The Paradigm Shift from Truth to Relevantism

Philippians 1:10  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

The Paradigm Shift from Truth to Relevantism

What is Truth? There was an old twilight Zone Episode where a UFO landed on earth and some martians came out with this book called “How to serve man.” Throughout the episode people were really excited they had made contact with UFO’s, the aliens have come and they want to serve man. Throughout the episode some men get the book, the how to serve man book from the aliens and they are trying to decode it. At the end of the episode a lot of people get on the ship with the aliens, the doors close up and the ship is about to take off when the men with the book come running up saying they had decoded the book, they know its meaning. The book is actually a cook book of recipes on how to serve man. This is the problem we are having today, many believe they have truth, they have something so revelationary, yet in the end find out it’s just a lie, it’s destructive.

The Science of the Paradigm Shift

A paradigm shift (or revolutionary science) is, according to Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science. Since the 1960s, the term has also been used in numerous non-scientific contexts to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events, even though Kuhn himself restricted the use of the term to the hard sciences. It is compared as a structured form of Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time.1

Paradigm Shift in the Church

Paradigm shift is a radical change in underlying beliefs, It means to discover a new model or pattern that helps us to see from a new understanding, thus shifting from the old to the new way of thinking and acting, a term the Church adopted in the late 90’s and fluently used in the early 2000’s. That shift has already occurred as we have seen the growth and spread of the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), and the rise of the Emergent Church. In both of these movements the paradigm shift is from truth to relevance and subjective revelation. In these movements all other denominations are viewed as nominal or quasi-Christians. While Science calls paradigm shift a revolutionary science the church calls it a reformation. Many are convinced that we will not make any real significant progress in our churches without changes as radical as those of the Reformation. This has become simply a psychological science many in the pulpit teach as cutting edge, however, truth be known, is fueled by the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. We don’t need a revolution, we don’t need a reformation, we need true conversions. There is no eternal future for the pursuit of money, power and pleasure but there is an eternal heaven for those who are born again in Jesus Christ.

Paradigm shift often includes a violent end to an old point of view.”2 Hence, the re-definition of terms, and the loss of biblical meaning has become the norm. The catholic will say they believe in Jesus yet crucify Him weekly in the Eucharist when Scripture teaches Christ died once for all (Heb). The Lutheran will say they believe in Salvation by Grace yet teach it is a process from infant Baptism to conformation once one comes to age and completes catechism (much like the Roman Catholic I might add). Even the definition of love by most Evangelicals today has been morphed into a kum-ba-yah feel good mentality. And the list goes on and on.

The confusion lies with the different definitions of words and terms. For example, the Jesuit has a completely different definition of grace than the Bible does, or than you and I do. Another example is how Jesus died for our sins on the Cross. His blood takes away our guilt and removes all sin, this is what the Bible teaches. Yet Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagen, Fred Price, Benny Hinn, E.W. Kenyon, and many others say that Jesus became a satanic being and was tortured in Hell after He died on the Cross. In fact, many of them say the atonement was not accomplished on the Cross but in Hell. They all deny the sufficiency of Christ’s death on the Cross. Yet the Scripture clearly teaches Jesus died once and for all (Hebrews 7 & 10). The Scripture clearly teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb 9:22). Roman Catholicism, The Word of Faith Movement, The Emergent Church, and the New Apostolic Reformation are all interrelated, all are a Gospel-less, counterfeit form of Christianity where truth is relevant and revelation is subjective.

From Pastoral to Apostolic

Many contend for a shift from the conventional pastoral paradigm to an Apostolic paradigm form of ministry. This is where Gnosticism comes in. The rise in Apostolic Ministry has included restorationism. Most who call themselves Apostle today are restorationist. What matters in the eyes of a Restorationist, is not what the Bible says, but what the person with the gnosis says it means. Restorationism is based on this Gnostic concept, as Gnosticism is subjective revelation. John Wimber was demonstrably Gnostic in his theology, as well as being ecumenical.3 This then has been the model of the Modern Apostolic Office.

Jesus said “God’s Word is Truth”, then he said “I am the truth”. John 14 and Eph – The truth is in Jesus! Also “Who do men say I am?”

It is the Biblical mandate for Believers to accurately preach the gospel, to identify and warn of false teachers/prophets, to speak the truth in love, to hate evil, to study and know the Word of God and above all, to obey Christ. This is a real challenge today with the influx of pantheism, Gnosticism, counterfeit revivals, moral decay and relativism, and the incursion of false prophets and apostles in the church.

The Paradigm Shift from Scripture to Progressive Revelation

Within these religious communities (Catholicism, NAR, WoF, Emergent, etc.) the sufficiency of the Scripture has been replaced with Progressive Revelation; the concept that God did not teach full theological, legal, moral, scientific, medical and other knowledge to humans in the beginning. Rather, God gradually revealed truths over a long interval, whenever people were capable of absorbing them. Today your hear many of them teach that God is doing a “new thing.” The “new thing” they refer to is usually categorized as a revival, an outpouring, a visitation, or a move of God, so called. Yes God wants to do a new thing, He wants new converts, He wants to see new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). True revival is often understood as ‘a rediscovery of old truth.’ True revival is a rediscovering of truths already established in God’s Word, not the relevancy of truth from an individual’s perspective. And the rediscovery of established truth subsequently is accompanied with repentance and obedience to the Word of God.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm_shift

2. John Paul Jackson

3. The Beginning of Roman Catholicism; James Jacob Prasch, p.11

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One thought on “The Paradigm Shift from Truth to Relevantism

  1. Mike,
    Good peice. What book does Bill Johnson speak of Jesus being satanic and attoned for our sins in hell? Or some of the others? To think that the Father would want more atonement after the death on the cross is heresy. When Jesus said if was finished that is what he meant. The deal was done. He did what the Father had asked for the new covenant. Not give Satan another whack at him.

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