The "Lions In the Pews"
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 08:22:38 AM EST
Palin's Churches and the Third Wave
The leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation is not waiting around for the Rapture.  They are actively planning to advance the kingdom on earth by conquering the "Seven Mountains."

Sarah Palin's churches are being portrayed by many religion writers as typical of traditional Assemblies of God congregations.  This includes claims that she may share the endtimes belief that the godly will be snatched from the earth in the Rapture and therefore avoid the reign of the Antichrist in the Tribulation and the Apocalypse.  This conclusion completely ignores the fact that Palin's churches are deeply involved in the activities and beliefs of a nondenominational movement that is sweeping the globe.  The followers of this movement are not waiting around for the Rapture!

[video, right: Lance Wallnau summarizes the Seven Mountain Strategy to take control of religion, government, family, education, arts and entertainment, media, and business. Wallnau is a member of the International Coalition of Apostles and the Eagles Vision Apostolic Team.   He is introduced by Patricia King of Extreme Prophetic TV.]

Patricia King and Lance Wallnau from Bruce Wilson on Vimeo.
(Some terms are capitalized to distinguish them as having particular religious meanings.)

The title of this article was borrowed from one of several Dominionist authors who are currently promoting the idea of "prophetic fusion" or the convergence of the different strands of Christian Dominionism into a great force to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth now.  A rapidly growing component of this fusion of Dominionists is the New Apostolic Reformation.

The New Apostolic Reformation could be viewed as a parallel movement of some of the more familiar Dominionist groups that are often discussed on this site.  But this strand has emerged from Pentecostal and Charismatic backgrounds and has been nearly invisible to both the mainstream press and progressive writers. Like other Dominionists the New Apostolics are culture warriors and have specific stated goals for overtaking all spheres of American society and government as seen in the video above.  Also, like other dominionist groups they actually invest much of their efforts in fighting the traditional institutionalized church.  However, they differ from most other Dominionist groups in their embrace of the outpouring of gifts of the holy spirit, or manifestations, like being slain in the spirit, Holy Laughter, and other states of altered consciousness that are a part of their very experiential worship style.  The New Apostolic Reformation is also much more focused on the expulsion of demons as the process for healing, social reform, or even raising people from the dead.  They have a unique and extensive lingo that is dedicated to the description of the expulsion of territorial demons including terms like ground level spiritual warfare, occult level spiritual warfare, and strategic level spiritual warfare.

While Pentecostal churches have always celebrated a restoration of the church, this has been tempered with Rapture theology.   As churches embrace this Apostolic revolution they are moving away from the traditions of Assemblies of God and other denominations and  are adopting a  view of the end time that includes the triumph and perfection of the church as opposed to escaping  in the Rapture from an evil world descending into the apocalypse.  They see the imminent end times as a time of great glory for the restored true  Apostolic church greater than the one of New Testament times, and a time when the foot soldiers of this church will be imparted with supernatural powers. This outpouring of powers will allow them to crush evil with a "rod of iron" and deliver a purified church to Jesus when he returns.  Their schedule is even more pressing than many in other Dominionist groups because their hybrid mixture of end time beliefs maintains the urgency of an imminent return of Jesus.  The writer whose title I borrowed for this article states, "This growing army of delivered, discipled and deployed Christians are now prepared to become active participants in the cosmic battle for every area of God's terra-firma."  

Many of the statistics that are being published in articles about Palin's churches are basically correct in their analysis of Assemblies of God.  It is true that recent surveys of pastors in this denomination, report that over ninety percent believe in a premillennial return of Jesus, but only a little more than half of these pastors are Dispensational. Dispensationalism is the theological term for the end time narrative of the Rapture before the Tribulation, like the narrative popularized in the fictional portrayals of the Left Behind books and by televangelist John Hagee.) The individual churches that have become involved in the New Apostolic Reformation do not automatically alter their endtime beliefs, or change their faith statements to match those of other Dominionist groups, but instead gradually make subtle changes to allow for a triumph of the church in the physical earth before Jesus returns.  While the alterations in the narrative may be subtle, the change in the perceived mandate for these believers is dramatic.  In the doomsday scenario of Dispensationalism, the true believers are snatched from the earth in order to enjoy their heavenly reward and the evil are "left behind" to suffer the consequences of their unbelief.  In the evolving end time beliefs of the New Apostolic Reformation, the triumphant church becomes the army of God to cleanse the earth and punish the evil themselves.  

