Mission Team wept while Re-Imagining leaders laughed at Christ and the Bible
Coalition offers Evangelical Witness at Re-Imagining
by Donna Hailson
The team [a coalition of evangelical women from mainline denominations] shed many tears over the days of Re-Imagining as we heard the deity and sinlessness of Jesus Christ denied and as we heard lifted in His place the Cosmic Mother and the Mother Goddess of the Aztecs. One speaker, Mari Castellanos encouraged participants to embrace the Virgin of Guadaloupe as a unifying "goddess of the Americas." She asserted that the Virgin Mary "is part of the composite of ancient, current and future manifestations of the one who will not be suppressed...the ageless and universal sisterhood: Isis, Aphrodite, Brigid..." Castellanos also ridiculed the Virgin Birth saying, "once again we find a much older, more powerful male impregnating a woman and leaving her alone to deal with the consequences."
We wept as the "revival preacher," Barbara Lundblad -- expounding on John 20 -- laughed at the Bible and at Jesus. She twisted the words of this passage to insist that Re-Imaginers not hold on to Jesus, complaining that some in the the group had already heard altogether too much about Him.
We wept as we heard the re-imagined words of the precious hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul," stripped of the blood of Christ, the cross and the Lord's second coming. We, the members of the team -- throughout the room -- sang from the depths of our souls -- the original words. We strove to proclaim that all is well only because the Lord has regarded our helpless estate and has shed His own blood for own souls. We strove to proclaim that all is well only when our sins are nailed to the cross and we bear them no more. At the close of the day, as we gathered to listen to the messages from our prayer partners, we were blessed to hear an echo from one friend who wrote, "Hold the light of Christ and all will be well and all well and all manner of things shall be well no matter what." Again we wept. This time our tears flowed as tears of joy.
We were assured of God's presence with us. We saw miracle upon miracle throughout these days. The Lord was at work here in powerful ways. He emboldened us to speak, to stand. On the last day, during a time with open mikes, four evangelical women stood to call Re-Imaginers to the Bible and to Jesus Christ.
Karelynne Gerber, a seminary student at Gordon-Conwell, stood before those assembled and said: "I am an evangelical woman, and I hold strongly to the traditional creeds of the Christian faith. I believe that orthodoxy matters. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. And I am also a participant in the "Re-Imagining Revival. Many people have asked me why I chose to attend Re-Imagining. My answer is that I have come to listen and to learn. I have come to listen to the stories of women who have been deeply hurt by the church. I have come to learn how the church might respond for we cannot accept the movement uncritically. Neither can we respond to concerns we have with the movement without first listening. When I arrived I found a group of compassionate women who are troubled by the violence and unnecessary suffering that result from sin in our world. I heard people identify problems and concerns, but unfortunately I heard very few concrete answers. I found a community full of energetic worship and creative rituals, but I also found many people who do not know the One worthy of all worship."
Other evidences of the Lord's work: One of Re-Imagining's own speakers - Musimbi Kanyoro - rebutting much of what her fellow speakers had to say - insisting she wants a Christianity with a sinless Jesus and a cross . . . The singing of an intact "There is a Balm in Gilead" which asserts that Jesus died to save the sin-sick soul.
I am grateful for the many wonderful interactions I had with leaders, speakers, participants and reporters. The Lord opened many doors for the presentation of the gospel and for a laying out of the differences between biblical theology and re-imagined biblical theology. The radical spiritual feminist movement has gone largely unchallenged for most of its life. Now there are growing numbers of watchwomen in the house, ready to offer a biblical response. I am in the process of establishing an evangelistic and apologetic ministry to radical spiritual feminists. If you wish to hear more about this vision, please contact me at my address (donnafg@Seacoast.com ) or call or write. The Ecumenical Coalition on Women and Society (led by Janice Crouse) and (its umbrella) the Institute on Religion and Democracy (led by Diane Knippers) are also in place to encourage women to offer a biblical witness and to stand on the Word. Lilian Barger, in Dallas, is at work creating a mission to the secular woman. Please pray for all of these efforts and contact each one to learn more. This mission trip was organized by a coalition of folks from the ECWS, the IRD, the Damaris Project (Lilian) and renewal/reform groups in the mainline denominations -- the American Baptist Evangelicals (on whose board I serve), the Biblical Witness Fellowship (UCC), the Presbyterian Layman (PCUSA), Voices of Orthodox Women (PCUSA), the Good News Network/RENEW (United Methodists) and the reform movement in the United Church of Canada. Financial support and prayer support came from all of these along with many individuals and churches. We have been greatly blessed by you and are grateful for all of the support and love and concern.
Love in our Precious Savior Jesus Christ, Donna Hailson (for the mission team)
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