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C. Peter Wagner explains the New Apostolic Reformation
October 4, 2011 4:54 PM   Subscribe


 
I'd recommend listening to his slippery tongue back him out of corners with expert skill instead reading the transcript. Amazing.
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have now reached a phase where Jack Chick's comics can be considered left-leaning.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:07 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was running an errand last night when I heard someone earnestly discussing the casting out of demons - had to double check to see if I was actually on NPR. You're absolutely right that he's an Olympic level contortionist; I imagine the Romney campaign was taking fervent notes on how to disavow, dissemble, and divert.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:07 PM on October 4, 2011


(Anyone who believes I was implying that contorting is an Olympic event should know that that was not intended to be a factual statement.)
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:13 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


New Apostates are way more fun.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:14 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


the New Apostolic Reformation

Eh, I preferred Prince when his backing band was The Revolution.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:15 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like the tidbit that new Japanese emperor has sex with the sun goddess on a couch. Why not a bed? I guess a couch has a much stronger low-budget porn movie vibe?
posted by Chekhovian at 5:29 PM on October 4, 2011


his slippery tongue back him out of corners with expert skill

And btw, please don't ever use this phrase with regard to right wing pastors again?
posted by Chekhovian at 5:37 PM on October 4, 2011


Chekhovian: ooo la la! Sexxxxy!
posted by hippybear at 5:39 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


"....have fallen under the control of demonic influences in society." Well, my cell phone company is cramming me, My bank is financially raping me, the other drivers are driving so aggressively that I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs, my sister is acting strange and her breath smells like dog shit, and then there was the Bush presidency. I'm trying to stay calm but I find I google Canada alot. I keep meaning to rent The night of the living dead to look for clues.
posted by JohnR at 5:40 PM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


"As we talk, in Oklahoma City there is an annual meeting of a professional society called the Apostolic — called the International Society of Deliverance Ministers"

Deliverance Minister: Now lets you just drop them pants.
Parishioner: Drop?
Deliverance Minister: Go on, take 'em right off.
Parishioner: I-I mean, what's this all about?
Deliverance Minister: Hey boy, you look just like a hog... Come on piggy, give me a ride...Looks like we got us a sow here, instead of a boar....I bet you can squeal. I bet you can squeal like a pig.
Parishioner: Weee! Weee!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:41 PM on October 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Deliverance Minister: Now lets you just drop them pants.
Alright, thread is over, you won.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:43 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not one dimensional in some ways you might expect... From the transcript: And I'm sorry that some radicals speak up strongly against having a mosque in their neighborhood, and I don't think that's patriotism.
posted by Jahaza at 5:46 PM on October 4, 2011


Damn, I didn't think that Terri Gross could grill people at all. It seems like she's noting a point she's scored every time there's a:
GROSS: Mm-hmm.
I'm just imagining pursed lips and a slight nod indicating strong disapproval each time that happens. After years of softball interviews she has finally impressed me.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:55 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, it's a very complicated interview on a lot of levels. It's easy to mock if you haven't actually listened to or read it, but there's a lot more going on than one might think from the outside.
posted by hippybear at 5:56 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had to stop when he claimed the Shinto sun goddess was a force of darkness. ARGH.
posted by carsonb at 5:59 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was listening to this on the way home. I initially thought "Well, this guy actually sounds pretty level and reasonable..." Then I listened some more and realized he is as crazy as a loon. When he was talking about casting demons out of towns/neighborhoods, I was hoping like mad that Terri would say "could you give us an example?"
posted by HuronBob at 6:18 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that Gross's politeness often means that people forget the skill which she works.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:19 PM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


(OK, I didn't really stop. This is pretty fascinating.)

This bit:
What we strive to do, and our goal is to have people in the arts and entertainment mountain who are committed to the kingdom of God. So therefore, we use the adjective they're kingdom-minded believers, and we - our goal is to try to have as many kingdom-minded believers in positions of influence in the arts and entertainment mountain as possible. And the reason for that is to help bring the blessings of heaven to all those in the arts and entertainment mountain.
Is creepily reminiscent of how Scientology works on the A & E 'mountain'.
posted by carsonb at 6:20 PM on October 4, 2011


I find myself fascinated by the conflation of the technocratic (cf the questionare, the clinical discussion of "homosexuality") with the mediaeval's of the demonic.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:26 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The leaders are considered apostles and prophets, gifted by God for this role.

