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Prominent GOP-Linked Evangelist: God Will Send Hunters (Like Hitler) to Pursue the Jews

COMMENT: Over the years, we’ve covered the profound Nazi and fascist elements at the foundation of the Republican Party. This extremism continues to express itself.

Texas GOP Governor Rick Perry used “The Response” prayer event to launch his presidential bid. That event prominently featured Mike Bickle, head of the International House of Prayer.

Bickle recently opined that Jews who didn’t move to Israel and convert to Christianity would be put in prison camps and pursued by hunters sent by God. Bicle cited Adolf Hitler as an example of one of these God-sent hunters.

Aside from the overt Christian/Nazi nature of the comment, it is striking to see the degree of overlap between Christian fascism and Islamic fascism.

In FTR #634, we noted that Muslim Brotherhood-connected figures saw Hitler as having been sent by God to punish the Jews.

One of the prominent influences on the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, Sayyid Qutb was one of those.

“. . . In Qutb’s eyes, the Jews are to blame for every­thing they have suf­fered over the cen­turies, and this applies to Hitler and the Shoah too. Thus, in the mod­ern period, ‘the Jews again returned to evil-doing and con­se­quently Allah . . . brought Hitler to rule over them.’ But even the ‘pun­ish­ment’ meted out by Hitler was not suf­fi­ciently ter­ri­ble, since ‘once again today the Jews have returned to evil-doing, in the form of ‘Israel’ . . . So let Allah bring down upon the Jew­ish peo­ple . . . the worst kind of pun­ish­ment.’ Qutb’s mes­sage is inter­nally con­sis­tent: the Jew is the source of evil in the world, the Shoah is there­fore no crime and Israel deserves to be erased from the map. . . .”
(Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11; Matthias Kuntzel; Telos Press Pub­lish­ing [HC]; Copy­right 2007 Telos Press Pub­lish­ing; ISBN 10: 0–914386-36–0; p. 84.)

In Cairo to Damascus, John Roy Carlson noted the the similarity in world-view and rhetoric between Christian and Muslim fascists after interviewing Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“. . . I asked his views on estab­lish­ing the Caliphate, the com­plete merger of Church and State—the Moslem equiv­a­lent of reli­gious total­i­tar­i­an­ism, as in Spain. ‘We want an Ara­bian United States with a Caliphate at its head and every Arab state sub­scrib­ing whole­heart­edly to the laws of the Koran. . . . The laws of the Koran are suit­able for all men at all times to the end of the world.’ . . . I could not help mak­ing a men­tal note that the word ‘Chris­t­ian’ has been sim­i­larly used and with sim­i­lar fanati­cism among West­ern expo­nents of author­i­tar­i­an­ism. . . .”
(Cairo to Damascus, p. 92)

Now, about Bickle’s comments:

“IHOP Head Mike Bickle Predicts Coming Prison Camps for Jews” by Bruce Wilson; Talk to Action; 10/18/1011.

EXCERPT: According to Kansas City-based International House of Prayer founder and evangelist Mike Bickle–who played a major role in the August 6th “The Response” prayer event that served as the de facto kickoff event for Rick Perry’s presidential bid–in the near future Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity and move to Israel will be pursued by “hunters” sent by God and can expect to be thrown into “prison camps” and “death camps” (see embedded video footage, from Bickle sermons)

IHOP Kansas head Bickle says that “the most famous [heaven-sent] hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler”, and has claimed that Jews collectively are “under the discipline of God because of… perversion and sin.”

In Mike Bickle’s view, a lucky one third of the world’s Jewish population to survive the apocalyptic persecution he predicts will “get radically saved and become lovesick worshipers of Jesus.” Bickle has expounded these prophecies, which he claims are clearly described in Biblical scripture, in multiple sermons from 2004 through 2009.

As a newly released AP News story acknowledges, IHOP head Mike Bickle played a substantial role in Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry’s August 6th, 2011 The Response Prayer event. . . .

