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If you want to get an idea of just how insidious the New Apostolic Reformation actually is, here's more proof.  A major player in the movement is actually using contemporary-style worship music to wheedle unsuspecting people into this fascistic offshoot of the religious right.

Last week, I posed a YouTube video of a popular praise song at my church here in Charlotte, "Sing My Love."  My good friend Rachel Tabachnick of Talk2Action buzzed me on Facebook to let me know that song was produced by Jesus Culture, a youth-oriented worship ministry based out of Bethel Church in Redding, California.  She also told me something I didn't know at the time--Bethel has become one of the fountainheads for the NAR.  

I'd heard of Jesus Culture before--in fact, I had several of my songs on my iPod.  As someone who's watched the dominionist movement for the better part of a decade and a half and as someone who was suckered into joining a dominionist outfit in college, I was surprised.  I usually have a good ear for sniffing out NAR lunacy.  So needless to say, when I found out I'd inadvertently helped line the pockets of fascists, I was totally deflated ... even more so when Rachel told me more about Bethel's ties to the NAR.

Bethel was a longtime member of the Assemblies of God until what, as far as I've been able to dig up, was an amicable parting in 2006.  Since then, however, Rachel has told me, that church and its pastor, Bill Johnson, have drunken the NAR Kool-Aid by the barrelful.  He's one of the six "apostles" of a group called Revival Alliance.  To give you an idea what kind of outfit they are, Rachel told me that one of their first acts was to commission Todd Bentley, the yayhoo evangelist who claims to heal people by kicking them.  Even more telling, one of Johnson's fellow apostles is Lou Engle's "boss," Che Ahn.  Engle is the "prophet" of Harvest International Ministries, of which Ahn is the leader.

Rachel actually found out about Bethel by accident, while digging more into Louie Giglio in the wake of his getting disinvited from Obama's second inauguration.  Giglio hosted Jesus Culture at his Passion 2013 conference in Atlanta--and Rachel noticed that they were not only out of Bethel, but put out a CD that included quotes from none other than Lou Engle and Cindy Jacobs.  Rachel's listened to conference calls in which NAR leaders openly discuss luring people in through music.  Apparently Jesus Culture is a subtle way to draw unsuspecting people into NAR culture.  It's sad, really ... a lot of their music is pretty good, mainly because NAR-affiliated groups have some really talented people affiliated with them.

Bethel has a pretty dark underside, though--one which came into chilling focus back in 2008.  Jason Carlsen fell off a cliff on the banks of the Sacramento River after a heavy night of drinking.  He came there with two students at Bethel's ministry training school.  They tried to get to him in hopes of healing him through prayer ... and when they couldn't reach him, actually debated whether to call the police.  Johnson has claimed on numerous occasions that he has raised the dead, and apparently these two thought they could do the same for Carlsen.  Due to their shilly-shallying, Carlsen lay their motionless for six hours before rescuers got to him.  He was in a coma for a month, and is now a paraplegic.  He also has permanent brain damage.  He sued his former friends in 2010 for failing to call for help--no word on how that's progressing.

It's absolutely mindblowing--nine times out of ten, if you go to a church that does contemporary worship, you've likely heard music from Jesus Culture.  My church isn't dominonist by any stretch--my pastor frequently talks about how several unmarried couples living together have ended up coming to my church after being turned away by other churches (this is still the Bible Belt, remember).  And yet, if more churches knew that they're playing music that is being used to prime them for Christofascism, they'd put the projector slides and sheet music into the shredder.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Evangelism through trickery. (4+ / 0-)

    Whenever I see this, I catch a glimpse of pure evil.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:02:05 AM PST

    •  Call me cynical, but (6+ / 0-)

      to me it's all trickery.  These little Southern churches* hook people by offering them a sense of community and belonging.  They start with youth programs.  Our species' desire to belong to and identify with a group is strong.  The churches give that, and threaten to take it away.  It's easy for them to motivate their members to do and believe all kinds of things by portraying some situation/group/influence as either important to, or a threat to, the strength of the community.  Identity politics on a scale that, I suspect, works extremely effectively with human nature (presuming a tribal/extended family past).

