"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell
This is a long article; it is divided into five different parts. Part I, "Why The World Hates America," describes the VICIOUSNESS of the American New World System using as an example an incident that happened recently in Cochabamba, Bolivia that involved the Bechtel Corporation. Part II, "The Leadership Of The Church Has Betrayed Christ And Sold Christianity Out To The Devil," depicts the UTTER depravity of today's church leadership - a leadership that thinks nothing of "making common cause" with the American New World Order System and such despicable groups as the Moonies. Part III, "Turning Christians into Zombies," describes the "Apostles and Prophets Movement" and what it is doing to Christians: turning them into mindless robots in the service of the elites. Part IV, "Using Christian Zombies In The Service Of The Elites: Creating A Crusader Army In The Service Of Babylon"depicts the pathology that is now at work in the so-called "War on Terrorism" which will eventually make MONSTERS out of all those who remain attached to today's Apostate Church. Finally, Part V describes what you must do if you are going to escape. This article doesn't pull any punches and often uses harsh terminology. But you need to know what is happening, and you need to know it in the starkest terms possible. Pulling punches will get us no where now - it's too late to be wishy-washy about any of this.
It never ceases to amaze me how blind American Christians are to what their nation has become - though almost every other nation, and almost every other people clearly recognize what America is; that she is NOT what most Christians in this country prefer to see her as - i.e., as the "New Israel of God" or as a "shining city on a hill" - but that her real appearance (and nature) approximates something quite different: a "BEAST," specifically, the Beast of Daniel 7:7:
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a ... BEAST, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it ..." (Dan. 7:7) [We urge those of you who haven't already, to read our article on the United States, which deals with America from a Biblical point of view, "The American Empire: In Search Of Babylon! What Does The Bible Say?"]
A beast; that's what she has become! - a "... BEAST, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly ..." Think about it! - after all, it's not the United Nations (which - like so many other so-called "world institutions," for example the IMF, the World Bank, etc. - is nothing more than a "front" to give "legitimacy" to America's New World Order System [Please see "The American Empire And The New Global Elite" ), it's not the European Community or Japan (which are nothing more than America's "bootlickers"), it's not the "Red Chinese," or any other nation or secret cabal (i.e., the Illuminati, the "Learned Elders of Zion," etc.) - it's the United States that is running roughshod all over the planet, recklessly imposing its frightful will on the earth and acting like a savage animal. Again, it seems that everybody in the rest of the world can see America for what she really is except Americans, especially American Christians. For example, Luigi Barzini, the well-known Italian writer - speaking on the subject of American world-hegemony as it relates to the EC - writes:
"We Europeans have been reduced to the role of the Greeks in the Roman Empire. The most useful function an Italian or a Frenchman can perform these days is to teach an American the proper temperature at which to drink his red wine."
And Oliver Wormser, the former president of the Bank of France, writes:
"We (i.e. the Europeans) are about as relevant to the Americans as a bunch of Caribbean banana republics."
Franz Schurmann, professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley and author of the book, The Logic of World Power, writes:
"More than (just) the world's solo super-power, the United States ... (is the earth's) WORLD-EMPIRE."
All this is plainly visible to anyone who really wants to see it, it's just that no one in this country wants to - and that is evidenced by the fact that nobody in the United States is willing to ask the question, How is it possible for people to HATE America to such an extent that they would hijack four planes and run two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and another into the Pentagon - killing not only themselves, but thousands of innocent people as well?
The answer that is currently being peddled by the elite media is that those responsible for what happened on the 11th of September aren't really human beings at all. They are "EVIL-DOERS," "TERRORISTS," "BLOOD-THIRSTY ANIMALS" - and the only thing one can do with such monsters is to hunt them down and kill them much in the same way one would hunt down and kill rabid dogs. The utility of such an answer is that it dehumanizes our opponents, and by doing so, it relieves us of the responsibility of asking the question, "Why?" - at least in any kind of serious fashion. The answer that "rabid dogs kill" is all that is needed.
This is certainly what Daniel Pipes thinks that elite policy wonks want us to believe. Pipes - the director of the "Middle East Forum," the author of three books on Islam, and a major "player" insofar as elite policy-making in the Middle East is concerned - elaborates; he writes:
"The establishment - politicians, academics, (moderate) religious leaders, journalists, along with many Muslims - says TERRORISM IS THE ENEMY. It is carried out by "EVILDOERS" who have nothing to do with Islam but adhere to some murky cult of terrorism.
"U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell summarized this view by declaring that the acts of September 11th 'should not be seen as something done by Arabs or Islamics; it is something that was done by terrorists'."
THE ELITES DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRUE NATURE OF THEIR NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM, AND THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM ITS HORRIFIC IMPACT ON ORDINARY PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER,and from the possibility that there could, as a result, be more to the hatred these people feel towards the United States than most Americans - and especially American Christians - are willing or even psychologically prepared to admit?
But is that such a far-fetched idea? - i.e., that there actually might be a reason so many people outside the United States hate America? After all, is it really that remarkable for people to despise a country that has attempted to overthrow more than 40 democratically elected governments since the end of World War II; and that has tried to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling to assert their own legitimate political and human rights over and against intolerably corrupt, brutal dictatorships (most of which had been installed by the American government) during the same period of time? This may be news to you, but it certainly isn't news to most in the world today - even to our European and Japanese "brown-nosers."
Come on now, is it really that difficult to understand the feelings of disgust and loathing that people would have towards a nation that has subjected most of the world to "client-state" status in the service of American multinational corporations like the United Fruit Company (now Dole) in Central America; Exxon / Mobil Corporation in the Middle East; Nike Corporation in Malaysia; Rockefeller corporate interests in Brazil and Argentina, etc., and that has - as a result - condemned the people of these nations to lives of grinding poverty, unrelenting agony and hopeless despair? Is it really that hard to believe that the World Trade Center was NOT chosen at random, but that a good deal of thought went into singling it out as a target? That it was chosen purposely to make a statement about America's brutal economic suppression of most of the nations and peoples of the earth? And that the Pentagon was targeted in order to make a deliberate statement about American military hegemony?
But if one accedes to this proposition, then one must admit that the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center and partially wrecked the Pentagon were not animals after all, but rationale human beings desperately trying to say something about what America is up to in the world at large in the only way that is left to them - given the now almost total domination of the world news media by America (or by America's toadies), to say nothing of the almost complete mastery of the economic, political, and military affairs of this planet by America and its European and Japanese lackeys.
As we have urged you on other occasions, you need to be fair here! Given these facts, what would YOU think about the United States if YOU were living in the slums of Cairo or Damascus or Baghdad (for example), and you were aware that your legitimate, God-given patrimony (i.e., the oil wealth of that area - please see Genesis 17:18-26) was being stolen from you by the Western oil elites (Standard Oil, Texaco, Socal, Bechtel, etc.) while you and your family were left struggling to make ends meet on a few pennies a day while all the time being called "stupid, ignorant ner-do-wells" by those who were doing the stealing? And be clear here: this isn't just occurring in the Middle East, it's happening everywhere.
Take just one recent example of how U.S. corporations are acting throughout the world - with, naturally enough, the connivance of the U.S. government: specifically, the way the Bechtel Corporation [which is usually (and very mistakenly) thought of as a company doing business only in the Middle East] took control of the water system of Cochabamba, Bolivia's third-largest city. [Bolivia, by the way, is South America's poorest country.] Jim Shultz, executive director of the Democracy Center and author of the book, The Democracy Owner's Manual, reports that two years ago, a subsidiary of Bechtel Enterprises took control of that city's water system. Within weeks after taking charge - AND WITHOUT MAKING ANY IMPROVEMENTS WHATSOEVER IN THE WATER SYSTEM itself, Bechtel doubled and tripled water rates to the poor. [Bechtel, it should be noted, is a FAVORITE of America's corporate / political elites. Dick Cheney, George Shultz, Cap Weinberger, the Bushes (both father and son), James Baker, and the other Mandarins of America's oil elites have all been tied, directly or indirectly, to Bechtel.]
Now think about that for a minute. An American multinational comes to town, takes over the city's water system - a heretofore public water system that had been successfully providing water to the city's residents for years and years (and that had even managed to turn a slight profit) - and begins charging the poor of the city $15 or more a month just to keep their water running. And all this in a city where families live on less than $60 per month.
AND REMEMBER HERE - THE BECHTEL CORPORATION NEVER SANK ONE RED DIME INTO IMPROVING THE CITY'S WATER SYSTEM ITSELF - NOT ONE DIME! You ask, maybe Bechtel was just trying to "recoup" its investment first before taking on the financial burden of improving Cochabamba's water system?
What investment? - the company got control of Cochabamba's water system in a "sweet-heart" deal arranged by America's local "client-state" elite which owed its own status and power as a provincial "ruling elite" to the CIA, the death squads the CIA and its "lackey elite" ran in the country, and ultimately to the guns of the American military [which, in all of America's "client-states," lurks ominously "OFF SHORE" (in the background) ready to pounce on anyone foolish enough to challenge America's status as the "client-state's" ruling HEGEMON]. The local Bolivian "lackey-elite," like similar other elites operating under comparable situations throughout the world - was simply "cut in" on a part of Bechtel's profits, and told to "shut up," and "do what it was told."
Obviously, what Bechtel is up to is NOT working with "... local communities throughout the world to help improve their standard of living and their quality of life" [as Bechtel's mission statement so shamelessly (and falsely) declares], but gouging the poor of the world for all that it can get, AND HANG THOSE WHO CAN'T PAY. But, then, this is PRECISELY what other American companies have been doing throughout the world for years and years - for example, what Nike has been doing in Malaysia and Indonesia, what Exxon-Mobil has been doing in the Middle East, what Chevron has been doing in Nigeria and Khazakstan, what Ford, GM, GE, etc. have been doing in Mexico, and on and on and on ad infinitum.l]
No wonder the people in these countries - as opposed to the "client-state elites" the U.S. has installed in these nations - HATE us. Wouldn't you if you were living in the slums of Cochabamba and faced - literally - with a choice between water and food. [And don't make the mistake here in thinking that these very same multinationals wouldn't do it to YOU if they could! That's what Enron and other energy companies like Williams were trying to do to energy customers in California when they raped them by doubling and tripling energy prices there under the rubric of "deregulation." Most people in California and the West were furious! - and rightfully so; but, then, that's EXACTLY what Bechtel was doing in Cochabamba, except, as we just indicated, families in Cochabamba are trying to "make it" on less than $60 a month as opposed to what the ultra poor in California are trying to "make it" on: $900 a month.]
The people of Cochabamba - after they realized that they were being "taken to the cleaners" by Bechtel - "took to the streets" to demand that rates be lowered. But Bechtel's representatives refused to lower prices, and America's "client-elite" in the country (i.e., the Bolivian military) did what they were paid to do and called out soldiers to protect Bechtel. Shults reports that one unarmed demonstrator, 17-year-old Victor Hugo Daza, was shot in the face and killed, and more than 100 others were seriously wounded. Shultz says, "I was there. I saw it happen."
Eventually, in April 2000, the company left. They say they had no choice because of the protests. Now one would think here that the people of Cochabamba had won a rare victory against one of America's most rapacious multinationals. But a closer look at what Bechtel was up to yields a different conclusion. According to the new trade rules that the WTO and the World Bank have set up in recent years, Bechtel still has a way of making an enormous profit on its so-called "investment" - and so much so that one is left with the nagging feeling that getting kicked out of Cochabamba had been what Bechtel was really up to all along. Last month (December 2001), Bechtel filed a demand for millions and millions of dollars against the Bolivian government, claiming that it was due money on its "expropriated investment."
What? - but Bechtel never put any real money into Cochabamba's water system. Then, what "investment" is it that Bechtel is claiming was expropriated? Astonishingly, it is claiming the millions of dollars in POTENTIAL profits that it had hoped to make off the poor of Cochabamba by taking over their water system (with the government's collusion), and then charging these people for what they had heretofore been receiving for free. Wow! - that's CHUTZPAH. That's kind of like a gambler talking his way into a poker game with no money, and then having his "buddy" the sheriff close the game down and suing the people he was playing for the POTENTIAL winnings he might have made at their expense if the game had continued.
In the parlance of Wall Street, the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF, this is called "PRIVATIZATION." And this game is being played out not only in Bolivia, but all over the world today! - for example, in Russia where the citizens of that now impoverished country have been shamelessly cheated out of billions and billions and billions of dollars in similar (and even more "creative") scams by German and American multinationals operating behind the facade of Russia's new capitalist "Oligarchy" - a plutocracy that is being used as a FRONT for American (and German) money.