Discussion

9 comments for “Prominent GOP-Linked Evangelist: God Will Send Hunters (Like Hitler) to Pursue the Jews”

  1. Thank you Dave for reminding those who tend to forget these things too often. Being involved myself in a struggle against anti-semitism in my local area, I can say that it is not always easy to make people understand that it is not only useless but mostly stupid to scapegoat the Jews for the problems of the world. Evil is universal. No race or ethnic group or nationality has the copyright or exclusivity on it.

    You’re right. Christian and Muslim fascists have certainly in common their hatred of Jews. Hopefully, fundamentalists such as the Evangelicals have a much more positive view of the Jews and it tends to counter-balance the others. Not enough I should say, but that’s a start.

    Unfortunately, the day envisioned by Mike Bickle will probably happen. In a World War III scenario, Fascists, both Christian and Muslims, and probably third-position Leftists too, will fight against Liberal Democrats, both Christian and Jew, for the control of the world. The fate of the Jews will depend totally on the ability of the Liberal Democrats and Israel to win the military and guerilla wars against the Fascists and their terrorist footsoldiers. I just hope that we will have the courage and strength to fight to our last breath to save mankind from this terrible beast that is coming upon us. It is only our resolve in the end that will make us win.

    If it can boost your spirit, you can watch this documentary on the French Resistance (narrated in French) on my site:

    http://lys-dor.com/2011/10/19/la-resistance-francaise-ou-comment-repousser-lenvahisseur-pour-proteger-la-civilisation/

    Have a great day.

    Posted by Claude | October 20, 2011, 10:41 pm
  2. @Claude: A little skeptical on the WWIII, tbh, given how much fearmongering is out there, but I do believe there could be a day where fascists and anti-fascists of all stripes are indeed duking it out on the streets of many of the world’s major cities.

    Posted by Steven | October 22, 2011, 1:07 pm
  3. And hopefully, we’ll have someone like Dave to help us keep on top of things. =)

    Posted by Steven | October 23, 2011, 1:38 am
  4. Also note Bickle’s role as a leader of the “Joel’s Army” theological movement. It’s rooted in the 1940’s preachings of William Branham and there’s no shortage of racialist undertones to the theology:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2008/fall/arming-for-armageddon



    Branham was killed in a car accident in 1965, but his Manifest Sons of God movement, the direct predecessor of Joel’s Army, lived on within a cluster of hyper-charismatic churches. In the 1980s, Branham’s teachings took on new life at the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), a group of popular self-styled apostles and prophets who used the Missouri church as a launching pad for national careers promoting outright Joel’s Army theology.

    Ernie Gruen, a local pastor who initially promoted and gave citywide credibility to KCF pastors in the early 1980s, cut his connections in 1990. Concerned about KCF’s plans to push its teachings worldwide, Gruen published a 132-page insider’s account, based on taped sermons and conversations and interviews with parents who had enrolled their kids in KCF’s Dominion school.

    According to Gruen’s report, students at the school were taught that they were a “super-race” of the “elected seed” of all the best bloodlines of all generations — foreknown, predestined, and hand-selected from billions of others to be part of the “end-time Omega generation.”

    Though he’d once promoted these doctrines himself, Gruen became convinced that the movement was turning into an end-times cult, marked by what he summarized as “spiritual threats, fears, and warnings of death,” “warning followers to beware of other Christians” and exhibiting “a ‘super-race’ mentality toward the training of their children.”

    When contacted by the Intelligence Report, Gruen’s spokesman said that Gruen stands by everything he published in the report but no longer grants media interviews.