      *I mention Southern churches because I am in the South and they are the ones I observe.  And I'm raising my kids here and see the youth program phenomenon.  I can't comment on whether this is unique to the region.

      •  Evangelical and mainline churches (4+ / 0-)

        are different both in their evangelism/outreach and in their theological approach. My denomination, the Episcopal Church, is famous for a lack of "recruitment". Our presence in the community is mostly felt through social justice outreach which is secular in nature, ie, soup kitchens, drop-in centres (without asking anyone to participate in anything religious) and things of that nature. We tend to attract people rather than recruit them. Our church, for instance has a top-notch traditional, Anglican music program (led by me) and an excellent Sunday School program as well as providing relaxed but well-done liturgy which is sometimes innovative and outside the box. The atmosphere is casual. This is a good fit for many people who are seeking this sort of thing. We are growing, and doing so without trying to "hook" anyone. Of course I am in Maine which is, I believe, the least religious state in the union.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:08:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your church sounds wonderful (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          irishwitch, commonmass

          one that, atheist that I am, I might attend given the opportunity.

          I have sung in Episcopal and Anglican choirs and love the music of that tradition.  I also love the idea of outreach that helps people, not as part of a bargain to co-opt their beliefs, but in acknowledgement that all of us deserve dignity, respect, and sustenance.

          Do you do chants, and Vaughan Williams, Elgar, C.V. Stanford?

          •  We do Anglican Chant every week except (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            political mutt, Cassandra Waites

            in Lent, when we do Plainsong psalms. Yes, we do Stanford, Parry, Vaughan Williams, Tallis, and more contemporary Anglican composers as well as Bach and Palestrina, Victoria, etc. others. I'm also a composer. I composed the Canticles and the Responses for our last Evensong in December as a matter of fact.

            You'd be interested to know that many people at my church are agnostic and even a few are atheists. As a matter of fact, there is an atheist in my choir!

            See, the Episcopal Church welcomes everyone. We call it "radical welcome". We'd like to think it's what Jesus would do. ;)

            What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

            by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:52:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Makes sense to me. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              That was a major issue I've had nearly everywhere I've gone to church - how do you expect people to convert if the most exposure they can get to the church without becoming a perfect little evangelical is Youth Visitor Night or a tract and a conversation at most during a witnessing push?

              No one with doubts was welcome. And years of "I've got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart. Where?" taught me that being situationally sad, much less a naturally not-chipper-person, wasn't something to let anyone find out about. I think that's why the reality of Good Friday hits me so much - because I'm not someone with a starting emotional point of being chipper all the time, and most of the evangelical Easter-season things presume that starting point.

              It pretty much took a death to make sadness okay, and you had to be mourning 'the right thing' for it to be okay - I got a talking to once in an adult Sunday School class for mourning the fact an acquaintance had been accidentally killed suddenly instead of the fact I hadn't witnessed to him and therefore 'didn't know whether he'd gone to heaven' because he hadn't explicitly told me he was a Christian. Even though we'd gone to school together in a Christianity-soaked environment where EVERYONE got exposed to the gospel and he was one of the kindest most Christ-like guys I've ever known.

              So you're supposed to mourn someone dying not a perfect little evangelical and therefore being presumed hellbound, BUT how dare you bring that same person to Sunday worship without turning them into a perfect little evangelical first.

              It makes no sense, and there are entire classes of people who never get to cast a shadow in the church doorway ever under that system.

              And the music gets to be the same way - always chipper, no doubts shown unless immediately conquered, perfect little evangelical. There are sad songs in the hymnal, but we never used them. There are Psalms and books of the Bible - Lamentations and Ecclesiastes, usually - we hardly ever touched.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

              by Cassandra Waites on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:47:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  ironically many fundamentalists opposed music (7+ / 0-)

      in worship and added music as a marketing device to attract a younger crowd

  •  If punk & metal can work for modern Aryans, (6+ / 0-)

    praise music can work for Dominionists.

