Former Maranatha Pastor Stars as Thomas Jefferson in Fox and Friends Segment
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Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:36:36 PM EST
I wasn't planning on playing Seven Degrees of Maranatha Campus Ministries this evening, but was instead perusing my usual array of news and opinion websites when I found this gem on Talking Points Memo: `Fox & Friends' Hosts Pretend Man Is Actually Thomas Jefferson.

According to TPM, Stephen McDowell, who comes across in the interview less like a Jefferson impersonator than a 21st century Christian Right talking head in a wig and early 19th century garb, is "president of Biblical Worldview University."  Biblical Worldview University is an arm of the Providence Foundation, which was originally started as a Maranatha subministry with then-MCM pastor McDowell in charge

For those who don't know, MCM was a "campus ministry" deeply connected with the rise of the dominionist right in the 1970s and 80s.  They disbanded in 1989, widely denounced even in evangelical Christian circles as an abusive cult.  Several descendant and offshoot organizations still exist today, including Every Nation and Providence Foundation, among others. (I am a walkaway from an Every Nation church.)

Their theology was (and is) a fusion of Latter Rain/Third Wave and Christian Reconstructionist forms of post-millennial dominionism. While former MCM leader Bob Weiner was (and still is) more Third Wave charismatic, other MCM offshoots including Providence Foundation skew more CR.

The Providence Foundation is a major contributor of American "history" textbooks to the homeschool movement--particularly America's Providential History.

And now they play presidents on national TV. Nice.

My school is one of the ones that actually banned them (temporary) for the abuses they were committing, but as soon as the ban was lifted they came back.  Now there are multiple offshoots and "relatives" of MCM on campus.

You cut one head off, and another grows in its place.  Even the heads of the organization are like bad pennies - they keep popping up in strange and troubling places after being cut off.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:24:20 PM EST

...that he came out of Maranatha. But I'd add, on the Maranatha/CR angle, that The Forerunner website has featured an extensive amount of CR material over the years.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:05:52 PM EST
...headed the Providence Foundation for many years going back to the late 80s.  It was started as an MCM ministry I think only a year or two before they officially disbanded.  Bob Weiner talked about it in the final chapter of his 1988 tome, Take Dominion!

The guy who runs the Forerunner site took over editorship after Lee Grady left for Charisma.  I've always wondered if that move was a bit of a corporate parachute for Grady, whose stance continued to baffle me because on the one hand he would openly rebuke MCM's (and EN's) leadership abuses but on the other was close to EN's once-best-bud C. Peter Wagner, being an NAR "apostle" himself and all.  The Weiners retained the Forerunner for a while after the breakup and it's not connected at all (officially) with Every Nation or even anymore with the Weiners.  But it really does show the CR (and Bircher) bent that MCM was taking in its final years.

Based on what I've seen in my research into the movement particularly in the years after the break up, many of the more openly Pentecostal/charismatic pastors tended to side with Weiner, while the CR people aligned more with what became Every Nation.  For example, Providence Foundation has done a lot of "training" in Every Nation (it remained separate from EN though).  Also, CR George Grant taught classes in their Nashville school of ministry.  Though it's really more a matter of spectrum and emphasis than an either/or thing... most of them are a blend of the two.  They aren't cessationists like most "true" CR leaders are.  But certainly bought into the CR narrative.

Archeobob, very familiar with the former MCM ministry in Tallahassee (that is the one you are talking about right? If I recall incorrectly forgive me), which came under the Morning Star International aka Every Nation fold not long after Broocks, Bonasso and Murrell started MCM version 2.0... it was indeed one of the original ones that maintained their corporate status with the Florida SOS and just changed names.  Another notable one is the one at K-State which also got booted off their campus and made national news back in the day.  The one at Florida State was more important though IMHO because that's where MCM's former sports ministry, Champions for Christ, was based for many years.  Though technically CFC doesn't exist anymore (it changed names but is a shell of its former self) anectdotally due to several active and retired NFL players losing a LOT of money through "investments" made through that ministry, which for a while comprised one of EN's major sources of cash.

by ulyankee on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:47:45 AM EST

It was the USF branch in Tampa, although I'm not sure where they were headquartered out of.  Back when I attended there in the late 70s and 80, they had connections with many of the more "weird" "Christian" groups on campus, especially the Pentecostal ones (they kept the connections to the others quiet).  It was an offshoot connected with the pentecostal COG that hooked me with missionary dating (after they had me hooked she was reassigned to another group and sent to get more suckers), and then a few months after that they convinced me I had to drop out of school and "get a real job" - and then handed me over to the Assemblies.

During that period there was a virtual war for converts going on between them and the Crossroads Church of Christ group... both using Missionary Dating and other tactics.  It almost came to blows several times - even between the groups of young women and men (their bait) on campus.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:49:04 AM EST

"he would openly rebuke MCM's (and EN's) leadership abuses but on the other was close to EN's once-best-bud C. Peter Wagner, being an NAR "apostle" himself and all"

Grady plays an interesting role in the ecology of the movement, that of the "loyal opposition". As far as I can tell, he serves as a watchdog to criticize/try to rein in some of the more outrageous and problematic emerging practices/ideas in the movement. re-in-the-house-of-the-lord

I wonder whether in some cases Grady is simply pointing out possible sources of embarrassment for the movement, and is simply hinting, slyly, at the need for discretion. But he did clearly pick a fight with Rick Joyner over the Todd Bentley debacle.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:37:38 PM EST

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