Five Fold Today

Vision of the Bride - Our Children Have Sacred Value - How the Democrats Helped Bush Hijack the Country - Fear and Courage - Joan Baez: ‘I Was Right 40 Years Ago and I Am Right Now!´ - Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon - And Then We Will Die

September 8th, 2008

Vision of the Bride

Russell Durose

The Lord showed me the Bride, she was on the floor. She was clothed in rags. What was pure white linen, is now rags. There are other women, such as Jezebel, taunting her. Then all of a sudden the Holy Spirit took her by the hands, and started to take off her rags. Band by band. The Bride, who felt dirty, felt miserable, started to feel lighter. Started to feel joyful and freer. Then the Holy Spirit took hold of her, and bathed her in the Water of the Word. Then He put perfumes, so many but harmonious. When she came out she was BEAUTIFUL.

The Lord says this is what I want to do with my Church in the Nations. I am taking her from the lowest place, the misery, the depression, the sickness, the taunting. The Lord says I am going to take this away, the bondages. The Lord said that there is first a LIGHTNESS IN THE SPIRIT. Then after there will come into all your spirits, a NEW REVELATION of FIRST who I am, then you will see the WORD IN A NEW LIGHT. The Lord said, gone is the SENSE OF UNWORTHINESS AND SIN, the Lord says, I am coming to take you, but you shall stand in the world, and all shall see and be amazed. No longer divided, but glorious indeed. The Lord says I shall wash you in my Word, then I am going to PERFUME YOU WITH MY GLORY. (tears)

Russell Durose

Our Children Have Sacred Value

Bishop Charles Blake

“Our children have sacred value, and every child is equally valuable.

May I observe, as a Pro-Life Democrat, that some of us have philosophic, humanitarian and theological differences with those who put forth abortion as an appropriate, routine and acceptable birth control procedure. There are millions of us who would hold that such a position conflicts with our conviction regarding our sacred responsibility to our youth and to human life itself.

Surely we cannot be pleased with the routine administration of millions of surgically terminated pregnancies. Something within all of us must be calling for a better way. If we do not resist at this point, at what point will we resist?

We know that our party will understand and acknowledge the moral and spiritual pain that so many feel because of this disregard for the lives of the unborn.

Those of us who support the Democratic Party, despite our disagreement on this issue, do so because the Democratic Party articulate and pursues more of the positions that are relevant to the lives and circumstances of our people, the people of America in general, and the people of the world.

Others loudly proclaim their advocacy for the unborn, but refuse to recognize their responsibility, and that of our nation, to the living. They are presently and historically silent, if not indifferent, to the suffering of our inner cities, the extreme levels of economic and social inequality that exist in this country and around the world, and to the ethically indefensible restrictions blocking the access of some to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Senator Obama, and all of us, should follow up and elaborate on his stated intention to reduce the number of abortions, by providing alternative programs which will by various approaches result in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies; and to provide viable alternatives in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. ...

Bishop Charles E. Blake serves as the Seventh Presiding Bishop of the six million member Church of God in Christ.

Excerpt from Bishop Charles Blake´s remarks at the Interfaith Forum, Sunday, August 24, 2008, Denver, Colorado

How the Democrats Helped Bush Hijack the Country

By Cynthia McKinney

Our country has been hijacked and the Democrats have proven themselves to have been in on the plan. When it came to the Constitution, the Democratic leadership showed us that aiding and abetting illegal spying on us was more important to them than protecting our civil liberties.

When it came to war and occupation, the Democratic leadership showed us that financing an illegal and immoral war, based on lies, was more important to them than the people's desire for peace.

And when the people, hurting from the financial mismanagement of this country, called for accountability for the crimes that have been committed against the people here, against the global community, against nature, itself, the Democratic leadership took impeachment off the table!

Grassroots Democratic Party activists want a livable wage! A "Medicare-for-all" type of health care system, repeal of the Bush tax cuts that have ushered in the greatest income inequality in this country since the Great Depression. But the Democratic Party has shown itself to be incapable of providing even a semblance of the values even of its own activists.

The Democratic Party's national leadership didn't even mention Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors in their Congressional agenda for the first 100 days.

The Democratic Party's national leadership gave us the Iran Naval Blockade bill, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, and telecom immunity. They continue to fund war and occupation to the tune of $720 million a day while our children graduate from college tens--or even hundreds--of thousands of dollars in debt. Entire cities are going into receivership while the Democratic leadership in Congress gives the Pentagon one half trillion dollars annually with no accountability, no strings attached. That's over and above spending for war.

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are the hallmarks of the new U.S. gulag Democrats are helping to create.

They want us to believe that China and Russia are our enemies, in addition to the 60 countries on Dick Cheney's list. They want us to believe that workers, who come to this country to support thier families after Democratic leadership in the country saddled workers with NAFTA, are our enemies. But we are here today to declare that we know who the real enemies are: those false patriots that George Washington warned us of, who wrap themselves in the flag while betraying our values.

We are the true patriots!

We know that the strength of this country lies in the way it countenances dissent. And we are here to dissent. We are not deterred by reports of sleek, new detention facilities or recently-acquired taser guns that kill. For we come to dissent in peace. Indeed, we dissent for peace.

Today, we declare our independence from conformity and "go-along-to-get-along" politics. We declare our willingness to be radical in pursuit of peace and in our hunger for justice. We can see clearly now who the real stickup artists are and that's why we're in Denver!

Our actions here this week begin the disarming of the hijackers. We no longer are afraid. And we won't be deceived. We know that a vote for the Democrats is a vote for more war in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

But today, we are now free.

Free to stand on the four pillars guiding our political engagement: environmental wisdom, peace, grassroots democratcy, and social justice. And finally, we know our power. We know the power of the people. We know that true power rests in the hands of the people. People who are willing to take a stand.

We need look no further than Haiti, Code,I'voire, Spain, and India to see the power of the people at the ballot box. No further than Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay to know that if they can do it, so can we.

