Over the past few days, I've written articles for Wayang Party on the international involvement of Joel's Army groups in the steeplejack of AWARE 1 and the actual agenda of the American-based "Christian Nationalist" group Focus on the Family 2. From the responses received here, it's obvious that steeplejacking and the growth of "Christian Nationalism"--especially the Joel's Army variety--is of such a national concern that even the Home Affairs Minister has issued a statement warning of the threat to the secular state 3.
In this particular article, I wish to present essentially a layman's guide to the internal mythology of "Joel's Army"--and how it tends to radically differ from mainstream Christianity or even evangelical Christianity.
A "Joel's Army" mythological primer
Firstly, just to note--in this particular sense, I'm using the term "myth" in the way sociologists use it, not in the term that it's used in common parlance. Basically, in social sciences, "mythology" and "myths" are used to refer to stories people tell to teach a certain cultural and spiritual path--there's no value judgement made on this. (I note this, as an aside, because people in modern living faith systems sometimes get offended when sociologists refer to their religious or spiritual paths as "mythology" or "myths".)
Anyways, much like other faith systems (including mainstream Christianity), "Joel's Army" groups have their own faith system that is often at radical odds with mainstream Christianity.
One area where the Joel's Army groups diverge from mainstream Christianity is with the common Christian story of the fall of man from grace--where Eve and Adam were tempted to eat the fruit despite God's warning. Joel's Army groups tend to teach that at this moment Satan was given dominion over the world 4--this becomes very important later, because it can be argued the whole general theme of Joel's Army theology is dominion--literally a Biblical mandate to take over the world.
The Wagner-linked Joel's Army groups, as well as some of the older Assemblies-linked "Joel's Army" groups, go even further and promote concepts not noted in the Bible at all. Specifically, they rely on a very odd claim by William F. Branham 5--an early "Latter Rain" preacher ("Latter Rain" was a sort of proto-"Joel's Army" movement popular in the 30s and 40s)--that claims that Eve made love to the Serpent and that Cain and his descendants were, literally, sons of the Devil.
Branham's concept of interspecies and interplanar adultery--what he termed the "Serpent Seed" theology--ended up going in two different directions. One branch, promoted by racists (Branham was a known member of the Ku Klux Klan) became the racist theology known in the US as Christian Identity; the other branch--which held that people who opposed the "Latter Rain" and its agenda were the "sons of the Devil"--became what we know now as Joel's Army or Elijah's Army. (Interestingly, Branham himself may have well coined the "Elijah's Army" branding--he promoted himself as a reincarination of the prophet Elijah. 6)
This isn't the only area at variance with traditional Christian eschatology. In traditional Christian belief, Jesus' death and resurrection ultimately defeated the devil. "Joel's Army" churches have a decidedly neutered interpretation of this--usually they preach that Jesus was tortured in hell or wrestled the devil in hell for three days (the so-called "Harrowing of Hell"), and his death and resurrection only merely bought the keys for man to take back dominion--and it is "Joel's Army", acting as "regents for Christ", who must reclaim the world and society for God. (Yes, you're reading this right; essentially these groups promote Christ as being too weak to free humanity. Christians may be free to be utterly mortified at this.)
In "Joel's Army" theology, the world is at perpetual war, with the "Army of God" at one end, the literal sons of the devil at the other, and most of humanity and humanity's diverse societies seen as literal battlefield "territory" to be "named and claimed". This is, in part, why there's such a heavy emphasis on steeplejacking and taking over institutions (including other churches) from within--in their viewpoint (as I'll note in the next few paragraphs), the people within aren't really "Saved" and thus are seen as legitimate territory to "name and claim". 7
In addition, the "Joel's Army" groups tend to be neopentecostal (often labeled as "charismatic" in denominations that aren't traditionally part of the pentecostal movement)--and these tend to have some rather unique claims regarding salvation, especially those close to traditionally neopentecostal denominations.
Most mainstream Christian churches either believe one is saved at baptism (the Baptists and a number of other "adult baptism" Protestant groups) or upon confession and formal dedication to the church including first Communion (Catholics, Anglicans, and most of the Christian denominations that practice infant baptism). Most Christian churches also tend to believe that once one has been saved, one retains that salvation short of really messing up (things like mortal sins like murder, etc. or outright conversion to another religion).
"Joel's Army" groups, and neopente groups in general, are a little different. In these groups, you are not seen as truly saved unless one has had an additional "baptism in fire" or "baptism in the Holy Spirit"--and in these groups, the invariable sign of this is some form of supernatural manifestation. In pentecostal churches, this has traditionally been "speaking in tongues" (usually without someone translating what is being spoken, and usually noted as being a "heavenly language"); in the "charismatic" groups in "non-denominational" churches and steeplejacked churches, this tends to be in regards to other "divine gifts" (usually someone being a prophet or an "apostle")--you hear a lot about something called the "fivefold ministry" 8, which is a term used for a specific division of "divine categories" of preachers and pastors in these groups.
Even in the mainstream churches that do accept "speaking in tongues" and divine gifts of the Spirit, the practice is a lot different. Typically "speaking in tongues" requires the tongue to be in an earthly language and translated to be accepted (for example, this is how it works in evangelical Methodist churches in the US); other divine gifts also have similar "testing of the fruits of the Spirit". There is little or none of this testing in churches infected with Joel's Army theology; in fact, people who attempt to do so are often accused of "denying the river" or of being possessed by the Devil and trying to "rob God's blessing" 9.
In general, there is a huge emphasis (compared to mainstream Christian churches) of "signs and wonders"--up to and including claims that the "outbreaks of miracles" are proof that these groups are the only ones truly saved, and that only they have the "key" to thwarting the Devil and unlocking all the blessings that are rightfully theirs (as direct descendants of God via Adam). In Singapore itself, this imagery has even included references to the "red packets" traditionally given out at Lunar New Year's 10.
