A hue and cry erupted from evangelicals last month after a federal judge in Wisconsin declared the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. An appeal delayed a final ruling, however, and the 59th annual government-sanctioned Day of Prayer was observed this past Thursday after all. It would have been better if it hadn't.
First of all, we Christians need to rethink the idea of official government approval for our actions, and we need to do it right now. So a liberal judge decides that we shouldn't have a federally declared National Day of Prayer. Big deal.
The apostles--the real ones, not self-appointed, self-anointed 21st century pseudo-apostles--never petitioned the Roman Senate for such a decree. With good reason.
Separating church and state doesn't protect the state from religious zealots. It protects the church from idealistic reformers, single-minded ideologues, and power-hungry megalomaniacs in high political office. History provides too many examples to list, but it's never good when government can declare political dissent to be heresy.
Nor is it wise to allow government the power to decide what is a legitimate religion. For example: the 501(c)3 tax exemption enjoyed by most churches today hasn't been around forever. An amendment to the tax code was added in 1954 by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson to muzzle non-profits, including churches, on the subject of politics. Apparently some folks in LBJ's home state of Texas had been too outspoken about vote fraud in his 1948 election to the Senate.
Today, the tax-exempt status of churches is almost considered a constitutional right by American Christians. Instead of complaining when liberal churches host Democratic politicians on Sunday morning, why don't we ask why we allow our pastors to be bribed not to preach about politics in the first place? If the IRS won't change the tax code, then render unto Caesar what is the Federal Reserve's and preach away!
Sadly, this lesson seems lost on American evangelicals, who mostly cheered when President Bush created the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives--as if government funding only comes with government control when the checks are signed by Democrats.
It's beginning to appear that American Christian leaders, while decrying court rulings with which they disagree, won't reject government sanction completely. Why? Because they want that power for themselves. Enter the National Day of Prayer into evidence.
The official Task Force for the National Day of Prayer was chaired by Shirley (Mrs. James) Dobson. A who's who of American evangelicals, from Billy and Franklin Graham to Rick Warren, served on the leadership committee. But the Mission Statement of the Task Force is nearly identical to the Dominionists' 7-M Mandate: The National Day of Prayer Task Force's mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.1
The seven centers of power are exactly the same as the 7 Mountains of Influence invented by Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright (whose widow, Vonette, is the Task Force co-chair), except that "Military" has been swapped in for "Arts & Entertainment".
Given the Dominionist fervor to create Joel's Army, the demonic horde described in Joel chapter 2, that's kind of creepy.
Farther down the list of leaders on the National Day of Prayer Task Force one finds C. Peter Wagner. He coined the term New Apostolic Reformation to describe his teaching that a second age of capital-A Apostles began in 2001. Wagner is also the leading proponent of the 7-M Mandate, the heretical belief that Christians are on a mission from God to reclaim the planet and set up His kingdom on Earth.
Control of the IRS would be a useful tool in the hands of a religious reformer who wants to bring all faiths under the authority of the Apostle in charge of the mountain of religion.
While the NDOP Task Force's mission statement stresses the need for personal repentance and prayer, which is scriptural, the Seven Mountains Mandate is pure Wagner, and pure Dominionism.
The fact that the seven mountains of Wagner, Cunningham, and Bright have been grafted into the mission statement for the National Day of Prayer, an event chaired and directed by some of the most well-known and respected evangelicals in America2, indicates that the influence of the Dominionists is spreading, being mainstreamed by its tacit approval from prominent, respected Christian leaders.
This is the third event in less than three weeks that's yoked prominent evangelicals to the leaders and doctrines of the heretical New Apostolic Reformation. Either Dr. and Mrs. Dobson and their colleagues don't know that the NAR believes it's on a mission from God to rule the Earth, or they're more concerned with Democrats than with this demonic doctrine.
Or--and I hate to even raise the possibility--they're in agreement with it.
Names on the list include: Dr. James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Swindoll, Chuck Stanley, Kay Arthur, David Barton, Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, Tony Dungy, Joni Eareckson Tada, and many others.
Derek Gilbert hosts P.I.D. Radio, with his wife, author Sharon K. Gilbert, and hosts A View From the Bunker, a weekly interview program. He previously hosted The Drive, the #1-rated afternoon radio talk show in Columbia/Jefferson City, Missouri. His published novels are Iron Dragons and The God Conspiracy. Email Derek at derek at peeringintodarkness dot com. His website is www.derekpgilbert.com. and http://www.hearkenthewatchmen.com/
For more information about this blog and the author's recently published books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (Author House), please click here Joe Ortiz.