General Palin, Joel’s Army

If you think this stuff only matters to charismatics, think again!

When I previously saw the Third Wave linked with Sarah Palin on heresy hunters sites, I didn’t pay much attention. However, Huffington Post just ran a post based upon the same shoddy reporting, scare tactics, and guilt-by-association as the heresy hunters.

If you want to be able to sort through the religious propoganda being served up, you might want to brush up on what these doctrines actually are.  I had no idea when I started digging into this that it would be pertinent to politics.

I am neutral in this election, and I don’t really care who your candidates are, but I think this is really slimy.  The way things are slanted in the article, it makes everything charismatic look crazy and aggressive.  And there are already over 300 hundred comments agreeing with every word of the article.  It doesn’t bother me that people might oppose Palin as a candidate.  It does bother me that the article fabricates an air of religious paranoia concerning her.

Although it had nothing to do with Palin or her church, the article managed to pack in references to Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, John Hagee, Rodney-Howard Browne, several to Todd Bentley, head-butting and kicking, William Branham, several to the movie Jesus Camp, Operation Ice Castle, The Queen of Heaven, The Great Whore of Babylon, and a bizarre quote from Ana Mendez.

Every healing evangelist is not as bizarre as Todd Bentley.  Every prophetic person is not as extreme as Stacy Campbell.  Every apostle is not as imperialistic as Peter Wagner.  There are many sincere people and leaders involved in these movements that don’t exhibit the extremes of the people who are more visible.

From what I can tell, Sarah Palin was a member of a local AofG church since childhood.  This church is now connected with Morningstar Ministries. Their belief in spiritual warfare, territorial spirits, and generational curses is pretty typical for prophetic churches.  Their openness to exuberant worship and manifestations is also pretty typical of charismatic churches.  End of story.

Yes spiritual warfare can be taken to extremes.  However at its most basic level, it is simply the belief that it is effective to pray against evil and spiritual darkness.  Spiritual manifestations can also be taken to extreme, and I believe they have been recently.  However, authentic spiritual manifestations would also look bizarre captured on video for the uninitiated observer.

From my post yesterday, you can see that most charismatic churches today have at least some latter-rain influence, particularly those in the apostolic-prophetic branch.  That does not automatically imply that they have adopted the extremes and excesses of the movement.

The extremes of latter rain belief are repeatedly quoted in the article leaving the reader to conclude that these are the beliefs of Palin and her church.  The conspiratorial tone of the article suggests that Palin is a plant of the Third Wave movement to implement their plans for world takeover.

“The movement is training a young “Joel’s Army” to take dominion over the United States and the world.”

Sure. And Obama’s Muslim, right?

Could we maybe just stick to the facts people?

Update: One of thousands of stupid quotes I read today:

“Look, if someone was a member of the actual Taliban, we’d darn well say it was relevant.  The AoG is the same thing but in Christian garb.”

Ewww, those scary AG people!

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24 thoughts on “General Palin, Joel’s Army

  1. What do you make of Sarah Palin saying to pray for our leaders who are sending our soldiers out on a task from God? Honestly, that mindset scares the bejeezuz out of me!

  2. Thanks jamie.

    cynthia,
    I think that is a fair statement to critique. It is something that she actually said and reflects her beliefs concerning war. I personally don’t agree with her statement, and it is something I would consider in my decision of who to vote for.

  3. Amen. Sigh…why do so many people struggle with not automatically believing everything they read, see or hear?

    I completely agree with you. I actually really like Palin for multiple reasons. But, even if I were neutral, or even who was going to vote Democrat, someone with honor and respect would see that this article clearly unfairly and rudely bashes on Sarah Palin. It IS really slimy.

    You are correct in how the media, writers, news reporters – although they SAY they’ll produce the news in a non-biased manner – do not. This article just “rings home” all the more how disconnected and unrespresentative Christianity in America has become to the true heart of God.

    Sigh…

    Blessings,
    ~Amy :)
    http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

  4. Thanks for being a voice of reason on this. I agree with you on the scare tactics which pervade the political discourse of today.

