Saturday, January 18, 2014

Linger Conference


One thing is for certain: Linger Conference (no, not Ligoneer, but Linger) is a man-centered venture. It’s preceded  and prepped by f two very man-centered men: John Piper and CS Lewis. This is no surprise, considering that Piper is aLewisphile.

How are they getting people to "consider “God” in 2014" and thus go to their Linger conference ? Look to self, of course. It really is just navel-staring. It’s eyes inward, NOT upward to where Christ dwells. 

It’s all about Planet Me.

Planet Me

Borrowing from John Piper, a slew of questions regard friendships, books, and lastly (this is quite telling), Scripture memorization are stated. Slapping on some Bible verses doesn't change the fact that its about ME. They go on to ask “How did I fair under the varied seasons of life?”  Now in this section of questions, there is a bit more of integrating God into the discussion , but still more navel gazing. Of the three “big” questions, this one is the one that as a modicum of spiritual interest, but not by a whole lot; after all the last question in that second series is “In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life [Bible references given]?” The last significant question is “Am I honoring well the shoulders I rise; those mentors who walk before me?” Then they are told to list two types of people: those whose lives have deeply touched you and those people who played the most significant role in your life. They are instructed to write a letter of gratitude to them

This is totally man-centered.  In fact, honestly, it's something Oprah Winfrey could pose to her audience. If this is supposed to be about being and lingering in the presence of God, they’re doing the very opposite thing! How does being man-focused set the tone for an "encounter" with God, exactly?

Rather, Scripture commands:

Col 3:1  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 

1Pe 2:1  Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2  like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3  if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Eph 4:17  So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,

To prep people to "linger in the presence of God" by having them literally dwell on earthly, fleshly things is absolutely ludicrous.

More Prepping For An Encounter

How do they prime the customers of Linger to get ready for an encounter with God (besides asking those Planet Me navel-gazing questions)?

Well, they have a pre-Linger Conference called Creative Day at the  “Art House Dallas”  which gets their minds on earthly things like "humanitarian" photography, networking, Broadway production,  and music, and even vocal technique will be taught for a low low price of $59 which is separate than the conference and its fees. But how is any of this lingering “in God’s presence” is beyond me, much less prepping one's mind for a close encounter with the God of this universe!

The pre-conference conference  will also have a teaching time by Jen Wilkin who is the managing editor of Chandler’s church’s blog.  Of course  her "bio" bills her, as a “women’s teacher”, but at the pre-conference it’s not listed as a "women only" class and she’ll be teaching “The Importance of Bible Literacy” (here's a taste of her Bible literacy---a many-armed goddess photo and all). 

As with all Charismatics, women teaching men is not only acceptable, but proclaimed. The same thing goes on with Beth Moore and Kay Arthur who both also bill themselves as women's Bible study teachers, but in reality, also teach men Arthur to a lesser degree or more subtle degree than Moore). So most likely a bunch of men will bet sitting under her teaching--prepping for the presence of God (the very One who commands no woman is to teach OR have authority over men).

The Concept, Vision, and Purpose of Linger: mystic experiences the cure for the monotonous 

Here’s what they say is the concept of lingering over at Linger Conference:

"The vision and purpose of the Linger Conference is to impart the fundamental importance of remaining or "Lingering" in the presence of the King. Our attention span as a culture, even for spiritual matters, is measured in seconds and minutes rather than hours and days. This conference offers the opportunity to be transformed in the presence of God by lingering in worship, prayer, meditation on scripture, and reflection. We hope to draw the attendance of lay people in addition to church staff and provide a conference environment where believers can linger in the presence of the Lord. We pray that this conference will spark a hunger for the presence of God and a lifelong pursuit of beholding His Glory."

Additionally Linger states:

As we juggle our jobs, our children and a million other commitments, we easily relegate spending time with God, only to notice something is missing over time and wonder when God is going to move in our lives. 

 “It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men.” - C.S. Lewis

The concept of lingering in God’s presence isn’t new. We see it throughout scripture, and we all know life makes more sense and we have more peace when we take the time to listen and worship. Worship changes us. It sculpts out a place for God, where He can be present in every aspect of our days. When we pause in His presence, He works miracles in our hearts. Monotony begins to fade and is replaced with a sense of joy and purpose that underlines our moments, our circumstances. 

Linger Conference seeks to explore the concept of lingering in the presence of God as part of life-changing worship. 

If you feel drained or like you’re going through the motions without a purpose or an awareness of God’s hand in your life, Linger Conference is for you. 

End quote.