Of course they are.
posted by pianomover at 6:28 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


From this point on, I would like to be prophet in charge of spangles!
posted by PinkMoose at 6:37 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't hear(I listened to the show) him as having a "slippery tongue" (ew). It was more like listening to an alien life form - yes, an alien life form that potentially has the ear of an "evangelical, against the wishes of separation of church and state of our founding fathers GOP candidate". But he had a warm and fuzzy voice like an evangelical Ewok - or a non nasally Barney.
posted by dutcherino at 7:06 PM on October 4, 2011


Hopefully the NAR manages their infiltration faster than the Jesuits have.
posted by ServSci at 7:43 PM on October 4, 2011


The recording is worth listening to, just to hear Terri Gross struggle to come back with her usual calm neutrally-worded follow-up questions after this guy has just made a long rambling comment about how the Japanese state is founded on a sexual relationship with the sun godess, which is what caused the tsunami. (Really).

It's the perfect partner to the legendary Gene Simmons interview a while back.

(BTW, Villanelles at Dawn - there is contortionism, of a sort, in the olympics.)
posted by Wylla at 3:15 AM on October 5, 2011


The thing I realized about Gross some time ago is that she's just terrible at arts interviews (musicians, novelists), but truly great at hard news.
posted by e.e. coli at 3:38 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah Gross was good in this interview. He would say something insane and she would let the insanity revolve in silence for a moment or two. And then the mmm-hmmm it was sort of like she spun his insanity globe a few more times before she went on. Thank you, Gross, for interviewing this crazy cat.
posted by angrycat at 4:39 AM on October 5, 2011


He's not nuts.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:50 AM on October 5, 2011


He's not nuts.

Care to elaborate?
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:55 AM on October 5, 2011


Not really except to say that perhaps it isn't smart to talk to NPR about this stuff as no way a secular audience is gonna grok it without the relevant background info or spiritual insight. The result is for example, this thread.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:03 AM on October 5, 2011


I listened to it live yesterday and found it fascinating. It's kind of sad that hippybear shit his own thread into another LOLBELIEVERS MeFi moment. It could have been an interesting discussion but not likely after that derail of an opener. C'est la vie.
posted by Edogy at 5:19 AM on October 5, 2011


No way a secular audience is gonna grok it without the relevant background info or spiritual insight.

St. Alia - I am curious if you are implying that the majority of Christians, or evangelicals, or Christian Conservatives would agree with this person's perspective on, for example, demonic posession on a country-wide scale in Japan and Nepal.

If so, that completely clashes with my experience - the believing evangelicals I know would be the first people to use their relevant info and spiritual insight to call this guy a nutcase, even if there are a few pieces of sanity (rejection of the idea of the rapture, saying people shouldn't harass mosques) buried in among all of the madness. The only difference between them and the average NPR listener would be that they would quote the bible while doing so.
posted by Wylla at 5:20 AM on October 5, 2011


Edogy: Feel free to introduce any interesting discussion you feel can be had. I wasn't turning it into a LOLBELIEVERS thread. I was amazed at how Gross would question him about, say, the poster for the event which depicted the cross on top of the US Capitol building, and he'd find a way to back away from what was obviously an image which he supported, but would probably rather not use as a public promotional piece.

If you have topics you wish to see discussed here, please get them started. Otherwise, you're just threadshitting yourself.
posted by hippybear at 5:22 AM on October 5, 2011


Feel free to introduce any interesting discussion you feel can be had.

Why would I want to try to start to have a serious discussion in a thread so obviously dismissive of the subject? Good day, sir.
posted by Edogy at 5:29 AM on October 5, 2011


Whoa whoa whoa. I would like to hear anything more St. Alia would others would have to say, because my understanding is that anybody who engages in compiling a questionnaire to determine whether one is or is not a demon is in serious woo woo land. I say this as somebody who is not religious.
posted by angrycat at 5:48 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that this actually opened a spiritual atmosphere of Japan for what are called the seven wonderful years of the growth of the Christian church in Japan

At that point I became enraged. The idea that the complex, evolved culture of Japan should be supplanted by the mediocrity that is modern Christianity makes me weep with anger. How very White of us to see another nation in need of our Superior Ways.

GROSS: So as an apostle, do you have special insight, special powers?

