Call it ‘Christian Globalism’: A Reporter’s Guide to the New Apostolic Reformation, Part III

This is the final installment of a three-part series. Read Part I: Christian Right Denialism is More Dangerous Than Ever: A Reporter’s Guide to the New Apostolic Reformation & Part II: When it Comes to Societal Dominion, the Details Matter

Since this is a church service (worship, prayer, teaching, Scripture, reports) we ask that no media or press be on the call. Nothing shared on the World Prayer Network is ever to be reported in the media. We ask that all persons respect that. Well Versed is an association of churches, essentially micro congregations. The World Prayer Network is an online church service. – From the World Prayer Network’s video prayer call ‘About’ page

It’s fair to say that well established global trends in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements reveal one of the most significant developments in the history of Christianity. These trends have been underreported, but the New Apostolic Reformation’s (NAR) role in helping to drive and define these trends has been even less well reported. 

And while the focus of any such reporting in the US has been almost exclusively on the American context, the NAR plays an important role in the culture and politics of many other nations. That this massive, multidimensional trend is so underreported and its international character, dimensions, and organization are mostly missed, means that even our best understanding of this movement is often problematic. 

In parts one and two of our Reporter’s Guide to the New Apostolic Reformation here at RD, we sought to highlight some of the history, leaders, and apostolic networks in the U.S and suggested some simple definitions and ways to avoid common mistakes in reporting on this still emerging movement. 

We want to build on these by focusing on how the NAR operates internationally, offer some guideposts in reporting on it, and underscore that the same dominionist visions and political activities that are hallmarks of the NAR in the US animate and define the international networks as well. As before, this guide is not intended as a criticism of anyone. It’s intended as a constructive and necessarily incomplete effort to point to better ways forward.

The global vision of NAR international networks

There are many apostolic networks with global reach. They’re often politically influential across continents and around the world, and enjoy close relationships with prominent politicians and government officials.

What we outline here is necessarily far from comprehensive. What we want to do is to open some windows on the international presence and influence of the NAR by highlighting some of the leading apostolic networks, their leaders, and their multi-national, multi-racial and multi-ethnic character. 

That said, the numbers of nations and people that we mention are sourced solely on the claims of the groups themselves. We have no way to independently verify these numbers, so they should be used advisedly.

Simply put, the global vision of the NAR is based on their understanding of the Great Commission text of Matthew 28:18-20, with an emphasis on “discipling nations” (28:19). International apostolic networks are therefore necessary for the apostles to lead the five-fold ministry (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher) which was restored by God for the building-up of the Church (see Ephesians 4:11-13). That’s why they seek “alignment” among one another. It’s also why the Texas-based International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL) has, via its members, a reach in 85 nations. Part of ICAL’s vision is to network apostles “and help them move the Kingdom of God forward in their respective nations, regions and cities.”

For decades, the NAR has developed the 7 Mountain Mandate, a mobilizing strategy which simply divides the world of cultural power and influence that Christians are to conquer into seven categories: religion, family, government, education, business, media, and arts & entertainment. This idea has animated much of the politics of the Christian Right in the US.

Then, as Donald Trump considered running for president, the movement faced the question as to how Christians could support such an immoral and unprincipled man. Their answer was that God sometimes selects such people to carry out his purposes. So Trump was compared to the ancient Persian King Cyrus, who freed Jewish prisoners and helped build the temple in Jerusalem. This provided evangelicals with a remarkable escape hatch from the political and moral norms that previously governed most evangelical engagement in public life.

These two elements also animate the NAR’s activities internationally.

‘It’s a 7M world’

In his book, God’s Chaos Code, 7 Mountains strategist and thought leader Lance Wallnau, who also serves as a Teacher and Apostle with Message of Life ministries in Loveland, Colorado, mentions such Cyrus-type political rulers as Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Poland’s Andrzej Duda and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. These rulers, he says, would “preserve their nations’ religious values from the Western virus of cultural decay.” It’s understood that when Cyrus-type authoritarians are in power, Christians will facilitate the spiritual rebuilding of their nations.

It’s important for reporters to note the global intention and applications of the mobilizing strategy of the 7 Mountain Mandate. Wallnau stresses that “it is a 7M world… (and) these mountains exist in every nation, and the sum total of these mountains determines whether the nation is oppressed under the heel of a hostile government or whether it’s free, prosperous and blessed.” Historic changes in nations, Wallnau asserts, come through reformation, and “cultural change comes from the top down and rarely, if ever, from the bottom up.”

