The Role of the Pastor in an Attack: the Aggressor
John Dorhauer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 11:24:52 PM EST
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Last week, I wrote took a first look at actions that led to the hostile takeover of an unsuspecting United Church of Christ. I want to return to that church soon, for there is more of that story to tell.

But first I want to write about the role of the pastor in a church attack, for the outcome of the attack - while dependent on countless factors - is certainly most dependent on the actions and intentions of the pastor.

This will be a three part series. Though admittedly a bit of an over-generalization, my experience reveals to me that a pastor can play one of three roles once a church has been targeted for an attack: she can be an aggressor, one whose role is central and vital to the orchestrated takeover; he can be a pacifier, one whose role is very dismissive while an attack is going on and who either sits back afraid to take a side, or acts and speaks only to fulfill a desire for his members to just stop fighting; or she can be a protector, one willing to fight and defend her church against all would be attackers in order to preserve the church's history, vitality, and integrity.

Today we look at the Aggressor.

In the church I wrote about last week, George Dohm served as the perfect example of an aggressor. That the church voted to disaffiliate with the United Church of Christ in November of 2003 can be tracked all the way back to his hiring. To be sure, there were warning signs and indications that George was preparing for just such a move. His first church was a new church start in the United Church of Christ which - though funded by UCC money - he refused to refer to in newsletters, ads, and signage as having anything to do with the United Church of Christ. The church closed not long after he left. His second church was just outside of the St. Louis metro area and shortly after his resignation from the church the church took a vote to leave the denomination. The vote failed by a narrow margin, but many of the disgruntled members left the church in anger.

All of this is to say that George had a history when he went to Redeemer in South St. Louis. By the time I came into the judicatory office of the Missouri Mid-South Conference, George had resigned from the church but promised to return when his disciples there completed the takeover. His aggressive tactics began as far back as his first week on the job: the choir director I spoke with in May of 2003 revealed to me that in the first week George told him that he would have the church out of the UCC in a short while, and that he could "leave right now with over half of the members." I wrote last week about George continuing to meet with the leaders months after he left the church, and coming back to preach about the evils of the UCC in July of 2003.

George is the prototypical aggressor. There are many such pastors serving churches all over the country. They have been trained to deploy tactics and maneuvers designed to divide and conquer congregations. George's mentor was none other than Mark Friz, formerly a pastor ordained to serve the United Church of Christ and recognized throughout the Mid-West as the one to call when you want to learn how and why to take out a church. Mark claims that he never calls a church to talk about a take-over, but that he could quit his current position as Pastor at St. Paul's Evangelical Free Church (formerly St. Paul United Church of Christ - they voted to leave the UCC a few years after Mark's arrival from the church in Wellington, MO which - to no one's surprise - also voted to leave the United Church of Christ) and spend the rest of his life speaking at churches that have asked him to come and talk about leaving the UCC.

In a sermon offered the week before George Dohm preached his now infamous "Dog-crap" sermon (see last week's Anatomy of an Attack: Part 1), Mark spoke from the same pulpit and reiterated what has become his mantra: when you vote to disaffiliate, you do it not because you want to leave the UCC, you do it because you recognize that it has left you. Sheldon Culver and I were present this past November when Mark spoke at one of our churches in Jamestown, MO - a church in central Missouri that shares its pastor with another church not far away. In January, one of those two churches voted to disaffiliate, and the second one voted by a mere 4% to stay in the UCC.

Knowing how crucial the role of an aggressive pastor can be, David Runnion-Bareford, the Executive Director of the Biblical Witness Fellowship (a `Renewal Group' of the UCC), works to maintain a listing of what he calls "Godly Pastors' in what is known as the "Pastoral Referral Network." This private list of clergy is kept secret from the wider church. Clergy are invited to fill out an application to enter the Network and be shopped around by whomever it is that executes these maneuvers (no one has admitted to it, though the address to which you send the applications happens to be the same address of the pastor of the UCC church in Candia, NH: one David Runnion-Bareford). Envelopes are sent to Search Committees with the names of candidates active in the Pastoral Referral Network without Conference Staff knowing about it, and without going through the standard criminal and ecclesial background checks that assure those same committees that the candidate has been cleared to serve a church. In a radio interview that aired on June 21, 2004 on KFUO in St. Louis on a program called "Issues, Etc.," David Runnion-Bareford was asked about the shortage of clergy in the UCC. He gave some statistics and some analysis, and then talked about the Pastoral Referral Network, and how he and others recruit from Evangelical seminaries those who are not affiliated with the United Church of Christ. (The entire interview can be heard at

Even though he has lost his standing and has been deemed unfit for ministry in and on behalf of the United Church of Christ, George Dohm is now being proposed as the likely successor to the outgoing pastor at our United Church of Christ in Marthasville, MO. As a tried and true aggressor, no one would doubt that this is an overt signal to the members that someone has targeted this church as a likely candidate for a takeover.