Provided our elections are fair!

And if the Democrats cave in, in the face of fraud, disfranchisement, and theft, then we will be there to demand election integrity!

All over this country, the signs are there. People from New York to Florida, Washington State to California, Colorado to Texas are liberating themselves. We must not stop! Our country is worth it! Let's take our country back! Power to the People!

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party's nominee for president.

Fear and Courage

Mary Lloyd

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Matthew 5:38-42

25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:25-28

All my natural life I have known fear of one kind or another, going back well into my childhood. As a small girl I would get faint at the thought of having to participate in public ceremony of any kind, hated the spotlight, tried to avoid at all costs having to speak to any number of people like in school assemblies and dramatic presentations in which we were all expected to take part.

I have always hated violence, and have always hated war. I hated what was done to my father in having to fight and face violent risks throughout WW2, as a petty officer in the Royal Navy. I know he had rescued some people from death, but that death images of bomb victims taunted him in his last few years, as Alzheimer's disease brought its reality back into the present tense.

Once having been through a serious time in the church, the worst having happened, I found I was afraid to walk the dog even because as I reasoned "if God is going to let that happen, what else will He allow?"

I am telling you this because many of us are living in fear of one kind or another, and we do not confess it in case that well worn Pharisee finger will point at us again and quote:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

The truth of it is, that none of us is made perfect in love, yet. If you have had that finger point at you too with this verse, remember what Jesus said: do what they say, and not what they do: receive the scripture, but not the spirit which condemns and undermines your faith. If anyone wants to tell you they have been made perfect in love, and yet you feel by that they are condemning you, well it can't be true, can it?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1.

If we have no condemnation with God, why fear the condemnation of unspiritual men? Why worry what they think of us if we are about our Father's business?

Jesus is the One with the perfect love, and in His love we may go places and do things that naturally would be impossible for us. Love and faith are best friends, hand in hand: what we cannot do, God surely can, and will, for all those we bring to Him in faith.

Yet there is a place where faith and love together let their concerns rest in God: we do not have to do everything for everyone who comes to us, for that would make them dependant on us. We do, however, have to do as much as we can to help others stand on their own two feet in their faith and in their circumstances..and then let them go. If we have done everything we can, not for ourselves but for them, there will be a place to let go.

Someone wise once said "without fear there would be no courage". What we have been courageous in starting in the perfect will of God, is His to complete, and not ours. In the love of God, we pray, and believe all will be well in God's timing.

Jesus has delivered me from much of what used to make me fearful before I knew Him. There were evil imaginations that would taunt me, and unseen entities hiding in the dark to scare me. There were risks and dangers and threats and problems all outside of my control, that would paralyse me totally if I gave in to them, which I did, all too frequently. But having come into contact with God and His enormous and powerful love, that love which casts out fear, I am released to do what He asks me to do, and so are you.

God does not despise us for being fearful: He already knows what things trouble us and cause us to live below His will for us. But if we take that fear, and let it rest in the mighty hand of God by faith, it becomes courage, and a courage that knows no limits, having the imprint of eternity upon it, written by the hand of God. If God be for us, who can be against us? What things need we fear?

There is deliverance needed in the body of Christ, and it is from the fear of man. We have become clever in disguising it with church programmes and conferences and calendars that make us look like we are busy in the Lord. And we know how to study and speak eloquently and Biblically on all theological subjects under the sun. But in fact, men are not reached; men are not changed by the powerful love of God; men are not delivered, not healed, not converted

on any scale commensurate with world need.

Only when the church is surrendered to God will He hear us and move in the lives of others as we ask in Jesus' Name. How will we know what to ask if we are still fearful of how things will appear to the brethren, still concerned what others think of us, still trying to please men first and not God?

Sometimes we disguise our fear of man with a pride that makes us seem the spiritual one, who is "above" reaching out to the unspiritual who are determined not to hear the Gospel message. But among the unspiritual is a pregnancy of blessing just waiting for the touch of God. Among the unspiritual is the blindness of pride and the disguise of furious activity that hides the real fear, which is of death and eternal destiny.

How will we bring the Gospel message to a needy world if we are using the same tactics of denial to avoid facing our own fear? We cannot give what we do not have. If we have not, we must ask, in faith, and we will receive what we need.

The greatest need in the world in these last days is for the body of Christ to give the message of Life and Hope in Jesus;

the greatest work of the body of Christ in these last days

is man.

Let us bring all our fear to God in humbleness of heart and trueness of confession, that He may forgive and cleanse us, and convert that fear into courage, for the sake of the world as yet in darkness; as yet under the power of the evil one.

Let us then come alongside each other, being willing to bear each others' burdens in the church, opening up in the love of God and in His tenderness to help each other deal with what fears are still preventing us from living and working in the Lord according to His Spiritual capacity.

We have no other option, and no alternative

For Our God is able:

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Ephesians 3, 16-21


Much love from Mary

Joan Baez: ‘I Was Right 40 Years Ago and I Am Right Now!´

Age has not wearied Joan Baez, the queen of protest, but it´s calmed her down ... a bit

by Will Hodgkinson

Time has been kind to Joan Baez. Over peppermint tea in the restaurant of a South London hotel, the queen of America's folk scene in the Sixties appears extremely youthful for someone in the fifth decade of her career. "We'll sit here until we get thrown out," she says, firmly but quietly, after the manager protests at our not wanting dinner. She appears the model of calm, unwavering serenity, but something about her unblinking stare - and her swift dismissal of a fussy maitre d' - suggests that you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her.

Perhaps the company she keeps has maintained her youth. Day After Tomorrow, her new album, is produced by the much younger country singer Steve Earle and it features songs by her favourite songwriters, including the British singer Thea Gilmore, who is half her age.

