These reports are frequently augmented, so use your REFRESH BUTTON.
Smoke, Mirrors and Disinformation…
The Compromised Ties of the Apologetics Ministries
EVANGELICAL MINISTRIES TO NEW RELIGIONS
EMNR’s New Missiological Paradigm
EMNR’s President John Morehead is a former member of the Reorganized Latter-Day Saints/RLDS and on staff at EMNR’s member org Watchman Fellowship [See Watchman’s Expositor article–‘New Religious Movements and Interreligious Dialogue’.] In Morehead’s paper, ‘Moving Together Beyond the Fringes,’ which he recently presented to the EMNR/ Evangelical Ministries to New Religions Board of Directors and “other interested parties.*” he lays out the new EMNR missiological paradigm––identifying the new frontier for EMNR ministries dealing with the New Religions.
Editor’s Note: Although no date is given for this presentation, the speech most likely served as the introduction to the EMNR 2002 Conference in February.
Morehead’s message to Christians:
Bearing False Witness or…
“Listening to the concerns of our critics [cults] …making changes in our ministries in light of any valid criticisms they may bring.”
~ edited with emphasis added for purposes of this report
“Counter-cult” ministry is controversial, and not because of the nature of discernment, or the activities of a few notorious individuals…
These issues will be the focus of a forthcoming book in 2003 Dr. Douglas Cowan, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is completing the manuscript for the book with a title that should give us reason for pause and concern: Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction to the Christian Countercult
Raising the Standard
… This year we meet [EMNR’s February, 2002 conference] with the theme title “Refining Evangelical Responses to New and World Religions.” Our plenary sessions address various aspects of this refinement process of raising the standard for ministry, including a look at the need to awaken the evangelical world to the challenge of religious pluralism, refining scholarly approaches to new religions, developing mission strategies to their adherents, and improving practical ministry “in the trenches.” Each of these plenary sessions reflect various components within EMNR’s new paradigm that will help strengthen member ministries.
At our annual conferences we have added two new tracks for workshops. In addition to the more general track that we have had for a number of years we have added academic and missions tracks…The addition of the missions track represents EMNR’s rediscovery of its roots in Lausanne, and the important place that missions and evangelism plays in the evangelical interaction with adherents of new religions.
EMNR revised and streamlined EMNR’s purposes as follows:
Networking - Encourage mutual understanding and cooperation among evangelical Christian agencies and individuals, as well as secular organizations where appropriate.
Listening to Our Critics
EMNR’s new paradigm for ministry also includes another facet which may not be very popular: Listening to the concerns of our critics. We have invited two guests as workshop presenters that are not usually regular participants in the evangelical “counter-cult” community: Dr. Douglas Cowan and Dr. J. Gordon Melton. I have already mentioned Dr. Cowan’s forthcoming book that critiques “counter-cult” ministry. His Ph.D. dissertation on this subject was not well received by those few evangelicals who bothered to read it. We will see how his book is received. Of course Dr. Melton is no stranger to those of us in ministry to new religions. Among some of our colleagues he has a reputation that has him derogatorily labeled as a “cult apologist.”
Perhaps you have seen the critical comments in AR-Talk or AR-Forum about the involvement of “counter-cult” critics to this conference. [At least somebody’s giving EMNR grief!] Why have we done it? Can we really learn anything from those who have so readily shared criticisms of the ministry near and dear to our hearts and made positive, perhaps even supportive comments about new religions?
They have been invited because they have some criticisms that we need to hear. No one has a corner on truth, including evangelicals in the discernment community. It just may be that after giving Melton and Cowan a hearing and engaging in a moment of self-reflection and self-criticism that we may find that we have made some mistakes in what we do and how we do it. In the interests of truth and integrity we should be willing to at least give them a hearing and to consider the concerns that they bring. I would submit that to refuse to listen, to dismiss them with the label “cult apologists” is to engage in the closed-mindedness that many evangelicals decry in many “cults” or new religions. To dismiss them with derogatory labels is inappropriate for open-minded evangelicals. By listening to their criticisms, and making changes in our ministries in light of any valid criticisms they may bring will only serve to make us more credible and more effective. You represent an intelligent and discerning membership. Can we not come together, listen respectfully and attentively, and consider the possible merits of their presentations?