    The Kansas City Fellowship remains in operation and has served as a farm team for many of the all-stars of the Joel’s Army movement. Those larger-than-life figures include John Wimber, the founder of a California megachurch, The Vineyard, who, before his death in 1997, proclaimed that Joel’s Army would not only conquer the earth but defeat death itself. Lou Engle founded The Call based on the Joel’s Army visions that KCF “prophet” Bob Jones (not to be confused with Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University) received while at KCF. Mike Bickle, another KCF member, stayed in Kansas City to form the International House of Prayer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 24, 2011, 8:24 pm
  5. @Pterrafractyl: Kinda scary to think about, but this information looks to be quite valuable. Thanks for putting this up. =)

    Posted by Steven L. | November 1, 2011, 10:20 am
  6. It looks like Joel’s Army teamed up with another army….in Guatemala. Note that the “C. Peter Wagner” referenced in that article is like the Joel’s Army Godfather. His Dominionist platform of having the Christian church (one sect in particular) take over government might sound familiar in other parts of the world.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2012, 9:57 pm
  7. Part 1 of 2 posts (there seems to be a word limit on posts?):

    Note: Perhaps a better location for this comment would be FTR #697 (Christian Fundamentalism & The Underground Reich), or FTR #497 (Nightmare), but comments are locked (or not responding) for those posts.

    On intelligence-exploited “prophecy”, symbolism, Obama — and the strange “nationalist destiny” of “defeating Satan” on July 4, 2012:

    Dave writes (point #5, FTR 497): “Is it possible that people within the administration seek catastrophe in order to fulfill biblical prophecy?”

    “Reverse-engineering” prophecies would be a very powerful tool for intelligence agencies (or rogue factions within intelligence agencies) to amplify the narrative propaganda power of assassinations & would-be assassinations.

    Interestingly, those of us raised in fundamentalist Christian eschatology are well-aware of The Book of Daniel’s “anti-Christ” prophecy which gives “1260 days” (roughly three-and-one-half years) as the length of time that the anti-Christ would be “permitted” to deceive mankind.

    Obama’s January 20, 2009 inauguration was marred by John Roberts’ illegitimacy-baiting misapplication of the Oath of Office. Obama took the Oath again, correctly, on January 21.

    Adding 1260 days to January 21, the exact date is July 4, 2012.

    Am I saying that Barack Obama has a rendezvous with “destiny” on July 4?

    As you’ll recall, on July 4, 2011 (one year ago), we were treated to an Obama “foreshadowing” event that would — (should anyone decide to “force the prophecy to come true”) — be looked back upon by many as evidence of right-wing conspiracy … and it was perhaps intentionally planted to do so, post-mortem:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/jul/04/fox-news-hacked-twitter-obama-dead

    Who was this Twitter message for? Who was its intended audience?

    What effect would it have, post-mortem, on Tea Party reactionaries?

    Was its intended purpose to misdirect — to leave clues that would associate right-wing factions/Fox News mischief-makers with the (hypothetical) assassination?

    Or will it be “framed” (ala George Lakoff) to consolidate Tea Party reaction to a sudden death that even Tea Partiers would find suspicious — which could now be framed as “left-wing hackers supporting a Clinton conspiracy to kill Obama” and prevent Tea Partiers from having a crisis of conscience?

    Of course, these questions are premature. And, all-the-more murky if there was no assassination, but a “heart attack”:

    Tom Brokaw to Obama: Stop Smoking
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/10/tom-brokaw-obama-smoking_n_795210.html

    Physician’s Open Letter To Obama: Stop Smoking
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-seidman/an-open-letter-to-preside_b_487452.html

    Obama “Cigarette Tracking” News Page
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/obama-smoking-habit

    2008 concerns about Obama’s health seemed bizarre 4 years ago … but would seem prescient on July 4:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-stier/obamas-health_b_97436.html

    “The Disproportionate Cost For African-Americans” who smoke:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19965569

    continued in part 2 of post:

    Posted by R. Wilson | May 18, 2012, 12:04 pm
  8. Sadly, there’s more than one way to deny the holocaust. For instance, horribly false equivalences will do the trick:

    TPM Livewire
    Texas GOP Lawmaker: Secularism Is Like Nazi ‘Bullet Through The Throat’

    By Caitlin MacNeal
    Published October 1, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT

    Texas state Sen. Charles Perry (R) on Tuesday compared the lack of religious influence in U.S. government to the Holocaust during a speech at his swearing-in ceremony.

