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.