[Joan Baez, the queen of America´s folk scene in the Sixties, says she has ´never really been a songwriter´ (Source: TimesOnline)]Joan Baez, the queen of America´s folk scene in the Sixties, says she has ´never really been a songwriter´ (Source: TimesOnline)
"Steve's so like me in a lot of ways," says Baez, who holds herself in a poised way that has a tinge of therapy about it (she underwent a lot of it in the Eighties) and reveals an awareness of her status as a diva, albeit one that would rather see the poor clothed and fed than swathe herself in diamonds. "We share the same beliefs, although he's so left of me that I call him Mr Pinko, and there's something about his gruffness and my voice that gels."

Baez is a good advertisement for not getting caught up in stardom. Born to a liberal Quaker family in 1941, she'd already lived in France, Italy and Iraq by the time her Mexican father, a physicist who worked for Unesco, and Scottish mother settled down in Boston when she was 17. It was only a year later that she was thrust into fame after a triumphant appearance at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. Her first album was already out by the time a young, hungry and extremely ambitious Bob Dylan hit Greenwich Village in 1961.

For a brief moment in the early Sixties Dylan and Baez were the king and queen of the folk movement, the perfect couple to lead the young of America towards a new consciousness. But while Baez stuck to cover versions and causes, Dylan took off on a poetic journey all his own, hitching on the coat-tails of Baez's fame and then leaving her behind to become the foremost songwriter of the 20th century.

"I've never really been a songwriter," Baez says of the path she's taken. "Steve Earle wrote a song for me called I Am a Wanderer that expresses a sentiment I relate to far better than anything I could write."

These days, the warbling falsetto that Baez brought to We Shall Overcome and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You in the Sixties has been deepened by age, but she's still using the songs to get across her core messages of pacifism, social responsibility and, for the first time, party allegiance, saying of her endorsement of Barack Obama: "For years I chose not to engage in party politics. At this time, however, changing that posture feels like the responsible thing to do."

Her strident sincerity is something that doesn't always sit well with audiences as radical politics fall in and out of fashion. "After 9/11 nobody wanted to hear anything bad about America," says Baez, growing animated as she enters into political territory. "Nobody loves a war better than the President, and a few years ago it got to the point where if I said anything I truly believed about the Iraq war or global warming during a concert, people would get up and leave. That's fine with me. Actually, it's a badge of honour."

Baez is used to hostility. One senses that she thrives on it. At school in California she upset teachers by refusing to leave class during a bomb drill, reasoning that if the school was to be nuked, running outside would hardly do anyone much good. Later, as a teenage folk singer she would stop singing and glower at anyone who dared to talk during one of her performances. She and her first husband, David Harris, served jail sentences for their resistance to the Vietnam War (he refused the draft; she refused to pay a portion of her taxes to the war effort). It's no surprise that the rebirth of her career coincided with an increasing dissatisfaction with the Bush presidency and its foreign policy.

"Little by little it became clear that Bush was bizarre - and dangerous," she says. "I would do concerts where I would see people in the audience sitting with their arms crossed, looking angry as I said: ‘I was right 40 years ago and I am right now!' and throw my fist in the air. Now they're listening. Bush's great trick is to suggest that to go against him is to be unpatriotic. Slowly people realised that."

Baez acknowledges that, to her generation at least, she eternally represents the Sixties protest movement. "I'm a part of history," she says with calm resignation. "I represent so much before I've even opened my mouth. But I was more active when I was young, and it's only now that I'm spending time with my family."

Like so many of her contemporaries, Baez put bringing her message of peace to the world before raising kids. When she was divorced from Harris in 1972 their son Gabe went to live with his father, and it's only recently that she has become close to him. "I live with my mother, who is 95, I have a four-year-old grandchild, and it's a turning for me. It's confusing, too - am I really allowed to hang around the home and look after my mom?

"I don't regret what I did in the Sixties, but you can't stay on the biting edge of radicalism all your life. My core beliefs of non-violence haven't changed, but my lifestyle has."

Baez accepts that the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement gave her a purpose, and that when they came to an end she was left floundering. "It's natural," she says with a shrug. "The Vietnamese developed all sorts of neuroses and phobias after the war ended because they were no longer spending every day in the heightened state that comes with not knowing if you're going to be killed or not. When the war ended a lot of us lost direction. I certainly did."

It's also taken Baez a long time to relax and actually enjoy herself. She was, by her own admission, "far too neurotic" to appreciate early fame, and her image as an overly earnest Virgin Mary figure worked against her as the concerned citizenship of the counterculture gave way to hippy experimentation in the late Sixties. "I had this great fear of going commercial. As a result of becoming well-known at such a young age I was afraid of the wider world. But I did also have deeply held beliefs that I clung on to tenaciously. The big event was meeting Martin Luther King in 1956 at a Quaker seminar. That pretty much shaped the direction my life took."

In 1963 Baez was given the job of driving King and Jesse Jackson from an airport to a march. "They laughed all the time and told racist jokes about themselves, and I realised that nobody could see that side of them. They had to be seen as serious, and I related to that. We got to a restaurant and I asked them: ‘Don't you have a big march to organise?' They said: ‘We just have.' You get a public image that you have to live up to but your private reality is often very different."

After years of being written off as an unsmiling anachronism, Joan Baez is relevant once more. She thrives on political and economic tension - such as now. "At times of great uncertainty music and politics are fused," she says. "I would never have sung We Shall Overcome to an American audience during the Eighties because it would have been a nostalgia trip. Now it's appropriate again because it's relevant. I'm happiest when that happens."
© 2008 Times Online

Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon

By Casey Sanchez

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous "supernatural healing revival" in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don't bat an eye when he tells them he's seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. "He was looking very Jewish," Bentley notes.

Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read "Joel's Army." They're evidence of Bentley's generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that's gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other "hyper-charismatic" preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel's Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian "dominion" on non-believers.