You doubt? - then ask yourself the simple question, where did this so-called Russian "Oligarchy" get its money in the first place? When communism fell in Russia, NOBODY there had any money, at least money that wasn't denominated in the by-then worthless rubel. Where did the money come from then? - all those German marks and American dollars that the "Oligarchy" was using to "buy up" Russia with?
You say, from the Russian Mafia. Well, let me assure you, while gangsterism is indeed rampant in the former Soviet Union, the Russian Mafia as such is more myth than reality. What's really happening in Russia is that thousands of former KGB men and communist functionaries FINANCED BY U.S. AND GERMAN CORPORATE FUNDS are running amok in Russia buying up everything they can get their hands on for pennies on the dollar for their "shareholders" (so-called) in the West; and in the process, stealing the average citizens of Russia blind of their patrimony - which is exactly the game the American elites have been playing in the Middle East and Latin America for years and years now.
THIS IS CAPITALISM AS IT IS PRACTICED TODAY IN AMERICA'S NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM. It is a ruthless, pitiless, and unmerciful "game" - and it is a terribly heart-breaking one for those millions of ordinary people throughout the world who have fallen prey to its utter savagery and cold-hearted cruelty - for example, Mexican peasants who have had their farm land stolen by Cargill and ConAgra (and then who are shipped off to fend for themselves in Mexico City's vast slums); Arabs who have had their oil stolen by Exxon-Mobil and Standard Oil; Russians who are having their vast natural resources stolen by the so-called "Oligarchy" operating under the direction of Western multinationals like Siemens, Barens Mining, Chevron Oil, and on and on and on ad infinitum.
THIS KIND OF SAVAGE CAPITALISM, of course, IS WHAT ENRON WAS UP TO, AND ENRON IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG of what's been going on - again, not only in the world at large, but in the United States as well. I repeat, there is very little difference between what Bechtel did to the citizens of Cochabamba in Bolivia and what Enron did to the people of California - and there are a lot more Enrons out there practicing the same kind of chicanery. The fact is, Enron was no anomaly!
It was no aberration from the norm. ENRON WAS THE NORM, and if the truth could really be known, corporate icons (so-called) like Jack Welch of General Electric are not so much different from Kenneth Lay of Enron. Both are (were) up to their necks in the "new corporate culture" - i.e., the savage and brutish corporate culture of America's New World Order System, the same corporate culture that eventually drove Clifford Baxter, also of Enron, to commit suicide a month or so ago as he surveyed the wreckage of what he had so naively and foolishly devoted his life to, realizing only in the end what kind of evil he had been involved in.
But it won't be the Clifford Baxters, the Kenneth Lays and the Jack Welches of the world who will ultimately have to "pay the piper" for the avaricious and grasping economic policies championed by the ruling elites of America's New World Order System, but the poor of this world. And they will pay and pay, and pay again until the world at last comes to realize what that strange lyric in Revelation 6:6 is all about:
"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:6) [The meaning of this lyric, according to John Walvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary, is that in the "end of days" most of the people of the earth will be reduced to a form of grinding poverty (in other words, they will have to work a whole day just to buy one loaf of bread) while the elites of the world grab everything for themselves (only the elites in the ancient world could afford olive oil and wine).]
THIS IS THE "GAME" (i.e., grabbing everything up for themselves) THAT THE "WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM" MET TO PROMOTE AT THE WALDORF-ASTORIA IN NEW YORK CITY at the end of January and the first of February. This is what the WTO and "globalization" is really all about! - "refereeing" this "game" in favor of the multinationals and against the poor. This is what the IMF and the World Bank are promoting too. This is what Bechtel, Exxon-Mobil, Archer-Daniels Midland, Ford, GM, etc. in one way or another are also up to - i.e., creating an "investment climate" where they can't lose!
Wow! - think about it! Think about what Bechtel and countless other companies like Bechtel are up to - for example, counting as "investments" "POTENTIAL profits," not so much old-fashioned "hard assets" or "cash on the barrel-head." Bechtel's water-system takeover in Bolivia is an international poster child for what America's New World Order System is all about, and how corporations are manipulating global trade laws to take further advantage of the world's destitute and downtrodden.
Shultz says that Bechtel's legal move to recoup its "loss" in Bolivia came in the form of a "request for arbitration" to the little-known International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arm of the World Bank - the same institution that, under the impress of the Bechtel Corporation, had pressured the Bolivian government into "privatizing" its water system in the first place. Like the negotiations that produced the Bechtel contract that permitted Bechtel to rob the citizens of Cochabamba of their water system in the first place, the arbitration will be held in complete secrecy, with no opportunity for the citizens of Cochabamba to review what's going on. Only Bechtel and America's lackey in the area, the Bolivian government, will be represented, leaving little doubt as to the ultimate outcome of the arbitration. [And don't think that Bolivia's lackey elite will necessarily lose out there; they won't. What will happen is that the "government" of Bolivia will be required to pay Bechtel; the "government" will then turn around and "sock it to" the Bolivian nation as a whole; Bechtel will get its money, and a way will be found to "kickback" a part of Bechtel's "recouped investment" to the Bolivian ruling classes. Everybody wins except the poor in Cochabamba and the rest of the people of Bolivia who are now made to pay for "Bechtel's loss" through increased taxes and government fees.]
From this perspective, it's pretty hard to defend the kind of economic policies that are currently in vogue in America's New World Order System - at least in the bright sunlight; it's pretty hard for the corporations engaged in these practices to face in the light of day those whom they have so savagely raped in the dark of night. Just call them "terrorists," that's what the elites want to do - which is kind of like labeling a young girl you have just raped a "prostitute" even though she was a virgin when you forced her to have sex with you; then label her an "assassin" because she went home, got a gun, and came after you with murder in her eyes because the local police wouldn't do anything to help her - largely because you had "bought them off."
Listen, brothers and sisters, what happened (and is happening) in Cochabamba is not an exception to the rule in America's New World Order System. It's happening everywhere. Is it any wonder, then, that the people of the world hate us so? And they really do! - except, of course, for the lackey elites we have installed in our system of client-states to run things for us. The whole thing is enough to make one nauseous. Who could possibly countenance what was done to the people of Cochabamba? What right-thinking person would ever want to be found in the company of the kind of people who pulled that scam off? - No one!
THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT SO ASTONISHING THAT THESE ARE THE VERY PEOPLE WITH WHOM THE LEADERS OF OUR CHURCH HAVE MADE COMMON CAUSE WITH TO - OF ALL THINGS - "TAKE BACK AMERICA FOR CHRIST" AND "CONQUER THE WORLD FOR THE CHURCH." What could possibly explain this kind of aberrant thinking among our church leaders - the kind of thinking that could justify such an unholy alliance with the business elites of the Republican Party? - or does the Bible say in vain,
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
"And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2 Cor. 6:14-15)
Pretty plain, isn't it? Yet the leadership of today's church thinks it can cavilierly flout these Scriptures and get away with it! And these are people who say they are "BIBLICAL LITERALISTS!" My foot they are!
But it's their love of money that really exposes them for what they are. It's here - it's precisely here - that one can begin at last to fathom the depth to which our church leadership has fallen into CORRUPTION. The fact is, these so-called leaders of ours are beyond contempt! - they've sold themselves out to the devil for "filthy lucre" (I Pet. 5:2). You say we're being too harsh? Oh, really? - well take Jerry Falwell, for example. He has taken millions and millions of dollars from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a man who claims Jesus failed in His mission to save mankind, and who believes (and openly preaches) that Christ had sex with the women who followed Him - kind of like the way David Koresh had sex with his female devotees at the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas. Falwell, however, says that's okay (i.e., taking money from Moon), and that -
"... if the American Atheist Society or Saddam Hussein himself ever sent a ... gift to any of my ministries, be assured ... I will quickly cash the check." [What's so ironic here is that Falwell blames much of what's happened today in American society on the American Atheist Society and Madeline Murray O'Hare, but he would gladly take money from them. My heavens! - where's his sense of ethical equilibrium?]
Of course, Falwell says that the gift would have to be given on an "unrestricted basis," but then that's what George Bush, Dick Cheney and the other Mandarins of the Republican Party say about "corporate giving" to them from companies like Archer Daniels Midland, Boeing, GE, etc. - that the "giving" is "unrestricted." And if you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida I would like to sell you.
But then, Falwell isn't the only one who has taken money from the Moonies or who are associated with groups and / or organizations that have done so: there's Tim LaHaye, Beverley LaHaye, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Bob Dugan, Ron Godwin, Robert Grant, Rebecca Hagelin, Bob Jones the 3rd, Alan Keyes, D. James Kennedy, Peter Marshall, Sam Moore, Pat Robertson, Rev. Duane Motley, Ralph Reed, Oliver North, Phyllis Schafley, Rev. Jim Woodall, John Ankerberg, Rev. E.V. Hill, James Robison, Jay Sekulow, Pat Boone, Larry Burkett, Reed Larson, etc., etc., etc.
Please go to the following websites to get further information on this
Terry T. Pascher
The University of Akron
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By Eric Jewell
AND THESE ARE OUR LEADERS? God help those who are STUPID enough to follow them. Is this not a case of the -
"... blind lead(ing) the blind? shall they not both (i.e., both leaders and followers) fall into the ditch?" (Luke 6:39)
IS IT ANY WONDER THAT IT WAS ON THEIR "WATCH" (SO TO SPEAK) THAT THE CHURCH WAS LED INTO THE PRESENT ALLIANCE THAT IT FINDS ITSELF IN WITH THE BUSINESS ELITES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY - WHO ARE, IN TURN, THE VERY SAME PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR STEALING COCHABAMBA'S WATER SYSTEM FROM THE POOR OF THAT CITY? AND NOT ONLY THAT, BUT THEY ARE THE VERY SAME PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF RUNNING AMERICA'S NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM?
The UTTER stupidity of these leaders is beyond comprehension; these are the people who are forever running "to and fro" and "this way and that" leaving no stone unturned in their search for some mysterious cabal of "New Agers" that they think are surreptitiously running the world from behind closed doors - i.e., the "Illuminati," the "Bilderbergers," the "Learned Elders of Zion," etc. - while all along they have made common cause with the very people who REALLY are in charge of what's going on in the world: the business elites of the Republican Party. These are the people (i.e., the business elites) who are running the world - and they are doing it OUT IN THE OPEN, for all to see. There is nothing hidden or secret about it.
But our church leaders prefer to believe in some hidden, clandestine cabal of "Satan worshippers" replete with upside-down crosses, naked priestesses, and "black masses" BECAUSE TO ADMIT THAT IT'S THE BUSINESS ELITES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WHO ARE REALLY PULLING THE STRINGS IS TO CONDEMN THEMSELVES AS UNWITTING "CO-CONSPIRATORS WITH THE DEVIL" - PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN UTTERLY DUPED INTO CONQUERING THE WORLD - NOT FOR CHRIST - BUT FOR ANTICHRIST!
Obviously, these church leaders - the kind that could be duped in this fashion - cannot possess anything other than the most external and flimsy kind of faith. There can be no real depth to them at all. AND PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY ARE SO EXTERNAL, THEY CANNOT HELP BUT BE PEOPLE WHO TEND TO JUDGE THINGS ACCORDING TO THEIR OUTWARD APPEARANCE RATHER THAN THEIR INWARD REALITY (2 Cor. 10:7). These are the kind of Christian leaders who prefer to take the word of a man because he wears an expensive three-piece, pin-stripped suit and is the CEO of a giant multinational corporation rather than the word of an honest, but unemployed blue-collar worker, or a poor Mexican peasant who has been displaced from his land by some giant agri-business like Cargill or Archer Daniels Midland?
These leaders are the kind of people who would think it a great honor to be found in the company of C. Michael Armstrong, the CEO of AT&T (even if they had to do so only as a "fawner," or as a "toady," or as a "bootlicker"), but who would cross the street to avoid "dirtying" themselves by being seen on the same sidewalk with Larry Flynt or Hugh Hefner - the owners of Hustler Magazine and Playboy Magazine respectively - WITHOUT EVER REALIZING THAT, according to Public Television's Frontline, AT&T IS THE BIGGEST PURVEYOR OF SMUT AND PORNOGRAPHY IN THE WORLD TODAY, not Flynt or Hefner. Or does one really think that Armstrong doesn't know how connected AT&T is with the smut business? That's kind of like saying Kenneth Lay didn't know what Enron was up to - which, of course, is EXACTLY what Lay is trying to say.
