Insider View of the Culture Wars Exposed in New Book by Former Christian Right Strategist
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 30, 2012 at 01:17:36 PM EST
Photobucket He may not be a household name like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, but Colonel V. Doner was one of the major strategist of the Christian Right for three decades.  Following the events of September 11, 2001, Doner had a change of heart and has written a fascinating book, released this week, about the role of the Christian Right in the culture wars and the polarization of American society.  The title is Christian Jihad:  Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America.  From the Coalition of Revival to Sarah Palin and the New Apostolic Reformation, the book exposes the rise of a theocratic worldview which Doner describes as "Neo-Fundamentalist."
Doner was a co-founder of the first Christian Right lobby, Christian Voice, which preceded Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority.  He founded the first Christian political action committee The Christian Voice Moral Government Fund (1979) and organized the American Coalition for Traditional Values (1984).  Doner admits to being the first Christian Right propagandist to use "gay bashing" in the media as a wedge issue, and "the first" Christian Right leader to make the transition to becoming a spokesperson and leader of the Reconstructionist movement. Today, you can still google "Colonel Doner" (Colonel is his name, not a title) and one of the first items in the search is a 1998 video of a Florida Christian Reconstructionist conference panel with Doner, Rousas Rushdoony, and Gary DeMar.  

Now Doner is describing himself as,

"the first (and only) Neo-Fundamentalist leader to write and insider's account and mea culpa."
Doner states in his book that he is embracing pluralism and "following Jesus in loving people rather than condemning them."  The author continues,
I had been born again, this time as a post-conservative, post-fundamentalist, postmodern Christian."

Doner provides previously unpublished details from behind the scenes of the transition of the the Religious Right to an aggressively "Dominionist" mentality. The book provides insight into the emergence of political figures including Sarah Palin and the role that today's brand of "spiritual warfare" is playing in the political process.

Doner describes his epiphany after the events of September 11, 2001 following 20 years as a Christian Right leader and another decade as part of the Neo-Fundamentalist movement. Doner warns that this movement with its Dominionist worldview is more dangerous than the "old Christian Right."

"The bizarre world of their Dominionist-Spiritual Warfare mentality is a new and much more dangerous manifestation of the old Christian right and has the power to bring us to the brink of civil war.  It is vital that we understand what is  happening and what can be done about it before it is too late."

I had the pleasure of recently speaking at length with Colonel Doner and will be writing more about our conversation and his book.  

Information about the book and the author can be found at  The book can also be ordered through Samizdat and is available in Kindle edition.

Frank Schaffer has written several books and was there at the very start of the Christian Right. That Col Doner is a more recent dropout is very interesting as he has seen what has happened on the inside since Frank  Schaffer left. I would very much like to see them both in a discussion it would be most enlightening.

by FreeDem on Wed May 30, 2012 at 03:01:47 PM EST
Yes, I've also read Schaeffer's books Crazy for God and Sex, Mom & God and they are enlightening. Like Doner, Schaeffer also writes about Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism.  However, Schaeffer left the movement earlier and does not write much about the spread of Dominionism through the Charismatic/Pentecostal sector.  

Doner explains the growth and permutations of Dominionist ideology from Rushdoony to the Coalition on Revival (1980s) and to the New Apostolic Reformation of today. He explains in detail how the "Discipling-Shepherding cult," as he describes it became a part of the Coalition on Revival led by Jay Grimstead with "shepherding leader Dennis Peacocke as his personal pastor."  

For instance, on page 162, Doner states, "Grimstead recruited me as corporate treasurer for COR whereupon I promptly submitted myself to Peacocke's 'spiritual authority' (which is something you do in neo-fundamentalist circles - you place yourself under someone's spiritual authority, like an imam or Reconstructionist crackpot, from whom you learn and receive your holy marching orders).  Doner goes on to explain that this merger of discipleship and Dominionism became the basis for the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement that includes both Katherine Harris and Sarah Palin.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed May 30, 2012 at 06:00:49 PM EST

Granted, Christian Reconstructionism is still a small and obscure movement, but Doner provides an overview of the evolution of Dominionism in America.  He states,

"But what really happened solves the riddle of how a handful of Reconstructionist and Dominionist theologians managed to spread their ideas to millions of neo-fundamentalists in just the last three decades."  