Earlier I noted the marginalization of the “counter-cult” as it continues to hover on the fringes of evangelicalism. Another facet of this marginalization may revolve around our primary model for responding to new religions. Evangelical responses to new religions have largely been framed by the perspective and needs of the evangelical “counter-cult” community as it attempts to clearly mark the doctrinal boundaries between evangelical Protestantism and various new religions.…
You may find some or many of the ideas presented in this paper objectionable. Hopefully you will also find a few things to think and pray about… I firmly believe that after twenty years of ministry Evangelical Ministries to New Religions  …we can move beyond the fringes.
[Ed. Note: The best examples of the new fringe direction Morehead and EMNR will be taking with fellow-member ministries goes beyond the pale. They are tucked away in Morehead’s footnotes:
(5) Reasons for a reassessment of current apologetic paradigms are explored in Philip Johnson’s “Postmodernity, New Age and Christian Mission: Mars Hill Revisited,” Lutheran Theological Journal… Excellent examples of applications of a missions-apologetics paradigm include John Smulo, “Christ’s Advocate: An Incarnational Apologetic to Satanism,” (essay at www.satanschildren.net, listed alphabetically by author’s name), and Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson, Jesus and the Gods of the New Age (Oxford, England: Lion, 2001).
(7) Exploration of possibilities for a missions-apologetics paradigm can be pursued through the online journal Sacred Tribes: The Journal of Mission to New Religious Movements [see below] at www.sacredtribes.com (first issue scheduled for March 2002), and the book Debunking to Discipling: New Religious Movements and Contextual Mission (Kregel, forthcoming).
Editor’s Notes: Visit www.satanschildren.net -- Is this possibly a mistake? [The info Morehead mentions is not found there, but something very other.] If it is for real, it indeed takes us to the ‘fringes of evangelicalism’ and beyond! Morehead pushes very hard in his speech to cow his EMNR listeners into embracing his associates from CESNUR––Doug Cowan and Gordon Melton—although he never explains to his listeners what Cowan and Melton actually represent.
Note that Gordon Melton, whom EMNR invited to be their special critic, is recommended by the Church of Scientology’s NEW Cult Awareness Network (CAN) to people who are looking for help on cults. See: CAN [Scientology] Professional Referrals, including Gordon Melton and Eileen Barker of CESNUR, London School of Economics/LSE and EMNR’s AR Talk
J. Gordon Melton is a practicing vampire, as is CESNUR’s Director and Melton’s close associate, Massimo Introvigne. Melton is the director of the American chapter of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula; Introvigne directs the Italian chapter of this blood-worshiping cult.
See: Photos of J. Gordon Melton and Massimo Introvigne in *Vampire Attire*
See more on Introvigne and Melton:
Smoke, Mirrors and Disinformation…
The Compromised Ties of the Discernment Ministries
CESNUR, ROCKEFELLER and GORDON MELTON (coming soon)
EMNR’s Missiological Paradigm…
Sacred Tribes < http://www.sacredtribes.com/ >
Journal of Christian Missions to New Religious Movements
“This site represents a fresh approach by Christian scholars and thinkers to reaching out to groups society labels "cults." We are often dismayed by both the secular media and our own evangelical approaches to these Sacred Tribes who in various ways are in pursuit of spiritual meaning and values. Our online Sacred Tribes Journal will explore outreach to these groups and will feature an unusual blending of the theological with the sociological, a blend often found in current missiological research but rarely in so-called 'counter-cult' research and presentation.”
We encourage you to bookmark our site.
Our first issue is planned for late Spring 2002. Check back!
John Morehead [president of EMNR and on staff at Watchman Fellowship]
Phil Johnson [Philip S. Johnson, Presbyterian Theological Centre, Sydney, Australia]
John Trott [Cornerstone magazine, Jesus People USA/JPUSA]
(co-founders, Sacred Tribes)
This site is designed and sponsored by Cornerstone magazine, but its contents are controlled wholly by Sacred Tribes journal. (c) 2002, Sacred Tribes Journal
Sacred Tribes represents EMNR’s best attempt to tackle their missiological paradigm––reaching out to New Religions. Well worth monitoring.
Jon Trott of Jesus People USA/JPUSA
Several web sites carry detailed histories of Jesus People USA. This would be interesting background information for us all.
According to Phil Johnson, "Sacred Tribes is not funded by EMNR, and it is not an EMNR publication. Likewise it is not a JPUSA publication. Web-space has been donated by the Cornerstone Community to enable this e-journal to appear. There are no salaries for the editors and no remuneration for contributors."
