Ron Luce's "stealth evangelism" guide exposed (part 1)
dogemperor printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue May 16, 2006 at 10:04:00 AM EST
There've been quite a number of good articles written regarding Ron Luce and his "BattleCry" gatherings, as well as his group "Teen Mania":

Responding to the 'BattleCry' campaign: Introducing 'Acquire the Evidence'
"Battle Cry" Youth Rally in Massachusetts, Summer '04
Christ's Righteously Equipped Warriors
Battle Cry Last Weekend in Philadelphia

In a reply to one of the latest posts, I mentioned Luce's extensive connections to the scarier parts of the dominionist movement, specifically the "spiritual warfare movement" within dominion theology.  In that reply, I mentioned Luce having a history of promoting "bait and switch" evangelism--including the actual publication of a manual.

In this post, we're actually going to focus on this manual, which is actually a "blast from the past" all the way back from 1995--and to educate you, the reader, on the ways that Luce encourages youth to recruit kids to dominionism.

Backgrounder--a history of the bait and switch

First, I should give a bit of backgrounder.  "Bait and switch" evangelism--often termed "servant evangelism" or "stealth evangelism" in the dominionist communities where it's promoted--is the concept of earning the trust of an individual, or holding an event, with the purpose of prosyletising to them--but without letting the target know at first of your intent to attempt to convert them.  It is actually a fairly major way in which the more pente dominionist groups recruit, and has direct implications with fighting dominionism (as I'll note below).

One common method for more organised groups is to hold "anti-drug rallies" at public schools, or to hold "dinner parties", or even run haunted houses, without ever revealing the connections to a dominionist missionary group; at the end, when the doors are locked and the money has been taken, the people are subjected to hard sell evangelism.

People are actively encouraged to find ever more creative ways to trick people into being subjected to a bona-fide pentecostal altar call (and no, the comment there isn't accidental; the Assemblies of God has been historically one of the biggest promoters of this particular method of recruitment other than the Moonies (who call it "heavenly deception"), as I'll note below).  This has included, notably, even infiltrating other Christian churches (the practice is termed "sheep-stealing", and the Institute for Religion and Democracy almost stole the tactics it uses for splitting and hijacking congregations fullscale from pente-affiliated "shepherding groups" who used this to plant "charismatic" cell churches within non-pentecostal denominations with the goal that the "cell church" would eventually take over the home church a la the Borg).

As I noted, this tactic primarily started within the more pente branches of dominionism, especially churches heavily into the "dominion theology" movement and its associated "spiritual warfare" theology. Possibly the first group I know of that has promoted this aside from the Moonies is none other than the Assemblies' own Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International--a group extremely active in dominionist movements both here and abroad, and one of the groups with the earliest documented history (dating back to the beginnings of the Cold War and the first major waves of promoting "dominion theology").

This is actually one of the favourite tactics to target children and teens in particular, and in recent years ("recent years", of course, being defined as "within the last thirty or so") one of the major expansions of "bait and switch evangelism" is to get teens themselves recruiting other teens in using these same deceptive recruiting tactics.  Luce is, by far, not alone in this--another particularly infamous group promoting this is an Assemblies "youth ministry" called the Seven Project which promotes itself to schools as a group for "at-risk youth" and teaches kids techniques of "bait and switch" evangelism as well as being a form of "bait and switch" itself.

A history of the reviewed document

Also, here's a bit of brief cultural backgrounder regarding the other major principle player behind the pamphlet--Carman Ministries.

Carman Ministries is an organisation run by "Christian contemporary" performer Carman Dominic Licciardello (who uses only his first name as a stage name).

Carman has been particularly popular in "spiritual warfare" circles, largely because he is a major promoter of it; also, much of his popularity is because of the extensive "parallel economy" in music promoted by dominionist churches (who typically teach that any "non-Christian" music is by definition Satanic).  It is probably not an exaggeration that in many hardline dominionist churches, Carman is one of the few popular artists that teens are allowed to listen to.

Partly because of the heavy promotion of "spiritual warfare" (documented nicely in Biblical America Resistance Front's website; BARF are the same folks now running the excellent site Acquire the Evidence), Carman has been a increasingly controversial figure, with some more mainstream evangelicals expressing concern that Carman Ministries may be, or may be in the process of becoming, a coercive religious group.