    “There were 10,000 people that were paraded into a medical office under the guise of a physical. As they stood with their back against the wall, they were executed with a bullet through the throat. Before they left, 10,000 people met their fate that way,” he said, recalling a recent trip to a former German concentration camp, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

    “Is it not the same than when our government continues to perpetuate laws that lead citizens away from God?” Perry then asked. “The only difference is that the fraud of the Germans was more immediate and whereas the fraud of today’s government will not be exposed until the final days and will have eternal-lasting effects.”

    Perry said that he believes God and religion have a place in government and that there is a “spiritual battle for the spirit of this nation and the soul of its people.”

    He added that he will focus on abortion and same-sex marriage while in office.

    “Roe v. Wade condemned 55 million innocent and defenseless souls that cried out for righteousness from a God who is just — we will answer for that as a nation,” Perry said.

    Regarding Perry’s statement about how “Roe v. Wade condemned 55 million innocent and defenseless souls that cried out for righteousness from a God who is just — we will answer for that as a nation”, one of Perry’s far right fellow travelers that happens to have a column at the National Review already recently shared the ‘national answer’ he has in mind.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 1, 2014, 1:34 pm
  9. Talking Points Memo has a new longform piece for TPM Prime members on Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer. Here’s a preview:

    TPM Longform
    A TPM Investigation: Inside the International House of Prayer
    BySarah PosnerPublishedOctober 1, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    On a Sunday evening in March 2013, after a late spring snowstorm, several hundred people braved the weather to reach an unassuming building nestled into a former strip mall in the small suburban community of Grandview, Missouri, 16 miles south of Kansas City. Their destination was the International House of Prayer. The prayer room—a nondescript auditorium ringed with small side rooms for prophesying and faith healing—receives daily visitors from all over the world who want to experience what IHOP’s founder, the controversial, and self-titled, “prophet” Mike Bickle, claims is a recreation of the biblical King David’s tabernacle. Bickle maintains he is helping Christians achieve a greater intimacy with Jesus through 24/7 music and prayer – a prerequisite, he says, for Jesus to return to earth, carry out God’s battle plan for the end-times, vanquish the Antichrist, and rule the world from his throne in Jerusalem.

    On that snowy night, hundreds of followers in what is known as the charismatic Christian movement descended on Grandview for a “Transform World” prayer summit, a meeting that promised 70 consecutive hours of prayer to add new houses of prayer to the hundreds of IHOP imitators around the world. Growing the number of houses of prayer, the participants believed, will help “transform” communities, preparing them for a global revival.

    Through IHOP and its associated church, Forerunner Christian Fellowship, Bickle claims to be cultivating an elite class of “forerunners,” or people who “represent God and his interests,” and who “prepare the people to respond rightly to Jesus by making known God’s plans so the people can make sense of what will happen before it actually happens.” His vision of the end-times, which is central to his teaching, maintains that these “redeemed” people will be raptured just as Jesus begins his “royal procession” into Jerusalem. Bickle believes they will return to earth as “resurrected saints” who will “possess supernatural abilities.” When Jesus rules as “King over all dominions and spheres of society,” these resurrected saints will rule with him, “as kings and priests.”

    Bickle is a major figure in what is known as charismatic Christianity, a sprawling movement with no clear organizational structure or hierarchy, led by magnetic and often authoritarian figures who proclaim themselves to be modern-day prophets and apostles. Driven by the passionate pronouncements of these “prophets,” rather than by, say, a denominational creed, the movement derides mainstream evangelical churches as moribund and dull – and in so doing has forced them to adapt to its presence. Lest you think these movements are fringe, just look at Republican politics, which has increasingly embraced the charismatic movement and its leaders in its quest for the evangelical vote. Outside of politics–but still crucial to its ongoing and future entanglement with religion–movements like Bickle’s entice the very young people evangelical leaders fret are slipping away from their faith. In one sense, IHOP, with its heterodox theology, inhabits a world of its own. But its draw to young people has led evangelical, and even mainline Protestant churches, as well as word of mouth and social media networks, to advertise its virtues to parents and teenagers who think they want to achieve more “intimacy” with God.