Sometimes the alteration to the Dispensational narrative is as simple as changing the Rapture to mean a spiritual outpouring by Jesus onto his Apostles and Prophets.  The leadership is leading the way in their willingness to reject the Dispensational Rapture doctrine.  

Rick Joyner, founder of Morningstar Ministries, is viewed from both inside and outside of the movement as one its major prophetic writers.  His numerous books can be purchased around the globe including (and this writer can vouch for this) bookstores in Africa and Asia.  Joyner writes,

"The doctrine of the Rapture was a great and effective ruse of the enemy to implant in the church a retreat mentality but it won't succeed.  Already this yoke has been cast off by the majority of the advancing church, and it will soon be cast off by all..."
(Rick Joyner, The Harvest, Charlotte, Morningstar Ministries Publishing, 1989, page 120)

But the urgency is still there if the Rapture is not.  Steve Thompson, Head of Prophecy at Morningstar Ministries, located outside Charlotte.  Thompson has traveled to Wasilla to led prophetic conferences.  He explains that urgency.

"See, Jesus is waiting - seated at the right hand of the Father, having all authority on Heaven and on Earth, having commissioned and empowered and deployed his disciples to go out to enforce the victory and the judgment that he won over the enemy and waiting until his people rise up and demonstrate their glory and those enemies are put under the feet of the body of Christ."
Morningstar Breakout, videoclip Week 17 / August 7-13 2008

Bob Jones in his "Shepherd's Rod for 2001" prophecy says,

The youth are going to begin to convert the shame associated with this generation to honor and glory for the Lord and His anointing. Whenever the reference is made concerning youth, it is denoting those born since the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade... It will be the role of this present generation to become "fathers" to the younger generation and disciple them in becoming the great army the Lord desires to use before His return.
(Note that his is not Bob Jones of Bob Jones University, but Bob Jones formerly associated with the Kansas City Prophets and currently leading events at Morningstar Ministries.)

John Bevere teaches the thousand-day-year of God or Third Day theology.  By his calculations Jesus will return in 2028 or 2029.

Another leader and author, Francis Frangipane, redefines the Rapture as the spiritual gathering together of Christ's body on earth.  In other words a perfected and triumphant church will come together in one body representing Christ on earth before Christ's return.  

Sarah Palin's church in which she was baptized and attended for over two decades, maintains a 3-year post high school program costing $8,000 per year, which inculcates Third Wave and New Apostolic Reformation ideas.  The Wasilla Assemblies of God Master's Commission uses curriculum designed by Steve Thompson, Francis Frangipane and John Bevere. The Master's Commission students flew from Alaska to participate in a prophecy conference led by Rick Joyner, Steve Thompson and Bob Jones at Morningstar Ministries earlier this year.  The Master's Commission posted pictures they had taken of these Apostolic and Prophetic leaders on their website.  Sarah Palin spoke at the ceremony of this year's Master Commission graduating class. See this video featuring Steve Thompson and Morningstar Ministries.

One person who has taken this message to those born after 1973 seriously is Todd Bentley, who was, until a few weeks ago, the healer at the Lakeland Outpouring revival.  In his personal testimony on his ministry website Bentley states,

Bob (Bob Jones) told me that I'm part of the "first fruits wave of a billion people that are going to be lit on fire.  My life is a message, a prophetic signpost of what God wants to do with millions of others....The Lord said, "I have a hidden, secret army around the earth that I will enlist and uncover at My time....In My time, even in a day, I will uncover a new breed of apostles pastors, prophets, and teachers - a new breed of ministry.  You are one of many first fruits of an entire army that I am equipping in these days."

See the article at Southern Poverty Law Center on Todd Bentley and Joel's Army and this video of Todd Bentley repeatedly kicking a cancer patient during a healing service. (Comments added to this video are not this authorís.) Note Bentleyís statement that he is doing Godís will. Ed Kalnins also traveled to Lakeland to participate in Bentley's revival in May of this year.

(Photograph is C. Peter Wagner, Convening Apostle and other Apostles leading the anointing of Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Outpouring. Rick Joyner is the bearded man behind him.)

Regardless of how the end time narrative is altered to allow for this triumphant army of God, these warriors believe they have a mandate to take control of all earthly spheres.  They teach that Jesus is waiting for humans to accomplish this task before coming to meet his Bride, the purified and perfected church.  This purification of the church will take place through a restructuring of Christendom under the Fivefold ministry. This means a revamping of the governments of the church and the earth primarily under the authority of Apostles and Prophets who are anointed by God as defined by the anointed belivers in the movement.  