That is one of the reasons why this book is significant.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed May 30, 2012 at 06:11:27 PM EST

I wonder how much the Assemblies of God in this area had to do with the spread.

While some of the things you hear from the NAR is new (and certifiably crazy and not even close to the Bible, which they used to claim was the final and ultimate authority), much of the spiritual warfare/demonology stuff was common in this area in the late 70s and maybe even into the mid 70s.  The authority stuff was also getting started when  I walked - cell churches were already quite active and being spread to other denominations.  The thing is, they were deliberately working to export the ideology even then.

I've said it before, and it bears repeating... when I was in that cult, I hung out with the "ministry students" being taught in their ersatz "University" (back then it was a "Bible College").  The ones I was around the most were being trained specifically to invade churches from certain denominations... two would be trained, for instance, for Southern Baptist.  Two more would be trained for Episcopal.  Still others for Methodist, Presbyterian, you name it.  They were being taught what to say and what not to say, and how to gain a "position" within the churches so as to start "encouraging" them towards dominionism ("Leading them back to Christ" was how it was put).

I recently talked with a friend of mine (who was a AoG ministry student for a few years) who indicated that that sort of training was still going on a few years ago.  They were also training people how to interfere with other churches... to the point of how to approach booths and tables set up in public areas in order to block access without getting caught.  Things like training them to work in teams (pairs or multiples of two back when I was in the cult) was part of the package and based on their interpretation of scriptures.

I also found out (in the last year) that a lot of the Baptist minister-wannabe's in the earlier years had gone to that "Bible College" (even though it was Pentecostal), and I've also wondered how much that had to do with the steeplejacking of the denomination.  Much of the recent problems we've experienced can be traced to that school in one way or another, and I have had a feeling for some time that's where the denomination experimented with new thought control techniques and test new proselytizing tools (I'm pretty sure I was the guinea pig in some of their experiments).

The hatred for Gays and using that to stir up "five minute hates" in church members was already strong by the time I got hoodwinked into joining.  Obedience to authority... the rich deserving their wealth and taxing them is the dread "SOCIALISM!"... all of these memes were quite ubiquitous.  We were specifically taught that rich people had earned their wealth and that liberals (and Democrats) were trying to steal it - and if they didn't resist us we'd take their money too.  The US government as the big bad bogyman going to take away your freedom to be Christian, put you in concentration camps to be killed if you didn't reject Jesus, and take all of your possessions away to give to unworthy scumbag lazy good-for-nothing bums... very much a common theme.

They even preached against quite innocent things... I remember one vitriolic sermon saying that Santa Claus was the Devil, and came from the Devil (many believed that Saint Nicholas was a myth).  The preacher sounded like he was getting close to denouncing Christmas, but backed off.  He did insist that the season should be spent in church and prayer and trying to "Spread the Gospel"... proselytizing.  Funny, but he arranged to have Christmas with HIS family.

I wonder if the present structure and ideology we see is a combination of different sources all mixed together.  It would make sense to me.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:04:25 PM EST

Wagner declared the New Apostolic Reformation as beginning in 2001, but this follows decades of development of the ideology embraced by the movement.  It is very similar to the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940s and 1950s. The "shepherding" movement and cell concept was in full swing by the 1970s.  The position of modern-day prophets was "restored" (according to Wagner) during the 1980s, and apostles in the 1990s.  

By the late 1980s Wagner and others were teaching the new "strategic level spiritual warfare" including "spiritual mapping."  Wagner and his apostles are not the only source of these ideas.  Wagner just did the best job of streamlining, defining the movement, and developing terminology.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:26:14 PM EST

Rachel, of the original twelve apostles (commissioned directly by our Lord Jesus Christ) only one, John, died a natural death. The others were all martyrs.  I wonder how many of these new so-called 'apostles' of the CPWagner cult would be willing to die for what they believe.

by rdrjames on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 08:30:03 PM EST

Yeah, I would suggest anyone to read this book. I don't think that anyone else would have been able to present this subject so sensible than he had presented. There are lot things that he has opened up in this book.
bg sprayers

by Heman on Thu Jan 07, 2016 at 11:52:22 PM EST

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