Prayer Warriors of the New Apostolic Reformation Getting Some Exposure
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 09:56:17 AM EST
Yesterday Alternet published an article by Bill Berkowitz including an interview with me about the New Apostolic Reformation, or the "largest religious movement you never heard of."  Despite the growing political clout of its leadership, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) continues to operate under the radar of the mainstream press as well as most progressive media. Hopefully this interview will prove to be another stepping stone in making the movement more recognizable to the public.
The article is titled "Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America" and begins with a list of recent political activity by leading apostles including Lou Engle, Mary Glazier, Samuel Rodriguez, Ed Silvoso,  Julius Oyet, Stephen Strang, Tom Hess, and Jim Ammerman.  While these may not yet be household names, the influence of these leaders can be seen from the U.S. to Uganda to Israel. In many ways the movement more closely resembles an international political campaign than a new denomination. In some cities prayer warriors are assigned street by street, and in numerous international locations the NAR is promoting their ideology to military and police forces.

The Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation in the side panel of Talk2action is an attempt to map out the structure, leadership, and activities of this under publicized movement which is organized under the authority of apostles around the globe.

Presiding Apostle C. Peter Wagner states,

"The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God that began at the close of the twentieth century and continues on. It is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of the Protestant world."

-- C. Peter Wagner in the foreword to the 2001 edition of Ted Haggard's 1998 book, The Life Giving Church

As the movement's primary architect, Wagner sees the New Apostolic Reformation as more than a new denomination, but as a dramatic reinvention of Protestantism on the scale of the first reformation.  At the ground level the movement seeks to reinvent the organizational and authority structure of churches, then to ultimately extend this reorganization to encompass the "discipling" or "shepherding" of entire nations under the authority of their apostles and prophets.

The formation of cell churches is part of the agenda for rapidly growing the movement. From the interview,

Wagner, who will be 80 this year, was a professor of church growth for 30 years at Fuller Theological Seminary, and promoted explosive mega-church growth. He has mainstreamed the concept of cell church structures, a strategy which began in Asia and South America and has resulted in congregations of tens of thousands. Cell churches are organized like a pyramid marketing scheme with small groups, usually with no more than 12, tasked with spinning off new cell groups and growing the church....

...Such "spiritual accountability" schemes used to be called shepherding, but because of bad press and reports of coercive and abusive practices, it has been rebranded as "discipling." Lay people in cell groups perform many of the functions that would normally be carried out by pastors, and pastors become like corporate CEOs. This is how many of today's megachurches function. In his role as a church growth specialist, Wagner was able to repackage radical shepherding and cell structures as mainstream concepts for church growth.

Wagner declared the New Apostolic Reformation as beginning in 2001, however, it is an evolution that has been in the works for some time.  Dominion theology has long held an appeal for sectors of the charismatic/Pentecostal stream.  Sara Diamond's Spiritual Warfare published in 1989 provides a background of the emergence of charismatics as major players in the Religious Right, as well as the process through which Christian Right missionaries have gained access to countries worldwide and to funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.  

David Stoll's 1991 Is Latin America Turning Protestant?, includes a chapter titled "From Doomsday to Dominionism in North American Evangelicalism" in which he describes the process through which premillennialists shifted from separatism to political activism.  Stoll describes the influence of both Reconstructionism and the Latter Rain Movement of the 1950s. Latter Rain ideology included the idea of  "overcomers" who would take dominion over the world and even over death.  

Stoll describes Latter Rain ideology as continuing "as an esoteric tradition running underground through the Pentecostal movement" and continuing in the 1960s in the Christian Growth Ministries in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  An authoritarian structure known as "shepherding" was promoted by Juan Ortiz, Bob Mumford and these "Ft. Lauderdale Shepherds."  Stoll describes the 1980s reemergence of this ideology as the "restoration revival" movement.  In Spiritual Warfare,  Diamond describes the use of shepherding as a "masterpiece of political strategy" adopted by the political Right and explained the role of Mumford's disciple Dennis Peacocke as "one of the most significant behind-the-scenes operators of the Christian Right."  Peacocke is now one of the NAR apostles, and C. Peter Wagner and others describe the NAR as having its roots in the Latter Rain Movement.

