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Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation and anti-gay hatred in Uganda

Second of two parts. (Part 1 is here.)
By Bruce Wilson, Talk2Action.org
Monday, September 5, 2011
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In December 2009, under heavy pressure because of his alliance with Martin Ssempa, Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church, publicly stated his opposition to the Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill. Accompanying Warren’s statement was a list of “Key Facts Concerning Recent Media and Blog Reports on Rick Warren’s Position on Uganda” with several factually incorrect claims.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren claimed that C. Peter Wagner had not been his adviser, for Warren’s Doctorate of Ministry dissertation from Fuller Theological Seminar (Wagner is listed as the sole adviser, a “mentor”, for the work.) Warren also made a jarring denial – that he was not “conspiring” with Wagner to “rid the world of homosexuals.”

Both men were listed on one of the original advisory boards of Wagner apostle Lou Engle’s The Call, a rolling stadium event Engle has staged in many countries around the world which features, as one of it’s central themes, heated rhetoric against homosexuality.

In May 2010, Lou Engle’s The Call held an internationally denounced Kampala, Uganda rally officiated by Wagner apostle John Mulinde, during which government officials and religious leaders, including Nsaba Buturo and apostle Julius Oyet, called for speedy passage of the “kill the gays” bill which, in its original draft version, would require Ugandan citizens to report suspected homosexual activity or face prison sentences of up to 2 years.

In his books, C. Peter Wagner has repeatedly cited, as a model for “Transformation”, the late 15th Century exploits of Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar known for instigating, in the Italian city of Florence, the infamous “Bonfire of the Vanities”–during which objects deemed to incite lust and sensuality, including profane books and artwork, including by some accounts several paintings by the Renaissance painter Botticelli, were burned.

Less well known, but detailed at length in the 2003 academic work Homosexuality and Civilization, by Louis Crompton, was Savonarola’s obsession with legislating burning at the stake as a punishment for sodomy.

Peter Wagner

Peter Wagner and other top apostles in his networks, including Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso,
and Chuck Pierce, have described in their books the need for believers to burn, smash, flush
down toilets, or otherwise destroy a wide range
of allegedly sacrilegious and demonized objects including books, religious relics such as statues
of Catholic saints, and native art objects.

In his 2008 book Dominion! How Kingdom Action Can Change The World, C. Peter Wagner states that the Dominion (or “Kingdom now”) theology of his movement traces through Christian Reconstructionist theologian R.J. Rushdoony, who advocate Biblical capital punishments such as stoning or burning at the stake for a wide range of alleged crimes including homosexuality, female unchastity before marriage, blasphemy, idolatry, and witchcraft. As Wagner wrote on page 59,

“The practical theology that best builds a foundation for social transformation is dominion theology, sometimes called “Kingdom now.” Its history can be traced back through R.J. Rushdoony and Abraham Kuyper to John Calvin.” (C. Peter Wagner, Dominion! – How kingdom Action Can Change the World, Chosen Books, 2008)

Among the apostolic networks of the charismatic movement C. Peter Wagner has dubbed The New Apostolic Reformation, the dominionist imperative has recently been branded as the “Seven Mountains” mandate. Entire conferences have been convened under this brand name, such a conference series launched in 2007, by apostle Os Hillman, named “The Church In The Workplace” series, billed as “Reclaiming The Seven Mountains of Culture”.

Along with a number of Wagner apostles, notably Jacquie Tyre, Vanessa Battle, and Lance Wallnau, Julius Oyet was listed as a speaker at Hillman’s conferences in 2008 and 2009. At the 2008 conference, Oyet was billed as an expert in reclaiming the “government mountain”. Oyet touts the 7 Mountains imperative on his Life Line Ministries web site and links to apostle Os Hillman’s  Reclaim 7 Mountains site. Oyet has candidly described “infiltrating” Ugandan culture, via media, to achieve control of the “Seven Mountains” including government.