    However, I must say this. Picking Sarah Palin has energized the Religious Right unlike never before. Many tell me that they have not been excited since 1980.

    You gotta take the good with the bad. Once throwing religion into the equation, and got a whole group of people to vote for you because your religious belief resonates with them, there will be repelling forces at work, which is exactly what we are looking at.

    Just when I thought that the Religious Right was on the decline, and we could finally direct our focus to the gospel, here comes the same old bone from the Republican party thrown at us, and we are eagerly biting it.

    The same distortions. The same lies. The same perversions of the gospel all over again. And of course distortions and lies are met with distortions and lies from the opposing camp, and that is what happens when we drag the gospel through the mud in the political arena.

  5. As always, I am so grateful for your gracious way of dealing with stuff, Grace. Your approach is exactly what I was talking about on another blog just a moment ago.

    This is very reminiscent of those who believe that Romney is part of a Mormon plot to take over the leadership of all governments in the world….

    Speaking the truth in love is a very difficult challenge to accept. Thanks for showing the way, Grace.

  6. Anyone voting for either a Democrat or a Republican really needs to ask if they are voting in America’s best interest.

    It’s time to put an end to the duopoly and vote for a third party.

  7. amy,
    As of today, this article is now being posted everywhere as fact. In reality, 90% of the article and the accompanying video have nothing to do with Palin or her church. The majority of the video is clips from Morningstar. The majority of the article is about the extremes of latter rain doctrine. Both are then used to imply that these are Palin’s beliefs and practices.

    How much of this does she go along with? I don’t know, but rather than guilt-by-association, perhaps it would be a good idea for someone to ask her about her religious views, particularly in regard to third wave, latter rain doctrine before declaring her to be part of an extremist cult.

    sarah,
    The way this is being swallowed up and repeated, apparently our intelligence as voters deserves to be insulted. ;)

    Thanks joshua. Nice to meet you.

    david,
    In my opinion, over-enthusiasm by the Religious Right will backfire. I believe the country is fed up with their attempts to influence politics. I thought George W was their man. What happened there? Personally, I think the smartest thing that Palin could do at this point would be to distance herself from their agenda.

    Peggy,
    Thanks for your kind words. I typically prefer not to discuss politics, however, this issue hit close to home for me, not politically, but religiously.

    I watched and listened with interest when the issues came up concerning Obama’s pastor. Because I am not familiar with black liberation theology, I didn’t feel equipped to voice an opinion about the situation.

    However, if there is one thing I know well, it is charismatic church practice and theology. I was very surprised to see the topics that I have recently been researching suddenly hit the headlines of current events.

    With the recent events of Lakeland, it would not be difficult for the media to cast everything charismatic in a very negative light. There is plenty of material to work with.

    ia,
    Actually, I am considering not voting for the first time in my adult life.

  8. Grace, it was interesting to see you comment that for the first time in your adult life you are considering not voting. I am in the exact same boat.

    Normally I truly consider voting a privilege. I literally cry in the voting booth every single time. I’ve been in enough other nations where there was no vote allowed. This has caused me to really appreciate that I can vote. So, this is huge for me to say I don’t think I’m going to vote this time around.

    Would you care to articulate why you may be heading in this direction? I’d love to have someone put words to what is in my heart, and I suspect you are feeling the same things I am. I cannot seem to articulate it very well, though.

  9. Grace wrote;

    Actually, I am considering not voting for the first time in my adult life.

    Hey! What gives?! We weren’t raised thataway.

    I’ve been saying the same thing to friends and family.

    Tom

  10. grace, I can point to several people and blog friends who have renewed their faith in the Religious Right after having been dispirited from the George W Bush presidency.

    If anything, Palin has humanized and re-energized the Religious Right with a dose of novelty and freshness. Her good look doesn’t hurt either.

    Distancing herself from the Religious Right? No sireeee.