Conversely, it's also taught that it is very easy to lose salvation, to "backslide", to even lose one's blessing if it is not aggressively "named and claimed". This leads to things like 40-day "fasting and prayer marathons" (where they don't eat for 40 days in fasting that is more severe than Puasa/Ramadhan fasting) where people pray for wealth or healing, the "prophetic conferences"--and massive calls for censorship of anything that could be opposed to their theology, because the mere act of being exposed to such things can lead to "demonic oppression"--essentially remaining not-rich and in strife--or even frank possession by the devil. (This, incidentially, may be why AWARE itself was targeted--not only is LGBT tolerance considered controlled by demons, but feminism in and of itself is promoted as being controlled by "Jezebel spirits".) The term for this is "deliverance ministry", and in practice tends to lead to people being isolated from all info sources other than that led by the church 11.
It's not only what you do that may mess things up as well. Even "saved" people can be "demonically oppressed" due to the actions of their ancestors up to seven generations back, according to their theology--there's even a term for it called "generational curses". (Those of you who have respect for the ancestors are free to be rightfully horrified.) This has led to literal purges of pre-Christian cultural references en masse in some countries (sub-Saharan Africa in particular as well as in Guatemala 12).
This has led to another thing at wide variance to mainstream Christianity--the practice of Joel's Army exorcisms 13. Most Christian churches do not conduct the rite of exorcism, or tend to have only specific people trained in the rite who have also had psychological training to be able to differentiate mental illness from potential "spiritual illness"; Catholic priests trained in the Rite of Exorcism are essentially to a one licensed psychologists in their countries. "Joel's Army" groups conduct it all the time, and for such perceived things as being a feminist (and thus being possessed by "Jezebel spirits") or a child being "willful" or someone being depressed; this has led to suicides and worse in the US and elsewhere 14.
The demon-haunted world of Joel's Army also directly leads to their "mandate from God" to steeplejack everything.
In Joel's Army theology (unlike mainstream Christianity, which typically teaches--even in its evangelical variants--that the kingdom of God is not one of this world) it's taught that businesses and countries and entire cultures, just like people, can gain and lose God's blessing depending on how strictly they follow the "battle plan"--and that just like people, businesses and countries and cultures can be literally possessed by Satan en masse. (In the States, it's popularly promoted by Joel's Army groups that Moslems as a whole are possessed; this, despite large populations of moderate Moslems in Singapore and Malaysia.)
In order to secure not only their own "blessing" but "blessings for their nation", Joel's Army groups feel they must take over all institutions, essentially "exorcise" them, and "name and claim" them for God--converting everything to a Joel's Army owned-and-operated tool for theocracy that, taken to its ultimate extent, forces non-NAR people--including Christians not part of steeplejacked churches--to submit or die. (And yes, they have stated rather blatantly internally this is the intent.) There are even specific seminars on this subject--the "Transformation" conferences (of which a branch is held in Singapore sponsored by LOVE Singapore) promote a particular branding of this strategy called the "Seven Mountains Strategy" 15 that goes into rather graphic detail on how not only governments but NGOs, schools, entertainment industries, the military, and all pillars of society must be taken over as "strongholds from the enemy".
Other uniquely "Joel's Army" theologies
The evidence of "Joel's Army" and "Christian Identity" groups being "brothers" shows up in other ways as well that don't show up in any other group claiming to be Christian.
"Joel's Army" groups have been documented promoting the "Phinehas Priesthood" (named after a famous Israeli priest who impaled a man and his Midianite lover in the temple, led a bloody revolution, and went on to almost cause fully a fourth of the tribes in Israel to be slaughtered over a misunderstanding over building a second temple) as an example of the levels of dedication needed to take over the world 16; there's a Christian Identity group in the US that has used the same name as a call for extermination of interracial couples (and has occasionally committed pro-racist domestic terrorism here in the US) 17.
In addition, the endtime theology of these groups is so variant that it deserves a special mention.
Most mainstream Christian groups tend to fall in one of three categories regarding their concept of the end of the world: postmillenial (meaning that Jesus reigns for 1000 years and then the end of the world comes), premillenial (meaning that Jesus "raptures up" the Faithful, seven years of literal hell on earth breaks out in what is called the Tribulation, and then evil is defeated and Jesus reigns for 1000 years) or amillenial (in which the millenial reign is seen as rather irrelevant and the important thing is "doing what Jesus would do"). Typically most Protestant groups trend towards postmillenial or amillenial thought, with evangelical groups trending towards either being postmillenial or premillenial.
The denominations that spawned "Joel's Army" (the Assemblies of God and Foursquare) started out as premillenial--and some of the unique quirks in their versions of premillenial theology come from a particular reference bible called the Scofield Reference Bible 18. Premillenial theology, more often termed premillenial dispensationalism, is actually pretty young as a theology (dating back to John Darby in the 1820s and with what would become the Brethren), and Scofield's version even younger than that (1907 at its earliest). Much of Scofield's version did become the basis for the theology promoted in "Assemblies linked" groups like Campus Crusade and FGBMFI, and later on Youth With A Mission.
