The Covert Strategies of the False Revival (1)
"Are Churches using a form of Brainwashing
to alter the minds of Believers?"
This is a bit of a departure for me, but I felt led to take a second look at a file I received many years ago now, which once formed the basis for a short report in my newsletter "Mainstream". That file was called "TOP SECRET/APOTHEOSIS". (click HERE to see the relevant part of this document) The great majority of what it contained was of no interest to me (standard UFO conspiracy theory stuff). However, one portion - on brainwashing techniques for indoctrination into cults and religions - caught my attention then, and still does so today.
The reason? It seemed to me that churches were using those techniques, whether deliberately or not, to instruct believers in the "new paradigm" of revival and Global Christianity in the last days.
The document in question pointed out a number of techniques that could be used for brainwashing, including:
- Developing an intense atmosphere of companionship, trust, and common belief - i.e. a sense of "belonging".
- Giving no time to think or reflect on things, and having a chaotic, unpredictable atmosphere in which rational thought is difficult.
- Camouflaging the belief being taught until the subject is willing to accept it.
- Establishing that the old ways are no longer valid or effective, and deriding them in various ways.
The same document gave eight components of mind control as listed by Robert Jay Lifton, as follows:
1. Environment Control: such as: daily meetings; no time for family life; limitation of contact with those outside the group; command not to read contrary literature or speak to dissenters.
2. Mystical manipulation: The potential convert to the group becomes convinced of the higher purpose and special calling of the group through a profound encounter/experience, for example, through an alleged miracle or prophetic word of those in the group.
3. Demand for Purity: anything that is not in complete agreement with the new belief and group is impure, of no worth, a liability, and cause for rejection. An explicit goal of the group is to bring about some kind of change, whether it be on a global, social, or personal level. "Perfection is possible if one stays with the group and is committed."
4. The Cult of Confession:encouragement of self disclosure to members in the group. Often in the context of a public gathering in the group, admitting past sins and imperfections, including doubts about the group and critical thoughts about the integrity of the leaders. This serves several purposes. It provides a 'release valve' for the convert to purge the old ways out of his system; and gives the leaders foreknowledge about possible threats to the group. It also gives the leaders a list of sins to hold over the person's head if there is any threat of withdrawal.
5. Sacred Science: The group's perspective is absolutely true and completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the doctrine is required.
6. Loading of the language: a new vocabulary emerges within the context of the group, including the use of "sacred" words that are to be reserved only for the contexts desired by the indoctrinators, and "buzz words" - new terms that embody meanings special to the group (this reinforces belonging.) The terminology stops members from thinking critically by reinforcing a "black and white" mentality.
7. Doctrine over person: the value, importance and worth of the new doctrine and group as a whole is greater than the importance of any one individual. This subordinates human rights to be of value or worth only when they function within the confines and frame of the new belief. Pre-group experience and group experience are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.
8. Dispensing of existence: salvation is possible only in the group. Those who leave the group are doomed. The right to exist, the value and worth of existence, can only be granted by the belief system or the source of the belief system.
Revival Tactics using Mind Control?
Astute revival watchers will already see that some, if not all, of these techniques are being used within revival churches, and to promote the new doctrines of globalism, ecumenism, world christianisation, the removal of God's enemies, apostolic authority and so forth.
Some tactics are well-known, such as prolonged sessions of loud music, clapping, dancing, jumping, rolling around, in a tiring, breathtaking atmosphere in which no dissent is allowed and opting out is seen as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Public confession, group loyalties, slavish adoration of certain ministers and speakers, the damnation of critics - it's all there!
I'm not saying that Ministries and churches are deliberately employing brainwashing and mind-control techniques (although some might be!) but when looking at the revival scene the techniques are unmistakably present.
On searching for information about this on the Web, I found abundant confirmation that mind-control is being used not only in religious cults but also in bona fide Christian churches to alter the thinking of believers to what is known as the "new paradigm". Links to pages containing various documents on mind control can be found later on in this article (most of them coming from secular or anti-Christian sources.)
What is the aim?
The aim of indoctrination, whether using brainwashing or not, is to alter a person's belief structure from one thing, to another.
The document I used in the 80's (Apotheosis) uses the terms "counter-belief" and "target-belief" to describe these doctrines, the target-belief being the new doctrine that they want to impart.
