City Transformation…Divine Visitation?
By Dana Hoard
Christians are being barraged with talk of city transformation from many influential spheres.
The April 2001 mailer-insert from Focus on the Family's Family Research Council [James Dobson] offers the book When America Turned to God by Colonel Richard Geyer. The short review by Peter Rathbun of the American Bible Society reads: “Colonel Geyer challenges American Christians to envision a nation radically transformed by a return to God. He persuasively argues that we who follow Christ need to be more diligent in praying and working to bring about such a transformation.” [emphasis added] The second book advertised in the mailer is written by Janet and Craig Parshall, The Light in the City: Why Christians must Advance and Not Retreat “to dispel the specter of fear looming over the conservative Christian movement.”
Joel News International [JNI] describes itself as a “prayer and revival bulletin” for the Internet. Recently JNI [May 5, 2001] circulated a short article about loving your city:
DO YOU LOVE YOUR CITY? ... 10 CONVICTIONS
By Bob Tolliver, Life Unlimited Ministries
I am convinced in my deepest being that....
Please visit our website for more information on Joel News
A visit to the Joel International web site features a promo for George Otis’ Transformations II:
JN258-2. Transformations II to be launched on April 30
“True spiritual revival is like a seething lava flow. It takes time to reach its destination, but when it does, its intense heat and formidable power alters everything in its path. It is the full measure of God's kingdom come to earth. No spectacle is more glorious - or terrifying.”
In June 1999 the popular Transformations video depicted four contemporary communities whose citizens and institutions were enveloped by this molten river. Drug cartels disintegrated, witchcraft and cult activity diminished, corrupt officials were replaced by Christians, multi-generation street gangs were converted, bars and jails closed, failing businesses and school systems were revived, previously unproductive fields yielded bounteous harvest, and local churches saw unprecedented growth.
Now this glorious river is spreading, encompassing entire provinces and even nations. The Sentinel Group has once again captured this amazing story on video. This sequel entitled “Transformations II: The Glory Spreads” will be launched in Seattle op April 30.
The documentary opens in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides where, in 1949, desparate [sic] intercessors called forth a divine visitation that saw churches overflow, bars and dance halls close, and local farmhouses bathed in the supernatural light of God’s glory.
The story continues in the Far North where revival fires have transformed scores of communities from Eastern Siberia to Canada’s Baffin Island and Ungava Peninsula. It highlights a town in northern Quebec where every child is a follower of Christ, it takes you inside an Anglican church shaken by the wind of the Holy Spirit; it reveals how life-sustaining berries - the literal fruit of repentance - have returned to the land.
Uganda, a nation once terrorized by mad men, is the video's final stop. Here we find a land reveling in all night prayer meetings, massive church growth, and a plummeting AIDS rate. A land whose First Lady has publicly rededicated the nation to God, and whose Christian Minister of Ethics and Integrity sees herself as a Moses called to lead her people out of slavery to corruption and into God's righteousness. [emphasis added]
More information: http://www.transformationsvideo.org/Conferences/index.html
Source: The Sentinel Group
Buy my Transformations I Video, please!
A pitch for Otis’ first video, found on the Sentinel Group web site, says:
Imagine a community where 92 percent of the population is born-again; where city jails have been closed for lack of crime; where agricultural productivity has reached biblical proportions.
Imagine a city where 60,000 Christians jam the municipal soccer stadium for all-night prayer vigils every 90 days; where a multi-billion dollar drug cartel has been brought to its knees.
Imagine a town where local bars have been transformed into churches; where ancestral shrines have been destroyed; where entire family clans have come to faith in Christ.
Don't imagine...BELIEVE! Journey with host George Otis, Jr. to transformed communities on three continents. Learn how the power of prayer can deliver similar results in your own neighborhood.
[Plus more promos:]
Charisma Magazine said…
“Transformation is a superb documentary on the reformation of four cities that, despite their vast differences in culture, race, size and geography, have experienced major revival…Viewers are treated to wonderful testimonies and background music…Anyone with a passion for revival should see this video.”
