Amahoro Conference (a.k.a. Ama-horror Conference) – 2009
Amahoro Conference (a.k.a. Ama-horror Conference) – 2009: The Restoration of All Things
This Amahoro Conference article was first posted on the blog “Waak en Bid/Watch and Pray,” 18th June 2009.
Jesus, would you mind stepping aside and leave us to our own resources to make a better place of our world? We have taken a mammoth task upon our shoulders and we really do not need you to achieve our ungodly and satanically inspired venture. We aim to restore all things in the world to its original Edenic state — all things include the entire creation, all things in heaven and on earth.
We are going to eradicate poverty, bring peace and stability to a war-torn and weary world and gain righteousness for all humankind. We are not merely concerned about the salvation of the soul so that people may escape this world (in the Rapture) but we are involved in the work of transforming societies on earth here and now.
Jesus, rest assured, and do not be too concerned about our daredevilry, our know-how, our resilience and our energetic faith to establish your Kingdom on earth. Unlike your own narrow-minded view that You came to this world to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 8:11; Luke 19:10), we are busy working on something much greater than the salvation of the soul; we are investing in the restoration of all things.
We are going to revitalize the ecology, and the environment, do away with global warming, save the whales and the dolphins, reverse the rotting influence of thermodynamics, close the ozone hole in the atmosphere, unite all men, cure every disease, and take from the rich to give to the poor (even if it is necessary to start a revolution). Does this sound like a sci-fi movie to you? Don’t be too surprised because this is what the Emergent Church/Romand Catholic Church and its cronies are aiming to do, I know because I was there when they said these Godless things at the Amahoro Conference.
We have some of the most brilliant Jesus-followers in our army of restorers, transformers, and conversationalists. We are extremely proud of them and thankful for their tireless efforts to rethink, repaint, rehash, refurbish, and even change your eternally immutable Word. You may have heard that Brian McLaren who wrote the thought-provoking book Everything must change, has indeed changed your Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations and teach them to observe everything you commanded us.
Haven’t you heard of him yet? Do you not know him? That’s a real pity because he is one of our most dedicated disciples in the Emerging Church. No doubt you will be just as excited as we are about the wonderful winged words he wrote in his book A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 260:
“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.”
Now, that’s what we like to call a real follower of Jesus. What he wrote sounds so much like dear Mother Teresa. When asked whether she converted, she answered,
Yes, I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, or a better Muslim, or a better Protestant, or a better Catholic, or a better Parsee, or a better Sikh, or a better Buddhist. And after you have found God, it is for you to do what God wants you to do.’
Does the above sound like a far-fetched inter-galactic Confederacy Conference on some remote planet? Perish the thought. These ideas of this new quest were expressed right here on earth, right here in South Africa during the Amahoro Conference which took place from 8 to 12 June 2009.
One of the most “distinguished” speakers at the Amahoro Conference, Bishop Paul Verryn, could easily have taken the place of the dispenser of grace and the seeds of compassion, Tenzin Gyatso, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet,” at the earlier planned Peace Conference. As you may know, the Dalai Lama had been denied a visa by the SA Government to attend the Peace Conference on the eve of the world cup soccer tournament in 2010, mostly on account of the fact that the South African Government has no wish to provoke the anger of China. (Read here).
Bishop Verryn would undoubtedly have been equally adept and proficient to ooze the love, compassion, and tolerance of the ill-treated “god-man.” In fact, Verryn’s attendance at the Peace Conference could easily have outshone and surpassed the glorious appearance of the Dalai Lama, because he is at least not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Really?).
He frequently takes the Name of Jesus Christ in vain, something which our dearly beloved reverend Jannie Pelser should address very promptly. When I say “in vain” I do not do so in vain because Verryn very often takes the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ on his lips with an embittered heart and unloving disposition. As a man of the cloth and an ordained bishop in the Methodist Church, he should know the passage in Scripture that says“Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:11). Verryn begins his presentation in a very “Christian-like” manner by saying;
The topic that I’m supposed to be speaking about is, the reformation of the church (sniggers) . . . not too difficult (laughter) . . . Let me say that, I suppose, that when I was thinking about this the first word that popped into my head, quite naturally, was the word “grace,” because that seems to be one of the central themes of reformation and if we are going to speak reformation we need to speak about grace and we need to speak about radical grace. (Emphasis added)
What on earth is “radical grace?” What did Verryn mean when he coined the phrase “radical grace?” perhaps we should allow him to explain in his own words.