Julius Oyet’s other myriad ties to Peter Wagner’s apostolic networks include teaching a course for the Wagner Leadership Institute Southeast (“Living Victoriously In Changing Times”) and partnering with Wagner apostle Tom Hess, author of the anti-Semitic tract “Let My People Go”.

A leading figure among Uganda’s fast-growing born-again community, Julius Oyet has held top positions in Uganda’s two major born-again umbrella associations and enjoys personal favor with Uganda’s First Lady and President.

Oyet was the star of a full-length 2005 video, “An Unconventional War”, in the “Transformations” video series by George Otis, Jr., a close movement colleague of C. Peter Wagner’s whose videos, which show believers triumphing over competing belief systems, vanquishing witches and demon spirits, and creating mini-utopias in which vegetables grow to enormous size. Otis, Jr.’s videos have played a major role in disseminating New Apostolic Reformation ideas and practices.

“An Unconventional War”, which showed Julius Oyet leading a supernatural offensive against the brutal Lord’s Reformation Army, featured interviews with Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni. Produced with help from the presidential media team, the video depicts Oyet’s campaign as redeeming Northern Uganda’s Gulu region from evil spirits, thus “healing” the land and bringing peace to the Acholi tribespeople of the area.

In an earlier Otis Jr./Transformations video, Transformations II – The Glory Spreads, Ugandan evangelist Bishop Grivas Musisi, who ordained Julius Oyet as an apostle in 2002, claims mass miracle healing of HIV/AIDS. As researcher Rachel Tabachnick describes,

Bishop Musisi is seen in the video (from Transformations II) claiming that he has overseen 372 miraculous healings of AIDS. Musisi later instituted home AIDS care from his church, stating that quite a few people seeking healing were dying, as many as 15 in one week, although he still maintains that some are miraculously cured.

A June 30, 2006 story dubbed “Uganda’s Miracle“, published in Charisma a magazine owned and edited by, respectively, two men serving at the time as apostles in Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles network, Stephen Strang and  J. Lee Grady, also claimed miracle healings of AIDS:

In the mid-1990s, dozens reported that they were healed of AIDS during crusades led by apostle Deo Balabyekubo…

[...]

After Balabyekubo died in a car accident… Grivas Musisi, who served as bishop under Balabyekubo, took the reigns of the ministry. He led another crusade, where 300 hundred people were healed of AIDS and their cases verified by doctors.

The ministry later helped pioneer home care for AIDS patients. Musisi says too many people were seeking healing at the church and quite a few were dying. “There was one week when 15 died on us,” says Musisi, now senior pastor of the Prayer Palace Christian Centre in Kampala. “We realized that God heals, but also that He may choose not to heal.”

Although there is debate among academics over the influence of American evangelicals in Africa, George Otis Jr.’s globally distributed Transformations videos are clearly an American export. Discussing the Ondoa appointment in the context of her belief in faith healing, and the influence of American charismatics, in an August 16, 2011 post for the website Freethought Kampala, Ugandan doctor James Onen writes,

Charismatic Christianity (Born Again, Pentecostal, etc) is very popular in Uganda and they specialise in the business of healing miracles. On their various programmes on television, or during their crusades or services, the pastors who lead these churches engage in elaborate rituals of `casting out demons’ from their flock. These `demons’, according to their doctrine, are responsible for everything from poverty, misfortune, unemployment, dysfunctional families, marital problems, and sickness. This kind of Christianity has come packaged in modern Americanized flash, dazzle and music that has made it hugely popular among upper middle class Ugandans, especially those in urban areas.

As I explained in the May 2011 story Atlanta Pastor Solicits $ For Co-Author of Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill, most existing coverage has missed the political symbiosis between Julius Oyet and his fellow charismatic, born-again Ugandans, and the Musevenis who, in turn, have given rhetorical support for Uganda’s mounting, eliminationist antigay crusade.

Ugandan born again Christians have represented a crucial block of support for president Yoweri Museveni and in 2006, while Oyet was General Secretary of National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches, the Fellowship supported Museveni’s legal bid to change the Ugandan constitution so he could run again for a third presidential term.