Not unsurprisingly, one of the major sources of Carman Ministries' funding is the DeMoss Group, which is a major bankroller of dominionist causes.  Carman has himself promoted dominionist worldviews, notably, being a major promoter of David Barton and Wallbuilders (the latter being an explicitly Christian Reconstructionist group promoting the "America is a Christian Nation" canard; Barton himself is also an explicit Christian Reconstructionist, having not only founded Wallbuilders but having headed the Texas GOP during its hijacking by dominionists and also being on the board of the Providence Foundation, another Christian Reconstructionist group, and even actively assisted Dubya in recruiting Christian Nationalists of all stripes as a campaign assistant specifically dealing with church outreaches).

Now that you know the general backgrounder here, we'll get to the meat of things:

An expose of a manual on "bait and switch" evangelism

Probably one of the best ways I can think of to show just what sort of thing we're dealing with (with the "BattleCry" seminars and such) is by looking at a manual Luce has written himself: specifically, the R.I.O.T. Manual  which is designed as a guide to "bait and switch" for kids.

This is one of the better examples I've found of what I mean by the "private face" of dominionism; this was distributed by Carman Ministries (and would primarily have been gotten by dominionist youth already active in "spiritual warfare" movements) in 1995 (showing how long this has been the "norm") and was written by dominionists, for dominionists.

I would like to first note a huge "thank you" to Biblical America Resistance Front, who not only originally reported on the R.I.O.T. Manual but formerly had the full text available.  (The full text is still available via archive.org, and it is this archived text which I will refer to here.)

Anyways, to quote James Lileks, "Let's begin".

The book starts out right at the beginning promoting the dominion-theology version of "spiritual warfare":

This manual will help you start a R.I.O.T. - a Righteous Invasion of Truth - in your town. We wrote it to get you ready for battle and to send you into war. Our purpose is not to tell you about a R.I.O.T., but to motivate and equip you to get a R.I.O.T. going. A R.I.O.T. makes the devil mad and brings lots of people to Christ.

Many people talk about doing something for God. They attend conferences and seminars where they talk about reaching people, but very few do anything about it. This manual is different. It gives you specific tactics to use to invade the devil's territory. It is an ACTION manual. That means that you will DO something as a result. If you read and follow the suggestions here, you will end up on the winning side of the battle for souls. You will see your life count while you are young!

Let's see--already, in the first paragraph we're having kids talking about "going to war", "making the devil mad", and in the second they're talking about "invading the devil's territory".

This is classic "dominion theology" talk: according to one of the core beliefs, God and man are seen as having "lost dominion" at the Fall, and Jesus died not to win the world back but to make it merely possible for "God Warriors" to do the grunt-work of "spiritual warfare" to "claim dominion over the earth for God and Jesus".  (This is also, notably, the theological basis for political dominionism as well in these groups--governments, too, and entire countries must be "claimed for Christ".)

Interestingly, this also plays straightaway at what many people interpret as a "martyrdom complex" in dominionism but--in the "spiritual warfare" theology--is actually a bit more complex.  It's taught explicitly that anything that is not of the group is Satanic or capable of being used by Satan (because it's not been "claimed for Christ") and that not only will young "God Warriors" be cursed but that the level of oppression will be directly in relation to "how close they're walking for God"--because Satan is literally using everyone else to bring you down and oppress you as a sort of infernal temper tantrum against their "good works".

In other words, the more you act as a competely obnoxious God Warrior, the more you'll get attacked--but not because you're being completely obnoxious, but because Satan really, really hates the idea of you being a God Warrior--thus, you should be even more obnoxious, because this is seen as a sign you're doing a good job.

(This is one of the reasons it's notoriously hard for people to walk away after their teens from these groups.  It's also, notably, widely considered a major warning-sign of a coercive religious group; the "Thought Control" section of Steven Hassan's BITE Model almost completely covers this.)

