This piece by Bruce Wilson originally appeared at Talk2Action.org and is re-posted here with permission.
There may be no continent on Earth where the influence of the New Apostolic Reformation is more pervasive than in Africa. The NAR has close ties to Uganda’s president and first lady – who have several times held official state dinners for top NAR leader Ed Silvoso. Janet Museveni even traveled in 2006, with an entourage, to Silvoso’s yearly conference in Argentina. In 2007, both Musevenis were billed as speaking at the same yearly conference though I have not so far been able to confirm their presence.
Now, due to the 2011 appointment of justice Mgoeng Mgoeng as SA Chief Justice, the NAR may be positioned to advance its dominionist, “Seven Mountains” agenda in South Africa also – with erosion of womens rights and LGBT rights, and secular government, as possible outcomes.
Last summer, South African president Jacob Zuma nominated judge Mogoeng Mogoeng to be SA’s new chief justice. Mgoeng Mgoeng was then serving as a lay pastor at Johannesburg’s Winners Chapel International and, as the LA Times reported, he was criticized for his alleged stance on women’s and LGBT rights; South Africa’s City Press quoted a senior pastor at Winners Chapel International (WCI) as stating, “We transform such behaviour (homosexuality) through prayer and counselling according to the teachings of the Bible.” Described City Press,
“When church services at Johannesburg’s Winners Chapel International (WCI) end, congregants can report to an office where a string of pastors stand ready to rescue souls, drive out illnesses and cure “deviations”.Among the “deviations” the church can apparently cure through prayer and counselling is homosexuality.”
[ video, below: WCI church head David Oyedepo came to widespread international attention recently due to a video that showed him slapping, during a church service, a women who confessed to him that she was a "witch for Jesus". Rather than offer sympathy, Oyedepo declared the women to be damned to hell ]
As Mogoeng Mogoeng explained in testimony before South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission in early September 2011,
“My church’s opposition to homosexuality is not something peculiar to it, nor does the church have as its core value, the attitude that homosexuality should not be practised, or is a deviant behaviour.It is based purely on the Biblical injunction that a man should marry a woman and that there shall be a husband and a wife. The opposition to homosexuality is not therefore, a sine qua non (main reason) for the existence of Winners Chapel International.
The position it has adopted in this regard is similar to that of almost all Christian churches and religions, to which many other judges belong. It is unlike, for example, the Klu Klux Klan, whose core value is racial supremacy. The core values of our church relate to Biblical teachings and the church is not founded on homophobia. It is founded on the Holy Bible. I exercise my freedom of religion as a judge, alive to the commitment (to the constitution) I have made publicly.
As it happens Mgoeng’s WCI church, Winners Chapel International, is a branch church under David O. Oyedepo – one of the 5 wealthiest pastors in Nigeria, according to Forbes.
Oyedepo has been an active participant in C. Peter Wagner’s emerging New Apostolic Reformation movement :
In the book Out of Africa: How The Spiritual Explosion Among Nigerians Is Impacting The World, that Wagner co-edited (with senior Nigerian pastor at Ted Haggard’s New Life Church, Joseph Thompson), which features a chapter contributed by David Oyedepo, Peter Wagner writes, in his introductory chapter to the book,
“I convened a Nigerian Apostolic Summit, under the auspices of the International Coalition of Apostles. Meeting with those Nigerian apostles was a remarkable experience. Four of the five most prominent Nigerian apostles attended (William Kumiyi could not make it) as well as many others. All four have written stimulating chapters in this book. Before the meeting ended, I realized that I was in the presence of unusually gifted servants of God. These four apostles seated together in that room constituted the most powerful coalition of anointed Christian leadership in one place I had ever seen.” (Out Of Africa, Regal Books/Gospel Light, 2004, pages 10-11)
Oyedepo played a central role in the event, according to Wagner, who writes,
“One of the four leading apostles, Bishop David Oyedepo, the author of chapter 10, agreed to host the apostolic summit. He generously took care of all the accommodations and food.”
