Worldview WeekendMarsha West
The prayer event I'm speaking of is The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis. The cult â€“like group Gov. Rick Perry has involved himself with is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR has dozens of offshoots and an assortment of names such as Dominionists, Latter Rain, Kansas City Prophets, Third Wave, Joel's Army, Manifest(ed) Sons of God, Five-Fold Ministry, to name a few. Another offshoot, and the one I'll deal with here, is the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a splinter group of the Kansas City Prophets. Confusing? You betcha!
I'm not alone in my view that much of the NAR and IHOP theology and doctrines are unbiblical, most conservative Bible scholars, apologists and pastors agree. According to Brannon Howse:
The Responseâ€¦is being promoted as a time of prayer and repentance. However, how can Christians and Christian leaders gather together in a spiritual enterprise and a spiritual service, with individuals that embrace a theology and doctrine that teaches a different Jesus and a different gospel? I, and thousands of pastors and theologians, believe that the Word of God reveals that the teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, (NAR) the Word of Faith movement and the prosperity gospel is completely unbiblical. (Online source)
The American Family Association (AFA) is sponsoring the event. AFA is part of the Religious Right a.k.a. the Christian Right (CR). Is the fact that what many consider a cult, or cult-like, are involved just a slip up or a failure on the part of AFA to fact check? No. They know perfectly well who these people are and have decided to unite with them anyway.
So why would a so-called Christian group pal around with members of a so-called Christian cult? In a word, pragmatism. This is the philosophy that "the end justifies the means." In this case the end is getting people motivated to show up at a prayer rally. The NAR has the resources to accomplish this task because a large part of what they do is planning global prayer events. Although I have no way of validating how this project was conceived it's not out of the realm of possibility that the NAR wanted to do a prayer event in Texas that included the governor so they presented the plan to the AFA and a partnership was created. Since it benefits politicians to have the support of the Religious Right, Perry also jumped on board. Another possibility is that AFA's leadership has Dominionist leanings and they, feeling comfortable with this group, sponsored the event. Finally, it very well might be that the governor's staff came up with the idea and presented it to the AFA, they liked the idea and agreed to sponsor it. Although it would be interesting to know how the idea for this event was conceived and how this group of organizers was put together, the fact remains that Gov. Perry and the CR are involved with cult-like false teachers.