Little by little, media outlets have begun reporting on a variety of really horrifying “movements”–most embracing Neo-fascist and/or crypto-Christian beliefs–that have been accumulating large numbers of adherents despite their underground status.
On July 1, 2022, inside a packed Georgia arena, four religious leaders stood on stage as they recited a blood chilling Prayer Declaration called the “Watchman Decree”:
Whereas, we have been given legal power from heaven and now exercise our authority, Whereas, we are God’s ambassadors and spokespeople over the earth. Whereas, through the power of God we are the world influencers. Whereas, because of our covenant with God, we are equipped and delegated by him to destroy every attempted advance of the enemy, we make our declarations: … 3. We decree that our judicial system will issue rulings that are biblical and constitutional. 4. We declare that we stand against wokeness, the occult, and every evil attempt against our nation. 5. We declare that we now take back our God-given freedoms, according to our Constitution. 6. We decree that we take back and permanently control positions of influence and leadership in each of the “Seven Mountains.”
Not only was the arena “packed,” the video of the recitation–which you can see at the link– was viewed more than 3 million times on Twitter alone.
The Watchman Decree is a product of something called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The relatively few media outlets that have reported on the movement tell us that it is a rapidly accelerating worldwide Christian authoritarian movement, one that includes practices of faith healing and exorcism. It also promotes dominionism, the belief that Christians must take control of government, business and the culture before Jesus can return to earth.
The men on stage included NAR apostles Dutch Sheets (who wrote the decree) and Lance Wallhau, along with two close colleagues, pastors Mario Murillo and Hank Kunneman. The fifth man, pastor Gene Bailey, hosted the event for his show Flashpoint on Victory TV, a Christian network that platforms the NAR and pro-Trump Make America Great (MAGA) influencers.
Those relatively obscure individuals are joined in NAR by Trump supporters with far more familiar names: former Trump National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who has appeared on Flashpoint several times, and longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone. Stone, Flynn, and other MAGA influencers were announced as participants in a Pennsylvania tour called the“Reawaken America Tour” (RAT). That tour was founded by a far right podcast host from Oklahoma, and was sponsored by an NAR apostle through something called Charisma News.
Leading NAR apostles are blatantly pro-Trump, and claim their view is supported by God, whereas opposition to Trump is satanic. “Fighting with Trump is fighting God,” Wallnau declared in October 2020. “God does not want” Joe Biden to be president, Sheets claimed in December 2020. “All those witchcraft curses that did not land on Donald Trump are trying to take out his kids,” Wallnau raged in a 2017 video. In a 2017 tweet, he wrote, “Praying for the President-elect at Press Club in D.C. with Lou Engle. Prophetic location. Trump must keep wrecking media witchcraft.”
The NAR also opposes freedom of religion, teaching instead that Christians must exert dominion over all aspects of our society. The NAR isn’t the only movement that espouses dominionism, but it may be the most influential. As explained by Wagner, who fathered the NAR:
“Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing. And it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings.”
The specific pillars of society over which the NAR plans to “rule as kings” are seven-fold: 1. business, 2. government, 3. family, 4. religion, 5. media, 6. education, and 7. entertainment. NAR leaders call this the “Seven Mountains” mandate.
I find it hard to get my head around the fact that thousands–perhaps millions–of Americans can hold and act upon such beliefs in the 21st Century. I can only speculate about the fears and/or resentments that might account for a person’s embrace of such a worldview. The fact that the NAR and its ilk have largely flown under the radar adds to the danger. These are people who believe they are privy to the will of a deity they have created out of their own inadequacies, and that they are entitled to exert “dominion” over the rest of us.
We live in very scary times.