And also they put this way, "The vision of the Linger Conference was born out of a desire to help fellow believers seek God; not God's blessings or God's strength through trials, but God himself." ~Linger 

This is  mysticism. They are making seeking God’s strength to be the antinomy of seeking God Himself.  How does the Bible make such a distinction? Indeed, we are to seek God’s strength through trials  because in doing so we are going to Him. Indeed, we are commanded to do so;

Psa 18:1  For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said, "I love You, O LORD, my strength."

Psa 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psa 28:8  The LORD is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed.

Isa 40:29  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Isa 40:30  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Isa 40:31  Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Eph 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11  Put
on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the
schemes of the devil.

It's interesting that repeatedly throughout Scripture when we come before God, we recognize and confess not only our sin but also our innate weakness to Him and to look to HIS strength. After all, we can't do anything that pleases God in our own strength anyway. But attached to this truth is that we MUST be strong in Him and HIS might SO THAT we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. A conference which turns people away from looking to God for strength is helping people weaken in their stand for the Truth and open them up to the schemes of the devil. This is, what I fear, will be the case of Linger.

The  Belief of Linger Conference: Charismaticism

Here is Linger's charismatic theology ,of which Piper, Chandler, and NAR's Stephen Venable (not to mention no doubt some of the “artists”)  on being “empowered by the Holy Spirit”:

Empowered by the Spirit

The Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. The promise of the Father is freely available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, thereby enabling them to exercise the powers of the age to come in ministry and mission. The Holy Spirit desires to continually fill each believer with power to witness and imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the body and the work of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today and are to be earnestly desired and practiced in an orderly manner. The gifts are essential to the mission of the Church in the world today.

End quote.

They are saying, because they do believe, that without the charismatic gifts, there can’t be missions! They are after all, Charismatics and some are NAR like Venable which Piper and Chandler are sharing the pulpit with. That's a fundamental core doctrine of that movement. (So much for Sola Scriptura.) Consider that again: this  conference statement is thoroughly consistent with IHOP and NAR (Third Wave Pentecostalism), which presumably the speakers all agree to. More on that below.

Straight Out of Sovereign Grace Ministries Charismatic Statement

That statement on the empowering of the Holy Spirit  is right out of C. J.Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries' old Addendum to “The Holy Spirit” statement in their statement of faith document originally  published in 2003. 

Here is Sovereign Grace Ministries'  document on the Holy Spirit and written by Jeff Purswell (also editor of charismatic Wayne Grudem's systematic theology book) as an addendum to clarify what and why they included Third Wavers and Pentecostals and Charismatics which was up for years, but was quietly removed without explanation: 

Empowered by the Spirit 
In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy
Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While
all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the
New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering
work of the Spirit
subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by
the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct
experiences. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually
with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his
supernatural gifts
for the edification of the Body and for various works
of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the
church of the first century are available today, are vital for the mission
of the church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced.

End quote.

Interestingly, Linger posts permission of use of copyright from Chandler's The Village website for their statement of faith (but doesn't directly link to the document itself--I had to look for it), but it actually goes back to Mahaney's SGM's document, which I believe precedes The Village's and that isn't recognized by either The Village or Linger.

The Acceptance of the Third Wave Pentecostalism (NAR)

SGM clearly was Charismatic from its foundation according to its writer, Jeff Purswell, and they wanted to also make clear they accepted into the fold Third Wave Pentecostals--the very heretical movement that Strange Fire showed was anti-biblical! Remember, this is the very document from which Linger claims of the sign gifts being necessary for mission work:

It states on pages 6-7:

Because the charismatic/Pentecostal viewpoint has been our
position historically,
these values are particularly important
gauges for those exploring involvement in Sovereign Grace who
hold a third wave view.
A degree of precision is important here. As
with most doctrines, those who hold to a third wave view represent
a spectrum of beliefs, attitudes, and practices. Indeed, in this particular
area of doctrine the categories of “attitude” and “practice”
are especially important. The modified Statement of Faith would
not necessarily embrace any and all who hold to a third wave view,
but those holding to what the writer would call a “robust third
wave view” (or, better, a “robust continuationist view”).

Such a view would comprise the values articulated above: a passion for the
Spirit’s presence and activity, a pursuit of the gifts, a faith-filled
expectation of God’s gracious granting of the gifts,
an expectation
of conversions that exhibit more than simply profession but which
are accompanied by encounters with God’s Spirit that seem to be in
keeping with the momentous nature of conversion under the new
covenant, etc. It is these things, which historically have marked
the lives of so many in the Pentecostal and charismatic camps, that
we want to preserve.
The modified statement simply accommodates
those who desire these same things, but who view them as
constitutive of the power of the new birth in the new covenant
Our attempt has been to craft a statement that is biblically
faithful, that emphasizes our particular values, and that could be
agreed upon by both a traditional Pentecostal and a “third waver.”

