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Christian Supremacy and U.S. Politics: An Interview With Theologian André Gagné

André Gagné is a theologian, university professor and former pastor. His new book, American Evangelicals for Trump: Dominion, Spiritual Warfare, and the End Times, provides a comprehensive overview of a major threat to a pluralist democracy in the United States: the New Apostolic Reformation, also known as the NAR.

Much has been made of Christian nationalism in the past several years. Although there are many definitions, the use of the term “Christian nationalism” reflects what many people across the country, and even the globe, have noticed: the rise in organized religious extremism as a threat to meaningful democracy. For many Christian nationalists, there is no separation of church and state, and the church should not only be the main crafter of policy and civic life, but also control the administration of all social welfare and education.

André Gagné
The French Canadian theologist professor and author André Gagné in his office at the University Concordia in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Adil Boukind)

The NAR has grown to become one of the major exponents of this ideology – the idea that a particular group of Christians should rule or have great influence on all aspects of society. What marks off NAR from other Christian nationalist groups is, firstly, that the NAR is not nationalist but globalist. The NAR is a global, Christian movement whose leaders aim to restructure and transform the society, culture, religion and politics in the United States, and those of the world’s nations, to fit their authoritarian vision. Although NAR leaders care very much about having power in the United States, their goal is to dominate every nation. In such a vision, NAR leaders act as a night council controlling what ways of living, and what lives, are acceptable. As major NAR leader Ché Ahn said, those Christians who align with him are God’s “legislative body of the Kingdom of God.”

Unlike most Christian churches and denominations, it is easier to understand the threat the NAR poses by looking at it not as a political Christian movement but instead as an authoritarian, anti-democratic movement within a religion. Its leaders teach that demonic forces occupy most of U.S. political and cultural institutions, from events at your local library to the Supreme Court. This includes other religious traditions and even other Christian churches – any group that disagrees with them. And they assert that their favored policies and politicians fail only because of demonic influence that derailed the divine’s chosen leaders and laws.

This, too, separates the NAR from some Christian nationalists: the notion that God’s will can be frustrated. This means that NAR followers must strive to secure God’s will. Public NAR religious practices and prayers are intended in part to scatter demonic forces, paving the way spiritually for their agendas to fulfill God’s will, and not even democracy nor the rights of others should stand in their way. We can see this clearly during the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, which many NAR leaders attended and rallied members to attend, believing that lawful elections can be unmade in God’s name.

Professor Gagné covers all of this and more in his work. SPLC Senior Research Analyst and Christian Dominionism expert Joe Wiinikka-Lydon sat down with Gagné to understand how the New Religious Right has grown over the last several decades, and how they’re trying to transform the United States, and many countries around the world, into theocratic states.

Could you start out by telling us just a little bit about yourself and your background?

I’m André Gagné, chair and full professor at the department of theological studies at Concordia University. I’ve been at Concordia University in Montreal since 2008. Before that, I taught at a university in the small mining town of Sudbury, Ontario, in Canada.

Your doctoral training focused on Christian scripture, and you have done a good deal of research on the Gospel of Thomas[1]. You have talked about how important engaging with the Bible was for you going back to your teenage years. Throughout it all, it’s been a kind of a touchstone for you. Can you tell us how you get from that engagement, and your professional engagement with ancient texts and scriptures, to looking at political theology, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and religion and politics?

This is a great question. My initial training is in biblical studies. As a subdiscipline of theology, biblical studies is about learning ancient languages, which in my case were biblical Hebrew and Greek, and Coptic. It is also working with ancient manuscripts, and engaging in textual analysis, using various methods of interpretation (historical, literary, etc.). I was hired as a professor of New Testament at Concordia. Eventually I came to ask myself to what extent was my work and writing relevant and impacting non-specialists. The field of biblical studies can be quite technical, and difficult to grasp for non-academics. My questioning led me to think that I could do something with what I knew about the historical context and all of that – the history, the language, the interpretation of the Bible throughout time – and link this to how people read the Bible today. I began exploring how various Christians in their communities read the Bible and how in some contexts it is used to legitimize political action.

This is how I first tried to bring my field of study, which is very historical and very situated on the time of early Christianity, to the modern world. What could I say to people today about my work in today’s context?

And then came along Trump.

What was it about Trump’s first presidential campaign that enabled you to focus on present-day religion and politics today?