I find myself aghast at what happens in and to these churches by pastors like the ones described here. I have no problem with those whose theology and biblical renderings lead them to draw different conclusions than the ones I do. But there are churches already happy to receive their ministry. To go into a church comfortable with its own history and affiliation with the clear intent of taking it out is unconscionable. What Mark Friz and George Dohm and their ilk will argue is that they never intend to take out a church, they are only present when the church wakes up to its true self and realizes that they are affiliated with a denomination that has abandoned the gospel.

But someone needs to ask them why neither one has yet to serve a church that figured that out before they arrived. And someone needs to ask them how they feel about the millions of dollars in assets that come with a takeover like this, and how much of a role that plays in their decision to go to churches that are currently UCC and then remove them for the sake of another denomination, rather than choosing to serve a church that is already affiliated with that denomination?

Pastor as Aggressor: beware. Well trained, theologically inclined, and ethically bankrupt these pastors are chosen for one purpose: disrupt, destabilize, and disaffiliate. Though referred to in their literature as `Godly Pastors,' one sees little of God in the effort.

It would be helpful if you would link to the first post you mention. I tried to find it on the site, but could not do so.
Can It Happen Here?
by janinsanfran on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 11:45:29 PM EST
Here's an anthology containing John's previous posts, with some                                         narrative context by Frederick Clarkson and Bruce Wilson, and related posts which have appeared on Talk To Action

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I'll be linking this on SP. If you have a chance, please say more about the pastors from outside the denomination - it's almost a dead giveaway when a congregation calls an SBC or Assemblies of God pastor that they will soon be leaving the denomination. I'd always assumed that they called such folks because they were contemplated a departure, but perhaps it's the other way around, given what you have to say here.

by pastordan on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 02:40:27 PM EST
I can't speak much on the SBC (as, relatively speaking, they are new-ish players in the field of overtly dominionist denominations) but in the case of the Assemblies of God I can tell you that "sheep stealing" and even attempting to start dominionist movements in mainstream churches is "standard procedure" and nothing entirely new.

One of the biggest ways the Assemblies targets mainstream churches is through the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International.  The FGBMFI has claimed to be an "ecumenical" group but is dominionist-only, and in fact is a front group of the Assemblies of God that is used both to recruit potential members and to infiltrate mainstream institutions.  (Of note, the FGBMFI is one of the two earliest documented dominionist groups--being involved in both the US and international politics since its very creation in the early 50's--and heavily uses Amway upstreams as a form of "bait and switch" evangelism (as documented in the excellent book Merchants of Deception).

One of the earliest documented churches targeted by the Assemblies and its fronts for brewing up a dominionist movement and supporting dominionist hijackings is, ironically enough, the Southern Baptist Convention:

      The effort to build bridges between secular and religious conservatives was spearheaded by four activists with no background in the Christian Right community: Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus; John "Terry" Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC); Paul Weyrich of the National Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress; and Richard Viguerie, a major fund-raiser for conservative causes. The basis for coalition would be a frontal attack on "big government" as a threat to traditional religious and economic values. In response, the National Christian Action Coalition, the first national organization of the Christian Right, was launched in 1978. Television evangelist Jerry Falwell organized the most prominent of the new organizations, Moral Majority, in 1979. To reach into the Southern Baptist Convention, Ed McAteer started the Religious Roundtable, while Christian Voice, composed primarily of members of the Assemblies of God, concentrated on the western states.
       The leaders of these movements embraced the issues that concerned secular conservatives, but they did so with a religious rationale. Increased defense spending, for example, was justified as a way of keeping the nation free for the continued preaching of the Gospel, and support for the government of Taiwan was defended as necessary to protect Christian allies from the "Godless forces of anti-Christ Communism." In practice, however, conservative social values drove the formation and activity of the New Christian Right (Glazer 1986; Wattenberg 1995).