Continuing the martyrdom complex, they literally compare their actions to those of the participants of the L. A. riots after the "not guilty" verdicts of the policemen involved:

1. WHAT IS A R.I.O.T.?

It was a load of dynamite waiting to explode. The whole country waited with anticipation for  the jury to decide. Someone would be disappointed no matter what the final decision was. As the verdict for the police officers accused of beating Rodney King came sweeping across the air waves - not guilty - the unthinkable happened in downtown Los Angeles: a riot!

It all started one night when King decided to drink and drive. He was going 80 mph when a highway patrol officer tried to pull him over. King knew if he were caught he would be sent back to prison for violating parole, so he ran. For eight miles, he tried to outrun the police cars that chased him. When finally cornered, King responded slowly or not at all to the police officers' orders, and even two hits with their stun guns seemed to have no effect on him.

When King, an African-American, fought off the officers trying to handcuff him and ran, the four white officers tried to subdue him by more violent means. At this point, a guy across the street began to capture the scene on video.

King was arrested and brought to trial, but many Americans had seen and knew no more details than the beating of an African-American man by four white police offi cers. Many were outraged and vowed revenge. When the trial resulted in an innocent verdict for the police officers, Los Angeles went wild.

Crowds ran down streets looting stores and breaking windows. People of every race hit, stabbed and beat anyone who got in their way. Rioters pulled drivers from their cars, then tipped over the cars and burned them. The victims were people of every age and race. Some lost their life savings as their businesses burned to the ground. Others lost their lives.

The National Guard was called in, but it took a long time to quiet the anarchy. By the time things settled down, more than 50 people were dead, 2,300 injured and over $1 billion in property damage done. Like it or not, what many never thought could happen in the United States had happened: A RIOT! . . .

First of all, a riot is "unrestrained." You can try all you want - as the police in L.A. did - but you cannot control it. The fury is so great, the passion so deep, that there is no restraining it. There are no rules - rioters make their own rules. A riot is like a wildfire in the forest that cannot be contained. Get out of the way, or be blown out of its way.

A riot is an "uproar." It is like an explosion. In fact, the pur pose of a riot is to get noticed. The louder the uproar, the more it will be noticed. Like an earthquake to the people who are watching the riot from afar, it lets them know the seri ousness of the matter.

Notice that a riot does not take place in private. It is out in the open where everybody can see it. By its nature, it cannot be private. It has to get people's attention. Those in the riot are not ashamed that others are watching; they are proud. They will get their message out no matter what the cost. They feel they have tried everything they know and no one has listened. They feel forced to do something in a big, very visible way.

Yes, they're comparing themselves to the LA rioters--no matter that there are portions of LA which have still not recovered even ten years afterwards.

Later on they note Paul's imprisonments (which, notably, they neglect to mention were at the hands of a repressive Roman government) and mention that kids are likely to suffer, and end with the stinger:

Paul had a reputation for stirring things up. What's your reputation? Sometimes we worry so much about ruffling people's feathers that we do not do what God has called us to do. We worry more about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

... A R.I.O.T IS LIKE AN UNRESTRAINED UPROAR IN A PUBLIC PLACE,
TURBULENT, RIGHT IN YOUR FACE
WITH THE FACTS, WE'RE GONNA SPREAD GOD'S WORD A
ND ATTACK EVERY LIE YOU'VE HEARD
LIKE THE DOCTRINES OF MEN THAT ARE STILL FALLEN PREY
TO THE SILVERY SWORD OF GOD'S WORD TODAY.

IT'S TIME FOR A 20TH-CENTURY HOLY RIOT!

RIGHTEOUS: Acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin. Arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality. To conform to the Bible.

INVASION: Military aggression. Incursion of an army for conquest or plunder. An armed attack.

OF TRUTH: Loyalty or faithfulness to a standard. Reality. The real state of affairs.


(song lyric in italics from Carman's "R.I.O.T." (from which the guide is named, and which was distributed with the single), as quoted in book)

Yes, you read this right.  They're promoting, quite literally, imagery of a public insurrection as the kind of things young "God Warriors" should emulate in their "spiritual warfare" imagery.

Think about THAT the next time you read about the BattleCry stuff or, for that matter, the whole concept of how the young are being expressly groomed for being future dominionist leaders.  This is where it's leading, and why I genuinely fear for this nation and for the kids involved.

And yes, the lyrics really ARE that bad.