In 2015, I immediately started noticing evangelicals interested in Trump and forming a coalition of supporters. I recognized some of the familiar characters I knew when I was an evangelical[2], and specifically when I was a Pentecostal/charismatic[3]. It was easy for me to see how some of these Christians were using the Bible to legitimize their political theology[4]. And I could speak to that because I know what the Bible says about the verses they use to legitimize their ideas. For the most part, much of their biblical interpretation does not take into consideration the historical context at the time of the writing. This is where I thought my work could have societal impact. You see, I often say: “I’m paid by the state; I work at a publicly funded university.” I feel a personal responsibility to find a way to connect my work with contemporary issues.

What is also significant to my work is my personal experience: 25 years ago I was a fundamentalist[5] pastor, a Pentecostal pastor, engaged in spiritual warfare, talking the same kind of language we now hear from Trump’s “spiritual warfare”[6] warriors. I went from this to becoming a biblical scholar, looking at the Bible through a critical lens. I believe that my experience as a former pastor and my work as a scholar has equipped me to understand and speak about what is now going on in the United States with Trump’s evangelical supporters. I understand this world inside out.

When was the first time that you heard about the NAR?

My exposure to what I came to understand to be embryonic NAR ideas at the time was between the mid- and end of the 1990s. The first time that I encountered the NAR and some of its ideas was when I was an assistant pastor at a Pentecostal church on the south shore of Montreal. The senior pastor did not have any kind of formal training, but at one point, he started talking about himself as having an apostolic ministry[7], that he was an apostle[8]. Another assistant pastor in our church – who also had absolutely no formal training – saw himself as a prophet[9].

Could you say more about how the NAR started?

There are several strands to the NAR and its ideas. What C. Peter Wagner – who was a professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, itself a major evangelical seminary – did was to give a label to something that he had observed about non-denominational churches[10] that were led by very strong charismatic pastors, leaders who function more like CEOs. The life of Wagner is quite interesting in a way, because he constantly adds newly discovered ideas to his set of beliefs as he’s going through his own life experience. As he encounters new people and new ideas, he aggregates these experiences and beliefs at different moments in time in this life. His memoirs are quite revealing to that effect. Wagner, for example, was also very much attracted to the idea of spiritual warfare[6].

In the 1980s and 1990s, Wagner goes through this phase of being intensely interested in spiritual warfare. For Wagner, churches that were experiencing growth were churches that prayed and engaged territorial demons[11]. When we in churches asked, why are evangelical churches in Canada not growing, from Wagner’s perspective, the answer is that Christians need to engage in strategic level spiritual warfare. He believed demonic forces are preventing people from accepting the gospel or being open to the gospel message. Wagner depicted spiritual warfare as a three-tiered level struggle, and one needs to discern which level of demonic activity they are facing when engaged against principalities[12] [powerful demonic forces].

We, too, as Pentecostals were interested in that, because we wanted our churches to grow. We began to understand and read his books as technical guides in spiritual warfare. At the time, one way we on the church level engaged in strategic-level warfare was through prayer walks.

When Trump decided to run, I began to see some of the major NAR figures, people like Lance Wallnau, gravitate around Trump and talk about the seven mountain mandate[13] and dominion theology[14]. This is when all of what I had known about the NAR came back to me. I started remembering some of the books I had read by Wagner. But now, I was better equipped to analyze these ideas in a more critical way.


There’s a lot that’s now coming out about the NAR. What is the urgency? What’s the challenge that they're posing?

The American experiment is one of democracy and pluralism. And this is urgency. The NAR’s vision is one that is rooted in what I call their political theology of power, that is dominion. I often quote Fred Clarkson’s definition. It’s a “theocratic idea that Christians are called by God to exercise dominion over every aspect of society by taking control of cultural and political institutions.”

That’s essentially their view; that’s their political theology[4]. And when we talk about the NAR, C. Peter Wagner[15] wrote a book called Dominion. He clearly says that he was indebted to people like R.J. Rushdoony[16], the founder of Christian Reconstructionism [17]. Our current understanding of what dominion theology is mainly comes from Christian Reconstructionism, though there are features in how dominion theology is understood in the charismatic world that are not part of Christian Reconstructionism.

Taking control of cultural and political institutions is necessary to bring about the Kingdom of God[18]. Their vision of the Kingdom of God is not pluralistic in nature, and neither is their view of other religions. In reading Wagner, one notices that he did not have a flattering view of Islam, nor of Allah. It’s all about the primacy of Christianity, which needs to be restored in America. Ask them questions like, what they will do with people who don’t agree with them, such as Muslims or atheists or even Christians who don’t share the same views as they? They’re very evasive in their reply. They often retort by saying that everybody is going to rejoice when the NAR exercises dominion! Or they’ll try to downplay the issue of dominion, saying, “Dominion is a slur to make Christians to shut up,” or “They’re using Christian nationalism to make sure we’re not involved in politics.”