In the case of the revival churches, Word-of-Faith and "restoration/apostolic" movements, we see:
target-belief = "global/church restoration", or bringing in the kingdom, or the "new paradigm".
counter-belief = normal, classic evangelical understanding of the Bible and Christianity.
Indoctrination is needed to educate people out of the classic biblical viewpoint into a "new thing", as follows:
- The Bible as key to all doctrine, both personally and in the churches.
- Salvation and relationship with God is on a personal, individual basis.
- Conversion, being born-again, is the only basis for Christian life and discipleship.
- The Church and Christianity always has been and remains a minority movement, under persecution and duress, hated by the world and the devil.
- Purity of personal life, adherence to biblical commands regarding personal behaviour and church order, that we should conduct ourselves in his presence in a decent, morally correct, responsible, orderly, and reverent manner.
- Separation from worldly habits and people, while seeking to reach them with the gospel.
- Separation from all other religions and cults, Jesus being the ONLY Way.
- Evangelism being a person-to-person testimony of the gospel truths, good works being only an adjunct to this. Good works unable to save or enhance our standing with God.
- Political involvement limited to the resistance [if possible] of unbiblical and damaging legislation, and the support of honest, godly men in office.
- Social change in the local area to be prayed for and worked for if possible, but understanding that change is only really possible after a change of heart, when people are born again.
- Worship, prayer, teaching and all other Christian activities the responsibility of ALL believers, not just an elite ruling caste, or priesthood.
- Accountability and correction needed in the Church, based on the purity of a man's doctrine as well as his behaviour as a Christian. All Christians being equal in the sight of God, no man can claim immunity from examination or correction by ANY other member of the Body.
- Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual happenings to be tested daily against the word of God, knowing that the devil can deceive us. No confidence in such things as indicators of our spiritual standing with God, faith being the key, not feelings.
- Literal interpretation of scripture, including prophecies of the endtimes.
- Literal/future interpretation of the book of Revelation.
- Pre-millennial understanding of the Return of Jesus.
- Literal kingdom set up by and for Jesus at his Return.
- The Church as God's servants to do His bidding. Tasks given to believers include evangelism, teaching, pastoring and nurturing believers in the faith.
- Spiritual warfare as the need to be aware of and resist the opposition of satan and his hosts on a personal level or for a fellowship group.
- Belief in a great endtimes apostasy, a coming reign of a personal antichrist and the persecution of all that is of God.
- Belief in the divine intervention of God himself to rescue believers in the endtimes.
- The thousand-year reign of Christ is literal and in the future, after his return.
- Israel has not been "replaced" by the church, nor is it eternally doomed, nor has it forfeited all its promises to the Church, but God will literally fulfill his OT promises to the nation and land of Israel.
- The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, is God Himself and is not under the control of men and women. He is not a force, power or essence.
- Spiritual gifts are allocated to men and women according to God's will and wisdom and are to be used under God's direction only. They are for the help and service and edification of the Church as a whole and others whom God desires to help, and are no indication of a person's moral or spiritual standing in God. No one person is more "anointed" than any other, for the only "anointing" is of Jesus Christ and those to whom He wills to impart it. No man can impart his own gift or salvation or another, and especially not to an unbeliever.
- Spiritual gifts are separate and unconnected to human talents or natural gifts, and no man or woman can inherit naturally or be born with God's spiritual gifts.
- World events are set on a course towards greater and greater evil and no real change is possible until the return of Christ.
- Belief in a literal heaven and hell, and the eternal judgement of wickedness.
I am not insisting, of course, that everyone holds to a particular set of beliefs. I am trying to point out the basic differences between the long-held and cherished doctrinal and behavioural norms, and the "new paradigm". This takes many forms, but a few beliefs are as follows:
- Doctrine obtained as much by direct spiritual revelation and prophecies from "anointed" leaders as from the written words of the Bible - dependence on the Bible as the sole measure of doctrine regarded as old-fashioned and restrictive
- Salvation and relationship with God only relevant in a community context. Submission to leadership of the local church essential to salvation; group/national salvation possible through spiritual warfare and other techniques.
- Church-going rather than a personal faith seen as the bedrock of the new churches; salvation seen as progressive, not essential to discipleship. Obedience the key.
- The Church and Christianity is to become the major guiding force of the New World Order and victory over all evil on earth is inevitable and achievable..
- Purity is relative, cultural and ethnic differences must be taken into account, biblical commands must be interpreted in a modern-day context and "God cannot be put into a box" regarding what He demands of human behaviour and church order.