(Ed McAteer is widely acknowledged as being a primary architect of the hijacking of the Southern Baptist Convention by dominionists.  McAteer was also a member of the secretive Coalition for National Policy, and per some documentation may have even been explicitly premillenial-dispensationalist and tried to get official church support for these policies.)

One way in which the SBC was infiltrated--and other churches have had dominionist movements seeded in them by the Assemblies and FGBMFI--is via "cell church" movements.  The people who ultimately hijacked the SBC actually were goaded on by Assemblies-based promoters of dominionism:

It was the Full Gospel Business Men and Charismatic Renewal that brought in the Discipling or Shepherding movement, which continues to grow rapidly as many in leadership take the position they are neither to be doubted nor questioned. Parallel names for the theology involved are: headship, discipleship, covenant relationships, cell groups and accountability groups.

Bob Mumford and Ern Baxter were two of the instigators of the Shepherding movement. Eventually called the "Ft. Lauderdale Five", the main leaders besides Mumford and Baxter, were Derek Prince (Assemblies of God), Don Basham (Disciples of Christ), and Charles Simpson (Southern Baptist).

Bob Mumford of Lifechangers, recounts some of the history of his personal involvement in Shepherding in the article "Forty years later."  

"...In 1963, we took a position as Professor of New Testament and Missions at Elim Bible Institute in New York. While teaching at Elim doors began to open with the Full Gospel Businessmen, allowing us to teach on the renewal in denominational churches. During this same time we also became involved in the Charismatic Renewal because of the vision imparted to me by David Duplessis. He came as a visiting ministry and spoke about John 17:21 and of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in mainline denominations around the world, and the need to facilitate unity in the larger Body of Jesus Christ...California in 1969 to work with Ralph Mahoney and World MAP...In 1971 we became officially involved with New Wine Magazine and Christian Growth Ministries in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Derek Prince (Assemblies of God), Don Basham (Disciples of Christ), Charles Simpson (Southern Baptist), and two years later Ern Baxter (Charismatic). There was a sense that out of the five of us there would be a diversification of teaching which would give more of a balance and less of a personality emphasized..."

 "In 1972, four of the teachers held extensive seminars on the truths of God's Word as we saw them emerging, namely: spiritual unity, spiritual authority, more personal pastoral care, covenantal understanding, and discipleship. Basically, the vision sought to establish the truth needed to prevent the Charismatic renewal from disintegration or a degeneration into subjectivism and experience fixation. The response to these truths was remarkable... Out of this came what is now known as the "discipleship - shepherding" movement. All of this was consummated in 1977 in what became known historically as the Kansas City Conference... We moved to Ft. Lauderdale for the primary purpose of the development and maturity of new leaders..."

"We saw ourselves in a military model, like commanders involved in spiritual warfare...In 1975 the controversy began... We began to understand how dangerous it was for charismatic leaders to teach God's people what other pastoral leadership did not know. By doing this we were contributing to the injury, pain, and pressure of a church and society that was already fragmenting..." {Bolding added}

 "While many of these original principles have been mastered and adjusted, I still believe in them with all my being... 1984 saw the break up of the five teachers. My choice was to renew my relationship with the Elim Fellowship once again."29

Elim Bible Institute in Lima, New York had several 1948 Latter Rain Movement members on staff, including the president, in 1976. Demos Shakarian invited the president of the school to a FGBM convention in 1953, which indicates there was Latter Rain influence in FGBM.  New Wine was also a conduit for Latter Rain teachings.30 New Wine Magazine was applauded at the National Religious Broadcaster's 1986 convention. 31 The issue, included in convention materials, presented a special report on "M.G." Pat Robertson who had denounced "the Five" in 1975. At the same convention, "shepherding leader Charles Simpson was with an elite party of guests at a private reception in Robertson's honor."32

In 1986, Bob Mumford sent a letter to his followers describing changes and that, "it seemed necessary to decentralize in order that we might minister more effectively."33 The strategy of decentralization seemed to work. By 1987, (Late) Don Basham appeared on Pat Robertson's 700 Club, and Bob Mumford appeared on Trinity Broadcast Networks' PTL talk show. 34

As early as 1974, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, Charles Simpson and Ern Baxter entered into a `covenant relationship' with Ralph Martin and Steve Clark, founders of the Word of God Catholic charismatics in Ann Arbor, Michigan..." 35 Their alliance was called "The Council" and "its purpose was to strengthen the shepherding system across the denominational lines." By the mid-1970's, the Council had expanded to include Catholic shepherding stalwarts, Paul DeCelles and Kevin Ranaghan and also Larry Christianson, a leader in the Lutheran charismatic renewal. 36  

See: General Council Minutes of the "Ft. Lauderdale" Elders from 1974.

