Why Have the Apostles Behind Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Been Invisible to Most Americans?
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 01:44:08 AM EST
The apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation shun a denominational or sectarian label of their organization and ideology. This aids stealth evangelism of other evangelicals.

Imagine if Gov. Rick Perry's prayer rally had been an all-day procession of Roman Catholic priests, or perhaps pastors from the Southern Baptist Convention. The sectarianism would have been obvious. It wasn't, at least to most people, because Americans are not familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation.  Leaders of several "family values" organizations gave their blessings to the affair, but were also anxious to deny the sectarian nature of the event, even calling it a "generic call to prayer."  Jim Garlow, who has worked closely with the NAR apostles for years, claimed he's "not familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation," reported Sarah Posner in her coverage of the event.  Why refuse to acknowledge a label well known to the movement?  Or was Garlow trying to deny there is a movement?

The nation is now dotted with nondenominational churches and ministries with little outward identification of their particular ideology and associations. Many of these ministries are part of the New Apostolic Reformation.

The New Apostolic Reformation

As the major ideological leader and organizer of the movement, C. Peter Wagner uses the term New Apostolic Reformation regularly, as seen in the titles of some of more than 70 books he has authored. At right, The New Apostolic Churches (1998) and Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation is Shaking Up the Church as We Know It (1999).  

Wagner's biography on his ministry website states,

"During the decade of the 1990s Wagner assumed a leadership role in what became known as the New Apostolic Reformation. He became the Presiding Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) and also founded a more intimate group for apostolic alignment, Eagles Vision Apostolic Team (EVAT). In the 2000s, he began to move strongly in promoting the Dominion Mandate for social transformation, adopting the template of the Seven Mountains or the 7-M Mandate for practical implementation."

The video below is C. Peter Wagner leading the "apostolic alignment" ceremony for Todd Bentley in 2008.  Behind Wagner are other leading apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation.

In his book 2008 book titled Dominion!, Wagner states,

"The New Apostolic  Reformation, a blanket term for churches in the Second Apostolic Age, is currently in an adopter phase.  That is why you will still find many churches and denominations that have not yet heard of the New Apostolic  Reformation, as well as many others that may know something about it but have decided for various reasons that they do not want to participate, at least not yet.

Despite their adoption of this terminology, the movement's leaders have been successful presenting themselves to others as simply nondenominational evangelicals.  

Many Americans mistakenly believe that nondenominational means "interdenominational" or inclusive of a wide range of beliefs. The apostles have been willing to overlook many typical doctrinal disagreements and they are multi-racial and multi-ethnic, but otherwise, tolerance is not seen as a virtue.  

The Unified Church of the End Times

The apostles of the NAR view themselves as leading the one legitimate church and unifying Christianity for the end times.  In their end times scenario, it is necessary to take control over societal and governmental entities before Jesus can return. But first, as could be heard repeatedly in the messages at Rick Perry's prayer event, the church has to repent and be cleansed.

In the context of the teachings of the NAR, the repeated calls for repentance of the church at Perry's prayer event were about cleansing Protestantism of its toleration of homosexuals, a woman's right to choose, and most importantly - of its toleration for religious pluralism, separation of church and state, and secular government. Again, toleration of those things of which they disapprove is not a virtue, but a sign that one is controlled by demons.

Rick Joyner, one of the major thinkers of the movement, has written about a coming "civil war in the church," claiming that those Christians who don't join in their restoration are the "children of their father, the devil" and must be "converted, or removed from their place of influence in the church."  

Why Avoid Labels?

Having no label other than nondenominational can be advantageous in leading prayer networks, pastor's networks, and community prayer groups. An unlabeled ideology has allowed the NAR to impact or initiate national and international events, although the apostles literally demonize the beliefs of other participants.  

A nondenominational facade makes it easier to get faith-based money and to convince municipalities to allow access to schools, youth programs, juvenile rehabilitation, and emergency response services.  The lack of a label and the corresponding lack of knowledge about NAR's ideology has made it easier for the NAR to market the "Transformations" series of movies, form "Transformation" entities around the nation, and to set up street-by-street prayer networks in American cities.  

It has allowed them to remain anonymous while they work with a wide range of politicians from Alaska to Florida (including the "detonator city" for transformation,  Newark, NJ), and to field candidates both Democratic and Republican.