So external and superficial are our present church leaders in EVERYTHING they say and do that they are past understanding any longer the things of God! Such things have become simply incomprehensible to them now. They are drawn to the world. That's what fascinates them! That's what thrills them! The sad fact is, they would easily forsake having dinner in the home of a real saint of God if his home were on the "wrong side of the tracks," but would "die" for the opportunity to go out to dinner with "a god-forsaken griffin" like Sumner Redstone, president and CEO of Viacom - "a pathetic, creepy freak of a person" who is "past all feeling or compassion for his fellow-man," and about whom it could truly be said,
"... what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)
[This description of Redstone is not ours, but is - sadly - the description painted of Redstone by many, if not most, of the people who have met him.]
OUR CHURCH LEADERS OF TODAY SIMPLY DON'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK - AND THEIR ELITE ALLIES COUNT ON THAT! They count on our church leaders to judge according to the "outward" rather than the "inward." This is what makes them so very useful to the elites of this world. And it is precisely these kinds of Christians that George Bush has now so conveniently surrounded himself with. After all, isn't this the kind of Christian that Bush's Attorney General, John Ashcroft, is? Surely it is! - what other kind of Christian would make such a profoundly SILLY statement as -
"Many of you will remember that back in the 70s men wore all kinds of loud and colorful shirts. I tended to stick with white. When a reporter asked me [why I dress the way I do (i.e., in a white shirt and a narrow tie)] ... I smiled and said, 'A white shirt is the mark of a civilized man'." ?
In other words, the mark of a real Christian - of a "civilized man" - is a white shirt and a narrow tie. HOW UTTERLY TRITE! HOW SHAMEFULLY SUPERFICIAL! Nonetheless, Christian leaders like Ashcroft (Ashcroft is a lay pastor in the Assemblies of God) mean it! They really do! And when this logic is carried just a little farther, it means, the better the clothes one wears, the better the man one is, which - when translated into the lexicon that is in common use among most of our church leaders today - means that a man in a three-piece, tailored suit with shinny shoes is a better, more trustworthy man than a person in rumpled overalls and scuffed boots. And it ultimately means that the CEO of Bechtel is by far a better man than the poor citizens of Cochabamba.
Listen, brothers and sisters, if we are to get anywhere with Christ, we must be better Christians than our current church leaders are; if we are to be found in His will in this life, we had better do our homework. Cucullus non facit monachum. That's what the Bible means when it somberly warns us to -
"Judge not according to the appearance ..." (John 7:24)
Those who judge by appearance rather than inward reality will always miss Jesus because -
"... he (i.e., Christ) ... hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Is. 53:2)
This is why the leaders of the "established religion" of Christ's day missed Him - because they were altogether too external and superficial in their faith.
MISSING CHRIST too! - that's what also happened with the CHURCH IN LAODICEA. IT MISSED CHRIST because it was no longer able to discern between those things that have eternal value and those things that do not; and they missed Him so completely that Christ was no longer to be found in their midst, but was outside knocking on the door to get back in (Rev. 3:20). And that's clearly the great fault of the church leaders of today, at least in America; their inability to distinguish between the wealth of this life, and the wealth of the next. Jesus said:
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the FAITHFUL and TRUE witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (VOMIT) thee out of my mouth.
"Because thou sayest, I am (materially) rich, and increased with (worldly) goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that (from a spiritual standpoint) thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked ..." (Rev. 3:14-17)
As Christians, our hope is in an inheritance "... more precious than ... gold that perisheth" (I Peter 1:7); one that Peter calls -
"... incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU ..." (1 Pet. 1:4)
Obviously, the Christians in Laodicea had completely REVERSED things here, just like our church leaders have done today. There treasure is here on earth. The kingdom they serve is an earthly kingdom, and the king they serve (whether they are aware of it or not) is the "Prince of this World" (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), not the Kingdom of Heaven.
How sad! - for there is nothing on earth worth even the smallest portion of the Kingdom of Heaven! Nothing. As it is written:
"... eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Cor. 2:9)
The great mistake of our church leaders today is that they think - like their Laodicean brethren before them - that because the church of today is such a wealthy church (at least in America), they have been blessed by God! They have mistaken worldly wealth as a token of God's affections, rather than the wealth of the Spirit that comes from following Christ: (1) love, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) longsuffering, (5) gentleness, (6) goodness, (7) faith, (8) meekness, and (9) temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).
These are the riches that God values in His people - not whether they drive a Lexus, live in a big home, and have a large bank account. These things have NOTHING to do with God! Indeed, such things disgust God to such an extent that He says He will VOMIT those people who adhere to this kind of thinking out of His mouth. Now that's pretty heavy stuff!
How is it possible for our church leaders to preach such a phony doctrine - i.e., that if we are living a successful Christian life, God will bless us materially? How is it possible for Christian leaders like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin Creflo Dollar, etc. to teach that we should be living like the CEOs of today's multinational corporations - people like Jack Welch (GE), Sumner Redstone (Viacom), Ted Turner (Time Warner), Brian Grazer (Imagine Entertainment), Terry Semel (Yahoo, Inc.), etc. The New Testament teaches no such thing; rather it says that -
"... having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (1 Tim. 6:8)
And that's exactly the way Christ lived His life while He SOJOURNED here on earth, despite the fact that,
"... all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (in heaven or in earth)." (John 1:3)
The very real truth of the matter is, you would be far more likely to find Christ in the houses of the poor people of Cochabamba, Bolivia or the peasants of Chiapas than you would ever be likely to find Him in the mansions of the rich. Jesus said of Himself,
"... foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Matt. 8:20)
WHAT AN UTTER CONTRADICTION ALL THIS IS TO WHAT OUR CHURCH LEADERS TEACH TODAY FROM THEIR FLOWER-BEDECKED PULPITS - or can there be any real doubt as to the worldly and very materialistic nature of the Gospel according to Bennie Hinn, Charles Capps, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar; or the gospel according to Bob Mumford (who once advised his followers to go out and buy BMWs to advertise their worldly success), Ern Baxter, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Barbara Wentroble, Dutch Sheets, Cindy Jacobs, Ted Haggard, C. Peter Wagner, etc.
The gospel they preach is an APOSTATE Gospel, and they that preach it are APOSTATES (i.e. people who have fallen away from the faith). Nonetheless, the list of our leaders that preach this spiritually bankrupt gospel is endless, and goes on and on and on and includes Tim LaHaye, Beverley LaHaye, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Bob Dugan, Robert Grant, Rebecca Hagelin, D. James Kennedy, Peter Marshall, Pat Robertson, Rev. Duane Motley, Rev. Jim Woodall, John Ankerberg, Rev. E.V. Hill, James Robison, ad nauseum - ALL OF WHOM LOVE MONEY TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THEY HAVE TAKEN IT FROM THE DEVIL - AS IT WERE - TO BUILD THE CHURCH; specifically, they have - everyone of these so-called leaders of ours - taken money from the Moonies or are connected to groups and organizations that have done so.
The Bible says that they are:
"... wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity (emptiness), they allure through the lusts of the flesh (they allure people with the promise of the "good things of life") ...
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption ...
"FOR IT HAD BEEN BETTER FOR THEM NOT TO HAVE KNOWN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAN, AFTER THEY HAVE KNOWN IT, TO TURN FROM THE HOLY COMMANDMENT DELIVERED UNTO THEM." (2 Pet. 2:17-21)
My heavens! What's that say about someone like Jerry Falwell, a person who - as we just indicated, said, "... if the American Atheist Society or Saddam Hussein himself ever sent a ... gift to any of my ministries, be assured ... I will quickly cash the check"? It says that he is a FARCE and a FAKE. He is a JUDAS - a person who has sold himself out to the world for money. (Matt. 26:14)
And what's that say about all of Falwell's pals - people like Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, Beverley LeHaye, James Dobson, etc.? It says that they too are "SERVANTS OF CORRUPTION" (2 Peter 2:19) who have sold the church out to the corporate THUGS of the Republican Party - for money. THUGS? Yes, I said THUGS! - "hoodlums in business suits" who command "street gangs" every bit as vicious and reprehensible as the "gangs" ruled over by the "bloods" and the "crips;" except (again, in the case of Bechtel) the "gang" that Schultz, Cheney, and Weinberger run is named Bechtel Corporation, and their "gangbangers" carry briefcases rather than pistols [but make no mistake about it, the material in those briefcases intimidate just as surely as the guns the "crips" and the "bloods" carry - just ask the citizens of Cochabamba who, as we just indicated, had their water system filched by Bechtel (or for that matter, ask Jim Shultz who saw 17-year-old Victor Hugo Daza shot down and killed in the streets of Cochabamba, and hundreds of others seriously wounded by Bechtel's paid goons, the Cochabamba police)].
There are, perhaps, a few other marked differences between the "bloods" and the "crips," on the one hand, and Bechtel on the other hand: the street ("turf") Bechtel is fighting over is Wall Street in Manhattan rather than 78th Street in south-central Los Angeles, and Bechtel plunders billions and billions of dollars rather than the few measly dollars (by comparison) that the "crips" and the "bloods" are involved with; and when Bechtel gets caught, the most it gets is a fine and a "corporate slap on the wrists," while the "gangbangers" in the "bloods" and the "crips" go to prison - often for life. But other than that, they are the same: the "gangbangers" in both gangs have no conscience, are brutal in the most depraved meaning of that word, and would just as soon "do you" as look at you.
There are, of course, some who will say that we are being "too general" in our condemnation of those who are involved in today's SAVAGE corporate culture? - for example, Republican icons like Dick Cheney and the "Bush gang." But to those who think so, I would simply say, I'll accede to your proposition when you tell me how it's possible for an angel of God to be found ruling in the precincts of hell? In the end, we all become like those with whom we associate. If we associate with demons, we will become like demons - AND THAT'S THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER. The Bible says:
"For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes." (Luke 6:44)
HYPOCRITES! That's what the Bible calls people like D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc. - people who take money from the devil and claim they are doing so in order to build the church!
HYPOCRITES! - just like the people who run Bechtel; men and women who pretend to "... help local communities throughout the world improve their standard of living and their quality of life," while all the while being engaged in the exact opposite: robbing these communities blind of all they have.
HYPOCRITES! - people who can pretend to be engaged in "God's work" while all the time they are doing the devil's work by helping the elites create a "safe investment climate."
HYPOCRITES! - people who think that making the world "safe for capitalism" for companies like AOL / Time Warner, Microsoft, Amazon.com, General Electric, Ford, Archer Daniels Midland, Dole, Monsanto, etc. is tantamount to "Conquering the world for Christ."
HYPOCRITES! - people who, to paraphrase a slogan from another era, believe that "What's good for Big Business is good for Christ."
HYPOCRITES! - people who say one thing, and do another, just like the leaders of the "established religion" of Christ's day about whom Jesus said:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin (in other words, they go about "establishing" their own righteousness"), and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith (but who think nothing of participating in the wicked activities of today's world) ...
"Ye BLIND guides, which STRAIN AT A GNAT AND SWALLOW A CAMEL.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of EXTORTION and EXCESS.
"Thou BLIND Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for ye are like unto WHITED SEPULCHERS (graves), which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of DEAD MEN'S BONES, and of all UNCLEANNESS.
"Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of HYPOCRISY and INIQUITY.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish (decorate) the sepulchers of the righteous,
"And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
"Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that YE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THEM WHICH KILLED THE PROPHETS.
"Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
"Ye SERPENTS, ye GENERATION OF VIPERS (i.e., poisonous snakes), how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your ... (religious meeting halls), and persecute them from city to city:
"That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." (Matt. 23:23-35)
So what are we left with here? We are left with a leadership that has been so thoroughly and completely compromised that the Bible can say of it: "... IT HAD BEEN BETTER FOR THEM NOT TO HAVE KNOWN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ..."(2 Pet. 2:21); a leadership that can take millions and millions and millions of dollars from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (AGAIN, A MAN WHO CLAIMS JESUS FAILED IN HIS MISSION TO SAVE MANKIND, AND WHO BELIEVES (AND OPENLY PROCLAIMS) THAT JESUS HAD SEX WITH THE WOMEN WHO FOLLOWED HIM - kind of like a rock star who has sex with the "groupies" who surround him, and fawn over and dote upon him) - and not even give it a second thought; people who can say with Jerry Falwell: "... if the American Atheist Society or Saddam Hussein himself ever sent a ... gift to any of my ministries, be assured ... I will quickly cash the check" - AND NOT EVEN GRASP THE EVIL, AND THE UTTER DEPRAVITY THAT'S INVOLVED IN SUCH A STATEMENT. These all are people who -
"... have gone in the way of Cain, and ran GREEDILY after the error of Balaam FOR REWARD (i.e., for money) ..." (Jude 1:11)
The Bible says that these leaders are -
"... trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, TWICE DEAD, PLUCKED UP BY THE ROOTS;
"Raging waves of the sea, FOAMING OUT THEIR OWN SHAME; wandering stars, to whom is RESERVED THE BLACKNESS OF DARKNESS FOR EVER." (Jude 1:11-13)
WOW! - and, again, it is this EXACT leadership that is so openly and shamelessly promoting the current alliance that exists between the church and the business elites of the Republican Party - the same people responsible for the misery of the people of Cochabamba, and millions and millions of other people just like them all over the world.
