Rise of the Charismatic Leaders Council
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:29:39 PM EST
As Foursquare Church Communications Director Brad Abare wrote on his blog early in 2007, about his trip to the annual meeting of a new Christian right leadership group founded in 2003,

'I flew to Orlando this morning on the Delta red eye. I'm traveling with Foursquare president Jack Hayford on a quick 36-hour trip as he facilitates the fourth annual "Charismatic Leaders Council." This gathering of about 100 "industry" heavyweights is hosted by charismatic publishing mecca Strang Communications...

The not-all-charismatic Charismatic Leaders Council includes people like R.C. Sproul, David Shibley, John Bevere, Peter Lowe, Che Ahn, Myles Munroe, Cameron Strang, Bob Weiner, Paul Crouch, Jr., Mike Bickle, Katherine Harris, Paula White, Paul Cedar, R.T. Kendall, Lee Grady, Cindy Jacobs, Reinhard Bonnke, Jack Hayford, and dozens of others -- I just can't see their faces from where I am sitting.'

The formation of the Charismatic Leaders Council reflects the rise in scope and influence of the Christian Charismatic movement--not merely within the domestic United States but also worldwide.

The expansion of the charismatic tendency within the Christian right, but also into liberal Protestant Christianity and the Catholic Church, indicates a rising new force within politicized fundamentalism that will soon exert significant electoral force, possibly in the 2010 mid-term elections but very likely in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

In terms of predicting the magnitude of that potential political impact, there is a possibility the Charismatic movement could blindside the American left to the degree that the late 1980's electoral mobilization of the Christian right, by Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition and by other electoral get-out-the-vote efforts, blindsided the Democratic Party in the 1994 mid term election, when the Republican Party gained a majority in both the US Congress and Senate.

Why might that be the case ?

As described by Charisma Magazine Editor J. Lee Grady, the 2006 meeting of the Charismatic Leaders Council featured the same complaints, on alleged cultural and moral decline, that leaders of the religious right have made for decades.

But, the Charismatic movement is fast pushing past many of the ethnic and nativist bigotries that have long stigmatized the American right. Even as the election of Barack Obama, as the next US president who will take office in January 2009, has triggered a racist backlash, the Charismatic movement is quickly moving into a dominant position in the movement and, regardless of whatever retrograde elements it is dragging in tow, the Charismatics are determined to re-position and re-brand themselves as a political rainbow coalition that will form a new, kinder and gentler yet also more extreme, face and dominant faction of the American religious right.

As J. Lee Grady concluded his January 13, 2006 Charisma Magazine story, 2006: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times,

Perhaps the most hopeful and positive signals given at the conference came from international and ethnic voices. Hispanic church planter Sammy Rodriguez, who is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, reminded the group that Hispanics and other immigrant communities are the fastest-growing segments of the American church...

Myles Munroe, a Bahamian megachurch pastor and international speaker, chided the Americans for being too narrow--noting that our sport of baseball celebrates a "World Series" that is for American teams only. Said Munroe: "You must develop a global focus."

Grady also noted Korean-American Pasedena-based mega-church Pastor Che Ahn's upbeat conference observation that "God has heard the prayers of American Christians during recent hearings to confirm Supreme Court Justice John Roberts". Ahn, whose meteoric rise has given his Harvest Rock Church ministry the financial heft to move into the mammoth and architecturally stunning Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, claims to preside over an apostolic network of 5,000 churches and ministries worldwide. But Che Ahn is himself, in turn, one of the 500 apostles in C. Peter Wagner's apostolic network, The International Coalition of Apostles(ICA). Wagner's ICA is probably the largest Apostolic network among the numerous Apostolic networks that have sprung up over the last several decades.

On page 47 of his book Churchquake! (Regal, 1999) C. Peter Wagner writes,

'Back in 1996, David Barrett, editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia, told me he had 1,000 apostolic networks on his database and he would estimate at that point more than 100 million new apostolic adherents worldwide. He later wrote and said, "Every time I do an approximate scan statistical count of this movement it seems bigger and bigger." Wagner then goes on to cite the growing scale of individual churches and individual revival event in the developing world.'
According to World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200, which was co-edited by Barrett, has been cited by famed theologian Harvey Cox, and is generally considered the standard reference work on trends and changes in global Christianity, those '100 million apostolic adherents' fall within Postdenominational Christianity, which according to World Christian Trends represented by AD 2000 approximately 385 million Christians worldwide and has 'no connection to historic Christianity.'

The Apostolic movement also falls within a tendency that has arisen since the 1980's, Third Wave Christianity, which represents 295 million non-denominational, Neo-Pentecostal and charismatic Christians worldwide and is both 'radical' and 'disturbingly different' according to World Christian Trends. Third Wave Christianity is preoccupied with healing miracles including raising the dead, a theme one could, promoted, in video footage from 2008, promoted from the pulpit of Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God in Wasilla, Alaska.