    Music provides an emotional/aesthetic experience, not a rational one.  Using it to bypass conscious decision making makes plenty of sense; it's much like GOP fearmongering that also works on the subconscious mind.

    •  It is interesting that it does indeed (6+ / 0-)

      provide the emotional/aesthetic experience and is also highly communicative and descriptive and yet it works entirely on scientific and mathematical principles. In order to write it, one needs to have certain theoretical understandings AND have something to say with them (disclosure: I am a classically trained composer). Music is fascinating for this reason, and is also potentially dangerous for this reason.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:07:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  question is now about Christian punk and metal (3+ / 0-)

      and how easily it can meld with Aryan punk and metal or if it is not already doing so in some cases

      •  I'd be concerned about the Christian labels. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, commonmass, entlord

        I'm pretty sure if anyone had ever gone through the headache at my church that was complying with the 'only Christian music on church trips/overnights' rule by any means other than just not bringing music, the primary check would have been what music label held the contract or if independent where the CD was bought (church concert okay, elsewhere maybe not). Third Day's "Thief", yes, U2's "Until The End Of The World", no. And I'm pretty sure the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack would have been out of the question, given the reaction to posters for it while on a church trip to another show.

        (I was 'odd' for bringing the lyrics booklet for a Supertramp album to a youth retreat so I could show everyone the words to "Lord, Is It Mine" - oh noes 'secular' music even though it's a prayer to the same God we were discussing all weekend. Sigh.)

        Do the major recognizable Christian labels have staff with the knowledge to not only check to make sure the lyrics fit the standards of the label's concept of Christianity, but also that they don't use any of a number of scripture twisting tricks that groups like the Christian Identity movement are using in their rhetoric? Probably not. And that leaves a great big huge opening for the introduction-to-concepts stuff to ease through in ways that can be brought on a church trip with being questioned because someone will trust that X Label wouldn't distribute anything 'unwholesome'.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:59:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me ask you a question. (0+ / 0-)

          What if someone in your youth group wanted to take a Bach Cantata, Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs and a recording of Stanford's Magnificat in C with them on an overnight trip? That's all "Christian" music? Would it count? I ask this because I knew someone who was an evangelical and had a kid into Classical music. The church disallowed this because the music was deemed to be insufficiently Christian. I mean, how much more Christian can you get than a Bach Cantata? All the text is Biblical.

          What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

          by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:48:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me give you an answer. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            entlord, commonmass

            When I was a child, a reasonably nearby Christian bookstore that fit within the views of the youth group leadership forcibly removed a couple for asking if they sold rosaries. And apart from the obligatory nativity scenes and "Mary, did you know?" (and by now, "Breath Of Heaven") anything remotely Marian - like simply admitting she existed outside the month of December and Easter weekend (and if she hadn't been addressed from the cross, we wouldn't have mentioned her then either) - was a complete no-go.

            So anything referring to the Magnificat would be out. Anything including the word 'Mass' in the title would be out. The Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah, okay, but only because someone did a Silent Monk rendition in the Christmas pageant when we were small and having the entire piece would be highly questionable and since we didn't do winter trips seasonally inappropriate.

            And since this was the pre-mp3 era and most kids didn't have access to CD burners at the point these trips were happening, the ENTIRE CD had to pass the check. So unless it came from the Family Bookstore (Lifeway wasn't around as a bookstore chain yet) or a local minor Christian store chain some families in the church favored instead, it really was not worth the bother.

            And this was a church that did not do heavy policing of music choices off of church grounds or church events, so we had the incident where every single girl on a Sunday School overnight admitted to liking a particular song by Smashmouth that was on the radio relatively often at the time, but were neither allowed to have the CD there or turn the radio to a channel that might be playing it so that our Sunday School teacher might have a clue what the song was even about. Other churches even within the SBC and certainly within the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists would want this level of policing at homes, and I've heard anecdotes of pastors doing the checking on-site for concerned parents.