The Wagner line started out as postmillenial--with a unique twist, based on a version of Latter Rain theology called "Manifest Sons of God", that claimed that in essence the church was the "corporate Christ" and that the millenial reign could not begin until everything was "named and claimed".19
There's been quite a lot of cross-fertilisation, and now the dominant theology can't really be said to be premillenial or postmillenial--more of "quasi-premillenial" theology that goes something like this 20:
a) Satan has dominion over most of the world, so "strongholds" and in particular spiritually powerful areas known as "gates" have to be secured, purged of Satanic influence, and converted to "Godly strongholds" to secure blessings for those peoples in the area. (Of note: Singapore has been mentioned as a "gate" in Wagner's "Joel's Army" groups 21.)
b) Areas "named and claimed" will be sites of great miracles and "outpourings" which will cause people to convert en masse, adding foot soldiers to "Elijah's Army". It's taught that until a critical mass of people are converted ("every nation", and/or 144,000 Jewish people, and/or 1/3rd of the human population total--there's a huge emphasis on "second billion" (as in "second billion Christians") in some Joel's Army circles) Jesus cannot return--hence there's the whole "regents and holding army for Christ" thing going on.
c) Rapture happens, two people convert post-Rapture and are martyred in Jerusalem (where every Jewish person in the world has been herded by the Russians--this is one of the Scofield weirdnesses that was originally a reference to Tsarist progroms) and this causes a massive revival about three and a half years into the Tribulation
d) At the end of the Tribulation, all the Raptured along with General Jesus descend from Heaven and join the convertees, who all proceed to slaughter the rest of humanity, consign them to Hell, and are granted a "new heaven and new earth" as reward.
Amazingly enough, this very scenario has been laid out for public view in a book series. Tim LaHaye, who has not only written several books on this particular endtime scenario but has co-published (along with Jerry Jenkins) what amounts to Joel's Army fanfiction (the "Left Behind" series). It's a wildly popular series among the Joel's Army set in the US, and a writer called "Slacktivist" has been conducting a read-through including notes on the rather bizarre theology promoted therein (at least from a mainstream Christian viewpoint) 22.
Scofield's contributions bear special note. Among other things, Scofield is directly responsible for claims that Russia and Iran will go to the Final War with the US and Israel; this was used to frighteningly good effect by early Joel's Army groups who promoted themselves as "anti-Communist" (and now are being promoted as "anti-Islamist" as well, though being arguably as dangerous). This has led to some very interesting conspiracy theory, including claims that the United Nations is run by the Russians or is otherwise secretly a Soviet plot. In addition, Scofield's view of how the world will end can literally be described as a sort of "Hopscotch with the Bible"--hopping to one verse, then another, then another, often in separate testaments much less books or chapters, and typically taking verses wildly out of context 23. (This has often led to even evangelical Christians wondering just where they're getting this stuff.)
In addition, Joel's Army groups also have a heavy emphasis on "divine revelation" completely outside of the Bible altogether--they put as much stock in utterances of "prophets" and "apostles" (as long as their utterances fall under the general "party line" of the Joel's Army group in question) as the Bible itself, and if the "prophecy" is justified at all it's often in terms of other "prophecies" or a Bible verse taken out of context. (There's an amazing amount of examples of this "in action" over at the main Joel's Army site online, "Elijah's List" 24.)
All in all, Joel's Army groups can legitimately be said to be about as divorced from mainstream Christianity--or even mainstream, non-NAR evangelical Christianity--as, say, the Unification Church or other "Bible-based" groups. (Many Biblical scholars at the least state they should be essentially treated as a third denominational grouping separate from Catholicism/Orthodoxy and Protestantism; some have more recently argued that these groups should be considered a religion wholly separate from historical Christianity 25.)
1) http://wayangparty.com/?p=9047 "The AWARE steeplejackers and their deep connections to Joel's Army and American dominionists", self, 10 May 2009.
2) http://wayangparty.com/?p=9175 "Focusing on 'Focus On The Family': An export of American-style 'Christian Nationalism'", self, 12 May 2009.
3) http://wayangparty.com/?p=9337 "Wong Kan Seng sends a stark warning to religious fundamentalists: don't mix religion with politics", Wayang Party admins, 15 May 2009 (also reported in Straits Times and other Singaporean news sources).
4) http://tinyurl.com/dominionist-mindsets "Dominionist Mindsets (a prelude)", self, 24 July 2007. This is part of a series on the "parallel economy" promoted by "Christian nationalist" groups in the US. Also discussed much further in detail in http://www.talk2action.org/story/2005/12/19/155228/97 "A history of Dominion/'Kingdom Now'/Restoration Theology", self, 5 October 2006. Aspects also treated at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/3/114749/049 "Dominionism as a coercive religious movement (part 2)", self, 3 October 2006; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/7/17/11272/3341 "'Deliverance', involutnary exorcisms, and abuse", self, 17 July 2007.
5) A history of Dominion/'Kingdom Now'/Restoration Theology", plus http://www.apologeticsindex.org/b05.html Apologetics Index, "William Branham" article; http://tinyurl.com/branhamquote1 "An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages", William M. Branham (Jeffersonville IN, WBEA, 1965) p.98; Burgess and McGee, editors, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. p.96; http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm "The Teachings of 'the Prophet' William Branham", Let Us Reason, undated; http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain6.htm ibid.
6) Apologetics Index ibid from D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Hendrickson Publishers Inc., Peabody, MA, 1988. p. 166; http://watch.pair.com/rain.html "The Latter Rain Revival", Barbara Aho. A large number of articles referencing William Branham is at http://community.livejournal.com/dark_christian/312350.html?thread=1928222#t1928222 (Of note, a great number of sites focusing on Joel's Army groups are from conservative Evangelical Christian groups in the US opposed to the movement; very little writing in non-apologetics circles has been done until fairly recently.) Also extensively documented at http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain6.htm ibid, http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain3.htm "W. Branham's History", ibid.; http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain9.htm "William Branham's basic beliefs" ibid.
7) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/4/102528/740 "Dominionism as a coercive religious movement (part 3)", self, 4 October 2006; also some discussion on this by Jeff Sharlet, "Soldiers of Christ", Harper's Magazine, May 2005 (Internet Archive copy at http://web.archive.org/web/20070307090843rn_1/www.harpers.org/SoldiersOfChrist-20061103288348488.html) in regards to New Life Church of Colorado Springs. Also discussed in part in "A history of Dominion/'Kingdom Now'/Restoration Theology" and "Dominionism as a coercive religious movement (part 2)". The general neopentecostal/"Joel's Army" concept of territorial "marking" is discussed at http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/1/14/232742/509 "Senate 'annointer' curses WV mine families", self, 14 January 2006 (in relation to imprecatory prayers and an attempt to "name and claim" the Chambers of the US Senate by a Joel's Army group).
8) A plethora of links on this are at Eastern Regional Watch (http://www.erwm.com/Latter%20Rain.htm), a conservative Christian organisation opposed to Joel's Army groups. Explicit description of the "fivefold ministry" in regards to Joel's Army groups is available at http://tinyurl.com/fivefoldministry "Fivefold Ministry Makes A Comeback", Christian Research Journal, Vol. 22 No. 1 (1999); http://www.cephasministry.com/toronto_background_of_holy_laughter.html "Background to the Holy Laughter Movement", Tom and Sheila Smith; http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/New_Apostolic_Reformation.html "The New Apostolic Reformation", Orrel Steinkamp (particularly relevant re Wagner-lineage Joel's Army groups and Assemblies/"Australian Community Churches" linked Joel's Army groups); http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/24/82239/9750 "The Lions In The Pews", Ruth (of New Apostolic Reformation Research Team), 24 September 2008; http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10167 "Christian Fundamentalism Permeates The Republican Party: Sarah Palin's Links to the Christian Right", F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 12 September 2008; http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/8/114332/7479/Front_Page/Sarah_Palin_s_Demon_Haunted_Churches_The_Complete_Edition "Sarah Palin's Demon Haunted Churches: The Complete Edition", Bruce Wilson (of NARRT), 8 September 2008 (of note, NARRT is probably the sole secular group doing fulltime research on Joel's Army groups, and in the nature of full disclosure I do resarch for NARRT); http://www.discernment-ministries.org/content/dominionism-and-rise-christian-imperialism "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism", Sara Leslie, Discernment Ministries (of note, Sara Leslie is also a walkaway and now operates an anti-Joel's Army apologetics group). C. Peter Wagner himself is shown to make direct reference to the concept of the "Fivefold Ministry" in http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/12/28/13255/764 "C. Peter Wagner Fights The 'Religious Spirit'", Bruce Wilson (of NARRT), 28 December 2008.
9) Numerous examples of this exist that have been documented on websites of walkaways and parties critical of Joel's Army theology, particularly the use of the term "in the river" as a eupehemism for being "manifesting". An example of an ex-Assemblies of God minister who was expelled from the denomination for raising concerns re spiritual abuse related to Joel's Army groups has compiled a list of articles regarding this (http://www.timefortruth.com/ForYourSpirit/StateOfChurch.aspx), and another site has noted that criticism of pastors is generally not allowed (http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/the-new-revival-characteristics-the-third-wave-outpouring/?referer=sphere_related_content/); I myself have noted this as a defining characteristic of these groups in http://www.talk2action.org/story/2005/11/24/235826/75 "Dominionism and Coercive Tactics (part 1)", self, 24 Nov 2005 and http://www.talk2action.org/story/2005/11/21/103824/67 "Dominionist groups as coercive religious groups?", self, 21 Nov 2005. Documentation of these tactics by recently disgraced Joel's Army promoter Todd Bentley is noted at http://www.letusreason.org/Latradir.htm (Let Us Reason Ministries' extensive archive on Latter Rain and "Joel's army" promoters); Jacob Prasch has also attempted (unfortunately without much success) to stop the steeplejack of the entire Australian A/G by NAR promoters (http://www.hnlc.org.au/rensford/toronto_footnotes.htm).
Groups in the Assemblies targeting youth seem to be especially "NAR-infected" in this manner and there are indications the denomination as a whole has been well and truly taken over by the NAR proponents (particularly damning info on this at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/youthalive.html from "Deception In The Church"); the same site has descriptions of the Brownsville A/G "Pensacola Outpouring" (a major Joel's Army revival in the 90s) at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/pensacola.html including resignation statements of deacons forced out of their own churches by NAR proponents, and info on the "Third Wave" branding of Joel's Army theology at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/gen_thirdw.html including, again, information from walkaways including a former Assemblies pastor in the UK (http://christian-witness.org/pdf/TheUK%20Assembliesof%20God-ADifferentMovementwiththeSameName.pdf "The UK Assemblies of God: A Different Movement With The Same Name", Phillip L. Powell, Christian Witness Ministries, October 2008). Of particular note here with this last article is revelation that the Assemblies of God as a whole apparently have a book, "The Seduction of Christianity" by Dave Hunt (which is critical of Joel's Army theology from a conservative Christian perspective), on its list of books officially forbidden for members or pastors to read; there are indications that C. Peter Wagner's works are also being given official sanction on a denomination-wide level.
10) http://www.coos.org.sg/resource/index.php?coospg=ce2008/ce2008janmay.html Church Of Our Saviour "Cell Edification Notes", with 14 March and 11 April lectures entitled "Heaven's Red Packet" (http://www.coos.org.sg/resource/index.php?coospg=ce2008/ce2008janmay.html#14mar); the notes for the 14 March lecture are especially egregrious in this regard (http://www.coos.org.sg/resource/ce2008/cenote_20080314_a_people_of_blessing_pt2.pdf). Of note, these are lesson plans designed for use by "cell church" leaders for cell churches, and similar appropriations of "gifting holidays" have tended to occur with NAR groups (including Christmas, New Years Day in eastern Europe, and Ephiphany/"Los Tres Reyes" (Three Kings' Day) in Spanish-speaking countries).
