17 August 2012

Patriotic Idolatry: 'America for Jesus,' the NAR and Jonathan Cahn

Jonathan Cahn, author of the bestselling book, The Harbinger, continues to make the rounds in the media, as well as in churches and at various events and conferences. His book has garnered both praise and criticism. Critics of the book believe that it demonstrates a poor and potentially dangerous biblical hermeneutic as well as a weak and unhelpful Gospel presentation. Supporters overlook such details and laud its message of repentance for America.

Calling America "Back to God"

Photo: Wikimedia
It seems to be the "return America to God" crowd that is making the most favorable noise about The Harbinger. While there certainly is nothing wrong with acknowledging and lamenting the moral degeneration and depravity of this nation, nevertheless we must recognize that America never was a "Christian nation." Yes, its founders largely heeded biblical morality, and perhaps tossed a few 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.

How, then, ought the Church respond? Scripture tells us that we should we present to individual sinners the Gospel of forgiveness through the perfect work and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So should we seek to outwardly whitewash a nation? Or should we desire to see individual hearts changed with repentance, regeneration and faith?

In spite of the biblical command to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and call each man to repentance, a number of professing Christian groups have begun to arrange national prayer rallies in attempts to "call America back to God." In this time of election season, such activity is at its most rampant. Unfortunately, the powers behind many of these events actually stand in opposition to Scripture, and thus present even greater danger than merely possessing an unhealthy and incorrect focus on this temporary world.

America for Jesus

One such example of this is America for Jesus (AFJ), an event set to take place on 28 and 29 September at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. The video advertisement below aptly states its purpose:


It seems that September's gathering is largely being justified by use of the well-known Scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)
This is indeed a lovely promise by God to His people Israel, but should it also be regarded as a promise for America?

The intention of AFJ is to "bring the salt" to America per 2 Kings 2:19–22:
Source
AFJ is a continuation of what was known as One Nation Under God and its events, which were called Washington for Jesus. These events took place in 1980, 1988, 1996 and 2004. The AFJ website explains:
Source
As you can see, the movement began when "God" allegedly spoke to bishop John Gimenez. Gimenez passed away in 2008, but his ministry and church, Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, continue on under the leadership of his wife. Anne Gimenez, who claims her own special anointing, was ordained at the age of 19.

Rock Church International claims to be an "apostolic ministry" and is part of the broader Rock Ministerial Fellowship, which also was founded by the couple. The purpose of Rock Ministerial Fellowship "is to provide apostolic covering to local churches and ministries" (source). Not only, then, is this organization as well as Rock Church led by a woman in direct violation of Scripture, but they also purport that the office of apostle continues today.

Anne Gimenez is the National Director for the AFJ 2012 event. A quick glance at the leadership team for AFJ reveals an unmistakable reality that many of these individuals are associated with what is known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
Source
While there is not time here to detail each or even a few of these names, the reader may be familiar with such names as Jim Garlow, Samuel Rodriguez, Lou Engle and Cindy Jacobs. The discernment website, Herescope, notes in a well-documented 2010 article the association of Garlow and Jacobs with the NAR:
The open association of David Barton and Jim Garlow with the New Apostolic Reformation leaders goes back several years at least. Cindy Jacobs, one of the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation and her organization, Generals International, featured a "Raise Up An Army Convergence '09" conference[5] in which Barton and Garlow were keynote speakers along with Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets, key "apostles" under C. Peter Wagner in the NAR. This conference was promoted on The Elijah List,[6] which is the chief media organ for the leaders, doctrines and events of the NAR. The event's purpose was described by Cindy Jacobs: "to raise up a prayer army to both awaken and reform this nation," and used all of the strident military rhetoric of the NAR's prayer warfare agenda.[7] The Convergence '09 appeared to have the full trapping of the extreme "worship" style that characterizes the leaders of the NAR. (Source)
As a means of demonstration, and to break up the great length of this article, below is a brief video of Cindy Jacobs prophesying. Jacobs sits on the leadership team of AFJ.


What is the NAR?