Fuller Theological Seminary's Church Growth program has  mainstreamed the concept of cell churches and shepherding around the world as a method for rapid church expansion. The best known of the program's graduates is Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life and head of Saddleback Church.  From the interview,

These authoritarian strategies were further sanitized by Wagner's most famous student, Saddleback Church 's Rick Warren. Recently, while commenting about Uganda's proposed draconian anti-gay legislation, Warren denied that Wagner was his dissertation adviser. However, I have a copy of the dissertation which lists Wagner as "mentor," and also includes Warren's desire to rid churches of voting, boards, and democratic structure. In Wagner's 1999 book Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation is Shaking up the Church as We Know It, Wagner describes this radical re-structuring: "The traditional concept is that the congregation owns the church and that they hire the pastor to do their ministry for them. New apostolic churches, like Rick Warren's, turn this around 180 degrees..."

While the bulk of the New Apostolic Reformation has emerged from the independent charismatic stream, Rick Warren and others have carried much of the ideology into denominations across the spectrum of Christianity.  One area in which they have been particularly successful is with the "renewal" movements in Mainline Protestant denominations.  For instance, the NAR's first "Transformation" movie was the focus of a SOMA  (Anglican renewal group) consultation in South Africa titled Beyond 2000 - Community Transformation.

This SOMA conference has become something of a legend in the charismatic world as it is credited with eventually resulting in the South Africa based Global Day of Prayer, founded by the head of the African division of International Transformation Network, Graham Power.  John Guernsey, the Episcopal priest whose initial interest in the "Transformations" led to the SOMA conference is now a bishop for Uganda representing the American congregations who have split from the Episcopal church to join with African Anglicans under Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi.  Canadian apostle Alistair Petrie was a speaker at the SOMA event in 2000 and is one of the leaders of the NAR with the mandate to recruit Episcopalians and Anglicans.

Another well known evangelical who has managed to avoid publicity about his connections to this radical reinvention of Protestantism is Ted Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.  Haggard was C. Peter Wagner's partner in building the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs which served as the initial nerve center of the movement.  Haggard wrote several books about the need to "transform" communities and restructure churches in the model of the New Apostolic Reformation. These included Your Primary Purpose, The Life Giving Church, and Loving Your City Into the Kingdom by Haggard and Jack Hayford.  After his scandal and public fall from grace, Haggard failed to adhere to the guidelines set by his apostolic overseers in his rehabilitation process.  Jack Hayford stated that said "it was unfortunate that Haggard was going his own way."  Charisma magazine (published by NAR apostle Stephen Strang) reported,

C. Peter Wagner, who co-founded the World Prayer Center with Haggard, told the Gazette that Haggard should receive approval from apostolic overseers before leading people in prayer and worship.

"My reservation is that he has not followed through completely on apostolic protocol," Wagner told the Gazette.

The aggressive missionary relief and development work of these charismatics is key to understanding their rapid growth.  This movement is not about separation from the world but about infiltration of society and government in order to bring all sectors of civilization under Christian dominion. This is not dispensationalism and these adherents are not waiting to be raptured to heaven. They fully intend to build the "Kingdom on earth" in the here and now.  

Wagner argues that with rapid church growth, dominion over society can be accomplished inside a democratic framework and without the establishment of a theocracy.  The growth is to be achieved through infiltration of other churches and denominations, expansion through cell churches, and by access gained through social services and faith-based programming. In addition to church growth, or taking dominion over religion, is the Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture campaign to take Christian dominion over the arts, education, government, family, media, and most importantly, business. This is the domain of "Market Apostles" as described in the interview. In an excerpt from his book Church in the Workplace, Wagner describes one of his models for city transformation as the infamous Savanarola of 15th century Florence, who believed that the end times were near and initiated the "bonfire of the vanities," burning musical instruments, paintings, sculpture, books, and also executing large numbers of people for crimes such as homosexuality.

Wagner repeats a quote from the book Revival Fire by Wesley Duewel using Savanarola as a model for city transformation.

"The wicked city government [of Florence] was overthrown, and Savanarola taught the people to set up a democratic form of government.  The revival brought tremendous moral change.  The people stopped reading vile and worldly books. Merchants made restitution to the people for excessive profits they had been making. Hoodlums and street urchins stopped singing sinful songs and began to sing hymns in the streets. Carnivals were forbidden and forsaken.