Reporters should also note that this is at odds with the bottom-up view that some other NAR leaders expressed in their 2022 statement about NAR and Christian Nationalism. Arguably it’s a distinction without a difference, because once these Christians have reached the pinnacle of the mountains, they intend to use their position to advance their view; in the end, it will be top down.

Some significant international networks

Apostle Ché Ahn’s California-based Harvest International Ministry (HIM) claims “more than 25,000 affiliated ministries and organizations in 65 nations,” and seeks to advance the Kingdom “by equipping leaders, multiplying churches, evangelizing, and bringing revival and reformation to the nations.” Unlike more patient revolutionaries, he wants to accelerate the arrival of the Kingdom. In the run-up to the January 6th insurrection, he declared, “I believe that this week we’re going to throw Jezebel out and Jehu’s gonna rise up, and we’re gonna rule and reign through President Trump and under the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

● Apostle-Prophet Bill Hamon of Florida, leads the Christian International Global Network (CIGN) which seeks to bring “a full restoration to the corporate Body of Christ of all five-fold ministry in various nations of the earth.” They seek “to help bring the Church to full restoration of all things… so that Christ Jesus can be released from heaven to return and establish His Kingdom and Lordship over all the earth.” CIGN is active in Asia, Australia, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, South Africa, South America, Ukraine and the US. 

CIGN envisions the church as “God’s instrument to establish and extend God’s Kingdom until the literal coming of Christ to reign over all the earth.” Towards this end, CIGN believes that “God has entrusted the church the solemn Biblical responsibility of being the conscience of society, culture and government” and therefore it rejects “any and all claims by the state to headship or sovereignty over the church,” who “must and will obey God rather than man.”

● Apostle Bill Johnson’s Bethel Leaders Network (BLM) of California comprises some 150 ministries and organizations. It seeks to “cause reformation in the church” and “release freedom into the spheres of society… to bring Heaven to earth.” This echoes the 7 Mountain Mandate and would be the fulfillment of the Dominion mandate.

Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Ghana leads United Denominations of Action Chapel International, founded in 1992. He describes himself as “The Apostle of Strategic Prayer.”

Duncan-Williams is known as the spiritual father of Apostle Paula White-Cain, who in turn is the spiritual advisor for Donald Trump. He claims that his network of over 500 churches in Africa, Europe, the UK and five states in the US comprises “one church in many locations.” In the UK, Duncan-Williams is “the General Overseer of Christian Action faith Ministries” with over 100 churches in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He also heads Prayer Summit International.

He is, unsurprisingly, politically well connected. Duncan-Williams gave the Opening Prayer at the private Inauguration Day Prayer Service for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House. The notable evangelical leaders present included Robert Jeffress, Mark Burns, Jentezen Franklin, Jerry Falwell Jr, James Dobson, and James Robison. Duncan-Williams later prophesied that Trump would fulfill an endtime prophecy by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But prior to the 2020 election, Duncan-Williams criticized Trump’s “failure to follow instructions from God” and “to adhere to the directives of his spiritual advisors.” 

Aglow International, headquartered in Washington State, is advised by such leading apostles as Ché Ahn, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, and James Goll. Founded in 1967, early in the charismatic renewal, it has been led by Jane Hansen-Hoyt since 1980. Aglow claims to reach:

“women, and men of every creed, color, with 22,000 Aglow leaders worldwide ministering in their communities and nations, to an estimated 17 million people each year with indigenous leaders overseeing Aglow groups in nearly 170 nations. More than 3,000 Aglow groups meet worldwide, with over 2,000 groups outside the US.” 

● The origins of the European Apostolic Leaders (EAL) trace back to 2002 when NAR founder C. Peter Wagner met with about 30 apostles in Norway. The EAL is led by Apostle Jan-Aage Torp, who together with his wife Aina, pastors Oslokirken (Oslochurch). EAL seeks:

“to connect each member’s wisdom and resources in order to function more strategically, combine… efforts globally, and effectively accelerate the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth into every sphere of society.”

Since 2014, EAL has staged events in Albania, Greece, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain and Scotland. In a 2010 meeting, Lance Wallnau prophesied that Jan-Aage Torp “would bring together people in the activity of heaven.” And like the biblical figure, Nehemiah, Torp was called to “rebuild walls and gates around cities and nations,” and told that God would give him “authority with gatekeepers” (influential leaders). 

