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Posts for July, 2010

When Dominionists “Take Their Equal Places In Politics”

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2010

The theocratic temptation that is holding many on the Christian far-right in its grip is beginning to alarm other Christians. Among them is Discernment Ministries, which lately appears alarmed at the tendency to call dreams and visions revelations from God without any scriptural or other basis other than the dreamer’s say so. Lately, they’ve been monitoring the Seven Mountains Mandate and the so-called New Apostolic Reformation. The Dr. Rev. Orrel Steinkamp blasts Janet Porter and Lou Engle, among many others, for their skewed version of Christianity:

C. Peter Wagner, chief apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), made a tactical decision to see Dominionism as temporarily consistent with democracy. I have not been able to locate when and where Wagner made such an “apostolic decree.” But, indeed, the Kingdom of God cannot ultimately be a democracy. For Wagner and any other Dominionist, the democratic process can only be a way station on the road to their “kingdom of God on the earth,” which is prior to the real Parousia.

Wagner’s tactical decision (as opposed to strategic decision) was a major change. It opened the way for the false apostles and prophets to enter the political arena. So now “apostle” Lou Engle is free to lay apostolic hands of blessing on 3-time divorcee Newt Gingrich. Now the NAR apostles and prophets, thanks to Janet Porter and WorldNetDaily, can take their equal places in politics. Now they have the blessing of James Dobson, who endorsed Janet Porter’s May Day event at the Lincoln Memorial. Now Cindy Jacobs, prophetess extraordinaire, who had a visit of the Seraphim in her room that caught it on fire, can share the stage with Newt Gingrich. Now Rick Joyner, who has his own political action organization which he calls the Oak Initiative — and who reportedly made a trip to heaven and heard Martin Luther repent of the Reformation — can rub shoulders with James Dobson.

So now these self-anointed, self-appointed apostles of the NAR, laden down with false signs and wonders, false apostolic decrees, and false prophets — who compete with each other in imaginary “can you top this” fraudulent oracles supposed to be from God — have been given the kiss of acceptance by Christian Right politicians, including James Dobson. The apostles and prophets see this as a match made in heaven, a giant step toward appointing apostles as governors of every state and province in the world, complete with in-house prophetic seers to make supernatural decisions.

Yesterday, Truth Wins Out’s Evan Hurst, who attended one of Lou Engle’s prayer meetings in St. Louis, observed this penchant to create a god in Engle’s image. Some examples:

He asserts at the beginning that he is a prophet, and not a teacher, which is telling, for several reasons. It shows that we’re dealing with a person who is not only delusional, but also not really a scholar of his chosen subject, the Bible. Engle introduces the story of Jezebel and Ahab, found in 1 Kings, to draw a parallel to modern times where, Engle believes, other Christians who he views as unorthodox are the root of most problems. On one side are Lou, his followers and like-minded people. He will later refer to them as the “Yahweh Separatists.” On the other is basically everyone else in the world, including most Christians, who he refers to as a “Jezebel” generation. He intones the call of the Calvinist reformers, “Sola Scriptura!“, which I think would probably amuse those old Calvinists, considering.

…However at the beginning of the fifth segment, we jump in on one of the creepiest moments of the entire night, as Lou Engle is explaining the “prophetic dreams” he had which called him to his work in St. Louis. Basically he says that God told him that, on the spiritual plane, he is like Charles Lindbergh flying the “Spirit of St. Louis,” that he, on the spiritual plane, IS “St. Louis” (of Engle?), and that his mission IS “The Spirit of St. Louis.” People, the man is delusional, and he’s got a flock of followers behind him who believe every word he says. He’s a cult leader.

“Saint means HOLY and Louis means WARRIOR. Holy war! I like that!”

For the record, Lou Engle is down with the idea of “holy war.” He likes it. In Arabic, they call that jihad.

He then moves into another dream he supposedly had, where God told him he had given him authority over Jezebel, and indeed told him to open his St. Louis church on Lindbergh Boulevard. This, to Lou Engle, is all the fulfillment of divine prophecy, but if you’re not familiar with St. Louis, let me explain something. It’s hard to drive around St. Louis without hitting Lindbergh Boulevard over and over again, because the road is very, very long. Think of the longest, busiest streets in your town. Lindbergh is one of those. Also, as Charles Lindbergh hailed from St. Louis, his name is on quite a few things there! But instead Lou Engle believes this is all evidence that in St. Louis is some sort of “well” that God has “deposited” for them.

Lou Engle continues to recount his dreams, with his followers oohing and aahing at him, as he explains how, he believes, God is giving him a “word of authority” over the government of the state of California, starting with the recall of Governor Gray Davis.