Among recent articles claiming that Palin's churches are typical of Assemblies of God was a quote from an expert claiming that a researcher working on this project on Palin's churches is "mixing up a bunch of stuff."  The Third Wave is indeed a mixture of a number of strands that remained from the Latter Rain movement of the 1940s and 50s as well as more recent incarnations of related ideas found in a number of different revival movements over the last few decades.  Some of the strands making up the Third Wave came from groups referred to as Word-Faith, Prosperity Doctrine, Maranatha, the Vineyard Movement, the Lauderdale Five and the Shepherding Movement, the Kansas City Prophets, the Toronto Airport Blessing, and more. What the expert in that article failed to acknowledge is that segments of this mixed group are rapidly coalescing into a more organized structure and belief system under the auspices of the New Apostolic Reformation and similar interconnected international Apostolic networks.  The New Apostolic Reformation was coined by the convening Apostle, C. Peter Wagner less than a decade ago and has rapidly pulled these various threads into a powerful and more structured international movement. Wagner claims that the New Apostolic Age began in 2001.

The New Apostolic Reformation is pulling its growing numbers from across all denominational lines but has made inroads into a number of churches that are members of the Assemblies of God, just as the Latter Rain forerunner of this movement did in the 1940s.  While the ranks of the movement are being  filled with nondenominational churches and parachurch ministries, they are also drawing in large numbers of existing Pentecostal churches worldwide.  

Wagner himself reports that the only national denomination that has fully embraced their "new wave" is the Australian Assemblies of God.  Under the direction of former Superintendent Andrew Evans, this denomination experienced phenomenal growth as they increasingly embraced the "signs and wonders" of the Apostolic movement.  Despite controversy and resistance from more traditional Assembly of God leaders, the denomination's move toward these beliefs included a name change to Australian Christian Churches in 2007.  This is a part of the effort to become a unified and nondenominational entity that can absorb other churches.  This new designation now includes a number of former Pentecostal denominations in "voluntary cooperation." The Australian Christian Church is now headed by Brian Houston, head of the Hillsong Church and Hillsong's international network of ministries.  Hillsong is Australia's largest church and Houston is a internationally known figure in the Third Wave/ New Apostolic Reformation.

Andrew Evans went on to found Australia's Family First political party.  While he was Superintendent, Evans had written glowing reports about the "new wave" and credited Rodney Howard-Browne as one of the "prominent personalities in this revival." Evans invited Rodney Howard-Browne to hold a revival at Evan's church in Adelaide.  Evans also wrote in the same issue of the Renewal Journal about how to handle holy laughter and other outpourings of the Holy Spirit during services.  He used as an example Mike Rose, "pastor in the largest city in Alaska, who had Rodney Howard-Browne minister in his church" and added that Mike Rose was an advisor on Rodney Howard-Browne's Revival Ministries committee.  Mike Rose's church, Bethel Assembly of God, has since change its name to Juneau Christian Church.  This is Sarah Palin's church of choice when in residence in the capital city.  

As is the case of many revivalist or restoration movements, members of the New Apostolic Reformation view the traditional or institutionalized church as the major obstacle to their success, and in this case, their ability to triumph over the earth.

In his articles on "Civil War in the church," Rick Joyner claims that this war, like the American Civil War, will be between the "grays" and the "blues." Joyner and other leaders frequently repeat this theme.  The "grays" represent the institutionalized existing church which he claims is mired in legalism and "lives by the power of their own brains."  Meanwhile the "blues" represent those joining in the new knowledge and supernatural outpouring of visions and miracles.  According to Joyner the "grays" must accept the outpouring of the Latter Rain and end their escapist fantasies about the Rapture.  The victorious church will put all enemies under her feet.  The old church represents spiritual slavery and oppression.   Joyner believes that many who view themselves as Christians will be on the wrong side of this war.  According to Joyner,

"Then I turned and saw the army of the Lord standing behind me. There were thousands of soldiers, but they were still greatly outnumbered. I was shocked and disheartened as it seemed that there were actually many more Christians being used by the evil one than there were in the army of the Lord. I also knew that the battle that was about to begin was going to be viewed as The Great Christian Civil War because very few would understand the powers that were behind the impending conflict."
Rick Joyner, The Final Quest, 1996, p. 22)

However, despite being outnumbered, this new church will win the war because God has imparted special spiritual powers and secret wisdom to the true believers.  