During an EAL event in 2022, Texas Apostle-Prophet Cindy Jacobs prophesied that God would touch Norway’s State Church and bring “fiery ones out of the Lutheran church” and that “liberal churches,” on fire for God, would revive the missions movement to Middle-Eastern countries. Norway, Jacobs said, would be “a nation of reformers.” 

● Apostle Renê Terra Nova, an ordained Baptist minister, leads the independent church and Brazilian movement, Ministério Internacional da Restauração (MIR). He and his wife, Apostle Ana Marita, report that “the church grew from 100 people to over seventy thousand” organized into cell churches comprising an international membership of more than 7 million.

He’s also the Convenor of the Brazil Coalition of Apostolic Leaders, formed in 2014, which says that Terra Nova has commissioned 7,000 apostolic leaders. 

Terra Nova supported Jair Bolsonaro in his 2022 campaign for president. He wrote that he was grateful to God that Bolsonaro had attended a meeting he organized, because 22 years ago it was prophesied that Brazil would have a president who would fear the Lord. Terra Nova declared new skies over Brazil and the advancement and power of God over the nation. 

Terra Nova has also had a close relationship with Israel. He directs, for example, the Brazilian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which has reportedly brought tens of thousands of Christian tourists to Israel over the past two decades. He was recognized by the Israel Allies Foundation as one of the top 50 Christian Allies of Israel in 2020.

EAL leader Jan-Aage Torp proclaimed in 2015:

“Rene Terra Nova seems to be more in line with the radical reformers of Christendom such as Luther, Calvin and Wilberforce than with the glib Hollywood culture of modern popular Christianity.

We need him! Our Europe needs him! Even our Norway does as well.”

‘Patriotism of the righteousness of the Lord’

One of the challenges in writing about the global dimensions of NAR, is the overuse by some, of the term ‘Christian nationalism,’ which is too narrow to characterize the NARespecially its politics. For example, just prior to the U.S elections in 2022, Abby Abildness, a Pennsylvania-based apostle in the Oklahoma-headquartered Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, highlighted their concern, not just for the nation, but the nationsparticularly Israelin a video prayer call of the World Prayer Network (1:32:20). 

(Journalists note: WPN calls are open to the public, but they assert that the calls are church services. Therefore they “ask that no media or press be on the call. Nothing shared on the World Prayer Network is ever to be reported in the media.”)

Abildness prayed that “the patriotism of the righteousness of the Lord in our nation” would be revealed by the vote. (Note that her notion of patriotism is to the righteousness of the Lord, not to the nation itself.) She continued, “we are in a season of aligning with political comebacks in the nations, and we align in these networks with Israel, with Netanyahu who just had a wonderful victory; and Bolsonaro who is in the process of his victory being recognized.”

Bolsonaro’s electoral victory was not to be. But Abildness’s point was about the unity of the apostolic leaders on the call. “[W]e join together in this network,” she continued, “aligning for your purposes for a righteous reign coming out of this election in the states, across America, and in our covenanted alignment with the nations, that the sheep nations [see explanation below], beginning with Israel, would come into the fullness of your Kingdom coming, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

This episode illustrates how Christian nationalismNAR-styleis less about the American nation than the nation’s role in God’s intentions for the world, notably the nation of Israel. Abildness’s role also epitomizes how the NAR defies stereotypical evangelicalism because there are many women in apostolic leadership. 

Lance Wallnau explains the idea of “sheep and goat” nations (from Matthew 25:31-40) that Abildness referred to. A sheep nation, he says, “protects or keeps malicious forces from devouring the Christian and Jewish people,” while a goat nation “has failed to show mercy” to Christians and Jews. He also believes that “the creation of nations was God’s idea.” Cyrus-type rulers of sheep nations are needed to ensure that Christian values are protected and that the modern State of Israel would be respected.

Of course it should be noted that their reference to the modern State of Israel is clearly bound to their view of ancient Israel as depicted in the Bible, and their portrayal of Jewish people is far removed from the contemporary religious and secular reality. 

A final word

In this third installment of the Reporter’s Guide to the New Apostolic Reformation, we’ve highlighted that the NAR vision is always international and not merely a matter of parochial American nationalism. While each country in the NAR vision is to be a Christian nation, by the same standard all nations are to be Christian, because the Kingdom of God is as global as it is local. 

The NAR also reaches into the US from other countries in the same way that NAR reaches other countries from the US. While this sense of global vision and mission isn’t new in Christianity, there’s much that is new in this important contemporary movement that demands attention and better reporting for the first, rough draft of history.