It was to Bob Mumford that Lonnie Frisbee went in 1971, when he left Chuck Smith of Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel, where he'd been unofficial youth Pastor since 1968.  At the invitation of Mumford, Lonnie entered the beginning of the shepherding movement "to join with other Jesus People leaders,"37 for five years of "intensive Bible study"38, where upon he returned to Calvary Chapel for a short time. He then joined John Wimber in 1980. Some suggest that Bob Mumford and Derek Prince gave the "discipling" a `test run' in one church which ended up splitting, followed by the Five going public, with similar widespread results.39  

Ern Baxter wrote the workbook study course, The Chief Shepherd and His Sheep  which organizers sold at the July 1987 Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization in New Orleans. Ironically, over 40,000 charismatics attended and received free copies of Charisma magazine. It had the cover story "After Discipleship", which was about the controversy of the `shepherding movement.' 40

Dennis Peacocke is one of the many disciples of Bob Mumford. Peacocke has been on the board of advisors of the Family Christian Broadcasting Network. (FAM/CBN) He networks with numerous shepherding and New Right organizations, including sponsoring right-wing conferences, at least one of which included Phyllis Schlafly. (CNP) 41 Anatole Fellowship was founded by Dennis Peacocke, who "shepherded" Colonel Doner, founder and director of Moon-controlled and financed Christian Voice mentioned in CNP biographies.

Dennis Peacocke leads The Convergence, a reconstructionist/dominionist global leadership conference "that is focused on the conversation that must take place between the Church and the postmodern secular world. By definition, convergence occurs when people of different ideologies begin to approach the same point, even though they may be coming toward it from different directions, and engage each other in meaningful dialogue. This dialogue can change the world by aligning it more closely to God¹s will and God¹s Kingdom."

For his opening address at The Convergence, Dennis Peacocke, also president of Strategic Christian Services, "called the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness to task for their dissemination of lies in this century..."


The inaugural leadership conference, hosted by Dennis Peacocke and Strategic Christian Services was held in Santa Rosa, California on June 24-26, 1999. According to their Purpose, "The Convergence signaled the emergence of a far-reaching multinational movement to do exactly that: care enough to bring biblical solutions to the nations¹ wounds..."

Besides Dennis Peacocke, the 1999 Conference included: Bishop Eddie Long, Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church (a 22,000 member Atlanta fellowship); Bishop Flynn Johnson, Senior Pastor of Atlanta Metropolitan Cathedral; Wallace Henley, former staff assistant to President Richard Nixon, former senior pastor of The Encourager Church, and now running for the U.S. Senate in Texas; John Kelly, former NFL lineman, founder of Antioch Churches and Ministries; Dudley Hall, President of Successful Christian Living Ministries and pastor-teacher at Restoration Church near Dallas; and Richard (Dick) Bruner, Senior Pastor of Christ Church North Bay and President of Sent International, a prophetic ministry."

Dick Bruner had worked with Kent Philpott, a pastor who had a youth ministry, in San Rafael/Marin County during the Jesus Movement.

Dennis Peacocke's Strategic Christian Services provides the parallel mission and support to The Convergence:

    "Our mission is to pioneer in transforming the world we know into the world God has intended. This transformation, which requires genuine, lasting change in every area of contemporary life, is the venture to which the men and women of Strategic Christian Services have dedicated their lives."

Mr. Peacocke's associate, Jay Grimstead, drafted the "Worldview Documents," which involved cell groups for `sheep' and pastors. In 1986, Grimstead organized pastors of the National Association of Evangelicals into "accountability groups." 42 In other words, they became "shepherded."  

