Repent Amarillo's Spiritual Mapping and Vigilantism
Pastor Hill describes their Dream Center Adopt-a-Block program.
"This servant evangelism ministry served as the life-blood of Dayspring as it mobilized a small army each Saturday for a time of invading an area encompassing forty-eight adjacent city blocks surrounding the church."
Like most para-ministries today, RAVEN is described as non-denominatinal, but both Troy Bohn and Alex Hill list their ordination from Church of God (Cleveland). Bohn is now based in Daytona Beach and RAVEN International has expanded to include ministries in New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and several Texas locations.
See coverage by the local NBC affiliate, KAMR, at this link.
Repent Amarillo's spiritual mapping and militant spiritual warfare tactics have drawn attention, but they are not much different than those being practiced by "prayer warriors" all over the country. The spiritual mapping techniques are the same as those introduced by C. Peter Wagner and other New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) leaders. Pastor Bohn actually appears to disagree with much of the NAR theology but, like many aggressive ministries, has adopted their unorthodox methods nevertheless.
Tommy Barnett, of Phoenix First Assembly of God, and his son Matthew started the LA Dream Center which was a joint project of the Assemblies of God and the International Foursquare Gospel.
There are now 130 of these Dream Centers which combine urban social services with "city transformation," missions, and spiritual warfare. The Atlanta Dream Center's Master's Commission program website describes participation in their supernatural practicum,
"We take teams out on to the streets of down town Atlanta to cast out demons, heal the sick, and demonstrate the power of God...
The Master's Commission programs were also initiated in 1985 by Tommy Barnett at his Phoenix Assembly of God. This is now an international program for post-high school students with a curriculum in discipleship, evangelism, and spiritual warfare. In June 2008 Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker at the Master's Commission graduation ceremony at the Wasilla Assembly of God. At the end of the ceremony the graduates were given samurai swords. The Wasilla Assembly of God subsequently partnered with the Alaska Assemblies of God District Council to open Alaska's first Dream Center.
Spiritual mapping and associated spiritual warfare techniques were pioneered and introduced into the evangelical world as a way to "take territory" by C. Peter Wagner, Ed Silvoso, Cindy Jacobs, Ted Haggard, and Harold Caballeros. George Otis, Jr., producer of the Transformations series of movies, and Youth With A Mission's John Dawson are considered the authors of the definitive texts on spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare for taking control of cities.
The Transformations series of videos demonstrate essentially the same techniques as those being used by Repent Amarillo. The targets of the spiritual mapping done by Repent Amarillo are also the same categories as those taught in the training books and videos viewed by millions worldwide. While there may be some readers who would not have much sympathy for the ministry's harassment of sex businesses, note that this is just one of many categories targeted in the spiritual mapping reconnaissance.
The institutions of other religions are targeted as well as Christian churches that are considered too liberal. Most spiritual mapping that I've seen targets anything believed to be tied to Freemasonry including some of the major buildings and monuments in our cities and in Washington D.C.. Cindy Jacobs has targeted the Indian mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument which she links to the "current abortion crises" and the New Age Maharishi Movement headquarters in Fairfield Iowa. Taliesin West, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been targeted in spiritual mapping and prayer walking by Arizona Call to Prayer "intercessors," because of Wright's Unitarian background and his friendship with Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. A "homosexual bed and breakfast" was also included in this particular prayer journey to rid Tucson of demons and curses.
Before his downfall, Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was using spiritual mapping and harassment techniques in Colorado Springs.
"He sent teams to pray in front of the homes of supposed witches--in one month, ten out of fifteen of his targets put their houses on the market. His congregation "prayer-walked" nearly every street of the city...He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings."
In his 1995 book Primary Purpose Haggard claimed that his church's activities decreased the number of witch's covens in town and that there was subsequently a decline in "cattle mutilations." A few pages later Haggard describes the "strongman" in Colorado Springs that was resisting his efforts to transform the city. In spiritual warfare lingo, "strongman" or "stronghold" refers to the demonic spirits or their human counterparts which control entire territories and "prevent the manifestations of God's kingdom." Haggard wrote, "Just as demons have wicked plans for individuals, so I believe more powerful ones have assignments to infect entire communities." In this case the strongmen were gay rights groups, those who objected to New Life Church's activities in public schools, and the economic development council of the city once it "quit encouraging Christian ministries to move to Colorado Springs."
In his book Victorious Warfare Harold Caballeros states that the "strongman" is not only a reference to the demon, but also to the humans in covenant with the demon who have been given control over a territory.
Spiritual warfare against the "strongman" was the topic of Apostle Mary Glazier's speech to a New Apostolic conference in June 2008 in which she also stated that Sarah Palin joined her prayer warrior network when Palin was 24 years old. Also in June 2008, Palin gave the keynote speech at Wasilla Assembly of God's graduation ceremony of its Master's Commission Class, the same program which was originally initiated by Tommy Barnett at Phoenix Assembly of God. At the end of the ceremony the graduates were given samurai swords. Wasilla Assembly of God subsequently joined forces with the Alaska Assembly of God District Council to open Alaska's first Dream Center.
Haggard continued in his book Primary Purpose with C. Peter Wagner's description of "strategic level spiritual warfare" against demonic powers and relates an elaborate story of battling demons in Albania. Haggard claims that the Christian population increased by 600% in the year after his spiritual warfare excursion.
Repent Amarillo could be described as fringe, but Haggard was not a minor figure in the evangelical world. He served from 2003 -2006 as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 30 million Americans, and reported that he spoke with President George Bush or one of his advisors every Monday.
Haggard's career ended abruptly but his colleagues continue in the spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare business. Haggard's book Loving Your City into the Kingdom: City Reaching Strategies for a 21st Century Revival, was co-written by Jack Hayford, former head of the International Foursquare Gospel who also is the authority over an international network of deliverance centers and promotes spiritual mapping. The book includes a section on essentials for spiritual warfare by C. Peter Wagner and also includes "citywide strategies" from Ed Silvoso, Tony Evans, pollster George Barna (also featured in one of the Transformations movies), George Otis, Jr., and Paul Cedar, head of Mission America Coalition.
After Haggard's downfall in a gay sex and drugs scandal, Jack Hayford and Tommy Barnett were part of his apostolic oversight team. Haggard failed to comply with his overseers and was quoted in Charisma magazine in late 2009 as having a new group of pastors to whom he is accountable.
The leadership team of Repent Amarillo has been active in the Texas town for many years and has the endorsement of a number of local churches. But the recent tactics of the group has resulted in a backlash including Freedom Amarillo and Citizens Against Repent Amarillo, groups who have formed to oppose the activities of the ministry.
Although the overtly militant tactics of Repent Amarillo are drawing attention, E.D. Kain at True Slant describes the group as relatively harmless and marginalized and the media coverage as "overblown." I disagree. I think we can expect to see more of this type of vigilante behavior now that spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare are spreading throughout our communities.
For more information on spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare see:
The movie received several Academy Awards but was also condemned as being anti-religious. It succeeds in capturing some of the conflicts of a movement that which included racial reconciliation and charitable program led by those who simultaneously indulged in their own personal indiscretions and aggressively challenged modernity and others who they deemed as sinful.
Repent Amarillo's Spiritual Mapping and Vigilantism | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)
Repent Amarillo's Spiritual Mapping and Vigilantism | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)