Rise of the Charismatic Leaders Council
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...
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.
Rise of the Charismatic Leaders Council | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Rise of the Charismatic Leaders Council | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)