11) A far more in-depth discussion of "deliverance ministry" is included at "Dominionism and coercive tactics, part 2" (link above); of note, experts in coercive religious groups have made direct comparisons between tactics common in groups using "deliverance ministry" and those used in the Church of Scientology, a group considered so coercive and such a threat to public safety that it is banned in Germany under its laws against extremist organisations. A very in-depth discussion of these coercive tactics in practice is included in Sharlet's article "Soldiers of Christ" (link above), and also at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/9/511990/-A-weekend-at-Hagees-Jesus-Camp-for-grownups and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/10/511810/-God-of-Chunder:-McCains-spiritual-advisor-will-make-you-puke,-literally. self, May 9-10 2008 (and based in part on information from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/20278737/jesus_made_me_puke/1 Matt Taibbi, "Jesus Made Me Puke", Rolling Stone, 1 May 2008 and excerpted from Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire, Spiegel & Grau, 2008).
12) Sources regarding sub-Saharan Africa and "spiritual warfare" campaigns include: http://tinyurl.com/muthee1 "Palin, dominionist intimidation, and actual witch-hunters", self, 22 Sep 2008; http://timesonline.typepad.com/uselections/2008/09/palin-linked-el.html Hannah Strange, "WBLG: Palin linked electoral success to prayer of Kenyan witchhunter", Times Online, 16 Sep 2008;http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2008/09/15/sarah-palin-and-the-thomas-muthee-witch-hunt/ "Sarah Palin and the Thomas Muthee Witch Hunt", J.Clifford, Irregular Times, 15 Sep 2008; http://www.csmonitor.com/1999/0923/p15s1.html "Targeting cities with 'spiritual mapping', prayer", Jane Lampman, Christian Science Monitor, 23 Sep 1999; http://www.choicesforliving.com/spirit/part4/kenya.htm "The power of prayer over witchcraft", Choices for Living (pro-Joel's Army magazine), undated; http://community.livejournal.com/dark_christian/946438.html (archive of "Christianity vs. the Old Gods of Nigeria", Dulue Mbachu (via AP), 4 Sep 2007).
Documentation of destruction of cultural artifacts and "witch hunts" in Guatemala include: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/20/171755/145/Front_Page/Palin_Muthee_and_the_Witch_Journalists_Miss_the_Major_Story "Palin, Muthee and the Witch: Journalists Miss The Major Story", Ruth (of NARRT), 20 Sep 2008; http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2004/05/31/doug-giles%E2%80%99s-brother-in-law-wants-men-to-fight-demons/ "Doug Giles' Brother-in-law Wants Men To Fight Demons", Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, 31 May 2004; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/20/2406/2232/786/259560 "Rios Montt, Yonggi Cho, New Life, and the strange history of dominionist juntas", self, 19 Oct 2006; http://dogemperor.livejournal.com/122935.html "Guatemala: a case history of dominionist hell", self, 7 April 2007 (and sourced in part from "Accounting for fundamentalisms", Martin E. Marty, R. Scott Appleby, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Chicago Press, 2004; in particular chapter 5 of this book, "'Jesus Is Lord of Guatemala': Evangelical Reform in a Death-Squad State", David Stoll; pp99-100 describes an incident where members of the Joel's Army linked El Shaddai attempted destruction of a pre-Columbian monument to Quetzalcoatl; in a perhaps ironic footnote, Quetzalcoatl aka Kukulcan is the god of learning and enlightenment in most Mesoamerican mythologies).
Examples in the US include, again, Sharlet's "Soldiers of Christ" (link above) and numerous book-burnings (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/21/400793/-Albus-Dumbledore-publically-outed;-dominionist-apoplectic-fits-imminent and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/12/596291/-More-info-comes-out-on-Palin-and-dominionism,-Armageddon,-and-book-bans to list but two major categories of examples); in the case of a pastor in the Wasilla, AK area who authored a book entitled "Pastor, I'm Gay" (designed to assist mainstream Christian pastors with assisting LGBT parishoners) the local Joel's Army groups (heavily active in the area since the 1960s) went to the point of harassment of bookstores and attempts at picketing the pastor's home and church (personal communication with author Howard Bess as well as http://www.libraryjournal.com/index.asp?layout=talkbackCommentsFull&talk_back_header_id=6554706&articleid=CA6594759 and http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5766173&page=1).
Of note, this is one example where a direct parallel can be made to the tactics of another extremist group in a different Abrahamic faith, namely, the Taleban and its destruction in 2001 of the famous Buddhas of Bamyan, Afghanistan (one of the very few "Western-style" representations of Buddhas known to have survived to that period) by order of a fatwa declaring them "idols"; this is precisely the same argument used in "deliverance ministry" NAR-linked groups to justify destruction of cultural artifacts.
13) Cases targeting adults are well known; aside from the information in "Dominionism and coercive tactics, part 2" there are numerous court cases resulting from attempted neopente "exorcisms" (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/7/17/11272/3341/129/358866 "'Deliverance', involuntary exorcisms, and abuse", self, 17 Jul 2007 just covers a few of these including the Laura Schubert case, now heading to the US Supreme Court). Other notable examples described include http://www.skepticfiles.org/fw/exorcist.htm Skipp Porteous, "The exorcist", Walk Away Magazine, undated (and this is, sadly, typical of such an "exorcism" in a cell church). Exit counselor Rick Ross in particular has dealt with several cases of persons requiring inpatient hospitalisation due to severe PTSD and mental breakdowns resulting from "exorcisms" of this sort (http://www.rickross.com/reference/about/about2.html Interview w/ Ross, Walk Away Magazine, Summer 1990); not noted in the interview with Ross is the fact that Phoenix First Assembly is the largest Assemblies of God church in the US and operates its own "faith based detox center" chain called Dream Center.