WAGNER: God has chosen certain people from the church to have the gift of prophecy. And it says in the Old Testament, in the book of Amos, that God does nothing unless he first reveals his secrets to his servants, the prophets.


So my question is this: Does this man completely believe in all this demon, succubus, prophecy nonsense or is he merely making shit up in order to attain power? On the one hand he might be certifiably insane, on the other he might just be monstrously calculating.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:01 AM on October 5, 2011


On the one hand he might be certifiably insane, on the other he might just be monstrously calculating.

I think St. Alia's point is that these are not the only options.
posted by Jahaza at 7:08 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Definately, this guy seems to believe what he says, and he's read up on selected Christian doctrines to support his view. He's probably not insane in the sense of having a recognisable mental illness that could be diagnosed by a qualified professional, he's just nuts in the vernacular sense of "spouting nonsense".
posted by Wylla at 7:13 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Not really except to say that perhaps it isn't smart to talk to NPR about this stuff as no way a secular audience is gonna grok it without the relevant background info or spiritual insight. The result is for example, this thread.

Here is my attempt to provide that insight.

Imagine sitting in a church listening to a guest speaker up at the lectern telling the rapt audience that a friend of his once sat, praying, hidden beneath a table in a room used by witches to perform their demonic magic. Once the witches are in attendance above him, he hears them say, they don't know why, but the magic isn't working today.

Imagine sitting in a darkened auditorium while people get up and tell about the time they personally were possessed by a demon.

Imagine sitting in that same auditorium and listening to a presentation by someone claiming that rejecting the "Holy Ghost" is a sure path to damnation.

Imagine watching videos very much of the stripe shown on Everything Is Terrible, about the horrors of the secret forces that control world. That Wicca is a source of evil, and that "The Force" from Star Wars is directly inspired by it, and that just proves that Star Wars itself is "of the devil." You could probably find some speaker to make the same claim about any other pop cultural property out there -- to them, if it's popular, it's probably demonic, in some way or other, unless it's overtly Jesus-positive.

Imagine seeing issues of pass-around periodicals like the Pentecostal Evangel, whose pages (at least at the time I went to church) had a weekly column of miracles reported to the publication's staff.

I personally remember some people talking at the Christian private school I attended, talking about the demonic influence of Carl Sagan.

These people literally have a demons-are-everywhere view of the world, and they actually believe that speaking the literal name of Jesus can repel them. They believe that magic exists, and is a dire evil, and the only way to ward against its influence is by speaking a word of holding a book, and they see no irony in this at all.
posted by JHarris at 7:42 AM on October 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


On the one hand he might be certifiably insane, on the other he might just be monstrously calculating.

I think St. Alia's point is that these are not the only options.

Definately, this guy seems to believe what he says, and he's read up on selected Christian doctrines to support his view. He's probably not insane in the sense of having a recognisable mental illness that could be diagnosed by a qualified professional


I wonder why that isn't a recognizable illness? If he thought he was Christ, that would be a recognizable illness. If he thought he himself was processed by demons that would be a recognizable illness. So why is it that this man can think entire cities are controlled by demons yet not be certifiable? I really think there is a fine line between believing in cultural touchstones and believing in psychotic gobbledygook and as a layman, I have to wonder how those lines are drawn. Time Cube man is insane, right? but this guy is not?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:06 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I say crazy, I was thinking of the same way you could call the Salem Witch Trials insane -- one part mass hysteria, one part political calculation.
I also think of it as crazy in the sense of being detached from reality, not necessarily so that it impairs his day-to-day functions.
I mean, if there is any finding of demons that involves hard science, I would love to hear about it. It's not like whether or not there is a God. I'm not a churchgoer, but I believe in something greater than myself, and that certain moral questions have a right and wrong. But thinking people are possessed by demons -- it's a level of believing in a manifestation of theology I just can't follow.
posted by angrycat at 8:13 AM on October 5, 2011


The reason I don't think this guy is mentally ill is very well articulated by JHarris above - he is referencing a series of beliefs that are shared within his culture. Unlike Time Cube guy, this guy is part of a social system. He doesn't just believe that he personally is a prophet (which would be the guy who thinks he, and he alone, is Christ) he thinks that God has given an entire movement of people access to prophecy - he's the equivalent of Opus Dei or the anti-vaccination movement, etc. So he and his buddies are 'nuts', rather than 'insane.'
posted by Wylla at 8:14 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not really except to say that perhaps it isn't smart to talk to NPR about this stuff as no way a secular audience is gonna grok it without the relevant background info or spiritual insight. The result is for example, this thread.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:03 AM on October 5 [+] [!]


