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‘God Loves Uganda’–New Film Exposes the NAR Movement

God Loves Uganda–a documentary that has won numerous awards at film festivals, including the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award–opens Friday, Oct. 11 in theaters in New York City.

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, this film profiles New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) leaders and organizations–such as prophet Lou Engle and the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri–and their efforts to support anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda.

Criticism of NAR leaders’ involvement in Ugandan politics is nothing new. Secular watchdog groups, such as Right Wing Watch and People for the American Way Foundation, have been sounding the alarm about the NAR movement for years. They fear that its dominionist agenda could lead to the suppression of the civil rights of homosexuals and others who don’t share the values of the NAR movement–in Uganda and the United States.

So, what’s my problem with the NAR efforts in Uganda? Of course, I–along with all biblically faithful evangelicals–believe homosexual practices are sinful. But my concern is that the NAR movement has shifted the historical evangelical focus on preaching the gospel (or “good news”) of salvation from sin to preaching a gospel of taking sociopolitical control. Even the documentary makers obviously picked up on this shifted focus, as is made evident by the film’s sarcastic tag line, “Have you heard the good news?”

In other words, the good news being preached by NAR leaders in Uganda is not the same good news that, historically, has been preached by Christians.

And another problem I have with the NAR efforts in Uganda is the same problem I have with the movement everywhere–its aberrant teachings. These include the teachings that, in order for the church to take sociopolitical control, Christians should submit to the extraordinary authority of present-day apostles and prophets, such as Lou Engle, who claim to reveal new divine revelation or “strategies” for taking dominion.

Those are things that disturb me about NAR activities in Uganda. But what disturbs me about this documentary is that it appears its creators have lumped together all U.S. evangelicals with the NAR movement. Several statements on the official Web site are guilty of this failure to make a crucial distinction between mainstream, orthodox evangelicals and participants in this heterodox movement.

See what I mean here.

The feature-length documentary God Loves Uganda is a powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to change African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right.

And here.

God Loves Uganda explores the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda, where American missionaries have been credited with both creating schools and hospitals and promoting dangerous religious bigotry. The film follows evangelical leaders in America and Uganda along with politicians and missionaries as they attempt the task of eliminating “sexual sin” and converting Ugandans to fundamentalist Christianity.

And here is another statement that lumps together the efforts of all Christian missionaries in Uganda with the NAR movement.

Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams exposes the missionary movement in Uganda as an outgrowth of Africa’s colonialist past and a twenty-first century crusade to recreate a continent of people in the image and likeness of America’s most extreme fundamentalists.

I do hope the documentary itself does a better job than the Web site of distinguishing between mainstream evangelicals and NAR adherents. If you get a chance to see it, let me know what you your reaction is.

— By Holly Pivec

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3 Responses to “‘God Loves Uganda’–New Film Exposes the NAR Movement”

  1. Tim Smith Says:

    Yes, This is very scary stuff.

    A false spirit guised as Christ. A true spirit of error, and it brings me to the scriptures, which read that God will send a strong delusion that they should be believe a lie.

    It is a strong delusion when Satan himself who is guised as a light and angel of light, but who can withstand a delusion sent from God Himself.

    It appears to me only in opinion, that this could be one of the strong delusions these false prophets have been given, and because the love of the truth only found in Gods written word has been substituted for extrabiblical experience and power that God has given up on them and gave them their wicked imaginations with real demonic spirits that are leading them to give the world an apostate Christ that has power and manifestations as expressed in the word of lying signs and wonders.

    The liars and are within the church, and the tares are allowed to move and attack the true people of God. The true people of God will be persecuted by these followers of the NAR and the like and will be labeled old fashion and self righteous.

    This is only my observation. If God sends it who can withstand it. It is a fulfilling of another prophecy foretold 2,000 years ago found in Thessalonians regarding this strong delusion.


  2. Nathan Says:

    I have come away with a completely different feeling regarding the possibility that this film may paint all Evangelicals with a broad brush. If the shoe fits…? Well in a way it does.
    Let’s assume, since we have no idea yet what the film content is, that the American Church will be lumped together with NAR doctrine. Good!!!
    What if the specific details of the film are not accurate? Who cares! Because whether or not this situation (Uganda) is correctly reported, the spread of the NAR throughout the world is real. And the effects of this filth are real. If the film causes questions to be asked of both the NAR and the broader Evangelical Church it is a positive development. Regardless of the Uganda facts, murder of many types, not just the LGBT community was part of the Re-constructionist objective and of course is inherent in the NAR as these rivers of thought all flowed together in the Late 1990’s and 2000’s
    The American Church is making no concerted effort to identify NAR elements and give it the pariah status it deserves. The broader Church is silently complicit because is says little or nothing. Even if you do not go to a NAR church chances are good your leadership is adopting language and concepts that have emerged from the NAR.
    As an aside, when someone makes an anti-NAR statement it seems they often talk in theoretical terms. It is not theoretical if you are a real person and have had real consequences as a result of being connected in any way with the NAR or someone that has adopted portions of this delusion.
    How are you earnestly contending for the faith?
    Nathan Priddis

  3. kadri-liisa Says:

    I saw that movie by coincidence in local cinema when was PÖFF movie festival here in Tallinn and all christians were watching it…..:-) This antigay stuff was bad there but i think it is good that ppl go and something good in Africa.

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