  1.   Bob Mumford, Lifechangers' Mission
  2.    op.cit. Riss, p. 140
  3.    Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare; The Politics of the Religious Right; p.118; South End Press, 1989
  4.    Ibid
  5.    Ibid. p. 119
  6.    Ibid
  7.    Ibid. p. 122
  8.    Ibid.
  9.    Lonnie Cognate Essay by David Disabatino
  10.    Ronald Enroth, Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and C. Breckenridge Peters, p. 93, The Jesus People: Old-Time Religions in the Age of Aquarius. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972.
  11.    Online Discussion String, Statement by one who parents attended the church that split
  12.    Op.cit. Diamond, p. 111-112
  13.    Ibid. p. 128
  14.    Ibid. p. 128-129)

Yes, you read that right--not only did Assemblies-affiliated preachers assist SBC dominionists in spreading a highly abusive tactic, but actually developed it as a way to split mainstream church congregations and turn them dominionist.  Of note, it also notes how "Charismatic" movements in mainstream churches have occasionally been seeded by the Assemblies, particularly in the Catholic church, and in some of the same mainstream churches that are now having dominionists attempting to split them via Institute for Religion and Democracy frontgroups.  In the case of the SBC and the National Association of Evangelicals, this (sadly) succeeded in the hijacking of those groups by dominionists.)

There are other documented cases of either dominionists within mainstream denominations being helped by, or dominionist movements being actively "farmed" by, the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International and the Assemblies in general; at least one former FGBMFI member talks about how "Catholic Charismatic" movements have been "farmed" by the FGBMFI.

This isn't the only type of sheep-stealing practiced.  There are upwards of forty or more documented front-groups of the Assemblies that operate on a national or international level, and many more that operate on a state or local level.  A large number of these fronts directly target other Christian groups:

Royal Rangers and Missionettes (may be promoted outside of the AoG proper, per the Wikipedia entries on the groups (Assemblies-operated "Christian Alternative" to Scouting programs; other churches (outside of the neopentecostal movement) may not be familiar with the Assemblies links)
Bible Bowl/Bible Quiz (which is promoted to churches outside the Assemblies and is supposedly the largest "Bible Bowl" group in the country in terms of participants)
Gospel Publishing House (religious publisher owned/operated by the Assemblies of God)
Global Youth Leaders Net (another branch of the Assemblies targeting youth, promoted as a "Christian alternative" to Junior Achievement et al)
Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (Assemblies-operated "front group"/accreditation mill for dominionist schools and homeschooling programs; may be promoted outside the Assemblies of God proper)
KingdomBuy (defunct dominionist "shadow economy" promoter, which is an Assemblies front group; per this page it is noted the group is affiliated with the Assemblies of God and per the following WorldNetDaily article is also one of the major funnelers of money to dominionist groups like the AFA; many major retails as a result have specifically disaffiliated themselves from KingdomBuy and retailers are now putting in policies of refusal to affiliate with any religious groups (THIS is the reason Target is no longer allowing the Salvation Army on its property; it's because of groups like KingdomBuy).)
"Messianic Jew" movements in general (the vast majority of "messianic Jew" groups that are not directly affiliated with Jews for Jesus are in fact essentially satellite churches of Assemblies of God congregations; the very church I walked away from hosted "messianic Jew" groups, and Rick Ross Institute has reported re coercive religious tactics and harassment; the movement in general and one particular Assemblies-affiliated "Messianic Jew" group in particular have led the state of Israel to consider banning Christian missionaries altogether)
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (an Assemblies front group focusing on both "Messianic Jews" and of AoGers themselves adopting Jewish holidays and ritual in the form of Messianic Jews; extremely controversial in Israel itself; of special note, has (ironically) been linked to a Holocaust Revisionist work called "The Pink Swastika" (re sponsor list: see annotated version; also note that at least one other Assemblies church is affiliated with this hate work) which claims that gays were not only NOT killed in the Holocaust but that the Nazi Party was almost entirely homosexual)
Together in the Harvest Ministries (main front group of Brownsville Assemblies of God church in Pensacola, major focus of "Third Wave" flavour of pentecostalism (which is widely recognised as particularly coercive; see<wbr> for more info); this site also has good info on coercive religious practices in Brownsville and similar "third wave" Assemblies churches; main focus of "Together in the Harvest" is spreading of "third wave" theology to other churches including outside of the Assemblies itself)
Youth With A Mission (may well qualify as Assemblies front group; group was originally founded by an Assemblies church, per the Assemblies of God is listed officially as an affiliated group, and is probably one of the front groups of the Assemblies most consistently associated with spiritual abuse.  YWAM is also linked with Assemblies televangelist Benny Hinn (per this article); is promoted outside of the Assemblies proper, either as Youth With A Mission or the group Mercy Ships, see below)
Mercy Ships (group associated with "Youth With A Mission" and promoted as dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to Doctors Without Borders aka Medecins Sans Frontieres; per this article noted affiliation with YWAM (another "stealth evangelism" front) and in fact the organisation admits its link with YWAM)
Chi Alpha (front group operated by the Assemblies for "stealth evangelism" in campuses in style of Campus Crusade for Christ; is associated with Assemblies of God per Wikipedia article on group; very interestingly, group was apparently founded by John Ashcroft's father showing the level of deep political links with the Assemblies itself; has been known to promote itself on college campuses as a "Christian Fraternity")

