................ .......................represents a gathering trend in American evangelicalism – the anti-democratic concentration of authority under fast rising church networks under the authoritarian control of self-made “apostles” :
However, the current Dominionist trend results in congregations where members are supposed to submit to the almost absolute authority of their anointed leaders, a change that removes the congregation as a balance or check to the power of the pastor. Long claims spiritual authority over more than his New Birth mega-church in Lithonia, Georgia. He is the ‘apostolic authority’
Once a church has shifted to this model, the pastor can no longer be hired and fired by the membership but becomes the authority over his flock. Only his overseers or spiritual authority figures can remove or discipline him. In these networks an apostle (or bishop in some cases) provides spiritual or apostolic “covering” over others.
Their growing authoritarian nature and the concentration of power in these apostolic church networks has irritated and dismayed even some in the apostolic movement such as J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine (and a former apostle in C. Peter Wagner’s mammoth International Coalition of Apostles – ICA ) who blasted in a 2009 Charisma op-ed,
Some charismatic apostles became mini-popes who carved out their fiefdoms. Suddenly the independent charismatic movement had more invasive authoritarianism than the denominations these pastors abandoned 10 years earlier.
In some circles apostles demanded total allegiance from the leaders who were “under” them. Some required a policy of “tithing up,” creating a monstrous organizational structure similar to a spiritual Amway. So-called apostles with huge “downlines” made exorbitant amounts of money. One leader even offered pastors the opportunity to become “spiritual sons” by contributing $1,000 a month to his ministry.
Like the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and other Dominionist networks, Long does not believe in separation of church and state. And similar to the NAR prophets, Long believes that God gives messages directly to him to pass on to his flock
The New Birth congregation finances and operates vital support programs in the city and pumps large sums of money and thousands of volunteer hours into key areas such as youth offender intervention programs, public school programs, and support and outreach programs for homeless women and children.
This, in turn, is causing us to gain major footholds in the city infrastructure, . . . the criminal court system, public high schools
dominionists – they want to extend church authority over every sphere of society including the political realm. The strongly anti-democratic nature of dominionism comes out perhaps most strikingly in the doctrine of “spiritual fatherhood” that’s now in mainstream media parlance especially due to the fact that Eddie Long has been accused of coercing sex from his “spiritual sons.”
“The so-called ’submission-shepherding’ cult is vastly worse than anything I could have conceived of…
…In these cells, each member is under total domination by the shepherd. The shepherd can forbid the husband and wife from living together…. When one man said he would not be under subjection to any man, he was told, ` you will be ruined spiritually, financially, and ruined physically.’ “
Leaving its coercive spiritual aspects aside, the Discipleship and Shepherding movement established the sort of pyramidal hierarchies of authority one would typically find in a military structure – “shepherds” could disciple “sheep”, or serve as “spiritual fathers” to “spiritual sons” but such “sheep” or “sons” could in turn take roles as shepherds or spiritual fathers to other Christians presumably lower in the spiritual pecking order. And so on down the line.
“He made a declaration that in five years you shall be ruling and reigning in this nation. That means you control the wealth, that means you control the riches, that means you control the politics, that means you control the social order, that means that you are in charge.