Why it's important to expose the NAR
Diane Vera printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jun 14, 2010 at 07:38:32 PM EST
Talk to Action has two featured collections of posts about the "New Apostolic Reformation," a new but already very influential worldwide religious movement, with explicitly theocratic aims, within the fast-growing independent Charismatic wing of Christianity:  Sarah Palin & The New Apostolic Reformation and Resource Directory for New Apostolic Reformation.

So far, the mass media have not yet noticed the existence of the NAR as a distinct movement.  Many of the NAR's leaders are  well-known as individuals, but they are usually portrayed, in the mass media, as just "evangelicals," or occasionally as "charismatics" or "Pentecostals."  In fact, they are a very distinct religious movement, regarded as heretical by many evangelicals and fundamentalists.

When I tell people about the NAR, a common response I get is:  Why should we publicize the NAR's existence?  Aren't we just helping them by giving them free publicity?

Here is how I respond:

The NAR doesn't need, or seem to want, much if any publicity as a distinct movement.  It is to their advantage to remain under the radar, to continue to be treated by the mass media as just  ordinary "evangelicals" rather than as a distinct movement.  The publicity already given to many of their leaders as just "evangelicals," or as allegedly "nondenominational" Christians, is all the mass media publicity they need.

It is to our advantage to expose them as a distinct movement.    Why?

Because, once exposed as a distinct movement, the NAR has a major Achilles's heel:  its many supernatural claims, which can be examined and disproven, exposing its many "apostles and prophets," one by one, as false prophets and/or false miracle-workers -- and exposing specific exaggerations, or outright lies, in the NAR's claims of dramatic societal "transformation" of the places where NAR groups have led prayer-walking campaigns.

To that end, we will need an army of debunkers to examine the movement's many "apostles and prophets" and to expose them, one by one, as false prophets, as fraudulent miracle-workers, and/or as closet sexual "sinners" of one kind or another.

It won't be enough to expose just one or two major leaders.  The NAR has already survived the fall of at least one major leader, Ted Haggard, and has continued to thrive.  The NAR could probably survive and continue to thrive even if no less a leading light than C. Peter Wagner himself were to be caught in some scandal.  But the exposure of too many of the NAR's leaders, one by one, would probably kill it.

And the NAR's many supernatural claims mean that all of its leaders are low-hanging fruit -- but only if we have enough people to investigate the many specific alleged "prophecies" and other specific supernatural claims of each individual leader.

A sufficiently large army of debunkers will be motivated to watch the NAR's leaders only after the NAR's very existence -- and the threat that it poses to the separation of Church and State -- has become widely known.

Even without such debunking, publicizing the existence of the NAR as a distinct movement will help to diminish -- not increase -- the NAR's influence within the evangelical Christian subculture.  That's because those non-NAR evangelical leaders who are aware of the existence of the NAR are likely to regard it as heretical.  Already, if you Google "New Apostolic Reformation," most of the pages you will find are pages by non-NAR evangelicals and fundamentalists criticizing the NAR.  (See also the current fight between Janet Porter and Discernment Ministries, as discussed here, here, and here on Right Wing Watch.)  That's one reason why it's to the advantage of the NAR's leaders to keep the NAR under the radar as much as possible, and to present themselves to the mass media as just "evangelicals" or as "nondenominational" Christians.

Another reason why NAR leaders commonly present themselves as just generic "evangelicals" or "nondenominational" Christians is that they aim to unite all Christian churches under their own leadership.  Thus, for example, they try to involve Christians of all kinds in their prayer-walking campaigns.  The NAR itself is a network that includes some people who are formally a part of other branches of Christianity as well.  Obviously, they would be less successful at attracting ordinary Christians into their prayer-walking campaigns, or at getting politicians' endorsements for same, if it were more widely known just who the NAR is and how weird their doctrines are.

