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Religious Revolt: New Christian Sect Battles Demons, Raises the Dead, Campaigns for Sarah Palin

This disturbing "Third Wave" of Christianity is growing faster than the earth's population and faster than Islam.

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But Philip Jenkins' "The Next Christianity" argued that the new "counter-reformation" is being driven largely by indigenized forms of Christianity, erupting from the Global South, that view the Christianity of the developed North as spiritually enervated and morally corrupt.

The reality of the North-South dynamic is far more complex -- there is cross-pollination these days between Christian traditions in the Global South and in the developed world, with African evangelicals aggressively moving to develop their own missions in Texas, Ukraine, Moscow, and elsewhere.

The original Counter-Reformation did not originate in Europe's developing colonial holdings but, rather, in the European Catholic Church. In similar fashion, most of the leaders and ideas driving the second (counter) reformation have come out of the developed North, from the pool of conservative Christians bitterly opposed to the liberal Christianity of the North. These Christians have resorted to radical methods to turn back the clock, to the pre-Enlightenment age if not before. It is a counter-reformation, then, but more than that too -- while it embodies the sentiments of a traditionalist backlash, it is also creatively moving forward, a second Reformation.

According to Ted Haggard, "Peter Wagner regularly writes and speaks about the New Apostolic Reformation. He has accurately recognized the changes as so dramatic that they are creating an actual reformation within the body of Christ." That's from page 44 of Ted Haggard's book The Life Giving Church (Gospel Light Publications, 1998). On page 35, Haggard describes a 1992 meeting in Upland, California, that was the genesis of his close partnership with Peter Wagner:

When I arrived, I met Luis Bush, Dick Eastman, Peter and Doris Wagner and several other recognized leaders. From that meeting, New Life Church formed its mission for the 1990s -- to support Luis Bush generally and Peter and Doris Wagner specifically... a calling that led to the creation of the World Prayer Center and much more. We as a team coordinated the Prayer Through the Window series that had 22,500,000 participants in 1993; 36,700,000 participants in 1995; over 40,000,000 in 1997.

By Haggard's account, he and C. Peter Wagner had constructed a global communications net that by 1997 could reach tens of millions of Christians in the prayer movement. In 2005, during the Global Day of Prayer, an estimated 200 million Christians in stadiums and arenas around the world joined in synchronous prayer.

Haggard's New Life Church and the adjacent World Prayer Center that was dedicated in 1998 were, for roughly a decade, the epicenter of an ongoing, radical redefinition of Christianity. One of its early board members became known to the secular world during the 2008 presidential campaign as an enigmatic Kenyan evangelist who, in 2005, had blessed Sarah Palin against witchcraft.

Spiritual Mapping

In the introduction to his dissertation, "Spiritual Mapping: The Turbulent Career of a Contested American Missionary Paradigm," written for the University of Utrecht and published in 2005, René Holvast described the arrival of the ‘new paradigm' in Mali, where he and his wife had been engaged in missions work:

Something new happened in 1996. At CMA missionary conferences, US visitors were flown in to teach the missionaries about ‘a new cutting-edge paradigm' for mission...

The new paradigm entailed that missionaries had to ‘identify' and ‘bind territorial spirits' and ‘unleash' divine power. Evangelism was to be preceded by ‘prayer walks,' and prayer was considered best if done geographically ‘on-site,' within a ‘target area.' Prayer became the identification of and confrontation with demons... All of this was categorized as ‘Spiritual Mapping'...

A team flown in from the New Life Church in Colorado Springs secretively anointed traditional fetish huts and whole villages.