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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 02:34AM


Progressive at Cal
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

BCR Senate Candidates Belong to Ministry with Christian Reconstructionist Ties

According to recent comments posted by Hovannes Abramyan on CalStuff, former Berkeley College Republican candidates for the Student Senate, Amaury Gallais and Paul LaFata, are both members of the church group, Victory Campus Ministries:

Amaury could only rely on VCM (Victory Campus Ministry), the church group both he and Paul belong to.

According to other web sites associated with Victory Campus Ministries (VCM), VCM is a ministry affiliated with the Morning Star Christian Church and Morning Star International. It is at this point that the genealogy of Victory Campus Ministries starts to get interesting. It appears that Morning Star International developed out of an association with Maranatha Campus Ministries, but Morning Star doesn't like to advertise that fact:

"Morning Star literature has been scrubbed clean of any reference to Maranatha. Bios do not include prominent positions in Maranatha. Activity is not described as Maranatha-sponsored, although clearly dated before Maranatha disbanded and before Morning Star was formed.

Maranatha literature and the Post-Maranatha web site indulge heavily in unrepentant and revisionist history. No mention of a run-in with a committee of cult-watchers, of deprogrammer kidnappings, of the carnage of destroyed lives. Nor of mass staff resignations and numerous conference speakers refusing to return. Only the vaguest reference to constant turbulence and dissent within the board, and that attributed to the devil.

Maranatha founder Bob Weiner’s mild recanting is not found; neither is there any mention of repeated personal confrontations with friends and associates over disturbing Maranatha practices; his berserk, retaliatory stunts against former members; or his thousand-and-one denials, ostensible explanations, contradicting versions, straight-faced lies, and vicious recriminations."

Maranatha Campus Ministries had an interesting history during the 1980s, largely due to controversy surrounding its founder Bob Weiner:

"Mr. Weiner has had some explaining to do lately. His exotic blend of Bible-thumping, born-again Christianity and conservative politics is drawing criticism from an increasing-number of angry parents, Maranatha dropouts and other religious leaders. They complain that Maranatha uses a form of mind control that isolated students from their parents and then guides decisions on such personal matters as career choices, politics and marriage.

Last year, a committee including Baptists, Presbyterians and other evangelical Christian groups finished a yearlong investigation of Maranatha, concluding that Mr. Weiner's religion "has an authoritarian orientation with potential negative consequences for members." The committee added, "We would not recommend this organization to anyone." "

Please note that the above quote came from a 1985 article in the Wall Street Journal, not exactly a bastion of leftist journalism. According to a 1984 article in Christianity Today, Maranatha Campus Ministries was guilty of treating its members in an authoritarian manner:

"Pastors exercise authority over members. They have controlled the selection of marriage partners. (Maranatha members are prohibited from dating. According to Weiner's "dating revelation," dating is a worldly method of selecting a mate). Some pastors have kept detailed records of members' financial contributions. Those who don't give enough have been admonished for having a "spirit of stinginess." In an extreme case at the University of Kentucky, there was a revelation that women were not to use tampons. To members, disobeying a pastor is tantamount to disobeying God."

According to researchers within the evangelical community, the excesses of Maranatha Campus Ministries related to authoritarian treatment of its membership were related to a 1970s trend in some conservative Christian circles called the shepherding movement, also known as the discipleship movement. In this movement, members would give authority over their lives to another church member who acted as a "shepherd" on their behalf. The relevance of the discipleship movement to today's campus politics in Berkeley is that "shepherding" represented a very effective method of mobilizing activists for right-wing causes. Morning Star International, the parent organization of Victory Campus Ministries, has distanced itself from some of the more extreme versions of Maranatha's discipleship methods, although according to this discussion group the practices of discipleship and shepherding may have been euphemistically renamed "accountability partnerships." Yet despite Bob Weiner's official noninvolvement in Morning Star International, this church web site affiliated with Morning Star International suggests that Morning Star International is still on friendly terms with Maranatha and Bob Weiner.

The connection between Bob Weiner and Victory Campus Ministries is most troubling, because of Weiner's connections to the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which favors abolishing the separation of church & state and replacing the current American system of law with one based on the Old Testament. (You know, bring back the stoning of adulterers, homosexuals, and children who are disobedient to their parents. That sort of thing.) To be specific, Maranatha founder Bob Weiner was a member of the steering committee that founded the theocratic Coalition on Revival. It is unclear whether Rice Broocks, the current leader of Morning Star International, subscribes to the same Christian Reconstructionist beliefs as his former mentor Bob Weiner, but the parallels are quite troubling.

Update: In response to Hovannes Abramyan's post on Res Ipsa, I wanted to clarify that Paul LaFata and Amaury Gallais are the only two Berkeley College Republican candidates to date that I can verify as members of Victory Campus Ministries. In addition, Paul LaFata was not a candidate in the most recent election, although he has campaigned for Senate under the BCR banner. I apologize if my headline led people to think otherwise. 06/bcr-senate-candidates-belong-to.html

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 02:39AM

Charisma Magazine
November 2002
Cover Story
by Eric Tiansay

"Are you ready for some football?"

The tongue-in-cheek remark by worship leader Bill Hackworth wasn't off the wall, even though it was made from a church stage on a Sunday morning. His congregation, Southpoint Community Church (SCC) in Jacksonville, Florida, has several current and former Jacksonville Jaguars players, including Mark Brunell--the NFL team's star quarterback.

But the 500 worshipers are not interested in a game this Sunday. They have come to worship God.

What started in 1996 as a Bible study in Brunell's living room has mushroomed into a growing charismatic church with 850 members who envision building a 2,500-seat sanctuary. SCC officially formed in 1999.

"As exciting as these first three years have been, I know that it's only the beginning," Brunell tells the congregation.

"I liken it to a football game," adds Brunell, 32, an elder at the church who sometimes preaches when the pastor is away. "Basically, we've had one play and that's been the kickoff. We've just kicked this thing off. I believe the future is bright for this church. I believe Southpoint Community Church has a destiny, a purpose. God put us here for a reason."

SCC's amazing growth is the result of the work of Champions for Christ (CFC), a low-profile ministry that is credited for transforming athletes not just into role models, but also into ministers.

Reaching players from college and professional sports, including the NFL, the NBA and the NHL, CFC is the athletic arm of Morning Star International (MSI), a worldwide church-planting body that has 350 churches in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. (MSI, based in Nashville, Tennessee, is not affiliated with Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries of Charlotte, North Carolina.)

Four MSI congregations have started primarily with athletes, with SCC being the largest. With more than 100 NFL, 20 NBA and 10 NHL members, "CFC is a growing presence in big-league sports," ESPN The Magazine observed. Bill McCartney, founder and president of Promise Keepers, believes CFC is "on the cutting edge of what God is doing in the kingdom" in ministering to players, who often have fame, fortune and a plethora of temptations.

"These guys are awesome," McCartney, 62, told Charisma. "There's fire in their camp. You can't be around these guys and not be ignited for the Lord. You tell a tree by its fruit, and this ministry bears good fruit."

Denny Duron, 50, senior pastor of First Assembly of God in Shreveport, Louisiana, adds: "Champions is one of the most powerful manifestations of the Holy Ghost anointing in this generation. Without a doubt, it is a God-appointed, God-ordained ministry that is committed to each athlete and his or her family. Champions will continue to grow because its foundation is an 'Acts of the Apostles' approach to evangelism and discipleship."

Advocating the baptism of the Holy Spirit, deliverance and divine healing, CFC is one of only two national, charismatic sports ministries. The other is Athletes International Ministries, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

"It's not just about praying a salvation prayer," says Rice Broocks, 46, who co-founded CFC in 1991 with Greg Ball. "It's about being discipled, trained and developed. The Spirit-filled message is the power [athletes] need. They need all the weapons they can get."

Ball, 43, CFC's president, adds: "They need the kingdom of God in their lives. Then their lives are better after than when they were playing. It takes years to be a role model. The question is, 'How are you building your house?'"

Broocks and Ball got their start during their affiliation with Maranatha Campus Ministries, the charismatic outreach founded by Bob Weiner in 1972. When Maranatha folded in 1989, its younger leaders carried their passion for evangelism into new arenas. Ball's vision for reaching athletes only intensified--and his persistence has paid off.

Today, pro athletes associated with CFC include Brunell, Houston Texans lineman Tony Boselli, Washington Redskins defensive back Darrell Green and former Los Angeles Lakers forward A.C. Green.

Buffalo Sabres player Curtis Brown was 18 and playing his first year of professional hockey when he realized he needed a better life foundation. John Blue, a 10-year NHL veteran at the time who is now a CFC pastor, began witnessing to Brown.

"Here was a guy not only talking about the gospel, but he was actually living it," Brown, now 26, says. "I had never seen that before. I always heard people saying, 'You need to be a Christian.' But their lifestyles never added up. Finally, here was a guy with a lifestyle to match, and that was very appealing to me."

Blue led Brown to the Lord, and shortly after, he became connected with CFC. "If [Blue] had never stepped up and ministered to me, I wouldn't be here today," says Brown, who met his wife, Amy, through CFC. "If [Champions] weren't obedient to the call of Christ on their lives, there would be a lot of athletes who wouldn't be where they are today serving God."

Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith, 25, says 90 percent of his spiritual growth has been as a result of CFC. "They're not on the defensive. It's like: 'You know what? You're no different than anybody else. So don't act like just because you're saved, you're a Christian, and you're a professional athlete, you deserve special treatment. Or that you're above accountability, discipleship and any of that stuff, because you're not.'

"In actuality, we're probably in need of it more as an athlete," Smith adds. "Champions is a ministry that just steps in and says: 'You know what? You may get offended, but here's how it is.'"

But CFC leaders don't talk tough just to act tough. "When you tell a man the truth, and he knows that's your true motive, then there's a deep trust that's formed, and he's willing to listen," says Broocks, who is president and co-founder of MSI and senior pastor of 3,000-member Bethel World Outreach Center in Nashville.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis was willing to listen when a couple of Chicago Bears teammates--his team at the time--reached out to him in 1998.

"I was already saved before that, but I was a 'lone ranger' trying to walk the thing by myself and really being unsuccessful," says Grasmanis, 28. "I didn't know what lordship, accountability or discipleship was."

But thanks to CFC, Grasmanis has grown spiritually through Bible-based training.

"When I think of Champions, the first thing that comes to mind is family," says Grasmanis, who gave up alcohol and is now one of the leaders of a CFC outreach for players with the Eagles. "They've helped me walk with Christ, taught me discipleship and really got in my face and said, 'Listen, this is what's wrong in your life.'"

Buffalo Bills rookie offensive tackle Mike Williams says he was a Christian but "was sanctified" after he got connected with Champions four years ago while at the University of Texas in Austin.

"Champions means so much to me because it's the first time I really saw people who loved God and were on fire for God," Williams told Charisma. "They show it without any shame, and they don't hide it. It's not like, 'OK, somebody's looking, I can't raise my hands to praise God.' They don't fake the funk."

Jaguars offensive lineman Todd Fordham says Champions has enabled him to get "plugged into God." "I no longer live a double life," Fordham, 29, says. "Champions has taught me a lot about being a humble man in the NFL and being a godly husband and father. It has taught me to leave a legacy other than football, but something eternal."

CFC ministers bluntly refer to the NFL as "Not For Long," because the average playing career is only a few years.

"A lot of times when you're dealing with professional players, their initial response is, 'I don't need Jesus because I've got $10 million,'" says Ron Miller, pastor of Morning Star Christian Church (MSCC) of Tallahassee, Florida, and a former Florida State University basketball player. "Money is their God. But as they come to the end of their careers, they ask, 'What is my life about?' It opens their heart up. I tell the players that the American dream without God always ends up as a nightmare."

Broocks believes when athletes sell out for Christ, they have great potential to spread the gospel because they understand biblical principles of commitment, sacrifice and teamwork. "When they're challenged to pick up their cross daily and follow Christ, they do it because that's something they're used to hearing," Broocks adds.

McCartney, who won a national championship in 1990 as the football coach of the University of Colorado, says players with CFC try to live out Colossians 3:23, which says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" (NIV).

"They understand that their competitive juices must be supported by the right motivation," he says. "They are not using their athleticism for themselves, but for the glory of God."

Champions' players receive constant reminders to set their hearts on heavenly things. Besides one-on-one discipleship and small-group fellowships, CFC holds annual gatherings.

"Many of you here have a destiny in God that's higher than what you'll ever achieve in the NFL," Ball tells about 150 athletes gathered in Austin for a CFC conference in June. "It's going to be over that quick. All that you'll have left is what you've built your life on. Your career should be always about the kingdom of God."

Many of the athletes agree, saying, "Yes, that's right." During the three-day annual conference, the CFC ministers don't pull any punches with the players.

"You'll never know football is an idol in your life until it's taken away," says Bryan Schwartz, 30, an associate pastor for MSCC in Austin and a former linebacker with the Jaguars. "If the game determines how your life is and how you treat your wife and family at the end of the day, then it's an idol. I know because football was my idol; it shaped my life. Keep your career with an open hand to God. I've been on both sides of the fence. You can have football and God."

Using football to introduce teammates and their families to God was the goal for Brunell and his wife, Stacy. After Brunell was traded to Jacksonville from Green Bay in 1995, the couple decided to get to know his teammates.

"Before we really started witnessing, having Bible studies and talking about the Lord, God allowed us to build relationships," Brunell told Charisma. "We were friends with them and got to spend time with them, so they got to see our lives."

A barbecue at their home turned into a Bible study, attracting about a dozen players and their families. After that ended, the Brunells brought in Ball to preach to the group. Brunell had known Ball since his playing days at the University of Washington, but the relationship grew during his time in Green Bay.

Amazingly, the first meeting in the Brunells' living room on May 13, 1996, resulted in the conversion of several teammates. The next morning, former Jaguars players Joel Smeenge, Schwartz and Boselli were baptized in Brunell's swimming pool.

A nonpracticing Catholic at the time, Boselli had "never heard the term born again" until Ball preached about it.

"I thought that was some whole other religion," Boselli, 30, says. "I didn't know what it meant to really be saved. Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing that night. I stood up simply because I wanted what pastor Greg was talking about. I wanted to know God in that way."

Smeenge, a defensive end who is retired from the NFL, credits Brunell as being the group's pillar who attracted him to Christianity. "He had a joy in his life," says Smeenge, 34, who runs a landscape business with Fordham. "He had a great marriage, and he was raising his family right. His lifestyle was so convicting to me. I knew he was walking the walk and not just talking the talk."

Brunell, though, plays down his part. "It's like being a quarterback," he says. "You get all the credit, but you don't do all the work."

With Ball discipling the new converts, the group began to grow as a spiritual family. During the 1996 NFL season, they continued to meet, with Ball flying to Jacksonville from Austin monthly to preach.

Former Jaguars wide receiver Will Moore was a Christian when he joined the team about that time, but he admits to being backslidden along with his wife, Phyllis. After being invited to the players' fellowship, Moore--who is retired from the NFL--says "the veil was taken off our eyes" when he heard Ball preach the Bible.

Both repented and have been part of the group since. Moore, 32, is now a pharmaceutical salesman and a CFC elder, and Phyllis works at the church.

By the 1997 NFL season, the athletes began to share with friends and business acquaintances how Jesus had changed their lives. This sparked such an interest that the group began holding weekly meetings in a hotel. As many as 50 people began attending.

"Because we're football players, we didn't know church," Brunell says. "As far as we were concerned, we were just reaching out to the team and the community, but it evolved into something different. Pretty soon there were more people from the community than there were athletes coming."

By 1998, the group sensed God's leading to bring in a full-time minister, so Russ Austin, an MSI pastor, was brought on board that fall. After holding meetings at the hotel for two years, the fellowship officially became a Morning Star church, with about 110 people attending the first service on February 28, 1999.

Shortly after, the congregation started drawing several hundred people, primarily through word of mouth. Today, more than 850 regular worshipers meet in a revamped warehouse, located in a Jacksonville office park.

The congregation hopes to build a 2,500-seat auditorium by 2004 on 150 acres near Interstate 95. Austin, SCC's senior pastor, said the church has already paid off the $2 million for the land.

Some in the faith community call it the "Jaguar Church," but Austin is not fond of the term because "it doesn't define the full expression of who we are." Initially, the church bulletins asked guests not to seek out players for autographs, although it hasn't been a problem. Still, Austin admits some people visit to see the players.

"We have seen that happen from time to time," Austin, 46, told Charisma. "They come to check out where and how the players worship. But after 10 minutes, that goes away. The great desire we have at SCC is to be a place where you can experience the love and power of God. The person being showcased at SCC is our Lord Jesus Christ."

Fordham, who got saved and baptized at Brunell's home during his rookie year in 1997, says what has happened with SCC is "no doubt a God thing."

"I grew up in a church, but to actually see a church birth is really amazing to me," says Fordham, who like Smeenge leads an SCC men's Bible study. "There are so many stories of people coming to know the Lord and relationships being formed. I know that God's the only one who can do that."

SCC has been instrumental in bringing Andy and Barbara Jacobs together. While visiting her sister, who is a Southpoint member, she attended the church in 2000.

"We met at the altar," says Jacobs, 38. "I came up for prayer, and Andy was part of the prayer team. We were married in February 2001. He's from New York, and I'm from Mississippi, so there's no doubt God set it all up, including this church, for us to get together."

After an invitation from Boselli, Ernie and Linda Vadersen began attending the fellowship more than four years ago, and soon became Christians.

"Originally, I thought it would be cool to go to a church where the Jaguars went," says Vadersen, 58, who along with his wife and two children are active SCC members. "I could not have been more wrong.

"This is truly a family church. This is not a football church; it's God's house. God allowed the house to be built by using football players, and He's still using them today."

During his sermon in May, Brunell, who oversees SCC's high school and college outreach, agrees as he tells the congregation: "I believe...we have been walking in a miracle. How this church came to be and how people came together to form this family has been a miracle of God.

"In the book of Acts, you see a similar miracle. A bunch of people from different backgrounds come together. They get saved, baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, become a church family and start reaching out to their neighborhoods, communities and cities.

"Does that sound familiar? That's what's taken place here."

Broocks, Ball and other CFC leaders believe that if God can use football to build a thriving church in Jacksonville, He can take hundreds more athletes and do the same--all over the nation.