We really need a revolution . . . It is completely unacceptable, completely unacceptable, that we have the disparity between the rich and the poor that we do have in this country. And the country is 80, 90% religious. If you happen to be a Muslim, then you will know that if that’s what is happening in the country, it is a sign, or it is a warning that god will curse you. So, the the disparity cannot continue. And it will not continue. And I stand very humbly before you today and I want to say to you, if we don’t reform, if we don’t move the economics of this nation in another direction, we are in for bad weather. Very, very bad weather. And I know that. I’m telling you if I had to end up on the streets, and I could end up on the streets, I am going to organize, I am going to organize a revolution.We’ll try to begin with being peaceful, but if we can’t, we will have to do it in another way. (Emphasis added).
It’s a pity President Jacob Zuma was not present at the Ama-horror Conference because eight years down the road nothing has changed. In fact, corruption has escalated exponentially and there are far more poor people in South Africas than in 1994 when the Africa icon, Nelson Mandela took over the reigns of government.
“Revolution spells “killing” and “killing” spells “blood.” Does Verryn really think he is going to solve the extreme problem of poverty by leading a revolution? The irony is that many, many blacks have become very affluent in our country and that the poor, destitute and oppressed people in Zimbabwe (Mugabe’s paradise), Mozambique, the Congo, and many other African countries are fleeing their “paradises” to enter ours illegally because it has become to them a land of milk and honey. OK! but as soon as they arrive here they are persecuted by a bunch of xenophobic crackpots who accuse them of stealing our indigenous workers’ jobs. These are the kinds of acts of violence,
OK! but as soon as they arrive here they are persecuted by a bunch of xenophobic crackpots who accuse them of stealing our indigenous workers’ jobs. These are the kinds of acts of violence, intolerance, and hatred that have become fertile ground for a revolution. Is Verryn going to use this to start his own revolution? This is exactly what happened in France during the French Revolution.
The influential bankers and liberal politicians (yes and even the liberal church clergy) deliberately used the poor and oppressed people of France to start their infamous revolution. They pushed the poor into the forefront of the battle zone while they lavished in comfort. Against whom does Verryn want to start his revolution?—the former freedom fighters who started a revolution for the very same reasons but eventually stole from the poor to fill their own pockets, the corrupt politicians who are preventing the poor from getting their fair share, or the Christian church of which he claims to be a member? Is this his reformation of the church to which he laughingly referred in his speech at the Amahoro Conference and is “not too difficult” to achieve?
I’m not too concerned about Verryn’s boastful bravados to start a revolution. Genuine revolutionaries in the past never blurted out their intentions to start a revolution but secretly planned their evil deeds. What concerns me most are the “useful fools” (with thanks to Vladimir Lenin) in the church, and particularly the Afrikaans Dutch Reformed Church, who are lapping up every word Paul Verryn and Brian McLaren said during the Amahoro Conference. How is it possible that young men who are supposed to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ can sit in awesome adoration at the feet of their gurus and listen while they churn out hatred and disdain against the Christian Church and her Christ? I put it to you that they have built their lives on shifting sands that cannot withstand the winds and tsunamis of false doctrines.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Emphasis added). (Ephesians 4:14)
The reason for the present appalling position some of our young pastors and reverends find themselves in today must be sought in the unholy corridors and classrooms of our unhallowed seminaries, particularly the one at the Pretoria University. There they are taught that the Bible is not the immutable and infallible Word of God, that the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross is a vile doctrine, that He was not born of a virgin, that He did not rise bodily from the grave, and that his return is as much a metaphor as his resurrection.
In short, they have no concrete gospel on which to base their faith and therefore need to go on an endless journey or quest to find the truth. In this way no one will ever be able to say “this is the gospel truth” because the others who are on this endless journey together with him will say to him: “We love you, respect and appreciate your ideas but because you are humble enough to change and even discard your ideas for the greater good, let us continue on our journey of humility and love in our quest for the truth.”
Please bear in mind that in the emergent conversation the “followers of Jesus” never make clear-cut and specific statements. Statements are too condescending and have the potential to cause strife, conflict, hatred and even wars. What they actually love to do ever so subtly when they want you to put on your thinking cap is to plant suggestions into your mind by beginning their sentences with “I would like to suggest.”