So, there is an urgency, because if you have people who embrace this worldview, close to political power, they can influence people who make policy decisions. We’ve seen it with Trump. I think that the best example of why this is urgent, is Trump’s own political legacy: three conservative judges on the Supreme Court, the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the appointment of a multitude of conservative judges at the federal level, the American Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, etc. Trump recently spoke at the National Religious Broadcasters event, saying that their opponents would remove crosses from churches, and that the left wants to silence Christians, and that he would be the defender of Christians.

Why is the NAR a menace to democracy in the United States? Because you had people cheering on Jan. 5, 2021[19], people like Apostle Ché Ahn[20] on stage in Washington, screaming his head off, that Christians were battling Jezebel and other demonic spirits. Even recently, Right Wing Watch dug up a video, with Ché Ahn on stage with Lance Wallnau[21], Gene Bailey[22] and others, talking about how he and his network of churches have funded political candidates in the primaries, and all those they funded had won. Ahn also stated that Christians were the “legislative body of the kingdom of God” on Earth.


Why is it so dangerous, and why are we at a moment that is worse than Jan. 6, 2021? Because Trump, whom they support, says, “I am your retribution,” and that he will not be a dictator – except for “Day One.” What does that mean? That means the possibility of greater chaos than the insurrection in 2021. It’s the potential of another January 6 but on steroids. Who is supporting Trump? Who are the most vocal supporters of Trump? These people, these leaders, many of them are closely tied to NAR ideas.

It’s very, very worrisome. It’s like, you had this Pew survey that just came out, where 54% of the American public never heard of Christian nationalism. They’d never heard the term. There is clearly a problem. In terms of religion and politics in America, call it whatever you want. It’s like, people are sleeping at the wheel.

If you had to name someone who epitomized the NAR at this moment, who would you pick?

I would argue probably that the best example of the NAR, the “incarnation” of the movement if you will, is Lance Wallnau. If you want to understand or if you want to see what the NAR looks and sounds like, just follow Wallnau on his Facebook rants, go to his Rumble platform where he has his show. Follow him on Twitter. That’s the NAR: Lance Wallnau. Of course, he will say that the NAR does not exist. He gaslights a lot of people that have been working on this, but the NAR is a historical reality. It’s documented.

You have in your book a case about a church in Canada that was taken over by the NAR. This illustrates how much of the NAR is aggressive against other Christians. Could you talk about this case and also how NAR is a challenge to other Christians, especially those whose church governance is much more democratic?

In chapter two of my book, I provide a case study of a church in Canada to show that the NAR is transnational in nature. You don’t need to go to Africa or South America to see the NAR as a transnational force, it’s just in your backyard, here in Canada. The church I discuss in my book was an independent type of Pentecostal church. The pastor who had been there for several years came to meet Wagner and his new church model, founded on apostolic governance[23]. That pastor eventually led his church through a transition to become an apostolic center[23].

In more traditional churches, members are very much involved in the way the church is administered. Some are set up with a board of elders[24], with one who will take on the role of a teaching elder or pastor. Traditional churches work somewhat in a more collegial and democratic way, because the congregation is involved.

But NAR leaders often have another view of the church. With apostolic leadership, these pastors envision themselves now more as CEOs, taking full rein of the church to give it its full direction. These apostles choose their own leadership. In the case study of this Canadian church, the pastor-turned-apostle chose his own apostolic team.

What is the relationship between an apostle and the congregants supposed to look like?

God speaks to the apostle so that he can give direction to the church, according to this system. And members of church have the responsibility to follow the apostle’s lead.

What is understood as the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is there to build up the church (i.e., the congregants) to do the work of the ministry. It is a model retrieved in modern times from the Bible’s book of Ephesians (4:11-13). In NAR understanding, members of the church become themselves apostles in the marketplace. In simple terms, apostolic leaders leading a church (or apostolic center or network) reproduce themselves, sending out congregants back into their spheres of influence (workplace environment) to change and transform the cultures of their spheres to better reflect the NAR’s vision, and fulfilling the dominion mandate[25].