Of course, this isn't just a one-way street. The Business elites need the church almost as much as the church needs them. WHAT THE BUSINESS ELITES WANT IS FOR THE CHURCH TO "PARTNER WITH THEM" IN THEIR NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM - A SYSTEM THAT IS SO HATED AND SO UNPOPULAR THAT THE ONLY WAY IT CAN STAY IN POWER (at least outside the borders of the United States) IS THROUGH THE USE OF EXTREMELY ANTI-DEMOCRATIC METHODS - methods that can't possibly be justified by the Scriptures.
NOTHING! I repeat NOTHING in the Scriptures can possibly justify these things. But if that's the case - and it very plainly is - then the Scriptures MUST be circumvented, and in their place the so-called ex-cathedra authority of the church substituted. FAILURE TO CIRCUMVENT THE SCRIPTURES IN THIS FASHION WILL EXPOSE THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH FOR WHAT THEY REALLY ARE: HYPOCRITES WHO -
"... have gone in the way of Cain, and ran GREEDILY after the error of Balaam FOR REWARD (i.e., for money) ..." (Jude 1:11)
THIS IS WHAT THE "APOSTLES and PROPHETS" MOVEMENT IN TODAY'S CHURCH IS REALLY ALL ABOUT: it is a method of circumventing the authority of the Scriptures in order to justify a plainly CORRUPT church leadership and the abhorrent alliance it has made with America's New World Order System. And not only that, it is a way to convince American Christians that in submitting themselves to the ex-cathedra authority of the church, and prostituting themselves to America's New World Order system, they are in fact serving God; that this is altogether the RIGHT and even HOLY thing to do.
In order to accomplish this, ordinary Christians must be made to doubt the dictates of their own individual consciences, and they must concomitantly be convinced THAT WHAT THEY MIGHT PLAINLY SEE WITH THEIR OWN EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR OWN EARS; AND WHAT "COMMON SENSE" MIGHT TELL THEM IS FACT IS NOT FACT; AND WHAT THE BIBLE SEEMS TO SO PLAINLY TEACH AS TRUTH IS NOT TRUTH, BUT A LIE - AND THAT THE ONLY TRUTH IS WHAT THEIR PRIESTS AND THEIR PASTORS (AND THEIR APOSTLES AND PROPHETS) SAY IS TRUTH. To this end, Christians must be brought to the place where they can say with Bill McCartney, the founder of the Promise Keepers,
"We the laity (i.e., the 'empty-headed bumpkins') cannot rightly divide the word of truth (i.e., the Bible). We need you (i.e., the 'enlightened leaders') to teach us."
In reality, the Apostles and Prophets Movement is nothing more than a part of a much larger effort in the world today that encompasses all of society, and which aims at reducing ordinary men and women to the status of "cogs in a machine" - a machine, the direction of which average people have little or no control, but one on whose smooth and efficient functioning they have come UTTERLY to depend upon, both physically and psychologically.
The effort here is aimed at denying average people the possibility of meaningful CHOICE, both insofar as the operation of the church is concerned, and insofar as it affects the functioning of the state - or, as Isaiah Berlin puts it, the "getting them (i.e., ordinary people) into one's power," the "twisting them this way and that" in accordance to what some supposedly more "enlightened" person or group of persons think are in their best interests. In this effort, it is the "doctoring" (Berlin's word) of ordinary people that is so troubling - until they are:
"... made to do what they do; it is the manipulating of people not for the sake of the purposes which are their purposes (i.e., the purposes of ordinary people), or the fulfillment of their hopes, which - however foolish or desperate - ARE AT LEAST THEIR OWN, but for reasons which only the MANIPULATORS (i.e., the so-called 'enlightened leadership') - who freely twist them for their own supposedly 'greater purposes' - can understand."
Although those who are doing the manipulating would never admit it, ultimately what the so-called "enlightened classes" (again, both in the church and in the state) are aiming at is the destruction of their followers' individual personalities by creating unequal MORAL terms (again, Berlin's words) between themselves (i.e., the "enlightened" leaders) and the much larger class of supposedly empty-headed bumpkins and yokels whereby the leaders know what they are doing (and why), but the followers (i.e., the supposed yokels and the bumpkins) do not. In this "game," the leaders "play" upon the followers and treat them as mere objects and not as actual people whose motives, views, and intentions have any intrinsic weight whatsoever.
What these so-called "enlightened leaders" promise as a result of all their manipulation is a "New Order" (C. Peter Wagner's words in his book, Apostles and Prophets) that will bring peace and happiness to the world, both spiritually and economically.
But Berlin retorts that -
"NO supposed paradise is worth the destruction of our individual personalities in this way; or our blind submission to others who are supposedly more enlightened. NO 'unity' or 'harmony' in some ethereal 'WHOLE' is worth such a price."
And that is true whether that "whole" is called the "CHURCH" or the "STATE," or, perhaps, more to the point, "CHRISTIAN AMERICA." NOTHING is worth becoming someone else's automaton or robot!
The reduction of an individual to android status, the making of people into zombies who possess no will of their own - whether it is practiced by the so-called "APOSTLES and PROPHETS," or by America as the NEW ISRAEL OF GOD - should horrify any right-thinking person. Regarding all this, Berlin writes that what is truly TERRIFYING is,
"... the spectacle of one set of persons who so tamper and get at others that the others do their will without knowing what they are doing; and in this lose their status as free human beings, indeed, as human beings at all. It is this deliberate act of tampering with human beings so as to make them behave in a way which, if they knew what they were doing, or what its consequences were likely to be, would make them recoil with horror and disgust."
Berlin continues by saying that we -
"... SHOULD RATHER THAT THEY CHOOSE BADLY THAN NOT AT ALL; because we believe that unless they choose they cannot be either happy or unhappy in any sense in which these conditions are worth having; the very notion of 'worth having' presupposes the choice of ends, a system of free preferences; and an undermining of them is what strikes us with such cold terror, worse than the most unjust sufferings, which nevertheless leave the possibility of knowing them for what they are - of free judgment, which makes it possible to condemn them (and turn away from them) - still open."
But it is these precise methodologies - the kind that Berlin says should "strike us with such cold terror" - that the elites together with our own pastors and priests (and our Apostles and Prophets) are attempting to press on us today - largely to influence the way we think about the nature of our own country, and to blind us as to the kind of MONSTERS our church leaders have become.
Up is down; black is white; right is left! The truth is whatever the elites and the "Apostles and Prophets" say it is. Such a system allows the elites of the world and their lackeys in the leadership of the church to hide what America is really up to in the world at large; it allows them to portray the presence of America's multinational corporations throughout the world as "little angels" in the service of humanity rather than what they really are - ravenous wolves; and it allows them to picture America as a benevolent giant rather than what it really is - a beast which is "... exceeding dreadful ... (and) which devours (and) brakes in pieces ..." (Daniel 7:19)
What does that make those who submit themselves to the leadership of today's church? - IT MAKES THEM SPIRITUAL ZOMBIES! - PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO WILL OF THEIR OWN! This is what Hitler wanted in his followers; this is what Stalin wanted! - AND THIS IS WHAT TODAY'S "APOSTLES AND PROPHETS" WANT TOO! And they've got to get it! - there is no other way the leaders of today's church can defend the alliance they have made with the corporate THUGS of today's elite business establishment.
AND THEY ARE WILLING TO SUBJECT YOU TO THE SAME KIND OF THUGGERY (IN A SPIRITUAL SENSE) THAT THEY SUBJECTED THE PEOPLE OF COCHABAMBA TO (IN A PHYSICAL SENSE) IN ORDER TO GET WHAT THEY WANT! THAT'S WHAT THE "APOSTLES AND PROPHETS" MOVEMENT IS ALL ABOUT! THAT'S WHAT "ACCOUNTABILITY" IS ALL ABOUT! THAT'S WHAT THE NEW CONCEPT OF "COVERING" IS ALL ABOUT! And there can be no doubt that these concepts have by now insinuated themselves so deeply into the mindset of most evangelicals that they have come actually to believe that this kind of thinking is supported by the Scriptures.
Indeed,the question, "Who is your covering?" has become a veritable litmus test to measure the authenticity of a church or ministry as well as the "spiritual maturity" of a brother or sister in Christ - and so much so that in today's church, relationship after relationship is made or broken on precisely how one answers this question.
Frank A. Viola, in his excellent book, Who Is Your Covering, writes:
"So who is your covering?" This is the terse query raised by many modern Christians whenever they encounter those who assemble outside organized, institutional lines."
"What do people really mean when they push the "covering" question? I submit that what they are actually asking is, "WHO CONTROLS YOU?" The common (mis)teaching about "covering" really boils down to questions about who controls whom. In fact, the modern institutional church is built upon this idea of control.
"Of course, people rarely recognize that this is at the bottom of the issue, for it is typically well clothed with Biblical garments. In the minds of many Christians, "covering" is merely a protective mechanism. Yet if we critically examine the "covering" doctrine, we will discover that it is rooted in a one-up/one-down, chain-of-command style of leadership where those in higher ... positions have a ... hold on those under them. And it is through such top-down control that believers are said to be protected from error (a la "covered"). [Please see our article on this subject, "The Jesus Revolution and the Search for Community.".]
"... If we strip it down to its bare roots, the modern doctrine of "covering" rests upon a top-heavy, HIERARCHICAL understanding of leadership and authority. This understanding is borrowed from the structures that belong to this world system rather than the kingdom of God. As such, it is both unbiblical and invalid."
Viola puts his finger on EXACTLY what the issue really boils down to - "Who CONTROLS whom?" - and people "buy into" this non-biblical concept of control because they have been told that if they do, THEY WILL BE PROTECTED FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF DOCTRINAL ERROR; THAT IF THERE IS SERIOUS DOCTRINAL ERROR WITHIN THE CHURCH, WHATEVER CONSEQUENCES ARE TO BE HAD, IT WILL FALL ON THE LEADERSHIP, LEAVING THE LAITY FREE OF ANY AFTERMATH - ALL THIS PROVIDED THEY SUBMIT THEMSELVES AS OBEDIENT SERVANTS TO THE CHURCH'S LEADERSHIP.
But this is utter nonsense; the fact is, the Old Testament is full of examples where whole nations and whole peoples were judged because of the sins of their leadership. The truth is, no matter what kind of tyranny a person may find himself under, and no matter how much he might complain that he never had a choice in what he was ordered to do, or not do, God will hold that person responsible! There is no escape from responsibility before God. We have free wills, even if that might mean the forfeiture of our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
God NEVER relieves a person of that responsibility; and contrawise, he never consigns accountability to human beings. Christians are accountable EXCLUSIVELY to God. That's what Paul meant when he said,
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:12)
Now, it is true that the Bible says that we are to -
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:17)
And this verse has been used over and over again by Christian "CONTROL FREAKS" to impose hierarchical schemes of control over the church. But the Bible clearly defines what it means by such admonishments. Indeed, Jesus Himself explains:
"... Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
"BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
And be clear here - despite their occasional protestations to the contrary - this is not what CONTROL FREAKS like C. Peter Wagner, or Bob Mumford, or Rick Joyner, or Chuck Pierce, or Cindy Jacobs mean when they talk about "covering." They mean CONTROL - and by control, they mean precisely what the gentiles mean by control. (Mark 10:42)
And just how far this concept of CONTROL extends in today's church, and how UTTERLY worldly this concept is, is revealed by C. Peter Wagner in his book, Apostles and Prophets, the Foundation of the Church. Wagner begins by describing the New Apostolic Reformation - a movement which he sees as a vehicle to unite evangelical Christianity into a coherent and powerful "whole" (presumably, the better to use it in a political sense). But note carefully the kind of "whole" he is aiming at: the kind of "whole" that - despite it's spiritual-sounding phraseology - mimics the kind of bureaucratic control that characterizes General Electric, or Ford, or Bank of America. [And why not? Birds of a feather fly together.] Wagner writes:
"Back in 1996, just as I was in the process of trying to understand the New Apostolic Reformation, I called together the National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church, which took place at Fuller Seminary [which is a hotbed of dominionism; no doubt, a subtle variety, but dominionism, nonetheless - editor]. Around 500 leaders attended, and I was able to get almost 50 of them onto the platform to address the gathering. Bill Hamon [one of the "founding fathers" of the "Apostles and Prophets" Movement" - editor] says the meeting 'was a historical occasion in God's annals of Church history. It was prophetically orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to fulfill God's progressive purpose of bringing His Church to its ultimate destiny' [by which Hamon explains in his book, Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God, taking control of the world for "Christ and the church" - editor]. At the time I did not even know the terms 'New Apostolic Reformation' or 'horizontal apostle', but I now realize it was only the anointing of God on me ... that enabled me to call such a meeting."
