David Barton and the New Apostolic Reformation
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 03:43:30 PM EST
[update, March 2015: since writing this story, I have learned that David Barton was advertised as a speaker at a New Apostolic Reformation event, Convergence 2009. As a general rule, NAR events feature NAR leadership only. Together with Barton at Convergence 2009 was Jim Garlow, who in 2014 joined one of the NAR's major leadership bodies, the United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders.

update, April 2016: Barton also was advertised as a speaker at the 2011 New Apostolic Reformation event Justice at The Gate event along with NAR apostles Jim Garlow, Ed Silvoso, and Alice Patterson, with whom Barton has worked closely in a GOP effort to woo African-Americans and other minority voters.]

Who is an apostle? Back in 2010, the membership list of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles was put behind a website firewall, accessible to ICA members only. And the ICA is only one of many apostolic networks in the growing NAR.

While Wallbuilders head David Barton has played a prominent role in Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership initiative as well as in the Champion The Vote / United in Purpose promotional video "One Nation Under God"--which features only one 2012 election presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, and kicked off the CTV/UIP voter registration drive in earnest, in early November 2011--Barton's long association and collaboration with top NAR apostles suggests that David Barton can himself be considered as one of the more significant apostles in Peter Wagner's movement.

Barton has never, to the best of my knowledge, been officially listed as an apostle or prophet in the various U.S. or international apostolic and prophetic networks of the global NAR movement. But this is unsurprising given Barton's specialty, the manufacture of a misleading genre of pseudo-history which claims America was founded as an expressly Christian nation.

Barton's pseudo-history is popular both among charismatic strains of evangelicalism (such as the NAR) but also within anti-charismatic evangelical tendencies whose members might shun Barton's work, especially if he were officially aligned with the NAR - a movement that many anti-charismatic evangelicals consider wildly heretical.

Former Texas Republican Party Vice Chair Barton has been described as the "400-pound gorilla of the religious right in Texas", and by one account had the clout to dissuade Texas US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from running against Rick Perry for the Texas governor's seat in 2002. In the lead up to the 2004 election, Barton was hired by the National Republican Party to travel across the United States stumping for George W. Bush's re-election bid. In 2008 Barton campaigned for the McCain/Palin ticket.

David Barton is best known for his revisionist history, which recasts America as having been founded as an expressly Christian nation, and his historical distortions, inaccuracies, and founding father misquotes can be found in Christian homeschooling curriculum, in textbooks that have been used by the national Junior ROTC program, and even declaimed on the floor of the US Senate.

Barton has also provided a Christian nationalist thematic centerpiece to pastor David Lane's Renewal Project / Pastors Policy Briefing events, held in swing states across America over the past several years, which according to Lane are geared towards "the mobilization of pastors and pews to restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage."  

David Lane's events interlock neatly with United in Prayer's Champion the Vote initiative, which aims to sign up 5 million new Christian voters in advance of the 2012 election and 40 million over the next five years.

According to the LA Times, one of the main financial backers of the initiative is a publicity-shy Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur named Ken Eldred, who is identified by C. Peter Wagner as a "marketplace apostle". Eldred has funded key New Apostolic Reformation initiatives including George Otis, Jr.'s widely influential Transformations videos.

In addition, Champion the Vote's new "One Nation Under God" video features Samuel Rodriguez, who was listed as an ICA apostle in 2009 and 2010, makes appearances at NAR events, and has co-founded one major NAR effort, the Oak Initiative. Rodriguez appears to be playing a major role in an effort to woo Hispanic voters away from their traditional support for the Democratic Party.

But David Barton himself also has numerous ties to Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation movement (and movements which preceded the NAR) going back over two decades, and his Wallbuilders organization appears to be tightly integrated with Wagner's prayer warfare networks.

Per David Barton's description in a 2000 Wallbuilders newsletter, ICA apostle Sandy Grady*, one of the early regional coordinators for the often-renamed prayer warfare entity founded originally as the Spiritual Warfare Network, is an important part of the Wallbuilders team.  

"Because we believe that activists in the policy arena should work with activists in the spiritual arena, WallBuilders has individuals from both spheres working together on our staff. While we have activists who labor to see education, law, the courts, etc., return to our foundational principles, we also have prayer leaders who know how to take the battle to the heavenlies (Eph. 6:12).

One of our prayer coordinators is Sandy Grady; and just as I often lead Congressmen, Capitol Hill staff, and elected officials on spiritual heritage tours of the U. S. Capitol building, Sandy Grady often leads teams of intercessors and pastors from across the nation on prayer tours of the city, including the U. S. Capitol building."