This way of operating is challenging for more democratically functioning congregations. NAR leaders often use the biblical imagery of “old wineskins” versus “new wineskins.” In one of his parables, Jesus said new wine cannot be put into old wineskins. The wineskins represent two types of church models. One must get rid of the old church model (old wineskin) for the new wine, that is, the new wine of the Spirit. If you want your church to flourish, spiritually, with the gifts of the Spirit and the manifestation of God’s power, churches need new wineskins, and the new wineskins is the NAR’s apostolic church governance model.

NAR leaders and their churches don't operate like traditional churches. They function more like enterprises or businesses. And the language is managerial. It’s the language of marketing. It’s the language of management.

Look at some of the main leaders, like Lance Wallnau, who is trained in strategic communications. It’s almost like the ultimate neoliberal religion.

Oh, absolutely.

The NAR is also very, very anti-intellectual. One of the things I’ve told people is there’s a great degree of theological illiteracy.

Many, unfortunately, have very little or no formal theological training. Many also have very little understanding of the long tradition of biblical interpretation and reception of the Bible through the ages, and this greatly affects their theological outlook.

It’s a weird thing because the NAR seems so imaginative with its territorial spirits and demons, right? But in such a profound way, it represents an utter failure of imagination, because they cannot understand or accept somebody thriving – not just happy but thriving in an objectively good way – who does not subscribe to their worldview. To accept that would be a death knell to them, because it is so exclusive. No other ways or paths are allowed. They can’t allow themselves to imagine other ways of life as equal to their own.

Spiritual warfare is a Christian idea, but it has not been traditionally understood or practiced as seen among modern-day spiritual warriors. For example, early Christian monks called the desert fathers[26] retired to the desert to battle demonic forces, and they were not fighting other people. They were fighting with themselves, against their own vices. It was about the betterment of their own lives, their own spiritual enlightenment, and ridding themselves of their bad habits. That’s what the spiritual warfare was all about, what the demonic fight was about. It was not about demonizing other individuals or being concerned with evil forces in others. The fight was internal, personal.

And as for the Kingdom of God, didn’t Jesus say that it was in you (see Luke 17:21), and didn’t the Apostle Paul, when speaking of the Kingdom, say that it was about “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (see Romans 14:17)? It clearly isn’t about conquering and ruling the world. Even Jesus refused all the kingdoms of this world when offered to him by the devil (see Matthew 4:8-10).

Their obsession with political power leads them to constantly refer to the “Old Testament” – genocidal war narratives, stories found in the Book of Joshua, or how King David conquered his enemies, for example. They rarely refer to the New Testament. There you find Jesus saying to turn the other cheek when slapped. Jesus simply invites his followers to forgive and love others unconditionally.

I’ve said to others that, if you’ve ever listened to what they’re saying, notice how often they say, “love.” Because it’s much rarer than in other Christian churches.

You’re absolutely right. And they know very little about church history, or how the Bible was received throughout time. In a nutshell, there is not much into the idea of Tradition. Why? Because it’s seen as “religion.” It’s the “spirit of religion,”[27] including those “old wine skins” we spoke of. Many have a very negative view of traditional churches, such as Catholicism, for example. For them, it’s just about having “a relationship with Jesus,” which they deem is not a religion.

I feel like there’s such a block about these topics, especially with those with liberal upbringings or beliefs, that gets in the way of understanding the nature of the threat, the challenge it poses. Some want to call such a group racist and white Christian nationalist as a way to dismiss them, but they are a global movement and, taken as a whole, they are more diverse than a lot of liberal Christian churches. There are a lot of key apostles who are women. This does not fit into liberal notions of how good and bad work in the world. It seems there needs to be a sea change in the way we think of race, politics, and religion if we are to address an authoritarian, Christian supremacist threat like this successfully.

It is transnational. These ideas have been around for quite some time in the global South, and people who migrate to the minority world bring with them their own Christian beliefs and practices. Many are familiar with Paula White-Cain [28] but are unaware that a lot of her spiritual warfare language resonates with that of her spiritual father, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, an influential apostolic leader from Ghana, who also gave a sermon at one of Trump’s inauguration services.

You’ve written in your book that their interest is really with power, which makes sense, if you’re thinking of it as an enterprise and management. And we only briefly talked about NAR’s strong belief in and use of demons, which they then use to literally demonize opponents and those who don’t agree with them. Does this make the NAR an inherently anti-democratic movement? Is there room for this in a democracy?