Final Quest, which is an account of a prophetic vision to Joyner, also includes a meeting with an eagle. The eagle says to Joyner,

"You want to know who we are.  We are the hidden prophets who have been kept for this hour.  We are the eyes of those who have been given the divinely powerful weapons.  We have been shown all that the Lord is doing, and all that the enemy is planning against you.
(Rick Joyner, The Final Quest, Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA, p. 58)

The eagle in his vision represents the "hidden knowledge that has been saved for this hour."  You can see this prophetic eagle with the secret wisdom on Morningstar Ministries' logo as well as the logo of many of the ministries associated with the movement.   A number of other leaders have had prophetic visions of eagles and some have named their ministries for these visions.  C. Peter Wagner's inner circle is called the Eagle's Vision Apostolic Team.

The ability for those anointed with special gifts "to see what the enemy is doing" is used in spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare.  The World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs was built with the assistance of  Ted Haggard, who at the time led the New Life Church which adjoins the facility.  It is used as the central nerve center for compiling spiritual mapping data.  Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine describes the World Prayer Center as the spiritual version of the Pentagon.  He should know.   Both Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine, and  the publisher, Stephen Strang of Strang Communications, are currently listed as Apostles in Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles.  

The spiritual warfare specialists worked with C. Peter Wagner and George Otis, Jr. to compile testimonies about taking  cities through the expulsion of territorial demons. . (Otis is son of the late George Otis, Sr. who was the former head of the Christian Broadcast Network in the Middle East.)

These testimonies of "transformation" were compiled in a book authored by Wagner and another book by Otis.  Then four of these accounts were used in the Transformations movie produced by the Sentinel Group and featured in the previous article, Palin, Muthee, and the Witch.  Muthee is  known throughout the movement for his role in the first Transformations movie and has  also served on the board of the World Prayer Center International.

Ed Kalnins, Senior Pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God, is a close associate of Muthee and both have traveled across the Atlantic to visit each other's ministries.  Muthee has spoken at Wasilla numerous times and anointed Sarah Palin before she became Governor of Alaska.  In a previous article in this series are photographs of Kalnins and Muthee displaying some copies of the books by Joyner and  books by John Bevere, whose texts are used in the Wasilla Master's Commission training on authority.  

Ed Kalnins states that Francis Frangipane is his "spiritual father" and, according to Kalnins, his Wasilla church helped launch Frangipane's ministry by raising funds.  Kalnins recently traveled to both Lakeland to attend the Lakeland Outpouring, a healing revival led by Todd Bentley, and to Morningstar Ministries.  He brought back an anointing to his congregation which was delivered by the laying on of hands during a service on May 25, 2008.  Morningstar Prophecy director Steve Thompson and John and Lisa Bevere have made repeated visits to Wasilla Assembly of God.

Ed Kalnins of Wasilla Assembly of God is actively preaching and teaching theology which comes directly from the leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation/Third Wave. Kalnins has stated in sermons his desire that his church be Apostolic. This is Kingdom theology and Kalnins is quite open and blatant about the need for his church to take control for the Kingdom, starting with Wasilla and Alaska.  

While it is very true that Palin's churches may officially still retain mention of the Rapture in some form, there is absolutely nothing in these sermons, associations and activities to indicate that they are waiting around to be snatched from the earth.  Conversely, they are intent on taking control of society and government in the here and now.  

The naming of Sarah Palin as a vice presidential candidate has given this research new urgency.  However continuing exposure of the beliefs and influence of the New Apostolic Reformation should be a top priority for those who are working to maintain the separation of church and state. Religion writers who do not make the distinction between the aggressive Kingdom activities of these churches and traditional Assemblies of God beliefs are doing their readers a great disservice.

See other articles in this series at:

Link here for a Buzzflash interview with Bruce Wilson about the research on Sarah Palinís churches.

As a former member of another "Third Wave" aka New Apostolic Reformation church, Every Nation Churches (descended from the infamous Shepherding cult, Maranatha Campus Ministries), I can affirm that the prevailing eschatology of this movement has shifted from dispensationalist premillennial to a curious synthesis of premillennialism and postmillenialism.  It's "premil" in that they teach that Jesus will return soon, but "postmil" in that this Jesus will return IN this "unified" body (otherwise known as the "Manifest Sons of God" or alternately "Joel's Army" as dogemperor has exposed in depth).  So, won't be Jesus returning per se but a revelation in these people that they have the "authority" to act for God because they've actually become God.  The leaders of my movement specifically called their eschatology posmillennial, though, when questioned, said that eschatology is a non-essential of the faith, meaning that you can't leave the church over eschatology.  