There's more "the angrier people get, the more certain it is you're doing the right thing" imagery on page 13:

In a Righteous Invasion of Truth (R.I.O.T.), rather than being destroyed, people's lives are put back together. There may be some wreckage, though. When Satan's plans are destroyed he gets stinking mad. But we say it's about time we made him mad!

In a R.I.O.T., God comes on the scene and people are never the same again. It is time for us to throw off our restraints and go for it. Start ruffling some feathers; stop being so polite to the devil! Quit playing it safe and step out on the edge for God. He is looking for someone with guts enough to go for it! A R.I.O.T. is a risk-taking operation. You don't risk your life, as they did in the L.A. riots; you risk your reputation.


I should note, as a minor aside, the "devil" noted is, quite explicitly and implicitly, pretty much anyone who isn't a dominionist and dares to speak out against this nonsense.

It's also of note they claim it's one's "reputation" at stake, neglecting to mention that many of the tactics promoted are likely to get people suspended or fired (as I'll detail).  Nor do they mention the fact that--especially in regards to the more coercive dominionist groups--people can literally have their lives destroyed.

Later on, the "See You At The Pole" events are promoted as a good example of "RIOT Action".  This, too, is a subtle reference to "spiritual warfare"; Religious Tolerance, a site based in Ontario, has documented multiple reports of a particularly disturbing tradition at SYATP events:

Edmond North High School in Edmond, OK: Nearly 150 Christian students gathered in the school yard during the 2005 SYATP event. They wrote the names of non-Christian students on pieces of paper. Darrell Haley, a youth pastor at the local E-Church brought a portable wooden cross which was set up next to the school flagpole in an apparent violation of the principle of  separation of church and state. The papers were then nailed to the cross. Darrell's daughter Rachel wrote, "God truly moved in such a mighty way. I just felt the presence of God and the Holy Spirit at our school today." Olga Cossey, an adult youth leader at Witcher Baptist Church, said that seeing the students nailing the symbolic pieces of paper on the cross was a very emotional moment for her.

Kaufman High School in Kaufman, TX: The Baptist Standard web site featured a photograph and short article describing students from the First Baptist Church of Kaufman at the 2001 SYATP event. They who were attaching pieces of paper containing prayer requests to a wooden cross. It is not clear how many pieces of paper contained names of non-Christians in the school.

(References from article: Mark SchlachtenhAufen, "Faith renewed for local students Wednesday," The Edmond Sun, 2005-SEP-22, originally at http://www.edmondsun.com A photograph of the cross with the names of non-Christian student appears at: http://www.youthworkers.net/PDF/syatp2005_1.pdf (warning: potentially triggering); YouthWorkers is a "youth ministry" umbrella group whose participating ministries are primarily dominionist groups, including Teen Mania, the Assemblies of God (and at least four of its frontgroups), a number of (primarily) pentecostal dominionist churches, and also including a number of groups considered coercive religious groups) "See you at the pole," Baptist Standard, 2001-SEP-24, at: http://www.baptiststandard.com/2001/9_24/pages/pole.html (also features picture of names being nailed to cross, potentially triggering))

Multiple other sites have reported on this--one need merely do a Google search for "See You At The Pole" "cross" "nailed".

And yes, this is the sort of stuff that's encouraged as a Good Thing by Luce and crew.

In fact, these charming folks even promote the idea of God as Creepy Stalker (yes, like that's going to win souls):

A R.I.O.T. is using every spare moment to reach out to lost people. It is creatively expanding the kingdom of God. It is strategizing and coordinating with friends to take over a part of your school or town for Jesus. It is a full-blown blitz! It is making everyone think, God, God, God! That is all I ever see and hear! God stuff is everywhere!

That's right! That is exactly what we want them to think. We say, "Get the picture, dude! God's got your number. He is after you!"


Of course, most workplaces would term something like this "creating a hostile work environment"; the US Air Force Academy is in rather a bit of a serious controversy and is being investigated primarily because people are being harassed by "Stalkers for God".