Huge bonfires were made of worldly books and obscene pictures, masks, and wigs.  A Great octagonal pyramid of worldly objects was erected in the public square in Florence.  It towered in seven stages sixty feet high and 240 feet in circumference. While bells tolled, the people sang hymns and the fire burned."

Wagner adds,

"In Florence, God's will was being done on earth as it is in heaven!"

(Excerpt from C. Peter Wagner's 2006 Church in the Workplace, p. 40-41 and also posted on one of the "Market Apostle" websites.)

This fixation with the destruction of objects, icons, and people believed to be demonically controlled, can be seen throughout NAR media.  The Transformation series of movies repeats the "bonfire of the vanities" in numerous dramatizations of claimed transformations of ethnic groups, communities, and nations. The movies also dramatize the death or driving out of communities of witches and warlocks.  In the Transformation series movie on Fiji titled Let the Sea Resound there is a dramatization of the burning of carved masks and native artifacts as part of a "reconciliation" ceremony in which native islanders repented of a "generational curse" because their ancestors had murdered a missionary.

After praising Savanarola's transformation of Florence, Wagner continues with the example of a modern transformation, the city of Almolongo Guatemala, featured in the first Transformations movie. ( This Transformations movie also featured Thomas Muthee of Kenya, who anointed Sarah Palin in a ceremony at Wasilla Assembly before she became governor of Alaska.)

Guatemala has long been a target of charismatic evangelicals.  Jim Montgomery founded DAWN, which stands for Discipling A Whole Nation, in 2000.  It was modeled after the ideology of Donald McGavran, described as the "father of the Church Growth Movement" and mentor at Fuller Theological Seminary to C. Peter Wagner.  Author David Stoll quotes Montgomery concerning the significance of Guatemala,

 Latin America is a Catholic region, but there's no reason to assume this need always be so.  It could become an evangelical region at some point in time.  I believe that if...Guatemala becomes the first predominately evangelical nation in Latin America, it will have a domino effect."

Montgomery served as the editor of McGavran's Global Church Growth Bulletin before forming DAWN as a Church Growth scheme tested in the Philippines and then taken to Latin America and worldwide.  Today, the Philippines "transformation" agenda in this predominately Catholic nation includes mandatory "Purpose Driven Life" training for all police as part of a Moral Recovery Program, which is being administered by evangelicals dedicated to transformation of the nation.  See Ed Silvoso of International Transformation Network describing the mandatory police training toward the end of this 4 minute video, labeled "Ed Silvoso Intro" at this link.  

The energetic activism and social involvement of New Apostolic organizations has been widely applauded, even by progressives who apparently do not understand the implications of the underlying agenda.  For this reason the movement may be a more serious threat to separation of church and state and to religious pluralism than other movements which have been more overtly theocratic.

Links to other recent articles on the New Apostolic Reformation:

Rick Warren Dissertation Advisor Leads Network Promoting Uganda Anti-Gay Bill

Movement Behind Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill Organizing in Newark

Video Exposes Anti-Gay Western Theocratic Effort “Transforming” Uganda

Generational Curses, Deliverance Centers and the Kingdom Health Care System

GOP Senator SAM Brownback’s Condo-mate Encourages Domestic Terrorism

GOP’s New Prayer Guru Says Gays Possessed By Demons

We need more people sounding the alarm and raising the awareness of the Theocratic Agenda...

But isn't it time we start asking ourselves, just what is it we can do about it?

by SaraBeth on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:25:25 PM EST

In this case I really believe that knowledge is power.  If democratically run evangelical churches around the country understood what Rick Warren was about, would they be buying what he is selling? Do Southern Baptist churches that are adopting prayer walking know where that came from? I have had Mainline Protestants ask me about new coercive techniques that are being used in their churches which they don't understand, but which I recognize as "shepherding."

In many cases I think these methods and ideologies are being brought into churches without the members knowing what they are getting.  Rick Warren has even been invited to speak to synagogue executives!  