J. Lee Grady's tally, in his 2006 Charisma story, fleshes out Brad Abare's 2007 list of Charismatic Leaders Council members. Grady noted the attendance of:

"Steven Hill, Benny Hinn, James Robison, C. Peter Wagner, Stephen Strang, T.D. Jakes, Claudio Freidzen, Jane Hansen, John Dawson, Ron Luce, Casey Treat, Mahesh Chavda, R.T. Kendall, Sammy Rodriguez."

Out of the combined leadership role from those two years, from 2006 and 2007 and possibly representing about 1/3 of the total CLC membership, by far the largest bloc is under C. Peter Wagner's apostolic authority: Stephen Strang, J. Lee Grady (both with Charisma Magazine) Che Ahn, Jane Hansen (head of Women's Aglow), Bob Weiner (one of the founders of Maranatha Ministries) and Cindy Jacobs.

But, the extent of the influence of Wagner's faction hardly stops there. Most of the other leaders in the combined, two-year list have helped originate or at least entrained with, the demon-haunted "spiritual warfare" form of Pentecostalist and charismatic Christianity enshrined as doctrine in C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Peter Wagner's NAR has pulled together many strains within a broad movement that seeks a return to the earliest days of the Christian Church when, as described in Biblical scripture, Jesus worked miracles and delegated direct apostolic authority to his disciples.

Thus, under the "Five Fold Ministry" concept, there are now Christian Apostles, prophets, evangelists, prophets and teachers, each with differing levels of power and authority. At the top of the power structure, not surprisingly, are the Apostles and Prophets. The Apostles claim direct, divinely-endorsed political authority. The Prophets claim direct prophetic inspiration, from God, which can augment Biblical scripture and so change the Christian scriptural cannon established almost two thousand years ago.

Among the members of the 2006 Charismatic Leaders Council, was Sammy Rodriguez whom J. Lee Grady described as a "church planter." Rodriguez claims to preside, as an apostle, over his own international apostolic Five Fold ministry network. But Rodriguez also, as the head of the National Hispanic Leadership Council (NHLC), represents up to ten million Hispanic protestant evangelicals and up to five million charismatic Catholics. Rodriguez and other top NHLC leaders are currently listed as advisory board members to Lou Engle's The Call.

On November 1st, 2008 The Call staged a capstone rally to its successful push in the effort to pass the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 Initiative that came before California voters in the November 4th, 2008 election.

Lou Engle serves on C. Peter Wagner's elite Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. The Call focuses on opposition to gay right and abortion rights, and Engle has repeatedly forecast that conflict over abortion rights may lead to a second American civil war. Towards the end of the November 1st, 2008 San Diego Qualcomm stadium rally staged by The Call, Engle publicly called for Christians martyrs who would oppose an alleged wave of immorality and injustice threatening, claims Lou Engle, America.

Below: a Michael L. Wilson / Social Satisfaction Media short video documentary showcasing Lou Engle's rhetoric incitement for Christian martyrdom, at The Call San Diego.

attendee at the Charismatic Leaders Conference - is she the FL Secretary of State of the 2000 elections?

by NancyP on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:45:23 AM EST
There's an article, in the "Special Focus: Palin" section, linking Harris to C. Peter's Prayer-Warfare network. I'm not really sure what Harris has to offer now to the Charismatic movement though. Maybe she gets honorary status for her presumed role in the 2000 presidential election ?

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 07:28:24 AM EST
It's actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I'm happy that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

by bexpart on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:17:09 AM EST

Which is not something I usually do ! I really like reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind ! jocuri cu animale

by mar1us91 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:23:38 AM EST
joaca pe cel mai tare site de jocuri cu bile

by mar1us91 on Thu May 16, 2013 at 09:36:37 AM EST

Bruce, if you get a chance to go in person to one of these things it is quite interesting. The media often misses lots of good stuff.

by wilkyjr on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:10:38 AM EST
It's a pretty small club and apparently quite exclusive.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:30:20 PM EST

of members available anywhere, similar to the list of ICA members?

Based on who's listed there seems to be a lot of overlap.  Even though they're not all Third Wave/Joel's Army/NAR, you're right, based on this short list it seems the majority are.

And Bob Weiner's continued reascendancy into charismatic leadership is nothing short of astounding.  I would be willing to bet that right now he has a better reputation within this movement than his former MCM compatriots who started Every Nation.  He's continued to be connected to the same larger grouping of leaders all along since Maranatha "broke up" in 1990, but it's only been in the last few years or so that he's actually NAMED in press releases, articles, etc. meant to promote these types of groups.

Some of the non-charismatics like Sproul may be on this board largely to give it perceived clout within the larger Christian community, including Charismatics who are not (yet) part of the Third Wave/Joel's Army/NAR.  I know the leaders of EN would take advantage of photo ops, panels, board memberships, etc. with recognized Christian leaders for similar reasons.

by ulyankee on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:48:50 AM EST

This new leadership group may be too new.

Yes, the laundering of Bob Weiner's religious reputation is striking. As far as I've seen your take may be right - Weiner has come very far indeed. And, your take re Sproul certainly seems plausoble to me.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:35:23 PM EST

would take advantage of photo ops, panels, board memberships, etc. with recognized Christian leaders for similar reasons. jocuri de gatit

by mar1us91 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:32:34 PM EST

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