[Hat tip: Warren Throckmorton]

Rick Warren “Vigorously Condemns” Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2009

Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren came under tremendous fire for refusing to denounce Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act, saying “it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.” Now Pastor Warren has issued a video encyclical to his fellow pastors in Uganda urging them to speak out forcefully against the bill:

YouTube Preview Image

The key points that Warren raised are:

First, the potential law is unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals, requiring the death penalty in some cases. If I am reading the proposed bill correctly, this law would also imprison anyone convicted of homosexual practice.

Second, the law would force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities.

Third, it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting. As you know, in Africa, it is the churches that are bearing the primary burden of providing care for people infected with HIV/AIDS. If this bill passed, homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported. You and I know that the churches of Uganda are the truly caring communities where people receive hope and help, not condemnation.

Fourth, ALL life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God. My wife, Kay, and I have devoted our lives and our ministry to saving the lives of people, including homosexuals, who are HIV positive. It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others. We’re not just pro-life. We are whole life.

Finally, the freedom to make moral choices and our right to free expression are gifts endowed by God. Uganda is a democratic country with remarkable and wise people, and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up. For these reasons, I urge you, the pastors of Uganda, to speak out against the proposed law.

UPDATE: To be honest, when I posted this, I was speechless — literally. Which is why I didn’t write anything personally. Now that I’ve had a chance to reflect on it, I’m simply overjoyed. This statement, in its forcefullness and clarity, is what we’ve been waiting for. I’ve been wating for clarity like this since last February when I first warned of the then-planned anti-gay conference in Kampala. Now, those who support this bill — or any form of criminalization of homosexuality for that matter — will have to defend themselves in opposition to Pastor Warren’s statement.

It doesn’t get any better than this. Well, yes it does: we’re still looking for that day when this bill is finally withdrawn from Parliament.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of the past year’s anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Click here to read a transcript of Rick Warren’s statement.

Seven Mountains Theology At the Heart of Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

December 4th, 2009

Yesterday, Warren Throckmorton began delving into the “Seven Mountains” theology that has surfaced in investigations into American Evangelical ties to the current Anti-Homosexuality Act which has been put before Uganda’s Parliament. Today, Bruce Wilson, of the New Apostolic Reformation Research Group, has published a major exposé on extensive ties between those behind Uganda’s latest draconian proposal and American Evangelicals. Again, “Seven Mountains” theology appears to be at the core.

According to news reports, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was tabled before Parliament on October 14, but that wasn’t the first time discussions surrounding the proposal occurred in the chamber. A transcript of Parliamentary proceedings from April 29, have come to light which show MP David Bahati first introducing the bill before Parliament. This is likely to have been similar to the draft dated April 20, 2009 that we obtained in September. (The current bill is dated September 25.) According to the Parliamentary transcript, the Speaker noted several distinguished visitors in the gallery before turning the floor over to MP Bahati:

Let us hear from hon. Bahati. In connection with the motion he is moving, we have in the gallery Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, Vice-President of the Born Again Federation; Pastor Dr Martin Sempa of the Family Policy Centre; Stephen Langa, Family Life Network; hon. Godfrey Nyakaana; the Mayor of Kampala City Council; Julius, a young boy who was sodomised, and his mother. His story has been in the press. They are all here in the gallery. Please, let us deal with them so that they can leave. There is also George Oundo who came out to speak against homosexuality. Please, let us balance the public good and our good since all of them are important. We shall do them all very quickly. Hon. Bahati.

For longtime BTB readers, many of these names are familiar. Stephen Langa organized the anti-gay conference in Kampala in March featuring three American Anti-Gay activists which ultimately kicked off this latest round of anti-gay vigilantism and, eventually, this bill. Martin Ssempa has enjoyed close ties with many American Evangelicals, most notably Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren. Ssempa has used the latest anti-gay furor to exact revenge against rival pastors by accusing them of homosexuality. Those accusations were unfounded, and Ssempa himself is the subject of a police investigation for filing false reports. George Oundo is the unstable so-called “ex-gay” who participated in several acts of vigilantism in the media.

"Apostle" Julius Oyet

"Apostle" Julius Oyet

But one name we haven’t paid much attention to — and should — is that of the self-designated “Apostle” Julius Peter Oyet. He’s vice-president of the Born Again Federation, and umbrella group of some 10,000 Ugandan Pentecostal churches. He is also head of Lifeline Ministries. According to Throckmorton and Wilson, Oyet has gained favor and influence with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni for going to Northern Uganda and praying over territory once controlled by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. His prayers reportedly resulted in the “miraculous” return of hundreds of child soldiers abducted by the LRA, as well as other fantastic stories of miraculous healings, cleansing of poisoned rivers, casting out demons, and the like.