Now we need to understand what the "New Apostolic Reformation" that Wagner is talking about here is all about. It's about dominionism, plain and simple. Al Dager, an implacable foe of dominionism, explains:
"Some two decades before Pentecostalism found its way into the (mainstream) denominations (i.e., the Episcopalians, the Catholic Church, etc.) as the 'Charismatic Renewal', it experienced a new surge of experience-oriented theology within its own ranks. It was from this neo-Pentecostal experience - what came to be called the 'Latter Rain Movement' - that Charismatic Dominionism sprang. The more prominent leaders of that movement blended Pentecostal fervor with teachings that the church was on the brink of a worldwide revival. That revival would result in a victorious church without spot or wrinkle ... (which) would inherit the earth and rule over the nations with a rod of iron."
Essentially, then, dominionists believe:
The belief, however, of dominionists that the return of the Lord will be preceded by a "Golden Age of Global Revival" (and, concomitantly, that Christ will return to a largely "Christianized" world), however, is PURE FANTASY. It simply has NO BASIS IN SCRIPTURE.
The fact is, the Word of God tells a very different story. The prophet Daniel tells us that the "time of the end" will correspond to Satan's "little season" (Rev. 20:3), a period in which a God-hating tyrant (surely the Antichrist) will make –
"... war with the saints, and PREVAIL AGAINST THEM ...
"Until the Ancient of days came ..." (Dan. 7:21-22)
In other words, the Lord's return will not be preceded by revival because the Scriptures plainly teach that the Antichrist will prevail UNTIL the "Ancient of Days comes," which is to say, UNTIL Christ PHYSICALLY comes again! Obviously, then, the Bible does not present a picture of a Christianized world prior to Jesus' Second Coming; nor does it speak of a "Golden Age of Global Revival." On the contrary, the Bible says -
"... evil men and seducers shall wax WORSE AND WORSE, DECEIVING, and being DECEIVED." (2 Tim. 3:13)
And so much so that at the "time of the end" -
"... ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12)
These two verses - "... all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" and "... evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" are linked together and have special reference to the "end of the age." This is substantiated by Matt. 24:24, which like 2 Tim. 3:13, speaks of a time when the elect shall be deceived, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall DECEIVE the very elect" (Matt. 24:24) which the Bible clearly links to the "end of the age:"
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall DECEIVE the very elect." (Matt. 24:21-24)
[And in connection with this, it might be appropriate for you to ask yourself, IF the character of the leaders of today's church is as we have described it to be in part II of this article, and IF these are the same people who are presenting themselves to us as "Apostles and Prophets," and IF one of the hallmarks of these new "Apostles and Prophets" is the "great signs" and "wonders" that they supposedly do, then what does that make them according Matthew 24:21-24? Does it not make them the "false Christs" and the "false prophets" of this passage of Scripture? - or does one really believe that men of such evil and wicked character could possibly be "Apostles and Prophets" of God? - maybe of the devil, but certainly not God. After all, the Bible says, "Beware of false prophets (and apostles), which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." (Matt. 7:15-17)]
So, clearly, the "end of the age" is NOT a time when a "Golden Age of Global Revival" will occur, but a time when most Christians will be DECEIVED, and when the few who are not deceived shall SUFFER PERSECUTION. Isn't that clearly what the Bible says? Isn't that what 2 Tim. 3:12 says? Of course it is! Indeed, according to the Lord Jesus Himself, when He returns to wind up this present evil age, the overall state of the planet will be very similar to the time of Noah just prior to the Flood:
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26)
And exactly what was that condition? Again, the Bible is very clear on that matter:
"And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was CORRUPT; for all flesh had CORRUPTED his way upon the earth.
"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is FILLED WITH VIOLENCE through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." (Gen. 6:12-13)
And still again, the Bible says that just prior to the Lord's return, the earth will be like Sodom, which the Lord destroyed in a great cataclysm -
"... because their SIN ... (WAS) VERY GRIEVOUS ... " (Gen. 18:20)
This is surely not the picture that Christian dominionists portray: an earth that has - as J. Preston Eby, an early dominionist teacher, says - been "Christianized;" a place where the people of God have -
"... full redemption free from the curse, sin, sickness, death, and carnality." [And all BEFORE Christ's return - indeed, this state of "perfection," according to Eby, PRECIPITATES Christ's return.]
What's all this say, then, about the so-called "New Apostolic Reformation" that Wagner is promoting. Very plainly, it says that it's a HOAX. There is NOTHING Biblical about it. NOTHING!
Nonetheless, Wagner persists in his delusion, and in doing so, he exposes himself for the APOSTATE he really is. He writes:
"Why did Bill Hamon consider this meeting historic [i.e., the National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church]? He says it was one of the first major opportunities that apostles had to build meaningful personal relationships with peer-level apostles from networks with which they previously had had little contact.
"A follow-up to that meeting was the International Apostolic Team Summit in Colorado Springs in 1999, which we convened. Almost 3,000 people (mostly leaders) showed up for the event, which was another tangible expression of the desire of apostolic leaders to be exposed to the wider circle of the New Apostolic Reformation and to free-flowing communication channels.
"As I am writing this, a new organization is springing up, designed to help meet the needs of apostles for ongoing peer-level communication with one another. It is called the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) ... After serving for many years as a vertical apostle (by which Wagner means, a "top dog" in an already existing alliance of churches or a denomination) over Antioch Churches and Ministries (ACM), John Kelly ... began to sense that the Lord was moving him from being a vertical apostle to a horizontal apostle [by which Wagner means an APOSTLE OVER OTHER APOSTLES in different vertical (or denominational) relationships]. In 1999 he turned the reins of ACM over to his disciple, Apostle Gary Kivelowitz (a vertical apostle, i.e., an apostle whose authority extends only within the confines of a particular denomination), in order to free himself to give leadership to ICA. In his travels to many parts of the world, Kelly learned that apostles were wanting to be a part of some kind of structure that would facilitate peer-level apostolic communication. As he prayed about this, Kelly felt that God wanted him to initiate a career change and help give birth to the International Coalition of Apostles."
What is Wagner talking about here? Is this just gibberish or is it really Biblical? His talk about such WEIRD and BIZARRE concepts as "horizontal" and "vertical" apostles gives the game away: Take away all the nonsensical blather about "the moving of the Lord," "apostolic councils," "covenants," and so forth ("blather" at least insofar as the way Wagner is using these terms), and what you are left with are some very business-like concepts: "business amalgamations" and "corporate takeovers," and the development of vertically and horizontally integrated business monopolies. In this "game," Wagner is playing the part of a John D. Rockefeller (oil) or an Andrew Carnegie (steel). Both men had little or nothing to do with the modern-day origins of their respective industries as such. Each entered his industry long after both industries had gotten started.
Their genius lay in organizing their respective industries; in taking already established small factories and firms engaged in a ruthless, no-holds-barred competition with each other, and uniting them into a coherent, all-encompassing "whole" (trust, monopoly) which could dominate the industry TOTALLY. The ultimate purpose of such monopolies was to maximize profits and set the conditions at which the commodity (or products) they controlled could be sold to the public. This is called "HORIZONTAL INTEGRATION" - i.e., the integration of all the various businesses in a particular industry (for instance, oil, sugar, cars, chemicals, etc.) into one all-encompassing business. [Note: Wagner mixes up the terms used by business leaders insofar as "vertical integration" and "horizontal integration" is concerned. When Wagner uses the term "horizontal integration," he is talking about the same thing business leaders mean when they talk about "vertical integration;" and the exact opposite is also true. Given that small mix-up, however, Wagner means EXACTLY the same thing a business leader means when he is talking about an amalgamation, or the establishment of a monopoly.]
But neither Rockefeller nor Carnegie wanted to stop there. They wanted to press the matter even farther. They wanted to expand their control beyond the oil and steel industries. For instance, Rockefeller wanted to control the pipelines his oil was shipped in, the railroads his oil was carried on, the retail outlets his oil was sold at; and the same was true for Carnegie: it wasn't enough that he controlled all the factories where steel was produced in the United States (or, at least, most of them), he wanted to control the mines where the coal was dug that fed the furnaces where his steel was produced, the railroads that carried his steel (or iron ore) and so forth. This is called "VERTICAL INTEGRATION." Of course, it is at this point where the process can REALLY become dangerous. Why? Because in their efforts to vertically integrate their respective industries by acquiring subsidiary industries like, for example, railroads - monopolists will eventually clash with one another. That's when the fight really gets dirty.
Finally, one last point regarding the creation of monopolies. Contrary to what most people think, monopolists like Rockefeller and Carnegie are not necessarily known for being PERSONALLY ruthless. Both men were very, very gracious persons - even to the point of appearing kindly and benevolent, at least on a personal level; indeed, when one first met either man, he was bound to come away from the meeting thinking that he had been in the company of a saint.
Only as a last resort did either man ever resort to brutality in order to get his way - though clearly each man was capable of great cruelty. But what most often won the day for both men as they moved to monopolize their respective industries was their ability to CHARM. Again and again, this was how both men won their opposition over; only those people who resisted - or most especially, who tried to organize against them - ever felt the full fury of their malice and spite.
C. Peter Wagner - like Rockefeller with oil and Carnegie with steel - entered the game late insofar as the "RELIGIOUS INDUSTRY" was concerned - especially as that "industry" related to the "Apostles and Prophets" Movement. Wagner had never involved himself in the often disordered business of beginning a new church or an association of churches. Indeed, the closest he ever came to getting involved in that kind of untidy business was with John Wimber's Vineyard Fellowships, which wasn't really close at all. But for those who want to "rationalize" or amalgamate a new industry (in this case, the evangelical churches), and who want to bring "order" and "efficiency" to it - that's often a plus. And the reason is simple enough: in any industry, the "rough and tumble" of starting a business can be a brusque, unkind, and very cold-blooded affair. It's not the kind of activity where friends are made, but the kind where friends are lost - sometimes forever.
In this world, you can have power OR you can have friends, but you can't have both power AND friends. The vicious and often spiteful corporate methodologies that one must employ in building a business or one of today's mega-churches simply won't permit it. And exactly what do we mean by that? Professor. C. Wright Mills' in his excellent book, ThePower Elite, describes the kind of mindset that's necessary to get anywhere in today's corporate culture - THE EXACT KIND OF MINDSET THAT PERMEATES THE MEGACHURCHES THAT SO COMPLETELY DOMINATE THE "RELIGIOUS INDUSTRY" OF TODAY,the kind that C. Peter Wagner and his cohorts in the so-called "New Apostolic Reformation" are involved in. Mills writes:
"The greater the scale of these ... (business) domains, the greater the BRUTALITY that's needed to build them."
Wow! - what's that say about today's super-churches?
Mills explains that in the large business structures of today there is nothing particularly "friendly" or "informal" or "family-like" about them. Because power and prestige are measured by how high up one has managed to scramble in these businesses, there is a kind of never ending, "Hobbesian," "King of the Hill" struggle "by all against all" to get to the top, and the road up is littered with broken friendships, heartache, and the bodies of those who have fallen by the wayside or who have been "stabbed in the back" by erstwhile "friends."
Needless to say, it's a world filled with intrigue, back-biting, jealousy, and envy - staffed by people who, by training and position, slavishly and fawningly defer to those above them, and who in turn rule over those below them with a ruthlessness that is oftentimes hard to imagine. The fact is, the very nature of these institutions (whether religious or secular) has been so structured as to practically guarantee that the very worst in people will eventually manifest itself. A shark-like atmosphere has been created in which only the treacherous and vicious can survive and prosper; an atmosphere where, Mills says,
"... men easily become MORALLY RUTHLESS in the pursuit of ... power ..."
And again, all this is true whether one is speaking about a business institution or one of today's mega-churches. The same principles apply - or does one really think that one can employ the devil's methodologies in the building of the church without at the same time imparting into the church's character the devil's temperament. THE PIPER WILL BE PAID - ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!