If the NAR does not get massively exposed soon, serious trouble lies ahead, as documented in detail in Talk To Action's collections on Sarah Palin & The New Apostolic Reformation and Resource Directory for New Apostolic Reformation.

The NAR will probably not succeed in achieving its ultimate goals.  But, in their efforts to attain their goals, NAR groups can harm a lot of people, such as by cozying up to high-ranking police officials and then using the power of the police to harass people they don't like.  Already, in the Philippines, cops are required to study Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life (see documentation of a government-sponsored "moral recovery seminar" on a Filipino government website) and Ed Silvoso has bragged (here and in the "Ed Silvoso intro" video here) about his International Transformation Network's many connections with the Philippine government.   Closer to home, in Orlando, Florida, a local "prayer-walking" campaign was organized by police department chaplains.  (See the local news story Orlando Police Chaplains Kick Off "Operation Armor All", WFTV, October 10, 2007.  See also Movement Behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Organizing in Newark here on Talk To Action.)  And the NAR does seem to have an agenda of eliminating people they don't like, as exemplified both by Uganda's kill-the-gays bill and, closer to home, by Ted Haggard's bragging that he had driven "witches" out of town.  (See Soldiers of Christ: Insider America's Most Powerful Megachurch by Jeff Sharlet, Harper's Magazine, November 2, 2006.)

Therefore, dear reader, please do everything you can to help publicize the existence of the NAR.  If you happen to know anyone in the mass media, or if you happen to know any religion scholars, please tell them about the NAR, after first reading up on it yourself.

Note to the owners of Talk To Action, on another subject:  Quite a few times over the past few weeks, I've tried to look at a page here on Talk To Action but was unable to connect to it.  Each time, the problem eventually went away, but it seems to be happening more and more often.  Maybe this site is just getting more popular and can't accommodate all the traffic?  Whatever is happening, I hope you can look into it and fix it.

to get around the bias in the media.  I recently learned of a newspaper who "vanished" the information about a Pentecostal preacher being caught performing homosexual sex acts in a public park (he as I understand preached regularly against GLBT people).  His name was in the first report about the sting operation, and shortly afterward vanished from the list of people caught in the sweep and wasn't reported.

The person who told me this- who used to belong to his church, said that now you can look in the archives and his name has been removed.

The only conclusion I can come up with is that some of the mass media are actively protecting dominionist preachers.

I think that if we can get the information in public venues (newspapers, TV reporting- NOT just internet news services) that would be more amenable to examining this movement- in other words, liberal outlets, the more conservative ones protecting the dominionist elites will be forced to start changing their ways.

I would suggest NPR and news services that use Public Television, and then go from there.  They may be the most open to investigating the NAR.

by ArchaeoBob on Tue Jun 15, 2010 at 10:00:52 AM EST

Kyle, on Right Wing Watch, has posted The Dominionist Agenda Driving Gingrich's New Organization, about the growing acceptance of the theocratic "Seven Mountains" strategy (promoted by the NAR) among major religious right wing leaders.

by Diane Vera on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:11:48 PM EST

P.S.:  Kyle, of Right Wing Watch, has posted Engle: Obama Unleashing Demons With His Father's Day Declaration, June 30, 2010, and Putting the "Prophet" in Prophetic Intercessor, July 1, 2010, both about Lou Engle.  But no mention of the NAR.

by Diane Vera on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 04:07:41 PM EST

On the blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rob Boston has posted Trouble In Paradise?: Religious Right Organizes In An Unlikely Place - Hawaii, July 9th, 2010.  It mentions the International Transformation Network, headed by Ed Silvoso.  But no mention, yet, of the larger NAR, of which the ITN is a part.

by Diane Vera on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 02:47:25 PM EST

Here's a collection of stuff by Kyle, of Right Wing Watch, on Janet Porter:

by Diane Vera on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 11:52:08 AM EST

Posts by Kyle on Right Wing Watch:

by Diane Vera on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 03:32:03 PM EST

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