Friday, April 24, 2009

Religious Revolt: New Christian Sect Battles Demons, Raises the Dead, Campaigns for Sarah Palin

This is true. I was there, involved years in the movement. Thank the "Verse" that I was enlightened by the light of reason, rationality and reality. I fell off my high horse hitting my head, the blinders fell off my eyes and I have been better ever since then.

By Bruce Wilson, Religion Dispatches. Posted April 23, 2009.

This disturbing "Third Wave" of Christianity is growing faster than the earth's population and faster than Islam.

What is happening to Christianity?

In 1996 a team from Ted Haggard's New Life Church flew to Mali and began furtively anointing entire towns with cooking oil.

The strangeness of it gripped Dutch missionary René Holvast, who later wrote: "It was confusing and produced a growing uneasiness. It did not seem to fit our current evangelical theological and anthropological textbooks."

The team from Haggard's church was a forerunner in a missionary wave that has washed over the world since the early 1990s, bringing what Holvast calls a ‘new paradigm.'

René Holvast has theological training, but his perplexed reaction was similar to that of Alix Spiegel, a radio journalist who went to Ted Haggard's New Life Church in 1997 to do a story for This American Life. Spiegel encountered something so alluring, even overwhelming, that the secular, urban Jew was almost pulled in. (After several days at Ted Haggard's church, Spiegel called This American Life's Ira Glass who -- as if he were a deprogrammer weaning her from a cult -- had to convince Alix Spiegel that she really belonged back in her secular realm of origin, Chicago.)

From its early days, New Life Church's members worked to map out all the territorial demon spirits inhabiting Colorado Springs. At some point in the process, they fed the mapping information into a computer database. Methodically -- street by street, block by block -- they used prayer-warfare to expel the demons from their city. And they maintained a 24/7 prayer shield over Colorado Springs to prevent demon re-infestations. As with inner-city cockroaches, the price of demon-free living was constant vigilance.

Alix Spiegel called some of the practices she saw at Haggard's church "medieval," while René Holvast described this new way as incommensurable with modern Christianity:

Conversations and discussions with some missionary colleagues did not seem to lead to mutual understanding. The usual evangelical ways of reasoning fell mute. It seemed to be not just a different way of understanding, but a different way of reasoning altogether.

In fact, at the very time Holvast and Spiegel encountered it, the ‘new paradigm' had just been invented. In the period of the late 1980s through the early 1990s, a group of quintessentially American tinkerers grafted new practices of ‘spiritual mapping' and ‘spiritual warfare' onto a peculiar and radical theological substrate emerging from the Latter Rain and healing revivals that burst out in Canada and North America during the late 1940s.

They molded their hybridized new Christianity into a standardized package of ideas and practices such that, by the late 1990s, they began exporting the product from Colorado Springs to both the domestic American market and internationally at an astonishing rate.