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

            by Cassandra Waites on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:15:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  going back to my great grandfather's time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              these were "Plain" or "Simple" or "Footwasher" Baptists (yep footwashing was a part of their rituals and service-- where would you see that today?) and not only was there no music at church, there was no singing on Sunday at all at home as it the father spent the time after church reading from the Bible to the children

            •  Um, the Magnificat is in Luke. All of it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassandra Waites

              So, it's in the Bible but quotesMary's prayer to God, so it's not OK. Wow. I bet there are also other things in the Bible they probably don't like either.

              As far as the Rosary is concerned, all of the Hail Mary is Biblical except the last line asking Mary to pray for us. You probably know that however.

              Thanks for the answer. Scary as it was.

              What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

              by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:55:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, pretty much. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                We were told Mary praised God when she was told Jesus would be on the way, but not the words, and adults didn't do Advent so the full Bible passage never came up. And hymns stating roughly the same - my favorite carol "Masters In This Hall" comes to mind - didn't come up either, even though they aren't Marian in nature. Forget any mention of Jubilee.

                When I attended a Catholic Church for a while, because I couldn't get a ride elsewhere, I skipped the Hail Marys in the services. It wasn't until I started researching prayer beads that I found out any of the prayer was theologically appropriate for Baptists. If I'd known that, I would have given into the prayer bead urge years earlier, when I had access to the fifty cent glow-in-the-dark plastic rosaries that church bought in bulk and sold in their bookstore on Sunday, instead of resorting to make-my-own now and fumbling in the dark for where I put them because I pray at night. I'd have ended up make-my-own eventually anyway, since I prefer other chaplet styles, but I could have had a no-fumble set to start with.

                I don't even know if the church I grew up in supported 'Mary stayed a virgin, siblings mentioned are step-siblings by way of Joseph' or 'Mary stayed a virgin until Jesus was born and then had other kids' doctrines. I don't know that about the church I'm at now. It just never comes up. Joseph barely ever gets mentioned at all.

                Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                by Cassandra Waites on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 12:28:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  that is why I think this particular field is so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          ripe for Christian Identity to meld with Christian Dominionists the same as the TP has been infiltrated by Neo Nazi types, WP People and anti Immigration folks

          •  Not even necessarily melding. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            'Becoming the training wheels for' would also be possibility.

            Lyrics parents don't see any issues with because it's standard Christian triumphalism that dominionists and non-dominionist fundamentalists love (see also how many times young SBC and IBF kids sing "I'm In The Lord's Army" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" by age twelve - and "Lord's Army" is a favorite because it's a Get Up And Burn Energy activity song) and don't see an issue with because they don't know dangerous Christian-identified groups are out there (or presume the rumors of such are from people who just don't want their Billy to be able to bully gay classmates and therefore take no heed), but set kids up to be nudged into more extreme groups because the groundwork of "God Loves Us Best And Them Not So Much" has already been put in place.

            And 11am Sunday morning is the more segregated hour in America - chances are these kids are singing worship songs in church and Sunday School and private church schools in single-race environments where everyone is white.

            Add in the fact these groups are likely to be insistently absolute Creationists - a requirement for Christian Identity racial theology to work at all - and it's really just a matter of getting the kids to replace one minor aspect of the story with another version. And there are all sorts of pro-Creationism songs out there that wouldn't say a thing the Southern Poverty Law Center's information on Christian Identity would suggest they would have an issue with so long as the writer and singer were both white.

            It doesn't have to be a melding to be bad news - all it has to do is make people nudgeable.

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

            by Cassandra Waites on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 03:32:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The stuff going on in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Cassandra Waites

    Charismatic/neo-Pentecostal word is scary.  