This isn't even counting televangelism--the Assemblies essentially invented televangelism and radio-preaching, and practically every religiobroadcasting network of any size not connected with Calvary Chapel or the Catholic Church is in fact linked with the Assemblies of God in some way:
PTL (now defunct) (was operated by Assemblies preacher Jim Bakker; archive of misbehaviour here)
Trinity Broadcasting Network (associated with Assemblies per Wikipedia article on founder; also major broadcasting source of most present Assemblies-affiliated TV preachers per this page; presently subject of investigation re financial accountability)
World Mission Media (the main center of the Assemblies' broadcasting empire proper)
NewsBreak (front group promoted as a "news service" and often broadcast on religious channels)
WorldBeat (Assemblies-produced programming targeted at teenagers)
Go360 (children's programming "front group" of Assemblies)
CrossWalk (dominionist website that is operated as division of Salem Communications, promoted by Assemblies frontgroup Healthcare Ministries; Salem Communications also has close links with Calvary Chapel religiobroadcasting empire)
WORD Broadcasting (front group operated by large Assemblies megachurch in KY that is de facto center of dominionist movement in that state; of note, is licensee of WJIE International (formerly WJCR), a shortwave godcaster (to which link goes).  Proof of front group obtained by fact church owns TV station licensed to WORD Broadcasting, operates radio station (with same call letters) licensed to church's school. Has set up pirate radio stations in other countries; also associated with High Adventure Ministries/Voice of Hope Jerusalem, below)
High Adventure Ministries d/b/a Voice of Hope Jerusalem (shortwave and satellite godcaster, associated with WJIE and carried on Dominion Satellite dba Sky Angel (dominionist DishTV reseller); partner with WJIE in setting up massive shortwave godcasting network; has operated clandestine radio station in Lebanon in past; major party in funding of "Messianic Jew" movements)

(Full disclosure--I am a walkaway from the church which operates both WORD Broadcasting and High Adventure Ministries.  Hence my familiarity with the abusive tactics :P)

But yes, this is "standard operating procedure" for the Assemblies--heck, a big part of how they recruit new members is "bait and switch" evangelism, among other things.  Seeding dominionist movements in mainstream churches is nothing new for them, sadly.

by dogemperor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 11:52:33 AM EST

Thank yo for taking the time to reply. The parallels are helpful to discover. I have printed off your material, and will take more time later to absorb it all, but the more we continue to make these kinds of connections, the better off we are all going to be in the long run.
Shalom, Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer "Time makes ancient good uncouth; we must onward still and upward who would keep abreast of truth." from Lowell, "The Present Crisis"
by John Dorhauer on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 12:59:26 PM EST
Here's some more info on the SBC "hijacking" connections with Assemblies-linked preachers into the "cell church" movement.

Dennis Peacocke, mentioned in the article below, is linked not only with Pat Robertson's televangelism empire (CBN, later the Family Channel) but is one of the founders of the Coalition on Revival, a major dominionist think-tank:

Dennis Peacocke's Coalition on Revival (COR) was co-founded and headed by Jay Grimstead. Peacocke was a disciple of Bob Mumford and his shepherding movement.; Jay Grimstead's COR Manifesto is the document which outlines COR's goals and objectives. The 135 Christian activists who signed the document in 1986 committed themselves to working for the realization of COR's goals "until the day we die." Those on the COR steering committee include other CNP members as well as recognized shepherding movement leaders such as  Bob Mumford and Ern Baxter, as well as Jack Van Impe.

Both Mumford and Peacocke were co-founders of the Coalition on Revival, and dominionists connected with the particular flavour of dominion theology promoted in the Assemblies of God still have a heavy hand in the organisation.  Freedom Writer (the publication of the late Institute for First Amendment Studies) has some particularly good material on this:
One catalyst for a Reconstructionist-oriented, shepherding-based movement has been the Coalition on Revival (COR), on whose steering committee sits top shepherds Bob Mumford and Dennis Peacocke, as well as Colonel Doner, and top Reconstructionists R.J. Ru shdoony and Gary North. COR is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California in Santa Clara County, near San Jose.