However, whenever they need to underscore their own ideas they conveniently refer to the Bible and declare with absolute assurance “the Bible never says this” or “the Bible never says that.” For them, the Bible is an authoritative book only when it suits them. I call it the psychology of “semantic manipulation.” Satan used the very same tactics in the Garden of Eden when he manipulated Eve into believing his lie when he asked: “Has God said?” The emergents will never say: “Thus says the Lord.” but always strike an authoritative note by making statements such as “the Bible never says. ” Here’s how Brian McLaren camouflaged his own condescending statements at the Amahorror Conference. There is no doubt that he was on a crusade to bring biblical Christianity and Israel into disrepute.
I must admit that Brian McLaren’s discourse was a brilliant piece of pyrotechnical journalism. Before I continue discussing his presentation at the Amahoro conference, I need to summarize his objectives in these words: Condition mankind to abhor his past, and especially the atrocities of his religious past, and it will be so much easier to manipulate his thoughts and actions while you set him on a path of an endless quest for something better, something that allegedly translates into peace, harmony, love, compassion, tolerance, and prosperity. By keeping mankind locked in a position where he is constantly looking back over his shoulder towards his past you will keep his yearning for a brighter future without really knowing where he is headed.
Such an attitude is wholly unbiblical. Paul who suffered more than any of the other apostles at the hands of his persecutors once said: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).
To use McLaren’s own words when articulating his thoughts, I would like to suggest that Paul deliberately chose to forget the past because recollections of the past often lead to feelings of bitterness, dissatisfaction, and even hatred. His goal, unlike that of Brian McLaren and his emergent followers, was not clouded in a haze of uncertainties. He knew what his goal was and looked forward to the prize with great anticipation and joy. He also knew that this world could never improve on it’s past because it lies completely in the evil one (1 John 5:19). The cycle of violence in South Africa where more people have been killed than in the Iraqi war since 1994 is a direct result of this kind of bitterness and discontent. Are our emergent Afrikaner clergy prepared to remember these heinous atrocities as well or only Apartheid?
To set the tone of his discourse and to achieve his goal McLaren painted a very emotionally charged picture of African slavery and the Apartheid system in South Africa, suggesting very empathically that the Christian faith is to blame for these atrocities. Inflammatory remarks . . . ? You bet! Here’s what he said:
These are hard realities because the colonizers were going to church and reading their Bibles and using the Bible to justify and help them to feel right about what they were doing.
To make such a blanket statement (which is more than a mere suggestion) you really need to know your history and especially what the differences are between nominal Christians and true biblical Christians. Believe it or not, there is a vast difference between the two because the Bible clearly says that in the last days many will have a form of godliness who will go on an endless quest for the truth, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:5). The endless quest also seems to be indicative of the eternal immutable truth in Matthew 7:13 and 15
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Emphasis added)
McLaren also seems to be a past master at manipulating the thoughts of men in their perceptions of God. One of his most brilliant descriptions of God’s dreams for the Christian faith was his statement (which is more than a mere suggestion) that He who is in the future is beckoning us into a brighter future. This is how he said it:
I’d like to suggest (please note the humility in these words) that we need a new quest because one of the things that need to be changed is the assumption that the Christian faith is primarily something that’s handed to us from the past. I’d like to suggest that the journey of following Jesus is primarily something that is given to us from the future; its an invitation to move into the future. Its God out ahead of us saying, move toward the future I have for you. Its God inviting us towards God’s own way, and inviting us in God’s own path. Now we do this always remembering the past but God doesn’t simply live in the past. God is with us in the present and God beckons us into a good future, and of course, we have to think of this in terms of Africa. (Emphasis and own remarks between brackets added)
Frankly, this is nothing else than an open-ended view of the Bible and a notion that we need to receive new revelation knowledge as we go along. The emergents believe that their conversation is an incarnational method to expand and even enhance the Bible in each cultural setting. Therefore God’s Word is not a closed canon in which He has spoken and said everything He willed to say, but He is beckoning us in ever increasing new ways into the future. If the future is always ahead of us mortal beings, as indeed it is, and if God is already in our future, as indeed He is, then His beckoning becomes a never-ending process of beckoning. We may just as well say: “Don’t concern yourself about where you are going to end up in the future. The quest must continue unabated because anyone who claims to have arrived is arrogant, void of true humility and completely ignorant.” Here’s how Brian McLaren explained the quest:
. . . sometimes religious debate creates hate and that leads to violence and guess what violence in the name of religion leads to, among other things, atheism because good people, moral people say, it would be better not to believe in God than to believe in a God who makes you kill people. So, what I’d like to suggest, is that five hundred years ago we had the Great Reformation and if we’re in the early stages of what some people are calling the great emergence, something that an African reformation would be a major player in, I’d like to suggest what we need for the next leg of the journey; the last thing we need is 95 new theses, the last things we need is 95 new debates, the last thing we need is having even more violence among people who call themselves Christians.