  •  I am not surprised; some traditional hymns (3+ / 0-)

    track NAR ideology pretty close though they were not meant to originally.  For Christian Rock ( a pretty insipid genre it seems to me) to be hijacked is not surprising.  In less mainstream genres, it has already seen such a melding such as in the WP/Nazi rock in some cases.  Think of it as musical Phineas Priests (I am surprised the name has not been taken)

  •  Thanks for all the investigating you do C-Dem! (4+ / 0-)

    I'm struggling through a research assignment trying to defend the biblical teachings of economic justice. Unfortunately it runs exactly counter to the conventional wisdom of the conservative college I attend as well as today's GOP (I'm there because it's cheap and I'll get out in 4 semesters instead of 8).

    Anywho, your writings on faith and Christian extremism are a help!  If nothing else it confirms my gut feeling that there are terribly sinister forces out there looking to subvert religion for their own twisted gain. I just need to be strong and keep writing what I know is true.

    Let's eat Grandma. Let's eat, Grandma. Punctuation saves lives!

    by history first on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:07:53 AM PST

  •  Important diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, commonmass

    though I have difficulty reading these.  Thanks for keeping us with all this, so I don't have to.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:38:41 AM PST

  •  I Write Lyrics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've agonized over choosing just the right article or conjunction. Changed the order of lines to emphasize (or to obscure) a rhyme scheme. Stuff like that. Details matter. The goal: making every line do enough work so that the completed set of lyrics performs a useful task. Perhaps that task is to make the listener think. Or to want to fix the world. Or to forget the daily crud and have a good time. Or maybe the goal is solely to set-up a memorable chorus, for example "Tommy the tumbling dice." All worthy goals (keeping in mind that "Goals" and "Results" are two different things). When the goal is reached, the song "Works."

    I looked at the lyrics for "Sing My Love" -- several times -- and I'm still not quite sure what the goal is. The one thing that stood out to me was the changing, "You." I suppose that by looking carefully at the context the listener would be able to figure whether the singer is addressing God or the audience at any particular point in the song. But that's extra work for the listener. So the song doesn't work for me.

    But I don't see what it is that's particularly fascistic about the song. Is it simply because of the source?



    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:55:21 AM PST

  •  An example of their worship music... (0+ / 0-)

    This lovely gem of Dominionist Christian music, Warrior Bride:

    •  The Lyrics to the above song (0+ / 0-)

      Trample down our enemies tonight, O God, My God, My God. Trample down our enemies, Oh God, Our God, Oh God, Oh Yah. Trample down our enemies, oh God, oh God, O Yahweh - Yahveh. Destroying every principality; destroying every wrong. Destroying every strong hold Lord; destroying every power. Destroying every darken thing, destroying every power that has set their self against us your anointed children. You’re destroying, you’re destroying, you’re destroying your enemies. You’re crushing, you’re crushing, you’re crushing them under your feet. You have risen high and your enemies are scattered. You are risen on high and your enemies are scattered. You are riding on high and your enemies are scattered. Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice.

      [Singing in tongues]

      You’re destroying every principality; everything that calls its self against you; every darkness, every spell, every vex and every hex, everything that is of the work of the devil you are crushing, you are crushing - underneath your feet Lord. And you’re giving us the necks of our enemies. We crush the necks of our enemies in your Almighty Name Yeshua. We plead your blood YESHUA, we plead your Blood Yeshua, we plead your blood. Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh. Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh. Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh. Qadosh

  •  The media has to take a lot of the blame here.... (0+ / 0-)

    This outright fascist movement is brewing under everyone's noses and the media doesn't even acknowledge it exists? Sorry but that is just outright negligent. If anything the rise of the NAR is proof that the media has become useless. These fourth columnists are in positions of power in Washington and nobody will acknowledge they are there? If this had been WW2 there would be outrage from the public. Instead we have a collective shrug. Some kids taking a near dead friend to a "faith healer" instead of the hospital? That alone should raise the media's questions about what this guy is telling his congregation. Until the public is warned of this threat, the media will still be failing to do it's job.

  •  This is the real power of Dominionism (0+ / 0-)

    For those who aren't familiar with Dominionism or its 'Apostles' here is an example of one and the influence that they wield over youth.

    Lou Engle at the LP Stadium with over 60,000 youths in attendance:

    Same event at night:

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