77: Pray
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 09:40:25 AM EST
In 1977, the Talking Heads rose to avante-rock stardom when David Byrne's hit song "Psycho Killer" drove their "77" album up the charts. Twenty years later came another audio milestone - This American Life #77, which chronicled a radical reinvention of the biggest religion on Earth: Christianity. While Alix Spiegel didn't know that what was going on in Colorado Springs, at Haggard's church in 1997, represented a radical break with historic Christianity, she nonetheless grasped the essential - of how anti-modernist ('medieval' even ) and far right New Life Church really was. As Ira Glass introduced Spiegel's segment:
"Usually we think of prayer as a private thing... In Colorado Springs, Colorado, there's an elaborate program underway involving dozens of churches and thousands of people to pray - not just for those nearby but to try to fundamentally alter the civic life of their city, through prayer. The details of how they do this are complicated. It's almost like a modern door-to-door marketing or canvassing campaign - they use maps, and computers, and statistics to chart out what parts of their city need prayer, for what reasons - merged with something that couldn't be less modern - prayer. When This American Life producer Alix Speigel started to investigate it, it became something she could not get out of her mind. She decided she had to go to Colorado, to see what it was all about."
Spiegel found there was another, darker, dimension to the prayer program: Ted Haggard's New Life Church members were - street by street and block by block, toiling to expel, one by one, with prayer, the teeming territorial demon spirits they believed plagued their city. And they were maintaining, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, a prayer shield over their city to prevent those evicted demons spirits from re-infesting Colorado Springs.

Christianity is changing.

In her commentary for radio segment number 77 of Chicago Public Media's This American Life, episode 77, Pray, Alix Spiegel described herself as a secular Jew who, admittedly, did not understand Christianity. But what was going on at Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 1997 had, according to World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200, "no connection to historic Christianity."

In his 1998 book The Life Giving Church, Ted Haggard describeda 1992 meeting in California during which it was agreed that Haggard would materially support C. Peter Wagner. In 2001, Wagner declared the advent of a second Reformation... At 928 pages of minute, triple-spaced text, World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200, published in 2001, was reportedly the most exhaustive single research study of Christianity since the religion was born.

Widely considered one of the standard reference works on the subject, the tome was produced by the Protestant evangelical U.S. Center For World Mission and, for that, there might be reason to suspect it's objectivity. But the very point of the mammoth effort that produced the book was to generate accurate data to facilitate more effective global evangelizing efforts. Thus, it's authors took considerable pains to maintain relative academic neutrality.

World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200 features clinically precise definitions of the myriad branches of worldwide Christianity which currently encompasses roughly 2.1 billion of the world's people. Ted Haggard's church, which calls itself "non-denominational," would most likely fall into a broad stream of Christianity that World Christian Trends calls Postdenominational.

Beginning on page 303 of the book, World Christian Trends lists 280 dichotomies which separate Denominational from Postdenominational Christianity. As one of those, Postdenominationalism has, according to the book, "no connection to historic Christianity."

It's a tendency that, over the last several decades, has washed over  world Christendom. According to World Christian Trends, by AD 2000 Postdenominational Christianity represented 385 million Christians globally.

And within Postdenominationalism, an even newer an more radical faith has erupted: the Third Wave.

Since the tendency emerged in the early 1980's, Third Wave Christianity came to encompass, by 2000, over four percent of the Earth's total population, some 295 million people. There are few historical precedents for such a seismic shift.

A rupture has occurred. Several hundred million Christians worldwide, more every day, are sailing into the uncharted waters of a theological system that has nothing to do with historic Christianity and which might have been, during the Medieval period, considered the wildest form of heresy.

One of the more distinctive characteristics of Third Wave Christianity, which World Christian Trends calls "radical" and "disturbing" is its doctrine that average Christians can learn to raise the dead. It's a claim one can hear promoted from the pulpit of Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

*

To listen to This American Life episode #77, "Pray", is to hear the march of the new Christian Right. In 1999, Jane Lampman, for the Christian Science Monitor, wrote two back-to-back stories about the World Prayer Center and the global prayer movement, then coordinated from the WPC which was created as a joint effort between Ted Haggard and C. Peter Wagner. One is still publicly available: Targeting cities with 'spiritual mapping,' prayer

Lampman's ground-breaking story began with:

Can the 'spiritual DNA' of a community be altered?" That's the question posed in a Christian video called "Transformations."

Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee is convinced that it can be. In 1988, he and his wife, Margaret, were "called by God to Kiambu," a notorious, violence-ridden suburb of Nairobi and a "ministry graveyard" for churches for years. They began six months of fervent prayer and research.

Muthee was a star in the Transformations video series. In 2005, he blessed and anointed Sarah Palin.

The single best public source of research on the evolution of the ideology that's now propelling much of Third Wave Christianity is Rene' Holvast's 2005 three hundred page doctoral dissertation, Spiritual Mapping: The Turbulent Career of a Contested American Missionary Paradigm, 1989-2005 ( file is a 1.9MB PDF )

In November 2008, Brill Academic Publishers released Holvast's re-worked dissertation as a book: Spiritual Mapping in the United States and Argentina, 1989-2005: A Geography of Fear . Brill's description of the book is the following:

Spiritual Mapping is a U.S. Evangelical and Neo-Pentecostal movement (1989-2005), which developed its own religious technique to wage a 'spiritual' war against unseen non-human beings. These 'spirits' were identified along the lines of geographical territories and put on a map, whence 'Spiritual Mapping'. Its intended function was to boost the numerical growth of Christianity. This book offers a comprehensive historical-descriptive approach of both the movement and the concept, with special attention for theological and anthropological concepts. Its historical roots, relation with Argentina, self-understanding and critics are being described. The reader is presented with a unique insight into Spiritual Mapping as an expression of Americanism, as well as the socio-political concept of Manifest Destiny and U.S. religious marketing.

[ed - for more on ths subject, see Ted Haggard and The New Apostolic Reformation and also this special Talk To Action site section]




Display:
The link to Rene' Holvast's 2005 dissertation appears to not be linked to pdf file.

RAHilliard

by rahilliard on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:29:30 AM EST

Best, BruceW

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:59:09 PM EST
Parent
It's difficult enough to find valuable information about these topics and every bit helps!

RAHilliard

by rahilliard on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 08:57:54 PM EST
Parent





WWW Talk To Action


The President's Faith: A Matter Of Choice, Not Compulsion
Today President Barack Obama, who is the world's worst Muslim - he drinks alcohol and eats bacon - will do something many Muslims do......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Voting For Jesus?: Candidates Seek To Outdo One Another With Religiosity
The Iowa caucuses are today, and, despite what you may have heard, Jesus Christ is not appearing on the ballot.Several of his close friends......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Conventional Wisdom Watch: Getting it Wrong about the Religious Right
It is a case of the more things change the more things stay the same. I wrote a short post in 2008 about how......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Club Fight: Tenn. Residents Complain About High School's Gay-Straight Alliance
At public schools around the country, students, mostly high schoolers, are forming Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. Fundamentalist Christians often freak out over the existence of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Zionism and Eschatology
The church I attend just had a member place a display at the back of a Sunday morning Bible class.  The display called for......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Save The Day: Celebrating Real Religious Freedom
Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it's not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn't be overlooked. Our country......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Warning of Theocratic Zones of Control
This week, I published a report -- months in the making --  titled, When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Moore Grandstanding: Ala. Chief Justice Tries Again To Block Marriage Equality
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore last week tried, once again, to block marriage equality in that state.There is no case pending before......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Maureen Mullarkey Share the 2015 Coughlin Award!
Yes, folks it's that time of the year again. It's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As it is every......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
All Quiet on the War on Christmas Front
It is time for my annual response to the preposterous-but-malevolent claims broadcast on Fox News and elsewhere that there is a War on Christmas.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Christian Right: Inviting Cruz or Trump to Tea?
With Republican candidate Ben Carson dropping like a stone in a pool of confusion, who gets invited to the tea party? Tea Party activists......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
A Plethora Of Pulpit Politicking Problems?: Far-Right Pastors Prepare For Electoral Bids
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Trump: An Apocalyptic Messenger for the Christian Right
We stand in the overflow crowd of some 300 in the small town of Tyngsborough near the New Hampshire border. Several thousand people are......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Trump's Demagoguery Threatens Democracy Itself
Now is the time for blunt talk. Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue generating "scripted violence." Trumpism threatens not just the First Amendment but......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Irony Implosion: Pat Robertson Opposes Politics Masquerading As Religion
TV preacher Pat Robertson and I go way back. In 1996, I wrote a book about him, and I've followed his career since.I long......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (4 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (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 (1 comment)
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 (2 comments)
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 (3 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 (4 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 (6 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.