    Part of the attraction is sheer excitement. Charismatic, or renewalist Christianity – and, by extension, IHOP’s theology – is made up of born-again adherents whose worship practices focus on supernatural occurrences, faith healing, miracles, prophecy, and revelation, many of which developed over the mid-to-late 20th century as part of a “Third Wave” of charismatic revival. The first wave was born of the early 20th century Pentecostal revival launched by the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles; later, a second wave of charismatic Christians who did not identify as Pentecostal were seen in growing nondenominational and even mainline churches. IHOP grew out of the strand late-20th century, or Third Wave charismatic Christianity that emphasized the role of modern-day prophets and apostles who claim to receive authoritative, extra-biblical revelations directly from God.

    Prophesy and miracles may sound fringe, but Bickle’s acolytes extend to high places. Bickle and his IHOP co-founder, the evangelist and anti-abortion crusader Lou Engle, have captured the attention of politicians eager reach a religious base increasingly influenced by these movements. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 prayer rally, The Response, held just before he announced his presidential bid, was bankrolled by the American Family Association, directed by IHOP staffer Luis Cataldo, and featured Bickle in a prominent role as a speaker. Misty Edwards, who leads musical worship at IHOP and is hugely popular in the Christian music world, also led musical interludes at The Response.

    It wasn’t a one-off. Last year, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback—who once shared a Washington, DC apartment with Engle—welcomed IHOP’s annual One Thing conference, which takes place in Kansas City every December and draws tens of thousands of young people to “encounter Jesus, so that we might go forth to do His works and change the world, until the fame of Jesus fills the earth.”

    And on the National Mall in 2008 Bickle shared a stage with one-time Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee. That day he preached that prayer and repentance, not politics, are the answer to America’s problems. Engle, too, has prayed with Republican members of Congress, including Reps. Michele Bachmann and Randy Forbes (co-chair of the 93-member bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus) and then-Sens. Brownback and Jim DeMint (now president of the Heritage Foundation), against passage of health care reform. IHOP was a “ministry partner,” along with the Family Research Council and the National Day of Prayer Task Force, for a 2012 “solemn assembly” for prayer and meeting with members of Congress.

    Yet elected friends or not, Bickle’s 30-year career has been marked as much by his charismatic attraction to followers as by accusations of “aberrant” practices, false prophecies — even heresy. Since his affiliation with a group called the Kansas City Prophets, a group of self-declared prophets which coalesced around Bickle’s church in the 1980s, a legion of critics—theologically conservative evangelicals themselves, including former IHOP followers and staff—say his theology and practices are a distortion of the Bible, and the spiritual demands placed on followers, including unquestioning obedience to Bickle’s ideas, are authoritarian and abusive.

    If you aren’t thoroughly perturbed by all of that, keep in mind that the “Kansas City Prophets” that coalesced around Bickle and Engle’s church in the 80’s is the same group that spawned this:

    Southern Poverty Law Center
    Intelligence Report, Fall 2008, Issue Number: 131
    Todd Bentley’s Militant Joel’s Army Gains Followers in Florida

    Militant Joel’s Army Followers Seek Theocracy
    By Casey Sanchez

    LAKELAND, Fla. — Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous “supernatural healing revival” in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don’t bat an eye when he tells them he’s seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. “He was looking very Jewish,” Bentley notes.

    Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read “Joel’s Army.” They’re evidence of Bentley’s generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that’s gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other “hyper-charismatic” preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel’s Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian “dominion” on non-believers.

    “An end-time army has one common purpose — to aggressively take ground for the kingdom of God under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Dread Champion,” Bentley declares on the website for his ministry school in British Columbia, Canada. “The trumpet is sounding, calling on-fire, revolutionary believers to enlist in Joel’s Army. … Many are now ready to be mobilized to establish and advance God’s kingdom on earth.”

    Joel’s Army followers, many of them teenagers and young adults who believe they’re members of the final generation to come of age before the end of the world, are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches. Numbering in the tens of thousands, they base their beliefs on an esoteric reading of the second chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel, in which an avenging swarm of locusts attacks Israel. In their view, the locusts are a metaphor for Joel’s Army.

