Bishop Eddie Long - Dominion Theology and Disdain for Separation of Church and State
"Mythical" Separation of Church and State
Like the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and other Dominionist networks, Long does not believe in separation of church and state. And similar to the NAR prophets, Long believes that God gives messages directly to him to pass on to his flock. In his book Taking Authority he states,
God has strongly communicated to me His displeasure with our nation's growing acceptance of the mythical "separation of church and state" heresy. I am convinced this so-called separation was never the intent of our nation's founding fathers - it is merely a device fraudulently created by an errant Supreme Court totally apart from historical precedent, tradition, or even the will of the people.
Also, like many other New Apostolics and Dominionists, Eddie Long is known for his extensive charitable work. And also like the New Apostolics, this work is at least partially intended to provide access and gain authority over government as mandated in dominion theology.
Dominion over Religion and Government
In an article titled "Let's Take Dominion Now!" (and also in his book Church in the Workplace), C. Peter Wagner describes Eddie Long as providing a model for city 'transformation.' Wagner quotes Long's book Taking Authority,
The New Birth congregation finances and operates vital support programs in the city and pumps large sums of money and thousands of volunteer hours into key areas such as youth offender intervention programs, public school programs, and support and outreach programs for homeless women and children. We are involved in every aspect of life, and we are making a major impact in the Atlanta metropolitan areas.
Long has indeed gained extensive influence in government. Long's charities received a million dollar grant through George W. Bush's faith-based programs. Long also clearly has a great deal of influence with his local government authorities.
In Taking Authority Long describes being invited to lead a religious rally in a local Dekalb public high school after one of the school's students was stabbed. He describes the Dekalb County Public Safety Commissioner as telling the students,
"Here we are in defiance of the Supreme Court, calling on the name of Jesus Christ."
I preached for twenty-five minutes. I began by telling the students, "God told me to come here because He has chosen Southwest DeKalb [High School] to be His kingdom of high schools." I told them that God had ordained them to be a special group of students and that we had gathered together to sanctify that ordination.
Like others who have embraced dominion theology, Long has a dualistic worldview in which he is in a spiritual war against the forces of evil and, like most NAR leaders, Long believes that this includes a powerful and demonic gay lobby. When speaking to his congregation this past Sunday, Long described himself as being like David fighting Goliath.
BlackChristianNews.com has already posted an article claiming that the charges could be a satanic assault against Long.
Is this a targeted attack by homosexuals? With that said, and in light of the fact that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy was not repealed on yesterday, could this be another satanic, vicious homosexual attack against a prominent man of God who has stated that 'homosexuality is not God's way'? In our opinion, if this is the case, "fellow brethren", Christian leaders, such as T.D. Jakes, Tommy Barnett, Tony Evans, Myles Munroe, A. R. Bernard, Kenneth Ulmer, Samuel Chand, Paul & Jan Crouch, Mark Chironna, Gary Oliver, Jeff Rosensweig, and others who know Eddie Long and his character, should stand up, use their influence, and make a statement to defend this brother against these charges.Long stated in his book Taking Authority,
Any leader inspired by Satan to lead a rebellion against God must also strike out at the foundation of God's order in the earth. It is not accident that the church is being pressured to come into agreement with powerful gay lobby groups or face the consequences. Every segment of governmental power, from the Congress to the executive branch to the Supreme Court, is being lobbied, pressured, and wooed to support the anti-Christ, anti-Bible gay rights cause.
As described in Part One of this article, the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) has followed Long's path to fame and fortune. The same AJC article quoted in Part One describes their investigation in 2005 which found that Long had received 3 million dollars in compensation from his charities, "nearly as much as it gave to all other recipients combined during those years, according to tax records."
Long's response as reported by the AJC,
"We're not just a church; we're an international corporation," he said. "We're not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can't talk and all we're doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around the world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation."
Talk2action co-founder Frederick Clarkson, along with Chip Berlet, Sarah Diamond, and others, have warned about the threat of Dominionist theology since the 1980s. At that time Reconstructionism appeared to be the prevailing source of the spread of Dominionist theology and it is still a major factor including in the current election cycle with a number of candidates embracing Reconstructionist ideology and leaders. However, as Clarkson pointed out in the mid 1990s, Independent Charismatics were rapidly being drawn into the Dominionist camp at that time. Sarah Diamond's 1989 book Spiritual Warfare described the role that charismatic `shepherding' or 'discipling' plays in the larger Religious Right and in politics. Shepherding was popularized beginning in the early 1970s by the Ft. Lauderdale Five including Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter. Diamond describes shepherding,
... that individual Christians, in order to grow as 'disciples of Christ,' needed to submit themselves to the teaching authority of a 'shepherd,' in the form of a man 'older than them in the Lord.' They taught that through submission to authority in all areas of one's life the Christian would develop a personality that would successfully recruit and convert new believers. Barring catastrophe, the exponential growth through `shepherding' would eventually enable Christians to rule the world.'