"An end-time army has one common purpose -- to aggressively take ground for the kingdom of God under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Dread Champion," Bentley declares on the website for his ministry school in British Columbia, Canada. "The trumpet is sounding, calling on-fire, revolutionary believers to enlist in Joel's Army. ... Many are now ready to be mobilized to establish and advance God's kingdom on earth."

Joel's Army followers, many of them teenagers and young adults who believe they're members of the final generation to come of age before the end of the world, are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches. Numbering in the tens of thousands, they base their beliefs on an esoteric reading of the second chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel, in which an avenging swarm of locusts attacks Israel. In their view, the locusts are a metaphor for Joel's Army.

Despite their overt militancy, there's no evidence Joel's Army followers have committed any acts of violence. But critics warn that actual bloodletting may only be a matter of time for a movement that casts itself as God's avenging army.

Those sounding the alarm about Joel's Army are not secular foes of the Christian Right, few of whom are even aware of the movement or how widespread it's become in the past decade. Instead, Joel's Army critics are mostly conservative Christians, either neo-Pentecostals who left the movement in disgust or evangelical Christians who fear that Joel's Army preachers are stealing their flocks, even sending spies to infiltrate their own congregations and sway their young people to heresy. And they say the movement is becoming frightening.

"The pitch and intensity of the military rhetoric of this branch of the global Dominionist movement has substantially increased since the beginning of 2008," writes The Discernment Research Group, a Christian watchdog group that tracks what they call heresies or cults within Christianity. "One can only wonder how long before this transforms into real warfare with actual warriors."

'Snorting Religion'

Joel's Army believers are hard-core Christian dominionists, meaning they believe that America, along with the rest of the world, should be governed by conservative Christians and a conservative Christian interpretation of biblical law. There is no room in their doctrine for democracy or pluralism.

Dominionism's original branch is Christian Reconstructionism, a grim, Calvinist call to theocracy that, as Reconstructionist writer Gary North describes, wants to "get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God."

Notorious for endorsing the public execution by stoning of homosexuals and adulterers, the Christian Reconstructionist movement is far better known in secular America than Joel's Army. That's largely because Reconstructionists have made several serious forays into mainstream politics and received a fair amount of negative publicity as a result. Joel's Army followers eschew the political system, believing the path to world domination lies in taking over churches, not election to public office.

Another key difference between the two branches of dominionism, which maintain a testy, arms-length relationship with one another, is Christian Reconstructionism's buttoned-down image and heavy emphasis on Bible study, which contrasts sharply with Joel's Army anti-intellectual distrust of biblical scholars and its unruly style.

"Some people snort cocaine, others snort religions," Joel's Army Pastor Roy said while ministering a morning program at Todd Bentley's Lakeland, Fla., revival in late May.

As this article went to press, Bentley's "Florida Outpouring" had been running for more than 100 days straight. Many attendees came in search of spontaneous physical healing and a desire to be part of a mystical community marked by dancing, shouting, gyrating, speaking in tongues and other forms of ecstatic release.

Snide jabs at traditional church services are fairly common at Bentley's revivals. In fact, what takes place onstage at the Florida Outpouring looks more like a pro wrestling extravaganza than church. On stage, Bentley and his team of pastors, yell, chant, and scream "Fire!" and "Bam!" while anointing followers.

The audience members behave as if they are at a psychedelic counterculture festival. One couple jumps up and down twirling red and silver metallic flags. Dyed-haired teenagers pulled in by the revival's presence on Facebook and MySpace wander around looking dazed. Women lay facedown on the floor, convulsing and howling. Fathers wail in tongues as their confused children look on. Strangers lay hands on those who fail to produce tongues or gyrate wildly enough, pressuring them to "let it out."

Bentley is considered a prophet both by his followers and by other leaders of the Joel's Army movement, whose adherents claim to be reviving a "five-fold ministry" of prophets, apostles, elders, pastors and teachers, as outlined in the Book of Ephesians. Not every five-fold ministry is connected to the Joel's Army movement, but the movement has spurred an interest in modern-day apostles and prophets that's troubling to the Assemblies of God, the world's largest Pentecostal church, which has officially disavowed the Joel's Army movement.

In a 2001 position paper, Assemblies of God leaders wrote that they do not recognize modern-day apostles or prophets and worried that "such leaders prefer more authoritarian structures where their own word or decrees are unchallenged." They are right to worry. Joel's Army followers believe that once democratic institutions are overthrown, their hierarchy of apostles and prophets will rule over the earth, with one church per city.

Warrior Nation

According to Joel's Army doctrine, the enforcers of the five-fold ministry will be members of the final generation, for whom the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade constituted a new Passover.

"Everyone born after abortion's legalization can consider their birth a personal invitation to take part in this great army," writes John Crowder, another prominent Joel's Army pastor, who bills his 2006 book, The New Mystics: How to Become Part of the Supernatural Generation, as a literal how-to guide for joining Joel's Army.

Both Bentley and Crowder are enormously popular on Elijah's List, an online watering hole for a broad spectrum of Joel's Army enlistees, from lightweight believers who merely share an affection for military rhetoric and pastors who dress in army camouflage (several Joel's Army pastors are addressed by their congregants as "commandant" or "commander") to hardliners who believe the church is called to have an active military role in end-times that have already begun. Elijah's List currently has more than 125,000 subscribers on its electronic mailing list.

Rick Joyner, a pastor whose books, The Harvest and The Call, helped popularize Joel's Army theology by selling more than a million copies each, goes the furthest on Elijah's List in pushing the hardliner approach. In 2006, he posted a sermon called "The Warrior Nation -- The New Sound of the Church," in which he claimed that a last-day army is now gathering and called believers "freedom fighters."

"As the church begins to take on this resolve, they [Joel's Army churches] will start to be thought of more as military bases, and they will begin to take on the characteristics of military bases for training, equipping, and deploying effective spiritual forces," Joyner wrote. "In time, the church will actually be organized more as a military force with an army, navy, air force, etc."