    Despite their overt militancy, there’s no evidence Joel’s Army followers have committed any acts of violence. But critics warn that actual bloodletting may only be a matter of time for a movement that casts itself as God’s avenging army.

    Those sounding the alarm about Joel’s Army are not secular foes of the Christian Right, few of whom are even aware of the movement or how widespread it’s become in the past decade. Instead, Joel’s Army critics are mostly conservative Christians, either neo-Pentecostals who left the movement in disgust or evangelical Christians who fear that Joel’s Army preachers are stealing their flocks, even sending spies to infiltrate their own congregations and sway their young people to heresy. And they say the movement is becoming frightening.

    “The pitch and intensity of the military rhetoric of this branch of the global Dominionist movement has substantially increased since the beginning of 2008,” writes The Discernment Research Group, a Christian watchdog group that tracks what they call heresies or cults within Christianity. “One can only wonder how long before this transforms into real warfare with actual warriors.”

    ‘Snorting Religion’
    Joel’s Army believers are hard-core Christian dominionists, meaning they believe that America, along with the rest of the world, should be governed by conservative Christians and a conservative Christian interpretation of biblical law. There is no room in their doctrine for democracy or pluralism.

    Dominionism’s original branch is Christian Reconstructionism, a grim, Calvinist call to theocracy that, as Reconstructionist writer Gary North describes, wants to “get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

    Notorious for endorsing the public execution by stoning of LGBT people and adulterers, the Christian Reconstructionist movement is far better known in secular America than Joel’s Army. That’s largely because Reconstructionists have made several serious forays into mainstream politics and received a fair amount of negative publicity as a result. Joel’s Army followers eschew the political system, believing the path to world domination lies in taking over churches, not election to public office.

    Another key difference between the two branches of dominionism, which maintain a testy, arms-length relationship with one another, is Christian Reconstructionism’s buttoned-down image and heavy emphasis on Bible study, which contrasts sharply with Joel’s Army anti-intellectual distrust of biblical scholars and its unruly style.

    “Some people snort cocaine, others snort religions,” Joel’s Army Pastor Roy said while ministering a morning program at Todd Bentley’s Lakeland, Fla., revival in late May.

    Warrior Nation
    According to Joel’s Army doctrine, the enforcers of the five-fold ministry will be members of the final generation, for whom the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade constituted a new Passover.

    “Everyone born after abortion’s legalization can consider their birth a personal invitation to take part in this great army,” writes John Crowder, another prominent Joel’s Army pastor, who bills his 2006 book, The New Mystics: How to Become Part of the Supernatural Generation, as a literal how-to guide for joining Joel’s Army.

    Both Bentley and Crowder are enormously popular on Elijah’s List, an online watering hole for a broad spectrum of Joel’s Army enlistees, from lightweight believers who merely share an affection for military rhetoric and pastors who dress in army camouflage (several Joel’s Army pastors are addressed by their congregants as “commandant” or “commander”) to hardliners who believe the church is called to have an active military role in end-times that have already begun. Elijah’s List currently has more than 125,000 subscribers on its electronic mailing list.

    Rick Joyner, a pastor whose books, The Harvest and The Call, helped popularize Joel’s Army theology by selling more than a million copies each, goes the furthest on Elijah’s List in pushing the hardliner approach. In 2006, he posted a sermon called “The Warrior Nation — The New Sound of the Church,” in which he claimed that a last-day army is now gathering and called believers “freedom fighters.”

    “As the church begins to take on this resolve, they [Joel’s Army churches] will start to be thought of more as military bases, and they will begin to take on the characteristics of military bases for training, equipping, and deploying effective spiritual forces,” Joyner wrote. “In time, the church will actually be organized more as a military force with an army, navy, air force, etc.”

    In a sort of disclaimer, Joyner writes at one point that God’s army “will bring love, peace and stability wherever they go.” But several of his books narrate with glee what he describes as “a coming civil war within the church.” In his 1997 book The Harvest he writes: “Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist this tide of unity will be removed from their place. Some will become so hardened they will become opposers and resist God to the end.”