In 2005, David Barton collaborated with ICA apostles Sandy Grady and Craig Lotze, to co-author a "Proclamation Concerning the American Judiciary" which attacked the current role of the Federal Judiciary and the Supreme Court. The "Proclamation", written in support of the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, was distributed by ICA apostle Dutch Sheets (also on the Wagner-led Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders) via New Apostolic Reformation channels.

In her 1991 book Possessing the Gates of the Enemy (1991, Chosen Books) on page 21, ICA apostle and ACPE prophet Cindy Jacobs, one of the top leaders in the C. Peter Wagner-associated branch of the New Apostolic Reformation, describes a vision she had, of David and Cheryl Barton being involved in an auto accident while driving to attend a prayer event in Florida.

Jacobs claims her prayers helped avert a terrible accident shown to her in the vision, writing,

A beginning of a new decade--thoughts tumbled out one after another as I tried to fall asleep in a hotel room in Braden-ton, Florida. My husband, Mike, and I had just flown in from our home in Texas to meet with other prayer leaders and to partake in a prayer session we called "Ninety Hours of Prayer for the Nineties."


At 2 A.M. I awakened with a start... I saw a mental picture or vision of good friends, Dave and Cheryl Barton. They were driving their van from the Dallas area where they lived to our meeting with their three children curled up asleep in the back. All of a sudden, in the vision, the van's right front wheel rolled off, and the van careened wildly into a horrible accident.

I knew immediately that they were in serious danger and that God wanted me to pray that the wheel bearings would hold until we could see the Bartons and warn them. Dave was doing a mighty work for God with his book America: To Pray or Not to Pray? and he was coming under spiritual attack. The hours dragged on as I cried out to God to keep that wheel in place and protect them. All through the night I sensed a tremendous battle taking place in the heavenlies."

As Jacobs details, David Barton and his wife were among those "prayer leaders" who had journeyed to the nearly four-day long prayer event that Jacobs mentioned, and while Jacobs flew to the event, the Bartons made the journey, from the Dallas areas to Florida, in what (per Jacobs' description) was an old or poorly maintained vehicle, indicating a fierce level of commitment. It was the same year, 1990, that C. Peter Wagner began the initial phase of the Spiritual Warfare Network, which Cindy Jacobs was later to head.  

The power of prayer to effect change in the temporal realm ("in the natural") has been a major preoccupation of Wagner's apostolic movement, and it was also much on David Barton's mind in the late 1980s.

As Barton described in his 1988 book America: To Pray Or Not To Pray?, in 1987 he received a personal message from God (much in the same manner as Peter Wagner's prophets, who claim to receive personal revelation from God) that sent David Barton on a course of investigation which led him to believe that national measures of school performance were in apparent decline, and crime was rising, because of a supernatural mechanism--God's judgment on America, it would seem, for a lack of public prayer and other demonstrations of Christian piety.

The trigger, according to Barton, were the early 1960s US Supreme Court decisions, Engel v. Vitale, 1962, which prohibited compulsory prayer in public schools, and Abington v. Schempp, 1963, that barred public school-sponsored Bible classes. As David Barton wrote in his 1988 book,

"In July 1987, God impressed me to do two things. First, I was to search the library and find the date that prayer had been prohibited in public schools. Second, I was to obtain a record of national SAT scores (the academic test given to prospective college-bound high school students) spanning several decades. I didn't know why, but I somehow knew that these two pieces of information would be very important.

Barton goes on to describe his amazement at the correlation between the 1962 and 1963 Supreme Court decisions he cites and the apparent decline in national SAT scores.

David Barton's belief that supernatural mechanisms drive events in the material, temporal realm mirrors the mindset described by Cindy Jacobs, in her book Possessing The Gates of the Enemy (1991, Regal Books/Gospel Light), on page 188, in which Jacobs describes a 1990 incident in which Sandy Grady and Cindy Jacobs allegedly changed the course of an impinging winter storm, that threatened to dump snow on an Urbana, Illinois Christian conference, with the power of prayer. As Jacobs writes,

"Let me tell you about the snow prayer. It was part of a prayer watch shift that received an urgent request one night to pray for the weather. Five to nine inches of snow were predicted for the next day. If that much snow fell the students would not have been able to get to the meetings and many flights would have been canceled. I was leading that night and felt impressed that we should seek the Lord for His prayers for the situation.