Eric Tiansay is an associate editor with Charisma. An avid sports fan, he went to New Orleans in February to report on Super Bowl outreaches. He traveled to Jacksonville and Austin to prepare this report.

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 02:42AM

Charisma Magazine
November 2002

Say what you will about rich professional athletes. Rice Broocks and Greg Ball say preaching the gospel to sports celebrities is not an easy job.

"We didn't start this ministry to reach disgruntled millionaires," jokes Broocks, who co-founded Champions for Christ in 1991 with Ball. "People think it's paradise to minister in Hawaii, but that's not the case. There are hurting people in Hawaii just as there are in professional sports."

Broocks and Ball, who met while attending Mississippi State University during the 1970s, started the ministry by reaching college athletes. Inevitably, some of the collegians they won to the Lord moved on to the NFL, NBA and NHL. Starting out with a shoestring budget, CFC now is a multimillion-dollar annual operation with 115 employees.

About 60 CFC pastors rotate among more than 30 professional athlete outreaches and nearly 100 college chapters. They are ordained through Morning Star International (MSI), a global church-planting body.

"I believe we've had the favor of God," says Ball, who is CFC's president and senior pastor of 500-member Morning Star Christian Church in Austin, Texas. "There have been many great sports ministries that have gone before and are out laboring, but...very few people have ever asked God for the high places."

To Ball, those "high places" include nationally known sports figures who influence American culture as much as movie stars and musicians.

CFC, however, is not just interested in conversions. Ball emphasizes the importance of discipleship, accountability and Jesus' lordship.

"Learn to be a disciple of Christ first and then you become a leader," adds Broocks, who is president and co-founder of the Morning Star network and senior pastor of 3,000-member Bethel World Outreach Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Champions' approach to train athletes has been effective. There are four MSI congregations birthed primarily with athletes, with 850-strong Southpoint Community Church (SCC) in Jacksonville, Florida, being the largest.

Ball says about 90 percent of the CFC ministers are former athletes, including former NHL goalie John Blue and ex-NFL linebacker Bryan Schwartz. Additionally, St. Louis Rams tight end Ernie Conwell is set to join Broocks' staff as an associate pastor at the end of this football season. Conwell and former Washington Redskins Tim Johnson, already an associate pastor in the Nashville church, have played in the Super Bowl.

Many of Champions' pro athletes also see themselves becoming CFC ministers someday.

"I believe God has called me to full-time ministry when I retire," Houston Texans lineman Tony Boselli says. "I don't know what it is for sure, but I believe it is to preach the gospel."

Champions' athletes have a strong bond that goes deeper than the superficiality of the game. Many players and their families also hold a strong allegiance to CFC and refer to the ministry as their "covenant family." The families of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake, former Rams linebacker Robert Jones and Buffalo Sabres center Curtis Brown have relocated to Austin to be a part of Ball's church.

The emphasis on familial ties helped CFC overcome a controversy in 1998. Curtis Enis, then a Chicago Bears rookie, fired his agent after being converted through a CFC outreach. He then hired a Christian financial planner who attended Ball's church.

The fired agent's firm reportedly lodged complaints with the NFL over CFC's influence and tactics. Several national magazines and newspapers, including Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times reported that some teams asked the league to investigate the ministry out of concern that CFC was asking players to give huge amounts of money to the organization.

"Champions for Christ stands financially neutral on how and with whom athletes should invest their money," CFC's Web site says regarding financial integrity.

Mark Brunell, quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars and a key member of the MSI church in that city, says the Enis controversy was a spiritual attack against the ministry.

"It was a real ugly period. We were slandered," Brunell says. "There were a lot of accusations against us. We prayed and just stuck together. We were honest. We didn't challenge anyone. We turned the other cheek. We didn't want to make it ugly because it was ugly enough."

Ball says it was a case of "guilt by association," and he noted that Enis is no longer affiliated with CFC. "We were blamed for something we had nothing to do with," he told Charisma. "But God used it. Because of the controversy, God turned around what appeared to be bad into something good. We grew more that year than we had previously."

The CFC staff have put the Enis flap behind them and are focusing on expansion plans. A $50 million headquarters complex is on the drawing board, featuring a church, Bible school, fitness facility, music studio and ball fields--all for the purpose of reaching more pro athletes for Jesus.

Says Ball of the ambitious project: "It's going to take God to do it because it's way beyond us."

Many professional athletes say the spiritual temperature is rising in the NFL.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner thanked Jesus after winning the Super Bowl. Players from opposing teams huddle together for prayer after games. It appears that God is everywhere in the NFL these days.

But several players affiliated with Champions for Christ (CFC), a charismatic sports ministry, have a more mixed perspective on whether there's a full-blown religious revival going on in professional football--the most popular sport on television.

When tight end Ernie Conwell joined the Rams seven years ago, there weren't many believers. Yet today, he told Charisma, it is "a Christian team." The Chicago Tribune went so far as to declare that the Rams--who have a paid, full-time chaplain--"may be the most religious team in professional sports."

"I think there has been a spiritual awakening in the NFL," adds Conwell, 30. "I've seen a lot of guys open up their hearts to the gospel. I've witnessed to many guys on our teams, and some have received the gospel and become born again. So I think there are signs of revival."

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, a teammate of Conwell's at the University of Washington, hasn't seen a dramatic spiritual shift since the Green Bay Packers drafted him in 1993.

"I don't think it's any different," says Brunell, who was traded to the Jaguars in 1995 and led the team within one game of Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. "I think you have three groups of people--those who are unsaved, those who are saved and keep their faith to themselves and those who are very outgoing about Christianity. But I haven't seen that much difference."

Meanwhile, Brunell's best friend and former Jaguars lineman, Tony Boselli, says players are more spiritual.

"You see guys kneeling in the zone, pointing to heaven and praying afterwards, which are all great things if we as athletes are living the life off the field," says Boselli, who now plays for the Houston Texans. "But I think what [the non-Christian players] really want to see is a life lived out. They want to see the authentic Christian life in the locker room and off the field."

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis says he hasn't seen a revival in his seven years in the NFL but that now is the "perfect time for ministry." Building relationships with teammates is the key to presenting the gospel later, he believes.

Grasmanis, fellow Eagles defensive tackle Cory Simon and another player started having a home Bible study together two years ago. Last season it became a full-fledged CFC outreach, featuring pastors who preached and discipled the athletes and their wives.

The outreach was dubbed "God's Squad" by ESPN The Magazine. Currently held on Monday nights at Simon's home, the event draws at least 30 people. Grasmanis hopes it will grow to become a church, similar to the congregations started by CFC athletes in Phoenix and Jacksonville.

The outreach has also broken racial barriers. Says Grasmanis: "[Simon] is from Miami...literally from the ghetto. And I'm a country boy from west Michigan. God has taken two people from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum, and He's knitted us together. We're able to go into high schools and other places to speak to issues. It's a boundary breaker. They see a black guy and a white guy together as close friends. It just breaks boundaries. It's awesome. It's just God."

A growing number of pro athletes are experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Todd Fordham first heard about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman had a faith dilemma.

"At first I was scared because I was never taught to believe in that aspect of Christianity," says Fordham, who was raised in a Southern Baptist church in Georgia. "I was basically clueless. But through the grace of God, I saw in the Bible that there is power through the laying on of hands and speaking in tongues."

Baptized in the Holy Spirit during a Champions for Christ (CFC) conference in 1997, Fordham and other players are embracing the Spirit-filled life promoted by the charismatic sports ministry, which also teaches deliverance and healing.

During his rookie year in 1999, Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith was introduced to Champions, which reintroduced him to the charismatic experience.

"When [CFC president] Greg Ball came to Indianapolis and gave a teaching on it, I knew that God was leading me to experience His fullness and to move in the power and the gifts of the Spirit," says Smith, who claims he now has a new spiritual boldness.

"I don't think the baptism of the Holy Spirit is just about experiencing some supernatural thing," says Smith, who was raised in the Church of Christ. "It's about surrendering every part of your will to everything that God has for you."

Buffalo Sabres center Curtis Brown, who came to Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1997 through CFC, knows that Christians "get into a whole theological debate" over charismatic phenomena.

"But I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today," says Brown, who rarely attended church while growing up in Canada. "How do I know that? Because I see it in the Word, and I see people operating in these gifts."

Brown compares living the Christian life without the Holy Spirit's power to playing ice hockey with only one skate. "If I'm really going to live for God, I want every gift, everything that will help me out because we don't live in a perfect world. By not taking advantage of what God has intended for me, I'm setting myself up for more defeats than I should have," Brown says.

St. Louis Rams tight end Ernie Conwell was filled with the Holy Spirit in college while attending his brother's Vineyard church in Washington state. Although he is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 255 pounds, and can pick up a refrigerator, he says he has to "rely on the Holy Spirit to fully live the Christian life."

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, a teammate of Conwell's at the University of Washington, says he edifies himself regularly by speaking in tongues.

"I pray in tongues before football games," says Brunell, who grew up Baptist and was baptized in the Holy Spirit during college. "I pray in tongues before I preach, and it builds me up. I cannot imagine life without that gift."

Fordham, Brunell's teammate, remembers that it "blew him away" when he received the ability to pray in the Spirit. "That night during praise and worship [at the CFC conference], I took the boundaries away from God in my life," says Fordham, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weights 310 pounds. "I said: 'Here I am, Lord. I want all that You want in my life.' I raised my hands and started speaking in tongues. I was just giving it up to God."

Pro football star Darrell Green has used his platform to educate youngsters in the ghetto.
Launching an urban educational ministry that has been commended by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush isn't a day in the park, although that is how it started for Washington Redskins cornerback and longtime Champions for Christ (CFC) supporter Darrell Green.

In December 1988, Green volunteered for a Fun Days in the Park event for underprivileged children sponsored by the District of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. Green, however, was not prepared for what he saw--youths who lacked food and clothing, educational resources and family support.

"Driving home that night, I began to weep because God revealed to me that no one at the park was any different because I came and signed a few autographs and held a few babies," Green told Charisma. "The people that I had just left were still living in poverty and hopelessness."

At that moment, Green knew he had to do more. "The next day I called a lawyer because I had no clue what I needed to do to establish a foundation. But from that day on, it became clear to me what I would do with my life," Green says.

With a passion to ensure that children have an opportunity to succeed, he started the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation and began by sponsoring Days in the Park events. But the scope of the inner-city poverty problem was bigger than he realized.

"So many children face such incredible odds," says 42-year-old Green, who is playing his last year in the NFL after 20 years with the Redskins. He opened the Darrell Green Youth Life Learning Center in 1993 in Washington, D.C., which addressed a threefold mission: nurture the child, heal the family and rebuild the community.

"Teddy Roosevelt once said that if you only educate a man's mind, but you do not deal with his heart, you end up creating menaces to society," says Green, who has been married for 17 years and has three children. "So we have a holistic program designed to serve four areas: physical, intellectual, relational and spiritual."

Between 35 and 40 children spend two to four hours daily at the center. Instructors monitor their schoolwork, often tutoring one-on-one. Youngsters also receive college placement counseling, job-training advice and technical and computer training.

Besides establishing a record of academic excellence and positive behavioral changes, the Learning Center is considered a vanguard for character building that has been recognized by Bush and Clinton.

"By having the Learning Center to go to, I wasn't tempted to get into trouble with my friends, and I'm very grateful for that," says Sonia White, 20, one of the center's first students in 1993 and who now attends college.

Currently, there are five centers nationwide. Recently, the organization added a Youth Life Foundation Training Institute, where Green and his staff teach others how to establish and operate similar youth learning centers. Within the next 18 months, there may be as many as three centers operating in the Washington area, and others scheduled for Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

CFC president Greg Ball believes Green has "probably done more for the kingdom of God than anyone in the NFL."

"These learning centers are true generational transformers, where kids are being trained and basically taught how to read and understand the gospel," Ball says. "Darrell's a man of character and integrity...and great role model. He's an example that the covenant of God works. He epitomizes Proverbs 22:1, which says, 'A good name is more desirable than great riches.'

"When you talk about giving back, he's giving back with changed lives," Ball adds.

Brett Fuller, 41, chaplain of the Redskins and senior pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Herndon, Virginia, where Green is an elder, says despite Green's Super Bowl championships, numerous Pro Bowl appearances and the NFL's Fastest Man title, his crowning achievement will be the learning centers.

"He would want to be best remembered for the centers," says Fuller. "It is one of the finest works that anybody could establish any place."

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 03:31AM

by Steve Cannon
Personal Freedom Outreach
(Before Maranatha Campus Ministries "disbanded.")

Cults ministries are facing a new and troubling phenomenon: Some authentic Christian groups exhibit cultic tendencies. This is causing confusion among Christians. Many study the cults and then become alarmed when they see the very things that are exposed going on in their own group, such as overly aggressive authority structures (shepherding), exclusivism, subjective theology (using feelings to determine
truth), and the use of deliverance from demons as a means of control. When these teachings surface, questions arise. Parents wonder whether their children are following Jesus or have been seduced into a cult. Such is the case with Maranatha Christian Churches, also known as Maranatha Campus Ministries. Because of its rapid growth, aggressive proselytizing techniques and, in the opinion of many, questionable theology, many parents and friends of members have been asking questions about the background, teachings and practices of MCC. It was primarily these questions that brought together a group of cult researchers into an ad hoc committee (1) to evaluate MCC. This writer and the other committee members spent two years interviewing members, ex-members, parents, friends, critics and leaders of MCC. We also listened to teaching tapes, watched videotapes and studied the published material of MCC. (2) Some of the findings of this committee were published in May 1984 as a "Statement of Evaluation Regarding MCC." (3) A good way to begin a study of MCC is with its history. The Aug. 10, 1984, issue of _Christianity Today_ summarizes MCC's brief life: "MCC was founded in 1972 by Robert Weiner, who serves as President. Weiner was reared in a legalistic church home. As a young man, he dropped out of Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, to join the Air Force. There he became a Christian through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. He and his wife, Rose, have since dedicated their lives to reaching young people with the Gospel." In 12 years, Weiner's organization has grown from a single ministry at Murray State University in Kentucky to some 100 campus chapters in the United States and in 16 foreign countries. (pp. 38 & 39) _ _ As the name change indicates, MCC has evolved from a "campus ministry" into an organization of churches. Although members of the ad hoc committee were told by MCC leaders that each campus "church" is autonomous, charges are still being made that a strict authority structure exists and MCC is basically a shepherding organization. (4) Former MCC pastor Bobby Bonner reported that he was told by Weiner -- who sees himself as an apostle (5) -- and Joe Smith -- who is advertised as a prophet of the church -- that "you can leave or do it our way." (6) Ex-member Kathy Myatt said: "In Maranatha, members are assigned personal shepherds [also known as counselors, disciples, overseers, etc.] to serve as their 'Watchmen'... they are responsible for the growth and well-being of their disciple and accomplish their task by their good example, by reproof and deliverance from demonic oppression and by confirming God's will for the life of their disciple." (7) Myatt believes that "loss of personal freedom is the result of this kind of authority." (8) Early in the group's history, MCC members were required to sign a statement of commitment. This document admonished committed members to obey their immediate leaders (elders) as they would God. Even though the original and revised commitment statements are no longer used, recent ex-members still speak of strict control exercised over members. Along with the charges of control come the allegations that MCC members are taught that they are in God's elite ministry. "We were taught that, true, other churches are in the body of Christ, but no one had the type of total commitment that we did. It would be said almost in the same breath that we were not to have pride, we're only the little toe on the left foot of the Body, and then we would be told that MCC is the Green Berets of the Church, the cutting edge of the sword, crack troops." (9) "Other Christians could conceivably fellowship with us, but they had such a lower revelation of God that it was rhetorically asked, 'How can two walk together who do not share the same vision?' ..After all, we were told by God in a prophecy that we were His end-time army, the Green Beret of His Army, in fact." (10) This type of elitism can lead people to believe that if for some reason they want to leave the group, they are somehow missing out on God's will. There is evidence that this is indeed happening with MCC. A top Maranatha official, Joe Smith, "prophesied over me," Bonner recalled. "He said, 'You will be destroyed because you want to leave.'" Others who tried to leave Maranatha "have been told if you leave, you're going to be out of God's will, you're going to be out of the elect of God," Bonner said. (11)_ _ The question that arises most often from parents of MCC members is "How can a group with such obvious zeal for the Lord seem to get mixed up with such questionable tactics?" It is this writer's opinion that questionable tactics follow questionable theology, and questionable theology is formulated by faulty Bible interpretation. This was one of the main concerns of the ad hoc committee and was stated in the final report: Although MCC seeks to regard the Bible as their final authority, there are some teachings and practices, such as receiving personal "revelations" (i.e., a "word from the Lord" regarding a doctrinal point or point of practice), which could, in effect, negate this affirmation. Even though MCC has repeatedly stated that such "revelations" ("words") are to be tested by Scripture, and cannot go against the clear teaching of Scripture, our con_cern has been that MCC's use of a "subjective" hermeneutic is insufficient to effectively test the truth of a "subjective" revelation, because both are subjectively derived. Thus, it appears to us that there is at least the potential for the final authority to rest more with the "revelations" of MCC leaders than the Bible. (12) An example of this can be seen in one of Bob and Rose Weiner's doctrinal books, ‚Bible Studies for the Preparation of the Bride.?(pp. 227-228) After citing 26 Scripture passages containing the word "lightning," the Weiners draw this conclusion: "Lightning is the anointed word of God going forth from the mouth of the saints." And how was this conclusion drawn? "It took two weeks to receive this revelation. It took reading and rereading the Scriptures. It took much meditation and waiting on the Lord. When the revelation came, it was life and gave much understanding and imparted much faith." The problem that materializes is that if the leaders of MCC get a "revelation" from God as to the particular meaning of a Scripture passage -- and it is assumed by them that all these "revelations" come from God -- then that must be the final word. If the Scripture is then interpreted by this "revelation," the "revelation" stands above the Scripture and it is in these "words from the Lord" that the final authority rests. This way of thinking has in the past with other groups brought serious doctrinal error into the Body of Christ. The impact of this type of subjective hermeneutics must not be overlooked.

