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Christian right ideology and the prayer warriors

By Alan Matheson - posted Friday, 26 March 2010

What do Prayer Warriors drink at Palin's Tea Parties?

Is Palin a Battle Axe Brigade member?

Did the Prayer Warriors kill Mother Teresa?


Will the “7 Mountains” survive climate change?

Not sure of the answers? Then you are missing out on “the most radical restructuring of Christianity since the Reformation”.

Well, I hear you say, does it matter, and who cares?

As the world has learned, it pays not to be too complacent when American religion and politics set out to conquer the world. For example, Major General Jim Molan, an Australian officer attached to the USA operational command (Iraq), quickly learned, “the American way”. At the end of each briefing by General Sanchez, officers having been dismissed with prayer, sprang to their feet, saluted, and with one voice, shouted, “Victory”!

American Christian organisations come and go. Rachel Tabachnick notes that the Prayer Warriors is “no fringe movement, but a rapidly institutionalising entity larger than most Protestant denominations ... it’s an international entity encompassing thousands of independent, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches” (“New Report Documents Activities of Spiritual Warfare Network Tied to Palin”).

While there are other organisations struggling to get the attention of the conservative forces, it is to the movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) with which Sarah Palin, potentially the next President, is most closely identified.


At one end of the spectrum are churches such as the “Warm Body of Jesus” (Philippines), and “Dodge the Devil and Go Straight to Heaven Church” (Zimbabwe), across to some of the most sophisticated, well resourced, global networks under the oversight of the Covenanting Apostle, such as C. Peter Wagner, and his Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE). This particular small executive group (ACPE) co-ordinates its global activities through a 500-strong, International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).

Within the ICA is Mary Grazier's World Prayer Centre (“the nerve centre of spiritual warfare”, linking 50 million Christians in 120 countries); Butin’s “Battle Axe Brigade” (no, Palin is not a General); Cindy Jacob's “Generals International” (“God is releasing the ANZAC horsemen anointing”); “City Harvest” in Brisbane; and Rick Joyner's militant Morningstar Ministries.

Out of this complex, bewildering interconnection of individuals, companies and churches Palin emerges, either as a naïve, political tool, or a cool, calculating political operator.

For some of the “Prophetic Elders” Palin is the Hebrew Testament’s “Deborah” or modern day “Esther” (“handpicked by God”). Palin’s mentor, Mary Glazier, had a vision of her, “standing alone mantled with an American flag”. Joyner, believes that, “there is a spiritual authority in Palin, and in time, the church will actually be organised as a military force with an army, navy and air force”.

The language of the NAR is aggressive and militant. Apostles talk of Generals, spiritual warfare, freedom fighters, arms and weapons, SWAT (Strategic Warriors at Training), and of Todd Bentley’s Joel’s Army, “prophesied to become an Armageddon - ready military force for young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian dominion on non-believers”.

At one level, I guess all this is not so hard to swallow when US soldiers are already carrying “Jesus Rifles” (“spiritually transformed firearms of Jesus”) with biblical verses inscribed on their gun sights (2COR4:16), and a Defence Secretary was found slapping Bible verses on top secret intelligence briefings.

While the Oath Keepers provide the armed muscle for the Tea Parties, it is the NAR which provides the prayer and prophetic protection. It is this prophetic element of the NAR which makes it easy for many to dismiss it as fringe and marginal, if not delusional. For example, what in the world are “Prophetic Based Suicide Prevention” programs!

Or what to make of senior Apostle Ana Mendez, and her secret prayer expedition to Mt Everest, called “Operation Ice Castle”, against the “Queen of Heaven” (a demonic power misinterpreted as Mary, honoured by Muslims as Fatima, and known to others as Diana). Following that expedition according to Mendez, whose ramblings can be found on the Transforming Melbourne website, things then began to happen: fires in Indonesia; a basilica destroyed in Assisi; Princess Diana was killed; and Mother Teresa died!

Prayer and prophetic expeditions such as Operation Ice Castle are based on two further strategies. Spiritual mapping, which “is the scouting and detailed mapping of the territory (city) to document the sources of demons and generational curses … gates and portals through which demons gain access are of particular significance”. And a series of “Transformations” videos, distributed by Transforming Melbourne, setting out in detail how and what to do (with the demons).

Danny Nalliah’s Catch the Fire Ministries called for, “an offensive spiritual attack on demonic strongholds” after discovering a coven of witches on Mt Ainslie.

Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and major supporter of The Family (“a secret organisation of powerful Christians in Washington” who “preach a gospel of Biblical capitalism, military might, and global American empire”) had a vision for “Christian world-control”. Her vision, the second strategy, called “Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture” targets “seven areas for Christian fundamentalists to reclaim”: the Mountains of government, education, media, arts, religion, family and business.

Supporting these strategies is the rewriting of the Bible, because “liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations”. The new translation will, “utilise powerful conservative terms”, “express free market parables” and provide, “a framework against liberal bias”.

Does this have any impact in Australia?

The American Christian right ideology is pervasive in Australia, and in some denominations, such as Pentecostals and the myriad of para-church groups and companies, is totally reshaping them. It’s difficult to actually measure such influence, or the degree to which, for example, NAR networks are moving cash and resources into Australia.

I wonder, for example, are those politicians supporting the Parliamentary Prayer Network aware that the organisers are ICA members combating the Queen of Heaven? Do those who send their kids to YWAM activities know they’re an integral part of Loren Cunningham’s campaign for a global American empire?

Benny Hinn, an American televangelist, left Australia after his last visit with nearly $1 million in his pocket. Significant NAR figures go in and out of Australia, but para-church groups such as the 50 or so which organise the National Days of Prayer, as well as companies such as the Australian Christian Lobby, are remarkably shy about publicly revealing much about their finances.

Churches of Christ is the only major denomination in a formal partnership with Focus on the Family, whose founder is one of the most significant warriors of the political and Christian right. Transforming Melbourne, with its related prayer and pastor networks, is a major promoter of NAR strategies and prophetic direction (Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation).

Should we worry?

The US Department of Homeland, in a recent report, “assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo the 1990s … as well as new trends, including an uncertain economy and a perceived rising influence of other countries, may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity … To the extent that these factors persist, rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength.” (Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment, April 2009.)

Does it matter that NAR’s Joel’s Army pastors are called “commandant”, and that they believe “that once democratic institutions are overthrown, their hierarchy of apostles and prophets will rule over the earth”? Will it matter much if Sarah Palin finally becomes a General in Joel’s Army? (“Arming for Armageddon”)

Well remember, it was only a couple of years ago that NAR groups in Australia were having their own tea party with a Prime Minister, that the Treasurer was praying with them, and when they organised National Days of Prayers, even Opposition Leaders and Governor-Generals blessed them!

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About the Author

Alan Matheson is a retired Churches of Christ minister who worked in a migration centre in Melbourne, then the human rights program of the World Council of Churches, before returning to take responsibility for the international program of the ACTU.

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