In September 1987, COR chief Jay Grimstead and his pastor Mike Kiley of the Home Church, organized a meeting of evangelical pastors in Santa Clara County. According to a tape of the meeting, their purpose was to set up a "pastors committee" for long-range social and political takeover. Grimstead proposed an experimental program to ground pastors in COR-approved theology and shepherding techniques over 18 months. They they would select 6-12 "elders, deacons, (or) staff" to become their personal disciples. When ready, they in turn would disciple other church members.

Grimstead enthused that with 25 churches so discipled, "we could create an army...of people who are ready to die for Jesus. And to die for your vision as a pastor."

Rev. Kiley described a discipleship program in which dissenters would be brought into obedience or expelled. He also said that when a city gathers enough disciples, "This is when Jay [Grimstead] comes in." He explained, "because once we raise up people, m any of them are called to areas of government... And we are able to filter them into the right type of places because they've been well-trained."

Grimstead explained that "several national groups of strategists are looking at 60 major cities" for long-term influence. This would include "replace[ment] of anti-biblical elected officials with biblically oriented candidates."

"So," he concluded, "we are launching experimental effort to get a model for how that is to be done."

Another excellent Freedom Writer article notes that Dennis Peacocke has even explicitly called for forming "Christian Militia" groups:
A California minister has proposed the formation of neighborhood militias as a way to fight crime. Dennis Peacocke, head of Strategic Christian Services, says the $23 billion dollars Congress allocated for the anti-crime bill should be divided among some 80 million able-bodied men (women "really don't want to rally to blow people away," he says) to fight neighborhood crime. Under his plan, each man would receive $300 a year. "Who is going to commit crime," Peacocke suggests, "if almost every third American is being paid to patrol the other two?" "What a deal! Get rid of the bad guys, kick a little butt and receive a supplementary income of $300 to boot."

"Equipping Christians," says Peacocke, "to rebuild the foundations of our social order, as we occupy until Christ returns," is the ministry of Strategic Christian Services. Working with church leaders, Pea-cocke develops City Action Councils to deal with community problems in cities throughout the nation.

The company mentioned, Strategic Christian Services, provides workshops and training for dominionist groups even to this day.

Peacocke has also--along with several other dominionists, many representatives of national level dominionist organisations--been charged with threatening members of Congress in the name of "spiritual warfare":

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner William Allen has charged a group of religious extremists with trying to intimidate him from running for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket. The group, "Christian Political Leaders in California," represented by Christian Reconstructionist leader Jay Grimstead, said in a letter that there would be three consequences if Allen pursued his candidacy.

The first was that they would expose Allen's campaign as indirectly aiding the "forces of darkness." The second "consequence" was that the group would ruin Allen's reputation, and finally, they said if Allen didn't withdraw immediately from the race he would be disciplined by God "however he sees fit," and that God "can deal very forcibly with us."

Allen filed a a complaint against the group with the California attorney general's office. Intimidation of a candidate is a violation of the California Election Code. The group writing the letter was drawn from the steering committee of the California Activists Network, headed by Grimstead, who also heads the Coalition On Revival. Congressman William Dannemeyer, one of Allen's opponents, is at the top of the list of its steering committee.

Some of the others listed in the letter were: Billy Falling, president, Christian Voter's League; Joseph Farah, editor, Sacramento Union; Duane Gish, vice-president, Institute for Creation Research; Don Rallman, regional director, Christian Coalition; Ben Ogilvie, Sacramento coordinator, American Family Association; Marilyn Jackson, district coordinator, Concerned Women for America; Jeff White, state director, Operation Rescue; Cyrus Zal, state legal counsel, Rutherford Institute; Dennis Peacocke, president, Strategic Christian Services; Robert Simonds, president, Citizens for Excellence in Education; and Sam Rodriguez, Rodriguez Campaign for State Superintendent of Schools.

Derek Prince, the member with the clearest association (besides Mumford himself) to the Assemblies, is acknowledged as one of the originators of the highly coercive "cell church" movement and to this day operates a televangelism empire; in a very, very common thread in Assemblies of God circuits, he's claimed to be nondenominational. A large part of his writing is in relation to "Christian Zionism" in regards to premillenial dispensationalism as taught within the Assemblies.  