The classic examples of "bait and switch" are promoted in the next few pages (counting the touching story of a dominionist who actively took advantage of two guys on the football team who were grounded and only allowed to attend Bible studies), and includes even more spiritual warfare ideology (and just a bit of scripture twisting to boot) on pages 17-18:

A riot usually starts when people are dissatisfied with the status quo. Tired of puffing up with too much for too long, they say it is time for a change. Scripture says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it" (Matt. 11:12). Jesus tells us here that He came to change the status quo. He points out that since He and John came on the scene, some amazing things had happened in God's kingdom. After years of relative quiet, someone showed up who knew what was sup posed to happen and by force took hold of God's kingdom.

Today, God is looking for some young people to do the same, people who have had enough of the world cramming sin and a sinful lifestyle down their throats and acting like it is cool. Since the Garden of Eden, the devil has had a free- for-all - abusing, taking advantage of and deceiving people - with almost no resistance. He has manipulated us and given us a raw deal for so long that we accept it as the way things are supposed to be. We think it is normal to be ripped off by Satan. It happens all the time, but we don't get mad because we're used to it.

Well, we think it's time to get mad - mad enough to start a R.I.O.T.


Yes, the imagery is quite clear--"you'll take us converting the world to a dominionist theocracy, and by God, you'll like it".

Matt. 11:12 is taken out of context; Etext's handy RSV and KJV Bible texts shows that the actual context of this Bible verse is in Jesus specifically praising the work of John the Baptist, and later on he condemns the dominionists of his own time for accusing John the Baptist and Himself of being demon possessed.

In fact, the verse quotation is from a particular version of the Bible that has mistranslated it.   According to the text in the RSV (considered by most mainstream Biblical scholars as a more accurate translation of the Bible than the KJV or NIV) the verse alone describes people ATTACKING Heaven, not a marching mass of "God Warriors":

12: From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.

The KJV version is similar: 12: And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

According to online texts I've been able to find, the particular rendering in the book is from the New International Version (or NIV), a particular translation often seen as even less accurate than the KJV, one which was originally written by a consortium of conservative churches (including, notably, the Assemblies of God) with the very specific goal of promoting dominionist theology (to the point that Greek texts were occasionally used in preference of Hebrew or Aramaic, and occasionally employing very controversial translations that do not appear in any other version of the Bible) and which is commonly used in Assemblies churches due to its friendliness towards spiritual warfare theology.  In fact, this page has an example of how this mistranslation from the NIV is used in Assemblies churches to recruit youth to "spiritual warfare" movements.

The book gives a telling idea of what a Pax Dominionista would be like:

It's time for us to be mad that young people sit mesmerzed for hours by mind-numbing music videos, distracted from paying attention to eternal issues. We should get mad that teens listen to hours and hours of anti-God, anti-Jesus music every day and spend only a few minutes reading the Bible (if that much!). We ought to be infuriated that many young people find their purpose for life in sports rather than in the One who made them in the first place.

Likewise, we should be sick and tired of all the safe-sex jargon and of school officials who pass out condoms and advocate homosexuality as a normal, alternative lifestyle.


Yes, people who dare to watch music videos (as if MTV actually shows such things more than twice a year anymore!), play sports, or do anything other than stick their noses in an NIV Bible and join their local "Spiritual Warfare" auxillary are to be condemned in their worldview because they aren't "Christian enough".

These folks would like, quite honestly and bluntly, to make the "parallel economy" they have in the dominionist world the only economy worldwide.

Later on in Part 1, the book encourages people to make a "hit list" of things "the devil is doing that make you mad".  (We assume that "promotion of a horrific twisting of Christianity called 'spiritual warfare' dominionism" is not an acceptable answer on the list.)

In page 24, it encourages people to be as obnoxious as possible (and, quite possibly, in direct violation of Jesus' commandment to "not be like the Pharisees" in being a complete obnoxious lout in public in regards to one's faith):

When you bring a R.I.O.T. to town, the locals should know that you have been there. The city council and mayor should know that you are doing something to stir up righteousness in your town. The newspapers and T.V. stations should know that something is going on with your R.I.O.T. Squad. When you start a R.I.O.T., everyone will know.

Packs of roving "God Warriors" are actively encouraged (the better to annoy people to conversion with, my dear):
So we all agree we need a R.I.O.T. The question is how do you start one? Well, you don't do it alone. You need a R.I.O.T. Squad to help you. A R.I.O.T. Squad is a group of wild teens who want to stir up some trouble for the devil. They are tired of living a boring Christian life and they want some action. They don't talk about doing something; they actually go for it. And they need each other to pull it off.