Some people might object, saying that's not what Christianity is all about. And that's true. But the very real fact of the matter is, there's not much REAL Christianity involved in the building of most of today's super or mega-churches. [Again, please also see our article on the church-life, "The Jesus Revolution and the Search for Community."] There's a lot of business acumen involved in building today's super-churches, but not a lot of Christianity - and if that's true, then the same kind of heartless cruelty that's needed to build a business organization is needed to build one of these mega-churches - BE SURE OF THAT! And if that's the case, at the end of the process, one will not be left with a lot of friends; he might have a lot of "toadies" and "flunkies" around him; a lot of stooges and "yes-men" - but not a lot of friends, at least not real friends.
And, again, what's true for those in today's corporate culture (i.e., in General Electric, Ford, General Motors, etc.), is also true for those involved in the corporate culture of today's RELIGIOUS INDUSTRY - as the "Apostle" John Kelly of Antioch Churches and Ministries was soon to find out. When Kelly met Wagner it was kind of like when the cat met the mouse. Kelly didn't even know what hit him. The game was over for him almost before it started. As Wagner - using all the charm he can muster - explains,
"... After serving for many years as a vertical apostle [building up his own little "religious business" - the "Antioch Churches and Ministries" (ACM) - editor], John Kelly ... began to sense that the Lord was moving him from being a vertical apostle [i.e., the president and CEO of his own little business with a few branch offices scattered around in the neighboring towns and cities - editor] to a horizontal apostle [i.e., he was ready for some corporate "takeovers"]. In 1999 he turned the reins of ACM [his local business - editor] over to his disciple, Apostle Gary Kivelowitz (his former second in command at ACM, Inc.] in order to free himself to give leadership to the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) [i.e., the conglomerate he was planning to takeover]"
Obviously, Kelly thought he could trust Kivelowitz - after all, they had been evidently working together for years. But Kivelowitz had other plans, and soon Kelly found his career hanging by a thread the way David Copperfield was left hanging by Uriah Heep in Dickens' book, David Copperfield. Wagner explains:
"John Kelly then set up an apostolic council to which he would be accountable throughout the formation and execution of ICA. I was invited to be a member of the council, and I have now agreed to serve as presiding apostle. I am very excited about my role of leading ICA and about the organization's tremendous potential to raise communication among apostles to a new level worldwide. It will help a great deal in meeting the need for viable communication channels in the New Apostolic Reformation.
"... unexpectedly, when Gary Kivelowitz took over the leadership of ACM and when all information was made available, he found in them some things he felt were out of order. They did not involve anything like immorality or criminal action, but there were some decisions made in the context of Kelly's management style that Gary and the apostolic council felt were unwise and hurtful to ACM. The apostolic council felt that these irregularities were serious enough to warrant putting Apostle Kelly under reprimand and discipline. That is why I said that the ACM situation was a test case. Would accountability really work?
"Happily, it did. Covenant relationships ultimately transcended disciplinary legalism, just as they should have. Apostle Kelly responded admirably to the reprimand and discipline with humility, contrition and heartfelt repentance ... and the discipline was lifted."
Now, what exactly happened here? We'll never know all the details, but it's not that difficult to read between the lines of most of what Wagner is saying. AND WHAT ONE FINDS - ONCE ONE GETS BEYOND ALL THE "CHRISTIAN BABBLE" WAGNER IS USING TO HIDE WHAT REALLY OCCURRED - IS ONE OF THE "SLICKEST" CORPORATE TAKEOVERS OR "POWER-GRABS" ANYONE ANYWHERE HAS EVER PULLED OFF.
Evidently, Kelly had been planning his move from being a "horizontal apostle" to a "vertical apostle" (or an apostle over other apostles) for some time. His interest in this endeavor was peaked when he attended Wagner's National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church back in 1996 at Fuller Theological Seminary and a follow-up to that meeting, the International Apostolic Team Summit in Colorado Springs in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he formed the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). Of course, he needed a "Board of Directors" for this endeavor (what he called an "Apostolic Council"), and somehow or other, Wagner - using his position as a "professor" at Fuller, and his leading role in the National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church and the International Apostolic Team Summit - "wormed" his way into the position of "Presiding Apostle" over the board - kind of like being president of the "Board of Deacons" in one of today's mega-churches.
Now, anyone who has ever served on one of these boards knows that for the most part, these boards - like the Board of Directors of most business corporations - are nothing more than "rubber stamps" for the pastor, or - in this case - for the International Coalition of Apostles, of which he (i.e., Kelly) was "Executive Director" - analogous to the pastor's position in any normal mega-church. But somehow or other, things got turned around at the ICA, and by the time they got "straightened out," the "power position" of the new group no longer resided in the office of "Executive Director," but in the office of the so-called "Presiding Apostle" of the "Apostolic Council" - kind of like the president of the "Board of Deacons" taking over the leadership of the church and reducing the position of pastor to his flunky.
And it occurred in this way: Wagner - using as an excuse the "discrepancies" that Kivelowitz had found in the way Kelly had been running the ACM - used his position as president of the ICA's "Apostolic Council" to place Kelly under REPRIMAND and DISCIPLINE. Wagner never says exactly what the exact nature of the charges were, only that it had something to do with Kelly's "management style" - evidently "ways of doing things" that Kivelowitz and the Apostolic Council felt were "unwise and hurtful" to ACM.
Now, it all seems so reasonable - until, that is, one begins to look at what happened a little more closely. And when one does, the whole thing comes to resemble more a naked "power grab" than anything else. First of all, for Kivelowitz to claim that there was something in Kelly's "management style" at ACM to warrant disciplinary action has got to be pure nonsense. A "management style" is not something one can hide. Certainly Kivelowitz must have known about it for some time. But he evidently had never said anything about it before - all those years together, and not a word. What was Kivelowitz doing? - biding his time to strike out at Kelly when it was safe to do so. That's not a very Christian thing to do, is it? It certainly is not an honorable thing to do - waiting until it was "safe" to speak out as a Christian against "discrepancies" in the church.
But it's not just that that's so troubling! What was Kivelowitz doing - playing a "double game" here between Kelly and Wagner in their "showdown?" It certainly looks like that was what Kivelowitz was doing - and it seems that Kivelowitz was pretty good at it, after all, Kelly had felt confident enough in his relationship with Kivelowitz to leave him in charge after he moved on to takeover the ICA. Remember, the discrepancies that Kivelowitz came up with against Kelly were not things that had just taken place; things Kivelowitz had just discovered. Of course, he claims that that was the case; that in "examining" things after Kelly's departure from ACM (i.e., "when all information was made available") he (Kivelowitz) had found some "things he felt were out of order."
But, come on now. This is exactly what Kenneth Lay, the CEO of Enron, was saying about Fastow, the company's chief financial officer - and nobody believes Lay. To believe that Kivelowitz didn't know about these "discrepancies" prior to Kelly's departure is farcical. As Christians, it's not necessary for us to take leave of "common sense" - especially when these "discrepancies" relate to "management styles." Both leaders had worked intimately with each other for years and years! Come on! Be reasonable! It was a "set up." Kelly was "set up." And who benefited from the "set up?" C. Peter Wagner benefited!
And more than just that! - very obviously, Kivelowitz had been hiding some kind of grudge insofar as Kelly was concerned; and he had hidden his grudge for years and years - and it was "payback time" insofar as Kivelowitz was concerned. It is precisely this kind of thing that Mills says is endemic in today's corporate world - a place where there is a never-ending Hobbesian-like war "by all against all" to get to the top.
Kivelowitz was either being "morally ruthless" in his pursuit of power at the ACM, or he was getting back for an offense that he had been nursing against Kelly. Probably a little of both - unless, of course, one is prepared to believe that Kivelowitz somehow or other "discovered" something that had been in plain sight for years and years. Whatever happened, Kelly found out that the people whom he thought were his friends were not really his friends at all. Like all sycophants, when his "master" was weakened, Kivelowitz apparently turned on Kelly to destroy him without even a moment's reflection.
And what about Wagner in all this? - his fingerprints are all over the "crime scene." And they are there for anyone to see if they want to see. After all, it seems that Kivelowitz and Wagner "discovered" these "discrepancies" together. And it's Wagner that convinced the "Apostolic Council" to go along with Kivelowitz.
Wagner says that "ultimately" (What's that mean? - after torture? - editor) Apostle Kelly -
"... responded admirably to the reprimand and discipline with humility, contrition and heartfelt repentance ... and the discipline was lifted."
But you can be sure that when the "discipline was lifted" there was a new "boss-man" in charge. Kelly had been displaced. Wagner was now in charge. Kelly was now nothing more than Wagner's toady, just as Kivelowitz had been Kelly's toady before. Now Wagner was "king of the hill" - and from now on, HE WOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN A STATE OF NEAR PANIC, forever wondering who were his friends, and who were merely his sycophants. Just as Lord and Lady Macbeth discovered, Wagner too may come to find out that in this world, the crown is a dangerous thing to wear.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CHARGE OF TODAY'S EVANGELICAL CHURCH! THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE "COMMON CAUSE" WITH THE BUSINESS ELITES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY! THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO FORM THE CORE ELEMENTS OF TODAY'S RELIGIOUS RIGHT!
Yes, insofar as "putting on a good show" - they're really good at that! They can dazzle their followers with "sacred music;" long, beautiful prayers, never-ending displays of miracles and "wonder-working" - but in the end, it's all quackery.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes and "off-camera," the scheming goes on, the conniving continues, the money-grubbing proceeds without a halt. Again, very, very obviously, these are the people about whom Christ warned:
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
"Behold, I have told you before." (Matt. 24:24-25)
All of this great evil and apostasy plays into what must inevitably be the next phase of Christianity's descent into madness - which is the transformation of the church into a "crusading army" in the elite's struggle to re-enforce their American New World Order System and complete its globalization by "Islamizing" the "War on Terrorism."
The very real fact of the matter is, the American New World Order System is under attack everywhere. And what's happening in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East is only the tip of the iceberg. It's happening all over the world: in Indonesia, in Malaysia, in the Philippines, in Africa, in Central and South America - EVERYWHERE. As a result, the methodologies that the elites will have to employ in defending and strengthening themselves against the wrath of the mobs will have to be severe. Now make no mistake about it, the elites have the power to do so at their disposal, but to employ that power demands a kind of RUTHLESSNESS that usually only an Attila the Hun possess.
Some will, no doubt, object, believing that Antichrist is supposed to be a popular figure. But where does the Bible say that? The system that Antichrist rules over will be a "Big Brother" system in the worst sense of that phrase, and it will be maintained only through the use of BRUTE power. Revelation chapter 13 makes that perfectly plain:
"And he (i.e., the false prophet) exerciseth all the power of the first beast (the Antichrist) before him, and causeth (i.e., he COMPELS) the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should (i.e., they MUST) make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause (i.e., he COMPELS) that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
"And he causeth (i.e., he COMPELS) all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:12, 14-17)
The Bible says that the earth and the people in it are COMPELLED to worship the Beast; they are COMPELLED to make an image; they are COMPELLED to worship that image under PENALTY of DEATH; and they are COMPELLED to receive a mark, which - if they reject - will render them unable to "buy and sell." Obviously, this system is not a popularly-based system, but one that is based on compulsion under the twin threats of exclusion from the system's economic and commercial activities, and ultimately even death.
In this sense, the description given by the Prophetic Scriptures leads one to believe the that New World Order system of the "end of days" will resemble the political and economic system created by the Nazis in Europe between 1939 and 1945, where in Germany and among the German people, the Nazi regime enjoyed great popularity, but very little public acceptance outside the Reich - except, of course, among the lackey-elites the Nazis installed in their client-states - where they ruled by resort to the use of German SS troops, and the indiscriminate application of TERROR.
The question here is, Where do the MONSTERS come from that are capable of staffing these institution of TERROR? How does one create an army of MONSTERS that can garrison such an empire? You do it through an ideology that has the capacity to make people think that they are doing "God's work," while all along they are doing the "devil's work." Then you create an "US vs. THEM" dynamic which makes people believe that if they don't "DO IT" to their enemies first, their enemies will "DO IT" to them. This kind of dynamic is best "set up" either on the basis of RACE, or the basis of RELIGION. It's called "ethnic conflict," or "civilization war." Dr. Chaim Kaufmann, a Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University, described the process in an article he prepared for the Journal of International Security in 1993.
For the most part, race is pretty much precluded as a catalyst in beginning this process insofar as the United States is concerned. While there are, indeed, very divisive racial undercurrents left in the United States, most minority communities (especially the black and Asian communities; the Hispanics are a little more "iffy") have by now insinuated themselves much too far into the culture to be easily dislodged. This is especially true insofar as the black community is concerned, and most especially as that community relates to this country's military establishment.