In a sort of disclaimer, Joyner writes at one point that God's army "will bring love, peace and stability wherever they go." But several of his books narrate with glee what he describes as "a coming civil war within the church." In his 1997 book The Harvest he writes: "Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist this tide of unity will be removed from their place. Some will become so hardened they will become opposers and resist God to the end."

Two years later, in his book The Final Quest, Joyner described a vision (taken as prophecy in the Joel's Army world, where Joyner is considered an "apostle") of the coming Christian Civil War in which demon-possessed Christian soldiers enslave other, weaker Christians who resist them. He also describes how the hero of the novel -- himself -- ascends a "Holy Mountain" in order to learn new truths and to acquire new, magic weapons.

Kids on Fire

Bentley, who claims to be a supernatural healer, is no less over the top, playing his biker-punk appearance and heavy metal theatrics to the hilt. On YouTube, where clips of his most dramatic healings have been condensed into a three-minute highlight reel, Bentley describes God ordering him to kick an elderly lady in the face: "I am thinking, 'God, why is the power of God not moving?' And He said, 'It is because you haven't kicked that women in the face.' And there was, like, this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform and the Holy Spirit spoke to me and the gift of faith came on me. He said, 'Kick her in the face ... with your biker boot.' I inched closer and I went like this [makes kicking motion]: Bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God."

The atmosphere is less charged with violence at "The Call," a 12-hour revival of up to 20,000 youths led by Joel's Army pastor Lou Engle and held every summer in a major American city (this year's event was scheduled for Washington, D.C. in August).

Attendees are called upon to fast and pray for 40 days and take up culture-war pledges to lead abstinent lives, reject pornography and fight abortion. They're further asked to perform "identificational repentance," lugging along family trees and genealogies to see where one of their ancestors may have enslaved or oppressed another so that they can make amends. (Many in the Joel's Army movement believe in generational curses that must be broken by the current generation).

As even his critics note, Engle is a sweet, humble and gentle man whose persona is difficult to reconcile with his belief in an end-time army of invincible young Christian warriors. Yet while Engle is careful to avoid deploying explicit Joel's Army rhetoric at high-profile events like The Call, when he's speaking in smaller hyper-charismatic circles to avowed Joel's Army followers, he can venture into bloodlust.

This March, at a "Passion for Jesus" conference in Kansas City sponsored by the International House of Prayer, or IHOP, a ministry for teenagers from the heavy metal, punk and goth scenes, Engle called on his audience for vengeance.

"I believe we're headed to an Elijah/Jezebel showdown on the Earth, not just in America but all over the globe, and the main warriors will be the prophets of Baal versus the prophets of God, and there will be no middle ground," said Engle. He was referring to the Baal of the Old Testament, a pagan idol whose followers were slaughtered under orders from the prophet Elijah.

"There's an Elijah generation that's going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion," Engle continued. "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire."

Although Joel's Army theology is mainly directed at people in their teens and early 20s via events like The Call and ministries like IHOP, sometimes the target audience is even younger. In some of the most arresting images in Jesus Camp, a 2006 documentary about the Kids on Fire bible camp in North Dakota, grade school-aged kids dressed in army fatigues wield swords and conduct military field maneuvers. "A lot of people die for God and they're not afraid," one camper told ABC News reporters in a follow-up segment.

"We're kinda being trained to be warriors," added another, "only in a funner way."

Cain and the Intellectuals

Both Christian and secular critics assailed the makers of Jesus Camp for referring to the camp's extremist, militant Christianity as "evangelical." There is a name, however, that describes Kids on Fire's agenda, if you're familiar with their theology: Joel's Army. Pastor Becky Fischer, who runs the camp, said that a third of the kids at her camp were under 6 years old because they are "more in touch in the supernatural" and proclaimed them to be "soldiers for God's Army." Her camp's blend of end-times militancy and supernaturalism is perfectly emblematic of the Joel's Army movement, whose adherents believe their cause is prophesied in the Old Testament chapter titled "An Army of Locusts."

The stark, evocative passages of that chapter describe a locust swarm that lays waste to Israel (to this day, the region suffers periodic locust invasions): "Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come." As remarkable as the language is, most biblical scholars agree that it is a literal description of a locust invasion and resulting famine that occurred sometime between the 9th and 5th centuries B.C.E.

In the Book of Joel, the locust invasion is described as an omen that an Assyrian army to the north may attack Israel if it fails to repent as a nation. But nowhere is the invasion described as an army of God. According to an Assemblies of God position paper: "It is a complete misinterpretation of Scripture to find in Joel's army of locusts a militant, victorious force attacking society and a non-cooperating Church to prepare the earth for Christ's millennial reign."

The story of how an ancient insect invasion came to be a rallying flag for 21st-century dominonists begins just after World War II in Canada. Out of a small town in Saskatchewan, a Pentecostal preacher named William Branham spearheaded a 1948 revival in which he claimed that his followers lived in a new biblical time of "Latter Rain."

The most sinless and ardent of his flock would be called "Manifest Sons of God." By the next year, the movement was so strong -- and seemed so subversive to some -- that the Assemblies of God banned it as a heretic cult. But Branham remained a controversial figure with a loyal following; many of his followers believed him to be the end-times prophet Elijah.

Michael Barkun, a leading scholar of radical religion, notes that in 1958, Branham began teaching "Serpent Seed" doctrine, the belief that Satan had sex with Eve, resulting in Cain and his descendants. "Through Cain came all the smart, educated people down to the antediluvian flood -- the intellectuals, bible colleges," Branham wrote in the kind of anti-mainstream religion, anti-intellectual spirit that pervades the Joel's Army movement to this day. "They know all their creeds but know nothing about God."

