagan items and practices. Many purposely ignore this fact because it goes contrary to the new syncretistic evangelism that is being used. God did not give Israel one way and various other ways to the nations. In fact the bible is clear, he only picked Israel as the nation to be the recipient of his laws and ways.
Deut. 18:9-14: “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.” Deut. 12:2-4 Israel was to destroy all the places where the nations served their gods, v.4 “You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things.”
We do not see God’s approval of adopting any nation’s customs into Judaism or Judaism into their customs- and we should not adopt this idea into the church. There was to be no syncretism for Israel or the church.
When a false religious belief becomes ingrained in a culture, that culture cannot be redeemed, it needs to be abandoned for the truth.
If these things of other cultures were incorporated in their religious practices they were not to be carried into the worship of Yahweh, the people were to be holy. Judgment was severe Josh. 7:15: 'Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire.” Just like they burned their magic books in Act 19 when they were saved- they abandoned what was not of God. But today the line is blurred and the indigenous people are being told that what they have is of God. Hardly the truth.
Terry Lebanc says,”There’s a myth that we have labored under for centuries in indigenous communities and the myth is that we are a godless heathen people” (Word to the World Interview by Danny Lehmann 2001).
Actually the ancient people practiced myths and did not have the truth. Who said so? God did. 1 Cor. 1:21: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom DID NOT KNOW GOD, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” The message- the gospel needs to be heard in its pure form, not tainted with a cultural genre or ancient traditions.
John 1:9-11: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”
Notice how this is worded, the world did not know him, and Israel did not receive him.
A Bible Smorgasbord
Ps 119:104-105: “Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
To make inroads to a culture there are those who have taken the liberty to change the word of God by adding that cultures (or religion or countries) gods name. Or they ignore the word for word translation and substitute a culturized version of their language and customs, this is not a biblical way to do evangelism. Now we have bibles that tell stories more than give us what God spoke as our instruction for living a spiritual life pleasing unto him.
Consider what they did here in Hawaii with a new translation of the Bible by Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Gospel of John Tell bout Jesus
1:1 Da time everyting had start, had one Guy. “God's Talk,” dass who him. Dat Guy an God, dey stay togedda, an da Guy stay God fo real kine. 2 Dass da Guy, da time everyting had start, him an God stay togedda. 3 God wen make everyting, but da way he do um, he tell dis Guy fo do um. No mo notting dis Guy neva make.
14 Dat “God's Talk” Guy, he wen come one guy jalike us guys. He wen stay wit us. We wen see how awesome he stay awesome, cuz he da one an ony Boy dat come from dadda. He like do plenny good stuff fo us, cuz dass how he stay. Everyting he say bout God, stay fo real. (Da Jesus Book p244 pidgin Bible- year 2000)
Can you see the reverence in one of the most important passages on his deity and incarnation diminished and belittled.
Gal.1:6-9 You guys blow my mind! Quick time you guys pau trus God an go trus odder kine stuff. God wen pick you guys cuz he like Christ fo do plenny good kine stuff fo you guys. But you guys go trus odder kine stuff awready. 7 Da kine odder stuff dey teach, dass not da Good Kine Stuff Bout Christ. Dem guys like change da Good Kine Stuff Bout Christ. Dey ony stay jam up you guys. 8 Listen! Even if us guys o one angel guy from da sky tell you guys odder kine stuff, diffren from da Good Kine Stuff From God dat we wen teach you guys befo, God goin punish um foeva. 9 Jalike we wen tell you guys befo, I goin say urn one mo time: Whoever teach you guys diffren kine stuff den da Good Kine Stuff From God dat you guys wen take from us, God goin punish um foeva. (Pidgin Bible p. 500)
Somehow the meaning and seriousness of the passage is lost.
I also looked at key passages of his deity
Phil.2:5All you guys, tink lidis, jalike Jesus Christ: 6 Jesus, he everytime stay jalike God. But no matta,
He neva tink he gotta go hang on to dat. 7 He let um all go, So he can make himself one poor worka guy, An come jalike peopo. Wen da peopo see him, Dey figga he jus one guy.
8 He wen make himself jalike he no stay importan. He wen do everyting God say, Even if he gotta go mahke. An not jus regula kine mahke, you know. Was mo worse, on top one cross.
9 Dass why God make Jesus da main Guy. He wen give him one spesho name, Fo tell wat kine guy him. Cuz he mo importan den all da big name guys!
10 So everybody, wen dey find out wat kine guy Jestis, Dey goin go down on dea knees in front him. Everybody up dea inside da sky, An all ova da world, An undaneat da groun!
11 Wit dea mout, everybody goin tell, “Jesus Christ, da Spesho Guy God Wen Send, He da Boss!” Cuz a dat, peopo goin say,”God da Fadda, he awesome fo shua!”