Oyet is an adherent to “Seven Mountains” theology, a Dominionist theology that calls upon Christians to “establish the Kingdom of God on earth” by claiming possession to “the Seven Mountains of Culture namely: Business, Government, Religion, Family, Media, Education and Entertainment.”  Warren Throckmorton explains:

This viewpoint seems to be quite popular among those who follow C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation. Wagner is the Presiding Apostle for the International Council of Apostles, a subsidiary of Global Harvest Ministries which admits new apostles by invitation only.

Wagner’s 2008 book Dominion: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World, is described by the publisher as an exploration of “the biblical roots of dominion theology.” According to Wagner, the task of the church is less about individual salvation and more about taking dominion over the culture by reclaiming seven domains: family, business, arts & entertainment, government, media, education, and religion.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Caleb Lee Brundidge, one of the speakers at that anti-gay conference at Kampala last march, is a member of a group called Extreme Prophetic, which also adheres to Seven Mountains theology.

Bruce Wilson’s report at Talk to Action takes up the thread from there:

Some observers have wondered if Purpose Driven Life author and mega-evangelist Rick Warren has had a role in the globally controversial bill, especially because of Warren’s close association with Ugandan anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa and, more broadly, because Warren has refused to denounce the anti-gay bill.

To little notice, a charismatic network overseen by Warren’s doctoral dissertation advisor, C. Peter Wagner, has played a major role in politically organizing and inspiring the Ugandan legislators who have spearheaded the anti-gay bill.

Wagner is the Convening Apostle in a movement of charismatic networks which has extended its reach from the United States to Uganda, and worldwide. Under its umbrella of authority are virulently anti-gay apostles in the United States and Uganda including Lou Engle of TheCall, who led thousands of young people in a twelve hour November 1, 2008 stadium rally in support of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight.

The San Diego event closed with Engle, a member of Wagner’s inner circle of “prophets,” calling for Christian martyrs. Peter Wagner heads the New Apostolic Reformation, which he openly touts as an effort to take Christian dominion over the globe by putting “born again” believers around the world under the authority of these apostles and prophets.

Both C. Peter Wagner and Rick Warren want to transform the world, and both have proclaimed the advent of a second Reformation. Wagner calls it the New Apostolic Reformation, while for Rick Warren this is a “purpose driven” effort powered by Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In Uganda both visions for societal transformation appear to include the categorical elimination of homosexuality – by any means.

The word “transform” is key. Wilson identifies Julius Oyet as a one of Wagner’s Apostles, and is featured in one of the movement’s Transformations series of video documentaries. Wilson says these videos “depict cities and even whole nations transformed to earthly utopias when charismatic Christians take control of societal structures and government.” The “Transformations” ideas promoted these videos have spawned Transformation organizations around the world, including the International Transformation Network

Oyet is also identified as being the head of the Uganda division of the College of Prayer International. BTB readers may recall from last month that MP David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexualty Act into Parliament, and MP Benson Obua-Ogwa, identified as one of the bill’s cosponsors, are core members of the College of Prayer International’s Uganda branch. They were appointed as two of eight MP’s to serve on the Christian “servant leadership team” in Parliament for three years.

Some parts of Wilson’s report covers some of the same ground that we’ve reported, but his well-researched report goes much deeper than anyone has been able to accomplish so far. He does an excellent job of not only tying it all together, but demonstrating how Seven Mountains theology works, as adherents seek to infiltrate the seven spheres of cultural influence — particularly the governmental sphere. He also documents the close ties that these groups have with the President and First Lady of Uganda. For example:

A March 8th, 2007 news release, hosted on the official web site of Republic of Uganda State House, reveals the extent to which the Transformations model is being integrated into Ugandan government policy:

“President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Mrs. Janet Museveni today hosted at State House, Nakasero 2 officials of California based Harvest Evangelism. Founder and President of Harvest Evangelism Mr. Ed Silvoso was accompanied by Mr. Graham Power.” According to the release, the Musevenis discussed with Silvoso and Power “issues pertaining to investment opportunities in the country particularly road construction and the development of infrastructure.”

Ed Silvoso is an apostle in C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles and is CEO of the International Transformation Network (ITN). Janet Museveni has spoken at several Transformation conferences around the world including one hosted by Silvoso’s Argentina-based ministry.

So now we see how Peter Wagner’s “Seven Mountain” theology is having a very real impact in Uganda. And with Rick Warren as Wagner’s protegé, Warren’s refusal to take a stand on the impending disaster in Uganda is starting to make sense. One would think that denouncing such a draconian attempt at criminalization would be easy to denounce, but Warren can’t find it in his heart to do so.

The more we look at the ties between American Evangelicals and Uganda’s political leadership, the more we see the true nature of what the American Evangelical movement has in store for LGBT people if they get their way. One Uganda pastor called the proposal “genocide.” That’s an extreme word describing an extreme situation. But the more we learn, the more it looks like it’s not hyperbole after all. This is real.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.