On occasion, "exorcisms" and even imprecatory prayers--prayers designed for the explicit purpose of cursing someone to suffer until conversion or death--are done using the names or belongings of targets (an example noted at http://www.talk2action.org/comments/2006/1/6/103519/9115/11?mode=alone;showrate=1#11 "'Annointing' as territorial marks", self, 6 Jan 2006 and http://www.talk2action.org/comments/2006/1/6/103519/9115/19?mode=alone;showrate=1#19 describes the general theory; I have personally witnessed this type of "praying over" someone numerous times). This has, in Joel's Army circles, included claims that their imprecatory prayers led to the death of Mother Theresa (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/10/20/195730/89).
Cases targeting children are particularly egregrious and include: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/dec/09/tracymcveigh.theobserver Tracy McVeigh, "Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt", originally printed in The Observer, 9 Dec 2007; http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/01/30/kurt_belief_law_feature.shtml (BBC articles summary regarding child abuse cases related to Joel's Army churches targeting West African emigre communities in the UK); http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_exor5.htm (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance report on the Joel's Army related child abuse crisis in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa); http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR750.pdf (British public aid agency document on how to spot religiously motivated child abuse); it is estimated by some resources that upwards of fifteen known cases of "exorcism related death" occur in the United States yearly and probably far more cases go unreported (especially if figures from the UK's working group at Scotland Yard who reported 50 cases of exorcism-related child abuse are anything to go by).
It can also be argued that the majority of cases of "religiously motivated" child abuse, and its general promotion, are intimately linked with the promotion of "deliverance ministry" as a whole (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/13/370953/-Dominionism-and-child-abuse,-part-1 and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/14/371430/-Dominionism-and-child-abuse,-part-2 note several popular promoters of "Bible-based baby beating" that explicitly promote caning of children as young as six months old using "deliverance ministry" as an explicit reasoning).
The problem of religiously motivated child abuse, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where much abuse is directly linked to NAR "revivals" in these countries, is severe enough that a dedicated NGO (RISE International: http://www.riseinternationalcic.org/) has been formed specifically to assist these children with their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US is presently the sole UN member with a functional government that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, explicitly due to political pressure by "religious right" and "Christian nationalist" groups who legitimately fear lawsuits under the Convention (specifically over cases of religiously motivated child abuse) and who claim the Convention will "take away the right of parents to discipline their children" (documented http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/15/371898/-Dominionism-and-child-abuse,-part-3:-Why-they-arent-in-jail "Dominionism and Child Abuse, part 3: Why they aren't in jail", self, 15 Aug 2007); even Somalia's provisional government as well as the provisional governments of the unrecognised Somali breakaway countries of Puntland and Somaliland have agreed in principle to ratify the Convention once their governments are recognised or the country is sufficiently stable. NAR-linked "Christian Nationalist" groups are also behind moves in Australia and New Zealand to call for these countries to revoke their ratification of the Convention (in exactly the same way that North Korea "revoked" its ratification of the Convention on Non-Prolifieration of Nuclear Weapons).
14) Porteous' "The exorcist" (ibid.) notes a case of suicide; Rick Ross (ibid.) has noted cases of suicides and inpatient hospitalisation; Laura Schubert (noted in "Deliverance, involuntary exorcism and abuse" ibid.) has longterm PTSD that is disabling; and Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance have noted a very conservative note of 15 reported deaths yearly from exorcisms of children in the US (other NGOs, such as RISE International, estimate the numbers are far higher; possibly thousands in sub-Saharan Africa alone). A particularly sad and infamous case here in the States of what could be worse than suicide is the eventual "mental breakdown with automatic weapons" of Matthew Murray, who was a regular on several walkaway forums, particularly those for survivors of NAR promoter Bill Gothard's coercive groups; Murray had been raised under Gothard's extremely coercive tactics and was involved with Youth With A Mission when he started having psychotic PTSD manifestations (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/14/421737/-Matthew-Murray:-an-American-tragedy and http://tinyurl.com/murray2 "Matthew Murray: An American Tragedy" series, self, 14-17 Dec 2007; in the interest of full disclosure, I was a regular of one of the walkaway boards Murray was a member of and hence saw the full reality of what happened).
This is, of course, completely aside from the near epidemic of LGBT kids who are forced out of their homes (either kicked out or forced to flee for their lives) in the US, largely from homes where "Joel's Army" theology is promoted. It is estimated according to an increasing number of studies that LGBT youth in the US have close to a 30 percent suicide rate (http://www.outproud.org/article_suicide.html and Mays,V.M. & Cochran, S.D. (2001). Mental health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91(11), 1869-76), and that this may be a conservative estimate due to kids in "Joel's Army" households remaining closeted until the time of their death; the virulently anti-LGBT rhetoric in Joel's Army churches, including involuntary "outings" of gay youth for public "exorcisms", surely has much to do with this. Kids who are LGBT and who grow up in anti-LGBT religious groups (and Joel's Army groups are easily among some of the most virulently anti-LGBT groups ever documented) are known to be at higher risk for suicide even compared to most LGBT youth. Interestingly, Joel's Army groups including frontgroups for Campus Crusade for Christ try to debunk this info (http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/labarbera.html). Upwards of 20-40 percent of homeless youth in the US identify as LGBT (versus the estimated number of people in the US identifying as LGBT as a percentage being around 1 to 2 percent), indicating a lot of LGBT kids are having to flee their homes for safety or are being kicked out (http://www.thetaskforce.org/blog/20070130-jason-cianciotto-lgbt-youth-homelessness and http://www.wcsap.org/pdf/RAD%207-1.pdf) and in some areas the problem is regarded as sufficiently serious that specialised LGBT-friendly youth homeless shelters are in operation (http://www.aliforneycenter.org/resources.html being but one example).