I love how evangelicals now openly admit that their faith has reverted to a straight-up mystery cult, just like it started out. "Oh, it sounds like we're just babbling nonsense bullshit, but it's really just a super-secret code! Except when it actually is babbling nonsense bullshit."
posted by FatherDagon at 8:45 AM on October 5, 2011


There's a difference between having strange beliefs and actually being nuts. Given the set of beliefs he's working with, Wagner seems pretty rational.

(I am not in any way endorsing or defending his beliefs. But I think it's an important distinction.)

Wagner believes that the gods worshiped by other religions are real demonic forces. This has always been a point of view within Christianity. I'm not an expert on the history of Christianity, but my impression is that this has usually been a minority view. It certainly is today. The more standard view is that other religions are just wrong; the Abrahamic God exists, the other ones don't.

It's worth noting that this is different from believing in simply believing in demons per se. Early Christians believed that mental illness was caused by evil spirits. They simply accepted the pre-scientific explanation for mental illness current in their culture. They also believed that they could cure people of mental illness by asking God to drive out the demon. They don't seem to have identified Greek and Roman deities with disease-causing spirits.

Wagner insists that he supports the idea of freedom of religion and separation of church and state, and there's little reason to think he's insincere about that. But easy to see how other people who endorse his theology might disagree with that or think it's illogical. This kind of thinking has led to some of the worst Christian atrocities, the extermination of traditional European healers (witches) and the destruction Mayan literature (which was seen as demonic).

So, yeah, he seems like a pretty sane reasonable guy, but he espouses some pretty scary theology.
posted by nangar at 8:53 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


The idea that other religions' gods are demons was, in fact, a dominant view in very early Christianity*, but it's fallen way out of favour now. There are biblical literalists who will readily admit that they still hold this view, however, especially against religions like Hinduism, which use statues of gods in temples, etc. Most Western Christians nowadays would likely say what you cited above - that other gods just don't exist - however.)

(*It was Paul's view, for example - see 1 Corinthians 10.20, with 1 Corinthians generally considered one of the true letters of Paul)
posted by Wylla at 9:00 AM on October 5, 2011


So, yeah, he seems like a pretty sane reasonable guy, but he espouses some pretty scary theology.

I generally agree that it's more useful to identify someone like Wagner as having a dangerous and sociopathic set of beliefs than it is to dismiss him as a ("just a") nut.

However, when I think about the implications of his strongly-held belief that members of other religious are followers of or actually possessed by demonic forces, it starts to sound like clinical paranoia and delusion, which is a describable mental illness and not just a personal belief, particularly since he is motivated to act on these demonstrably (so to speak) delusional beliefs.
posted by aught at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2011


Thanks, Wylla. I was thinking about the "dumb idols" things. But I couldn't think of any explicit quotes from the New Testament. (Like I said, I'm not an expert.)
posted by nangar at 9:11 AM on October 5, 2011


Most Western Christians nowadays would likely say what you cited above - that other gods just don't exist - however.

I only wanted to add that when I was a teen (in the late 70s) and still going to church with my parents (a tame suburban Methodist congregation in NY state) I do recall having a couple of weird conversations with people who clearly believed a much more dramatic conflict between good and evil was happening in the world than the relatively tame slightly-conservative message they were getting from the pastor every Sunday morning. One guy I sat next to in choir told me once that it was exciting to live in a time when the War Between Good and Evil would be changing everything. That was a little freaky and I wonder what ever happened to him (he was a well-to-do a lawn equipment retailer; he's probably feeble an elderly now if he's still alive). There were some "Charismatic" people in the congregation as well who believed they had murkily-defined ESP- and telekinetic-like powers through prayer and faith as well; they were mostly harmless compared to the New Apostolic Reform people, since they didn't really have any ambitions beyond feeling superior to all the sinners.
posted by aught at 9:25 AM on October 5, 2011


My brother had a bout of drug-induced psychosis. At one point he believed that a demon lived inside a seashell and from time to time he would either be scared of the shell or carry on conversations with the shell. He was mentally ill and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I guess the only difference is time and place. If this had happened in church he would be seen as normal and of sound mind.