The Gates of Hell

Branham was killed in a car accident in 1965, but his Manifest Sons of God movement, the direct predecessor of Joel's Army, lived on within a cluster of hyper-charismatic churches. In the 1980s, Branham's teachings took on new life at the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), a group of popular self-styled apostles and prophets who used the Missouri church as a launching pad for national careers promoting outright Joel's Army theology.

Ernie Gruen, a local pastor who initially promoted and gave citywide credibility to KCF pastors in the early 1980s, cut his connections in 1990. Concerned about KCF's plans to push its teachings worldwide, Gruen published a 132-page insider's account, based on taped sermons and conversations and interviews with parents who had enrolled their kids in KCF's Dominion school.

According to Gruen's report, students at the school were taught that they were a "super-race" of the "elected seed" of all the best bloodlines of all generations -- foreknown, predestined, and hand-selected from billions of others to be part of the "end-time Omega generation."

Though he'd once promoted these doctrines himself, Gruen became convinced that the movement was turning into an end-times cult, marked by what he summarized as "spiritual threats, fears, and warnings of death," "warning followers to beware of other Christians" and exhibiting "a 'super-race' mentality toward the training of their children."

When contacted by the Intelligence Report, Gruen's spokesman said that Gruen stands by everything he published in the report but no longer grants media interviews.

The Kansas City Fellowship remains in operation and has served as a farm team for many of the all-stars of the Joel's Army movement. Those larger-than-life figures include John Wimber, the founder of a California megachurch, The Vineyard, who, before his death in 1997, proclaimed that Joel's Army would not only conquer the earth but defeat death itself. Lou Engle founded The Call based on the Joel's Army visions that KCF "prophet" Bob Jones (not to be confused with Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University) received while at KCF. Mike Bickle, another KCF member, stayed in Kansas City to form the International House of Prayer.

IHOP members and other Joel's Army adherents are well aware of how their movement is perceived by other conservative Christians.

"Today, you can type 'Joel's Army' into a search engine and a thousand heresy hunter websites pop up, decrying the very mention of it," writes John Crowder in The New Mystics. Crowder doesn't exactly allay critic's fears. "This is truly warfare," he writes. "This battle is not a game. They [Joel's Army warriors] will not be on the defense; they will be on the offense -- and the gates of hell will not be able to hold up against them."

So far, few members of the secular media have taken notice of Joel's Army, even as they report on Protestant dominionists like Pat Robertson or the more outrageous calls for the stoning of gays and lesbians emanating from Reconstructionist circles. There are exceptions, however. On the DailyKos, a well-read, politically liberal blog, a diarist has been blogging for two years about her experiences as a walkaway from a Joel's Army church. She writes under a pseudonym out of fear of physical reprisals.

She may have real cause for concern. As Wimber, the late founder of The Vineyard, put it in one of his most famous and fiery sermons, one that is still frequently cited by Joel's Army followers: "Those in this army will have His kind of power. ... Anyone who wants to harm them must die."

© 2008 Southern Poverty Law Center All rights reserved.
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And Then We Will Die

By Angie Riedel

It is time to get past the 'death and violence is the answer' mentality. We can not afford to let it continue.

The US government now confronts every minor inconvenience with brutality and force. With lies. With tricks. With deceit. With unrivaled hypocrisy. It speaks a scripted and rehearsed dialog of illogic and insults. It changes the meanings of words and uses those words as weapons to crush, to silence and oppress, to steal what it wants. This government no longer shows respect for anyone but itself and feels no compulsion to listen or cooperate, to show respect for others, or to care at all about right and wrong, truth or lies, justice or injustice.

It seems that this government can't take a single step without stepping on others, without breaking the very laws it exists to uphold, without negating every principle we stand for.

At what point will this criminality cease?

It is no surprise that we are seeing our own citizens being brutalized and arrested for imaginary political crimes before any crimes are committed; and when there is no possibility that they will be committed. For this government there is no longer any concept of innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law. A court of law un-tampered with, a court uncontrolled by compromised loyalists, a court left free to honor its commitment to see justice done. There is no longer any concept of requiring proof of any crime at all.

For this government there is no need for any crime to actually be committed before it engages in illegal, unjustifiable surveillance, the planting of its spies in the affairs of private citizens, the laying of blatantly unsupported charges, all with the obvious aim of depriving innocent people of their freedom and their rights with unlawful, disingenuous arrests.

Every power this government begged us for, insisting with feigned hysterics that such unprecedented powers over others were necessary to protect the public has been fully and thoroughly misused and abused, used against the very people it claimed the desire to protect. There is no respect for the rule of law instead of the rule of men. There is only the obvious problem this government has with the millions of its own citizens that disagree with its vision of death to all who would stop them from their brutal, murderous desire to take control of the world.

This cannot go on. Not just because of the travesty of justice. Not just because of the suffering and destruction of hope, health, happiness, prosperity and safety these unjustifiable policies spawn. Not just because of the denial of rights and peace and freedom. But because of the risk of irreversible damage to our very humanity, to our ability to recognize justice, to our desire for and understanding of what the very idea of freedom means. Most of all because of a risk that is too horrible to gamble with, our ability to value life itself.

Because this government has no respect for compassion or justice we have lost the ability to value compassion and justice or understand their necessity. We have lost our comprehension of the need to treat others as we ourselves would demand to be treated. We are even losing the ability to see ourselves, each other, and others as worthy of common decency and deserving of basic God given rights, including the right to life itself.

We have crossed a line that can never be crossed with any justification, a line that leaves it up to a small group of selfish small-minded men to decide who among us deserves justice and who does not. Is it any surprise that those men have decided that no one deserves justice except themselves?

We must ask this government, what are you so afraid of? Because taking with you, everywhere you go, the largest assortment and biggest, most powerful most deadly weapons and contingents of armed men does not mean that you are powerful, it means that you are afraid. It means that everywhere you go, you go in fear. You are too afraid to go about in this world as we all do, with open hands and goodwill, and show up unarmed and with nothing to hide. It seems you have everything to hide.

