Saturday, August 30, 2008

American Taliban

Posted by Matt Homer

Via PZ Myers at Pharyngula comes a story about "Joel's Army" a quasi militia looking to set up a Christian Taliban in America. Disappointingly the majority of the followers of this dominionist nutbag are young. It also seems that Sarah Palin's church is connected to them. More below.


These guys seem almost too crazy to be true. I'm mostly going to let them speak for them selves.
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.
Not all that suprising to anyone who's been to a pentacostal church.
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.


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.

"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.


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."


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."


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."
Jesus Christ. The whole article is well worth the read. It is almost unfathomable to me that these people can actually believe this, but then I think back and realize I've been to churches like this back when I was a believer. I suppose it should come as no suprise that the people behind Jesus Camp are affiliated with these nuts.

One more quote:
"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.

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