  11. For those of you interested in the Christian “no vote” conversation, in addition to what Grace is saying, I suggest reading along with David Fitch (http://www.reclaimingthemission.com/2008/09/how-not-voting-could-help-subvert_02.html) and Anthony Smith (http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/not-voting-as-violence). They have articulated somewhat divergent ways of thought/traditions without mudslinging (and with dignity/regard for the other).

    Grace, btw, good thoughts on religious smear campaigns. Never pleasing to hear…regardless of who says it (or, worse, who believes it!).

  12. tracy,
    Hopefully I won’t regret saying this out loud. Like you, I appreciate the freedoms we have in this country and the right to vote. However, I don’t have any faith in the government’s ability to solve the problems facing our country today. I believe the system is absolutely corrupt, and that it makes little difference which people get elected.

    tom
    I fixed it. :)

    david,
    It will be interesting to see how the church issues play out for her.

  13. May God protect Governor Palin – she seems to have become a political pawn in more ways than she can imagine. I never agreed with his politics, but I regarded President Carter as both a man of authentic faith and ‘one of us’ when he walked into Washington with his workboots on. The machine paralyzed him, tied their political power strings to the appropriate appendages, and danced him around to their pleasure. He was sincere, but he tried to apply personal faith to big government. The Kingdom doesn’t work top down. Not even for sincere people of faith.

    Thank God for our constitution which keeps any single person from wielding enough power to ‘force’ the people of this nation to ascribe to any particular ‘dominion’. Contrary to the fears of the conspiracy theorists JFK didn’t make any moves to make us a Catholic nation (nor could he if he wanted). Jimmy Carter didn’t make any moves to make us a Southern Baptist nation (nor could he if he wanted). If Sarah Palin actually did have any ambitions to make us a … what? A nation under the dominion of the elite Apostles? Whatever – she couldn’t do it if even 51% of the nation clamored for it. It would take a very complicated process of amending the Constitution to even open that door – and that would just be the first step. I think these conspirator theorists should pull their head out of their … well, you know … and use their abilities to make actual differences in elevating the quality of life for the people of this nation.

  14. Thanks for the links jason. I did read parts of that conversation. I wish my reasons were as spiritual and noble sounding as all of that, but for me it boils down to cynicism.

    ken,
    Very well said. The Kingdom doesn’t work top down. Not even for sincere people of faith.

    And as you explained we should appreciate why it doesn’t.

    tracy,
    If I can overcome my cynicism, I may head to the polls. I also have to consider what message I want to send to the young adults in my home.

  15. It is interesting to me to see the number of people who believe that our government is “absolutely corrupt.” The abbess will push back here just a bit and say that this can only be said by people who have not had to function in a country where that statement is true.

    That is not to say that there is no corruption–far from it! But absolute? Too strong a word. One hates to parse “corruption”, but I do think it is helpful and necessary to do.

    I think it’s all time for everyone to take a movie break and watch “Dave”…. ;) We watch it regularly at our home.

  16. She gave McCain a bounce in the polls, he’s now ahead of Obama, so it’s an all out war. The left and the media will not stop until they tear her apart.

  17. Say what you want about the “left” trying to tear Palin apart, but don’t forget to give credit to the army of right wing bloggers that have been working tirelessly to do the same to Palin’s brother in Christ, Barack Obama, since long before she entered the fray.

    For anyone on any side of this disgusting presidential campaign to claim any high ground or moral authority, much less any ounce of Christian integrity, is pretty much a joke at this point.

    Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden are full of it. John McCain sold his soul to the Rovian devil and his running mate is a liar in the I smoked marijuana but didn’t inhale mold of Bill Clinton.

    Once again we the voters are left with a choice between the lesser of two evils.

  18. There can also be problems with over simplification. While a nice quiet observation of a doctrine sounds reasonable and can dispel fear being vigilent is critical.
    When Kennedy ran for president there was much said about his being a Catholic and Bush managed to turn Evagelical Christians into a powerful arm of his political movement using churches and Christians to further his agendas. Palin and Joel’s Army? Dangerous? I don’t know…but a wise voter would not lump her views in as just a Christian. I would not vote for or against her based on that alone. Bush is a good Christian man…..but an inept leader.

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