I’d like to suggest that what we need are questions. If statements can bring you to a new state, only questions can bring you on a new quest. Do you see the difference between a new state and a new quest? In a new state you say we’ve arrived and we can lay out the dimensions, and we could create the new box, but in a quest you say no, we’re searching for something; we’re on a journey, and in stead of ever allowing hate to be part of this quest we have to say this is a quest of love; that we have to love one another, no matter what. (Emphasis added)
I’ve noticed that McLaren’s idea of God beckoning the church from the future into a better world, is something Stephan Joubert also seems to support. He recently wrote the following “wise” words on Dries Lombaard’s blog:
The strange thing about Christian one-liners/slogans is that you often find the words “turn back…” in them.
“Turn back to God.”
“Turn back to the Bible.”
It makes me wonder why: turn back?
Shouldn’t it rather be: “Go forward?”
Leonard Sweet, world-renowned futurist, theologian, author, speaker and the guru of those who seeks God’s plans in new, meaningful ways, including myself, refuses to use the term retraite or retreat. He’ll immediately tell you that Christians never retreat. We advance. Therefore, the gatherings that he hosts at his island and mountain homes are called advances!
Christians shouldn’t turn back to the Bible or the church. Then we’re heading in the wrong direction. We move forward to God. We advance. (Emphasis added)
Brian McLaren made it clear From the very outset of his presentation that domination is salient to all of mankind but that there is one specific kind of colonizing domination which surpasses all the others — the Greco-Roman model. Being a superior culture it dominated all the other inferior cultures and, as McLaren suggested, Christianity bought into it as early as the third and fourth centuries. You hardly need to be a rocket scientist to see what McLaren aimed at, especially when one takes his closing remarks into account.
I believe that the Christian narrative I was given can be pictured like this: Now, in some ways this diagram of six lines, I don’t even have to fill in words because most of you can fill it in. Garden of Eden, perfect world, Fall, fallen history, salvation, heaven and hell. And that’s the story of history, past, present and future summed up. Now, I started out to ask myself a question a few years ago; where in the Bible does it tell us that this is a narrative? And I realized, the Bible never tells us that this is what’s going on. In fact, if you really want to be shaken up heaven and hell never, well, as a destination after death are never mentioned in the entire Old Testament. That wasn’t the narrative David was living by or Moses or Abraham or Joel or Amos or Obadiah or Isaiah; they weren’t living with this narrative. That wasn’t their narrative at all. What narrative were they living by and where did it come from?
Well, this is why I became a little suspicious and I’d like to suggest that that narrative is not the Christian narrative, I’d like to suggest its the Greco-Roman narrative. Now, this is going to go over some people’s heads but don’t worry . . . . you don’t really need to know this but for some of you this might be useful. I’d like to suggest what we call Eden isn’t really Eden; its the Platonic ideal, its Plato’s ideal world. And the word Fall, “The Fall,” never occurs in the Bible. No Jew in the Old Testament ever talks about “The Fall.” Paul never talked about “The Fall,” Jesus never talked about “The Fall” but the idea of “The Fall” came a few hundred years later. I’d like to suggest that what we call “The Fall” is the fall into Plato’s cave, if you know Plato’s story of the cave. And what we call fallen history is not in the Bible, its in Aristotle. What we call fallen history is living in Aristotle’s world. And what we call salvation, or atonement or purification is being brought back up to the status of Plato’s perfection — an ideal world. And what we call hell is actually Plato’s Hades.
Now, these were Greek philosophical ideas that came before Christianity but the Romans got a hold of them and they turned a Greek philosophical story into a human, historical, political story. So, what happened is up the line the Platonic ideal became the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, and the Roman peace is a world where there’s harmony because everyone is submitted to Caesar . . . so when everyone is submitted to one person you have harmony and order and peace. That’s the Roman civilization and then, everybody who is not in the Roman civilization, they’re part of the bottom world which is the vulgarian world, they’re the vulgarians, the savages, the natives; all that language got picked up and salvation means inviting the savages to become part of the empire.