After study of published and unpublished doctrinal works by MCC leaders, some serious concerns have arisen. Space does not permit a detailed examination of each one, but one that is considered by this writer to have the most serious implications will be examined. MCC teaches in ‚Bible Studies on the Overcoming Life? that unregenerate man has Satan's nature but takes on God's nature when he becomes a true Christian. (13) MCC's Joe Smith says: It was His (Jesus') Spirit that was made that way for our spirit and now it is His Spirit that enters into our spirits and imparts the divine nature and character of God right into our lives. For example, it's like if you take metal, you take iron,
and you put them in the fire, and you leave the iron sitting in the fire. The fire begins to penetrate the iron and pretty soon the iron begins to glow with the fire. And so then you have the iron in the fire and the fire in the iron. They become co-mingled. Now in the same way... we are in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit in us. We are becoming co-mingled; we are becoming one. So when you begin to realize this, that you are one with Him and this is what Jesus was saying in verse 20: In that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me and I in you. He's talking about being co-mingled. He's talking about us becoming one. (14) In addition, Weiner says: "The Body of Christ will not birth weak "namby-pamby Christians," but will bring to birth a race of God-men and women -- burning brands of fire who are so radically committed to holiness and belief of the truth that they will rise up and tear down the strongholds of the enemy, and take over the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (15) The result is a doctrine that exalts the believer to the position of God-man. This seems to set the believer up to see himself in an exaggerated position in the Body of Christ and can lead to spiritual elitism. (16) In the words of one ex-member of Maranatha, "Members are constantly driven by an elitist mentality, the idea that 'we' are chosen, and alone are 'moving on' with a special market on revelation." (17) The doctrines and practices mentioned above, as well as others, are raising legitimate questions about MCC. In meetings, telephone conversations and correspondence, these questions and concerns have been presented to MCC leaders and their theological advisers. These leaders have candidly responded to me and others that there have been problems with their ministries in the past. (18) Many of their doctrinal books have been recently revised, and according to Weiner they have been brought up to "perfect theological standards." (19) However, it appears to this writer that the changes and reforms of MCC are cosmetic and do not strike at the heart of expressed concerns. Without proof of more substantial changes, this writer will have to repeat the conclusion of the ad hoc committee researching MCC and state: "Until we have clearer understanding of the changes which MCC claims are being implemented and until we see more discernible evidence of change in the lives of people being impacted by MCC, we would not recommend this organization to anyone." (20)

(1) This committee was established at a meeting with National MCC leaders in Santa Barbara, Calif., in November 1982 and was composed of representatives of several cult research organizations at the request of MCC. With the publication of a Statement of Evaluation in May 1984, this committee officially disbanded.

(2) To date, MCC has published a series of five Bible Study Guides. All five were written by Bob and Rose Weiner.

(3) Copies of this statement may be obtained by sending a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope to PFO, P.O. Box 2384, Peoria, AZ 85380.

(4) For a detailed examination of the Shepherding Movement, see PFO Newsletter, Volume 3, number 2, April-June, 1983, pg. 1.

(5) Sherry Andrews, "Maranatha Ministries," _Charisma_ Magazine, May 1982, pg. 25.

(6) Lisa Ellis, "Maranathas gather in Dallas under cloud of cult allegations," Dallas Times Herald, Sept. 4, 1984, page 15A.

(7) Alan and Kathy Myatt, ‚A Critique of the Beliefs and Practices of Maranatha Campus Ministries,?published by author, January 1983, pg. 32.

(8) Ibid., pg. 32.

(9) Ex-MCC member, tape on file.

(10) Personal testimony, letter of Kathy Myatt, no date, pg. 7.

(11) "Maranathas gather...," op. cit., pg. 15A.

(12) Ad hoc committee, ‚A Statement of Evaluation Regarding Maranatha Campus Ministries/Maranatha Christian Ministries/Maranatha Christian Church_, no publisher, May 1984, pg. 4.

(13) Bob and Rose Weiner, ‚Bible Studies on the Overcoming Life,? Maranatha Publications, Gainesville, Fla., n.d.; typed revision manuscript of Series 2, Studies 2 and 3.

(14) Joe Smith, tape, ‚Who We Are in Christ.?o:p>

(15) Bob Weiner, ‚Getting Back to the Basics,?n.d., no publisher, pg. 6.

(16) Neil J. Duddy and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, ‚The God Men? Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., 1981. See Chapter 3.

(17) Charles Moeller, ex-member of Maranatha, ‚Open Letter,? April 18, 1983, pg. 1.

(18) Statement issued by Spiritual Counterfeits Project following conference in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Nov. 20, 1982, Point #1._ _ ً_3___?____________________ __ ?SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">

(19) Randy Frame, "A Team of Cult Watchers Challenges a Growing Campus Ministry," _Christianity Today_, Aug. 10, 1984, pg. 40.

(20) Ad hoc committee, op. cit., pg. 7.

by Steve Cannon
Personal Freedom Outreach
(After Maranatha Campus Ministries "disbanded.")

Change is sweeping Maranatha Christian Churches (see PFO Newsletter, Vol. 5, No.1, Jan.-Mar. 1985, pg. 4). It has been announced through several Christian periodicals and television programs that as of last November, Maranatha Christian Churches Inc. has disbanded as an international federation of churches.

The central office in Gainesville, Fla., has been closed and all employees released. Each of the 45 churches in the United States and 25 churches abroad have become independent.

According to the March 1990 edition of [1]Charisma and Christian Life[1] magazine (pp. 22, 23), the Holy Spirit spoke to Bob Weiner, MCC founder, president and apostle, and proposed that: 1) the international office be phased out 2) the federation that legally held the churches together be disbanded 3) the churches be freed from the existing authority and structure 4) all spiritual and legal responsibilities be released to the local churches and 5) local churches be released from financial obligation to pay salaries of headquarters personnel, theirvsecretaries' salaries and personnel travel expenses.

This article also says "the campus outreach, which operates separately from the federation of churches, will continue to train and evangelize students at colleges and universities around the world." (pg. 21)

On the heels of the change came the announcement that Weiner would extend a two-month sabbatical from leadership of the group for another twelve months.

[1]Charisma[1] said "at the suggestion of four close friends (who are Maranatha Elders), Weiner took a two-month break in November and December 1989." The leave was taken so that Weiner could "evaluate his personal character." He stated "God has given me leader-ship abilities and an anointing. But for a long time I have been struggling with anger, unkindness, contentiousness and a tendency to control."

During the sabbatical Weiner spent time with friends and colleagues and decided to extend his leave.

It is telling that Weiner's admitted struggles are some of the very things singled out six years ago by cult researchers investigating MCC. Noted problems with MCC included authoritarianism, elitism and a lack of training of elders. By examining the statements of several MCC leaders in three periodicals, one encounters the convoluted reasoning this group has used and the reluctance of authoritarian groups to admit.

In the March 19, 1990, edition of [1]Christianity Today[1], MCC representatives are quoted as saying that "the breakup of the federation of Churches had nothing to do with the problems cited in the 1984 report ... problems that for the most part had been
solved (pg. 40). Yet in the March 1990 [1]Charisma and Christian Life[1], on page 21 is found this statement: "At a July [1989] board meeting it was acknowledged that too much of a 'spirit of control' had entered the ministry. However, longtime MCC elder

Walter Walker wrote in his newsletter, [1]Table Talk[1] (Nov. 1989), "To put it simply, the central organizational structure from the beginning has been very authoritarian." (pg. 3) Further, Rice Broocks (one of the Apostolic Team overseeing MCC) acknowledged, "We thought we had taken care of the extremes, but what it came down to was we really needed to completely restructure everything."

So a major area of concern of the researchers in 1984 was authoritarianism. The federation of churches has been dissolved because of authoritarianism but the dissolution "had nothing to do with the problems cited in the report" because "those problems had for the most part been solved". However, if that problem had
been solved, why would a leading elder maintain that the central organizational structure had been very authoritarian "from the beginning"? Add to this already labrynthine reasoning the statement given to [1]Christianity Today[1] (March 19, 1990, pg. 40) by
Weiner that "Ninety-nine percent of what we did was right. It was the one percent that got recorded," and the bounds of credibility are stretched to the utmost.

Such statements are typical of authoritarian groups that want to present another face to the public. When there is an apostle or prophet who receives direct binding revelation from the Lord, his authority becomes exaggerated. If the revelation is later
discredited, then all manner of mental gymnastics are used to avoid admitting the error of the revelation.

One would hope that with the dissolution of the MCC and the unraveling of the Shepherding Movement, that authoritarian groups would be on the wane. However, as the "new move of God in Kansas City gains momentum, it appears that hope may be in vain.

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 03:53AM

Christianity Today
"God's Law for a New Order: What Christian Reconstructionists really want"
February 20, 1987
cover story

In the early 1960’s, a small cadre of American Christians began calling for a second Reconstruction, one even more radical than the post-Civil War renovation of Southern society. Their white-bearded patriarch, Rousas John Rushdoony, found very few listeners then. But today, Rushdoony and his compatriots are regular guests on religious television shows, hobnob with a potential candidate for the presidency, testify in dozens of church-state education trials, and gain burgeoning numbers of adherents in the charismatic wing of evangelicalism.

Newsweek has labeled Rushdoony’s Chalcedon Foundation as the think tank of the Religious Right. Last fall, for the first time, major Christian presses released Reconstructionist literature. Crossway co-published with Dominion Press George Grant’s The Dispossessed and Gary North’s Conspiracy. Thomas Nelson co-published (also with Dominion) four titles in the Biblical Blueprint Series, edited by North, and endorsed by Jerry Falwell as "a tool Christians need" for the difficulties "that confront society."

The late Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto relied on Rushdoony’s social analysis. The young Schaeffer, Franky V, freely cited Rushdoony in one of his early books, and listed the Chalcedon Report as one of four periodicals all concerned Christians should read. And the prominent conservative attorney and author, John Whitehead, has called Rushdoony one of two major influences on this thought.

More startling than any degree of influence, however, is what Reconstructionists actually propose for society: the abolition of democracy and reinstitution of slavery, for starters. Comments Douglas Chismar, a professor at Ashland Theological Seminary (Ohio), ignoring the Reconstructionists is no longer an option. "They haven’t been taken seriously enough."

There are clearly sensational elements to Reconstruction. But it is a serious attempt to provide intellectuals and activists a "biblical" alternative for cultural reform. Although the major Reconstructionist thinkers differ on the details, attention must be paid to the three foundational points underlying all Reconstructionist thought: presuppositional apologetics, theonomy (literally, "God’s law"), and postmillennialism.

Presuppositional apologetics. Reconstructionists look to retired Westminster Theological Seminary professor Cornelius Van Til for their philosophy of truth and reality. Van Til, who is said to be opposed to the Reconstruction agenda, is nonetheless intensely admired by his disciples. They consider this theological contribution one of "Copernican dimensions," call his thought "life-transforming and world-transforming," and compare his intellect to Einstein’s.

In Van Til’s view, a person’s faith in ultimate truth is not something subject to historical or scientific investigation (see CT, Dec. 30, 1977, pp. 18-22). We can only approach reality with a presupposed understanding of the wide sweep of truth. What makes all the difference is the presupposition adopted. Christians, of course, turn to the Bible.

Rushdoony displayed his reliance on presuppositional apologetics at a conference last March, saying that without the Bible and God’s law there is no mathematics, science, or law and order. He said it is blasphemous to try to prove there is a God or that the Bible is true. Although isolated facts may be observed by any person, Christian or not, such facts are finally confusing outside a biblical framework. "Without the Bible," Rushdoony insisted, "every fact from atoms to man is unrelated to all others." Apart from the Bible, there is "no knowledge at all—only chance and universal death."

Theonomy. Theologians as diverse as Helmut Thielicke and Paul Tillich have said Christians should be theonomic—that is, live by God’s law. Yet these theologians did not define God’s universal law as strictly and exactly as that revealed to ancient Israel. Reconstructionists do, taking cues from certain strands of New England Puritanism.

In the magisterial, 619-page explication of Reconstructionist theonomy (Theonomy in Christian Ethics), Greg Bahnsen argues that Old Testament Law applies today in "exhaustive" and "minutial" detail. "Every single stroke of the law must be seen by the Christian as applicable to this very age between the advents of Christ."

Reformed Christians understand law as a compatible servant of the gospel and look for the enduringly valid, underlying moral purposes of Old Testament Law. But Reconstructionists take this several steps further. While they believe Christ’s coming altered ceremonial law, ending the need for animal sacrifice, they do not see ancient Israel as a unique theocratic state. It is a "blueprint" for the theocracy all nations should be. And that leads to the most controversial feature of Reconstruction.

Rushdoony, Bahnsen, and their peers anticipate a day when Christians will govern, using the Old Testament as their law book. True to the letter of Old Testament Law, homosexuals, incorrigible children, adulterers, blasphemers, astrologers, and others will be executed.

Postmillennialsim. Only a little less controversial is the Reconstructionist eschatology, or view of the end times. Reconstructionists believe the church will triumph and claim the "crown rights" of Jesus Christ before the Second Coming. This optimistic eschatology, common to evangelicalism up through much of the nineteenth century, was widely discredited by the horrors of two world wars. Yet the Reconstructionists remain undaunted. In a telephone interview, Rushdoony said, "I hold to postmillennialism not because I look at the word, but because I look at the Bible. And the Bible tells me all things shall be put under Christ’s feet before the end."

Reconstructionists are the eschatological equivalents of geologists: human lifetimes are nearly insignificant periods of time in their schema. The long-term perspective is what matters?00, 500, 2000 year. There are periods of decline and growth, but in the final analysis, the church is winning over the world, just as a glacier ultimately crawls forward. In fact, Bahnsen believes the church is sill in its infancy.

Postmillennialsim is important on the practical level because it emboldens its proponents. If D.L. Moody thought the world was a sinking ship from which souls should be rescued, the Reconstructionists want to commandeer the ship, repair it, and sail it toward their own destination.

That destination is very clear for the Reconstructionists, at least in outline. They have attempted to design their political, economic, and legal agendas by relying solely on the details of Old Testament Law (with New Testament modifications; they are, for instance, not polygamists).

Politically, in Rushdoony’s terms, the Reconstructionists are "Christian libertarians." As Rushdoony writes in The Institutes of Biblical Law, "The state is limited to a ministry of justice, and free enterprise and individual initiative are given the freedom to develop."

In the Reconstructed society, there will be no federal government. Nor will there be a democracy, which Reconstructionists regard as a "heresy." Rushdoony is opposed to pluralism since, "in the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions" (Institutes). In a Reconstructed society, government will be republican, with the Bible as the charter and constitutional document.

Government will occur at the state and local level, and society will center on families. The family will be ordered in a patriarchal fashion. Rushdoony’s Institutes approvingly cite a theologian’s judgment that woman cannot claim "priority or even equality" with man. (Accordingly, Rushdoony is suspicious of any blurring of sexual distinctions, insisting, "There is no evidence to support the usual portrayal of Christ and the apostles as long-haired men.")

Parents will be responsible for the education of their children. Public, or "government," education robs the family of the right to shape its children by biblical beliefs. It thereby "emasculates" men, detracting from their leadership of the family and rendering "women wither fluffy luxuries for men or aggressive competitors to men" (Institutes).

Economically, the Reconstructed society will return to a god or silver standard. Reconstructionist David Chilton voices the theonomic view on this matter, citing Leviticus 19:35-37 and saying that "`hard money?is a strict limitation on government’s ability to grow beyond biblical boundaries." Money not based on a set standard is "counterfeit," and the inflation resulting from manufacture of currency is "theft."

Nations that do not follow these and other biblical "blueprints" deservedly suffer economically. Writes Gary North, "The so-called underdeveloped societies are underdeveloped because they are socialist, demonist, and cursed.

The Bible tells us that the citizens of the Third World ought to feel guilty, to fall on their knees and repent from their Godless, rebellious, socialist ways. They should feel guilty because they are guilty, both individually and corporately.

Reconstructionists also grapple with the Old Testament laws condemning usury. Rushdoony believes interest should be permissible on commercial lending, but with only short-term loans allowed. The Chalcedon Foundation’s Journal of Christian Reconstruction argued in one edition that the 30-year mortgage on a home is an unbiblical practice, citing Deuteronomy 15 and suggesting debts be limited to 6 years.

The Reconstructed society will reinstitute a "biblical" form of slavery (not chattel slavery) to allow impoverished persons to labor away their indebtedness, or criminals to make restitution for damages. Arguing that "even Southern slavery was not as unbiblical as many have charged," Chilton says the slave should be cared for, educated in civic responsibility, and (if Christian) freed after set periods of time. Inclusive of such boons as "job security," slavery is to be regarded as among "the most beneficent" of biblical laws.

The Reconstructed society will have no property tax, since such taxes supposedly imply that the state, not God, owns the Earth. Tithing will substitute for income tax, and "tithe agencies" will take over the services currently provided by the welfare state. Such Old Testament practices as gleaning will also assist the poor. In an interview with CT, Rushdoony was happy to note that "gleaning is now reviving in some parts of California." He reported, "A large tonnage of apples is gleaned in northern California by elderly people, the fruit sold and proceeds used for those who are not able to work in the fields."

Legally, the Reconstructed society will form and administer law directly from the Old Testament. As Bahnsen writes in Theonomy, "The follower of Christ should teach that the civil magistrate is yet under moral obligation to enforce the law of God in its social aspect." The inscripturated law must be held in the highest regard because it’s "the transcript of God’s eternal holiness and the permanent standard for human righteousness."

Bahnsen lists 15 crimes that deserve capital punishment in the Reconstructed society. These include not only murder and rape, but sodomy, Sabbath breaking, apostasy, witchcraft, blasphemy, and incorrigibility in children. Following the list he writes, "Christians do well at this point to adjust their attitudes so as to coincide with those of their heavenly Father."

In a telephone interview, Bahnsen protested that the Reconstructionist view on capital crimes is often misconstrued. Incorrigible children, for instance, are not impetuous five-year-olds who refuse to go to bed on time. "The Law deals with someone who is drunken and a glutton, the 18-year-old who repeatedly gets drunk and beats up his mother and father," Bahnsen said. And those to be executed for homosexual practice must be engaged in "outward acts" with at least two witnesses. (The two witnesses might be two lines of confirmatory evidence and not literal observers).

The Reconstructed society will have no prisons—the modern prison system, in Rushdoony’s estimation, is "an important aspect of the defilement of our times" (Institutes). Under biblical law, "men either died as criminals or made restitution." Career criminals will be executed and occasional lawbreakers will pay for the damages of their actions, possibly as slaves.