As we waited quietly asking the Lord for direction, one of the intercessors, Sandy Grady, saw a picture. She said that it was a weather map, and it clearly showed warm air pushing all the snow just above Urbana, Illinois, where the conference was being held. With this direction from the Lord I asked her to pray. Sandy prayed and we agreed for warm air to push the snow above Urbana. The snow never fell the next day-- just rain."

By Jacobs' own descriptions in her book, Wallbuilders member Sandy Grady was in a prayer movement whose members seemed to believe that the power of prayer could achieve dramatic results "in the natural". And, judging by Jacobs' account in Possessing The Gates of The Enemy, David Barton seemed to be in the same movement.

While David Barton has often been linked to the Christian Reconstructionism movement, the idea that individuals can themselves directly achieve such dramatic effects with prayer is frowned upon by Reconstructionist theologians.

Over the last decade, David Barton has appeared with increasing frequency at New Apostolic Reformation events and has been a consistent endorser from its early years--on the "board of reference", of TheCall: an NAR initiative co-founded by Wagner apostles Che Ahn and Lou Engle. TheCall's board of reference amounts to a virtual "who's who" of leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation movement.


David Barton has also played a major role in an evolving strategy to upgrade the Republican Party's public image, to make it more welcoming to non-European ethnic groups in America, a strategy which relies heavily on New Apostolic Reformation concepts and practices revolving around the idea of "reconciliation".  

As ICA apostle Alice Patterson, who appeared onstage alongside Rick Perry at The Response (and has served as Texas head of Peter Wagner's often re-named prayer warfare networks), describes in her book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide, in 2000 her good friend Susan Weddington, who was then serving as Chair of the Texas Republican Party, "asked David Barton to do research to find out why black Republicans had left the party they founded."

Barton's subsequent, wildly revisionist research, which seeks to paint the Democratic Party as racist and neglects to mention the GOP's own, more recent racist track record,  notably the GOP's "Southern Strategy" of the last several decades, provides an essential component of the New Apostolic Reformation's "racial reconciliation" project spearheaded in Texas by Patterson.

Governor Rick Perry has praised Barton, in conjunction with the efforts of apostle Alice Patterson and Former Texas GOP chair Susan Weddington, in three official speeches [1, 2 (David Barton introduced Perry prior to this speech), and 3] from 2004-2005.

As detailed in the 2006 book by James Moore and Wayne Slater, The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream of Absolute Power (2006, Three Rivers Press), Barton has played a significant role in the ongoing effort to woo African-American voters to the GOP. As Moore and Slater write on page 224-225,  

"In Ohio and other states with gay-marriage bans on the ballot in 2004, the Texas GOP vice-chairman and religious activist was among a coterie of national GOP figures flown in by the RNC to promote the party's values agenda. Barton's exhortations in church sanctuaries against gay marriage were important to Bush's success in the 2004 race, especially in Ohio. But it was his appeal to black voters that had the most long-term potential for building the Republican Party... Barton's message, which he delivered with a store of documents and a Powerpoint presentation, accused Democrats of fostering slavery and praised Republicans for trying to abolish it.


In his presentation, Barton claimed Republicans were the rightful authors of civil-rights legislation from the Civil War through the 1960s. Routinely, he substituted Democrats for The Klan and Republicans for the church. He said Democrats committed lynchings, opposed the education of blacks, and promoted the policies of segregation."

While Barton's historically dubious, revisionist take has nothing directly to do with New Apostolic Reformation ideology, it fits neatly into a traveling African-American outreach technique devised by the team of Patterson, Weddington, and Barton, as the first act in a two-act play which the three, with the help of Texas civil rights leader C.L. Jackson, an African-American pastor and Democrat turned Republican, staged over the past decade frequently in Texas churches but sometimes in churches across the nation as well.  

In the first part of the play, Barton would roll out his history revisionism--tarring Democrats as the real racists ranged against black aspirations and upward mobility, and on the wrong side of "family values" issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Then, as described in apostle Alice Patterson's 2010 book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation, African-American church leaders would join Patterson, a granddaughter of a Ku Klux Klan member, in collective, often tearfully emotional, public repentance for past and present racism.

While the term reconciliation can refer to a sincere process of dialog and truth-telling that can help historical traumatized nations and people groups to move beyond the past, the version of "reconciliation" promoted by Alice Patterson and other New Apostolic Reformation leaders, is a parallel, and very different, ideological construct and practice based upon the idea that such "reconciliation" ceremonies dispel demon spirits associated with sins of the past, both individual and collective, and so break curses which hold people groups mired in crime, social pathology, and poverty.

