The Newest Heresy of the NAR: Orality

The latest fad is potentially the most grievous heresy to arise in the recent history of the Church. It is a repudiation of literacy — the written Word. It is now widely being taught to missionaries, particularly through mission groups closely associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

This new heresy is called ORALITY, which is telling biblical stories based on pictures and images. Orality short-cuts Bible translation and language methods of teaching the Word of God to “people groups.” The rationale for this is, of course, the “urgency” in fulfilling the Great Commission “mandate.” Orality is by its very nature condescending, treating Third World peoples as “children” who supposedly do not have the “ability” or “desire” to learn to read. It is being touted as an alternative method of evangelism. However, it is very evident that some mission groups have no intention of EVER teaching these people to read, or give them a Bible in their own language.

At one can read the following description:

“Our Vision

“A global partnership involving Campus Crusade for Christ, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wycliffe International & The Seed Company, Trans World Radio and YWAM—using chronological Bible storying among unreached people groups. Current estimates suggest that almost two-thirds of the world’s population is illiterate or has an oral preference (can’t, won’t or don’t read and write). The proportion is significantly higher among the nearly 5,000 people groups not yet reached with the gospel, and among these include many of the 2,700 remaining Bibleless peoples. For these oral communicators, life lessons are processed by observation, participation and verbal communication—i.e. stories.

“Communication of the gospel by these same oral deliveries has potential for greater effectiveness than the literate methods churches and mission agencies have long used. From grass-roots initiatives in varied situations worldwide, mother-tongue storyers and cross-cultural workers are reporting the effectiveness of these oral delivery strategies, in many cases among people groups heretofore resistant to the gospel.

“In recent years a growing number of individuals and agencies have periodically gathered for consultations on orality, and have begun working cooperatively on issues like chronological Bible storying and the beginnings of an “Oral Bible” among unreached people groups. Table 71, a regular gathering of mission-agency leaders arising out of the Amsterdam 2000 conference, has also adopted a cooperative strategy centered on orality and chronological Bible storying.”

The above webpage is also a good example of the rapidly developing ecumenical cooperation model utilized by the world mission groups steeped in dominionism. Other urls of interest to those who want to know more about this topic include:
At one can see that repentance is not included.

The foundation of this new heresy is said to originate from Walter J. Ong, who wrote a book entitled Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1982). This book is listed in bibliographies of the new orality heresy. The premise behind this book is that humans need to return to their earlier (evolutionary) primative heritage of myth, fable, story, image, symbols, icons, etc. The written word is degraded. The spoken word and image are said to be more closely connected to the human “consciousness.” This author means “consciousness” in the sense of Carl Jung’s pagan pseudo-science of “collective unconscious.” Story, myth and image are therefore seen as closer to pagan spirituality. The author notes the “magic power” inherent in the written word and states that “Literacy can be restricted to special groups such as the clergy.” (p. 93)

Literacy for the general population has been one of foundational tenets of Christianity since the time of the First Reformation 500 years ago, which coincided with the invention of methods of mass printing. For the first time men had access to Bibles translated into their own languages. For the past 500 years this has been considered a basic human RIGHT, not a privilege to be had only by an elite. History demonstrates the abuses of that type of elitism. So why would the postmodern NAR mission movement want to return to this type of system? The answers are ominous indeed.

ORALITY & Whole Language

Astute readers will recognize that Orality is connected with the idea of Whole Language. Whole Language is a method of teaching that treated words as symbols or hieroglyphics, requiring children to memorize them or contextualize them rather than learn simple decoding skills. Whole Language methods of reading instruction mushroomed in popularity around the U.S. during the decade of the 1980s. Samuel L. Blumenfeld, international phonics expert, explains that Whole Language “was touted as a real breakthrogh in reading instruction, one that would radically change our view of what reading and language learning are really all about. Marvelous results were promised. . . . ” Of course, this confusing method was only “effective” at dumbing-down an entire generation of American school children.

Whole language was an integral part of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) models for education transformation. Blumenfeld noted that Whole Language “is . . . based on an entirely different view of language which is contary to the view that has prevailed in Western civilization since the invention of the alphabet, a view which today bears the label of ‘deconstruction.'”

Blumenfeld explained that the real goal of these “deconstructionists” was to eradicate western civilization’s dependence upon the written word, with a goal in mind to destroy the Written Word of God. Chapter 14 of Blumenfeld’s excellent book entitled The Whole Language/OBE Fraud is now posted at Discernment Ministries in the “Articles” section at . This article is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the esoteric foundation of Orality/Whole Language and understand where this movement is headed.

Orality and Worldview

Orality is connected with the NAR heresy of “contextualization.” Orality permits the Word of God to be “contextualized” to a pagan culture through images, icons and symbols, thereby retaining the pagan elements of that culture. Using “redemptive analogies” (another heresy), these pagan beliefs and practices are claimed to be “redeemable” and are “christianized.” Even the name of God is being changed to that of pagan deities!

Orality exchanges didactic instruction for psycho-spiritual methods: indoctrination, initiation, mastery, shadowing, mentoring, spiritual formation, etc. Using these methods makes it easier to pass on a religious message that is nuanced with a “culturally correct” worldview, which can easily be substituted for a Biblical worldview. Orality makes it easier to transmit certain values and beliefs that prop up the doctrinal worldview that these mission groups want to promulgate. If there is no literacy, then — tragically — there is no access to Scripture which might challenge the pervading ideology. Ong notes:

“Human beings in primary oral cultures, those untouched by writing in any form, learn a great deal and possess and practice great wisdom, but they do not ‘study.’

“They learn by apprenticeship — hunting with experienced hunters, for example — by discipleship, which is a kind of apprenticeship, by listening, by repeating what they hear, by mastering proverbs and ways of combining and recombining them, by assimilating other formulary materials, by participation in a kind of corporate retrospection — not by study in the strict sense.” (p. 9)

The Truth:

To cut off access to the Word of God is to deny the very doctrine of Jesus Christ:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:1-5)

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:1-4)