The leaders of my former movement also redefined the rapture as "rapturing" youth out of sinful secular culture to their leadership and "covering" where they would be molded and shaped to rule and reign over "every nation," hence the new name of the movement.  Youth will be taught "how to think" under their leadership. I know that the lead "prophet" of my former movement, who is a member of C. Peter Wagner's Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, has taught that the generation of youth now coming of age will rule what his generation (which happens to be Palin's generation) reaches.

Here are a couple of sermons I've transcribed and are available online that may be relevant here:

C. Peter Wagner on "workplace apostles and the extended church" (note:  he gave almost the exact same talk at Every Nation's 2004 World Conference)

Jim Laffoon, "To Reach and To Rule"

Note that Wagner advocates something very close to sedition IMHO, where he claims that all the "spheres" of society and culture (the "seven mountains" ) are part of the church that need to come under their leadership, so they have the authority to overthrow the current government and replace it with their own:

But I tell you what, once everybody in all the church gets out into the workplace together, how important is it?  What church do you go to on Sunday?  It's not very important at all.  What's important is that you're the people of God out there, you're representing the kingdom of God, and you know this, but nothing has happened because the government of the church has not come into place.  See, the problem is, is that Satan has had too much of his way in our society because he has a government!  And the only way to overthrow a government is with a government. It won't happen otherwise.  So therefore the government of the church has to get into place in the extended church just like we do have it very well in place, we haven't reached our goal yet, but it's very well established in the nuclear church.

... We need to understand the full scope of the word, "workplace."  The thing about apostles is, every apostle soon learns that God not only gives the apostle the gift of apostle, but that God also assigns the apostle a sphere, or more than one, or spheres... But here's what I'm saying about the workplace, when we begin to identify the apostles in the workplace, we also need to recognize that part of analyzing the workplace, which is quite complex, is there are different spheres in the workplace, and there will be apostles raised up in the different spheres of the workplace.  There'll be apostles raised up in religion, apostles raised up for the family, for education, for government, for media, for arts, for business, for all these different spheres in the workplace.  So that's the scope of workplace.  We have a lot of work to do.  And somebody said, you know, I could never be happier being alive right now.  Neither can I.  I mean, this is going to be fun!  Seeing it all come into play!

(from above linked sermon; emphases mine)

Jim Laffoon also said this about indoctrinating youth to take over the US Presidency and world leadership in general:

I'm here to tell you by the spirit of God tonight that when you are discipled, when you are trained, that when you begin to understand that we are called to take these strategic power structures around the world, that we are called to take them, that we are called... and I appreciate George Bush, but I'm not interested in meeting the President, I want to disciple the next one. I am utterly, absolutely convinced that we will disciple the future leaders of every nation in the world. [cheers and applause] It is our mandate.

God has given us the hearts of the world's youth. We might shape them and mold them to go beyond reaching to ruling. I look for the day when God helps us train them and equip them how to think, how to affect their region, how to affect their nation.

("To Reach and To Rule;" emphases mine)

Note that most "pew sitters" have LITTLE CLUE what they are involved with.  (I sure didn't!!!!) However, since Palin grew up in this movement, had hands laid on her by some big figures, etc., I would guess that she knows full well that her "destiny" is to "reach" the world so that her (soon to be immortalized?) children can literally "rule" it, as Laffoon would say.  While Palin hasn't been discipled by him specifically, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that she HAS been discipled under the wings of the larger NAR movement.

Another academic researcher and I have traced much of the Manifest Sons of God, apostolic restorationist doctrine back to the writings of a late English Restoration era prophetess, Jane Leade, who taught that a perfectly unified Philadelphian church would come under the leadership of present day apostles and prophets (who themselves incarnate the 12 foundational apostles of the book of Revelation) eventually become immortalized as the second coming of Christ.  Leade came to believe that while this Philadelphian church was in its infancy during her period, it would come to fruition during our time, when the church would incarnate Christ.  While she largely faded into obscurity, several subsequent movements were deeply inspired by Leade, including the Moravians under Count von Zinzendorf (hence why there is a lot of neo-Moravianism in the Third Wave movement, particularly in the Rick Joyner/Morningstar and IHOP branches).  The early Latter Rain leaders of the 1940s and 1950s, including George Hawtin, George Warnock, and Royal Cronquist were aware of Leade's prophecies and referred to them in their writings.

There are some key differences between Leade and this group... one biggie being that Leade strongly advocated religious freedom, which was far from being reality in late 17th century England.