I generally agree that it's more useful to identify someone like Wagner as having a dangerous and sociopathic set of beliefs than it is to dismiss him as a ("just a") nut.

I actually would prefer to label all these sorts of beliefs as symptoms of a break with reality. Like I said above I don't know where to draw the line but I would be perfectly comfortable with saying "If you believe entire cities are under control of demons, if you believe you can cast spells (pray) to keep others from being bewitched, if you believe the Japanese Emperor has sex with a succubus, then I think you need to spend some time in the hospital."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:55 AM on October 5, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy, where would you draw the line on the other side, though? Are all beliefs you disagree with to be designated clinically insane, or just ones you see as extreme? Where's the line between putting someone like Wagner away and putting away the UCC clergy member who argues against Wagner by citing a deeply-held religious belief that all people have souls, or the person who refuses cancer treatment because she believes in the supernatural help described in The Secret, or the person who prays for help from a guardian angel in her efforts to change the reading curriculum before a school board meeting, or the Christian Scientist who withdraws from a public-school biology class because of a belief that disease is caused by illusions of satan or 'malicious malpractice' (i.e., witchcraft)?

Wagner doesn't appear to be completely delusional (at least to my untrained eyes) - he's not hallucinating Jesus, he doesn't think he's Jesus, he just feels empowered by a learned ideology to push some pretty strange and repugnant ideas. If we started putting people away for that, a good percentage of the population would disappear!
posted by Wylla at 10:34 AM on October 5, 2011


I generally agree that it's more useful to identify someone like Wagner as having a dangerous and sociopathic set of beliefs than it is to dismiss him as a ("just a") nut.

Umm... you agree that it's more useful to identify him as being mentally ill ("sociopathic") rather than dismiss him as being a "nut" (mentally ill). Huh?
posted by Jahaza at 10:37 AM on October 5, 2011


Yeah, I tuned in around the time of the discussion of the sex with a goddess and I thought maybe the religious station in between NPR and the classical station had gotten in the way again.

I thought Terry did an admirable job of not just letting loose on this guy and saying, "What the f*&! are you talking about?!"

My favorite part was about the classes on demon casting. I would love the see the questionnaire that his wife uses for this one.
posted by Leezie at 10:54 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Few comments removed - yup, MetaTalk is the proper venue for derailing conversation, but I'd like to note that turning any thread into one person's referendum on anything is a bad idea. Take that to email please.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2011


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Not really except to say that perhaps it isn't smart to talk to NPR about this stuff as no way a secular audience is gonna grok it without the relevant background info or spiritual insight. The result is for example, this thread.

SAOTB, I would really like to hear more of your perspective on this. If you're reluctant to elaborate because you feel that you'd opening yourself to mockery, I understand.
It's just that while many of us here were raised in various different mainstream christian denominations, this particular branch of christianity seems somewhat exotic, or even malevolent to many of us. Heck, it's hard for me, for example, to understand the difference between evangelical, fundamentalist, and charismatic/pentecostal christian movements and where they stand in comparison to mainstream christian churches. Even understanding the difference between the different baptist denominations confuses me.
If everyone else could give SAOTB the space to explain this without comments about "your invisible sky buddy" and "babbling nonsense bullshit", that'd be great.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:45 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Benandanti, who used magic to fight witches in the name of Jesus. In Italy in the 17th century. But the narrative is amazingly similar.

This sort of view also makes me think of Manicheanism, with a not-quite omnipotent god needing actors to fight evil for him. Of course, they would maintain that their god is omnipotent, but for some reason needs them to conduct this spiritual warfare.

I would love to get a copy of the 5 page diagnostic demon questionnaire. My google-fu turned up nothing. I think I smell an AskMefi coming on.
posted by Hactar at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


i do say i love the idea of a good prophet.

Prophet: Hey guys, God told me, to tell you guys, to believe everything i say.
Adoring worshipers: who are we to question God?

The whole demon thing also gets the thumbs up.
So you have this enemy. It's completely invisible. Yet it's worse than anything that could possibly imagine. You can't see it, no, but it's there, trust me. Things are bad now (things are always bad now), but the end is coming (the end is always coming), and unless we fight this invisible enemy through Christ, things are only gonna get worse.