The danger is that it dehumanizes others with the language of spiritual warfare, and it has become something aimed at others, which can potentially turn violent. Modern-day spiritual warfare practitioners have moved away from the more internal and personal practice in the Christian tradition. Their ideas unfortunately have become part of their political theology and have been weaponized against minorities and others who don't share their views. I don’t foresee dialogue possible any time soon. There is very little room for these individuals to sit at a table and talk. If we rely on the goodwill of the current leaders, there seems to be none.

People who value American democracy must invest time in learning more about groups and individuals that seek to undermine it. It will require people to learn about the NAR, its leaders, its theological ideas, and political strategies. Being informed and acting accordingly will make the difference in 2024.

You gave us a quick intro at the beginning. Would you talk more about your path to this work?

I'm French Canadian, born and raised in Montreal. My family were nonpracticing, nominal Catholics. At the age of 12, I met an aunt, who invited our family to dinner. We didn’t know, but they were evangelical[2]. More precisely, I would label them charismatic[3]; they were into the things of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy[9], etc. At dinner, they started giving their testimony about their changed lives, and so on. At the age of 12, I was very impressionable, and I remember vividly what my aunt was telling us about Jesus coming back soon, and that there would be the Rapture of the church[29]. And after the Rapture of the church, God would pour out his judgment, and those who missed the Rapture wouldn’t be saved.

This type of Christian message was a bit traumatic when I look back on it today. So, I became evangelical at the age of 12, the only one in my family. I went to church with my aunt, her husband, and her daughter. After a few years, I drifted away from the evangelical church, until later in my teens, I went through an existential crisis, asking questions about the purpose of life, etc. This is when I began going to an evangelical church once again.

I eventually found another church, a Pentecostal[3] church, a denominational church, with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada[30]. I started going, got involved, and felt the “call of God” on my life to become a pastor. Now the way that it works in those types of churches is that one’s calling is always confirmed by someone else, by a higher spiritual leader, a pastor, or an invited preacher from out of town. I had many prophecies form various evangelical leaders “confirming” God’s call on my life to the ministry, as they say. Eventually, I became a youth pastor and an assistant pastor in that Pentecostal church for several years.

There was, however, something that bothered me about the way the church functioned. I was always attracted to in-depth Bible study. I used to buy books on theology and biblical commentaries. I was an avid Bible reader and listened to teaching tapes about the Book of Revelation, for example. Then I started comparing what I read and studied to the sermons given by the pastors of the church, and a lot of what they were preaching made no sense. Nearly all the pastors of this church had no formal theological training. They just felt “called by God” to be pastors. This was the case was with our senior pastor. They clearly werent attracted to any kind of academic study of the Bible. For them, the only thing they needed was the Spirit.

I found myself obliged to leave this church due to the poor teaching from the pastors. I couldn’t stay in a church that wasn’t functioning according to what I was reading in the Bible. For example, when it came to publicly speaking in tongues, there are biblical references insisting that the gift of interpretation of tongues is needed. The biblical recommendation in that regards were never followed. Everyone just did as they pleased; it was chaotic.

I then became a pastor of a more Baptist type of church. The church and denomination emphasized the importance of in-depth study, something which was lacking in my former Pentecostal church. In all, I was pastor for about 10 years.

What finally brought about my end to pastoral ministry was when I met a former pastor friend who “left the ministry” to do an M.A. degree in biblical studies at a university. He encouragement me to start a university degree in theology at one of the public universities in Montreal. This had never crossed my mind, because in my former evangelical world, people had no clue of the possibilities outside our churches or denominations. It’s a very insular world, because they want to protect their members from what they see as something potentially dangerous for Christians and their faith.

After several years, I returned to my traditional Catholic faith. I now have a deeper, more profound appreciation for my tradition, something I was lacking at a young age. Catholicism was a tradition I despised when I was evangelical. I used to think that Catholics “weren’t saved.”

Attending university pulled me away from fundamentalism. I went through a theological shock, and this eventually led me back to a more balanced view of faith and its relation to others and the world around me. It also gave me an appreciation for what the Bible really is, understanding that it does not hold the answers to everything. It’s about being more nuanced and understanding theology in its own context, and what it means, and how it shapes people’s lives or doesn’t – and of course, studying how it can be weaponized, like I’ve written in American Evangelicals for Trump.

Anything you would like to say in conclusion?

We know that many of these people want Trump back into office, and any opposition to this political project is understood in terms of spiritual warfare. Now, people can personally believe that there exist “territorial spirits” and demons, but this worldview becomes a problem when it incites people to violence, dehumanizes individuals and seeks to disqualify people who disagree with their point of view from being involved in politics.