Now, if you start thinking about this I will have just ruined your life (laughter) because the Bible starts to look like a different book. When you stop cutting the Bible up and fitting into it those six lines, you discover that the Bible is a book about a bunch of slaves who don’t want to live in a world where one guy at the top is named Pharao. Whose side is God on? The empire’s side or the slave’s side? God is on the slave’s side. (Emphasis added)
False teachers such as Brian McLaren are living proof that the prophecies in God’s Word and in fact his entire Word are the truth and nothing but the truth, for it predicted more than 2000 years ago that in the last days many would turn to fables (fiction).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Who says there is no mention of hell as a final destination in the Old Testament? Think again when you read the following passages from the Old Testament.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)
Father Abraham, obviously an Old Testament figure, who received Lazarus to his bosom in Paradise, saw and spoke with the rich man who was cast into hell and pleaded with him to send someone to his brothers and warn them of the physical torment he suffered in the flames of hell (Luke 16:20-31).
If this is the American guy’s interpretation of the Bible with regard to sin, salvation, hell, and heaven and if his wide-eyed admirers (Dutch Reformed Church’s pastors) who laughed at his little jokes would dare to preach his “humble suggestions” from their pulpits, then may God have mercy on their souls and the souls of their congregants because, with due respect to Hamlet “there is something rotten in the state (statements, suggestions) of Brian McLaren.” What he said amounts to something worse than hate and inflammatory talk. Allow me to reiterate what he said.
- The early church bought into the Greco-Roman philosophies of Aristotle and Plato as early as the third and fourth centuries AD.
- The Greco-Roman culture was superior to the other inferior cultures.
- The concept of “The Fall,” fallen history, hell and heaven as alternate destinations after death are not in the Bible. They are Greco-Roman perceptions that found their origin in Plato’s ideal world, Plato’s Cave, Plato’s Hades and Aristotle’s world.
- The Romans inherited Plato’s ideal world and called it the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, because everyone submitted to Caesar’s dictatorship, the result was a state of euphoric harmony, order, and peace.
- Those who were not part of the Pax Romana were outcasts, vulgarians, natives, and savages.
- Salvation was granted them by inviting them to become part of the empire — a repressive and oppressive empire.
- The Christian colonizers (followers of the Greco-Roman perception of sin, salvation, heaven, The Fall and the history of The Fall) who went to church and read their Bibles, used their Bibles to justify their atrocities of slavery, Apartheid, and other misdemeanors. They are to blame for the mess we are in today.
- Therefore. let’s start a new world religion where everyone can comfortably fit in and be part of a happy group of believers (of whatever persuasion), and take hands to follow Jesus who is beckoning us from the future into a better and brighter world — not a Greco Roman imperialistic world but the Kingdom of God on earth.
On whose side is God? This is perhaps the only sensible question Brian McLaren asked but unfortunately failed to elaborate on his answer when he said: “God is on the slave’s side.” Indeed, God is on the slave’s side but this kind of slavery is not a slavery or bondage to other more superior human beings or cultures. and empires. Rich people, poor people, white people, black people, yellow people, kings, princes and other dignitaries are all slaves to sin and need to have their shackles of slavery broken by the only Person who is capable of setting them free — Jesus Christ, the risen Son of the Living God.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
If the injustices our Christian forebears committed against the Africans at large are called sin, then Brian McLaren has no right to make the statement that they justified their sins from the Bible. How so? you may ask. Well, Brian McLaren stated with unequivocal certainty that the “Fall” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. He says that neither Paul nor Jesus ever mentioned a “Fall.” No “Fall” equals “no sin” and yet McLaren states (gone are his humble suggestions) that the colonizers unearthed their heinous sins against Africans from the Bible which is allegedly completely silent about a “Fall.”
Therefore they could hardly have justified their sins like slavery, Apartheid and so many other white-skinned atrocities from the Bible. McLaren would have been closer to the truth if he had stated (not suggested) that our Christian forebears justified their atrocious sins from the books and works by Aristotle, Plato and other Greco-Roman philosophers because, according to Mr. McLaren, the “Fall” is a Greco-Roman fallacy which found its origin in Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave.” McLaren doesn’t seem to be bothered by his glaring slip-ups because he is bent on making a mockery of the Christian faith as we received it from the apostles. This kind of hatred is far worse than his alleged hatred perpetrated by debate because it is a hatred steeped in a false humility. Mr. McLaren is obviously anti-Christian and anti-Israeli.
So, to end: Paul Verryn pleaded for a revolution at the Amahoro Conference and Brian McLaren taught his audience how to start one — blame the Christian faith for all the atrocities in the world. Emperor Nero did the very same thing. He blamed the Christians when Rome burned.
May God have mercy on the pitiful souls.
- See Deborah’s article on: Amahoro – Take Over Africa and Then the World