But religion - that's a different matter. Way over eighty percent of this country still claims to be Christian, and while a great many of those who make this claim are Christian in name only, they still prefer to identify themselves as such. In this country, then, religion can act in the place that race played in the German Reich. The dynamic, then, that the elites can use to create their army of MONSTERS is religion, specifically, Christianity.
And this is EXACTLY what the Bible says will happen. Indeed, F.C. Jennings writes:
"Turning then to the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we see the whole stage filled with two personalities only: a 'Beast' and a 'Woman' … these two … picture … the future prophetic earth … there can be no argument or discussion as to this speaking of both the CIVIL [political, economic, and military] and ECCLESIASTICAL [religious] conditions that will rule and characterize that part of the earth that is within the limits or boundaries of Prophecy. The whole of it will be filled with what shall answer to this 'Beast' and this 'Woman.' The two [the 'Beast (which answers to the Civil Power) and the 'Woman' (which answers to the Religious Power) are thus indissolubly co-related, and tell us to what end all [this is] trending; and that is that there will eventually be a one World-Empire and a one World-Church, and these will cover the whole of what is now called CHRISTENDOM; the one Empire supporting the one Church, [as] the 'Beast' in the picture supports the 'Woman,' and the 'Woman' is supported by the 'Beast' …"
In the New World Order, then, religion will play the part that race played in the Third Reich. What race was to Hitler, religion will be to the "Man of Sin." And more to the point insofar as Christians are concerned, religion (specifically, apostate Christianity - the Christianity of Tim LaHaye, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Reuven Doren, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, etc.) will be the mechanism through which men (ostensibly, Christians) will be turned into MONSTERS in the service of the New World Order.
Kaufmann explains that it goes without saying that wars harden one's religious identity. Even those who at first put little value in their religious identity are pressed towards religious mobilization as the conflict widens and intensifies - as it is doing now in the case of the "War on Terrorism." There are essentially two reasons for this phenomenon. First, extremists within each community are likely to impose sanctions on those who do not contribute to the "cause." Second, and more important, religious identity is often imposed by the opposing group, specifically by its most murderous elements. This is exactly what Islamic extremists are doing now with Christians in the West, and most particularly in the United States. By labeling all people in the West as "Christians" (even though most of them are "Christian" only in name, and some don't even consider themselves as such any longer), and targeting them for terror and assassination - just as Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, Richard Reid, Zacarias Moussaoui, etc. are doing now - religious identity is pressed upon the targeted population.
Passivity in this kind of dynamic does no good. Take the recent examples of what happened in the former Yugoslavia as that religious conflict took hold. One Bosnian Muslim school teacher (a former "moderate") lamented:
"We never, until war, thought of ourselves as Muslims. We were Yugoslavs (i.e., multiculturalists). But when we began to be murdered, because we are Muslims, things changed. The definition of who we are today has been determined by our killers."
This is EXACTLY what is happening in the Christian West today as people there are targeted. The opportunity of choosing between being a "moderate" or "liberal" Christian as opposed to a "James Dobson or Pat Robertson-kind of Christian" slowly disappears the longer the conflict continues - forcing more and more individuals in the West to adopt a more hard-core Christian identity. This is what Daniel Pipes thinks is beginning to happen now. He writes:
"Pretending that the enemy is 'terrorism' unconnected to Islam is not working anymore."
The fact is, as Pipes suggests, such a contention -
"... MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL (to most people). The Taliban government, Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden - all are fervent Muslims ACTING ON BEHALF OF THEIR RELIGION."
To most people, the proposition that terrorism alone - unconnected to any catalytic ideology - is responsible for the events of September 11th is so shallow and superficial that common sense itself seems to rebel against it. It is too facile, too frivolous, and so thoroughly unsophisticated that only a buffoon or a nitwit could take it seriously. AND FOR THE ELITES TO ADMIT WHAT'S REALLY AT THE CORE OF ALL THE UNREST IN THE WORLD TODAY - I.E., THE INEQUITABLE AND UNJUST ECONOMIC POLICIES THE ELITES ARE PURSUING - IS TO PUT THE BLAME ON THEMSELVES, AND HELL WILL FREEZE OVER BEFORE THAT EVER OCCURS! Nonetheless, the truth is, terrorism has an agenda, and once people begin to ask what that agenda might be, answers must be provided.
And Islam is the answer! It is the very, very convenient answer!
Dr. Samir Amin -- the Director of Forum Tiers Monde, a research institute in Dakar, Senegal and author of several books including Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment (1974), Maldevelopment, Anatomy of a Global Failure (1990), Empire of Chaos (1992), Re-Reading the Postwar World: An Intellectual Itinerary (1994), and Specters of Capitalism; A Critique of Current Intellectual Fashions (1998) -- calls this explanation "ISLAMOPHOBIA!" By that, Amin means: MAKING ISLAM THE SCAPEGOAT.
And it doesn't take a genius to realize that that's precisely what's beginning to occur. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, Jack Hayford, and James Dobson have all made very explicit comments to that effect. For example, on February 27th on Fox's O'Reily Report, Robertson said that Islam is a VIOLENT religion that has declared "HOLY WAR" on Christians; he went on to say that Mohammed taught Jihad; to Mohammed, there were only two kinds of people: Muslims and infidels - and all infidels must either be converted or killed. Similar comments to this effect have been heard from pulpits in church after church throughout the country. Pipes says,
"The 'Western Street' (i.e., average people in the West) prefers to see the problem lying with the Islamic religion. IN THIS VIEW, ARABS AND MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN THE LEADING ENEMY OF CHRISTIANS FOR MORE THAN A MILLENNIUM, REMAIN SO NOW, AND WILL LONG CONTINUE TO FILL THIS ROLE ..."
Kaufmann says that as the conflict continues (in this case, the conflict between Christians and Islamics) what can finally eliminate all possibility of choice between a "radical" and a "moderate" Christian identity for most people is fear of genocide. The hyper-religious rhetoric that is used for "group mobilization" against the "terrorists" who are attacking them often includes images of the enemy as a threat to the physical existence of the nation or group being targeted, which in turn justifies ever higher levels of violence against the enemy.
Attorney General John Ashcroft, a lay pastor and the son of an Assembly of God minister, appears to be the "point man" in this effort by the Bush Administration. On February 20, 2002, Ashcroft cast the U.S. government's "War on Terrorism" in religious terms and argued that the campaign against terror is "rooted in faith in God." It doesn't take much to extrapolate from these comments that since terrorists are for the most part Muslims, ipso facto, Muslims are not "people of God." Randy Jumper, an Assemblies of God minister from Springfield, MO., said the address helped him define his role in the war."
To date, people like Ashcroft and Jumper have been careful to label the war not as a "war against any religion," but as a war against terror - and to welcome Muslims to join in this crusade. But as the dynamic that Kaufmann describes grows in intensity, as the bombings continue, as Muslim rhetoric is enhanced and magnified, these caveats will undoubtedly fall by the wayside. As for the hard-core of the Religious Right and the National Religious Broadcasters to whom these remarks were made, they are clear who the enemy is: ISLAM!
Naturally, according to Kaufmann, this kind of activity and discourse does not go without notice by members of the other group (i.e., the Muslims), which in turn results in heightened counter-activity on their side.
But one must remember here, this is EXACTLY what al-Qaida and the Islamic terrorists are after: to provoke this kind of REACTION from the Christian community. What they are aiming at is their version of Armageddon, where they think they will prevail in a world war against Christianity - a war that will culminate in, of all things, JESUS RETURNING TO EARTH, DECLARING HIMSELF A MUSLIM, AND DESTROYING BOTH CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM. You didn't know that? Well, anyone who has ever read radical Muslim literature knows about this.
And so the spiral is ratcheted ever upwards: the one side (the Muslims) strikes out against the other in acts of terrorism which grow progressively worse; the other side strikes back, and each time it does, the Christian side becomes ever more inured to the use of great power and the brutality needed to wield it, until the same point is reached that people reached in Argentina in their war against Communism, where former Chicago Sun-Times correspondent Virginia Prewett and former New York Times reporter William R. Mizella quoted one of Argentina's leading businessmen of that era as saying:
"Don't say it was I who said so, but the victory over ... (the left) began the day my wife said, 'THERE'S NO WAY OUT EXCEPT TO KILL THESE MONSTERS: WE'VE GOT TO KILL THEM ALL'!"
WHEN YOU HAVE AT LAST REACHED THAT POINT; WHEN YOU HAVE AT LAST INSTILLED THIS MENTALITY INTO THE MINDS OF YOUR FOLLOWERS, THEN YOU CAN HAVE YOUR NEW WORLD ORDER. AND EXACTLY WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE THAT THE ELITES HAVE NOMINATED FOR THIS HONOR? WHO ARE THOSE THAT THE ELITES ARE AIMING TO TURN INTO MONSTERS TO STAFF THEIR INSTITUTIONS OF TERROR AND GARRISON THEIR DEATH CAMPS? - CHRISTIANS! CHRISTIANS OF THE JAMES DOBSON, PAT ROBERTSON, PAUL CAIN, C. PETER WAGNER VARIETY WHO WILL COME WILLINGLY AND EVEN EAGERLY TO THE BELIEF THAT IN DOING SO, THEY ARE DOING GOD'S WORK! JUST AS IT WAS WRITTEN ON THE BELT BUCKLES OF THE GUARDS AT AUSCHWITZ, SO IT WILL BE WRITTEN ON THE BELT BUCKLES OF THE NEW CRUSADER ARMY THAT THE ELITES ARE RAISING UP TO DEFEND THEIR NEW WORLD ORDER SYSTEM: GOTT MIT UNS - "GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!"
And don't think for a moment that Christians in this country won't get drawn into this trap. They will! IT PLAYS RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF THOSE CHRISTIAN DOMINIONISTS WHO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED BY GOD TO CONQUER THE EARTH FOR CHRIST AND THE CHURCH - THUS, PREPARING THE WAY FOR CHRIST'S RETURN. Seen from this perspective, the elite's economic dominionism certainly comports well with the new Christian dominionism the church has so enthusiastically embraced in the last few years. The church and the state - or, better yet, the church and America; that's what today's Christian dominionism is all about. Robertson writes,
"... the CHRISTIAN United States (is the only nation that has) at its disposal the spiritual and material force to prohibit a worldwide satanic dictator from winning his battle (to control the world) ... If America is free, people everywhere can hope for freedom. And if America goes down, all hope is lost to the rest of the world."
John Eckhardt, the pastor and "overseer" of Crusaders Ministries in Chicago (and who is closely connected to the present ideological "mouthpiece" of the "Apostles and Prophets Movement," C. Peter Wagner), agrees with Robertson. He has written:
"It is not by accident that the Pentecostal outpouring of the twentieth century began in America."
The reason, obviously enough (at least to Christian dominionists), is that God has chosen America as the "New Israel of God" from which He is going to "recover" the world. Eckhardt continues:
"I believe the American church has a responsibility to touch the nations of the earth. Just as America's government cannot limit itself to a domestic policy, but must also have a strong foreign policy, so it is with the Church in America. The church must have a foreign policy. America cannot excuse itself from the affairs of the world. Neither can the American church. 'To whom much is given, from him much will be required' (Luke 12:48)"
And this is precisely the kind of thinking that most American Christians - to one degree or another - have "bought into." This is certainly what the Latter Rain Movement has "bought into;" AND the Promise Keepers; AND the Vineyards; AND the Toronto Blessing; AND the Pensacola Revival, AND Reconstructionism, etc. While all these movements spill out into other countries, for the most part all of them buy into the concept that America is their "champion" - even the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Movement and Opus Dei. There seems to be no end to it.
Moreover, when one considers those Christian leaders of today who individually are willing to embrace and even promote such thinking, one's breath is taken away - Christian leaders like Harald Bredesen, Paul Crouch, David and Justin Du Plessis, Jack Hayford, Cardinal Krol, Father Dene Braun, Father Tom Forrest, Dr. Kevin Ranaghan, Ken Metz, Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, the late John Wimber, Juan Carlos Ortiz, C. Peter Wagner, Beverley LaHaye, Ern Baxter, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Chuck Colson, David Yonggi Cho, Robert Stearns, Mike Bickle, Reuven Doron, Che Ahn, Frank Hammond, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, John Eckhardt, Bobbie Byerly, Dutch Sheets, Jim Goll, John Paul Jackson, James Ryle, Frank Damazio, Ed Silvoso, Carlos Annacondia, Claudio Freidzon, Roger Mitchell, Ted Haggart, Paul Cain, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, Kingsley Fletcher, Jim Laffoon, Barbara Wentroble, ad infinitum.