    Two years later, in his book The Final Quest, Joyner described a vision (taken as prophecy in the Joel’s Army world, where Joyner is considered an “apostle”) of the coming Christian Civil War in which demon-possessed Christian soldiers enslave other, weaker Christians who resist them. He also describes how the hero of the novel — himself — ascends a “Holy Mountain” in order to learn new truths and to acquire new, magic weapons.

    Kids on Fire
    Bentley, who claims to be a supernatural healer, is no less over the top, playing his biker-punk appearance and heavy metal theatrics to the hilt. On YouTube, where clips of his most dramatic healings have been condensed into a three-minute highlight reel, Bentley describes God ordering him to kick an elderly lady in the face: “I am thinking, ‘God, why is the power of God not moving?’ And He said, ‘It is because you haven’t kicked that women in the face.’ And there was, like, this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform and the Holy Spirit spoke to me and the gift of faith came on me. He said, ‘Kick her in the face … with your biker boot.’ I inched closer and I went like this [makes kicking motion]: Bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God.”

    The atmosphere is less charged with violence at “The Call,” a 12-hour revival of up to 20,000 youths led by Joel’s Army pastor Lou Engle and held every summer in a major American city (this year’s event was scheduled for Washington, D.C. in August).

    Attendees are called upon to fast and pray for 40 days and take up culture-war pledges to lead abstinent lives, reject pornography and fight abortion. They’re further asked to perform “identificational repentance,” lugging along family trees and genealogies to see where one of their ancestors may have enslaved or oppressed another so that they can make amends. (Many in the Joel’s Army movement believe in generational curses that must be broken by the current generation).

    As even his critics note, Engle is a sweet, humble and gentle man whose persona is difficult to reconcile with his belief in an end-time army of invincible young Christian warriors. Yet while Engle is careful to avoid deploying explicit Joel’s Army rhetoric at high-profile events like The Call, when he’s speaking in smaller hyper-charismatic circles to avowed Joel’s Army followers, he can venture into bloodlust.

    This March, at a “Passion for Jesus” conference in Kansas City sponsored by the International House of Prayer, or IHOP, a ministry for teenagers from the heavy metal, punk and goth scenes, Engle called on his audience for vengeance.

    “I believe we’re headed to an Elijah/Jezebel showdown on the Earth, not just in America but all over the globe, and the main warriors will be the prophets of Baal versus the prophets of God, and there will be no middle ground,” said Engle. He was referring to the Baal of the Old Testament, a pagan idol whose followers were slaughtered under orders from the prophet Elijah.

    “There’s an Elijah generation that’s going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion,” Engle continued. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire.”

    Although Joel’s Army theology is mainly directed at people in their teens and early 20s via events like The Call and ministries like IHOP, sometimes the target audience is even younger. In some of the most arresting images in “Jesus Camp,” a 2006 documentary about the Kids on Fire bible camp in North Dakota, grade school-aged kids dressed in army fatigues wield swords and conduct military field maneuvers. “A lot of people die for God and they’re not afraid,” one camper told ABC News reporters in a follow-up segment.

    “We’re kinda being trained to be warriors,” added another, “only in a funner way.”

    Cain and the Intellectuals
    Both Christian and secular critics assailed the makers of “Jesus Camp” for referring to the camp’s extremist, militant Christianity as “evangelical.” There is a name, however, that describes Kids on Fire’s agenda, if you’re familiar with their theology: Joel’s Army. Pastor Becky Fischer, who runs the camp, said that a third of the kids at her camp were under 6 years old because they are “more in touch in the supernatural” and proclaimed them to be “soldiers for God’s Army.” Her camp’s blend of end-times militancy and supernaturalism is perfectly emblematic of the Joel’s Army movement, whose adherents believe their cause is prophesied in the Old Testament chapter titled “An Army of Locusts.”