CBA Marketplace [Christian Booksellers Assoc.] said…
‘This heartening and challenging documentary profiles cities in California, Colombia, Guatemala, and Kenya that God has transformed…The film shows how God is active throughout the world, [showing]…as one pastor in the film says, “What can happen when God comes to town.” [©CBA Marketplace, Official Publication of CBA. Reprinted by permission.]
A scientific approach to monitoring City Transformation?
Otis states on his Sentinel Group web site that during the 1990s he and his researchers had received reports of “dramatic spiritual breakthroughs in some of the most unlikely places”…They could see that “spiritual revival was followed by rapid improvements in a community’s political and social fabric.”
“In 1995, the ministry began to investigate these reports in earnest. Fanning out across four continents, Sentinel researchers were able to document numerous examples of spiritually transformed communities. They were also able to identify the factors responsible for these remarkable changes. In June of 1999, their discoveries were released to the public in a widely acclaimed video documentary called Transformations”…
“The challenge for many intercessors is to sustain fervency. Effective prayer necessitates familiarity, even intimacy, with the object of our prayers. If we are going to pray effectively for something, we must love it. We must know it… Sentinel's ministry involves showing intercessors how to investigate the spiritual pathology of their community…[this process is known as] epidemiological surveillance…[Sentinel prefers] to call it ‘spiritual mapping.’”
Additional Sentinel Group claims:
(Note: Hemet, California was the first U.S. city which George Otis, Jr. and his Sentinel Group's scientific researchers identified as a “transformed city” in the Transformations I video. Anyone who takes the time to call an official or contact an organization in Hemet –– Hemet's mayor, the Hemet Police Department, the Hemet Chamber of Commerce, the Hemet News –– will discover that no one has ever heard about the Sentinel Group, George Otis or Hemet’s community transformation. On the contrary, Hemet, California serves as the West Coast headquarters for Scientology, a dangerous cult with roots in Freemasonry and fascism.)
Great Fanfare for Transformations II Seattle
The Seattle premiere of the Sentinel Group’s [George Otis, Jr.] Transformations II: The Glory Spreads video [April 30, 2001], widely advertised through the media, was staged at Overlake Christian Church [OCC, Redmond, WA]. Overlake’s pastor Rick Kingham was formerly on the Promise Keepers staff [Colorado Springs, CO] as a vice president who “helped to develop and launch the PK ministry’s leadership seminars.”
While waiting for the opportunity to enter OCC's 5,000+ capacity auditorium, one can collect a vast array of pamphlets and brochures.
The literature offers a quick snapshot-profile of Overlake's focus. What do we find there?
· A list of twenty local churches [pastor's names, addresses and phone numbers including two Catholic churches (This is important, because city transformation will include the Catholic churches.)
· U.S. Center for World Mission's publication Mission Frontiers–– the think tank for Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelization’s mission strategies
· WERG's [Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government] 2001 Legislative Update
(WERG was instrumental in the passage of the Faith-Based Welfare Reform for WA)
· World Evangelical Fellowship's [WEF] Global Celebration for Women [Sept. 19-21, 2001] high-gloss brochure.