Cornerstone Magazine is an affiliate of Jesus People USA/JPUSA which is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church/ECC denomination with “historic ties to its cousin, the Evangelical Free Church” [See Biblical Discernment Ministries exposé: Evangelical Free Church of America: a Smorgasbord of Heresy]
Caryl Williams Matrisciana in her autobiography Gods of the New Age tells of her salvation experience through the ministry of Jesus People USA. She lived in their communal setting and traveled with their theater group which presented the play Lonesome Stone. The group even took their production to the UK and Europe.
Pat Matrisciana [Jeremiah Films], Caryl’s husband, founded the Christian World Liberation Front/CWLF with Jack Sparks as a project of Campus Crusade for Christ [Bill Bright/CNP] in the late 1960s. CWLF would later evolve into the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.
A few resources on the Internet:
See: JESUS PEOPLE USA: AN EXAMINATION OF AN URBAN COMMUNITARIAN RELIGIOUS GROUP
One web site where you will find info RE: JPUSA is…Jeffrey Hadden’s ––Religious Movements page at the U. of Virginia
Hadden is recommended by the Church of Scientology/NEW Cult Awareness Network/CAN to people who are looking for help on cults. Hadden carries a short report on JPUSA, but the reader should be aware of his theological bent when reading his information: Hadden info RE: JPUSA
Moving on to EMNR 2002…
Is this a repeat of the “Bridging for Christ” GOLD LAKE Conference of 1987 with Spangler, Marx Hubbard, SCP/ EMNR et al?
EMNR Conference Speakers…
EVANGELICAL MINISTRIES TO NEW RELIGIONS Conference 2002
"Refining Responses to New and World Religions in the 21st Century"
Posted on the EMNR website announcing upcoming conference:
[EMNR is] in the planning stages for an exciting conference in 2002.
The conference will be held Feb. 21-23, 2002 with the theme, "Refining Responses to New and World Religions in the 21st Century." It will be held on the campus of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary* in Louisville, KY.
Speakers to include among others:
Dr. Irving Hexham – TOPIC: Cults and Cultural Evangelism"
Dr. Karla Poewe – TOPIC: "What can we learn from New Religions and the Rise of National Socialism in Germany?"
Robert Bowman––IDEA/Institute for the Development of Evangelical Apologetics
Dr. Douglas Cowan––NUREL web site moderator for Irving Hexham
[Note: Cowan –– a presenter at CESNUR]
J. Gordon Melton – TOPIC: "Self-Consciousness in Ministry to New Religions" with responses to these workshops by Dr. Irving Hexham.
As the Louisville EMNR 2002 conference approached a new name was listed in the roster
Terry Muck––"Academics, Apologetics, Apostolics"
*Denotes membership in the Rockefeller-affiliated Assn. of Theological Schools/ATS [accrediting agency for seminaries. See ATS]
About EMNR speakers…
Irving Hexham ~ Karla Poewe ~ Terry Muck ~ Gordon Melton
Foreword by J.I. Packer
“Conversion in any shape or form is a fascinating human phenomenon…like the authors of this book, for whom the religious dimension of life is a professional academic field…What, then, is going on when people become Christians, or Buddhists, or anthroposophists, or when Roman Catholics become Protestants, or vice versa?… To map the mechanism of conversion in this way is not, of course, to cast a vote either for it or against it, but simply to understand it as a human reality. Obviously, the value of a conversion depends finally on what one is converted to, and it is good, therefore, that the authors have noted at crucial points the difference between the myths and disciplines of the religions that they study and the corresponding features of mainstream Christianity. The net result of their labor is a book that both social anthropologists and Christian pastoral leaders will value. I am delighted to have this opportunity of introducing and commending it.”
SCP Newsletter July-Sept. 1980 Vol. 6, No.3
Crux––“a quarterly journal of Christian thought and opinion”––is published by Regent College…contains an article by Irving Hexham …Order Crux…
Irving Hexham’s NUREL web site:
CULTS AND RELIGION
NURELWEB PRESENTS AN ACADEMIC APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF RELIGION
[This web site is about anthropology not Christianity!]
Ed. Note: EMNR’s APOLOGETICS INDEX has an entry for NUREL and links to Hexham’s NUREL web site
Nurel-L is an academic forum for information and discussion about cults, sects, and new religions. It is open to suitably qualified individuals seriously interested in the study of religion. It was founded by Irving Hexham in 1992 and taken over by Steven Hayes in 2000. For more information contact Dr. Steve Hayes:
NUREL [Hexham] LINKS TO VARIOUS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN RESOURCES
NUREL EVANGELICAL COUNTER-CULTS SITES [found at bottom of page] include:
>Anton Hein's APOLOGETICS INDEX is a very useful resource written from the viewpoint of an evangelical Christian although it does not always meet normal academic standards.
>CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL. This is published by the Christian Research Institute founded by Walter Martin and now run by Hank Hanegraaff.
>SCP JOURNAL. Published by the evangelical Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkeley.
A rare thanks to APOLOGETICS INDEX [Anton Hein] for this piece of information:
NUREL-L Editorial Board
In an attempt to qualify for membership in H-Net, the NUREL list needed an editorial board. To that end, Hexham has invited a number of people. At the end of September '99, the following have agreed to serve on the board:
1. Jeffery Hadden, University of Virginia
2. Gordon Melton, University of Santa Barbara
3. Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR
4. Steven Hayes, University of South Africa
5. Joan Townsend, University of Manitoba
6. Karla Poewe, University of Calgary (Hexham's wife)
Clearly, the inclusion of three prominent cult apologists is not a good sign, and will contribute to further isolate Hexham from those he considers to be his evangelical peers…[Statement made by Anton Hein on the APOLOGETICS INDEX website.]
About this page:
First posted: Aug. 1, 1998
Last Updated: Feb. 11, 2001 <<<<<<<<<<<<
Copyright: Apologetics Index
G. Gordon Melton and Massimo Introvigne are leaders of an international network of professional cult apologists, whose purpose is to secure the exemption of cults from government restrictions and legal action against criminal conduct. For example, in 1998, Italian lawyer, Massimo Introvigne testified before the Congress of the United States on behalf of the very dangerous Church of Scientology. Also, to this end, a sophisticated propaganda campaign was orchestrated by CFR-fronts like Hudson Institute and Freedom House to enlist the support of Christians for “religious minorities”, such as themselves, who suffer persecution. Churches were inundated with deceptive reports of worldwide persecution of Christians and dutifully sent petitions to Congress urging passage of the International Religious Freedom Act. The upshot of the passage of this legislation is that churches in the U.S. are now subject to the requirements of the U.N Covenants and cults continue to operate above the law.
See: Freedom From Religious Persecution for an extensive treatment of this issue.
Cult apologists, such as G. Gordon Melton and Massimo Introvigne, have a vested interest in making the world safe for $cientology, Moonies and similar multimillion dollar corporations seeking special privileges as "new religions." They represent an international organization called “The Transylvania of Dracula” and are themselves “vampires” in the literal sense of the word:
"The Transylvanian Society of Dracula - This is an international association (U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Romania and Italy) which brings together 'more than about a thousand of university lecturers, writers and lovers of the 'myth of vampire' worldwide', organizing public conventions and promoting studies in The Transylvanian Journal: Dracula and Vampire Studies... The American chapter of the organization is run by J. Gordon Melton; the Italian one by Massimo Introvigne (see this "secret page", from CESNUR's internet site) - respectively the American and Italian directors of The Center for Studies on New Religions (both have written books on vampires). The Canadian chapter has an interesting (and funny) homepage.”
[Source: "The Transylvanian Society of Dracula," CESNUR Critical Page.
See pictures of Introvigne and Melton in vampire attire at this website.]
Gordon Melton and Massimo Introvigne will be covered at length in the final section of this report (coming soon):
Smoke, Mirrors and Disinformation…
The Compromised Ties of the Discernment Ministries
CESNUR, ROCKEFELLER and GORDON MELTON
FRAUD—Is the term NRM/New Religious Movements a false premise?
The following article found on Irving Hexham’s NUREL web page is a challenge by David Di Sabatino on the usage of the term NRM/New Religious Movements:
IS THE STUDY OF NEW RELIGIONS IMPORTANT? OR ARE ACADEMICS INVOLVED IN FRAUD?
The following discussion took place on Hexham’s NUREL-L
David Di Sabatino wrote the following post that was cross-posted from CETA-L, a Canadian theology list:
I have a question pertaining to the 1960s and the emergence of the New Religious Movements. Perhaps someone can assure me that I am on the right track.
From what I've read, the 1960s are being cast as the turning point away from the Judeo-Christian religious hegemony to a more fragmented landscape where thousands of New Religious Movements now dot the landscape. This, I believe, began with Drs. Glock and Bellah and has been continued by people such as Robert S. Ellwood. J. Gordon Melton and even Robert Wuthnow.
But I can't for the life of me understand where these NRM's are. They don't show up in Gallup Polls or Angus Reid polls there are no Nichiren Buddhist Temples in Mississauga, nor are there any in Wyoming (yes, I checked).