We are to become more educated when we are believers; this is perpetuating a slang language which does not help one understand the HOLY WORD of GOD. If this is where the Bible translations are headed -we need to speak up before this becomes a normal use in our evangelistic efforts.
Here is another example that is disheartening. David Marshall gives a story of his way (tao)
“I was coming into contact with another religious culture in its most traditional and ancient form, one that had nothing to do with the Western God, and wanted to have nothing to do with Him. It was a revival of Chinese worship of Heaven that went back thousands of years, and had been ennacted in a grand way upon an altar on Mount Tai in Shandong Province, long before the time of Confucius, and the great Jewish prophets.
The building should have been as alien to me as anything on earth. (Apart from the Douglas firs.) Yet it shocked me with its familiarity. The four gold and red inside pillars reminded me of four gold-leafed, red-letter-edition Gospels. The twelve red outside pillars seemed to suggest the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles of the Bible -- symbolized in Christian writings by pillars sprinkled with blood. The twelve tribes of Israel, too, had been arranged in four groups around the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies.”
“the more I have studied non-Christian cultures and beliefs of various cultures and periods, the more I have become persuaded that the truth is just the opposite. Jesus is the Tao that Confucius and Lao Zi were looking for, the Rta of Indian philosophers or Purusa of the Rig Veda, the Divine Logos of St. the Apostle John. John's famous words about that Logos are correctly translated as follows in Chinese: “In the beginning was the Tao. And the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God. . . All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . .”
And then, as if to wake all the philosophers and day-dreamers among us up:
“And the Tao became flesh and dwelt among us.”
(How I Learned Jesus Is the Tao By David Marshall http://www.homestead.com/christthetao/learned.html)
Much of what Marshall says is interpreted as subjective and personal and finds a correlation when there really is none and has no basis in history or reality. The fact that many of these emergent writers have a whole different angle in seeing the Bible and culture and reinterpret it in whatever way they think is best for those they want to connect with. This concept makes Jesus the everything for everyone.
Consider this found in Chinese Bibles, the "Logos" is translated to "Tao. in John 1:1-2: “In the beginning was the Tao. and the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God… The Tao became flesh and dwelt among us”
To quote the passage on the deity of Christ and his eternal relationship with the Father as the Tao tells me that this person neither knows about the Tao and even less about the Scriptures meaning. To do such a rendition of the Bible is absurd. But nothing is off limits to these “cultural change agents.” This is merging to belief systems to make them sympathetic to each other. They relate it to the Greek philosophers Heraclitus, Socrates that held to the logos being abstract and impersonal. John is using a Hebraism. John wrote his gospel in Greek used Greek words for Jewish concepts not Hellenistic. This Word is a title for the Son of God who possesses the very same nature as the Father. What John was doing was explaining the true meaning of logos compared to the Greek writers. The common term in the Old Testament for “word” is dabhar (used in the Septuagint). “In Hebrew thought, the dabar was dynamic and filled with a power that was transmitted to those who received it. The term was often used to designate God's communication to his people, as at the beginning of many of the writings of the prophets: “The word of the Lord came.” The whole of the Law, or all of Scripture, could then be referred to as God's Word. (Holman Bible Dictionary LOGOS)
Clearly if they do not have the same words of the Bible delivered from God then the Tao is not the same Word who was made flesh. If the god of the nations is the same God then certainly this would be evident by more than a few similarities (As Roamns1 says they have corrupted portions left).
Tao means Way, and it is left for the seeker to discover within. Lao Tzu wrote “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” The Tao is an impersonal Supreme -- there exist lesser divinities, it is the oneness of all creation, in the spirituality of the material realms and in the brotherhood of all men.
Taoism is concerned with man's spiritual being, and in the Tao, te-Ching the awakened man is compared to bamboo: upright, simple and useful outside-and hollow inside. The knowable universe is composed of opposite components, physical (hard/soft; dark/light), moral (good/bad), or biological (male/female), which are classed as either YANG or YIN. Thus two opposing forces make up the whole.
To say the word –is the Son, which the Bible says has no darkness is the Tao, should be repulsive to Bible believers who want to do real evangelism, but this kind of new Christianity is being embraced and taught through numerous missionary organizations. I was told once in a correspondence with someone using Tarot cards to evangelize that what we are doing is old and passe’ and is being replaced. Replaced by what?
Christ never attempted to reform the culture of His day neither did he instruct the Apostles to do so. They “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) by preaching the gospel to people of many different cultures.Redeem a culture? Why do something the Bible says nothing about and think you are doing evangelism.
In the endeavor to redeem cultures the work of the Holy Spirit is put aside and a reliance on human ingenuity and methods is instead used. This essentially compromises the Spirit of truths’ work. God is not unable to save the same way He did from the beginning, he does not need us to improve on his methods or ways – we only need to speak what he has told us. If we exercise faith and allow the Spirit of truth to work we will see the results we desire and will not have to opt for these made up methods of man.