The first step is getting much more information out about the movement so that churches and communities can recognizing the difference between real charities, interfaith alliances, etc. and those that are being used to gain "dominion" over communities.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 04:17:30 PM EST

Many times I witnessed Dominionist ideas being brought into mainstream churches- and I've known since I belonged to a major dominionist denomination that they actually TRAIN part of their ministerial students how to infiltrate mainstream churches in order to try to "save the people trapped in those dead/sleeping churches" (read steal sheep and influence the church towards dominionism)- I used to hang out with those students and they pointed out the "professors" that were training them to do that.  We talked about the things they were being taught, and how it was all organized.  (For one thing, to "follow scripture" they were trained to work as teams- usually pairs, but sometimes foursomes.)

It's a shameful admission, but at the time I supported and approved of that sort of stuff, and was quite friendly with the students involved.  It shows how brainwashed you can get.

The churches I attended after that had problems with "converts" from the dominionist denomination every year after I returned to them.  The pastor of one church had to throw out 10-12 people a year for pulling that stuff- yet he never accepted that the dominionist denomination itself was to blame- and the last time I'm aware of, he's shown many of the signs of having been steeplejacked himself (and in the last couple of years we attended church, he no longer expelled the "sheep stealers").  Most of the "innovations" came from the people out of that dominionist denomination- they'd "convert", join the church, and try to get into "positions"- of some authority or responsibility.  Then the subtle pressure- the suggestions of "new" things to try...  suggesting to people to "check out" special services/programs at the local dominionist megachurch (and the ones that were clumsy or unlucky would get caught at this point).  This, by the way, is their prime means of gaining entrance- they "convert"- "join" the church, start volunteering and being a big "help", and then try to work themselves into "positions" such as youth minister,

My observation is that people in general cannot accept that an entire denomination- an entire metadenomination you might be able to say, could be that evil and dishonest.  I know that we know about it, and that some of the mainstream churches are becoming aware of the problem- but the "man on the street" assumes that "It's a CHURCH, it can't be THAT BAD!!!"

by ArchaeoBob on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 09:45:35 PM EST

However, what do we actually DO with that power?

Expose them? That's being done...but if people choose to follow them anyway...what then?

by SaraBeth on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 06:09:32 AM EST

For the most part, the average public isn't hearing about what is going on.  When something DOES make the news- they figure it's a personal failing on the part of the individual, NOT a symptom of corporate malfeasance/evil.

It still hasn't sunk in to John and Jane Q. Public that these churches are organized, as well as dedicated to overthrowing the constitution and taking away their basic rights.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 06:59:49 AM EST

I believe strongly in religious freedom and it is not my intent to dissuade people from a particular type of belief.  If one chooses to be part of the NAR, that is their choice and their right.  

I see my role as educating others, including members of Protestant denominations, Roman Catholics, and other religions,  about "dominionism" that would impose religious uniformity.  And I agree with ArcheoBob that there is little recognition by the general public of movements like NAR.  People talk a lot about the threat of theocracy but they appear to have very little idea of the process through which coerced uniformity is taking place, even when it is happening in their own neighborhood.

Perhaps I am naive, but if, for example, most Southern Baptists really understood the full agenda of the NAR, I think they would reject it in order to protect their own denomination, rich traditions, practices and beliefs.  These will be lost if they are swept up in the NAR wave, and it is other evangelical churches and ministries who are most vulnerable to the movement. The danger of the NAR is that they gain entrance as benign looking church growth and renewal strategies.


by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:11:41 AM EST

"benign looking church growth and renewal strategies"."  DELIBERATELY benign looking... and even sounding positive and good!!!  It's when you start looking at what is REALLY being said that the real danger is revealed.

I'm thinking about one "financial" program- that instilled an idea of "giving to God so God can meet your needs" and total obedience to church authorities... How many of us (especially walkaways) have seen people's lives wrecked by advice like that???

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:24:40 PM EST

Dear Sirs, including, but, not limited to President Obama, Chief Justice Roberts, Senator Specter, Congressman Conyers, Mr. Foxman ... , and, various members of Press:

A friend has requested that I forward to all of my friends and acquaintances the attached WWII GENOCIDE REMEBRANCE DAY FLAME in honorable memory of all the Jewish souls and seed wiped out by Hitler's Christian-NAZI Third Reich of Germany.