In his article, "The Roots and Fruits of the New Apostolic Reformation," apologist Bob DeWaay details how this "new" movement is little more than a resurrection of the Latter Rain movement.
The differences between the Latter Rain Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation mostly have to do with terminology, not doctrine. In the 1980s, a teaching circulated amongst those who attend conferences put on by those in the prophetic movement called “a new breed of man.” The basic idea is that ordinary Christians throughout church history had been colossal failures and that God was going to fall upon certain persons by His Holy Spirit and “impregnate” them so that they could “give birth” to something entirely new. The “new breed of man” would be exalted saints with holiness and power never known before. (Source)
DeWaay notes how the NAR has reintroduced the former Latter Rain heresies of "Joel's Army" and "Kingdom Now" teaching:
The claim was that Joel 2:1-11 predicts that the end time church will be “Joel’s Army” that will execute God’s judgments on the earth. This is another false Latter Rain teaching that Bill Hamon still propagates. Here is his claim:
The saints are being trained now in the military bases of international training centers and their local church armories. The goal is to have them taught, equipped and field trained to be the officers that lead God’s army of prophetic evangelist saints during the coming Saints Movement. They will minister under the covering and leadership of fivefold apostolic and prophetic generals who trained them. These saints will function like God’s army prophetically described by Prophet Joel (Joel 2:1-11).
[...] 
According to NOLR and NAR teachers, the kingdom of God is established by the church during history and before the parousia. Hamon writes, “Now let us begin to pray earnestly that the full dominion of His literal kingdom be established in all reality over all nations and people of the earth. . . They will pray and declare that it is time for God’s kingdom to be established over all the earth by the divine delegated authority and ministry of Christ’s Church.
(Source
In his October 2011 sermon, "The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit," Dr. John MacArthur said of the NAR:

We can see the danger, then, of this type of thought being the force behind an event known as America for Jesus.

What does this have to do with Jonathan Cahn?

In April 2012, Jonathan Cahn appeared at the Passover 2012 event, which was hosted by prominent NAR "apostle" Chuck Pierce.
Source
Cahn was questioned about this appearance by radio host Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend on his 3 July 2012 show and replied that he was unaware of the beliefs of the people hosting the event, or of the beliefs of the other speakers present. Cahn also noted that he was unfamiliar with the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation. He was there, he said, to deliver his message of The Harbinger, and he left after doing so.

This is most certainly an acceptable explanation, and this article does not intend to imply that Jonathan Cahn is actively involved with or in agreement with the heretical teachings of the NAR. Unfortunately, too many people are unaware of precisely what the NAR is and are ignorant of the names associated with this dangerous movement. However, one would hope that, after being confronted and challenged about his appearance at Passover 2012, Jonathan Cahn would have taken some time to re-evaluate and research the New Apostolic Reformation. One would also presume that he might be a bit more careful about the events he promotes in the future. However, it seems as though this may not be the case, as America for Jesus asked Cahn to create a promotional video for their event:


AFJ also was excited to announce that Jonathan Cahn will be speaking at their September event:
Source
Beyond this, Jonathan Cahn recently preached at Rock Church, where Anne Gimenez is lead pastor. The full video of Cahn's message is housed at Rock Church's Vimeo site and is entitled, "Jonathan Cahn Ties The Harbinger to America for Jesus." Indeed, this sermon contained minimal Scriptural teaching, but was rife with stories about Jonathan Cahn, America, The Harbinger and the Gimenez efforts through Washington for Jesus and AFJ. In the clip below, Cahn speaks about his experience with the original Washington for Jesus, as well as his recent invitation to participate in America for Jesus. He also demonstrates his tendency to read America back into the Bible through unsubstantiated and speculative symbolism.


Are we really to believe that a mass gathering of professing Christians, led by a female pastor and other members of the heretical NAR movement is going to cause true and biblical revival?

What's the Point?

The point is that Christians in this country need to take their eyes off of America and put them back where they belong, on Jesus Christ.


Now, while his comparison of America to Israel is greatly stretched, some of what Cahn stated above is true. If the Church was behaving as the salt and light it is called to be and had been loudly and boldly sharing the Gospel of Christ, perhaps morality would not have plunged into such darkness in this country. We must remember, however, that it is not the job of the Church to save America from her immorality. The purpose of the Church is to proclaim repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation. Whether we do that in a Romans 1 country or not is completely irrelevant.