So on the surface, NAR "reconciliation" ceremonies can appear pseudo-progressive. But at best they offer nothing in terms of actually addressing material needs of disadvantaged populations that are the beneficiaries of such "reconciliation". And, at worst, "reconciliation" comes back-loaded with dramatically regressive, even hateful, ideological bile.

As I wrote in an October 5, 2011 story, New Apostolic Reformation Reconciliation Expert Promotes Book Demonizing MLK,

In 2005, Justice at The Gate ministry head Alice Patterson endorsed a 2005 book, by her fellow apostle Willie Wooten, which blamed Martin Luther King, Jr. for an alleged 40-year curse on African Americans and provided, as documentation of King's alleged misdeeds, a website link to writing posted at a white supremacist, Holocaust denial website that calls for repeal of the 19th Amendment.


In mythic America, citizens can always pick up the pieces, and start anew; in evangelical culture, even the most depraved of sinners, who sincerely repent, are forgiven and redeemed. The worse the sin, the greater the triumphal redemption.

Patterson's outreach events to African American pastors, not only in Texas but reaching at least as far afield as Detroit, seem so far to have proven successful. But these events are designed around evangelizing techniques, developed by leaders in C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation, commonly referred to under the title "Identificational Repentance and Reconciliation", that drag a host of divisive and offensive theological concepts in tow, including the idea that entire "people groups", including ethnic and racial groups, can (and usually do) carry collective "generational curses" incurred by alleged ancestral misdeeds.

For example, following Rick Perry's The Response prayer event, leading Wagner prophet and ICA apostle Cindy Jacobs claimed that the event had lifted an ancient, ancestral curse over parts of Texas incurred because of Native American cannibalism and violence (video of Jacobs, making claim.)

One of the major professional bodies in Peter Wagner's NAR is the International Coalition of Apostles, which Wagner headed from its 2001 launch into the year 2010. While Wagner's European-American ICA apostles seldom seem to delve into the vilification of racial and ethnic groups, non-white ICA apostles can be found venturing astonishing attacks, including ICA apostle Kim Daniels' suggestion, made on page 98 of Daniels' 2002 book From A Mess To A Miracle (2002, Creation House Press, a part of Strang Communications Company) that Africans are unusually prone to sex with demons (see here, for quote.)

In a related vein, Barbara Robinson Smith, who serves under the "apostolic covering" of ICA apostles Jacquie Tyre and Venessa Battle, claims, in her book Breaking Racism at The Root (2007, Xulon Press), that the continent of Africa is collectively cursed because of, as described in the Bible, the Egyptian pharaoh's enslavement of the ancient Israelites.

For excellent in-depth coverage on one instance of the NAR's "reconciliation" approach at a specific event, see Truth Wins Out head Wayne Besen's report on TheCall Detroit, held November 11, 2011.  

Reconciliation, as defined by the New Apostolic Reformation, is a necessary precursor to Transformation, which happens as charismatic evangelical Christians (with the proper NAR ideology) achieve control over the "Seven Mountains" of society: church, family, education, media, arts, business, and government.

In the lead-up to Texas governor Rick Perry's August 6th, 2011 The Response prayer event held at Houston's Reliant Stadium, at an April 12-13, 2011 "Government Transformation Summit For Visionary Leaders" held at a San Antonio church, David Barton joined apostle Alice Patterson, C.L. Jackson, Susan Weddington, Jim Garlow - who, like Barton, works so closely with the apostles that he appears to play an apostolic role himself, and ICA apostle Ed Silvoso, who convened the 1999 Singapore meeting that led to the formation of the International Coalition of Apostles in 2001 (PDF file of flyer for April 12-12 event.)

As the advertising copy for the event described,

"God`s heart is to transform nations, not just individuals. God wants to heal governments, not just churches. Whether your calling is to the church, the marketplace, education or government, God wants to use you to affect a larger sphere than you ever dreamed possible...

Ed Silvoso, considered by many as the father of the nation transformation movement, and author of Transformation: Change the Marketplace and You Will Change the Nation and Alice Patterson, Founder of Justice at the Gate and author of Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation, are teaming up to synergize the vision to disciple nations with government transformation.

...What is the widest and deepest division in America? Why are Black and White evangelicals, who agree theologically, so divided by race--especially in politics? Can the Body of Christ come together around a corporate vision for the United States of America? Learn the paradigms necessary to change mindsets from a church perspective to a kingdom one."



*In her 1995 book The Voice of God (Regal Books/Gospel Light), on page 129, Cindy Jacobs mentions Sandy Grady,

"One of our prayer partners, Sandy Grady, told me that when she was a child, spirits would come around her bed at night to torment her, and because her family was not a Christian family they didn't know how to help her."