Graphics at right and below:    

  1. Sarah Palin being anointed before running for governor by two Alaskan pastors and Apostle Thomas Muthee of Kenya, a star in several movies in the "Transformations" series.
  2. Apostle John Kelly, who followed C. Peter Wagner as the Convening Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles, leading a "solemn assembly" in the Newark, NJ City Council Chambers.
Apostle Kimberly Daniels, was recently elected to the Jacksonville, Florida city council as a Democratic candidate.  Both a Republican and Democratic candidate in the Hawaii gubernatorial election worked with  Apostle Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network and it's Hawaii affiliate - Duke Aiona and Mufi Hanneman.  Hanneman lost in the primaries to Neil Abercrombie. (Silvoso and Aiona are pictured below, in a description of Transformation Hawaii from Silvoso's ministry.)

The very small group of researchers and writers who have tried to warn the public about the NAR's assault on separation of church and state, have also been handicapped by the movement's lack of a public identity.  We have been confronted with charges of claiming "guilt by association," when trying to explain the relationships of the apostles of the NAR, the overarching and cohesive ideology, and the movement's various entities, ministries, and campaigns.  

Thousands of ministries across the country are now in the relational networks of the apostles.  This includes not just churches, but ministries of all types, non-profits, and charitable organizations.  Their political agenda is camouflaged with high quality media and sophisticated campaigns about faith-based "transformation" of society.

The Response and Rick Perry

A who's who of New Apostolic leaders graced the stage at Perry's event this past Saturday. Some of the crowd obviously recognized them. Young people in the audience could be seen bobbing from the waist, up and down, like Apostle Lou Engle has done for years, mimicking a movement from Jewish prayer.  

Perry's prayer rally was patterned after Lou Engle's The Call, a series of large venue events that have promoted ending legal abortion, fighting gay rights, and supporting Messianic Jews and their ministries.  Some of the better known apostles (including Lou Engle, I've been told) remained backstage at Perry's event.  I spotted others in the audience while watching the live streaming.

The significance of this gathering of nationally and internationally-known apostles was missed by all but a few journalists, and provides another example of the advantages of being anonymous evangelicals in the eyes of the secular press and general public. Few seem to recognize the meaning of Rick Perry's public anointing and missed the religious and political messages  throughout the event.

This anonymity is also helpful to activists like Jim Garlow, who has been working closely with the apostles for years.  Garlow was a major organizer in support of Proposition 8 in California, called the California Marriage Protection Act by proponents.  He utilized the apostles' extensive "prayer warrior" networks and Lou Engle brought the campaign to a frenzied close on the Saturday before the election with "The Call San Diego."  At the end of the all-day event in Qualcomm stadium, Engle was screaming for martyrs to the cause.

"Family values" organizations work to  build coalitions of evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics, and others.  Several of these organizations are partnering frequently with the apostles, their 50-state "prayer warrior" networks, and their growing clout with politicians.  But it is necessary that the ideology of the apostles remain somewhat undefined.  A closer look would reveal that the apostles view some of their fellow activists - Catholics, Mormons, and others -  as literally controlled by demons, and have advocated the destruction of icons and artifacts of these and other religious practices.

The public's inability to label and identify the movement has allowed Catholic politicians like Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona of Hawaii, to utilize the apostles' ministries and networks, without revealing the virulent anti-Catholicsm of its leadership.  Brownback, who participated in Perry's event, has participated in other The Call events, including one in Nashville, Tennessee on 7/07/07. At right, Brownback with Apostles Dutch Sheets and John Benefiel at The Call Nashville. The Call Detroit will be held on 11/11/11 and is focused on spiritual warfare against Islam.  

Those who tried to challenge the sectarian nature of Rick Perry's prayer rally were, of course, subjected to the typical charge of being anti-Christian and anti-religious.  This is ironic considering that the NAR's ultimate agenda is dependent on ending denominations as we know them, as well as the eradication of all other religions and belief systems.  

The apostles are taking a page from the playbook of Howard Phillips, founder of the U.S. Taxpayers Alliance, which became the U.S. Constitution Party.  (Quote at left.) Like Phillips and his fellow Christian Reconstructionists, the apostles don't really want those outside the movement to know the details of their dominionist agenda, only what they are against.  If their fellow Christian anti-abortion and anti-gay activists knew what they were for, they might be more than a little alarmed.