…in 1999 [President Yoweri Museveni] stated that homosexuals should be rounded up and imprisoned… At the August 2010 National Youth Convention at Uganda’s leading Makerere University, Janet Museveni told assembled students,

“In God’s word, homosexuality attracts a curse, but now people are engaging in it and saying they are created that way. It is for money The devil is stoking fires to destroy our nation and those taking advantage are doing so because our people are poor.”

Janet Museveni was referencing a conspiracy theory, now endemic to Uganda, which holds that homosexuality is a Western and American colonial import being insinuated into Ugandan society by wealthy homosexual operatives who bribe Ugandan youth with cash and consumer goods to engage in gay sex.

Wagner apostle Ed Silvoso has enjoyed, according to the Uganda State House web site, official dinners hosted by Janet and Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Museveni has, in turn, journeyed with an entourage that included her daughter Patience, top government officials, and top Ugandan born-again leaders, to Silvoso’s International Institute For Nation Transformation Network conferences in Argentina.

The IITN was co-founded by Silvoso, Cindy Jacobs, and C. Peter Wagner. As shown in the documentary Transforming Uganda, operatives of Ed Silvoso’s International Transformation Network claim to be conducting the mass training of “marketplace ministers” through a Ugandan network, in which Julius Oyet has held a top leadership position, of over 10,000 Ugandan born-again churches.

I will be covering the extensive, largely overlooked role of C. Peter Wagner’s apostles, aided by the President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni, in inciting antigay hatred in Uganda, in future installments of this series at Talk2Action.org. For further background, see the following videos and stories.

Further reading:

Transforming Uganda: Cited in January 2010 testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, my 20 minute documentary, Transforming Uganda, exposes the immense political influence in Uganda of the International Transformation Network, under C. Peter Wagner apostle Ed Silvoso, and the ideological influence of apostle George Otis, Jr.’s Transformations videos. The material includes extensive video documentation, including from the 2006 conference of Wagner apostle Ed Silvoso, who, along with his International Transformation Network  representatives, has enjoyed official state dinners, hosted by Yoweri and Janet Museveni, at the Ugandan State House.

Bios of American and Ugandan Leaders in “Transforming Uganda” provides biographical information, including their respective roles within C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation, of evangelical leaders featured in Transforming Uganda. Also see Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda, written as a preface to the story, above.

The New Apostolic Reformation Comes To Harvard (long version) (documentary video, 19:30) covers connections between Julius Oyet, C. Peter Wagner’s American apostles, and the Atlanta area-based College of Prayer:

The New Apostolic Reformation Comes To Harvard (short version) (documentary video, 5:36) covers the same basic territory as longer version above, with some variations:

In 2009, megachurch pastor and Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren’s ties to Ugandan antigay campaigner Martin Ssempa were exposed but media missed Warren’s ties to C. Peter Wagner, his adviser for Warren’s Doctorate of Ministry dissertation from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Rick Warren’s Dissertation Adviser Leads Network Promoting Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill traces Rick Warren’s ties to Peter Wagner and explores the close parallels between the evangelical initiatives under the two leaders. The story also investigates Julius Oyet’s activities at length, notes the role of apostle Ed Silvoso’s ministries in Uganda (explored in greater detail in the Transforming Uganda documentary video), discusses the role of George Otis, Jr.’s Transformation videos, and places all of these evangelical efforts within the context of long term changes within the global evangelical movement.

Links to Two Years of Articles on NAR, Including Aiona, ITN, and Transformation Hawaii sums up the extensive Talk To Action reporting on the political efforts of C. Peter Wagner’s apostles in the US state of Hawaii leading up the 2010 gubernatorial election. Included is footage, from Silvoso’s 2006 ITN conference, showing Hawaii Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona, who was defeated in his 2010 bid to become Hawaii governor, praying together hand-in-hand with Uganda’s First Lady Janet Museveni.

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