Sometimes God will encourage you to do things on your own, and you need to act on those things. However, God doesn't call us to be Lone Ranger Christians. Scripture says, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together... (Heb. 10:24-25). Get hooked up with other people who have the same passion and fire for God that you have.


More lovely scripture-twisting here; Hebrews 10:24-25 is: 24: and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25: not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (RSV version)

The actual context is with Paul speaking to the Jews about how the Old Covenant (requiring a sin offering) is no longer needed in Christianity, as Jesus is seen as the "sin offering", and is in general promoting the love of Christ rather than Levitican law--a point lost on most dominionists.

Later in the chapter the book actively encourages people to list potential "marks" for bringing in as members of a little "God Warrior" squadron and even gives the first of what are multiple adverts for Luce's own groups:

During your first official R.I.O.T. Squad meeting, give mem bers a vision of what you will be doing. Remember, you want them into it as much as you are, so let them have input. Don't make it "my Squad," but "our Squad."

Your first time together you will want to:

  * Come up with names of others who may want to join your R.I.O.T. Squad.    

  • Make sure everyone gets a copy of this R.I.O.T. Manual. All Squad members should read it and understand the vision for a R.I.O.T.    
  • Talk about what R.I.O.T. gear you will need.    
  • Look at all the R.I.O.T. tactics listed in Part 3 and decide which ones you will tackle first.    
  • Decide when to start implementing the tactics.    * Set a date for your next meeting.

HINT: One of the things you can do to get your R.I.O.T Squad pumped up is attend an Acquire The Fire Youth Convention when it comes to your area. Acquire The Fire can help you: 1) get your R.I.O.T. Squad focused, tight and ready for action; and 2) find others who want to start a R.I.O.T Squad. Call 1-800-329-FIRE for information on the Acquire The Fire nearest you.

Now you see the point of "BattleCry" and things like it--recruitment, plain and simple.  And yes, they're teaching kids as teenagers the fine art of dominionist networking.

One interesting bit is in its operating procedures it tells youth to "honour your authorities" but later teaches them how to explicitly bend or break school rules.  (More on this in a bit.)

More scripture-twisting starts in Part 2:

We Christians are in a war, but our war is not against the devil. Jesus won that war when He died on the cross. We battle for the souls of people. We fight to keep our faith alive and to share it with others (see 1 Tim. 1:18).

God has not put us in the middle of a war without giving us weapons. If your R.I.O.T. is going to have lasting results, you'd better know what weapons you have and how to use them strategically. Some of the weapons that the Lord has given us we use to defend ourselves against the devil. God knows that the devil will try to attack you, especially as you begin a R.I.O.T., so He provides protection. These defensive weapons keep you from getting picked off by Satan and his buddies. They help you defend yourself against "all the flam ing arrows of the evil one" (Eph. 6:16).

But God wants us to do more than defend the territory we already have; He wants us to take over enemy territory! To do that, we have to advance into areas where the devil now dominates. The Bible says:

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heav enly realms. (Eph. 6:12)

Our R.I.O.T. is spiritual, so we'd better know how to use spiritual weapons before we go into war.


One would think a major part of that "spiritual weaponry" would be in not using scripture twisting to justify "spiritual warfare" ideology.  (At least the book is frank enough to admit that dominionists are warring in fact against non-dominionists and see people as territory rather than as sentient beings.)

1 Timothy 1:18 is "18: This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophetic utterances which pointed to you, that inspired by them you may wage the good warfare" and is being misused as an actual call for "spiritual warfare" theology (even more explicitly so in the NIV version).

The actual context is in regards to Paul writing to Timothy  about his own salvation and in fact condemning people who pay far too much attention to the letter of the law rather than one's spirit and conscience (literally rendering two of the people he is criticising for this to Satan!)--an issue which was destroying the Macedonian church of the time.