How do Reconstructionists believe such bold political, economic and legal changes will occur? They disavow violent revolution. Rushdoony said Christians will take over gradually, sphere by sphere: education, the arts, communication, law, and so on. "Too many churchmen have no sense of time, no sense of history," he said. "They expect everything to be accomplished overnight."

Bahnsen expects gradual change indeed, suggesting his children and probably his grandchildren will not see the Reconstructed society. He too is impatient with critics or sympathizers who believe Reconstruction will be sudden downplaying the harsher effects of implementing Levitical law by saying nearly everyone will be a Reconstructionist Christian by the time it is put into effect. He denies the possibility that "blood will run in the streets of San Francisco tomorrow."

Joseph Kickasola, now teaching at CBN University, wrote in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, "We do not believe in revolution or in massive and rapid social change?What is important is bottom-up-ism, grass-roots—transforming, moral and spiritual change. This will require the salvation of souls and world mission, as well as legislative reform, for we cannot allow our social base and religious liberty to deteriorate in the meantime."

Armed with a comprehensive strategy for the betterment of the Republic, Reconstructionists are having an effect in several areas. Their distaste for "statist" schools is shared by fundamentalist private and home-schoolers. Rushdoony—frequently in court as an expert witness on behalf of church-affliated schools—has become especially well known in their circles. Anti-income tax organizations such as the New York Patriots also appreciate Reconstruction’s "Christian libertarianism," and reprint articles by Rushdoony and associate Otto Scott in their newsletters.

Ecclesiastically, the Reconstructionists have some appeal with independent Baptist churches, and more within small denominations with fundamentalist and Reformed roots. Although Morton Smith, stated clerk for the Presbyterian Church in America, recently said Reconstruction "is not really a major item bothering the church," the denomination saw enough fuss over Reconstruction that it issued a statement on the subject in 1978. While not endorsing it, the general assembly then decided the Reconstructionist position was not heretical.

The most significant ecclesiastical effect may be among charismatics. Rushdoony believes as many as 20 million charismatics worldwide are part of the Reconstruction movement. This is so, he thinks, because one cannot be a consistent charismatic, insisting on the continuing exercise of miraculous gifts, and remain dispensational.

In the introduction to Backward, Christian Soldiers, Gary North reported that the controversial charismatic campus ministry Maranatha is "forthrightly proclaiming the ‘crown rights of King Jesus? and boldly challenging humanism. In addition, Rushdoony praises the ministry of author and evangelist Bob Mumford, and served as a contributing editor to the now defunct charismatic magazine New Wine. Last October’s theme edition of New Wine, "The Church at War," evidenced militant Reconstruction motifs.

Yet Reconstruction’s effect is not most distinct in education, tax resistance, or churches. The perceived deterioration of America’s social base and religious liberty is a fear common to Reconstructionists and the wider New Religious Right. And that shared fear is probably the point of Reconstruction’s most powerful influence.

At precisely the time fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals re-entered the political arena, the Reconstructionists pumped out a body of seemingly sophisticated political philosophy. This philosophy is appealing religiously (Rushdoony and his peers are strict inerrantists) and politically (theologian Clark Pinnock criticizes Reconstructionists as "the liberation theologians of the Right"). As Michael Cromartie of the Ethics in Public Policy Center comments, the Reconstructionist system "provides an immediate alternative" for religious and political conservative "who aren’t going to take it anymore."

Some Reconstructionists, in fact, will take credit for the rise of the Religious Right. Gary North, writing in the debut issue of Christianity and Civilization, claimed that when Rushdoony’s "fusion of theology and conservative social and political concerns finally became available, the fundamentalists could then develop the intellectual leadership needed to actualize their movement."

Yet it would be a distortion to categorize the Religious Right as a passel of converted Reconstructionists. In fact, few of those who have relied on Reconstructionists literature buy the entire philosophy. Many are premillennialists and balk at Reconstruction eschatology; and obviously many avoid the radical Reconstructionist version or theonomy.

In Bahnsen’s words, "The people who contact me are looking for somebody who wants to support the Christian school movement over against government intervention, or they’re looking for an argument why homosexual rights should not be written into the law." Such people are attracted to the Reconstructionist articulation on a particular issue. Like Herbert Schlossberg, author of the critically acclaimed Idols for Destruction, they appreciate certain aspects of the Reconstructionist system and close their eyes to the rest. (Says Schlossberg, "The teal contribution of the theonomists is in economics. I don’t read that much theology.")

The most interesting Reconstructionist political ties are to television evangelists Pat Robertson and D. James Kennedy.

Rushdoony and North have appeared a number of times on Robertson’s "700 Club," but the relation to Reconstruction extends beyond the television show. As mentioned earlier, professing Reconstructionist Joseph Kickasola teaches in CBN University’s School of Public Policy. More remarkably, the dean of the Schools of Law and Public Policy is Herbert Titus. Fifteen years ago Titus was a "left-wing atheist" law professor at the University of Oregon. Tired and disillusioned, he began attending a small Orthodox Presbyterian church in Eugene, Oregon. One of the elders of the church was Gary North’s father, and Titus was nurtured in his fledgling faith by Reconstructionists.

Titus is now premillennial and looks to the Adamic and Noahic covenants, not the Mosaic, for guidance as to universal law. He disagrees with the execution of homosexuals and implementation of other Levitical laws, but continues to have a "great respect" for the Reconstructionists. (In turn, Reconstructionists cite Robertson’s creation of a television network and CBN University as a model of effective Christian organization.) Titus said the school has used six or seven Rushdoony and North titles for textbooks.

Asked about his own convictions, presidential contender Robertson said he has not embraced Reconstruction. "The Lord intends his people to exercise dominion in his name,: Robertson said. Consequently, "I admire many of these (Reconstruction) teachings because they are in lien with Scripture. But others I cannot accept because they do not correspond with the biblical view of the sinful nature of mankind or the necessity of the second coming of Christ." Robertson said he is premillennial and does not "expect some kind of reconstructed utopia here on earth."

Rushdoony and North have also been repeat guests on the "D. James Kennedy" television program, which often calls America to return to its Christian base. In an interview with CT, Kennedy said he obviously does not agree with every single contention of every guest. Kennedy denied that he is "a theonomist as such." It would be "impractical" for every nation to go theonomic. But would that be desirable? "Well, I think it would be presumptuous for me or anyone else to disagree with God, don’t you?" Kennedy replied.

Some practicing politicians have been very close to the Reconstructionists. One was Georgia Democratic Congressman Larry McDonald, a member of the Moral Majority and former president of the John Birch Society. McDonald, who was killed on the ill-fated Korean Air Lines Flight 007, teamed with Rushdoony and Bahnsen to present seminars on Christian political involvement.

McDonald developed ties with the Chalcedon Presbyterian Church (a suburban Atlanta body) and with its Reconstructionist pastor, Joseph Morecraft. In turn, Morecraft as an unsuccessful Republican nominee for a congressional seat last fall, pulling 33 percent of the vote in his district.

Some evangelical theologians praise Reconstructionists for their staunch affirmation of biblical authority. John Frame, professor of theology at Westminster Theological Seminary’s California campus, has commented approvingly on the "considerable breadth and depth" of Rushdoony’s knowledge of Scripture. Evangelicals may also appreciate the Reconstructionist call away from a largely privatistic faith to one that is socially creative and responsible.

At the same time, there is clearly much cause for concern and disagreement. One is Reconstruction’s sometimes breathtaking and scathing arrogance.

North evidences a glee for polemical bloodshed, writing that Bahnsen’s clash with a critic resulted in an outcome no more favorable for the critic than if Bambi had met with Godzilla. Under these conditions, North claims, the numbers of opponents to Reconstruction are "thinning even more rapidly than their hair." Rushdoony is free of italicized and capitalized venom, but he still finds the audacity to accuse no less than John Calvin of "silly, trifling reasoning" and "heretical nonsense."

This invulnerable confidence is bolstered by the Reconstructionists?theonomic conviction that the Old Testament laws, more or less as they stand, can be transferred to the present-day situation. The Reconstructionists are frequently criticized for not adequately appreciating the historical and cultural distance between nomadic, agricultural Israel and modern technological America. Most biblical interpreters would compare this hermeneutical gap to the Grand Canyon; the Reconstructionists treat it like a crack in the sidewalk.

The Reconstructionists are also a distinct minority in their conviction that Israel was not the only nation God intended to be a theocracy. In a paper criticizing Bahnsen’s Thonomy, Columbia (S.C.) Graduate School theologian Paul Fowler states the commonly accepted interpretation that "God set Israel apart to be a model of righteousness in an unrighteous world, and numerous judicial laws were given to keep her pure as a nation." Israel was divinely elected and given a special vocation; her theocratic relationship to God was unique, for one time and one nation.

Reconstruction’s presuppositional apologetic causes Rushdoony and company to lean all the harder on specific biblical laws. As Westminster’s Frame has written, "One suspects at times that although to Rushdoony Scripture is not a ‘textbook of physics or biology?it is indeed a textbook of statecraft in the sense that it includes all the statutes that will ever be needed for any sort of culture."

Reconstructionists are not predisposed to trust the common grace or general revelation said, from Augustine onward, to be available to all humanity. As Messiah College political scientist Dean Curry points out, if one believes there is no reliable general revelation, one cannot believe there may be a reasonably just non-Christian government. The logical next step is to work for a theocracy.

In fact, however, the biblical "blueprints" are not as transparently obvious as the Reconstructionists would have them. There is considerable disagreement about the application of many laws within Reconstructionist circles. North suggests the instructions of the Sermon on the Mount were intended for a "captive" people, and that when Christians come to dominate a culture they no longer need turn the other cheek to the aggressor but may "bust him in the chops." This is not an interpretation convincing to every Reconstructionist. Rushdoony holds to kosher dietary laws, but Bahnsen considers that unconvincing exegesis.

Should illegitimate children and eunuchs be denied the rights of full citizenship? Should grooms resume the payment of dowries to their bride’s father? Should Christians allow the use of lie detectors, or should they oppose them, as Rushdoony does, on the basis of biblical hedges against self-incrimination?

The point is that there are hundreds of such details to be sorted out and applied to the contemporary situation. Reconstruction does not actually provide the clear, simple, incontestably "biblical" solutions to ethical questions that it pretends to, and that are so attractive to many conservative Christians. Reconstructed society would appear to require a second encyclopedic Talmud, and to foster hordes of "scribes" with competing judgments, in a society of people who are locked on the law’s fine points rather than living by its spirit.

Bahnsen argues this will not be the case because the citizens of a Reconstructed society will be the descendants of generations of persons nurtured in the study of, and submission to, biblical law. That, of course, is potentially convincing only on the condition that one adopts Bahnsen’s optimistic postmillennial eschatology.

This side of that exchaton, the proposal of a theocracy that would, among other things, impose the death penalty on practicing homosexuals, rashly ups the ante in the already tense church-state poker game. In a recent telephone interview, Everet Sileven, a Reconstructionist pastor in Louisville, Nebraska, said he expects Reconstruction to occur in his lifetime.

Sileven expects the economy to crumble before 1992, soon to be followed by democracy, the judicial system, and the Internal Revenue Service. He wants to be considerate of such offenders as homosexuals: "We can give them six months to stop, offer them help from clinics and churches." And if they don’t stop—the death penalty.

Both Bahnsen and Rushdoony lament such talk, Bahnsen, in addition, insists that there will be no violent indiscretions because the wider society will never allow it. It is ironic, then, that he relies on un-Reconstructed, godless society to curb the potential abuses of the incipient Reconstructed society.

He also points out that every idea is liable to abuse. But such potentially dangerous ideas require equal caution in their deployment. As the Chalcedon Foundation is fond of repeating, "Ideas have consequences," and it is not exactly plausible that caution and chastened self-confidence are strong suits in Reconstruction circles.

In the end, for all their bravery and ingenuity inputting forth such alien and socially unacceptable ideas, we are left to wonder if the Reconstructionists?proposal does what they so badly want it to do. Does it really restore and convey the world-transforming fullness of biblical Christianity?

Reconstructionists never make the mistake of saying the law can justify, but they do make it practically the sole means of sanctification. As Westminster’s Frame notes, Rushdoony in his Institutes nowhere suggest hat "the love-ethic of Scripture requires godly emotions, a renewed conscience, a renewed sensitivity to the concerns of others."

Is God really nothing more than the abstract, impersonal dispenser of equally abstract and impersonal laws? And is the objective of the Christian church and its hope for the world, to concentrate on the Law itself—or to come to know the Lawgiver?

The Humanist
"The Origin of the Religious Right"
"Ideological Underpinnings"
May/June 1987
Page 8

Being the year prior to an election year when the religious right seems to be gathering its strength to make a decisive push for the Republican party and, ultimately, the White House, the Meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals this past March was especially significant. Representing 46,000 churches from more than 70 Protestant denominations and fellowships and serving a constituency estimated as high as 15 million, the NAE's convention can serve as a barometer for determining the direction the religious right will chart between now and November of 1988. As such, there was much in this recent gathering to raise concern among those sensitive to church-state separation and a host of other dearly held freedoms.

One senses that the NAE itself is uncomfortable with its inability to demonstrate the autonomy from the religious right that it claims. Throughout the conference, the organization's hierarchy emphasized that the NAE and its affiliate, the National Association of Religious Broadcasters, were not simply a political action committee or a wing of the Republican party. "The NAE stands in a distinctive position between the mainline denominations and the religious right," according to the official convention press release. Forest D. Montgomery, the NAE's legal counsel to the office of public affairs reiterated his own uneasiness with what he sees as the widespread misconception that the NAE is "in the pocket" of the Republican party. In a very telling comment, Montgomery admitted that what was truly relevant was not how many members of the NAE are registered Republicans, but that most of them will actually vote Republican.

Montgomery and the NAE's attempted disclaimers aside, it is difficult to see concrete examples of the political plurality the NAE is so eager to defend. It was certainly absent from the invited speakers at the convention. The three most prominent political figures addressing the convention were all Republicans, and two of these are firmly established as opponents of church- state separation. Both of the latter, attorney General Edwin Meese and the Rev. Pat Robertson laid out, in no uncertain terms, their arguments for politicizing the evangelical movement. And both of their presentations were met with standing ovations.

Edwin Meese's speech, "The American Experiment: What Did Our Founding Fathers Intend?" was delivered to a packed house. Before he took the podium, an organ pumped bass tones through the room and the odor of chrysanthemums wafted up from the dais. Our nation's highest judicial officer--the man charged with upholding the integrity of the Constitution--speaking in this churchlike atmosphere, seemed to demonstrate nothing but contempt for the First Amendment. Meese blamed "militant secularists" for driving a wedge between church and state and thereby infringing on the rights of Americans to exercise freely their religious beliefs. He asserted that "religious morality and precepts are essential to an orderly society." He offered a detailed biography of John Witherspoon, an overlooked Colonial Calvinist minister who, Meese argued, saw the value in a closer connection between church and state. Meese then summed up his own views on freedom of religion in one statement: "We are not a disbelieving nation."

Pat Robertson was scheduled to deliver a luncheon address on "The Role of Jesus Christ in Modern Society." But the magnitude of events the previous afternoon in Mobile, Alabama, with Judge Brevard Hand ousting forty-six textbooks from the state's public schools on the pretext that they taught "the religion of secular humanism," led Robertson to turn his attention entirely to this matter.

What was curious about Robertson's shift of topics was the timing of events. How coincidental was it that Robertson had a copy of the 172-page ruling by Judge Hand at the podium, when that document was not made available to the public until that very morning? And how was Robertson able to quote extensively from it, suggesting that he had had time to read it thoroughly? Even before this, Ishmael Jaffree, the attorney who earlier in the case sought to intervene on behalf of humanism, had received by mistake Judge Hand's autographed copy intended for President Reagan! It therefore is not unreasonable to suggest that some planning went into the timing of this ruling. Was this timing designed to aid Pat Robertson politically?

A Podium as Pulpit:

Robertson opened with an attack on The Humanist for declaring "war on the influence of the Christian religion in the educational process of America." He followed with an overview of American public education. Fueled by Brevard Hand's fresh fodder, Robertson was quick to lay the blame for the present rate of illiteracy, incompetence, and apathy among American public school students on a number of the religious right's timeworn whipping boys: "leftist-leaning teacher's unions," "secular humanist teacher's colleges," a failure to allow "scientific" creationism equal time in public school science classrooms, the absence of prayer in the public schools, textbooks that "are not transmitting our religious and family values," and a failure to revert to basic values in education.

But, if all had run amok in American public schools, the recent victory in Alabama at least provided him with a measure of satisfaction:

"We had hoped for three years we could get the American Civil Liberties Union in such a posture where they would now be defending the State and asking for oppressive regulations against Christian students, with taxpayer money. And their posture in this is, "We want to defend the teaching of atheism in the schools of Alabama whether the Christians like it or not."

And that was not freedom, that was not civil liberties, that was civil oppression, and we had them now in a posture which is morally indefensible."

Judge Hand's decision provided more than just an opportunity for gloating, however. Robertson used it as a springboard for a wider investigation into the role of religion in American life. If one found cause for alarm in Robertson's treatment of public education, it gave way to near incredulity with his goals of advancing Christian belief through allying church and state.

"Everything we have in this country that is good springs from one fundamental assertion: that there is a God in heaven and that we are his creatures, and that we have rights that cannot be taken away from us by Government because government didn't give them to us in the first place. We are free men and free women because our freedom comes from God almighty."

Such a statement is crucial for understanding the deeper implications of Robertson's political theory. For those who can see the parallel, Robertson's position on the divine origin of human rights bears a striking resemblance to that of the most theocratic elements within the religious right. He extended this view to the public schools:

"It isn't whether children pray or not pray - the problem is, are they being inculcated in morality and religious values throughout all of their education or are they being given a totally secular education based on atheism and humanism, at taxpayer's expense?"

Here he seems to reject the possibility of the schools being religiously neutral. But if Robertson holds that the schools cannot be neutral, then he must see the current conflict only in terms of which religious group seizes control. That Robertson intends to have his religion be the winner in that struggle was revealed in his final rallying cry:

"And if we truly will join together, and if we will work together, and will work in the courts, and work in the political arena, and work in the public airwaves, and work in the churches by way of education and by way of prayer and by way of action, then I sense, as part of the great religious revival that is coming to the United States of America, that in the not-too-distant future we can say to our children and our grandchildren, "We give you one nation under God."