· World Christian, published by World in Need, USA
Advisory Board: [partial]
~ David Bryant, Concerts of Prayer International [a project of Mission America's National Prayer Committee]
~ Luis Bush, AD2000 & Beyond [Great Commission Global Roundtable Board of Reference]
~ Elizabeth Elliot, Author and Conference Speaker
~ Lynn Green, YWAM & Reconciliation Walk
~ Steve Hawthorne, Waymakers Intn'l [Editor of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement - curriculum for 90%+ of all missionaries]
~ Steve Hayner, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
~ David Howard, Missions Consultant [formerly Director of World Evangelical Fellowship]
~ Patrick Johnstone, WEC International [author of Operation World]
~ Paul McKaughan, Evangelical Fellowship of Missions Agencies [EFMA- affiliate of the National Association of Evangelicals]
~ Bill Taylor, World Evangelical Fellowship [WEF] [Great Commission Global Roundtable Task Force Member]
· Proclaim!, Luis Palau Evangelistic Association
OCC’s Northwest Graduate School of the Ministry [NGSM]
A catalogue for the NGSM, based at OCC, lists the NGSM faculty which includes several prominent names:
· W. Ward Gasque, the president of the Pacific Association for Theological Studies [aka Fuller Theological Seminary's Theological Extension Education [TEE] offering courses in Seattle]
· Jack Dennison [Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary] founder and president of CitiReach, which works closely with George Otis, Jr.’s Sentinel Group. He was formerly North American regional coordinator for DAWN Ministries [DAWN’s founder was Donald McGavran of Fuller Seminary. DAWN was the precursor to CitiReach.] and was on the faculty of Multnomah Biblical Seminary's Pastoral Theology Department teaching Church Growth and Leadership Development.
· Joseph Fuiten, pastor of the local Cedar Park Assemblies of God [AOG] church and president of the Christian lobbyist org. WERG [mentioned above]
· George Sweeting, the former president of Moody Bible Institute and a featured speaker at Billy Graham’s Amsterdam 2000.
· Glenn Wagner, former Vice President and Pastor-at-Large for “the international Promise Keepers.”
OCC's Northwest Graduate School offers a Master of Theological Studies or a Doctor of Ministry in a “Four Course Concentration” that is aligned with the Otis Transformations I and II videos:
· City Transformation Strategies [teacher Jack Dennison of CitiReach]
· Spiritual Factors in City Transformation [teachers George Otis of the Sentinel Group and Tom White of Frontline Ministries]
· Leading Congregational Transformation
· Collaborative Partnerships.
Another “Four Course Concentration” is offered in Transformational Leadership for Ministry in the Global City and is taught by teachers including:
· Dr. Raymond Bakke of International Urban Associates, who is a featured speaker at the upcoming Lausanne Chinese Congress on World Evangelization [CCOWE, July 2001, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia]
· Ward Gasque of Fuller Seminary who is the North American Coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership and co-founder of Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.
[Cost: “Relatively Inexpensive - $5,000.00 Total Package”]
The majority of students attending Overlake's NW Graduate School are the pastors and members of their pastoral staff from churches around the Puget Sound area. If city transformation “all begins with the pastors,” then Overlake Church, with the help of George Otis and his Transformations II: The Glory Spreads is the hub of this so-called revival.
Puget Sound, are you ready for Revival?
The evening for the premier of Transformations II went like this:
Jeff Hastings of the Sentinel Group was the lead spokesperson for the event, telling the congregation, “It could happen here (transformation and revival).” Steven Fry of Steven Fry Ministries led the worship; many of the songs were those he had written for the Promise Keepers men's stadium gatherings. Phrases such as “birthing heaven’s dreams”, “awakening power to the nations” and “one cry to lift Jesus higher…earth filled with glory” (implying that unity will bring God's presence to earth). Lisa Otis, the wife of George Otis, Jr., spoke to explain that the video was not quite finished due to computer glitches and that we could return later in the week [Wednesday] for the completed edition. She prayed, “If God chooses to move in this city…,” “Unity could be built in our city…,” “We’re in a birthing,” and “I pray with great longing for transformation in our region…”
Four of the international guests, who would later be featured in the Transformation II video, spoke briefly -- James Arreak of the Arctic's Baffin Island, Ruth Ruibal of Cali, Columbia, Jackson Senyonga of Uganda, Colin and Mary Peckham of the Outer Hebrides [island off coast of Scotland]. Wendell Smith of the Seattle City Church [Bellevue, WA] asked for the offering. He suggested that the many local pastors in the audience sow a sizeable gift in anticipation of what God will soon be doing in the Puget Sound region.