Ephesians 6, a favourite of scripture-twisters, comes up not once but twice, both times completely out of context.  Ephesians 6:16 is a reference to the "armour of God" (specifically the "shield of faith") and the entire "Armour of God" section is widely misused in the "spiritual warfare" movement to justify their theology; Ephesians 6:12 has been misused similarly.  The entire context of Ephesians 6 is in fact teaching that all members of the church have a place and must support each other, and for people in the church to have faith even at times of persecution for things will right out in the end (Paul in fact using his own imprisonment to note this).

Page 38 continues the misuse of the "armour of God" imagery of Ephesians 6, and in fact encourages the formation of cell groups in pages 38 and 39.

Page 41 begins the heavy emphasis on "Stealth Evangelism":

Also available to you are concealed weapons. Although lethal, most people never know you are carrying them. Here are your concealed weapons:

1. Holy Spirit. Here's what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:

The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)

There are gun detectors and metal detectors installed in many high schools today, but they don't have any Holy Ghost detectors yet! What are they going to do - send you home if you bring the Holy Spirit to school? Nah! Kids say, "We can't pray at school!" Who is there to stop you? They say you can not bring God into the school. You cannot help but bring Him in; He lives inside you!

2. Pocket Bible. Take a Bible with you wherever you go; don't leave home without it. It doesn't have to be huge; a small one is all you need. Read it when you have a few minutes between classes. Refer to it all day long. Use it to help people who are struggling.

As a R.I.O.T. Squad member, you are totally into God. You want His Word with you wherever you are. Have it handy so you can regularly blast your brain with it!

  1. R.I.O.T. Manual. We made it small so you could carry it all the time. Refer to it for ideas on how to keep a R.I.O.T. going. Use it to remind yourself of the tactics you commit to and the weapons you have. Carry it so you will remember specific tools for sharing your faith. The Bible is your Sword; the R.I.O.T. Manual is your dagger.

  2. Memorized Scripture. This concealed weapon is power ful. Learn Scriptures that will minister to people. Be able to use the Bible to show others how to give their lives to the Lord. Store Scriptures like these in your heart:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)   For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)

    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)

    But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart;" that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming. (Rom. 10:8)

    if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Rom. 10:9 - 10)

    Come to me, all you who are weary and bur dened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28 - 30)

    Here I aml I stand at the door and knock. if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

Learn these Scriptures backwards and forwards. Hide them in your heart, so you can use them whenever you need them.

To hear these people speak, they lived in Communist China or Taliban Afghanistan where proselytisation would literally cost someone their head--not the average high school where Bible clubs are technically allowed as after-school activities!

There is so much scripture-twisting it's not funny, and some of the twisting involves some old favourite verses of the dominionist community (taken out of context, of course):

John 14:17 is in larger context of Jesus noting that if one knows Him, one knows God and the Holy Spirit and in general instructing his disciples to keep faith.  (This is a speech, notably, just before his Crucifixion, and much of the speech in John 14 is specifically in regards to Jesus knowing he will eventually be persecuted and executed.)

John 3:16 is quite possibly the only verse here that isn't twisted explicitly, but is paired with Romans 3:23 in a creative form of scripture-twisting.  John 3:16 is in fact part of a larger dialogue (rarely quoted) which is part of a debate between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus regarding whether Jesus was in fact the son of God; Romans 3:23 (written by Paul, who never met Jesus face-to-face) is part of a longer monologue describing how all men have salvation and that Gentiles as well as Jews could be saved through Christ.  (In full context, Paul was saying the Jews--seen as God's chosen people--were just as much "sinners" as non-Jews were.)

Romans 6:23 is part of a much longer context (is in fact, the final verse in the context) of Paul describing the concept of men being resurrected in Christ symbolically (the Evangelical concept of being "born again"); Paul also describes the concept of salvation through grace, and notes that the Saved have an obligation to "walk the good road", so to speak.

Romans 10:8-10 is in larger context of Paul again describing the concepts of universal salvation (for both Hebrews and non-Hebrews), and in fact is part of a sub-monologue that is frankly condemning of people who dictate whether someone will go to heaven or hell (in other words, the important point is you have faith in God, and you act in a good way according to that, because actions speak far louder than words--another point entirely lost on dominionists)

Interestingly, Romans 10:9-10 has occasionally been used to justify "name it and claim it" as well.