My sense is that the NRM scholars have perpetrated a huge fraud, carving out their own departments and whatnot. .. but it is a lot of smoke and mirrors. The only person that I can find that takes these people on is Andrew Greeley but I don't see him showing up in their bibliographies (small wonder).
I can buy that there was some movement away from the Protestant-Catholic-Jew category but the more and more I read about this new ethic [i.e., New Religious Movements/NRMS the more I am convinced that it is hooey.
Can anyone shed some light on this ??? Is Greeley the only one to take notice of this or am I missing someone?
Ed Note: The Di Sabatino/NUREL exchange continues first with a response from Irving Hexham, then others contribute.
Ed. Note about Jesus People historian David Di Sabatino, Managing Editor of Worship Leader magazine…
About WORSHIP LEADER
WORSHIP LEADER began in 1992 as an effort to provide a comprehensive resource for those involved in planning and leading worship, week after week, in churches of all denominations. Our goal has been and is to provide the tools and information pastors worship leaders, and ministers of music, youth, and the arts need to facilitate and enhance worship in their churches. In achieving this goal, we strive to maintain high journalistic standards, Biblical soundness, and theological neutrality…
David Di Sabatino
WORSHIP LEADER'S 2002 CONFERENCE LISTINGS
The following is our first annual conference listing, a resource guide that is designed to help you and your worship team plan your activities for the next year. We have tried to broaden the landscape of what worship entails by including not only musical events but also training for the audiovisual technicians…
Includes promos/links to: Vineyard Music Group, Promise Keepers, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Brownsville Revival Conferences, etc.]
The Worship Leader web site features an upcoming conference in June 2002 which is sponsored by: Southern California Worship Institute
Featured speakers include: Bill Dyrness on the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary and a Consulting Editor for Christianity Today.
SCWI partnerships with other sanctioned training organizations throughout the country such as Willow Creek Association [Bill Hybels].
Linking from the NUREL/Hexham web site/home page…
Karla Poewe’s Anthropology web page
2. Cesara, Manda (pseudonym for Karla Poewe)
4. Poewe, Karla and [husband] Irving Hexham, co-authors, Understanding Cults and New Religions, 1986 Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Pp. 170.
Poewe’s Curriculum Vitae
6. Seminar, School of Oriental and African Studies, "Religion, Therapy, and the Urban Middle Class," London, England, May 13, 1985.
7. Religious Studies: Directions For The Next Two Decades, An International Conference-Workshop organized by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Manitoba, September 20-23, 19898. Harvard University, Center for the Study of World Religions, invited participant in an exclusive research consultation entitled "Religious Regimes in Contact: Christian Missions, Global Transformations, and Comparative Research," 7-9 February, 1992.
Fellowships and Grants:…
19. Pew Foundation, Scholarship, 1994-1995. $35,000 U.S.
*Research Grant, University of Calgary, No: 961885, Missions, Germany; New Religions and the New Right, Germany; and London Public Record Office, London, England, $3,045.00.
*Social Sciences and Humanities Research Grant, $43,000.00. File # 410-99-0791, Grant Period, June 1, 1999 to March 31, 2002.
2. New Religions and the New Right. Metapolitical think tanks (in Germany and France) and their relationship to "scientific" neo-paganism.
Editor’s question: Is EMNR possibly the subject of a Poewe study funded by a private foundation’s grant?? What is the source of the EMNR funding???? Do secular foundations such as Pew Charitable Trusts also fund EMNR? Irving Hexham and Karla Poewe are not Christians, but anthropologists. Why are they invited to be speakers at EMNR? Does their book, Understanding Cults and New Religions, contribute to the spread of the Gospel worldwide?
Terry C. Muck was Christianity Today’s Executive Editor 1985-90 and is today a CT Corresponding Editor.
He previously served on World Vision magazine ––Advisory Board 1992 [World Vision is UN/NGO}
Magazine Advisory Board included: James Engel [Eastern College], Os Guiness, Richard Mouw, Philip Yancey.
All but Guiness are listed on the Christianity Today masthead.
Muck is editor for the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies publication.
“The Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies was founded as an outgrowth of three international conferences on Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, held in Hawaii in 1980 and 1984, and in Berkeley, CA in 1987. The Society's formation is a response to tremendous interest in the topic, evidenced by increased attendance and a more extensive program at each conference. The purpose of the Society is to provide an ongoing format and organization for those committed to study, reflection, interchange and practice arising out of Buddhist-Christian encounter.”
More Smoke, Mirrors and Disinformation…
The Compromised Ties of the Discernment Ministries
American Family Foundation/Cult Awareness Network