Then you have Japan / Star Wars etc. are influenced by the devil. the only thing that makes them influenced by the devil is that they're not expressly Christian. You can't have something good or enjoyable or peaceful or functioning unless Christ is involved, now can you? So you have to say Japan had the tsunami coming, you have to say Star Wars has a demonic influence, otherwise your followers will stop coming to you to constantly be cleansed of demons, and might move on with their lives.
posted by camdan at 4:35 PM on October 5, 2011


I remember back in the late 1980s when I was in college... I was deeply involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the time. It was all back in my hard-core born again days, and the methods and beliefs of IVCF pretty much meshed with my own in a lot of ways...

Anyway, there was this one woman who was trying to be part of the group, and this must have been early in the development of this whole NAR belief system... And it was like she was completely speaking a different language from the rest of us at times. Always using these fancy King James English words... "edifying" and "affirming" and stuff... And challenging people to "take on the mantle of prophesy" or "affirming that they had the gift of [X]" (insert some New Testament apostolic gift there) and whatnot.

She was nearly impossible to talk to on the more dry, intellectual level of approach to Christianity which was generally espoused by IVCF... It's like where ever her background was coming from and whatever group she was currently attending off campus led her into an exegesis of scripture which was entirely attuned to the whole Spiritual Warfare, This Present Darkness (the novel out of which a lot of the whole warfare imagery seems to spring, fairly extra-biblical on a lot of levels...) kind of mindset...

We (the leadership of IVCF on our campus) finally had to come together with her as a group and ask her to back away from participating. She was causing too much strife within the group, and we were losing support across the campus (which was tiny) because of her rhetoric and her general aggression on these topics of angels and demons and apostles and prophets and stuff.

As was expected, she then condemned the entire IVCF organization on campus as being demon-led, and she went so far as to get people from whatever off-campus group she was part of to come and storm a couple of our large group meetings, basically physically assaulting everyone present with aggressive laying-on of hands and chanting and prayers to cast out demons. Their methods felt very prescriptive, nearly more like following a spellbook than an active living belief system.

Finally we got the campus security to intervene during the third large group meeting where they appeared, and they left us alone after that. I'm sure they became resigned that we were not only demon-led, but also in league with whatever demons were controlling the secular (yet Presbyterian) school at which all this took place.

I look at the NAR now, and I really do wonder if I was seeing the beginnings of this entrenched and kind of creepy belief system taking shape those couple of decades (and more) ago. My experiences with all that lead me to be pretty wary of what I see going on now. Even though I no longer participate in the belief system, the wrong group of people getting into positions of power across the "seven mountains" could make my life as a gay man really miserable.
posted by hippybear at 5:22 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


How to Cast Out Demons (a beginners guide ) by Doris Wagner.

The questionnaire is in the book which I happen to own.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:12 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and this is a really busy week for me with limited computer time so I probably won't have time to weigh in much.....sorry.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:16 PM on October 5, 2011


How To Cast Out Demons: A Guide To The Basics, by Doris M. Wagner.

Thank you, Google Books.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on October 5, 2011


(the rubric for assessing demonic possession is not included in the Google Book preview)
posted by hippybear at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2011


Dang. That was my husband's one request (to see the questionnaire.) Ever since he saw The Oman as a child he has been pretty sure he is possessed by demons.

Joking aside, here is my problem with C. Peter Wagner: If he can get his circle of adherents to swallow the Sun-Goddess-as-succubus story, I am afraid there is nothing too outlandish for them to believe. At this point he has unfettered power because he could make up any lie that he wanted and apparently common sense will not prevail. If he suddenly announced that God had told him [insert horrible thing here] he has a group of people that will believe-- and possibly act on this information. The only brake we have at the moment is that we are reassured C. Peter Wagner is not making stuff up-- that really isn't very comforting to me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:28 AM on October 6, 2011


Ok, so based on the links, I went and looked at the questionnaire (it's in appendix 3), you can find it by searching within with google or going to amazon and starting at the back and working towards the front. Anyway, included in the questions (I'll admit that I pulled out the most bizarre):

Have you ever been involved in oral sex?

Do you have in your house any symbols or idols or spirit worship, such as
Buddhas
painted face masks
native art (if so what?)
[etc. cut rest]

Have you learned any of the martial arts?

Have you ever played a demonic game such as Dungeons & Dragons?

