The phenomenon of patriotic idolatry continues to escalate as America’s election day draws near. It seems the religious right has never been so vocal as it has in 2012 as various groups have been heard these past months issuing mass warnings about the country’s inevitable destruction if she does not “return to God.” Extensive prayer rallies, such as America for Jesus and the David’s Tent DC event, have been held in an effort to “call America back to God.”
Now we find that “prophet” Cindy Jacobs and her husband Mike, along with “apostle” Dutch Sheets, are planning a “Reformation Day for America” on 31 October, the day when the church typically remembers Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
The Reformation Day event is sponsored by Generals International, which describes itself thusly:
Generals International is an international church movement, reforming the nations of the world back to a biblical worldview. We are achieving societal transformation through intercession and the prophetic.1
The event also is sponsored by the United States Reformation Prayer Network, a ministry of Generals International that began in January of this year. These groups ultimately are part of a larger movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). This movement teaches that Christians are mandated by God to reclaim society and nations for Christ.2 This is achieved by seeking influence within the “Seven Mountains,” namely Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment and Business.3
Dr. Orrel Steinkamp explains that the NAR is little more than a reinvigoration of the former Latter Rain movement. He also offers further explanation of the “seven mountain” dominion mandate:
The central new teachings of the Latter Rain were the restoration of the office of apostles and prophets, and an end-time conquest of church and society (state, culture). This would be a restored band of office-holders of apostles and prophets that must reign before Jesus could return. These apostles are self-anointed and self-appointed, and they claim to be imbued with supernatural powers.
In the past decade a new convert to the Latter Rain movement, missiologist C. Peter Wagner, has welded together a movement he has called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR is a world-wide network of several hundred apostles with the stated goal of taking dominion over society and government. It was Wagner who gave the green light to enter the world of politics as a sort of halfway house in procuring the world dominion for the apostles and prophets.
The inspired canonical Scriptures, of course, have no reference to any so-called restoration of these apostles and prophets at the end of the age. But these “restored” prophets give additional new revelations that in effect add to the Scriptures, and thus their new words serve to endorse these later day apostles and prophets with their new revelations. How clever.
In addition, it was by new revelation that the current dominion teaching of taking dominion of the so called 7 mountains of culture became known and is now finding acceptance around the world. This whole movement presupposes that the New Testament end-time teaching in Scripture is essentially wrong and/or incomplete. So a new eschatology has arisen in which dominion is the key tenet.4
In October 2011, Dr. John MacArthur spoke against the NAR in a widely circulated sermon entitled, “The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.” Of the movement, MacArthur had this to say:
Well the New Apostolic Reformation isn’t new, it isn’t apostolic and it isn’t a reformation. But it is a rapidly expanding movement being generated by some of the same old troubling false teachers and false leaders that have been around in Charismania for decades, always dishonoring the Holy Spirit, always dishonoring the Scripture, always claiming miracle signs, wonders, visions, dreams. Peter Wagner, the Kansas City prophets, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, and on and on and on it goes….
…And here’s what their basic claim is, that the Holy Spirit has revealed to them that in the year 2001, we entered into the second apostolic age…in the year 2001 we entered into the second apostolic age. What does that mean? It means that the long-lost offices of New Testament prophet and New Testament apostle have been restored, that the Holy Spirit has given the power of prophecy and the power and authority of an apostle to certain people in this generation of the church since 2001.
It seems very odd to me that the Holy Spirit would give that to people whose theology is unbiblical and totally aberrant.5
The names of Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets are quite popular in the NAR circles. Cindy Jacobs and her husband, Mike, are co-founders of Generals International. Cindy is described as:
a respected prophet who travels the world ministering not only to crowds of people, but to heads of nations. Perhaps her greatest ministry is to world influencers who seek her prophetic advice.6
Though the title of “apostle” does not currently appear on the website of Dutch Sheets Ministries, this designation appears to have been used of Sheets within the past year:
Apostle Dutch Sheets has, over the last 17 years, given his heart and life to fulfill the call of God in bringing an awakening and a reformation to both the body of Christ and to the Government of America.7
With this information as a background, tomorrow’s Reformation Day event being hosted by Generals International is not one to be celebrated by Christians, in spite of its seemingly innocuous description:
The United States faces a critical moment of decision and needs our fervent prayer and swift action… now more than ever. Join Mike and Cindy Jacobs, along with Dutch Sheets, as we spend time together in soul-stirring worship and focused prayer for a fresh start and a new Reformation Day for America!8
To be sure, Christians may and should pray for their country and for their political leaders. Christians should not, however, seek to save a nation. Unfortunately, it is the salvation of a country that seems to be the driving force behind today’s patriotic idolatry. While there certainly is nothing wrong with acknowledging and lamenting the moral degeneration and depravity of this country, believers must recognize that America never was a “Christian nation.” Yes, America’s founders may have heeded a form of biblical morality and engraved some Bible verses onto their monuments, but America never was and never will be in covenant with God. She is not chosen by Him as was Israel. She has been blessed by the Creator, but in the end, she will fall like the rest.
It is not the job of the Church to save America—or any country—from its decline. The purpose of the Church is to proclaim repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation, desiring to see individual hearts changed through the preaching and power of the Gospel. Whether that is done in a Romans 1 country or not is irrelevant. Contrary to the many urgent calls that are heard today for America to “return to God,” the Almighty does not need a “reformed” America to accomplish His purposes. In fact, it could be argued that His work would actually be furthered by the downfall of this once-great nation. When the false god that is America finally falls, perhaps many will repent of their patriotic idolatry and truly turn to the One Who saves, Jesus Christ.
- http://www.generals.org/about/about-us/, accessed 30 October 2012. ↩
- Christine Pack, “What Is the New Apostolic Reformation?” Sola Sisters, 7 October 2011. ↩
- http://www.usrpn.org/areas_of_targeted_focus, accessed 30 October 2012. ↩
- Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, “NAR in the Political Limelight,” The Plumbline Newsletter. ↩
- John MacArthur, “The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit,” preached 23 October 2011. ↩
- http://www.mikeandcindyjacobs.com/cetest-firstpage/cindy/, accessed 30 October 2012. ↩
- http://www.biographyministries.com/dutch-sheets-ministries.html, accessed 30 October 2012. ↩
- http://www.generals.org/reformationday, accessed 30 October 2012. ↩