A whitewashed America will not do anyone any good on Judgment Day. While Cahn's sincerity is not in question, what is of concern is his approach and message, which often is advertised as "the message of The Harbinger."

God does not need an outwardly moral 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.

Further Reading
Examining the Gospel Presentation of 'The Harbinger'
"God" Talks to Benny Hinn about Revival upon Billy Graham's Death
True Freedom is Slavery to Jesus Christ

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for this courageous post. I had heard the sermon from John at Grace to You. This helped identify some of these wolves for me.

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  2. If one is going to read America into the Bible, I think they should look no further than Revelation chapter 17. Yes, that mysterious and perplexing woman called "Babylon." When you look at prophetic adultery and firmly understand that it is basically equated to the worship of false gods and dieties, then America's boastful and arrogant claim to "freedom of religion" or, more precisely, the "freedom FROM religion" fits this Biblical description to a tee. I would say that this explanation alone could make America the "Mother of Harlots." Howenver, one then must also consider the economical prowess of this woman and carefully consider how America fits that bill as well to get a much broader perspective. According to the book of Revelation, there is absolutely no hope for this woman. No amount of prayers, conferences, or revivals will come to her aid. Her fall is eminent and rest assured it will be globally devestating.

    "And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, " Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird." - Revelation 18:2 NASB

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  3. The idolatry of nationalism has deeply affected and infected the gospel in America. It is being used to bring believers and unbelievers and cult members together. We have traded Mt. Zion for Mt. Rushmore.

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  4. Ebenz, you have been given a valuable gift of discernment from the Lord..there's so much here that is only the tip of the iceberg to talk about.

    The NAR and the Joel's Army are VERY dangerous and unbiblical groups raised up by Satan in the name of Christianity. Many are going to choose the wrong side in the name of pseudo-unity because many Christians are placing their affections in the wrong place..Those of use who are very narrow-minded will be marginalized and persecuted. If the Lord tarries even imprisoned and killed.

    I recon what most concerns me would be along comes the NAR movement in the “name of Christianity” presenting their ideas of the great commission to take over government, whole societies and nations etc (for a good cause)that somehow THIS =’s the Great commission? This is completely diabolic and unbiblical.

    The GOSPEL is at the forefront of Christ’s message concerning the Great Commission for people to know the good news and be SAVED from their SINS from the wrath of God to come on an individual basis.

    "Saving America" by restoring it's morals and values-like you stated only whitewashes people. People don't mind staying dead in their sins and just be rehabilitated sinners. save America but I want to keep my sins.. What good is for a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul". Apart from the only true gospel there is no hope beyond the grave. Morality restored apart from the gospel only equals the social gospel.

    With Jonathan Cahn,, he's in some serious trouble intermingling with people he should have absolutely nothing to do with. For what does light have with darkness.. He can't continue to disavow responsibility for his actions at this point by the excuse of merely promoting his book. He knows now-through Brannon Howse. James calls keeping silent a sin of omission. James 4:17 proclaims, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

    Cahn needs our prayers and I sincerely hope that if Jan Markell, Eric Barger or Jill Martin Rische know about the NAR and the people involved- that they would warn Cahn of this dangerous movement...they didn't see the dangers in Cahn's book and defended his book.

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  5. Thanks for the John MacArthur video. He really knows how to nail the nonsense.

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  6. Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.


    Mat 23:9 And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

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  7. Thank you for the well written, insightful, complete and fair article. As a former co-laborer of Pastor Cahn, I can affirm that I warned him of his participation in a Washington D.C. event in the 1990s that included Joyce Meyer. My warnings went unheeded at that time, and the slippery slope has brought him to the place where he is now in the midst of clearly heretical teachers.

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  8. When the church begins to treat any nation like a personal entity that can deal with God collectively, that is idolatry. And all idolatry leads to many different levels of compromise. And if that compromise is watered and practiced over time, the church becomes invested in it and that leads to apostasy. sadly, much of the church is there.

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  9. When exactly was America "Moral?". Was it during Jim Crow? Slavery? Colonialism? Lord open the eyes of your people!

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