It's not surprising that Jim Garlow claims he is not familiar with the term "New Apostolic Reformation."  

Link to Part Two, a continuation of this topic and a look at Jim Garlow's partnership with the apostles.

[Author's Note 8/23/11: No doubt the upcoming publicity on the NAR will result in more denials. This has been going on for years. This is a link to complaints in 2003 from evangelicals that Ted Haggard was dishonest about his involvement in the movement. Haggard partnered with Wagner in developing the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs adjacent to Haggard's New Life Church.]

... individual apostles, but not as much about the NAR as a movement.  Rachel Maddow had Forrest Wilder on the show last night and did present the apostles as being part of the New Apostolic Reformation. Until the press recognizes the NAR as a movement, they will not be able to understand the significance of Perry's association with individual apostles.

Most journalist are asking the question, "Why does Perry not distance himself from this or that evangelist?," when they should be looking at the political involvement and agenda of the movement as a whole.

For instance, John Benefiel's quote about the Statue of Liberty being demonic is getting coverage and writers are asking why Perry doesn't distance himself from Benefiel. But  Benefiel is head of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network and the apostolic authority over numerous state networks, including ones in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa!  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 08:11:03 AM EST

Although I was excited to see Rachel Maddow delve into the NAR and the NAR presence at Rick Perry's rally, I was disappointed that a few points were not stressed. Namely, that the movement has the goal of making America a theocracy, and that there are a very significant number of politicians involved in (whether knowingly or not) helping the movement attain it's goals, just to name a couple.

Question (slight change of direction): Does anyone know if ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is involved with promoting NAR goals?

by rahilliard on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:36:35 AM EST

... I would argue that the NAR is a way of promoting ALEC's goals.  ALEC was founded by the late Paul Weyrich, godfather of the Religious Right, to provide conservative research to legislators.  Now it provides model bills and works extensively with state legislators.  ALEC's model bills involve both economic and social conservative issues.  

The NAR leaders are what I would describe as teavangelists.  They promote extreme laissez-faire economics as well as hot-button social conservative issues. They differ from other groups in the way they package this. Because of their extensive prayer warrior network, they have become a valuable asset in reaching and mobilizing the grass roots.  

For instance, prior to the 2010 elections, Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries and the Oak Initiative produced a video of Ret.Lt. Gen Boykin claiming that the country is in the grips of a Marxist insurgency.  This video made the rounds of Tea Party and Religious Right groups, marketing an extreme right-wing agenda packaged as spiritual warfare to save the nation.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 05:54:59 PM EST

Americans tend to think in stereotypes.  By using the "non-denominational" label, they're fighting against the creation of a stereotype, and relying on the common "But it's a CHURCH, it can't be that bad!" to keep a stereotype from forming.

I'd be alert for attempts to create a false positive stereotype of the group.  I think they know exactly what they're doing and are deliberately using American (general public) blind spots and prejudices against this country.

It's clear that they have practices that are in common, a governmental structure, and shared set of ideologies (in spite of differences), so the NAR in spite of their claims are sectarian and could (should) be called a denomination.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:22:10 AM EST

That is probably one of two reasons the supposed beltway is loathe to address this. The second reason is one Lawrence O'Donnell point out on the subject of Glen Beck. Most political observers are not theologians, which makes it uncomfortable territory for any pundit that lacks "family values." This inability to debate theology as it impacts politics is going to really wreck the nation's paradigm of the invisible wall between church and state, because the right functions on presupposed beliefs about Christianity that might not be true. After all if Michelangelo had been straight the Sistine Chapel might have been wallpapered.(joking with that last bit.)

by Hirador on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:02:15 AM EST
I pay little attention to the "Beltway".  I've been watching the local reporting and discussion of the situation.

The local news people almost refuse to connect the Tea Party with religion.  They're not touching the subject, even though it's glaringly obvious.  It's still being reported as "Politics as usual but a bit worse".

We can't seem to get them to connect the dots.  They don't want to go there, and thus theocracy is getting closer and closer.

God help us!

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:07:25 AM EST

I am surprised by the way which  New Apostolic Reformation has been in discussion in political media.It has become a tool in the hands of liberal opponents and it was surprising for me to know that it embraces the non catholic community.
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