Another "prophecy" in the New Apostolic Reformation movement is that there is going to be a major "transfer of wealth" from secular control to their control (Wagner refers to it in the sermon linked above). And isn't that exactly what might happen if Congress passes the bailout bill as is, which would give unprecedented, unchecked financial power to the executive, just like there currently is over the military?

by ulyankee on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 11:43:05 AM EST

I am also seeing a very rapid trend away from premillennialism.  My area of expertise is Christian Zionism so I came into this research trying to document the move away from Dispensationalism which has actually been going on for many years.  I think the Left Behind books and other pop eschatology provided the illusion that premil was growing when it was actually fading away quite rapidly. LaHaye admitted as much himself. It just made it accessible to a wider audience when the fiction series were published.  I also think that books like the Left Behind series were used to bridge premil and postmil.  The Tribulation Force was a great device to add aggressive human participation to a theology that does not really support it.

Every Nation is a network that I have studied in relation to this research.  It is interesting that Rice Broocks continued to serve on Wagner's boards while apparently trying to publicly distance himself from NAR. Maranatha's Bob Weiner, on the other hand, is a member of the International Coalition of Apostles.

It is incredible how much of this "flies under the radar" of most Americans while, at the same time, there are literally thousands of internet pages dedicated to the debate over this movement. It is as if they speak a different language that no one else can read. Certainly this allowed Ted Haggard to partner with Wagner on developing the World Prayer Center but almost completely avoid being publicly connected to the spiritual warfare and spiritual mapping activities that Wagner and Otis were widely publicizing.

As you know, there is a great deal more to this story that has not been covered in mainstream press or progressive blog world.  But it is very difficult to provide even the beginnings of a foundation so that others can comprehend this material. I fear that it is so alien to most people that they find it hard to believe.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:34:50 PM EST

I meant to say in the first paragraph that Left Behind and pop eschatology fiction created the illusion that Dispensationalism (not premillennialism) was growing when it was really fading away.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 05:30:15 PM EST
I wrote a long response to you below after my comment on the 7 mountains when I should have done it here.  However, if you ever need any primary source materials relating to Every Nation or Maranatha, let me know.

by ulyankee on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 05:52:18 PM EST

It seems to me Wallnau's 7 Mountains are just the Reader's Digest version of the 17 Spheres of the old Coalition On Revival that so many evangelical leaders made a lifetime committment to.

by JerrySloan on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:23:57 PM EST
Yes, I thought about including that in the article.  The NAR now has a parallel movement going, complete with their own Worldview Documents. At one point I compared the list of the current Apostles of Wagner's ICA with the original steering committe of the COR.  I believe there was overlap of three individuals.  The fact that Wagner has given structure to the movement is allowing them to play a much larger role than in the past, both in numbers and in political clout.  

I also think their movement has a greater appeal to youth than some of the other Dominionist strains. The worship is, like our research team has occasionally said, a cross between church and a Grateful Dead concert. I should go back and add a video link to a Hillsong event to this article. There is certainly an appeal in the very experiential nature of the worship which reminds me of the rock concerts of my younger days. There is also a seductiveness to a belief system which claims that you can become like small gods with supernatural powers of your own.  It is difficult for other Dominionists to compete with that.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:58:13 PM EST

... is that it's a way to spiritualize it using language from the book of Revelation, in order to justify it to its membership and to the Christian community at large.   But yes, it's the COR's agenda.  I have to emphasize, as a former member of a church within this movement, that below a certain level of leadership (and indoctrination) most members in NAR and/or Third Wave churches do not have a clue what the movement's end goal is, partially because they don't know the real meaning of the Biblical-sounding terminology it hides behind.

One of the main reasons why Every Nation distanced themselves publicly from Wagner and the NAR is because they were responding first to criticisms from former members like myself, and later from members and pastors within the movement.  Behind the scenes they were teaching hard core Shepherding laced with a good dose of Latter Rain/NAR dogma as well as Christian Reconstructionism--some in their two year lay course (now Every Nation Leadership Institute) and much, much, MUCH more in their six month residential ministry schools.  However, those who were not actually enrolled in the courses weren't supposed to know that.  They also taught a lot of things verbatim left over from Maranatha days, though the "campus ministry" most of the leaders magically knew each other from before EN was founded in 1993 was never named.  There were also issues revolving around money and legal control over churches who didn't toe the line.  Several churches left during this period of crisis, which was about 2-3 years ago now, when both Rice Broocks and Phil Bonasso stepped down from their positions (although they are still VERY much in top EN leadership).  Every Nation also managed to join the ECFA which gave them a stamp of approval for sure (though Wagner's Global Harvest Ministries is also in the ECFA--so it's not exactly a stamp of theological health or anything).  