(Wendell Smith was previously trained in revival at John Arnott's Toronto Airport Church. He fully endorses the Toronto Blessing as ‘true revival’. See <Revival Questions & Answers> on Jerry Gaffney’s web site)
On with the Show
The theme of Transformations II: the Glory Spreads [T-II] is supernatural visitations by God around the world throughout history -- visitations are a result of an invitation to God through “united fervent prayer.” The phrase “fervent united prayer” as the key to transformation was repeated throughout the service and again in the video.
Jackson Senyonga of Uganda spoke just before the video was shown [Wed.] “Revival has come to America and you’re next in line for it!”
Otis uses ‘storytelling’ to draw us into the experience of transformation. Transformations II begins on Baffin Island. An Enuit Eskimo relates a tale from his village’s tradition. Many years ago the clan had a spiritual leader Aguatiswak [sp?] who helped the people “to form their thoughts.” An Enuk visitor came from the south and told the tribe about “Jesusi,” who was the Son of God. Aguatiswak had to make a choice; whether or not his people would follow “Jesusi”. If he was able to catch and kill a seal, this would be the sign to follow “Jesusi.” While he was waiting on the ice he had a dream where he could see his shadow on a moonless winter night. Then he momentarily saw three silent beings in the sky that looked as though they had wings. When he awoke a seal emerged from the hole in the ice. He had received his answer. The tribe would follow “Jesusi.”
This is Otis’ prototype for the first city transformation. The implication is that the tribe became followers of Jesus by the decision of their leader. This is contrary to Scripture:
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5
Otis is a partner in the AD 2000 Prayer Track with C. Peter Wagner. What Otis describes is more in line with what Lausanne and AD 2000 missiologists [mission strategists] call contextualization. According to the contextualized approach, the gospel is introduced into a culture in ways that radically accommodate the gospel to the culture, rather than allowing the transcending character of the gospel to criticize and transform the culture. In this case the spiritual leader made the decision for the entire village, based on cultural norms -- but not the requirements of the gospel, which has no provision for coercion of an individual’s belief in Christ, much less the faith of an entire village. Such a “collectivist” view of salvation was rebuked by John the Baptist:
“Bring forth fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God us able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” Matt. 3:8-10
The video then goes on to show various locations that have experienced “societal/regional transformation”; in the Outer Hebrides there was “the Refreshening,” “a Canopy of Awareness” and even “a Supernatural Light” [Campbell Morgan 1949 - 1953], and the Welsh Revival [Duncan Campbell 1904].
The video then returns to Baffin Island where missionary John Turner and his wife had ministered in the early-mid 1900s. Their faithfulness in serving the Lord on Baffin Island and the ancient story of Aguatiswak laid the groundwork, according to Otis, of what has happened in Pond Inlet and other surrounding Arctic villages today. They are experiencing revival. They point to the date February 28, 1999 where the grandsons of Aguatiswak were holding a service at the Anglican Church. “Something remarkable happened” that was beyond their control. During a period of worship there was “a thick anointing,” “a low-pitched rumbling sound,” [The worshippers could not account for this rumbling. The video flashes a Scripture on the screen: Job 37: 1-2 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.] and “fire went through me,” “I started to shake,” “Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!” [voices shouting as the camera pans the outside of the well-lit church building] and “After 18 months the people in the village are still experiencing the power of that night.”
Now, in one of the small villages, it is being claimed [by those interviewed in the Otis video] that “90% of the children are born again.” (What about the adults? And how do they know 90% of the children have been born again? Scripture is clear that genuine and counterfeit conversions are distinguishable only by the fruit borne afterward, and which takes time to grow. “…for the tree is known by its fruit.” Matt. 12:33)
The video over-voice says, “The key is fervent united prayer.”
It is reported that crime in all levels has diminished and in the political arena government meetings are begun with prayer.
Dominionist Theology –– the bringing of the kingdom of heaven to earth –– requires the institution of Old Testament law as the basis of civil law. Could this be the reason for reduced crime levels in places that have experienced “revival” and “transformation”? Are the mass “conversions” claimed by the Sentinel Group based on repentance or coercion? Read on…
America, are you ready for Revival?