I am unable to do so.  The world has made a perversion of all such events intended to halt the unHoly and inHumane drive to re-enact the same and similar crimes of Genocide.  

Given the stunning lack of response to my disclosures of the Christian-NAZI Gammadion Swastika structures located on The NAB Coronado and Wesley Acres Retirement Home located in San Diego, California and Decatur, Alabama;  as well as the world's only known Anti-Semitic "HEBREW" version of sculpted Ten Commandments displayed on the walls of The Supreme Court of The United States Of America -- despite fact that The United States Navy & Defense Department have honorably committed in written word and cash proposals their intentions to eliminate the offensive NAB Coronado structures -- I find myself in the position of castigating each and everyone of you as failing in your mandated obligations as officials in the various bodies of our Government and social protection organizations.

You neither honor nor remember.  

You have chosen to sit silent in the face of concrete, brick and marble evidence establishing GOVERNMENT SPEECH which actually promotes an eventual repeat scenario of WWII Genocide against the Yisra'eli/Jewish Nation/People;  which, in the case of the United States Supreme Court's Anti-Semitic Ten Commandments display of Hate-Art, has been cause to various Constitutional Violations committed during numerous First Amendment Litigations committed by The Supreme Court Administration & Judiciary.

You promote a War between Christian and Muslim for the purposes of achieving your false Messianic beliefs in Jesus and Muhammed, through misguided belief that The Yisra'eli/Jew can be converted, or killed, in order to be replaced by the "victor" ... through either Jesus of The Church resurrected or the soon to be revealed Hidden 12th Prophet of Islam.

You violate The United States Constitution in the name of your "gods", at the expense of The American People; and Constitutional Freedoms actually promulgated for the entire world to consider -- but not necessarily adopt!

I beg you, each and all; reconsider your misconducts and act now to make remedy of your gross and collective abdication of official and civic responsibilities.  

Holocaust Remembrance Day -  May 2, 2010    

Thank you Rachel.  

Perhaps you and Bruce might finally get around to informing people as to the facts involved in these statements made.  Perhaps you can help to resurrect The United States Constitution which has suffered a Constitutional Cardiac Arrest.  Your Church Articles are Great.  

Still you refuse to address The Constitutional  Freedoms which have already been selectively eliminated!  

The day of reckoning is not coming. It arrived, was incurably sealed in the Ten Commandment litigations fraudulently litigated in VAN ORDEN and McCREARY.

The SWASTIKAS & The United States Supreme Court's Hate-Art hold the stone-cold evidence.

Start reporting.  

by avrahaum on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 05:05:15 AM EST

The formation of cell churches is part of the agenda for rapidly growing the movement. From the interview,HP CC532A

by volf698 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 07:19:00 AM EST

Thanks evidence presented here of the power of citizen science. I hope to formulate my own hypothesis based on a wilful ignorance of

by mike12 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 04:31:23 PM EST

 separation of church and state and to religious pluralism than other movements which have been more overtly birkin

by mike12 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 01:21:00 AM EST

Right, as well as the process through which Christian Right missionaries have gained access to countries worldwide and to funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.  

topes de estacionamiento

by chineseboy on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:33:58 PM EST

We backward up backward on the eve afore the holidays to get this affair live, I apperceive my admirers would adore your work.topes para estacionamiento

by mike12 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 04:48:13 PM EST

  The Transformation series of movies repeats the "bonfire of the vanities" in numerous dramatizations of claimed transformations of ethnic groups, communities, and nations. reductores de velocidad

by chineseboy on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 05:44:49 AM EST

Theological Seminary to C. Peter Wagner.  Author David Stoll quotes Montgomery concerning the significance of Guatemala,tapetes promocionales

by nilky698 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:55:33 AM EST

Montgomery served as the editor of McGavran's Global Church Growth Bulletin before forming DAWN as a Church Growth scheme tested in the Philippines and then taken to Latin America and worldwide.Kurt Farnell

by nilky698 on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 11:38:40 AM EST

 Good to hear what youtube is actually doing about this stuff. Thanks for keeping us informed!Bounce houses Franklin

by mero on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:54:38 AM EST

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