The audience rose to its feet in loud and sustained applause. If there was any lingering suspicion that the NAE might lie in "a distinctive position between the mainline denominations and the religious right," it was effectively dashed at this moment. Here one of the foremost figures in the race for the Republican presidential nomination was receiving a standing ovation for utterances that more than bordered on an advocacy of theocracy.

Due to a good bit of publicity generated by Prometheus Books, publishers of Salvation for Sale, an expose of Robertson by his former "700 Club" producer, Gerry Straub, Robertson's religious beliefs were at the top of many questioner's lists at a press conference held later that afternoon.

Representatives from several local television stations asked Robertson about statements Straub had made at a press conference the previous evening concerning Robertson's belief that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union was inevitable and would usher in the second coming of Christ. Robertson denied ever having made such a statement and contended that he had said just the opposite recently on the "700 Club." If this is so, or if it indicates a change in his theology, this could be significant in unexpected political ways, as we shall see later in this article.

At the press conference, Robertson also mentioned his recent victory in the Michigan caucuses and intimated that, with the petition support he had, he might be able to officially announce his presidential candidacy as early as June.

Word Versus Deed:

Overall, it is important to ask why Pat Robertson chose to make an important political statement at the convention of an organization that, at least on the surface, seems intent on striking a neutral pose and distancing itself from Robertson's brand of religio-political barnstorming. One clue rests with the vast majority of the conventioneers themselves. It appears that the hierarchy isn't speaking for the rank and file. There was no hint that the evangelicals in attendance were shrinking away from politicizing their beliefs. Also, Robertson seems all too willing to use NAE's reputation and credibility, as one of the oldest and most highly regarded religious associations, to give his own political aspirations greater respectability. Finally, the official NAE policy of denouncing the mingling of religion and politics appears to be little more than a giving of lip- service to the ideal of church-state separation. Certainly, Robertson's heading directly to New Hampshire after leaving the NAE convention speaks louder than any NAE disclaimers. Either official NAE policy doesn't reflect the convictions of the rank-and-file, or the NAE has chosen to embark on the same self- contradictory path it took in the 1980 and 1984 presidential races.

But the schizophrenia afflicting the hierarchy manifests itself in subtle ways within the membership. There were almost no women listed among the speakers or in the hierarchy. There were conspicuously few blacks at the convention. And there was an air of diffidence towards matters of racial equality that came to a head in the last minute insertion of the Rev. F. P. Moller into the workshop originally devoted to "Religion, Politics, and the Electronic Church."

Moller was given the spot by Ben Armstrong, who remarked, "If there ever has been a country that has been maligned and misunderstood, it's South Africa." Moller, a leading white South African evangelical, chairman of the Fellowship of Pentecostal Churches in South Africa and president of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, denounced leading anti-apartheid clerics Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Allan Boesak as being "so-called Christians and theologians [who are] actually in the camp" of Communists. He concluded his talk by predicting that South Africa will win the eventual showdown "between the forces of darkness and the forces of light." Just as Robertson's concluding remarks had drawn a standing ovation, Moller's remarks elicited frequent "amens" and loud applause from those attending.

A similar disparity between official NAE policy and evangelical thought appeared in a convention debate. The topic, "Resolved: The wall of separation between church and state is in jeopardy," seemed like one that would stir the consciences of all concerned evangelicals. But, ironically, the evangelicals in attendance did not seem especially impressed by John Buchanan, the debater taking the affirmative position. Buchanan, chairman of the board of People for the American Way, is a Southern Baptist Minister and his delivery was vintage pulpit oratory for the cause of church-state separation. His message that true Christianity espouses a tolerance for religious plurality and diversity and is averse to being mixed with the secular institutions of society met with head shaking, general skepticism, and disapproval from the audience. He was appealing to the spirit of religious independence, historically an important feature both of evangelicalism and his own Baptist tradition. His opponent, Forest D. Montgomery, on the other hand, was met with applause and approval when he advocated a reinterpretation of the First Amendment to allow such things as school prayer, creation science, and tuition tax credits for parochial schools. Clearly, rank-and-file evangelicals are more and more shedding the religious independence doctrine.

Overall, what is one to make of events at this convention? And what is the relationship between these events and other recent occurrences, such as Judge Hand's textbook decision in Alabama, the earlier textbook decision in Tennessee, Pat Robertson's bid for the presidency, and the growing religious right influence within the Southern Baptist convention? All these separate events begin to make more sense in the light of the historical roots and ideological underpinnings of the religious right. Once one understands these things, the utterances of important media figures like Pat Robertson take on a much deeper meaning, as we shall now discover.

The Origin of the Religius Right:

The genesis of the current trend in politicized conservative religion can be traced back to 1959 when an unknown Reformed Presbyterian theologian, Rousas J. Rushdoony, laid the foundations for what he called Christian Reconstruction in his book By What Standard. Rushdoony was and is a self-acknowledged theocrat in the Calvinist tradition. The heroes of this tradition are John Calvin, John Knox, Oliver Cromwell, and the leaders of the Puritan theocracy of colonial Massachusetts. Also included are significant Calvinists of the American Revolution, such as the John Witherspoon, who Edwin Meese eulogized in his NAE convention speech.

Rushdoony's first major contribution to the emergence of the Religious Right was the assistance he provided to Henry Morris and John Whitcomb. These two authors had a book manuscript that had been rejected by a number of fundamentalist publishing houses because of the hard line it took against evolution. Rushdoony convinced Morris and Whitcomb to submit their manuscript to a new Calvinist publishing house, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company. The manuscript was accepted and in 1961 was published. The book was The Genesis Flood and its surprising high sales launched the new pseudoscience of "scientific creationism."

As the years passed, Rushdoony was joined in his Christian Reconstruction movement by Gary North and a number of other persuasive writers and preachers. Although viewed as radical outcasts even by conservatives, the effective polemic of the members of this theocratic think-tank began to influence the thought of leading fundamentalist apologists like Francis Schaeffer. Schaeffer rarely gave credit to his Christian Reconstructionist sources, but he copied many of their ideas, including Rushdoony's notion, first put into print in 1965, that the cause of society's ills was due to a humanist conspiracy. This idea was further popularized by lawyer John W. Whitehead and Congressman John Conlan who were, themselves, directly influenced by Rushdoony.

Following this lead, fundamentalist Baptists like Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, and others continued the anti-humanist harangue. They were joined by charismatics like Pat Robertson, and the New Christian Right was born. Then in August of 1980, a group called the Religious Roundtable sponsored a National Affairs Briefing Conference in Dallas designed to politicize modern American fundamentalism. Fifteen thousand people attended and heard a new agenda. Among them were over 2,000 pastors who were encouraged to take the political message back to their congregations and register fundamentalist voters. And it was clear who these voters were to support, because Ronald Reagan was the only presidential candidate to address the conference.

Although the news media understood the political importance of the event, they failed to see that it represented a dramatic switch from revivalism to political action by fundamentalists who had been politically dormant since prohibition and the Scopes Trial. As a result, they never thought to ask what new ideology had entered the scene to make such a profound shift possible. Back stage at the conference, Gary North spoke with Robert Billings, an intimate of Jerry Falwell who would later be appointed by the Reagan Administration to a high position in the Department of Education. According to North's report of the conversation, the two were lamenting the fact that Rushdoony was not a speaker and Billings said, "If it weren't for his books, none of us would be here." North replied, "Nobody in the audience understands that." Billings answered, "True, but we do."

Because of this, Christian Reconstructionist Ray R. Sutton was able to write in 1982

"Ironically, the contemporary Moral Majority Baptists are different [from Baptists of the past]. Why? They live on the borrowed capital of the Calvinistic Reformed/Presby- terian/Episcopalian heritage in America. Furthermore, many of the leaders of this movement have Calvinists around them. Jerry Falwell, for example, has a Calvinistic faculty member at his college who has been quite influential. Also, many of these Baptists have been reading the writings of R.J. Rushdoony and acting without understanding the theological dynamic behind them. In fact, some of these Baptist leaders will not quote the Reformed "brain pool" for this reason".

Ideological Underpinnings:

And what exactly are the latter-day Calvinistic ideas espoused by the Christian Reconstructionists? Let's let the Reconstructionists speak for themselves.

"Is the [Calvinist] and Reformed faith opposed to human rights? Yes, very much so. It is not human rights but Divine law which is the foundation of liberty and the safeguard against tyranny. It is not something proceeding from man (rights), but something proceeding from God (revealed law) which is to order Christian society…the notion of human rights was introduced by Satan in the Garden of Eden, and the notion that men have inherent rights is simply a way of affirming original sin."
--- James B. Jordan

Note the similarity between this quote and what Pat Robertson said about rights in his speech at the NAE convention. And note the similarity between what follows and Robertson's implied rejection of a religiously neutral public education.

"As a tactic for a short-run defense of the independent Christian school movement, the appeal to religious liberty is legitimate. Everyone who is attempting to impose a world-and-life view on a majority (or on a ruling minority) always uses some version of the liberty doctrine to buy himself and his movement some time, some organizational freedom, and some power…So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God." - Gary North

In order to understand the power of these ideas, it is necessary to grasp the theology behind them. Christian Reconstructionists adhere to what they term "dominion theology." It calls on them to dominate society, to take control and institute God's covenant as the basis of law and government. A critical ingredient of dominion theology is postmillennialism, the idea that the second coming of Christ will be after the millennium, after a thousand years of Christian utopia. This means that Christians must set up God's kingdom first by claiming dominion over the world and reconstructing society to make the world ready for Christ's return.

In contrast to this, the opposite doctrine, premillen- nialism, is the belief that the second coming of Christ will precede the millennium. Christ will come first and it is he, not mortals, who will establish the thousand year utopian reign. This idea was popularly expressed in Hal Lindsey's 1970 doomsday best seller, The Late, Great Planet Earth.

The differing social consequences of these opposing ideas were well expressed by Rushdoony in a 1972 speech at his Chalcedon Foundation entitled "A Blocked or Open Future?"

"As one very, very prominent pre-millennial preacher in Los Angeles has repeatedly said, "You don't polish brass on a sinking ship." The world is a sinking ship, so waste no time on reform, on doing anything to improve the world, or to bring about God's law order therein. No matter how fine a man says that, when any man believes it, he drops his future."

Rushdoony lamented that this sort of thinking was a major feature of conservative Christianity and thus a major factor in holding back its power to press for radical social change.

"Consider the difference it would make to the United States if instead of forty million or so pre-millennials, we had forty million post-millennials. Instead of having forty million people who expect that the world is going to end very soon and that they are going to be raptured out of tribulation, consider the difference it would make if those forty million instead felt that they had a duty under God to conquer in Christ's name."

And it is precisely this change in thinking, from premillen- nialism to postmillennialism, under the influence of Christian Reconstructionism, that has made possible the religious right and the political mobilization of millions of otherwise fatalistic fundamentalists.

Suddenly, Pat Robertson's denial of the charge that he believes a nuclear war will usher in the second coming of Christ makes sense. He was telling the truth. His vision of the future is now much closer to that of the Reconstructionists' postmillen- nialism. Consider these remarks Robertson made in a speech in December of 1984.

"What's coming next? . . . I want you to imagine a society where the church members have taken dominion over the forces of the world . . . no drug addiction . . . pornographers no longer have any access to the public whatsoever . . . the people of God inherit the earth . . . You say, that's a description of the Millennium when Jesus comes back . . . [but] these things can take place now in this time . . . and they are going to because I am persuaded that we are standing on the brink of the greatest spiritual revival the world has ever known!"

Robertson isn't passively waiting for Jesus to come in a mushroom cloud. He is prepared to take dominion now and bring about his ideal Christian world politically.

Recent Developments:

Over the years, the Christian Reconstructionist influence on conservative Christians has increased. With the consequent influx of Calvinistic ideas into the Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists have been influenced to shed their once sacred individualism, move into political action, and turn their seminaries from academically free institutions of higher learning into trade schools for evangelists and conservative social reformers.

Those outside the Baptist orbit have been taken in as well. The Coalition on Revival, founded a few years ago, represents a unification of Reconstructionists with charismatics, other evangelicals, black revivalists, creationists, and fundamentalists behind a theocratic political agenda. The goal of the coalition is to hammer out a unified social policy for all conservative Christians that, once formulated, is to be actively promoted from the pulpits of various denominations, through legislation, and by other means. The planning and codifying of this effort has been done through the calling of three "Continental Congresses on the Christian World View."

On July 4, 1986, while the rest of the nation was celebrating the rededication of the Statue of Liberty, the "Continental Congress on the Christian World View III" was being held in Washington D.C. This was the climax of the effort. The Congress featured 64 major conservative Christian speakers, among them Rousas J. Rushdoony and Gary North.

This was no mere social get-together for friendly faith partners. They publicly signed and issued A Manifesto for the Christian Church which would later be backed up by 17 "worldview document position papers" that elaborate on the Manifesto by covering subjects as diverse as law, government, economics, business, education, arts, medicine, science, moral issues, and Christian colleges and seminaries. All these documents are still in draft form and will be officially ratified this coming May.

A sample from the position paper on law is illustrative.

"…the Bible is therefore a guidebook both for man's spiritual / religious life and for society's legal life; and that it is therefore to be followed by civil law as it sets standards for societal conduct."

Putting It Togther:

In the light of the above, the court textbook decisions in Tennessee and Alabama start to make more sense. What was suspected all along is true. Christian theocrats are trying to use the U.S. Constitution as a vehicle for taking over the public schools and every other major aspect of political life. Gary North suggested this approach in 1982 when he said that Reconstructionists should appeal to religious liberty in their bid for power. "Men without guns use ju-jitsu or karate. We use Constitutional law."

Judge Hand's Alabama efforts seem to take a page from North's notebook. As Ishmael Jaffree contends,

"Judge Hand had already ruled twice that secular humanism was a religion before he forced this expensive textbook trial designed to vindicate his decisions. Contrary to normal practice, Hand organized the strategy of the case, assigned plaintiff and defendant roles, tried the case, and then ordered the unwilling defendant to pay all court costs. In addition, an assistant of Pat Robertson's sat each day at the counsel table despite his having no official standing in the case. The issues boil down to a remarkable case of judicial activism on behalf of book censorship."

Clearly, the latter-day Calvinist influence on American fundamentalists, evangelicals, and others has changed the politics of a nation. We are already in the third presidential campaign in a row that bears unmistakable witness to the power of politicized conservative religion. We are at this point because we failed to read the Reconstructionists' own honest words about their aims. In Germany they failed to read, and believe, the plan set forth in Mein Kampf. Our only hope is that the majority of Americans will, through the Reverend Pat Robertson's brazen presidential bid, see the obvious implications of the religious right agenda and therefore decide that this country doesn't need theocracy.

Sources for the Article in the Humanist:

The Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, The Rebirth of America, 1986. Bala Cynwyd, PA. (Note especially articles starting on pp. 35 and 133 by John W. Whitehead and on p. 121 by D. James Kennedy. Used as background material.)

Coalition on Revival, A Manifesto for the Christian Church: Declaration and Covenant, July 4, 1986, Mountain View, CA.

Coalition on Revival, The Christian World View of Law, 1986, Mountain View, CA (position paper).

Plus material from various promotional flyers and newsletters regarding the Continental Congress on the Christian World View III.

The Coalition on Revival, Inc.
89 Pioneer Way
Mountain View, CA 94041
(415) 968-3330

James B. Jordon (editor), Symposium on: The Failure of the American Baptist Culture, Number 1 of Christianity & Civilization (a book series), Spring 1982, Geneva Divinity School: Tyler, TX.

Quotes were taken from page xi of the "Editor's Introduction," pp. 24, 25, and 35 from "The Intellectual Schizophrenia of the New Christian Right," by Gary North, and page 171 of "The Baptist Failure" by Ray R. Sutton. Background information was gathered from all three articles, plus others in the book.

Numbers 2 and 3 in this Christianity & Civilization series provided background information, but are presently on loan, along with other Reconstructionist materials, to Richard Yao of Fundamentalists Anonymous in New York City. As a result, full references are not provided here for those numbers. Number 1 is currently out of print and the copy we used was loaned to us from Timothy Grogan in Cleveland, Ohio, an ex- fundamentalist who had personal knowledge of Christian Reconstructionism and provided much personal communication. Useful personal communication was also provided by Richard Yao, mentioned above.

Gary North, Chilton, Sutton, and Dominion Theology, Feb. 1987, Institute for Christian Economics: Tyler, TX (essay).

This was our source of Pat Robertson's 1984 quote. The source cited in the document was:

Jimmy Swaggart, "The Coming Kingdom," The Evangelist, Sept. 1986, pp. 4-5 (which was, itself, citing Pat Robertson's speech on Robert Tilton's Satellite Network Seminar on December 9-12, 1984).

Rousas John Rushdoony, A Blocked or Open Future?, speech given at the 1972 Chalcedon Guild Dinner, Chalcedon: Vallecito, CA.

Additional background information gathered from various periodicals and position papers of the Chalcedon Foundation, Geneva Divinity School, and Institute for Christian Economics, all of which are organizations in the Christian Reconstruction movement. Addresses below:

Chalcedon Foundation
P.O. Box 158
Vallecito, CA 95251

Geneva Divinity School
708 Hamvassy Drive
P.O. Box 131300
Tyler, TX 75713

Institute for Christian Economics
P.O. Box 8000
Tyler, TX 75711

Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, revised ed. 1982, Crossway Books: Westchester, IL. (He cites Reconstructionist David H. Chilton from The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, John W. Whitehead, and Calvinist John Knox, among others.)
John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, 1961, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Philadelphia, PA.

Additional Sources

1. Ishmael Jaffree, (Mobile, Alabama) personal communication.

2. Audio tapes of Pat Robertson's speech and press conference at the conference of the National Association of Evangelicals, held in Buffalo, NY, March 3-5, 1987.

3. Personal notes taken at above conference by Stephen McCabe.

4. Articles published in The Buffalo News during the convention, particularly "S. Africa Cleric Ties Strife to Marxists" by David Briggs, on pp. A-1 and A-6, March 5, 1987.

5. Undated Xerox of a Newsweek article of a few years back on Rousas Rushdoony entitled, "War is Declared on Public Education." Supplied to us by Fundamentalists Anonymous in New York City.

6. Quotes with sources provided verbally over the phone by James Luce from the files of Fundamentalists Anonymous (See below).