In the Fall 2003 newsletter from Cindy Jacobs' Generals International ministry, in an article titled Strategy For The Holy Spirit Filibuster, Jacobs identifies Sandy Grady as the then-head of the Mid-Atlantic division of the United States Strategy Prayer Network, the prayer network entity born in the early 1990s as the "Spiritual Warfare Network".

Writes Jacobs, on page 6,

"While in Washington DC for the National Day of Prayer in May, I became convicted that we will never break the power of Satan off of our judicial system and see pro-life judges appointed without consistent, fervent prayer. For this reason, I am calling, along with Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce, a `Holy Spirit Filibuster' in prayer.


Sandy Grady, the mid-Atlantic regional coordinator for the United States Strategic Prayer Network, will be leading teams into the Supreme Court for prayer each week. If you can lead a team to DC, please coordinate with Sandy directly at sandygrady@verizon.net. The United States Strategic Prayer Network movement can be contacted through Chuck Pierce or Brian Kooiman at usspn@globalharvest.org"

Global Harvest Ministries has long been NAR mastermind C. Peter Wagner's principle ministry. As Cindy Jacobs also details, the "filibuster" was aided and coordinated with Jay Sekulow's American Center For Law and Justice - demonstrating one of the myriad, close ties between the evolving New Apostolic Reformation and old-guard religious right political entities:

"You may be aware of the ministry of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) which is headed up by Jay Sekulow. Colby May, a good friend to the prayer movement and one of the lawyers who works with the ACLJ, is helping to coordinate from their end. They have offered us space to pray at their office, right across from the Supreme Court. Log on to their web site at www.aclj.org."

A writing by Sandy Grady appears in the Fall 2000 Generals International Newsletter (page 10), in which Grady bemoans the "slippage" of the US Supreme Court, away from a from a "godly system of justice":

"The Founders had high godly requirements for those who wished to serve in public office. Noah Webster and others based those qualifications on Exodus 18:21, to "rule in the fear of God." And Chief Justice John Jay declared, "It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

How could such a godly system of justice slip into such moral decay and into such overt violations of God's principles and commandments? (Slippage is a good word here!) In 1935, the Supreme Court began to branch out, extending its powers by constructing a separate building. They were, in effect, erecting a monument to themselves."

Thanks for putting this together.

by gregmetzger on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 07:52:20 PM EST
I'm sure Rachel Tabachnick is aware of some bits of evidence, Barton connections to the NAR, that I've left out.

David Barton seems to fall into a class of what I'd call the "stealth apostles", who in functional terms seem to amount to working components in the overall NAR movement but don't bill themselves as apostles. Jim Garlow is another of these, I would say. As Rachel has pointed out, Garlow has a chapter in the 2010 book A Reformers Pledge.

( http://www.amazon.com/Reformers-Pledge-Bill-Johnson/dp/0768432693 )

Every other person who contributed writing to this book, linked above, is an apostle in either Wagner's apostolic networks or in the Renewal Alliance.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 11:38:05 AM EST

some of this is so far-fetched as to be rofl'ing funny. Like the thing about the vision of the wheel falling off Barton's van. Okay, logically, why would GOD send a vision in the middle of the night to this woman, "lay a burden on her" to pray all night, to HIM, so that he would keep the wheel from falling off? When HE could simply keep the wheel from falling off himself? Why not just fix the wheel bearing, for that matter?

But from the inside, things look different. I was once on that inside, and remember some people from my prayer circle telling about how they "laid hands on" a broken down van on a cold snowy night, and it obliged them by re-starting and safely getting them home. And we all replied, "Praise the Lord".

What they lack in logic, they make up in enthusiasm, commitment, and earnestness. They ARE True Believers, and because of it, they may be able to fulfill their own prophecies. And that makes them dangerous. Maybe only those of us who have been there know just how dangerous.

Keep spreading the word, Bruce. Hopefully it will open some eyes.

by phatkhat on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 03:04:58 PM EST
...from some walkaways who had experienced Rick Joyner's somewhat anarchic ministry. The suggestion was that in the prophetic mindset, if a leaf blows across the road, and your path, that's a personal message from God. To you.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:09:13 PM EST

This post on David Barton and the New Apostolic Reformation proved to be a really interesting one. I am so much interested in Christianity and this site has helped me to make a good idea on the religion. Thank you hotels catalina   

by dona on Thu Nov 26, 2015 at 11:16:21 PM EST

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