Palin's Church Does Not Teach A Pre-Trib Rapture
Palin's church of twenty years, Wasilla Assembly of God, does not teach a pre-Tribulation Rapture.
The New Apostolic Reformation leaders with whom Palin has been associated do not teach a pre-Trib Rapture.
Another one of Palin's pastors, Larry Kroon, has written that believing in a pre-Trib Rapture is like telling "a football player that he can't be on the field in the last three minutes" or telling a soldier that "you've got to get ready for it but you're not goin' on the beach at D-Day." Yes, all of the above have very literal end times beliefs, but their eschatology is actually much more problematic than belief in a pre-Trib Rapture. They believe that born again Christians will still be on earth to battle evil in the Tribulation, and this is precisely what makes Palin's beliefs a matter of concern.
Those who believe they may be Raptured at any moment have no logical incentive to take control over government and society. However, those who believe that they will remain on earth during the prophesied horrors of the end times (the Tribulation or "time of Jacob's trouble") are motivated to prepare to fight the anti-Christ and his demonic forces. This is a somewhat complex theological issue which has been made more confusing by the fact that the gradual shift away from dispensationalism created a lot of illogical and hybrid eschatology. The recent popularity of end times fiction, like the Left Behind series, obscured the fact that these books represented the last gasps of a dying theology. Tim LaHaye actually helped the process along by selling 60 million plus books that made heroes out of those who were still around to fight during the Tribulation, not those who were Raptured.
Simply put, the churches and pastors with whom Sarah Palin has the closest association, believe that in preparation for the end times the church must take "dominion" over the earth. They believe that a unified church will emerge victorious in the end times. They have very specific agendas such as the 7-M or ”Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture” campaign designed for the purpose of taking dominion over key areas of society. This process for taking dominion has been taught at Wasilla Assembly of God by Lance Wallnau, one of the international promoters of the campaign, and by Thomas Muthee, one of the stars of the internationally viewed series The Transformations, which teaches spiritual warfare techniques. Wasilla AOG has helped to support Muthee's Kenyan ministry and Muthee anointed Sarah Palin in a ceremony before she ran for state office.
Jeff Sharlet has tried to explain this same concept in regard to "The Family." They are also not waiting around to be Raptured but are working to break down the walls of separation of church and state so that the their brand of religion can exercise control over government policy. The "Seven Mountains" campaign concept is attributed to the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusades and Loren Cunningham of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), which is closely associated with The Family and the C Street House.
Most of the evangelists with whom Palin has been mostly closely associated are part the New Apostolic Reformation, or "Apostolic and Prophetic" movement, which has completely abandoned the belief in being Raptured prior to the Tribulation. They view dispensationalism as being wimpy, defeatist, and an insult to the church. This movement has taken root throughout many independent charismatic churches but also many churches in denominations such as the International Foursquare Gospel and the Assemblies of God. A 2002 study conducted by sociologist Margaret Poloma found that 58% of AOG pastors responding "believed in a dispensationalist interpretation of scripture." This points out the dangers of trying to identify the eschatology of a specific pastor or church based on a simplistic definition of their denomination, a practice which is no longer viable given the fracturing in denominations and growth of post-denominational ideology.
Those taking part in the New Apostolic Reformation are primarily teaching mid-Trib or post-Trib premillennial narratives. A few of the leaders have moved into full blown post-millennialism, similar to that taught by Gary North, however, most New Apostolics are still premillennial and they have distinct theological differences from Reconstructionists. They teach that the Tribulation is imminent and that these events could begin at any moment. Youth in the movement are being taught to be prepared to fight in the coming battles with some leaders already openly calling for martyrs. Following Palin's speech at the Wasilla AOG Master's Commission event in June 2008, the ceremony was completed by the awarding of swords to the graduates.
Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic that he contacted Thomas Ice of Tim LaHaye's Pre-Trib Center to asks Ice about Palin's comment that "more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel." Goldberg quotes Ice as saying,
"I've read that Palin has been part of an apparently unique movement I've heard of -- that her pastor, when she was in the Assembly of God, believed based on some personal revelation he claims to have gotten from God, that the Jews would move to Alaska during the Tribulation."
The dispensational theology of the pre-Trib center is based on interpretation of biblical scriptures. The New Apostolics believe that they continue to receive prophecy revelations directly from God and these messages are then disseminated throughout their extensive spiritual warfare networks in all fifty states. This has included many prophecies concerning Palin.
This should be of the utmost concern to all Jewish leaders. While John Hagee still shouts that the Rapture could take place before his sermon is over, and his dispensational beliefs are permeated with anti-Semitic themes, much of his Christians United for Israel (CUFI) leadership and event hosts are now New Apostolics. Many of the leaders of Christian Zionist activism at the international level are part of this Apostolic and Prophetic movement.
Shifts in eschatology mean changes in activism. In plain English, the current trend removes theological restraints and mandates humans to move the hands of the prophetic clock themselves. This includes support for aggressive proselytizing and Messianic ministries. Only Messianic, or evangelized Jews are necessary in this end times scenario in order to bring about the 1000 year Christian utopia or Millennium. Most New Apostolic media still includes the dispensational-based prophecy of "hunters" who will persecute Jews and lead to a "second" or "final Holocaust" forcing the remaining Jewish communities of the world to flee to Israel. This was the meaning of the fishers and hunters reference in Hagee's now infamous sermon quote, which was unfortunately almost completely disregarded by most pundits. In the New Apostolic narrative, born again Christians will not watch from the grandstands of heaven, but still be on earth to shelter these fleeing Jews. They believe that that out of gratitude to a new generation of "Righteous Gentiles" those fleeing Jews will convert in mass numbers and that this will help to bring about the prerequisite condition for the Millennium.
This was the meaning of Wasilla AOG pastor, Ed Kalnins, reference to Alaska as a refuge state in the end times. Numerous books by evangelists in the New Apostolic movement portray graphic details of the coming persecution of Jews and also promote support of the growing Messianic movement in Israel. I have seen mission statements from airport ministries which claim to exist to move fleeing Jews in the end times. Charismatics across the denominational spectrum have been working to bring Christian Zionists and Messianics together as "one new man in Yeshua." Instead of the armies of Christ fighting the wars of the end times, they believe that they will jointly represent the body of Christ and fight the enemy themselves.
These Messianics, together with "Spirit-filled" or charismatic Christians, believe they will jointly share in the earthly utopia which will be headquartered in a "greater Israel." Increasingly this utopia is being described in New Apostolic media in earthly and human terms as opposed to being a heavenly and futuristic event. In other words, as conservatives Eric Voegelin and William Buckley might warn if they were still alive, this is a massive effort to "immanentize the eschaton."
Palin's Church Does Not Teach A Pre-Trib Rapture | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
Palin's Church Does Not Teach A Pre-Trib Rapture | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)