"My dream would be the State's nightmare." P. 179 of "The Escalating Confrontation with Bureaucracy," published in Christianity and Civilization Number III. Gary North.
"We must begin to prepare Christians to begin to take reigns (sic) of power, at every level, in every institution, across the face of the earth . . . " Gary North Page 424 in "Levers, Fulcrums, and Hornets" op. cit.

"We stand, then, for the visible manifestation of the complete control of the Lord Jesus Christ over the whole of life, right here and now. ... we disdain to conceal our views and aims. We openly declare that our own ends can be attained only by the Christianization of all existing social conditions." Francis Nigel Lee A Christian Manifesto of 1984 Page 11.

Rushdoony speaking to the LA times: "All these new groups…the Religious Right…are very receptive to our thinking."

Russell Chandler of LA Times (Religion Editor): "Would the Chalcedon Foundation be pleased to see America become a Christian theocracy?"

Rushdoony: If that means a "group of people running the country in God's name, no. But God, governing the lives of people…that's exactly what we are working for."

Richard Yao of Fundamentalists Anonymous also reported that Dominion Press Book Club (Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy) are endorsing books by Rushdoony and North. This is very recent.

Wall Street Journal
"Prophets of a Biblical America"
April 12, 1989
editorial page

Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham was removed from office a year ago, but his influence is far from eclipsed. Zealous supporters, including many of Mr. Mecham’s fellow Mormons, joined forces with New Christian Right activists last fall to win control of the Arizona Republican Party. Now a declaration, adopted by the party’s state convention Jan. 28, has proclaimed the U.S. a "Christian Nation" based on the Bible’s "absolute laws."

This quixotic attempt to impose a specific religious identity on the soul of our country seems to be born of a passionate cry of exasperation over the failures of 20th century liberal government and secular philosophy in modern America. Who, ask these Christians, really believes that our quality of life and national moral climate have improved due to liberal Supreme Court rulings, the welfare system or even public education?

This discontent appeared to reach its apogee with the New Christian Right groups and spokesmen of the 1980s—Moral Majority, Christian Voice, the American Coalition for Traditional Values, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, and presidential candidate and televangelist Pat Robertson. But it did not fade away with the end of the Reagan era or Mr. Robertson dropping out of the Republican primary race last April. In fact, the discontent is alive and well and surprisingly active as an institutional force - in ways many conservative Christians and liberals alike are unaware of.

Christian Reconstructionism, founded in the early 1960s, is perhaps the most systematic and influential movement in this direction. At Pat Robertson’s CBN University School of Public Policy and in its School of Law, for example, there has been at least one influential professor and a dean who either have been followers of the Reconstructionists or systematically exposed students to the movement’s writing, and Rousas John Rushdoony and Gary North, two of the movement’s leaders, have appeared repeatedly with Mr. Robertson on his "The 700 Club." D. James Kennedy, a respected Florida based Presbyterian televangelist, has hosted both men as well, and referred to their biblical commentaries as "essential" guidelines.

Mr. Rushdoony claims a Reconstructionist following of 20 million souls. (Of course, such numbers are slippery, particularly as Reconstructionists do not belong to a single, easy-to-measure denomination.) The movement, which is above the current political fray, aims to reclaim all of American society for Jesus Christ, institution by institution—including families, churches, schools, courts, legislatures, science, and mass media. A society reconstructed is razed and rebuilt from scratch.

Mr. North a prolific spokesman and long-time right-wing polemicist, states in "Backward, Christian Soldiers?" "If men are to work out the implications of their religious faiths, then they will attempt to reconstruct the external institutions of society in terms of a particular law-order."

Which law-order? The Old Testament’s Mosaic law. Christian Reconstructionists believe this portion of the Bible, particularly Leviticus and Deuteronomy, to be a literal blueprint for divinely ordained social order. Unabashedly theocra

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 18, 2004 05:54PM


Dallas Times Herald
Lisa Ellis
September 4, 1984
page 15

Several thousand young people who call themselves "God's Green Berets"
are packing the Dallas Convention Center this week, hearing the gospel
according to Maranatha Campus Ministries.

But the gathering of Maranatha disciples for the groups biennial, national leadership conference comes as controversy about the organization is building, stirred by allegations from former members that the 12-year-old, college-based church exercises cultlike control over followers.

Former Maranatha followers charged in interviews last week that the
organization's authoritarian system has led to abuses in which members
were pressured to follow the will of their church pastors, even in personal matters, and were told they were "out of God's will" or unspiritual if they complained or wanted to leave the church.

At least 30 disgruntled pastors or elders of the church, including many
of its founding members, have left in the past three years, said Bob
Bonner of Houston, a former Maranatha pastor who quit in 1983.

An official of the Christian Research Institute, a cult-watching
organization in El Toro, Calif., that has kept track of complaints about
Maranatha since 1982, said the organization has made no significant efforts to correct problems pointed out by the institute almost two years ago.

Among other things, the institute says, Maranatha has strongly
discouraged dissent, put heavy emphasis on the authority of "revelations" by God to leaders and has often interpreted scripture in odd ways to
reinforce those revelations - including one that denounced dating in favor of church-approved or arranged marriages.

In some cases, church pressures crossed the line into intimidation, said Bonner, who joined the organization so after it was founded in 1972
in Paducah, Ky. After serving as pastor of several Maranatha churches in the United States and Canada, Bonner told church officials in 1981 that he saw problems and wanted to leave the organization.

A top Maranatha official, Joe Smith, "prophesied over me," Bonner
recalled. "He said, 'You will be destroyed because you want to leave.'"
Others who tried to leave Maranatha "have been told if you leave you're
going to be out of God's will, you're going to be out of the elect of
God," he said.

Bonner said he stayed in Maranatha two more years after receiving the
warning because he thought some changes were being made. But in 1983 he left the pastorate of the 150-member Houston Maranatha church when
Smith and Robert Weiner, president of the organization, told him "you can
leave or do it our way." he said.

Neither Weiner or other Maranatha officials who are in Dallas for the
conference would respond to charges against the organization, which were published recently in the magazine Christianity Today.

"The eldership (church leaders) have gotten together and decided that
the way to handle that article is not to respond," said Nancy Blalock,
secretary to church vice president Bob Nolte. "They feel like what God's
told them to do is not to respond to those accusations."

A former Maranatha pastor who lives in Dallas, Stuart Small, said however, that many accusations have been exaggerated. Some authority over members is necessary, he said, because "you're working with college kids that come out of every lifestyle you can imagine. Some are doing drugs, going to gay bars and they don't have any direction."

Maranatha, based in Gainesville, Fla., was founded as a campus ministry
program but since has grown into a church with 100 campus-based
chapters in the United States and 16 foreign nations. Its members, estimated at several thousand, are charismatics - that is, believers in such gifts as speaking in tongues, prophecy and faith healing.

Many prominent charismatic leaders have endorsed the group, and speakers at the Dallas convention include singer Pat Boone; the Rev. M.G.
"Pat" Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network; the Rev. James
Robison, a television evangelist from Euless; the Rev. Kenneth Copeland, a television preacher from Ft. Worth; and the Rev. Bob Tilton, pastor the
Word of Faith World Outreach Center in Farmers Branch.

Parents, concerned about children who dropped out of school or went
through other behavior changes after joining Maranatha, have been raising questions about the group for several years.

Seeking to "expel the lie," a Maranatha pastor in 1982 asked the Christian Research Institute to issue a statement giving the organization a clean bill of health. But the investigation just strengthened the institute's questions about Maranatha, said Brian Onken, senior research consultant for CRI.

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: petesache ()
Date: November 20, 2004 06:59AM

[b:b881c84fcc]boy of boy.[/b:b881c84fcc]
i only discovered these forums on MSI / EveryNation this week and have been appalled at what i have read. the vancouver church only started four years ago. i left last year after numerous leaders attempted to disciple my rebellious spirit. several friends (and little brother) left before me and others were told they were "not welcome" to come anymore. it has been mind-boggling yet reassuring to learn of these similar stories - especially reading big tommy's - i even think i saw him at the 2000 MSI world conference?! thankyou one and all - i am directing all exmembers to this information. all the best from the great white north!

:shock: p.

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 20, 2004 08:39AM


Part 1: Early Maranatha

1972—Maranatha starts on Murray State University (KY) campus

1975—Maranatha incorporated in KY on 2/28/75 as:

Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. – based in KY with a KY address. This is the corporation that is filed under certificates of authority in multiple states (including Florida).

Maranatha Christian Churches, Inc.—based in KY with a FL address. No other certificates of authority under this name were filed in any other state. This is presumably the corporation founded to house the corporate headquarters.

Part 2: 1980s – Maranatha comes under increased scrutiny for high-pressure, cult-like tactics and teachings

1979-1987—Certificates of authority for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. are filed in multiple states. Local Maranatha Christian Churches (linked to the KY-address organization) are separately incorporated in multiple states.

May, 1981—The Forerunner, Maranatha’s magazine, is first published

December, 1981—Zipser articles critical specifically of Maranatha, as well as other campus cults, are published in the Phoenix Gazette.

1982—Kansas deprogramming bill passed, as a result of Dee Dee Tillman’s involvement with and deprogramming from Maranatha.

1983—Maranatha leaves K-State campus under allegations of mind control/high-pressure, cult-like activities.

1982-1984—Ad-hoc Christian committee investigation of “Maranatha Campus Ministries;” Maranatha invited the investigation. Note that this was not yet the legal or even legally assumed name of this organization.

1983—Myatt articles are published, criticizing Maranatha’s unscriptural theology, over emphasis on spiritual authority, and mind control/psychospiritual coercion tactics.

1984-1985—A series of critical articles are published in the Christian and national press after the ad-hoc committee’s report was released.

1985—Champions for Christ established as a ministry of Maranatha (was not separately incorporated)

July 15, 1985—Foreign Certificate of Authority for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. in Kansas is forfeited due to failure to file a timely annual report with the Kansas Secretary of State. However, the separately incorporated Maranatha church in Kansas (Maranatha Christian Church of Lawrence, Kansas) remains active.

Dec. 9, 1985—Reel to Real Ministries incorporated in Virginia—is a Maranatha-related ministry. Maintains Gainesville, FL mailing address.

May 1, 1987—Maranatha Campus Ministries International is filed as the legally assumed name of both Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. and Maranatha Christian Churches, Inc.

May 27, 1987—Maranatha Christian Church of Lexington, KY is incorporated.

Part 3: “Break up” of Maranatha

1987-88—A number of Maranatha churches amend their articles of incorporation to account for the possible future dissolution of Maranatha. These include Maranatha churches in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota and Michigan.

1988-89—Maranatha under increasing scrutiny for cult-like practices from the press, evangelical Christian groups (including CRI), counter-cult researchers, and higher education.

February 2, 1989—Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. is incorporated in Gainesville, Florida. The board of directors are Brady Clark (Maranatha pastor in Austin, TX), David Houston (Maranatha pastor in Encino, CA; now currently w/MSI), and Mark Kyle (Kennesaw/Athens, GA).

June 1989 —Maranatha (Maranatha Christian Church(es), Inc.) holds a board meeting in which it decides to disband. This story is what is announced to its membership in November 1989, and to the Christian press in March, 1990.

November 1989—Maranatha announces the break up to its membership during its world conference.

November 1989—Table Talk newsletter by Walter Walker (published by Maranatha) announces that the international office would be closed and that the central organizational structure of Maranatha Christian Churches, Inc. would be dismantled.

November 15, 1989—Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Some Colleges warn Students that Cult-like Methods are Being Used by Christian Fundamentalist Groups” is published; article primarily focuses on Maranatha.

December, 1989—News of breakup has been announced to membership. Last Forerunner published by “old” Maranatha Campus Ministries is published.

1990 (n.d.)—Victory Campus Ministries is established on two campuses (unspecified on its website) with ten campus ministers (see These were probably University of Southern California (under Maranatha pastor Phil Bonasso) and University of the Philippines in Manila (under Maranatha pastor Steve Murrell). VCM was administered out of Phil Bonasso’s church in Los Angeles but wasn’t formally incorporated as a separate entity until 1996 (see below). Campus Harvest, the “official student conference of Victory Campus Ministries,” also started this year (see . This was not itself incorporated until December, 1993 (see below). Campus Harvest was run by Ron Lewis’ church in North Carolina, and annual conferences are held there.

February 26, 1990—Maranatha Christian Church of Lexington, KY changes its name to Cornerstone Church of Lexington, KY. Kim Carroll (pastor), registered agent.

March, 1990—Self-published Forerunner is printed; same Gainesville FL address. Jay Rogers is the new editor, taking over from Lee Grady. Jay Rogers had formerly been a writer for the Forerunner.

March, 1990—Bob Weiner announces Brady Clark as the new executive director of Maranatha Campus Ministries in his personal letter to “partners.”

March 19, 1990—Christianity Today article on Maranatha’s break up is published.

March, 1990—Charisma and Christian Life’s article on Maranatha’s break up is published.

Spring, 1990—Maranatha newsletter announces name change from “Maranatha Campus Ministries” to “Campus Ministries International.” The justification is that Maranatha was a popular name used by many ministries. Also Brady Clark’s naming as executive director is announced, as approved by “Maranatha Campus Ministries’ board” and also personally endorsed by Bob Weiner.

April 15, 1990—Georgia Certificate of Authority for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. is withdrawn.

April 23, 1990—Georgia Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc.

April 24, 1990—Maranatha Christian Church of the South Bay (Phil Bonasso, pastor and president) changes its name to Los Angeles—Victory Christian Church, Inc. in California. The Filipino church changes its name to Victory Church as well at around the same time [n.d.; Filipino business records are not publicly available to us in the US beyond basic name and address listings].

April 27, 1990—Iowa Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc.

May 2, 1990—North Carolina Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. Ron Lewis (pastor and president of Maranatha Christian Church of the Triangle), registered agent. Note: this is still an active legal name today in North Carolina.

May 9, 1990—Missouri Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. David Hawes (pastor of MO Maranatha church), registered agent.

May 9, 1990—Kansas Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. John McDermott (who is currently the pastor of what is now Morning Star Christian Church of Lawrence, KS), registered agent.

1990—Maranatha Christian Church of Lawrence, Kansas changes its name to New Hope Christian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas.

May 17, 1990—Kentucky Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. Kim Carroll (pastor of what is now Cornerstone Christian Church of Lexington, KY), registered agent.

May 23, 1990—Maranatha Christian Church of the Triangle (North Carolina) changes its name to Triangle Christian Fellowship. Ron Lewis (pastor), registered agent.

June 1, 1990—Maranatha Christian Church of Houston, Inc. (Texas) changes its name to Grace Covenant Church.

June 1, 1990—Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. assumes PO Box 1799, Gainesville, FL 32602 (previously the mailing address for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc.)

June 11, 1990—Maranatha Publications, Inc. incorporated by Bob and Rose Weiner as a for-profit organization in Gainesville, FL.

June 14, 1990—Maranatha Christian Church of Iowa City (Iowa) changes its name to Solid Rock Church.

June 27, 1990—Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries incorporated in Gainesville, FL.

June 29, 1990—Ohio Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. The mailing address listed on the receipt is PO Box 1799, Gainesville, FL.

July 20, 1990—Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. files a name change to Campus Ministries International, Inc. in Florida. Note: this is the only state where the name change was made active.

July 27, 1990—Champions for Christ, International is incorporated in Austin, TX. Board members listed were former Maranatha evangelist Rice Broocks, former Maranatha evangelist Greg Ball, Maranatha campus minister (Rice University, Houston) Ben Broocks, and athlete/former Maranatha—CFC leader AC Green. At this time, Rice Broocks is listed as being based in Midland, TX, where there is a former Maranatha church.

August 2, 1990—Texas Certificate of Authority filed for FL-incorporated Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc. The local address was in Austin, TX. Corporate officers listed are David Houston (President), Ron Lewis (VP) and Brady Clark (secretary). While the papers were not filed until August 2, they were notarized on March 20, 1990. Note that the certificate of authority was filed under the old name, not the new (Florida) name of the corporation. Also, note that this is still an active legal name today in Texas.

October 5, 1990—Both Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. and Maranatha Christian Churches, Inc. are filed as dissolved with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.

October 30, 1990—Phil Bonasso files himself as the new registered agent for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. (KY based corporation) in California, even though the organization was legally dissolved earlier that month.

November, 1990—The Forerunner is now published by Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries.

1990 [n.d.]—Dawson Lewis is sent by “Maranatha” to be the full-time administrator for the South African Maranatha church. The South African Maranatha church was established by Bill Bennot in 1987.

Part 4: Post-Maranatha ministries reconverge as Morning Star International

April 23, 1991—Reel to Real Ministries files a Certificate of Authority in Florida; moves to Contonement, FL where the president, Eric Holmberg is located. Brady Clark is the registered agent in Florida and is on the Board of Directors.

September 3, 1991—California Certificate of Authority for Maranatha Christian Church, Inc. (Phil Bonasso, registered agent) is allowed to lapse due to “franchise tax board” forfeiture.

September 15, 1992—New Hope Christian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas (previously Maranatha Christian Church of Lawrence, KS) dissolves.

December 7, 1992—Los Angeles—Victory Christian Church, Inc. changes its name to Morning Star Christian Church, Inc. in California. Phil Bonasso remains the president, and Robert Atkinson (currently in charge of MSI’s finances) remains the registered agent. This is still its legal name and status today.

December 12, 1992—Executives for Christ, Inc. is incorporated in Texas as a subsidiary of Champions for Christ. Board members include Greg Ball, Greg Feste, Ben Broocks, and John-Paul Morgante.

March 27, 1993—Morning Star Christian Church of Lawrence, Kansas incorporates in Kansas. This is the current legal name today. However, according to its own website, the church was established in 1992 as a Morning Star International church. This places its founding at roughly the same time that New Hope Christian Fellowship/Maranatha Christian Church of Lawrence, KS formally dissolves with the Kansas Secretary of State.

April 26, 1993—Maranatha Campus Ministries, International, Inc./Campus Ministries International officially files a physical address change to Austin TX with the Florida Secretary of State’s office.

June, 1993—Victory Leadership Institute (VLI) begins in Manila, Philippines.