Shepherding became so radical that members were having to get permission from their shepherds to date, marry, or even purchase a car. As Diamond explains, members were having to bring their checkbooks to cell group meeting to prove that they tithed. Diamond continues,
"In 1975 Pat Robertson spearheaded a public assault on the five leaders of Christian Growth Ministries [ministry of the Ft. Lauderdale Five]. He was furious to learn that one of his secretaries was making long distance phone calls to her shepherd and that some of the '700 Club' phone counselors were assisting callers in finding shepherds."
Diamond quotes memos sent by Robertson to Christian Broadcasting Network staff,
The so-called 'submission-shepherding' cult is vastly worse than anything I could have conceived of...
Robertson banned shepherding from the "700 Club" but the ideology was only temporarily suppressed. By the 1980s it was back, only rebranded as 'discipling' and without the shepherding label. As Diamond states, shepherding was made "somewhat less personally oppressive" so that it could be used as a political tool by the Religious Right. She describes Dennis Peacock as one of Bob Mumford's disciples and the spiritual authority for thousands of `sheep.' Peacocke played a major role in the Coalition of Revival which produced "Worldview Documents" or Dominionist guides to for taking over education, law, media, government, entertainment, and all areas of society and government. These were the forerunners of the current Seven Mountains campaign.
Dennis Peacocke's Strategic Christian Services began holdings conferences called "The Convergence" in 1999. The Convergence website states,
We have dropped out of the left/right game, which makes us difficult to pigeonhole. (If you can categorize people as left or right, you no longer have to deal with what they are saying.) We will address human issues from a "Third Way" - the biblical Christian point of view.
For his opening address at The Convergence, Dennis Peacocke, president of Strategic Christian Services, called the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness to task for their dissemination of lies in this century through such influential men as Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, and Karl Marx, to name a few.... "We are a Marxist nation," thanks to Dewey and those who wanted to "force the world from the stranglehold of Christian Education."
Besides Dennis Peacock, keynote speakers at the first The Convergence in 1999 included Eddie Long.
The ultimate goal of dominionism is to eradicate separation of church and state and to take dominion over government, as clearly indicated by one of Long's overseas spiritual sons.
Bishop Brian Tamaki in New Zealand claims Long as his 'spiritual father.' Tamaki leads Destiny Church network with churches in Aukland, Brisbane and nine other cities. Tamaki made the news in New Zealand in October 2009 when he held a ceremony at which 700 male members of his congregation swore a "covenant oath" of obedience to Tamaki and were given rings to wear on their right hands. Tamaki issued a church document titled Protocols and Requirements Between Spiritual Father & His Spiritual Sons filled with the type of instructions one might expect when being coached on meeting royalty.
Tamaki and his Destiny Church network had previously made the news by protesting the nation's Civil Unions Bill and prophesying in 2004 that Destiny Church would "rule New Zealand" within five years and make it the first nation "to be under the governance of God." He was joined on stage after this proclamation by his spiritual father, Eddie Long, who applauds Tamaki and says at about 1:52 into the following video,
"He made a declaration that in five years you shall be ruling and reigning in this nation. That means you control the wealth, that means you control the riches, that means you control the politics, that means you control the social order, that means that you are in charge. Touch your neighbor and say, `It happens because of order.'"
This is a prophecy which failed to be fulfilled despite Tamaki's launching of a political party. Tamaki is quite prominent and in the nation’s Reader’s Digest Poll has topped the list as the least trusted person in New Zealand. Canada's Benediction Blogs On notes that after the 700 men swore oaths of allegiance to Tamaki, New Zealand’s cult watch listed Destiny Church as being in the "danger level." Earlier this year a number of members walked out of a service at the network's Brisbane church.
Note Eddie Long's use of the term 'order' in the above quote as well as quotes in the Part One of this article.
As usual, it takes a scandal to draw attention to what is happening in the world of religion, as noted recently be Talk2action co-founder Fred Clarkson. The legal outcome of Eddie Long's current scandal is important, particularly for those involved and their families, as well as for the New Birth congregation and Eddie Long's spiritual sons and daughters around the globe. Hopefully the media attention will also become focused on the dangers of Dominionist theology to churches throughout the country and to pluralistic society. If the press is willing to look a little deeper, there is a story here which really matters.
Bishop Eddie Long - Dominion Theology and Disdain for Separation of Church and State | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
Bishop Eddie Long - Dominion Theology and Disdain for Separation of Church and State | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)