Why then should we trust you? Why should anyone trust you when you demand the right to lie and keep secrets and use unjust, overwhelming force to get your way?

What gives you the right to impose your personal will on this world? What gives you the right to impose anything on anyone in this country? Who are you exactly that you imagine yourselves to be above the law not just of this land but the laws of common human decency and common sense? What do you tell yourselves entitles you to behave so badly? Because whatever you are telling yourselves is also a lie. There is no such entitlement. The use of violence to force your will and your ways on our people, on people everywhere, is invalid and it is wrong.

This government understands and perceives full well that its notions of total domination and total control both here at home and abroad are unwelcome. It knows full well that domination is not acceptable or warranted. We do not need to be controlled nor does this world need to be controlled, at least not by this government. It is this government that needs to be controlled as it apparently lacks any interest and has no intention of exercising the slightest control over itself.

There is an evil game being played that we must no longer tolerate. A verbal game of trading places with right and wrong, innocence and guilt, honesty and deceit. Authority wraps itself in the flag, it wraps itself in a cover of holy righteousness, it wraps itself in a wrapper that has words like nobility, bravery, honor and democracy on it, and in its thinly veiled deceit it wreaks havoc, death and destruction all the while proclaiming itself to be our savior, our highest good, our necessary evil. It is none of those things.

The game being played in Georgia is the same game being played in Minneapolis. The self-defined good guys show up and take sides without asking any questions whatsoever. Who is right and who is wrong, who is guilty and who is innocent is already determined. No effort is made to discern the truth. No interest exists in hearing all sides. No respect is shown for the marginalized, for the brutalized, for the wronged. It proclaims, we are the good ones and they are the bad ones, and then it moves in with overwhelming force. Abroad it uses military force, at home it uses militarized police. The people are automatically bad, and they are automatically good, and even questioning this bizarre system is a crime. But it is not a crime, it is a necessity. It is our duty.

Instead of the seething and rage, hatred, insults and threats that now come in endless rivers from this government against its perceived enemies, why can't it act like it should? Why can't it take the time to engage in honest discussion? To get the facts? To consider all sides? Why can't it extend invitations to come and talk, to find common ground, to construct bridges to friendship and cooperation? Why can't it value all of the most obvious ways to establish trust, peace and mutual prosperity? Why can't it host an open and public dialog so that all may listen in and those involved and concerned may be allowed to participate and speak for themselves, explaining things from their own perspectives, giving their own reasons, telling us themselves who they are and what they see? Only such an impartial, honorable and open, fair style of discourse can achieve justice and understanding? How else can justice be served?

Why do we never hear the other sides stories? How can this government be threatened by allowing the other side to speak for itself? If truly those other sides, Iran, Russia, our own peaceful demonstrators, are dangerous and evil, that would all be self-evident. But their prevention of any such truth coming out, their adamant demands and insistence that force must be used, and used immediately and overwhelmingly is beyond questionable. It is deeply disturbing. It does not engender trust. It engenders distrust and for good reason. No genuine attempts are made to do the right thing or to go about things the right way, the decent way, the honorable way, the fair way. And why? Because all of those things stand directly in the way of this government getting its way.

When all that is right and decent and honorable and just is an enemy to government, then what they desire to achieve cannot be right or decent or honorable or just. And if that is the case then why are they doing it? What are they there for? Are they there, taking our money and using it at will, to do what they know is not right, not decent, not honorable and not just? They are.

Can they please tell us then, why? And more to the point, just what are they trying to accomplish? Who's idea is this really? And why do they act completely opposite to who they say they are and what they say they are doing? What is this blanket of deceit and how dare they use these tactics? Why do they relentlessly desire war and violence, oppression, control and killing? Where is any sign of conscience? Of compassion? Of simple respect for human life?

Does this government shed a tear when its own soldiers come home in coffins? Does it show any care for those who come home wounded, broken and deserving of support? Does this government show any concern or grieving for the deaths of innocent people abroad? Does it not disregard such deaths and sweep them aside with insulting terms like collateral damage? This government seems to see the deaths and disempowerment of others as a tool. A tool it uses more than any other to achieve its aims.

Then we must ask them, what are your aims? Why all the killing? Why all the lies? Why the twisting of words and meanings? Why do you cover yourself in a coat of righteousness specifically to cover the truth of your unrighteousness? Who are you and what are you doing? And why?

We are long past a time where brutality and killing are an answer. Brutality and killing are not an answer. They are criminal acts. We know this at the personal level and it is no different at all for those equal beings who call themselves our government. Killing is wrong. War is pointless, destructive and wrong. It solves nothing. It enables unconscionable acts of murder of innocents, of thefts of lands and treasure. War provides the stage for arrogant, greedy power to play act its role of righteous savior, to use its unrighteous overwhelming force, and to destroy what others have worked so hard to build. One must ask, why would they desire this in the first place? Why do they desire this at all?

Who benefits? It is not you and I. It is them. Down to the personal level of unprecedented riches, power and wealth, of getting away with dishonesty and crime, of giving themselves unprecedented unnecessary invalid powers over life and death, over justice and injustice. It turns them into imperial kings and robber barons, thugs dressed in fine clothing who tell lies to TV cameras to cover the truth of what they are doing and why. They are killing us all, slowly but surely, because they have no respect whatsoever for life. Not here and not abroad. How are they different from serial killers? They are liars. And this must stop. This is not the way to anything but our guaranteed demise. Who believes we need this?

These are the methods and beliefs of madmen. Ideas of having the right to control and oppress, to kill and to commit crimes all in the name of bizarre, insane notions that do not apply to anyone but themselves. They turn the whole planet into a world of pawns they can use to play their games of death and destruction and control. These are not honorable men with honorable goals. They are usurpers, tyrants, hypocrites and they have no respect for life, human or otherwise, or for the environment we are all dependent on for our survival. These are men who are trying with all of their might to provoke this whole world into its final world war, carnage and destruction unlike anything seen before. This is their aim. This is their goal. Not because it is good for us, but because it serves their selfish, hypocritical, patently insane beliefs of self superiority and being God's chosen.