September, 1993—The Forerunner begins a new South African publication for the South African Maranatha church (Bill Bennot), which had recently merged with His People Ministries under Paul Daniel (this church network is today part of Morning Star International)

December 9, 1993—Campus Harvest Ministries, Inc. is incorporated in Durham, North Carolina. Ron Lewis, registered agent. Jim Laffoon is one of the leading ministers in this organization. However, according to its own website, it had been in existence as the “conference arm” of Victory Campus Ministries since 1990.

December 16, 1993—Media House International, Inc. is incorporated in Florida by Jay Rogers. Media House International assumes publication of the Forerunner from Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries.

May 1, 1994—Campus Ministries International’s mailing address is changed from PO Box 1799, Gainesville, FL to Austin TX, in papers filed with the Florida Secretary of State’s office.

May 1, 1994—Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries’ mailing address is changed to PO Box 1799, Gainesville, FL, in papers filed with the Florida Secretary of State’s office.

December 2, 1994—Morning Star Christian Church incorporates in Dallas, Texas. Joe Martin (pastor of Dallas church), registered agent.

1994—Rice Broocks is listed both as having a Midland, TX address and a Gainesville, FL address in respective white pages listings for that year.

1994—According to MSI leaders, Morning Star International is established, merging Rice Broocks’, Phil Bonasso’s, and Steve Murrell’s ministries—Champions for Christ, Victory Churches and associated former-Maranatha ministries in the Philippines, and Los Angeles-based Morning Star Christian Church, Inc. (which includes Victory Campus Ministries). However, the paper trail indicates that Morning Star (under that name) was established as early as late 92-93, based on cooperative/covenantal relationships that did not cease when Maranatha “disbanded” in 1990.

May 25, 1995—Campus Harvest Ministries, Inc. legally changes name to Triangle Christian Fellowship Campus Ministries, Inc. Ron Lewis remains the registered agent. However, it still operates under the name “Campus Harvest” to the present day.

July, 1995—Media House International and Champions for Christ co-publish El Campione, Champions for Christ’s Spanish language equivalent to the Forerunner. Franco Gennarro, who is still a Latin American leader in Champions for Christ today (he is now based in Nashville and is also pastor of the MTSU church), is listed as the managing editor, sharing editing duties with Jay Rogers.

November, 1995—Mail to Rice Broocks in Midland, TX from the Texas Secretary of State’s office re: Champions for Christ’s non-filing of a required report is returned to sender.

1996 (n.d.)—Champions for Christ is an active U of M ministry operating out of the Minneapolis Maranatha Christian Fellowship church pastored by Bruce Harpel. While Bruce Harpel’s church did not officially become part of the Morning Star “family” of churches, the local CFC chapter still operates even today out of his church.

February 29, 1996—Victory Campus Ministries formally incorporates in Los Angeles, California.

March 15, 1996—Champions for Christ is deactivated by the Texas Secretary of State office for failure to submit an annual report. Note that CFC was not a legally viable corporation from this date until August 11, 1998—so more than two years. However, they remained in operation during this time period.

June 26, 1996—Victory Campus Ministries amends its incorporation papers as an official subsidiary of Morning Star Christian Church, Inc.

March 31, 1997—Morning Star International, Inc. formally incorporates in Los Angeles, California. VCM, CFC, and the Filipino church are included in the MSI organization.

April 22, 1997—Triangle Christian Fellowship changes its name to Kings Park International Church, Inc.

Part 5: Morning Star International becomes fully established, but not without controversy

Spring 1998—Victory Leadership Institute begins its first Nashville class in Bethel World Outreach Center.

late July—early August 1998—A series of articles critical of CFC are published first in the Chicago Tribune, then the Jacksonville Times-Union.

August 11, 1998—Just as the national press starts taking notice of CFC, it files the necessary reports needed to reestablish itself as a legal corporation, after a lapse of over two years. Board members now also include Ron Lewis, pastor of the former Maranatha church in North Carolina.

Week of August 23, 1998—national news articles (incl. New York Times, Sports Illustrated, etc.) critical of CFC are published.

October 27, 1998—Morning Star Christian Church, Inc. is incorporated as a domestic corporation in Tallahassee, Florida. Directors include Greg Ball, Jim Laffoon, Charles Buhler (pastor) and Robert Owens. Registered agents also include Phil Bonasso, Ron Lewis, and Ronald Miller, Jr.

1998—The (Darrell Green) Youth Life Foundation is incorporated in Washington, DC. Brett Fuller, pastor of Grace Covenant Church/Metro Morning Star Church, is the chairman of the board of directors.

Oct 28, 1999—The Youth Life and Community Foundation is incorporated in North Carolina. Ron Lewis, registered agent.

1999—Rice Broocks becomes senior pastor of Bethel World Outreach Center, Nashville, TN, taking over from Ray McCollum, the founding senior pastor. Ray McCollum becomes the senior teaching pastor and begins traveling to teach in MSI churches worldwide.

March 17, 2000—Reel to Real Ministries moves from Florida to Bethel World Outreach Center/MSI. Maintains existing working relationship with Jay Rogers (and Media House International, which still publishes the Forerunner), is listed on staff as a script writer, and also sells Reel to Real produced materials through the Media House International/Forerunner web site. Begins receiving more contributions, including large individual donations (identities of donors are not listed on Form 990). Officers include Eric Holmberg, David Litwin, Franco Genarro, Eric Krodel, Ronda Holmberg, Brady Clark, and Robert Fitzgerald. Both Holmbergs and Franco Genarro list their business address as being in Brentwood TN. Reel to Real’s mailing address is now the same as MSI Nashville’s – PO Box 1787, Brentwood, TN 37024. The Virginia Division of Corporations also lists Reel to Real as having a Brentwood physical address.

September 21, 2000—Morning Star International, Inc. files a Certificate of Authority in Nashville, TN. Morning Star International headquarters are officially located in Nashville. However the administrative headquarters remain in Southern California. MSI now has essentially four official headquarters: Nashville (apostolic world headquarters), Los Angeles (administrative world headquarters), Manila, and Austin (home of Champions for Christ and Executives for Christ).

Part 6: Morning Star International continues to expand and begins process of changing its name to Every Nation

2001—Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries lists grants to Morning Star Christian Church (MSI-Los Angeles), Victory Campus Ministries, and Reel to Real Ministries on its IRS Form 990.

February 1, 2001—Morning Star International adds redirect to its website; actual URL remains

February, 26, 2001—Victory Productions logo is replaced with Every Nation Productions name and logo on the Filipino Morning Star International/Victory Church website ( Note that Victory Productions (aka Every Nation Productions) is a separate legal entity in the Philippines only, NOT in the US.

Spring 2001—Victory Campus Ministries is established on Kansas State University’s campus, nearly 20 years after Maranatha initially left K-State, promising to be “back.” Both K-State’s and University of Kansas’s VCM plants are run out of Morning Star Christian Church of Lawrence, Kansas, pastored by former Maranatha John McDermott.

September 13, 2001—After driving with a team of Bethel World Outreach Center pastors and leaders to minister in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, Rice Broocks calls in on speaker phone to a prayer meeting assembled at BWOC. He talks about the distraught people searching for loved ones and says that besides the Scientologists, they are the only people ministering at Ground Zero. He apparently did not see the tent that had been set up at Ground Zero by David Wilkerson’s Times Square church. Soon after his return to Nashville, Rice Broocks announces that Bethel World Outreach Center would take this opportunity, while New Yorkers’ hearts were spiritually opened, to plant a new church in New York City.

September 21, 2001—Reel to Real Ministries’ Florida Certificate of Authority lapses due to failure to submit an annual report. To date it has not been reinstated. However, Reel to Real Ministries remains an active corporate entity in Virginia, where it was originally incorporated.

October 2001—Bethel World Outreach Center starts a church plant at the Lamb’s Theatre in Times Square, NYC, in the wake of 9/11. Pastoral staff (including Rice Broocks and worship leader Kevin Singleton) fly from Nashville to NYC every week after late morning service in order to hold evening service in the new church plant. Kings Park International Church is also involved in the church plant. This church meets within seven blocks of David Wilkerson’s Times Square church.

November 16, 2001—Force Ministries, Inc. is incorporated in Austin, TX as a subsidiary of Champions for Christ. Registered agents include Greg Ball, Jim Laffoon, and Greg Wark (pastor of the San Diego Morning Star church).

November 29, 2001—The Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee is incorporated in Nashville, TN.

Late 2001—Life Christian Church of St. Louis, MO joins with Morning Star International. Rick Shelton continues as the senior pastor and Joyce Meyer continues on the church board of directors.

2002—Reel to Real Ministries lists a small cash donation from Weiner Ministries on its IRS Form 990.

2002—Morning Star International launches VLI online:

February 15, 2002—Victory Campus Ministries amends its incorporation papers as an official subsidiary of Morning Star International, Inc.

July 30, 2002—The Global Café, Inc. is incorporated in Brentwood, TN. This is the former Planet Hollywood located in downtown Nashville that has been purchased by MSI Nashville, and is used for youth ministries and other church-related meetings. It is not yet open to the public.

Summer 2002—Victory Campus Ministries is established as a registered student group at Southeast Missouri State University, less than a year after Life Christian Church joined MSI. This was once the site of a very active MCM chapter that had spawned present day MSI leader Paul Barker.

August, 2002—Ron Lewis replaces Rice Broocks as pastor of the Morning Star NYC church. He remains the president and registered agent of KPIC as well as the other ministries based out of KPIC.

August, 2002—Beth Shalom Center (a charismatic Russian messianic Christian church first incorporated in 1996) of Brooklyn, NY joins with MSI.

August 27, 2002—Youth Life Foundation of the Triangle is incorporated in North Carolina. The incorporation papers note its relationship with the (Darrell Green) Youth Life Foundation. Ron Lewis, registered agent.

November, 2002—Charisma Magazine publishes a series of articles supporting Champions for Christ; CFC is Charisma’s cover story that month.

December 31, 2002—Media House International lists Cuban distribution of the Champion, its Spanish language newspaper co-published with Champions for Christ, as one of its accomplishments for that year on its annual report. Note that Media House International/Forerunner (as well as Reel to Real Ministries, with which it has a close working relationship) is unapologetically Christian Reconstructionist/Dominion Now upon reviewing its website at . Its theology, focus, etc. did not change from the early pre-Maranatha “breakup” writings posted to present.

September, 2003—Articles critical of (Darrell Green) Youth Life Foundation are published in the Washington Post and Youth Today.

July 25, 2003—Morning Star International files a Certificate of Authority in St. Louis, MO.

2003 (n.d.)—Paul Daniel is removed as head of the South African-based His People Ministries. Bill Bennot is made the African trans-local apostle. However, His People—Cape Town (where Paul Daniel was senior pastor) comes under the direct authority/“covering” of the Nashville-based Morning Star leadership rather than under African-based leadership.

2004—Morning Star International now has 70+ churches internationally; approximately the same size as Maranatha Christian Church, Inc/Maranatha Campus Ministries in 1989.

Spring, 2004—Morning Star International requires that all local churches offer VLI as a condition of remaining in Morning Star International. All local members are highly encouraged to attend VLI, both by local pastors and visiting Morning Star International leaders. Videos produced in MSI Nashville are shipped to local churches. These videos are also available through VLI Online. Note: all campus ministers had already been required to attend VLI’s Graduate School for Campus Ministry, based in Los Angeles under Leo Lawson.

March, 2004—Newsboys, Inc. places the “Have You Done the Purple Book Yet” logo on its home page. Both Newsboys’ lead singer (Peter Furler) and long time manager (Wes Campbell) are active members of Bethel World Outreach Center.

May 19, 2004—Greg Ball is removed from his board/leadership positions with the Morning Star Church in Austin, Champions for Christ, and Executives for Christ.

June, 2004—Morning Star International changes its website to a more closed, restricted access format. The church directory is no longer listed for text download, and searches by pastor name are no longer possible. The website is also moved to a Missouri hosting location—the same ISP hosting the local Morning Star church’s (Life Christian Church) web site.

July, 2004—Morning Star International announces at its annual conference that it is changing its name to Every Nation, because of confusion with other ministries bearing the Morning Star name, and because God led them to change it just as God renamed Abram, Abraham. The rationales presented were essentially the same as those published in the 1990 Maranatha newsletter announcing the name change from Maranatha Campus Ministries to Campus Ministries International.

July – August 2004—Victory Leadership Institute is renamed Every Nation Leadership institute in some of the top churches, including Bethel World Outreach Center in Nashville and Kings Park International Church in Durham, NC.

August 2004—beyond—MSI Nashville begins videotaping revised VLI (now named Every Nation Leadership Institute) classes at Bethel World Outreach Center.

Fall 2004—Paul Barker, a former Maranatha pastor, is made an associate pastor of Life Christian Church in St. Louis. This native Missourian was previously based in MSI’s Nashville headquarters. There are no indications that he had also stepped down as dean of VLI/ENLI when he was relocated. There are now two loyal MSI/EN pastors on staff at this church (Barker and Morgan Bates, out of Kings Park International Church); one a former Maranatha pastor.

October 2004—His People Church in London, England is officially renamed Every Nation Church. It announces on its website that it is possibly the first church in Morning Star International/Every Nation to officially change its name in response to the organization’s name change: []

October 3, 2004—MSI/Every Nation takes over Chapel of Glory International Ministries/Triumphant Faith Ministries, a G-12, apostolic/prophetic charismatic ministry organization based in Lagos, Nigeria: []

October 11, 2004—This Day Sunday online newspaper (based in Nigeria) states that Wes Campbell, Newsboys’ manager/producer and president of CCM label InPop Records, is also Every Nation Productions president. However, Every Nation Productions is not a separately incorporated entity in the US but is rather operating wholly out of Every Nation’s headquarters at Bethel World Outreach Center (

October 28, 2004—Greg Ball incorporates a new ministry, named Bridge International Ministries, in Austin, TX. This does not appear to be a Morning Star International/Every Nation ministry and possibly signals his final break with the organization.

November 2, 2004—Newsboys, Inc. begins selling Biblical Foundations (the “Purple Book”) through its website. They are also giving free copies away at concerts and are encouraging concert goers, particularly the unchurched, to go to Every Nation churches.

November 4, 2004—Greg Ball’s former church, Morning Star Christian Church of Austin, Inc. (TX), now pastored by Ray McCollum, files a new assumed (fictitious) DBA name with the Texas Secretary of State: Community Christian Church. However, Ray McCollum is not made the legal registered agent or president of this church at this time, unlike most other MSI/EN churches in the US where the senior pastor is also the president and/or registered agent.

November 2004—To date, no US Morning Star International entity, ministry or church has legally changed its name or has filed a fictitious or assumed name as “Every Nation.” However, “Every Nation” is posted as the official logo on this Morning Star corporate website: [] . In addition, Morning Star International more broadly uses the “Every Nation” name rather than “Morning Star International”

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: November 20, 2004 10:16AM

This is even more laughable than Rice Broocks' book excerpt. For those taken in by this, see "The Problem with Leaders Repenting" on this forum. Also see "Letter to Dr. Enroth," on this forum. Then see comments at the end of this interview.

New Wineskins for the '90s: The story behind the restructuring of Maranatha.
Interview by STEVEN LAWSON
MAY 1990

The day Bob Weiner became a Christian was the day he started his ministry to youth. In the parking lot of a library in San Bernardino, California, where he had gone to read a book by Don Basham, he preached to about 65 kids. Twenty-seven of those teenagers accepted Christ as their Savior, right on the spot. That was in 1969, just as the Jesus movement was emerging in California. In the years that followed, Weiner started a coffee house, served as associate pastor and youth minister at an Assemblies of God church, traveled across the nation preaching on college campuses and established a junior and senior high school student fellowship in Paducah, Kentucky. It was from this fellowship in Paducah that Maranatha Campus Ministries and Maranatha Christian Churches were eventually birthed. The first Maranatha Campus Ministriescampus outreach began at Murray State University in Kentucky in 1972. From there Weiner and his youth teams fanned out to college and university campuses within driving distance of Paducah. They preached the gospel, started Bible study and prayer groups, and launched churches. And they brought in Christian singing groups such as Love Song and Andrae Crouch. The ministry expanded from three to eight to 15 campuses. Weiner and his wife, Rose, eventually moved to Gainesville, Florida, where an international office was established. By 1982, Maranatha Campus Ministries had 52 fellowships. By 1989, there were 70 congregations in 22 nations. Maranatha Campus Ministries held world congresses that attracted up to 5,000 people, started a monthly newspaper, placed more than 600 staff in full-time ministry positions, launched a satellite television program and embarked upon a major outreach to international students studying in the United States. Then, in November of 1989, Maranatha's board voted to restructure the ministry, disbanding the centralized federation that had legally bound the churches. This reverted oversight of ministry functions to local congregations. Weiner initiated the move after he and others spent about a year in prayer seeking God's will for the future of the ministry (see news story in March Charisma). "We need new wineskins so we can hold the new wine God wants to pour into us in the '90s," Weiner said. Why would Bob Weiner and the leaders of Maranatha Campus Ministries lay down their organizational structure? Why are they making such huge changes when their ministry has been so successful? There is no hint of financial misappropriation or marital infidelity, so why is Weiner taking a year off to "get deeper in the Word and grow closer to God." Weiner recently took time to talk with Charisma associate editor Steven Lawson about the changes and what's ahead in the '90s. Here is that interview:

Lawson: What was your original vision for reaching college students?

Weiner: I had a tremendous burden for youth from the day I got saved. From then until now I have been going full steam ahead. The sermon in the library parking lot was the beginning of my ministry. After that, it seems that everywhere I have gone young people have gotten saved. We [Rose and Bob] initially went to Paducah to hold an evangelistic outreach in a Methodist church. Revival broke out among the junior and senior high school kids. We thought that was our vision. We never wanted to start churches. We were on a ministry trip overseas when a man spoke to us prophetically. He said we were to go back to where the revival had broken out and take care of the new Christians. We went back, but we were very naive. We thought we would just help the pastors of all the local churches by getting youth saved and sending them to their churches and youth groups. But when the youth went to these churches, a lot of times they were not welcome. Some were laughed at for being born again, and some were told they could not speak in tongues. So after a year we saw that we had to start a church even though we didn't want to start one. The second year we were in Paducah, we had an outreach to Murray State University, which was nearby. Hundreds of kids were saved.

Lawson: From there you started other campus fellowships and churches, which you have now turned over to other people. Does the recent restructuring of Maranatha Campus Ministries mark the fulfillment or completion of your vision to reach college students?

