Religious Revolt: New Christian Sect Battles Demons, Raises the Dead, Campaigns for Sarah Palin
Continued from previous page
A year later in 1997, Alix Spiegel described Ted Haggard's New Life Church members methodically ‘prayer walking' the streets, trying to drive away territorial demon spirits from Colorado Springs.
Two years later, in 1999, the new paradigm came to the Wasilla Assembly of God via a video that was described in the Christian Science Monitor article " Targeting cities with ‘spiritual mapping,' prayer."
In the opening sentences of her story, Jane Lampman asked, "Can the ‘spiritual DNA' of a community be altered? That's the question posed in a Christian video called ‘Transformations.'" Lampman continued:
Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee is convinced that it can be. In 1988, he and his wife, Margaret, were ‘called by God to Kiambu,' a notorious, violence-ridden suburb of Nairobi and a ‘ministry graveyard' for churches for years. They began six months of fervent prayer and research.
Muthee's story was held up as a case study in the 1999 pseudo-documentary Transformations the first in a series that its producers assert has brought to tens of millions, even hundreds of millions, the doctrine that Christians can create a utopia on Earth by driving out territorial demon spirits and alleged witches with the power of massed prayer. The exposure brought Thomas Muthee global fame.
Transformations I was released in 1999. The same year, it reached the members of a Mat-Su Valley, Alaska, church network (the Valley Pastors Prayer Network) whose pastors were so gripped by the video that they made contact with most of the religious figures shown in George Otis Jr.'s production. And they were so especially taken with Thomas Muthee's story they brought him to Alaska in 1999 and raised $30,000 so Muthee could buy land in Kenya to build his church.
As detailed in a late October 2008 Associated Press story by Garance Burke and an AP investigative team, Sarah Palin's Wasilla mayoral records show that she borrowed the Transformations I video from her former Wasilla Assembly of God pastor in 2000.
In August 2005, Bishop Thomas Muthee returned to Alaska and gave a weeklong sermon series at the Wasilla Assembly of God. The August 16, 2005 ceremony at the church was made notorious when footage of it surfaced during the 2008 presidential election. In it, congregants watch as Thomas Muthee blesses Sarah Palin against "every spirit of witchcraft." Several days later after that 2005 ceremony, Palin launched her campaign for the Alaska governor's seat.
The Numbers Don't Lie
In Radical Holiness For Radical Living (Wagner Publications, 2002) C. Peter Wagner states:
A process that began after World War II has now resulted in a newfound recognition of the gifts and offices of apostle and prophet in our churches today. The movement called the New Apostolic Reformation has been bringing about a most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant reformation. It is currently the most rapidly-growing segment of Christianity in every continent of the world.
Evidence suggests Wagner isn't exaggerating. According to the evangelical missionary reference book, World Christian Trends AD 30 -- AD 2200, by the year 2000, a category of Christianity known as postdenominationalism encompassed 385 million Christians, nearly 20% of the faith.
World Christian Trends lists 280 dichotomies that distinguish denominational from postdenominational Christianity -- which, according to the book, has "no connection with historic Christianity." The Third Wave represents an even more radical break.
Erupting within postdenominationalism starting in the 1980s, Third Wave Christianity claimed, by 2000, some 295 million adherents. World Christian Trends calls the Third Wave a "new and disturbingly different kind of Christian renewal." One very distinctive characteristic of Third Wave Christianity is its emphasis that average Christians can perform the same magnitude of healing miracles described in the New Testament to have been performed by Jesus Christ -- including raising the dead.