Much of the good documentation on Derek Price and the dominionist movement is available in Sara Diamond's "Spiritual Warfare" (which is, quite frankly, one of the better books in print on dominionism as practiced within the Assemblies and similar groups).

One of the things Derek Price heavily pushes--along with several other Assemblies of God preachers--is marathon fasts involving consumption of only water for periods of up to forty days.  These "marathon fasts" are often even promoted with goods (such as Timex digital watches) given away to people participating and people who are ill and would have medical indications against fasting are often exhorted to join in "marathon fasting".  (Most experts consider complete fasting--no food, only water--of more than seven days to be risky even for healthy people, and "marathon fasting" is actually a criteria used by many exit counselors as a potential danger sign.) (This is also not the same as Ramadhan fasting in Islam, where food is abstained from during the day.  This is, flat out, no eating for 40 days straight.)

One of the major groups still promoting Derek Price are the Assemblies of God churches linked with the "Third Wave" and Brownsville movements as well as the "name it and claim it" theology heavily promoted within the Assemblies.

Ralph Mahoney (also mentioned in the article) is the founder of a group called World MAP, which is a group dedicated to exporting dominion theology worldwide.  It is a major source of promotion of "latter rain" theology--one of the descendent theologies of dominion theology within the Assemblies, and while originally it was officially condemned has been tolerated within the denomination since the 40's.  

At least one source has also identified World MAP as a major promoter of "deliverance ministry"--an extremely spiritually abusive extension of dominion theology that essentially teaches the entire planet is demonised (and is the primary defense for dominion theology used within the Assemblies itself).  

Mahoney has also been very specifically linked to promotion of dominion theology and specifically to Paul Yonggi Cho nee David Yonggi Cho, who essentially invented "Third Wave" theology in the Assemblies of God in the early 50's.  

David Duplessis is also another party linked who is heavily influential in promotion of dominion theology within the Assemblies.  The website Deceptino In The Church details more on Duplessis' history.

Elim Bible College is an Assemblies-affiliated bible-college that has been linked with other dominionists, notably the pastor who surreptitiously "annointed" the seats of the Senate with Wesson oil in an attempt to hex the Senate in the name of Christ and who later cursed families affected by the Sago mine disaster for doubting the existence of miracles or God.  (The second article has info I've been able to dig up on Elim Bible College and its rather extensive links to the Assemblies of God.)  The pastor in question also operates a dominionist group, the "National Pastor's Council", which is comprised almost entirely of Assemblies-associated, neopentecostal, or "charismatic" dominionist pastors.

Charles Simpson is the person in question of most interest to the SBC hijacking; apparently he was actively recruited by Assemblies-affiliated "charismatics" who were targeting the denomination as early as the 60's.  (In other words, Simpson was, quite bluntly, a "stalking horse".)  He eventually left the SBC and started his own neopentecostal church; he was apparently one of the founding members of the major promoter of "cell churches" because they felt their churches weren't practicing "spiritual warfare" enough.  

by dogemperor on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 04:00:05 PM EST

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by shaka22 on Sat Dec 29, 2018 at 02:54:59 PM EST

In the near future, I will do a feature piece on the Pastoral Referral Network, and also an article on churches who become vulnerable during times of pastoral transitions and why - these are key times for churches to get targeted for takeover. And yes, if the pastor comes from outside the UCC, alarm bells should go off.
Shalom, Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer "Time makes ancient good uncouth; we must onward still and upward who would keep abreast of truth." from Lowell, "The Present Crisis"
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As a former UCC minister in California and Hawaii, and one who still has a great deal of aloha for the UCC, I can't tell you how glad I am for this series.  Since I haven't been active in the UCC for years, I was unaware of these machinations and I'm glad for the awakening.  Keep it up.

by larry jones on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 05:47:28 PM EST

Hi John. Excellent series. I am lay UCC from Mount Vernon, Ohio. Got a couple questions about this George guy.

Back around 89-91 or so (really fuzzy memory), we had a young guy who was a Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio offensive football coach by that name attend our church. I believe that he resigned the Kenyon position and went to seminary. Quite sure that his first pastoral charge was in Missouri. Can your affirm or deny that this is the same guy? And, what he is up to now? I wasn't hooked into his life story that much then, but ... since my wife just graduated from seminary and is embarking on her first search and call, this crap is really "offensive"  ...

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