Weiner: I don't know. I know that with 150 campus ministries and 635 full-time staff and 70 churches, if I've done my job at all they will be able to carry the vision on and do a good job with it. My greatest fun is getting things started and turning them over to other people. My greatest honor as a church planter is to be able to turn a lot of responsibility over to a man of God who has been raised up and has matured. To me that's the key: build and release, build and release, build and release. The greatest thing a father can do is to build up a business, then turn that successful business over to his mature sons. In a way, that is what I am trying to do.

Lawson: Then you will relate to the pastors of Maranatha Campus Ministries differently in the future than you have up until now?

Weiner: Yes. My relationship with the pastors is changing. They have all been released. If anything, in the '90s I see myself as just loving them and encouraging them, putting my arm around them and saying, "Come on. You can do it." Before I initiated, directed and corrected. Now I will simply support the visions God is placing in their hearts.

Lawson: You have said that the restructuring was a long time in coming. When did you first know there was going to be a major change?

Weiner: We had been praying for a year-all of 1988. We knew that the Holy Spirit was wanting some new wineskins for the '90s. The Lord showed us that the way we were building was not going to be good enough for the '90s. You can be very successful and have all the appearances of a solid foundation, but you can still be building on shaky ground if you are not building according to the pattern of the New Testament.

Lawson: Are you saying that Maranatha Campus Ministries has been building on shaky ground or are you saying that it is time to change so that Maranatha Campus Ministries will not build on shaky ground in the future?

Weiner: Both. When we were in Paducah, I knew we needed help. I was young. All of our leaders were young. So we brought in men such as Derek Prince, Winkie Pratney and Rodman Williams. They taught us and it was a glorious time. We were going to take the world for Christ. I had a relationship with everyone when we had five to 10 churches. It was still OK when it got up to 18. Those 18 pastors were my sons. We were very close. But then in one year [1975] we nearly doubled the number of churches. God had spoken to us to do it, so we did. It was awesome; we started churches at UCLA, USC, Oregon State, Boston and lots of other places. It had taken us eight years to build the first 18 churches, one year to start the second 17. The next year we should have smelled the coffee and realized that you cannot effectively direct 35 churches out of one center. Instead we decided to again double our number of churches [to 70] in one year.

Lawson: You decided to double your numbers again or did God tell you to double your numbers?

Weiner: I don't know who said it. I don't think the Holy Spirit said it. I probably initiated it. But we were all excited about trying it again. It was a crazy idea. It didn't work. We have a few of those churches left, but a majority of them never made it. That's the side of the ministry people rarely see.

Lawson: We tend to talk more about the great successes or emphasize the big scandals.

Weiner: Right. We talk about the numbers of churches that have succeeded-and there are many. We talk about the great growth and all the people who have been saved. But we don't talk much about the churches that have been closed, the people we burned out or the times we got chased off campuses.

Lawson: You are talking about the human failures we all make because of one reason or another. But there is also spiritual opposition to the spreading of the gospel.

Weiner: Whenever revival comes, then persecution and harassment will follow. I remember our second outreach. It was at Southeast Missouri State University. At least 100 kids got saved. There was tremendous revival. These kids were full of the glory of God. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. Everyone on campus knew what had happened and they were talking about it. The next day one young man claimed he had gotten saved - well, something happened. He streaked stark naked through the city. You can imagine what the people were saying and wondering about us and what we were teaching. But we had no control over that and we certainly didn't encourage or support what he did. The devil will try to discredit us in any way he can.

Lawson: You have emphasized that it was the structure that needed to be changed with the Maranatha Campus Ministries churches. Was this something that applied just to Maranatha Campus Ministries or to others?

Weiner: Structure isn't wrong in itself. Some organizations need more structure, some less. We needed less central control [for the details see the news story on Maranatha Campus Ministries in the March issue of Charisma]. It is not a question of having a structure, but a question of where that structure points. It would be a devastating delusion to think that simply having a new wineskin would produce new wine. Our vision must be Jesus. The bottom line is Jesus is the head. The wineskins that we [Maranatha] had were not going to be good enough for what God wants to do in the '90s. Jesus has to be everything. Even as I took my booth around to conventions to promote Maranatha Campus Ministries I started feeling convicted. I'm not saying that people shouldn't take booths around and promote their organizations, but Jesus got hold of me. It is clear that everything we do must be summed up in Him. He wants to be head of the church. He is tired of everybody promoting their own thing. He wants to be the one lifted up, not some organization or plan or program or person.

Lawson: Does this mean that we will not be hearing the name Maranatha anymore? Or the name Bob Weiner?

Weiner: If Bob Weiner's name and Maranatha's name are never lifted up again, then hallelujah. My spirit is jealous to see the name of Jesus lifted up. And my jealousy is growing.

Lawson: In November and December of 1989, you took time off to address your personal character. I know you have made it clear that this decision was not connected with the disbanding of the Maranatha Christian Churches federation, but rather a personal choice recommended by some close friends. There was no financial mismanagement or marital infidelity involved. Actually the character areas you addressed- anger, control, pugnaciousness - are areas that some leaders would not take so seriously. Some would attribute them to being "just the way they are made up." How did you know it was important enough to God for you to stop and take care of it?

Weiner: The Holy Spirit has to reveal these things. And He did. One day my associate and close friend Rice Broocks came up to me after a meeting. I had said something that didn't honor him. In fact, it hurt him. He pulled me aside to tell me that what I had said hurt. That hurt me so much I broke into tears. It did something to me. Here was a guy I love so much, yet I had hurt him. I can be caustic in my remarks. I have hurt other people too. I've hurt my wife, Rose, with my words. You can only make excuses for so long. You can only say, "Oh, that's Bob's nature," for so long. My brothers have covered for me for years. They have said, "When you really know his heart, you'll understand." But my brothers shouldn't have to cover for me anymore. I should have the character of Christ and be setting a greater example. God showed me where I was wrong. Tears welled up in my heart. "What am I going to do? I don't ever want to hurt another person. What if it were my son or my daughter that someone was talking to the way I had talked-so harshly." That revelation really helped me. I started weeping. [Note: At this point in the interview, Weiner was wiping away tears as he recalled incidents in the past.] I cried out, "Lord, what do You want? I don't want to do anything that You don't want me to do and I want to do everything that You want me to do." That's what everything has come down to for me.

Lawson: You are taking a year off in 1990 to study and pray and prepare yourself to be involved with what God will accomplish in the 1990s. What do you see happening this last decade of the 20th century?

Weiner: The key is roots and fruits. If we have our roots deep enough and our foundation right, we will see the fruits. The roots are total trust, dependency and intimacy with Him. The fruits are God releasing the greatest anointing and revival that any of us have ever experienced. This will bring about the great harvest of the 1990s. And this is why I am taking this year off - to get my roots deeper in God. I see a tremendous revival coming in the '90s. Also a tremendous shaking. The Lord showed me clearly that I was to believe for a million souls to be saved in the '90s. But I realize that the Maranatha Campus Ministries structure couldn't handle that. So it had to change. I am willing to invest a year to get my roots deeper so that I can then better help build a church according to a New Testament pattern. I want to see what other apostolic men are doing, how they are building their churches. I see us abiding in fellowship and developing an intimacy with God like we have never known before.

Lawson: You said you see a million people coming to Christ. Is this through Maranatha churches?

Weiner: That is my goal. It would happen through the churches, through the people I have touched, through the people they touch, through the different ways God has used my life. I still want to see young people

"Morning Star literature has been scrubbed clean of any reference to Maranatha. Bios do not include prominent positions in Maranatha. Activity is not described as Maranatha-sponsored, although clearly dated before Maranatha disbanded and before Morning Star was formed.

Maranatha literature and the Post-Maranatha web site indulge heavily in unrepentant and revisionist history. No mention of a run-in with a committee of cult-watchers, of deprogrammer kidnappings, of the carnage of destroyed lives. Nor of mass staff resignations and numerous conference speakers refusing to return. Only the vaguest reference to constant turbulence and dissent within the board, and that attributed to the devil.

Maranatha founder Bob Weiner’s mild recanting is not found; neither is there any mention of repeated personal confrontations with friends and associates over disturbing Maranatha practices; his berserk, retaliatory stunts against former members; or his thousand-and-one denials, ostensible explanations, contradicting versions, straight-faced lies, and vicious recriminations.

Certainly no mention of the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education, or two articles in Christianity Today and another in Charisma Magazine. Official reason for the breakup: "decentralization and diversification." Surely it was coincidence that Maranatha disbanded immediately after the Chronicle of Higher Education article.

Note: Bruce Harpel, one of Maranatha's staunchest defenders, director of the Minneapolis Maranatha. He is in charge of the Post-Maranatha website.

Thanks to the Champions controversy, former Maranatha board members can add USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, CNN, ESPN, PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and, once again, Christianity Today and Charisma Magazine...

...The cult accusation dogged Weiner like it did not dog leaders of other youth-oriented ministries - YWAM, Agape Force, People of Destiny, Last Days, Calvary Chapel - all of whom were closely associated with Weiner and with each other. Nor have Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, and other such organizations experienced the kind of problems Champions has."

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Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Posted by: ExCult ()
Date: December 04, 2004 07:03AM


As I read another rant from Doug Giles, once again I am driven to find answers to the question: just where did this guy come from?

As I noted on this blog back in May, Giles’s sister Paula is married to Mell Winger, a Charismatic who pastors at Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado (and who has some interesting links to Guatemala). According to the Wingers’ testimony as quoted by neo-Pentecostal prophet Dutch Sheets, they were responsible for “binding the spirit of rebellion that was controlling” Giles, and so turned him from crime to Christ. Giles used to make much of his wayward youth in his profile, but since rebranding himself as more of a general right-wing pundit he has chosen to drop these references. Doug also makes no mention of his Charismatic background today, and he’s even studying as a graduate student under R.C. Sproul at the Calvinist Knox Theological Seminary (an institution begun in 1989 by D. James Kennedy).

Giles’s USP (unique selling point, in advertisers’ jargon) is his “clash point”: all the bile of his weekly column distilled into one concluding sentence (“my clash point is…”). His radio show is called Clash Radio, and his church, which meets at the Aventura Mall, Miami, is called Clash Christian Church. Oddly, the link to the church does not work on his new website, and details can only be found by looking at cached material from his old site (highlight to read text, which is black on black). Earlier this year, Giles held a conference of theocrats that included presentations from Texas Republican party VC David Barton and Congresswoman Katherine Harris, as well as a message of support from Jeb Bush.

But here’s an interesting titbit: Clash Christian Church used to be called His People-Miami. His People Christian Church is a South African grouping of churches, and is part of a denomination called Morning Star International. The His People Christian Church website lists its various branches around the world, but does not currently have any American churches. However, using a web archive engine, I was able to dig out this:

"His People Miami – USA, Senior Pastors: Rev. Doug and Mary Margaret Giles"

Doug and Mary Giles founded the first United States based His People Christian Church in January 1997.

There's more on Giles's cached Clash site:

"Doug is the Senior Pastor of His People Christian Church of South Florida and is currently completing his graduate studies at Knox Theological Seminary. Doug is part of His People International based in Cape Town, South Africa. Our ministry is Charismatic in expression, evangelical in doctrine and reformed in it's [sic] view of Church, family and state. For more information please check out our website at"

How this came about is not mentioned, although just last week Doug was bragging about his hunting exploits in South Africa. The current His People site gives a history of their church:

"His People Christian Church was birthed in 1988 in the city of Cape Town through the ministry of Paul and Jenny Daniel to a small group of students in their rented home in Milnerton. Shortly thereafter, the His People Bible School began on the University of Cape Town campus as well as a regular Sunday meeting in a lecture theatre."

The church grew, and “the ministry also began to expand rapidly to other campuses within South Africa and internationally.” Paul Daniel provides one of the blurbs for Giles’s audio book Ruling in Babylon However:

"At the beginning of 2003, the leadership of His People Church, Cape Town underwent a period of transition during which Pastor Gareth and Wendy Stead assumed the senior leadership of the ministry. Paul & Jenny Daniel were taken in by MSI [Morning Star International] in Nashville, USA, for a period of restoration following Paul's confession of serious sins and his subsequent resignation as senior pastor."

(According to the Cape Argus, these sins were “adultery with two young female parishioners over a 13-month period.”) His People is also one of C. Peter Wagner’s “New Apostolic Churches”, and so one can assume the group focuses heavily on Charismatic ideas such as prophecy, apostolic leadership and spiritual warfare against demons.

So, what about Morning Star International? Back to the His People’s site:

"Morning Star International (MSI) was founded in 1994 by Pastors Rice Broocks, Steve Murrell and Phil Bonasso in what they now call the "Manila Miracle"…Since its foundation, MSI has been used mightily by God to touch and impact many different cultures and nations. MSI now has churches in more than thirty-five nations and the Apostolic Board Members have set their hearts to plant a church in every nation of the world…In 1997, the leadership of MSI and His People Ministries recognized the similarity of their visions and began the process of joining their ministries together. It took more than three years for this merger to become a reality as the leaders slowly worked through the vision, values and mission of the two groups. Today, the MorningStar Apostolic Board, led by Pastor Rice Broocks, provides covering and headship to a worldwide family of churches and ministries, some of which are called "Morning Star Churches" and some, like the His People Churches in Africa and the Victory Churches in the Philippines, which bear other names."

Does one bear the name "Clash"? Funnily enough, I came across Morning Star for the first time just the other day, when a certain “Anna Missed” left a link to the site of Force Ministries (“equipping military personnel for Christ-centered duty”) at Jesus’ General. According to Charisma, Broocks also runs Champions for Christ, an outreach to athletes, with Greg Ball. Both men started out in Maranatha Campus Ministries under Bob Weiner. Maranatha and Weiner have a controversial history.

Rick Ross has gathered a number of sources on the subject, including this Christianity Today article from 1990:

"According to Lee Grady, managing editor of the Maranatha publication The Forerunner from 1981 until the organization disbanded, all the major personalities associated with the shepherding movement at one time or another addressed Maranatha gathering. Grady said the concept of shepherding-that believers were under the authority of a spiritual shepherd-was widely accepted within Maranatha as a natural aspect of the Christian faith. 'Maranatha was a revival movement,' said Grady. 'Any revival movement will usually be characterized by excesses.' "

An ad hoc committee of Christian scholars reached a similar conclusion in a 1984 report (CT, Aug. 10, 1984, p.38), which stated, among other things, that Maranatha "has an authoritarian orientation with potential negative consequences."

This Wall Street Journal article adds:

"Bob Weiner Jr. says he called some of his "friends" one day in April and suggested that they organize to support President Reagan on aid to the rebel forces in Nicaragua…

And so, on the eve of a crucial vote in Congress, the rallies were held on as many as 70 college campuses across the U.S. Events like this have made the little-known Mr. Weiner popular with conservative Republican strategists.

Mr. Weiner's friends are leaders of 50 chapters of the Maranatha Christian Church, whose members revere Mr. Weiner as the church's founder, sole "apostle", and chief conduit of revelations that he says come from God."

More negative material comes from this anonymous, albeit well-referenced, website:

"Broocks is a protégé of prominent faith teacher Kenneth Copeland and was Maranatha’s chief faith teacher…Morning Star is part of the New Apostolic Restoration, led by Peter Wagner. (Wagner consoled Maranatha at one of their conventions after the article in Christianity Today, saying that the founders of Christianity Today were failures in the ministry) Not even the Wall Street Journal, which took Weiner to task for his political activity, delved into his close ties to well-known jihadists in the dominion theology camp, namely R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North.

Media House International, which publishes the Forerunner, contains much material by hard core Reconstructionists [see here]; North dedicated one of his books to Maranatha; and Rushdoony is revered, even idolized.

A little known episode is that Weiner flew in to Guatemala to lay the foundation for dominion theology…Speaking at a Maranatha convention, Copeland looked down at Rio Montt and prophesied that he would once again become president of Guatemala."

OK, so before this post spirals completely out of control and starts turning into Namebase, let’s get back to Doug Giles. Although Giles appears to have got his start from the later-disgraced Paul Daniel, his relationship with the leaders of Morning Star is less clear. However, seeing as in the late 1990s Daniel was based in Cape Town and Giles was running the only His People church in the USA, links with the Nashville-based Morning Star under Broocks seem likely. The Morning Star leadership is clearly Charismatic, but highly politicised and with a liking for the hyper-Calvinist authoritarian and postmillennial Christian Reconstructionists. In this context, Giles’s links to Calvinism, his rightist punditry and his dislike of “last days madness” also suggest a fondness for Reconstructionism – a fondness also evidenced from his links with Republican Party of Texas VC David Barton, who has a slot on his Clash Radio. Giles’s macho posturing is reflected in Morning Star’s emphasis on ministries to do with athletes and the military, and his general self-righteousness and hectoring style suggest the authoritarianism of the “shepherding movement” within Charismatic Christianity. Also interestingly, like Maranatha and His People, Doug has a special interest in higher education, and gives air-time to his friend Mike Adams to complain about how liberals are poisoning the minds of youth and persecuting Christian groups on campuses. Adams describes himself as a Christian convert, although he is cagey about what kind of Christian (beyond conservative).

So is Doug a Charismatic Reconstructionist, but downplaying his links with the movement in order to reach a wider audience? Or has he perhaps matured slightly, now preferring solid Calvinist dogmatism over Charismatic spiritual warfare as he gets older (and having seen the fall of Paul Daniel)? Actually, Reconstuctionism is probably too strong a term. Sara Diamond warns against linking individuals in a "guilt-by-association" way, and she suggests it is more fruitful to consider a wider and vaguer idea of Christian "dominion". For instance, since Brooks started out under Kenneth Copeland, it's likely Broocks holds "last days" ideas rejected by both Reconstructionism and by Giles. However, Diamond does note that Knox Theological Seminary founder D. James Kennedy echoed the Reconstructionist line when he said [in a speech to the Christian Coalition] that "true Christian citizenship" includes a cultural mandate to "take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God."

As for the second question: well, there’s not much evidence of maturity from Doug's writings, but he is certainly conscious of the power of the brand. His brand is the “clash point”, and it is that which has given him such a large pulpit to bully from. Using "dominion" lingo or going on about being “in bondage to a spirit of rebellion” is not his ticket – at least, not in his Townhall columns. But neither is saying anything much about the grace of Jesus for a poor sinner, for that matter…

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