However, several top EN leaders are still on Wagner's apostolic boards--three on the Apostolic Council of Educational Accountability alone. Every Nation Leadership Institute, which all EN members are strongly encouraged to attend (and potential ministers MUST attend) is a member of the ACEA.  EN also publicly denied that they espouse dominion theology but I have recordings of several sermons from top leaders given after they released this statement that prove that they still do.  Not to mention that they still sell the 2004 World Conference DVD series which features Wagner's keynote speech, as well as several other EN leaders espousing dominionism... particularly Jim Laffoon who paints it as the raison d'etre of their renamed movement.

They never really said officially that they aren't in the NAR though.  They used Wikipedia to do it.  According to their page's history, an EN staffer was the one who posted that they are no longer part of the NAR.  However, it isn't on its official website.  There was a bit of a war over their Wiki entry for a while, where EN's PR staff had filed a couple of mediation requests to keep anything remotely negative off the page.  I also know that pastors/leaders are saying they're not affiliated with Wagner anymore when asked.

The number one thing that Every Nation avoids like the plague is ANYTHING that ties them back to Maranatha, or to Bob Weiner.  However, they run in the same circles.  The main difference between Every Nation and Maranatha, as well as Morningstar and IHOP which maintain more public, active relationships with Weiner, is that Every Nation has fused more Christian Reconstructionism into their working theology than some other churches/groups in the NAR, as I've indicated above.  I've heard them characterize themselves as "Reformed Charismatic," which I guess works if you take the most extreme views from both theological branches and try to graft them together.  If you are familiar with Samuel Butler's English Restoration satire Hudibras, blend the title character and his squire Ralpho into one and you have EN.

You'll find the same kinds of misleading statements if not outright lies from other churches and movements which are part of the NAR.  For example, I believe that at one time Mike Bickle's IHOP also denied that they espouse dominionism.  Yeah, right.

However, I will say that C. Peter Wagner has been fairly open about his scary, screwy plans.  If you read his books you'll get a really good idea where this thing is headed.  Also read Bill Hamon if you want to know when.  Bill Hamon's timeline is very close to Jane Leade's.

by ulyankee on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 05:45:10 PM EST

Speaking as someone who's been there, relatively speaking (re the Third Wave and the Assemblies)--yes, there are a few Assemblies churches not part of that movement, but especially in the past fifteen to twenty years it's been a vanishingly smaller part of the denomination.

This is in part because Paul Yonggi Cho (nee David Yonggi Cho), who has been very active in promoting Third Wave stuff and has a record since at least the mid-sixties in attempting to foment "Brownsville"-style revivals, effectively ran the denomination worldwide in the 90's (he was head of the World Assemblies of God Council).  This is also, notably, the period where the Assemblies of God (on a US-wide denominational level) was praising the Pensacola Outpouring as a genuine "move of God".  (Much documentation here on how Cho is primarily responsible for the embracing of a lot of these "bad habits".  Of note, I am a survivor of one of the earliest churches where a "Brownsville"-style revival was attempted to be fomented--and this was in the 70's.)

I would argue that at this point--especially since the late 80's or so--the Third Wave rot has become institutional even within the US Assemblies; whilst some specific brandings of Third Wave doctrine have been officially condemned (Joel's Army), the movement is widely tolerated in other brandings (like "Elijah's Army" and so forth, that don't use the specific "swarm of locusts" imagery of Joel et al but still embrace the "we must name and claim the planet" ideology) and pretty much has been even since the "Latter Rain" days.  (The movement itself hasn't been condemned so much as specific "name brands"; the same toxins tend to go underground via different name brands and are widely perpetuated.)

Of course, if the Assemblies were serious about rooting out Third Wave Madness, they'd probably have to expel the majority of their membership at this point--including, as you noted, the entirety of the Assemblies in Australia and potentially Korea, as well as practically every major Assemblies megachurch worldwide.  (The church I escaped from, which has been promoting Third Wave Madness as long as I can remember--and I am well into my thirties at this point--is the seventh largest Assemblies congregation in the States and a major stop on the travelling-preacher circuit in the Assemblies.)  There are pastors who've tried to oppose this who've found themselves forced out of their own congregations, sadly.