The fear of abuse is legitimate; in addition to religiously motivated child abuse and abusive "exorcisms", there also exists a system of "faith based rehabs" and "degaying centers" which children are often forced into involuntarily (and often subjected to exorcism-related abuse within). Exorcism-related abuse has been documented at all three Assemblies-operated "faith based mental health centre" chains, notably with Mercy Ministries (http://www.mercysurvivors.com as well as http://ruinedbymercy.co.cc/ and http://mmoa2.blogspot.com/ particularly have information) and Teen Challenge (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/27/503961/-Teen-Challenge:-Coercive-groups-disguised-as-rehab and in general http://teenchallengecult.blogspot.com/2008/05/daily-kos-dogemperor-teen-challenge.html) but similar reports also exist re Dream Center indicating a systemic problem. The "Joel's Army mental health system", of note, includes almost an entire "parallel mental health network" designed as an alternative to legitimate psychiatric care (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/7/27/363063/-Dominionisms-parallel-economy,-part-4:-Dominionist-social-services); this may in fact have been a direct contributing factor to the murder-suicide of Matthew Murray, as his only options for psychiatric care were Joel's Army "theophostic counselors" rather than legitimate psychiatrists) and as a direct result he disregarded the advice of multiple members of walkaway communities to seek professional help for his increasingly violent thoughts.
15) http://dogemperor.newsvine.com/_news/2008/10/06/1960547-thomas-muthees-seven-mountains-and-coded-messages and http://dogemperor.newsvine.com/_news/2008/10/07/1963800-seven-mountains-and-the-joels-army-plan-for-takeover in particular (self, Oct. 6-7 2008). Some of the initial documentation of "Seven Mountains" strategy has been noted by Bruce Wilson (of NARRT) in http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/24/13112/0816 "In Video, Pastor Annoints Palin, Urges 'Infiltration' of Schools, Government, Business" (24 Sep 2008). Joel's Army sites explicitly promoting "Seven Mountains" strategy include the site "Reclaim Seven Mountains", used as source material for "Seven Mountains and the Joel's Army Plan for Takeover" (http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=41538&columnid=4347).
16) "Dominionism as a coercive movement, part 3" (link above); http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/21/519046/-Joels-Army-and-omnicide-in-the-name-of-God "Joel's Army and omnicide in the name of God", 21 May 2008; http://web.archive.org/web/20071220065238/http://www.pawcreek.org/articles/endtimes/DominionTheologyandJoelsArmy.htm "Dominion Theology and Joel's Army", Paw Creek Ministries, undated (via Internet Archive); http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain10.htm "Joel's Army", Let Us Reason, undated; http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain11.htm "A New Thing", ibid; http://www.onlinethoughts.com/Prophesies/vision_of_the_harvest.htm "A Vision of the Harvest by Rick Joyner", "Online Thoughts" (a pro-Joel's Army site) and excerpted from Joyner's The Harvest. "Joel's Army and omnicide in the name of God" gives much more detail on how the Phinehas reference is a very nasty coded phrase.
17) Noted in context of hardline Joel's Army groups partnering with far-right orgs linked to domestic terrorism in http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/10/10638/489/534/255752 "Racists and dominionists, part 2: a true gallery of rogues" (self, 10 October 2006); Christian Identity groups known to use "Phinehas Priesthood" imagery for racist domestic terrorism noted by Anti-Defamation League (http://www.adl.org/backgrounders/an_phineas.asp). There is some evidence that both Joyner and Christian Identity promoters may have used the same source for the term, namely Richard Kelly Hoskins' "Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood" ("Dominion Theology and Joel's Army"); Hoskins' book is a manifesto for Christian Identity proponents to commit domestic terrorism, indicating very close links yet exist between racialist "Christian Identity" promoters and Joel's Army despite claims of "interracial reconciliation". Of particularly disturbing note, the book explicitly calls for the killing of LGBT people and interracial couples.
18) Most extensively noted in http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/4/366484/-Dominionisms-parallel-economy,-part-8:-Dominionism-and-the-Scofield-Reference-Bible "Dominionism's 'parallel economy', part 8: Dominionism and the Scofield Reference Bible", self, 3 August 2007.
19) The term "Corporate Christ" had its earliest origin in the writings of Watchmen Nee (and has been continued in the writings of his protege Witness Lee, particularly the book "Life-study of Exodus"); it can be seen as an alternate branding of what has been termed "Manifest Sons of God" theology (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c137.html). (Joel's Army theology has undergone numerous renamings, including "Manchild Company" and the modern rebrandings of "Elijah's Army" and "Gideon's Army".) In Joel's Army circles, this is termed nowadays the "corporate church" (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c138.html) and essentially teaches that the church essentially is the Second Coming, or at least triggers it.
C. Peter Wagner explicitly uses the term "corporate church" in his book Freedom from the Religious Spirit (Gospel Light, 2005); this book essentially claims that all "denominational" churches--all those outside the Joel's Army "post-denominational" movement--are literally possessed by the demon of "religion" and must be "exorcised" forcibly. The term also has been used by lesser-known Joel's Army proponents, explicitly in the context of steeplejacking mainstream Christian churches (http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/3-28-networking-church-3.htm discusses its use by Peter Whitehouse among others, and http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/thirdwaveteachings.html notes its promotion in early Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God writings). Sarah Leslie, a noted expert on Joel's Army and a walkaway herself (who still writes extensively for Christian audiences warning about Joel's Army), has documented that cell churches are an essential part of this model and that the concept of the "corporate church" can be said to be core theology of these groups (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/cellcurch.html "Notes On Analysis Of The Cell Church Model", Sarah Leslie, Christian Conscience, 1999).
