Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America
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BB: Where does Sarah Palin fit into all this?
RT: The movement made early inroads in Alaska through an ICA apostle named Mary Glazier, who claims that a 24-year-old Palin joined her spiritual warfare network. These communication networks allow apostles to disseminate new prophecy to their "prayer warriors." During the presidential election this included prophecies about Palin, including one in which Glazier described a vision that Palin would take the "mantle" of leadership after a period of national mourning, apparently following John McCain's demise.
The first Transformation film so impressed pastors in Wasilla, Alaska, that they contacted some of the religious leaders featured in the movie including Thomas Muthee, who was shown driving a witch out of Kiambu, Kenya. Wasilla Assembly of God developed an ongoing relationship with Muthee and a 2005 church video shows him anointing Palin. Unfortunately the press picked up on the witch part of the story, and not the more important fact that Palin has ties to top leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation.
BB: Why should the American people be concerned about the New Apostolic Reformation?
RT: I believe this movement's threat to separation of church and state is greater than some of the more overtly theocratic movements of the religious right. The inclusion of women and all races in leadership roles, and their enthusiastic sponsorship of social services conflicts with a popular notion about religious fundamentalism. Despite their radical strategies, leaders in the movement have been labeled in the press as moderate, including Apostle Samuel Rodriguez -- president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference -- who has been described as a "new evangelical."
Unsuspecting people are certainly becoming involved in New Apostolic activities without understanding its agenda. For example, the Global Day of Prayer sounds benign but was founded by Graham Power, head of the Africa division of Silvoso's International Transformation Network. Numerous citywide prayer efforts and pastors' networks are under the auspices of Wagner's apostles. Charities, social services, and "reconciliation" events appear to welcome all, but are designed as stealth evangelism to advance the "Kingdom."
In June, Lance Wallnau, an ICA apostle and motivational speaker for the Seven Mountain campaign, spoke on stealth evangelism at Wasilla Assembly of God. In Guatemalan jails, according to Wallnau, New Apostolics teach prisoners a secularized version of "Kingdom" worldview for a full year before making any attempt to convert them to "born-again" Christianity. Wallnau encouraged the congregation to follow this example for infiltrating the seven spheres of society.
Peter Wagner's ideas have spread widely into mainstream of evangelicalism, to little public notice. Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, partnered with Wagner in founding the New Apostolic Reformation and building its early headquarters, the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that Haggard has written books on New Apostolic strategies, his participation in promoting this radical reformation of both church and society is so little known, it could be described as "Haggard's other secret."
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements. Rachel Tabachnick has provided research on the religious right to political campaigns and regularly contributes to Talk2action.org, Political Research Associates' The Public Eye , and the Jewish Daily Forward 's Zeek.