Wednesday, September 24, 2008
If you watch the entire sermon by Bishop Thomas Muthee, you will hear him railing against witches in the educational system and in government (the payoff for the video, recorded by Max Blumenthal, is at the 7:00 minute mark, where Sarah Palin gets on stage and is given loud prayers for protection from the congregation and the bishop, with the laying on of hands, specifically protecting her from witches and witchcraft.)
Where to begin. This video was released today, shedding some light on the media-shy Wasilla Assembly of God Church that Governor Palin attended until 2002; though she still retains close ties. It's notoriously difficult to understand the faith of Governor Palin, and how it guides and motivates her, not only because she is not forthcoming about it but also because the nature of the thousands of denominations of Pentecostalism makes comprehension difficult.
But an excellent place to start is the Talk to Action Website, which has been publishing some helpful primers (part 1 here, covering an introduction to what is being referred to as the Third Wave movement, and part 2 here, covering Governor Palin's churches' relationships to the Third Wave movement.) I'm just getting started in understanding this rather pan-christian international movement, and I'll write more as I understand more.
Third Wave is a branch of dominionism, which mandates that members take 'dominion' over all aspects of society - hence the preacher in the video, Bishop Thomas Muthee of the Word of Faith Church in Kenya, focusing on the seven areas of society to take over. The Third Wave movement is not limited to a single church, either:
'...it is important to again note that this movement is not synonymous with the Assemblies of God or any other denomination. The burdensome terminology of Third Wave/New Apostolic Reformation is repeatedly used throughout this series of articles because the terms represent two slightly different meanings. The term Third Wave was coined over two decades ago to describe a loosely linked network of groups that remained or were reemerging from a movement called Latter Rain that was denounced as heresy by the Assemblies of God in 1949. In recent years these groups have coalesced into a much larger and more institutionalized structure. A central figure in the movement is C. Peter Wagner, founder of Global Harvest Ministries and the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs. In the late 1990s Wagner gave the name New Apostolic Network to his organization which now includes over 500 Apostles under his authority, or Apostolic Covering, in the International Coalition of Apostles. Some of these Apostles also have hundreds or even thousands in their own networks. There are numerous other interconnected apostolic networks around the world tied to this movement by their common belief system and also interconnected activities, conventions, media, schools, and parachurch ministries...'
This movement is end-times oriented, believing that the almost ecumenical nature of this organization is actually the final church of the end of days. Among the activities of the movement is a strong focus on purging demons from societies.
The good Bishop Muthee has lots of experience in this:
'...Can the 'spiritual DNA' of a community be altered?" That's the question posed in a Christian video called "Transformations."
Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee is convinced that it can be. In 1988, he and his wife, Margaret, were "called by God to Kiambu," a notorious, violence-ridden suburb of Nairobi and a "ministry graveyard" for churches for years. They began six months of fervent prayer and research.
Pondering the message of Eph.6:12 ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world..."), they prayed to identify the source of Kiambu's spiritual oppression, Mr. Muthee says. Their answer: the spirit of witchcraft.
Their research into the community revealed that a woman called "Mama Jane" ran a "divination clinic" frequented by the town's most powerful people.
After months of prayer, Muthee held a crusade that "brought about 200 people to Christ." Their church in the basement of a grocery store was dubbed "The Prayer Cave," as members set up round-the-clock intercession. Mama Jane counterattacked, he says, but eventually "the demonic influence - the 'principality' over Kiambu - was broken," and she left town.
The atmosphere changed dramatically: Bars closed, the crime rate dropped, people began to move to the area, and the economy took an upturn. The church now has 5,000 members, he says, and 400 members meet to pray daily at 6 a.m...'
More on the Transformations video:
'...The Transformation I video features the story of four cities that the narrator, George Otis, Jr, claims have been transformed through the power of intercessory prayer and the expulsion of demons. The video served the purpose of introducing the revolutionary new evangelizing methods developed by C. Peter Wagner and his colleagues. The use of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare to expel territorial demons is facilitated by Spiritual Mapping and then intercessory prayer and fasting. The World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs developed by Wagner and Ted Haggard [yes, that Ted Haggard, of the gay prostitute fame] houses the computer systems for organizing the prayer intercessors as well as the Spiritual Mapping media...'
Bishop Muthee's is one of the four stories. Another 'success' story is the city of Hemet, California:
'...The third town featured in the movie is Hemet, California. Otis and two local pastors narrate the supposed transformation of this Hemet/San Jacinto area from a center of Satanism, witchcraft, Moonies, Transcendental Meditation, and Scientology. He reports that Hemet had serious gang and drug problems. In this segment Otis describes how Spiritual Mapping was used to direct the prayer intercessors in fighting the strongholds of the enemy. Pastor Bob Beckett of the Dwelling Place Church organized intercessory prayer to save the city. Otis reports,
"The Transcendental Meditation center was literally burned out. Shortly after the intercessors prayed for its removal, a brush fire started on the mountain on the west side of the valley. It burned only the Transcendental Meditation facility and didn't touch any of the buildings on either side."
Consequently Otis claims that the drug trade dropped 75% and many gang members as well as other residents have been saved. Beckett states that the city now has "a professing mayor, a professing police chief, a professing fire chief, and a professing city manager."
The mayor, Debbie Cornett, is interviewed and states,
I feel that God called me to this...I see him opening doors to more churches, more Christians, to really bring them together and say you want Christians in leadership."
Pastor Beckett adds that the city now has an exceptional number of high school teachers, coaches and principals that are believers and that now nearly 85% of staff candidates are Christians. (Beckett also authored a chapter in C. Peter Wagner's book, Breaking Strongholds.) Pastor Gordon Houston states that God has turned the school system around...'
Embedding has been disabled for the Transformations video, so I can't have it in this post, but you can watch the entire thing here.