This is certainly possible with this statement as long as one does
not insist on specificity with regards to what one calls a second
experience with the Spirit, be it a “baptism in the Spirit” or a subsequent
filling of the Spirit.

End quote.

So this is why Linger, Chandler, Piper, and NAR's Venable have common ground.

What This Means

The heart of Linger is definitely Charismatic theology, which drives their yearning for experiences in such a dull, dry monotonous  life (can one call anyone's life in Scripture dull or dry? Certainly a faithful Christian's life isn't that, if for no other reason that the trials God sends our way to test and strengthen our faith in Christ!). It's the flip side of the same Charismatic coin: focus on getting some mystical experiences and call it coming face to face with God, but apart from demanding blessings and strength (ok, so they want to be distinct from the WOFers' Health and Wealth "gospel"---only in this are they different--IF that---since really, they demand the "most inspiring", "brightest" speakers and artists to come and make this "high quality"for their conference so it comes at a cost to the customer to "linger in the presence of God"---doesn't seem that much different although maybe more subtle). In other words, the only difference between the two sides is that one is claiming to not even be interested in getting blessings (like  Benny Hinn, Beth Moore, Joel Osteen, Che Ahn, Todd Bentley) but they want the same mystical experience that they think is coming into direct contact with God. Like the Charismatics, doctrinal truth is too dry. They need something more. Something that will "inspire", "refresh",

I imagine quotes from  or references to "Brother" Lawrence and Henry Blackaby or others like them will be made as they both have promoted that mystical "practicing the presence of God" stuff, along with more Lectio Divina as Passion 2013 promoted and practiced  with John Piper, Francis Chan, Lou Giglio, and Beth Moore leading the young adults into.

The Danger

Furthering mystic Charismaticism, Linger promises 

"Worship is a core component of Linger Conference. We’ll gather for praise and worship times that will teach us all to defy expected time constraints and structure to truly come into God’s presences [sic]. We’ll hear keynotes from leading speakers who will help us expand our understanding of spending time with God. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, you’ll be moved, involved and inspired."

They also say:

If I’ve known the benefits of lingering in everyday circumstances, then I’ve most assuredly known the value of lingering in God’s presence. Anytime I move worship off the grid of time constraints and expected formulas, I am blessed with a deeper, more meaningful, one-to-one connection. And the reward of this kind of lingering leaves blooper reels, extra pie or sales tips in the dust. Lingering in God’s presence is life changing.
It’s this simple truth that sparked the genesis of Linger Conference.
Linger Conference is a unique event created to help all of us learn what it is to linger in God’s presence. In two amazing days in Dallas in February 2014, we will assemble some of the brightest speakers, teachers and artists to share in the disassembling of our preconceived notions about spending time in God’s presence. From moments of undiluted worship to sessions that bring us together with like-minded friends and colleagues, Linger Conference is a chance to rest, review and renew so that we can bring more intentional worship back to our churches across the country. 

~Linger (italics, original)

"Defy time constraints and structure" sounds like chaos and getting people revved up by music. This is classic Charismatic tactics to manipulate people into an altered state of consciousness and make them believe they are encountering God when they've more than likely encountered not only Self (again), but the demonic kingdom. It simply sounds like one of the countless Charismatic meetings I went to growing up, so this isn't new, it's just being brought into quasi Reformed camps.

The Linger Room

Additionally, there will be a "Linger Room" open during the conference. When I asked them by email what that was exactly, they told me, 

"The Linger Room is a "Get away" space. Before and after conference hours and during meal times, there will be worship leaders in that space leading the room in worship. At other times there will be worship music payed on CD. We have licensed Biblical counselors there throughout the conference and space set up for prayer."

It seems to me that with the notion of "lingering in God's presence" being the whole point of the conference, this "Get Away" room will be used to hold on to whatever lingering presence is left by keeping up the music, etc. Sort of lassoing the Spirit by use of music. I mean, you wouldn't want other Christians to get in your way of having a spiritual experience, would you?  I can only hope it's not going to be a Boiler Room type of thing.


Linger Conference will be one of mystic experiences, with its foundation in Charismaticism. Just how bad it will be, is yet to be seen. But its foundation is off and its focus is off. It distracts people from going to Scripture.

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