Have you ever made a pact with the Devil?
Was it a blood pact?

To your knowledge has a curse been placed on you or your family?
By whom?
[this one scares me- less than this got people burned at the stake during a period of religious anxiety]

Have your parents or grandparents been involved in cults (circle all that apply): [I cut some, the list is long]
Christian Science
Bahai
Unity
Jehovah's Witnesses
Eastern Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism (Zen, Tibetan, etc.)
Scientology
Islam

I could keep going, but I think my point is made. These people have moved from being a group that I mock to one makes me nervous.
posted by Hactar at 7:46 AM on October 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Have you ever been involved in oral sex?

Let me stop you right there. I'll just go give my husband the bad news that he is, indeed, possessed.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:34 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever played a demonic game such as Dungeons & Dragons?

Okay, this one raises my blood pressure. When I found out what Dungeons & Dragons actually was, it was a tremendous wedge between me and my faltering belief system, back when I was coming to realize how stupid fundamentalist Christian thought was. Few things will convince me that someone is a dupe and a fool faster than saying that Dungeons and Dragons is "of the devil."
posted by JHarris at 2:09 PM on October 6, 2011


JHarris - i think it comes down to, if you have other interests that take up your time, you can't be obsessed with christ. so say like you're really into D&D, it takes up a lot of your time, then you give it up. years later you may join this church that's all demon happy and they're like "see? a demon was possessing you and making you play this game, just to keep you from religion". so they don't like it because it keeps you away, but objectively it's just a game.
posted by camdan at 3:48 PM on October 7, 2011


No, that's not it at ALL, camdan.

You see, D&D is a game in which magic plays in integral part, and in which you encounter creatures which are not part of God's creation. You're imagining yourself into these situations, and from the Wagner type mindset, spellcasting and imagination and mental attitude are equal to reality, so you're actually putting yourself in league with unnatural beings and using magic and stuff while you're playing the game.

Plus, imagining that you're doing something is the mental gateway drug to actually doing it, so it's really just a stepping stone into full-on Satanism, complete with black robes, chanting to torchlight, and blood sacrifices of human virgins on a stone altar during the dark of the moon.

Seriously, that's how these people think. I've heard the sunday school lessons in person. It's ridiculous, but true.
posted by hippybear at 4:13 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I routinely curse drivers who almost run me and my wheelchair over. So I guess this means I am a demon, not possessed by one.
posted by angrycat at 6:40 AM on October 8, 2011


hippybear - i see what you're saying, and yes it's ridiculous. if any d&d player starts to equate it with reality or an approximation of it, they've lost touch with reality. and the wagners have lost touch with reality (well, obviously) for supposing the same. but i suppose they don't have to have anyone to actually believe they're practicing black magic to make that assumption, it's close enough. "see? there are evil forces out there that must fought through christ".

as far as i'm aware, reza aslan's "how to win a cosmic war" is only about the metaphysical fight between extremist muslims and fundamentalist christians, is there another book out there that discusses the broad scope of supernatural wars that have no basis in reality?
posted by camdan at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2011


JHarris - i think it comes down to, if you have other interests that take up your time, you can't be obsessed with christ. so say like you're really into D&D, it takes up a lot of your time, then you give it up.

The materials that fundamentalists put put out in the 80s are clear. There is magic in the game, and magic (by name, not definition obviously) is of the devil. Gygax put Catholic demons in the game as opponents alongside Zeus, Thor, and Great Cthulhu, and that also proved to some that the game was demonic -- despite the disdain this breed of Christian feels for the Catholic Church. (Honestly, I think they just don't know where all that demonology comes from, and probably never will unless it becomes the dogma of some charismatic preacher-man to "discredit" it.) The thematic similarity between the game and some brands of metal didn't help things, and neither do some of the game illustrations, which are ripe to be pulled out of context and branded on video screens as proof, PROOF of Satan's working in the world.

I don't think obsession really plays a role -- these folk tend not to freak out as much over professional sports, even though there are certainly Christians who obsess over it at least as much as your most hardcore hackhead. I think assuming that assumes there is some deep foundation to these periodic fundamentalist cultural freakouts -- really, it's just a bunch of people making a buck off of baseless fears. Just ask Mike Warnke -- or more accurately, ask Cornerstone Magazine.
posted by JHarris at 1:22 PM on October 18, 2011


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