Transformations II foresees not only cities and regions as places of transformation, but whole nations –– through the national leadership. According to Otis, this is happening in Uganda –– a nation, once the scene of mass genocide in the early ‘90s –– has now been in the process of transformation since 1996. How did it happen? According to Otis, when the city pastors came together in unity to pray, this unity in the Body of Christ brought transformation. Uganda’s government has instituted an aggressive plan to build ethics into government by establishing the Christian Ministry of Ethics and Integrity whose Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Miria Matembe, “sees herself as a Moses called to lead her people out of slavery to corruption and into God's righteousness.”
According to the Kampala Monitor, the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Miria Matembe, is an avowed feminist who advocates the castration of rapists: “[M]y hoarse voice given by God as a talent made me win the struggle on gender equality in this country. Many women are now enjoying the fruits of my struggle for women empowerment... If God calls me back and asks me what I have done with the talent, I will parade the women in front of him…. I said such men (rapists and defilers) should be castrated....” [The Monitor, Kampala, 12/20/99, 10/12/00]
The castration of rapists is not a new policy in Uganda, but a reversion to an earlier phase of African culture. Commenting on the remarks of the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, the Kampala Monitor of October 18, 2000 notes the history of this practice in Africa and the adverse social ramifications:
“Castration has a particularly bad press on the African continent. A study of war and ethnic conflict shows how rampant both the rape of females and the castration of males were. The Banyarwanda, for example, were notorious for castrating the Bakiga en mass when the two were embroiled in conflict. It is a practice that left a legacy of hatred that lasted a long time.”
The nation of Uganda was officially dedicated to God in a 1999 New Years stadium gathering by Janet Museveni, the wife of Uganda’s President.
(The implication is that America's national Christian leaders could lead its people into a transformation. Will they be the very same Christian leaders who work with Mormons, Scientologists and Sun Myung Moon at the national level without misgiving? The National Day of Prayer [NDP] for “all faiths,” headed by James and Shirley Dobson, is a step in this direction. On the NDP Advisory Board are many members of the secret Council for National Policy [CNP].)
The greatest surprise for Transformations II viewers is that [according to Otis] there are now 372+ [possibly in the neighborhood of 1000s] “full-blown” HIV/AIDS cases being miraculously cured.
(Where is the proof of these landmark healings? No scientific data is given in the video, only a few personal testimonies. Does the Center for Disease Control have a record of these phenomenal statistics?)
Finally, Transformations II extends the same hope of transformations to America. Again, according to the video, America is on the threshold of her own spiritual, cultural and political revival. The Transformations II video is an export-ready, re-packaging of the Toronto/Pensacola Revivals –– destination: America. Transformations videos and other Transformations materials, which were initially presented in large conferences, are now sold for church and home viewings.
*Important* Transformations II Exposé Flier
Christians are encouraged to download a “Transformations II Exposé” in the form of a flier which has been prepared for distribution. This flier is a Word document that can be copied on both sides of a letter size page. To download this flier, please click here: Transformations II Exposé
Transformations I & II are part of the Global Prayer & Missions Movement –– which is based in the United States, but originated in the Grand Lodge of England (headquarters of International Freemasonry) and has expanded globally. To appreciate the scope and history of this worldwide ecumenical movement and the role of Transformations I & II in their true perspective, please see our Global Prayer & Missions Movement Database, a work that is under construction.
We recommend the following articles by Prof. J. S. Malan, University of the North, South Africa, and Ms. Louisa Coetzee, Cape Town, South Africa. The counterfeit “Transformations” revival is already well established in South Africa. Citing statements from George Otis’ books, Prof. Malan and Ms. Coetzee expose Otis’ denial of the doctrine of salvation in Jesus Christ, that is, Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross for the remittance of sins.
Otis, Wagner and the Transformations Revival
Further Transformations Deceptions
George Otis and his Fallacious Teachings