Prayer and pork barreling

pig headLast Saturday, thousands of Christians gathered at a stadium in Baton Rouge for a prayer and fasting rally, called “The Response: Louisiana.” The event was led by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who appears to have presidential ambitions.

The stated purpose of the event, according to the website, was to pray for the nation. Who would argue with something as basic as that? No one, if you take it at face value and don’t look any deeper. But, as with many things, the devil’s in the details.

What weren’t stated are the close ties this event has with the New Apostolic Reformation–a controversial religious movement led by apostles and prophets.

The Response website–which contains pertinent information about this event–oddly makes little mention of the leadership behind it, other than Jindal. It’s almost as if the other leaders are trying to hide. You have to dig around the site–going under the “Resources” tab and downloading a newsletter–to find out that one of the leaders is Doug Stringer, of Somebody Cares America/ Int’l, who is identified as the “National Mobilization Coordinator.”

For those who don’t know, Stringer is a high-profile NAR apostle, who has held membership in the International Coalition of Apostles.

I doubt that Stringer was the only NAR leader behind “The Response: Louisiana.”

Why? Consider the following. Another Response event was held in Houston, Texas, in 2011, that featured then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, like Jindal, was expected to make a run for the presidency. Multiple NAR leaders organized and endorsed this event, including the apostles Doug Stringer and Ché Ahn, the prophet Lou Engle, and senior staff members at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Mo., a NAR organization. We wrote about this event in our new book A New Apostolic Reformation? The recent Response event in Louisiana was billed as a continuation of the first event.

But is that enough information to peg the current event as NAR-sponsored? Wouldn’t we expect many of the same NAR players to have their names publicly associated with this event?

Maybe not. Because, the last time around, major media outlets–like MSNBC, CNN, and National Public Radio–uncovered the NAR leaders behind the Texas event and featured exposés on them and their NAR agendas. This negative media exposure could explain why NAR leaders would be shy about their involvement the second time around.

Furthermore, even if many NAR names can’t be directly tied to the second event, NAR media outlets certainly can be. GOD TV–a worldwide, NAR television network–streamed the Louisiana event live. Charisma Magazine, a major promoter of the NAR movement, also covered it. And IHOP-affiliated prayer rooms across the nation encouraged their followers to participate. See, for example, the Facebook pages of the Nashville House of Prayer and the International House of Prayer New Orleans.

What’s the takeaway? Christians need to be more discerning about what they take part in, even if it’s marketed as something as innocuous as a prayer gathering. As in politics, hidden agendas can be pork barreled in.

UPDATED 2/3/2015:  Check out this link to an article featuring a video clip from the Louisiana Response event. The video shows one of the speakers promoting the “Seven Mountain Mandate”–the NAR teaching that the church must take dominion over the seven most influential sectors of society, including religion, family, government, business, and media. This video provides further evidence of a NAR agenda behind the event.

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