An Army of Christians … Or Locusts?

September 23, 2006

Locust A key teaching of the apostolic-prophetic movement is that God is raising up an end-times army of Christians, led by apostles and prophets, to establish His kingdom on earth. This army is called “Joel’s Army.” Todd Bentley’s “Fresh Fire Ministries,” for example, promotes this teaching, and his Web site records many prophecies given about this army. Read them here.

Many advocates of this fast-growing movement teach that the current generation of children will be the last generation of the church — and will have a pivotal role in this army. This doctrine is what’s behind “Jesus Camp” — a documentary about Becky Fischer’s children’s camp, which, as I pointed out in an earlier post, is connected to the apostolic-prophetic movement. Visit the documentary’s Web site here.

The main biblical support for such an army is Joel 2, where God sends a great army, described as locusts, to punish his wayward people of Israel. But then God destroys the army and restores Israel. Read Joel 2 here.

So, how do the leaders of the apostolic-prophetic movement figure that this army of locusts is an army of Christians? True, the army is described as “God’s army” in verse 11 of the passage, but God often refers to pagan kings (like Nebuchadnezzar) and pagan nations (like the Assyrians and Babylonians) as His servants and His armies that He is raising up as instruments of His wrath against Israel (see Isaiah 10:5-7, 13:4 and Jeremiah 25:9, 43:10). But, like the army of locusts in Joel 2, these kings and their nations are, ultimately, judged and destroyed by God.

So, how can the leaders of the apostolic-prophetic movement continue basing one of their key teachings on Joel 2? I find it very odd that they identify themselves with this army that attacks God’s people and is destroyed by God.

‘Jesus Camp’: What Everybody’s Missed

September 15, 2006

Jesus Camp ImageThe media is buzzing about Jesus Camp, an independent, award-winning documentary about a Christian camp in North Dakota that is training children to become leaders in “God’s army.” View the trailer here. Scenes of children wearing military fatigues and discussing their conservative religious views have drawn criticism from many bloggers, who have compared the camp to a Christian version of the Islamic terrorist schools.

In contrast, some evangelicals have defended the children’s dedicated faith, saying their militant language is misinterpreted by non-Christians who don’t understand that their “battle” is spiritual, not physical. Other evangelicals have admitted they don’t know what to make of the camp — they feel obligated to defend their fellow Christians, but they sense that something about this particular camp is “off” — even scary.

In all the talk, I haven’t seen anybody mention this camp’s connection with the “apostolic-prophetic movement” (also known as the “New Apostolic Reformation”). This fast-growing movement has, strangely, gone unnoticed by many evangelicals, even though it has entered many charismatic churches (which are the fastest-growing churches in nearly every region of the world, according to church growth experts, like David B. Barrett).

Becky Fischer, the woman who runs this camp, is a proponent of this movement that believes that God is raising up an end-times army to establish His kingdom on earth, through governmental and societal structures. Proponents of this movement think this army will be led by modern-day apostles and prophets — with supernatural powers, unquestioned authority, and the ability to give new doctrinal revelation. All Christians and nations — and even demonic principalities — must submit to these apostles and prophets. They also teach that the current generation of children have a pivotal role in this army, since they are the last generation of the church.

Fischer’s “Kids in Ministry International” Web site features prophecies about children’s role in this end-times army. Read the prophecies here. See Bill Hamon’s prophecies, for example.

I have been researching this movement for the past three and a half years and believe it is opening the door to abusive leadership and heretical teachings. I will share more about my concerns in future posts, along with specific examples of troubling teachings and practices.

Many Christians who identify themselves with this movement don’t know about — or they disagree with — its militant and unbiblical teachings and practices. Nevertheless, the movement’s leaders — including some prominent evangelicals — are promoting them through books, conferences and media.

Hopefully, this documentary will, finally, draw attention to this movement.