I do thank you for noting that this is far from restricted to the Assemblies, though.  (One major conduit for this spread has been the FGBMFI as well as the use of "cell church" cuckoo-churches in otherwise mainstream congregations--which is how the CoE church that ultimately produced the Alpha Course was subverted from within by a "cell church" associated with the Association of Vineyard Churches.)  Much of the spread can be associated with a distinct family of neopentecostal churches that does include the Assemblies, but--as you noted--the cancer has metastasized, so to speak.  (This is another reason why mainstream churches have to be REALLY careful about cell groups.)

One underappreciated conduit of both maintenance of "Latter Rain" to the present day and spread of Third Wave doctrines--the FGBMFI, which promotes itself as a parachurch org.

Also underappreciated, even by researchers--this has been festering a lot longer than just within the past 15 years or so.  (Then again, most of the knowledge of this has been from us walkaways who are from pre-Toronto, pre-Brownsville "Third Wave" churches within the Assemblies who've been to the Sunday evening and Wednesday evening and early Sunday morning services that are supposedly more "spirit filled" where the unleaded Third Wave stuff tends to be promoted.)

by dogemperor on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 11:23:20 AM EST

Thanks for the work you did in this area when very few writers were paying attention! I think one of the reasons it is so hard to get people to look at this movement is because it is complicated and hard to easily label.  Certainly various strands of this have been around for a long time but it was difficult to define it as a specific entity.  Now that the New Apostolic Reformation has institutionalized to this extent, perhaps researchers and writers will be able to follow the story.  

I fear you are right that the Third Wave has overwhelmed the Assemblies of God here in the U.S. much like they did in Australia. I followed the Todd Bentley situation closely and watched as people wrote and posted desparate letters to the AoG to stop what was happening.  Unfortunately it seems that it is hard for churches to fight back against the appeal to some of this type of sensational belief and activities.  Also they are having to compete with the direct marketed nature of today's religion and the fact that many of these independent ministries are tapping into public funds for youth centers, homeland security training, etc.  I hope this article adequately conveys that this Apostolic movement is a war against other churches, perhaps even more than it is a war against secularism.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:26:21 PM EST

Ruth, I know that you've characterized the worship as almost a Grateful Dead, rock concert style atmosphere.  This is intentional for two specific reasons... one practical, and based on my research into the historical underpinnings of this research, one mystical.

Practical:  Music can be used to quell dissent and control emotional response, behavior, and eventually beliefs.  If you haven't gotten a hold of some of the audio or video from Wagner's "National School of the Prophets" conferences, particularly the ones from 1999 and 2000, you should.  These are where several NAR leaders openly discussed their plans to take over churches, deal with pastoral and lay opposition, and bring (or align) them under their newly established "apostolic government."  Laffoon talked about using worship to get people to submit to leaders that they normally wouldn't.  I also have a tape of him saying almost the exact same thing in EN's flagship church in the US, Bethel World Outreach Center, a few years later.

Mystical:  You'll find this in the more mystical, neo-Moravian branches of the movement, including IHOP and Morningstar.  They pattern their worship against that of the Moravian church under Count von Zinzendorf.  If you study church history you'll find that the Moravians were renowned for their musical worship during a time when a lot of Protestants didn't believe that it was even appropriate (mainly because it was considered "Romish").  The Moravians directly influenced the Wesley brothers, and of course many of Charles Wesley's hymns and songs are still sung even today.  HOWEVER, Zinzendorf's view of worship and 24/7 prayer/praise was influenced by Jane Leade's "New Theory of Musick," where music would be the "key of David" that would align the Philadelphia church with the heavens and make Jesus come back spiritually to this church.  Leade's ideas were in turn based on the widely-held Renaissance concept of "music of the spheres" but taken to the Nth degree.  

And as I've implied above, many if not all the top leaders of this thing know full well about Leade, the Moravians, and what they are doing in historical context.  They spent the 90s visiting Hernhutt, the graves of famous early 20th century healers and evangelists, the Wesleys' graves, other sites of famous revivals to "redig the wells" and (supposedly) tap into the spiritual powers contained in these locations. The whole point of TheCall events is to use music/sound to align the heavenlies with earth; to open portals and call down spiritual forces to earth.  Just prior to TheCall Nashville, Wagner and some of his compatriots conducted "River Flush USA" where they supposedly flushed the demons in the Mississippi River basin into the Gulf of Mexico to prepare the way for TheCall.   There is very definitely a method to their seeming madness.

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