And then there are all those politicos in this country who to one degree or another embrace such thinking - people like President Bush himself and his dominionist minions: John Ashcroft, Don Evans, Karen Hughes, Karl Rove; and then there are Republicans like Tom Delay, Dick Armey, Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth, J.C. Watts, John Peterson, Ken Calvert, Bob Livingston, Jim Nicholson, Bob Barr, Asa Hutchinson, ad nauseum.
Wow! What a list! - there are certainly a lot of Christians who would be willing to go along with the elites in "morphing" (transforming) the "War on Terrorism" into a religious crusade with the ostensible purpose of preparing the way for Christ's return.
Now listen to me, dear Christian. You MUST get out while you still can. There is NOTHING you can do to rescue what we today call the church. It is beyond remedy. The Bible offers only one solution - GET OUT! Specifically, the Bible says:
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye RECEIVE NOT OF HER PLAGUES." (Rev. 18:4)
That's what God says, and that's what you should do! - and if you don't, you run the danger of having what happened to Lot's wife happen to you, The Bible says,
"Haste thee, ESCAPE ... (Gen. 19:22)
And it continues:
"Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
"And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
"But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." (Gen. 19:24-26)
Take as many people as you can, but get out! Don't look back! Just as there was nothing that could be done for Sodom and Gomorrah, there is NOTHING that can be done for the APOSTATE church of James Dobson, Paul Cain, C. Peter Wagner or any of the rest of them. You think that I am being too harsh here? I'm not! Peter, speaking about the condition of the church at the end of the age, said:
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
"And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2 Pet. 2:1-3)
What's Peter saying here if not depicting the church as it exists today? - the church we have spent so much time describing here in this article; the church of the "APOSTLES AND PROPHETS" that C. Peter Wagner and his cohorts are bringing into captivity unto themselves, and selling to the elites for money; the church they have made merchandise of.
Isn't that what they are doing? Surely it is! Isn't that what Falwell and his friends have done? Surely it is! How else can you describe a person (Falwell) who would take money from a person (the so-called Rev. Moon) who openly teaches that Christ was little better than a rock star who had sex with the women who followed him.
Come on now! - be honest! Making merchandise of you! - What else would you say that Falwell and his cohorts are doing when he says -
"... if the American Atheist Society or Saddam Hussein himself ever sent a ... gift to any of my ministries, be assured ... I will quickly cash the check."
I would say that surely such a man has made merchandise of us all, wouldn't you? Peter says that these people are "bringing upon themselves swift destruction."
Peter warns that "... if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment ..." (2 Pet. 2:4) what do you think He is going to do to the false prophets that are among us today, who have made merchandise of the church? (2 Pet. 2:3) by reason of whom "... the way of truth shall be evil spoken of ..." (2 Pet. 2:2)
Now, no doubt, leaving the "established church" is a hard thing to do! But God has equipped you for your journey into the wilderness (so to speak), but before you can take advantage of what He has done for you, you must come to a proper appreciation of yourself vis a vis the church.
Much of the power the "Apostles and Prophets" Movement has over people lies in the fact that people do not appreciate how precious their own individuality is before God. Listen, dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, do NOT let people destroy your individuality before God for ANY reason; the fact is, the force of the "APOSTLES AND PROPHETS" movement derives from a false concept of Christianity that DE-EMPHASIZES CHRISTIANS AS INDIVIDUALS and places an excessive and unreasonable emphasis on the church - even to the point where our individual connection to Christ (so to speak) is soft-pedaled in favor of our connection to the church.
Indeed, in speaking to many dominionists, one would think that they believe that somehow or other the church has its own identity apart from its individual members; but THE CHURCH HAS NO LIFE OF ITS OWN. IT HAS LIFE ONLY BECAUSE WE - AS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS - HAVE LIFE. I repeat, the church has no life apart from the individual members who compose it. God resides in the church because He first of all resides in you, not the other way around! You are the one that was born again, not the church. The church reflects the glory of the Lord only insofar as its individual members are "beholding and reflecting" the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). Paul put it this way:
"And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
"for through Him we (as individual members) ... have our access in one Spirit (i.e., the Holy Spirit) to the Father.
"So then you (as individual members) are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household ...
"in whom the whole building (i.e., the church as a corporate body of believers), being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord ..." (Eph. 2:17-19, 21 - NASB)
According to Paul, the order is this: first there are the individual members, who as individual members are in constant fellowship with Christ through the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Comforter), and its through each individual member's fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit that we are quite effortlessly brought into oneness with each other and are built together into a holy Temple (habitation) unto the Lord. There is no necessity here to employ force or coercion. It comes about naturally and quite effortlessly as a "matter of life."
Out of our individual relationships with the Lord flows the life of the church. If our individual walk with the Lord is wrong, then our life in the church will be wrong, and all the seminars, and all the books, and all the sermons, and all the "accountability groups" aren't going to help; but when the individual believer "beholds and reflects" the glory of the Lord, then the church also will reflect and mirror the Lord's splendor (2 Cor. 3:18). Put another way, the health of the human body depends on the health of the individual cells of the body, not visa versa. When all the cells of the body are healthy, then the whole body will be healthy - and not the other way around.
What's important in Christianity is the individual believer's walk with Christ - it's not that our "corporate" walk with other believers isn't important, but our individual walk with Christ is the starting point for all our relationships with other believers, including our relationship with others in the church. Jesus said,
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)
And John the Apostle said,
"And now, little children, abide in him ..." (I John 2:27-28)
The secret is abiding in Him! - that's where everything begins. It's not intellect that counts, nor even seminary training, nor worldly success, nor your "station" in the church or in life that counts - but abiding in Him and abiding in His Word. If a Christian sees this, everything else will follow, including a vibrant loving relationship with others as well as a fulfilling life in the church. [And it must be stressed in this connection that "abiding in Him" presupposes that one is abiding in His Word.]
Dominionists, however, make their starting point the church rather than the individual, and - as a result - the unity that is stressed in dominionism is not the unity that flows out of the individual as a natural consequence of "beholding and reflecting" Christ in one's spirit; it's the unity that is brought about by outward control - a control that flows from church officers (elders, pastors, "apostles," "prophets," etc.). It's the kind of unity that is brought about by "outward conformity," not the inner leading of Christ in our spirits - AND THIS IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF UNITY THAT THE "APOSTLES AND PROPHETS" MOVEMENT IS BUILT UPON.
Consequently, the unity that dominionism creates is dependent on hierarchy - the orderly arrangement of church officers in a kind of giant pyramid which emphasizes rank and position, and is dependent on a military-like discipline, a discipline which is enforced by an outward chain of command. How high up one is in this pyramid determines how "close" one is to God. One is required to "submit" to those who are "above," and to "rule over" those who are "below" - and one's spirituality is measured by one's submission to authority (i.e., to one's submission to control).
The thought that all men have equal access to Christ through the Spirit is anathema to dominionists - it strikes at the military-like order which dominionism promotes. The belief that each individual Christian can be led individually by the Holy Spirit coupled with the written Word of God without resort to "outward authority" is a threat to dominionism's pyramid-like structure and scheme of things. For dominionists to admit that man is not dependent on hierarchy to guide and direct him is tantamount to destroying the necessity for dominionism's pyramid. The thought that each individual Christian can "know" God in his spirit independent of those "above" him in the hierarchy is an abomination and sacrilege to dominionists.
But as we have said over and over again, Jesus promoted no such hierarchical scheme of things. Jesus taught the exact opposite. Instead of teaching man to be dependent on an outward hierarchy, Jesus said,
"... ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie [i.e., the same anointing (which is truth and no lie) teaches all of you the same things]. (I John 2:27)
And exactly what is this anointing? Jesus said that it is -
"... the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
And again, Jesus said,
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me ..." (John 15:26)
So important did Jesus believe the "Comforter's" ministry to be to the individual Christian - a ministry which stands totally outside any form of hierarchy - that Jesus said,
"... It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:5-7)
It was said of the martyr ANTIPAS, after whom this ministry has been named, that he "stood against it all" -
"... even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein ANTIPAS WAS MY FAITHFUL MARTYR, who was slain among you, WHERE SATAN DWELLETH." (Rev. 2:13)
And in every place, and in every society there have been those very FEW but brave Christians who have been willing to pit themselves against the "established leadership" of the church (e.g., Savanarola, Zwingle, Luther, Lady Jane Grey, Huss, Wesley, Darby, etc.; those FEW who have been willing to sacrifice themselves to God without reckoning the consequences, even when they considered those consequences to be disastrous to themselves personally; those FEW who have been willing to throw away material advantages and even their reputations for the sake of bearing witness to something that they believe to be true; those few who like Abraham when "... he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Heb. 11:8); those FEW who esteem "... the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt ..." (Heb. 11:26)
These FEW Christians are simply incomprehensible to the shallow Christians who inhabit the "praise and worship" meetings of a Bennie Hinn, or a Kenneth Copeland, or a Creflo Dollar; the very FEW people who think that it is not a strange thing to suffer for their faith, and who can with all their heart agree with Peter when he encouraged the saints of his day with the words -
"Beloved, THINK IT NOT STRANGE CONCERNING THE FIERY TRIAL which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you ..." (1 Pet. 4:12)
And when he (i.e., Peter) went on to say that such trials of our faith are -
"... more precious than of gold that perisheth ..." (1 Pet. 1:7)
These are those FEW Christians who think it an HONOR to suffer such things for Christ; who willingly endure -
"... trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment
"... (people who are willing to be) stoned ... sawn asunder ... tempted ... slain with the sword: (who) ... wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
"(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." (Heb. 11:36-38)
Against such people, the elites and the so-called established leaders of the church who have made common cause with these elites tremble and shake. What to do? They must do something! - because they too believe in that maxim,
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." (Gal. 5:9)
There is a danger that if such Christians should be let loose on the church, they could ruin everything. Then where would they be? No! - these people must be "brought to heel!" - and that's what "church accountability" (as it is understood today in the church; as it is explained in the "training manuals" of people like C. Peter Wagner, John Eckhardt, Cindy Jacobs, John P. Kelly, Chuck Pierce, et al) - is all about. That's what the "Apostles and Prophets" Movement is all about! And that's EXACTLY what the question, "Who is your covering?" alludes to.
Listen, brothers and sisters, eternity is at hand - YOUR eternity! What you do now will affect you for all time. You will never get away from it. Your actions today will follow you into the "Kingdom of Heaven," and will determine whether you are known as the "greatest" or the "least" in that glorious realm. (Matt. 5:19) The fact is, we can't pretend that we don't know what's happening. We do know! - and this knowledge hangs like some kind of biblical sword of Damocles over our heads. To do nothing is to invite it to fall on us. The Bible says:
Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THE WATCHMAN'S HAND.
We are being called to warn people everywhere about what's happening (believers and unbelievers alike) - even at the cost of our own security, our own wealth, and our own lives. To this end, we urge you - we implore you - stand up and be counted; take this material, copy it, and pass it out in your churches, in your family, in your communities - everywhere! I have no doubt what will happen to you when you do - you will be ostracized, and worse! But do it anyway!
Yes, you will be persecuted - what else should you expect? True Christianity is NOT popular. Remember what the Lord said:
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." (John 15:18-20)
Listen to me, brothers and sisters, with every passing week and month, the country (and the world) moves ever more towards the installation of a "CHRISTIAN-TERROR-STATE" - all in the name of Christ! Again I ask, where will it ultimately lead? - to a kind of Fourth Reich where all those who disagree with the "established religion" will be ostracized?
It's a trite but true saying, the way to hell is paved with good intentions! - and more murder and slaughter have been carried out in the name of God than we as Christians might care to admit. Maybe there's a good reason why secularists and unbelievers are afraid of Christians; maybe that's why they refuse to be drawn to Christ - they can't hear His gentle voice calling them over the din and slaughter and mayhem we have created.
I hope and pray that God will raise up many of YOU to speak out against what's happening. People everywhere are waiting to hear. Do what Christ did. He started in the synagogues. Not many listened to Him at the time; they even tried to throw him off a cliff. But He kept at it, and in doing so He raised up quite a din by His preaching, and people were drawn to Him because of that, and some even began listening. That's what will happen to you. Start preaching where you are at; copy this material and pass it out! in your church (even though you think no one is reading it), in your community. As you do, you too will cause a din. And they will threaten to throw you off a cliff too. But nothing can happen to you unless God permits it. You are in the hands of God, and eventually you will find people who will listen.
There is no easy way in this matter. There was no easy way for Christ, and there will be no easy way for you either. As Jesus said,
"The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20)
And so I say to all of you now -
More next time!
Until then, God bless you,
PS Have the courage of your convictions! Contribute to the ministry by making out a check to "Antipas Ministries" and sending it to -