Matthew 11:28-30 is from the same section previously mentioned involving Jesus praising John the Baptist and condemning the dominionists of his own time.

Revelation 3:20 is a quote from the book that in fact may have been the most scripture-twisted in the entire Bible (the entire concept of premillenial dispensationalism is based largely on a literalist reading of it, for example).  The legitimacy of Revelation is, and has been, in rather serious question since its inclusion in the Bible, and most Biblical-historians now consider Revelation part of a body of apocalyptic writings that were essentially meant as coded messages for the Christian community during a time of extreme political repression by the Romans.  (In other words, Revelation is essentially the equivalent of a political cartoon--similar to how George W. Bush is occasionally referred to as the "Chimperor"--in terminology that the Church would get but would be indecipherable to Roman authorities.) Hence, stating what anything is in Revelation in context is difficult at best.  The passage seems to be part of a (heavily coded) message regarding remnant Christians and advising people in general to keep the faith (in common theme to apocalyptic literature); at least one other section of Revelation 3 (Rev. 3:15-16) is the source of the "lukewarm" church insult (used to demean mainstream Christianity) and Rev. 3:17-18 have been used to heavily pressure people to give large "faith offerings" to dominionist churches.

In fact, the entirety of Part 2 is massive scripture-twisting to justify spiritual-warfare ideology that could have come straight from an Assemblies of God tent meeting.  (To document all the examples would require at least two posts dedicated to it.)  The style of a large part of this section is a perversion of the "armour of God" ideology, only depicting the "armour of God" in terms of police armour.

One particular section, "Cuffs" (beginning on page 50) has an extremely heavy emphasis on "deliverance ministry"--the same "deliverance ministry" that is frighteningly similar to Scientology in its abusive tactics:

5. CUFFS

Use your cuffs to bind the devil. It does no good to go in where the devil is running around and start trying to do something for God. You have to take charge of the situation as Jesus described:

    No one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. (Mark 3:27)

If we are going to start a Righteous Invasion of Truth, we first have to bind the devil. We take authority over him and let him know we will no longer tolerate what he is doing. Jesus said:

    And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18, emphasis added)

How do you cuff 'em? How do you bind the devil and drive out demons? Simply say something like this:

    Devil, in Jesus' name, I come against you and bind you away from my school and my work. Take your hands off my friends, (name them), and take the blinders off their eyes. I refuse to let you run this place anymore. By the power of the Holy Spirit. I rebuke you and tell you to let them go! Jesus gave me authority over you, so you must get out!

It is clear that we are supposed to take charge of the spiritual realm. If this is where our struggle is, then this is where we'd better fight. Don't start any tactic in your R.I.O.T. with out first binding the devil.


Yes, you too can be a teenaged Marguerite Perrin (of "Trading Spouses" infamy).

Of note, this is specific dominion-theology imagery (as if it weren't obvious) and specifically pente dominion-theology imagery.  Mark 3:27 is misused in "deliverance ministry" circles to promote the idea of people "opening doorways for Satan" on occasion, and Mark 16:17-18 have been misued to promote the "signs and wonders" movement in general, the entirety of the pentecostal movement, and even including the "snake handler" pentecostals of Appalachia (of which at least one or two a year die of snakebite and/or poisoning--to the point most Appalachian states have banned the groups, though they still exist underground).

Of course, this "binding" also includes such charming things as nailing people's names to crosses at See You At The Pole events and "territorial pissings" with Wesson oil in 5-gallon garden sprayers when they're a bit older.

The group also promotes the concept that people help the poor out of "guilt" and the only acceptable reason to help the poor is by converting them; they also frankly encourage "love-bombing" a target. The whole section is a good study in the rampant misuse of Scripture to justify dominionism, and it's easy to see how a "good Christian" kid could get sucked into something like that.

Part 3 of this manual details a plethora of tactics for "bait and switch" evangelism, and is extensive enough that it requires a section all on its own.  As I'll note, many of the tactics border not only on the harassing but the frankly illegal (as kids are actively encouraged to stalk and harass others).




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Houston's I Stand Sunday
In response to Houston's gay mayor's solicitation of church sermons, on Nov. 2, 2014, Houston Texas will host an I Stand Sunday.  The event,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.