As you know, I've been doing a lot of research this week on the New Apostolic Reformation and it's offshoots Joel's Army, and The Third Wave, and sadly, finding too many intersections with conservative Catholicism. This is especially true for the pro life movement and certain Charismatic groups.
There is a lot of money behind these groups but it's difficult to find any mainstream reporters who have done much research on the money ties. Some information is now coming out about a few of these ties as they pertain to individuals, and as this pertains specifically to the money behind Prop 8 in California. The article deals with the reclusive Howard F Ahmanson Jr.
Proposition 8 in California truly is a micro view of the interesting conglomeration of moneyed interests which fuel the political divisions on social issues in this country. In this instance they include the Knights of Columbus, the USCCB, the Mormon Church, the New Apostolic Reformation under Larry Engel, and individual wealthy donors affiliated with the aforementioned churches. At face value these interests have very little in common theologically except an apparent need to prevent gays from enjoying equal protection under the law. However, if you look a little closer, there is another strain.
All of these socially conservative groups have at their core, a real need to return to the God of the Old Testament. This is a patriarchal God who wreaks a great deal of revenge on violators of His laws and one who demands His people (Israel) conform as a society to His rule. This is also a God who repeatedly punishes the entire nation of Israel for their indiscretions. It should not be missed that in the Old Testament most of these punishable offenses are committed by the ruling class.
Given this notion it should not be too surprising that the proponents (Prophets, Apostles, and Bishops) of this thinking are obsessed with political power. They are the ruling class who will save not just America, but the entire world from God's justified wrath.
This is not the God of the Jesus of the New Testament. Jesus disdained interfering in secular government, talked about personal conversion, and called God his Father. Jesus did not relate to God as a ruler, but as a parent. Jesus taught personal conversion, not social dominion. He spoke of converting society one at a time from the bottom up, not the top down.
Jesus spoke of the power of love, rejecting the love of power. He was not misogynist.
It's not surprising then, that the New Testament is not the part of the bible from which these groups are being 'inspired'-except for some of Paul's letters. To these folks, the Old God had it right, the new God of Jesus is in some sense too feminine, too misled by love, and too naive to really understand how power works in this world. In their minds the Holy Spirit gets it, and so does Satan.
The Holy Spirit then becomes the 'alter christus' who inspires his followers to combat secularism and gives them the 'Gifts of the Spirit' which are the sword and shield of God's new army. That these 'Gifts of the Spirit' are identical to the psychic talents of New Agers, even down to orbs, is of course because Satan gifts his army with counter fit expressions. (Excuse me while I bang my head on my desk.)
There's a part of me that wants to be sarcastic about all of this, but I can't because this trend in Christianity is very powerful and very well funded. They offer a real carrot, experiences which seem to transcend human reality plus a spiritually righteous life and death cause in which to use them.
The not so hidden agenda is really secular power and the redistribution of wealth from the unrighteous heretical secularist unbelievers, to the ruling elite of God's army. This is the army tasked with cleansing the Earth for the return of gentle Jesus. Apparently if the world and all it's wealth is in their Apostolic and Righteous hands, it will be safe for the gentle and innocent Jesus. (He who might be best symbolised in the unborn.)
All of the above is why we haven't heard the last about gay marriage and abortion and Sarah Palin. This is an army whose leadership has already gotten quite heady on the redistribution of wealth. Gold toilets come to mind, 150,000 dollar Nieman Marcus/Sax 5th Avenue spending sprees, huge tech savvy mega churches, and world travel for certain Kenyan and Nigerian prelates at the behest of their rich US counterparts.
Lest anyone think Obama's landslide victory is going to change any of this, think again. These are world wide stakes, not just the US. They have had their victories (as well as this massive US presidential defeat). Prop 8, God forbid, maybe another victory, but so has the virtual break up of the Anglican church, the infighting in the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, and lest I forget the polarization of Catholicism.
No, we haven't begun to hear the last from this movement, but tonight I will toast to Mr. Obama and the American people, and tomorrow I'll worry about Colorado Springs and the Institute for Religion and Democracy.