If these men are God's chosen it would not be due to worthiness or for His praise. They would be singled out and punished for acting much more in the service of the dark side, the side of death and dishonesty, of the negation and disrespect for free will. These are not Godly men. They're not heroes or leaders or workers for justice and freedom. What they really are cannot be stated because it is inexplicable. What is known is the results of their actions, and those results are death and destruction. Those results come to us on their lying lips, lies they must tell to trick us into going along, into believing they are good and those others are always bad. It is time to see it and face it, and to stop it.

Who is it that is such a threat to peace in this world? Who is the relentless aggressor? Is it Russia? Long despised and feared by those in power, the claims are communism or inhumanity, or any other words that would paint another nation as evil beings who threaten us all. Is it Iran? A religious country of ordinary human beings who do not possess anything remotely similar to the military power, might and aggression of our own government? What lies it takes to turn passive non-aggressors into something for this country to fear and loathe. What gigantic, inexcusable lies.

What country has galloped the globe time and again, bringing its overwhelming military force to kill native populations? Populations who pose no threat to anyone. Where innocents are slaughtered with overpowering violence, military might, and depraved indifference to human life and the environment. What country has never ceased its invasions and attacks since World War 2? Russia? China? Iran? Viet Nam? Argentina? The Falkland Islands? Canada? Saudi Arabia? Iraq?

Only one nation has never ceased inflicting war and carnage around the world. Only one nation's unbridled, insatiable aggression has been responsible for the nonstop murders of millions of innocent people. The United States. Its Siamese-twin Israel is right behind having engaged in decades of calculated, overt genocide of Palestinians.


Because these policies of aggression and violence are wrong, because they cannot be justified, then the question must be asked and we have every right to the answer. Why? What makes them so special that they may act in ways that threaten all peace, all stability, all prosperity and all freedom in the world? What makes them so special that they may deny justice and life to any and all they choose? Is there really such a thing as anyone so special? Only in their own imaginations. Only in the imaginations of those who support them. Only in the misguided beliefs of those who assist them. But in reality, in this very real world of real people living real lives, in real terror and real suffering, there is no such thing as anyone so special. There is no proof that any such specialness exists. It does not exist.

No man is our master. No man shall be crowned king of this world. No man is anything more than our human equal, no more deserving of life and needs and free will than we are. Many men, petty tyrants, thieves and thugs, elected men, religious men, statesmen of all creeds and colors exist and live in the wrong belief that it is their place to dominate and control others. To determine what shall be and what shall not be for all. They always impose their will with force, with killing, with torture. It is the only way to enslave a population and it is the only way the worst of them can hope to enslave the world.

We have watched as this government devolved into a den of thieves and liars, of instigators and deceivers, of unequaled propagandists and cheaters. We have extended them our unearned trust and they have used it against us, and against the world to achieve their own convoluted aims. We have been harmed. Others have been harmed. Harm that can have no recompense, there is no making up for what has been taken. Loved ones are irreplaceable. Innocent children are not replaceable. Lost blood lines, ancestral homes, prosperity, justice, peace, these can not be recompensed.

Everywhere this government goes it leaves in its wake death, poverty and injustice, destruction and military bases, not for anyone's protection or benefit, but to ensure it can keep its stranglehold on the conquered, disempowered, violently controlled masses.

Today they are still hell bent on attacking Iran, a country that is no threat to us at all. They are instigating violence, daring and begging Russia to react to the injustice and lies and aggression that they themselves arranged, armed and are responsible for. They are painting Russia as the aggressor when it is not the aggressor. But Russia's patience is being tapped and will eventually be drained. Anyone can see that. We need no experts to explain the particulars. We need only to understand what it feels like to be lied about and threatened, to be attacked by criminals and thugs, to understand that at some point anyone would stand up for themselves and fight back.

What we are seeing is the organized, preconceived plan to instigate World War 3. This is the desired goal of our government. Israel is its minion, deeply woven into the fabric of deceit, tampering and instigation. These two self-glorified special interests only want what they want at any price to others, at any cost to us, at all costs to those they want to see dead and destroyed for all time.

They are madmen who should be behind bars, locked in padded cells and given injections of anti-psychotic drugs and sedatives. They should be watched 24 hours a day and kept in locked rooms for their own safety as well as the safety of this world. For if these men and their obvious aims of destruction are not stopped, if they are not confronted, exposed and brought to the light of day, if they are not prevented from continuing their insane goals of death to the whole world, they will without any doubt succeed.

Shall we really stand idly by, claiming concern for our jobs or egotistical need for prestige, afraid of the erroneous criticism of deceived and misguided peers, as the world is raped and killed? What is worth the price? If anything needs to go, is it the world? Or shouldn't it really be them? Is it too late for us to remember what really matters in this world? Is it beyond the time when life was held precious and sacred? Are we all too happy to just get it over with and let them take us all to hell so that this endless carnage and pollution and destruction and violation of all that is good and decent and pure will finally cease? Or can common sense prevail? Can right and wrong be refreshed in our minds and in our souls and can we simply, calmly, step up and lead them away from the controls, away from the one second in time, on that one day that is unavoidably coming, when that final line is crossed? When that final insult, that final lie, that final spread of nuclear warheads is aimed and launched at millions of innocent people, that will immediately result in the mutually assured destruction of the world?

If we cannot stand up to illegitimate mortal leaders and take away this power over our lives that no man should ever have, then perhaps we have not yet evolved enough to recognize that life matters and that justice matters and that respect matters and that we all deserve to live in un-violated peace and freedom. And if that is true, then we won't have long to wait. Because these are the most dangerous men in the world and if there is no one willing to stop them we will all witness the consequences. And then we will die.

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