20) Described in "Dominionism and coercive tactics, part 3" in large part, as well as "Seven Mountains and the Joel's Army plan for takeover". The aggressive targeting of government in particular is described at (http://firstplumbline.blogspot.com/2008/04/deceptions-of-matt-willson-and-hope-08.html) and (http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/2008-the-year-of-the-great-shift/?referer=sphere_related_content/).
21) Joel's Army promoter Shawn Bolz has apparently labeled Singapore specifically as a targeted "spiritual gate", particularly in the field of animation--which is rather bizarre as Singapore is not exactly internationally known for anime (http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/angels-angels-angels-index/ and comment 3). C. Peter Wagner has explicitly set up in Singapore under the belief that it was a "gate" since at least 2000 and documentably far earlier (http://www.cephasministry.com/apostles_c_peter_wagners_endorsements.html); also noted in http://www.intotruth.org/res/latterrain.pdf "Annointing or Apostasy? The Latter Rain Legacy", Charles S. Graves, pp.91) There are indications, particularly a "prophecy" by Rick Joyner on "Elijah List", that indicate that quite possibly all former British colonial holdings in the East Indies are being targeted as "gates", including Sydney (a known Joel's Army hotspot and headquarters of Hillsong Community Church) and Hong Kong (also experiencing its own problems with a "Joel's Army" invasion) per (http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=645).
22) Fred Clark's reviews are at his website (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/left_behind/index.html); reviews so far include up to the second (in sixteen) books in the series. Other reviews of books in the series exist, a brief list including: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/11/0080291 "The apocalypse will be televised: Armageddon in an age of entertainment", Gene Lyons, Harper's, November 2004 (including excerpts from the final book of the series, "Glorious Appearing", featuring people literally exploding and Jesus riding literally hip-deep in the blood and gore of the dead); http://girardianlectionary.net/res/left_behind_resacralizing_violence.htm "Re-Sacralizing Violence in the Left Behind Books", Girardian Lectionary, 18 May 2004 (also including other excerpts from the same section of "Glorious Appearing"); http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/2004/04/Killer-Ending.aspx "Killer Ending", Paul O'Donnell, BeliefNet, April 2004 (again, focusing on the gory-as-all-getout "Glorious Appearing" and including excerpts).
There is also a considerable media empire surrounding the "Left Behind" "Joel's Army endtime fanfic" series including a series of movies, a spinoff series aimed at children, and a highly controversial video game called "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"; this game is referred to in part in "Joel's Arm and omnicide in the name of God", and discussed in far more detail on the "Religious War" section on Talk to Action (http://www.talk2action.org/section/religious_war). Especially controversially, the game (a strategy RPG which included literal "convert or die" options) was designed to be marketed to children as young as six years of age and was to have been marketed in megachurches. The producers have also attempted "SLAPPs"--the lawsuit equivalent of "Shut up and sit down"--against parties who have done negative reviews of the game (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2007/10/12/161855/92).
23) Most extensively noted in http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/4/366484/-Dominionisms-parallel-economy,-part-8:-Dominionism-and-the-Scofield-Reference-Bible "Dominionism's 'parallel economy', part 8: Dominionism and the Scofield Reference Bible", self, 3 August 2007; also noted specifically by Fred Clark in wonderful fashion (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/05/tf-bible-studies.html "TF: Bible Studies", 15 May 2009 in noting the leaps and bounds used to promote the very theology fictionalised in "Tribulation Force").
24) Multiple examples noted already, but those wishing to get an eyeful can visit the site directly at http://www.elijahlist.com (assuming it's not already been blocked); there is also the (saner for one's sanity) option of reading the NARRT report (http://www.talk2action.org.nyud.net/pages/docs/Transformation.pdf). Let Us Reason also has compiled a report on the extensive role played by Elijah List in promotion of Joel's Army theology and "prophecies" (http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain36.htm "The ElijahList: the biggest distributor of false prophecies in hyperspace", Sandy Simpson, Let Us Reason, April 2008).
25) Bruce Wilson (of NARRT) (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/4/13/195435/702/Front_Page/NAR_Show_and_Tell_Bianca_Decries_Joel_s_Army_amp_New_Apostolic_Militancy and http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/religiousright/1273 and http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/4/5/172139/5062/Front_Page/The_Renewalist_Christian_Explosion_Worldwide) via "World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200" (David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, Christoper R. Guidry, Peter F. Crossing, William Carey Library, 2001) beginning on page 299. Also explicitly noted by René Holvast, http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2008-0710-200706/holvast.pdf "Spiritual Mapping in the United States and Argentina, 1989-2005: A Geography of Fear" (Brill Publishing, 2009 and originally published as dissertation for the University of Utrecht, 2005), excerpts used by NARRT in "Transformations" expose ibid; Alix Spiegel, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=77 National Public Radio programme "This American Life", 26 Sep 1997 and reaired 12 October 2001 (of disturbing note, Spiegel notes she had to undergo informal exit counseling during the course of researching New Life Church for the programme); Phillip Jenkins, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200210/jenkins "The Next Christianity", The Atlantic, October 2001; Jane Lampman, "Targeting cities with 'spiritual mapping' and prayer", CSM, 23 September 1999, link previously noted; http://www.csmonitor.com/1999/0916/p11s1.html "Operation Prayer", ibid, 16 Sep 1999--among many others (it can be legitimately argued that all of the numerous conservative Christian apologetics sites who have the most information regarding "Joel's Army" groups--largely to keep their own Evangelical churches from steeplejacking by "Joel's Army--definitely count in this regard as well).