As Charisma editor J. Lee Grady, who has served as one of C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles members, wrote for the April, 2002 issues of Charisma,
“[Oyedepo] is proud to claim faith preachers such as Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price as valued mentors. And he often brings American faith preachers to speak at his church’s sprawling facility–which is as big as most American sports arenas.It was during a trip Oyedepo made to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1980s that he says he heard God say to him: “Make My people rich.” Since that visitation he has focused his ministry on teaching Nigerians to be generous–so they can give their way out of poverty, establish businesses and become successful.
“Every time I see lack it taunts me on,” Oyedepo told Charisma. Noting that poverty statistics went down when a Christian revival swept South Korea in the last century, Oyedepo says he expects “an industrial revolution” to transform Nigeria in the next decade.
…This move of God is not to redecorate the church. It is to redecorate the world.”
Also playing a major role in the 2002 ICA-sponsored Nigerian Apostolic Summit, recounted Wagner, was Redeemed Christian Church of God General Overseer Enoch A. Adeboye.
In 2003, according to the Vol. 4, No. 3 July – September issue of Wagner’s Global Harvest Ministries Global Prayer News, Adeboye, Sunday Adelaja, Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, and David Oyedepo were among the Nigerian apostles to be featured at a scheduled October 23-25, 2003 “Light The Nation – Rekindling The Flame” conference at Rev. Ted Haggard Colorado Springs, CO New Life Church.
Along with Emmanuel Kure, one of the officially listed apostles on C. Peter Wagner’s ICA “short list” has been Sunday Adelaja, who founded a megachurch in Kiev, Ukraine and went on to build a church empire with churches, stated Wagner, in Israel, Russia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands.
As Wagner describes, Nigeria has been exporting its pastors around the world. Why such success, for Nigerian Christianity? Explains Wagner,
“It is happening in the New Testament way. Jesus sent His disciples out to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the kingdom of God… As a former American missionary, I can personally attest to the fact that at least some of us were taught not to expect to see the sick healed, demons cast out or the dead raised through our ministry. Some of our theologians relegated such things to the lunatic fringe of Christianity.
Nigerians don’t seem to have the same intellectual, exegetical, theological or philosophical problems that most American theologians have had… They expect that these signs will follow every believer: “They will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18).
American Christian readers who receive up-to-date information such as the Barna Report lament the fact that evangelism has all but stalled out in America today. We have much to learn from Nigeria.” (Out Of Africa, pages 15-16)
While raising the dead and curing the sick are positive endeavors, the pervasive obsession with demons that haunts New Apostolic Reformation doctrine casts a dark shadow on the NAR’s faith healing paradigm.
The central organizing concept of C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation is radically utopian – God’s kingdom can be brought to Earth, and a utopian millennial kingdom established, when all of the demon spirits and demonic principalities believed to currently have power over the Earth are driven out and destroyed.
As part of that utopian project, it is necessary to drive out, from people, institutions, or geographic areas, demons associated with incorrect religious, political, and ideological beliefs, or with basic personality characteristics (such as non-heterosexual sexual preferences.) It is through the practice of Spiritual Mapping Spiritual that the demons – and also human beings associated with the alleged demons – are mapped out (geographically located), for future targeting.
In the leading video propaganda series of the NAR, George Otis, Jr.’s Transformations videos, people accused of witchcraft and sorcery are hounded by mobs and police, or even found sliced in half by swords. “Enemy” institutions “miraculously” burn to the ground, and objects associated with competing belief systems are incinerated.
In a 2006 conference speech, C. Peter Wagner, who has played a pivotal role in organizing the emergent New Apostolic Reformation, made very clear his view that “Spiritual Warfare” was not relegated merely to the spiritual realm – it extended, as part of a seamless continuum, into actual warfare, with bullets and napalm.