    The stark, evocative passages of that chapter describe a locust swarm that lays waste to Israel (to this day, the region suffers periodic locust invasions): “Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.” As remarkable as the language is, most biblical scholars agree that it is a literal description of a locust invasion and resulting famine that occurred sometime between the 9th and 5th centuries B.C.E.

    In the Book of Joel, the locust invasion is described as an omen that an Assyrian army to the north may attack Israel if it fails to repent as a nation. But nowhere is the invasion described as an army of God. According to an Assemblies of God position paper: “It is a complete misinterpretation of Scripture to find in Joel’s army of locusts a militant, victorious force attacking society and a non-cooperating Church to prepare the earth for Christ’s millennial reign.”

    The story of how an ancient insect invasion came to be a rallying flag for 21st-century dominonists begins just after World War II in Canada. Out of a small town in Saskatchewan, a Pentecostal preacher named William Branham spearheaded a 1948 revival in which he claimed that his followers lived in a new biblical time of “Latter Rain.”

    The most sinless and ardent of his flock would be called “Manifest Sons of God.” By the next year, the movement was so strong — and seemed so subversive to some — that the Assemblies of God banned it as a heretic cult. But Branham remained a controversial figure with a loyal following; many of his followers believed him to be the end-times prophet Elijah.

    Michael Barkun, a leading scholar of radical religion, notes that in 1958, Branham began teaching “Serpent Seed” doctrine, the belief that Satan had sex with Eve, resulting in Cain and his descendants. “Through Cain came all the smart, educated people down to the antediluvian flood — the intellectuals, bible colleges,” Branham wrote in the kind of anti-mainstream religion, anti-intellectual spirit that pervades the Joel’s Army movement to this day. “They know all their creeds but know nothing about God.”

    The Gates of Hell
    Branham was killed in a car accident in 1965, but his Manifest Sons of God movement, the direct predecessor of Joel’s Army, lived on within a cluster of hyper-charismatic churches. In the 1980s, Branham’s teachings took on new life at the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), a group of popular self-styled apostles and prophets who used the Missouri church as a launching pad for national careers promoting outright Joel’s Army theology.

    Ernie Gruen, a local pastor who initially promoted and gave citywide credibility to KCF pastors in the early 1980s, cut his connections in 1990. Concerned about KCF’s plans to push its teachings worldwide, Gruen published a 132-page insider’s account, based on taped sermons and conversations and interviews with parents who had enrolled their kids in KCF’s Dominion school.

    According to Gruen’s report, students at the school were taught that they were a “super-race” of the “elected seed” of all the best bloodlines of all generations — foreknown, predestined, and hand-selected from billions of others to be part of the “end-time Omega generation.”

    Though he’d once promoted these doctrines himself, Gruen became convinced that the movement was turning into an end-times cult, marked by what he summarized as “spiritual threats, fears, and warnings of death,” “warning followers to beware of other Christians” and exhibiting “a ‘super-race’ mentality toward the training of their children.”

    When contacted by the Intelligence Report, Gruen’s spokesman said that Gruen stands by everything he published in the report but no longer grants media interviews.

    The Kansas City Fellowship remains in operation and has served as a farm team for many of the all-stars of the Joel’s Army movement. Those larger-than-life figures include John Wimber, the founder of a California megachurch, The Vineyard, who, before his death in 1997, proclaimed that Joel’s Army would not only conquer the earth but defeat death itself. Lou Engle founded The Call based on the Joel’s Army visions that KCF “prophet” Bob Jones (not to be confused with Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University) received while at KCF. Mike Bickle, another KCF member, stayed in Kansas City to form the International House of Prayer.

    IHOP members and other Joel’s Army adherents are well aware of how their movement is perceived by other conservative Christians.

    “Today, you can type ‘Joel’s Army’ into a search engine and a thousand heresy hunter websites pop up, decrying the very mention of it,” writes John Crowder in The New Mystics. Crowder doesn’t exactly allay critic’s fears. “This is truly warfare,” he writes. “This battle is not a game. They [Joel’s Army warriors] will not be on the defense; they will be on the offense — and the gates of hell will not be able to hold up against them.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 2, 2014, 7:25 pm

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