- Separation from worldly habits and people is "gnostic" and a heresy that must be discarded. There is no difference between sacred and secular.
- Separation from all other religions and cults is counter-productive to work towards peace and righteousness on earth. We must practise reconciliation and work together for the good of mankind, regardless of creed or religion.
- Evangelism is a mixture of prayer-walking, spiritual warfare against forces of evil, helping others, and attracting them to churches to become discipled. Good works are commanded by God to help the poor and oppressed.
- Political involvement is essential to transform society and institute God's laws on the earth.
- Social change is not only possible but essential to the plan to alter people's perception of the Church and make them partners in the Plan. Telling people the bible truths and talking about sin is unwise, as it may put them off.
- Worship, prayer, teaching and other Christian activities are the responsibility of the anointed leadership only, and all other believers are to obey the rule of their shepherds and elders. The leaders themselves need to submit to higher authorities both locally and nationally.
- Accountability is to your personal shepherd only. No minister, ministry or individual believer may question or correct a leader's doctrine or activities. Correction is only needed when believers step out of line and rebel against their elders. Anyone raising doctrinal questions is suspect, phariseeical and a danger to the church. Leaders must vow never to criticise any other leader, no matter how serious their sin or heresy.
- Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual happenings are welcomed as being from God. They must not be examined, but simply accepted. The more manifestations we have, the more anointed and spiritual we are in God's eyes. We should seek to experience something at every meeting. If we never have manifestations we must be lacking in some way.
- Allegorical/symbolic interpretation of scripture, including prophecies of the endtimes.
- Post-millennial or A-millennial understanding of the Return of Jesus. Or even a symbolic interpretation of the "coming glory" as a spiritual return.
- Kingdom as a New Order set up by and for the Church.
- The Church as God's warriors, judges, government and rulers with authority to bring in the global kingdom-rule by force if necessary.
- Spiritual warfare as the necessary pulling down of the heavenly strongholds in order to set up the kingdom of God on earth.
- Rejection and derision of the endtimes apostasy, the personal antichrist and the Rapture.
- The thousand-year reign of Christ is symbolic of the Church on earth or in the future, reigning in perfection and completion, victorious over all.
- Israel has been "replaced" by the church, who have inherited all her OT promises.
- The Holy Spirit is an "it", a power, essence, wind, fire or invisible force. It can reliably and always be brought and caused to show itself if certain conditions are met.
- Spiritual gifts are imparted one to another by anointed leaders and other people who lay on hands for this purpose. Even sinners and unbelievers can be persuaded to receive "the Spirit" and display spiritual manifestations.
- Spiritual gifts include human talents such as music, art, or eloquence; these can be inherited through the bloodline of a person's family as well as imparted by angels, other people and leaders. Included in these gifts are psychic powers such as telepathy, and precognition.
- The world may become more evil, but Christianity and the Church will also become more powerful so that evil will be overthrown eventually and righteousness will prevail over all. World events are set on a course towards a climax in which Christians will win the battle over evil.
- Heaven and Hell exist, but are symbolic or spiritual descriptions of the state of a believer or non-believer. Heaven is on earth when the believer is perfected and receives his glorified spiritual body, and Hell is being excluded from God's love. Hell and the damned will be complete eradicated in due course, and even Lucifer may be reconciled to God.
I could go on. However, you can already see that almost every foundational belief upheld by Christians and the churches throughout the Church Age is being challenged and overturned by a "new paradigm" belief.
How can Christians change their minds about these fundamental beliefs, and adopt a new worldview seemingly without question? Some are purely ignorant and do not care what they believe so long as they are happy and enjoying themselves. However, others have really changed their minds over the past years, adopting an entirely new belief structure.
In the latter case I see a subtle form of "brainwashing" at work, whether the leaders know it or not.
By various forms of mental manipulation, Christians are being led OUT of their "counter-belief" system and INTO the "target-belief" system of kingdom-now theology. And this is being done by Christianised forms of brainwashing!
Only God knows the exact level of indoctrination taking place in churches. We do not NEED to know whether this is deliberate or unintentional, because the warning is the same in either situation - be aware, stay awake, be alert! Know that this is taking place, and be warned.
Now let's look at the techniques in more detail, seeing how they apply to the churches and to the new doctrines.
Click here to: CONTINUE TO PART TWO
© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.