It’s important to reiterate that warnings about the NAR and Christian nationalism are not about preventing Christians from being involved in politics. But it’s about functioning in the context of American democracy and pluralism, where there is room for all to have a voice, but one’s voice is amongst others. People might not agree on everything, but they should at least be able to function together for the betterment of their society as a whole.

Things are very polarized now in the U.S. Trump has damaged much of American democracy. Even if he loses, Trumpism is there, and his supporters are not going anywhere.

Banner photo of André Gagné by Adil Boukind

Glossary of Terms

To return to previous position in text, click on number of term searched.

[1]Gospel of Thomas – An early Christian text containing sayings of Jesus. It is not considered canonical and is not part of the Christian Bible. It is interesting to scholars, as it shares similar sayings and content to some of the New Testament Gospels.

[2]Evangelical – “Evangelical” generally refers to a mode of Protestant Christianity, not a particular church, that emphasizes one’s direct relationship with Jesus, deemphasizes ritual, teaches that the Bible is without error, and has a focus on personal Biblical study. Anthea Butler claims that, since the 1970s, evangelicals have been associated with the Republican Party and that evangelical culture emphasizes “keeping the status quo of patriarchy, cultural hegemony, and nationalism.”

[3]Pentecostal/charismatic – Known for emphasizing the “gifts of the spirit,” which include healing, prophecy, exorcism and speaking in tongues, the charismatic tradition emphasizes direct experience with the divine, as well as a second baptism of the spirit. Begun in the early 20th century in the United States, it is now the fastest growing Christian movement in the world. “Pentecostal” is often used to describe a broad movement of charismatic churches and denominations. “Charismatic” is a broader term including not only Pentecostalism but also churches outside of this movement that it influences. One can, for example, be a “charismatic Catholic” and not belong to a Pentecostal church.

[4]Political theology – Political theology explores the ways in which theology and theological ideas and narratives intersect with politics.

[5]Fundamentalist/fundamentalism – Christian movement developed as a reaction to the modern world. Traditional fundamentalists often claim the Bible as infallible and literal, cast evolution as a wrong and even evil, and reject modern Biblical scholarship. The terms can also be used in a more derogatory way to describe Protestant Christian beliefs or communities that are very conservative and oppose anything modern or progressive.

[6]Spiritual warfare – Battle between Christians and invisible, demonic powers that control institutions and even people. NAR members and leaders engage in purposeful spiritual warfare through prayer, public liturgies and other practices to dispel a demon’s power over people, institutions or entire regions.

[7]Apostolic ministry – An organization, network and/or church (or apostolic center) under the spiritual guidance and leadership (or “covering”) of an apostle.

[8]Apostle – For most Christians, apostles were limited to 12 men who were traditionally considered the closest companions of Jesus and became the inheritors of Jesus’ movement. It is mentioned in the book of as one of five leadership roles, in addition to prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The leadership position of apostle was recovered in the 20th century to refer charismatic churches leaders. In the NAR, apostles embody the highest level of leadership, picked and raised up by God. Although some oversee single churches, others oversee networks of thousands of churches. As a group, apostles collaborate to steer the NAR movement. Apostles act more like spiritual CEOs than traditional mainline Protestant pastors, and can have great, even singular authority over their church or network. Important apostles include Dutch Sheets and Ché Ahn.

[9]Prophet/prophecy – An old office in the Christian church, the prophet is one of five leadership roles in the book of Ephesians, though it was not a role that many churches practiced after the early Christian period. It has been revised in the 20th century, however, and in the NAR, they are high-ranking, influential leaders who share messages directly from God. Apostles evaluate the truth and orthodoxy of prophetic messages. Important NAR prophets include Cindy Jacobs and Lance Wallnau.

[10]Non-denominational churches – Independent church communities not part of a Christian denomination. Denominations are groups of churches with a similar set of theological beliefs and shared governance, such as the Catholic Church or the United Methodist Church.

[11]Territorial spirits/demons – Powerful, high-level demonic entities that NAR leaders claim rule over a geographic region and other demons and generally try to undermine God’s plans on earth by influencing institutions and groups of people.

[12]Principalities – Spirits or forces mentioned primarily in Ephesians that have power over institutions or areas of human life. NAR leaders associate them with demonic powers.

[13]Seven Mountain Mandate – Promoted by Prophet Lance Wallnau, it is a recent restatement of dominion theology. The mandate refers to the dominion mandate for Christians to dominate society with a select and narrow range of Christian belief and practice. The Seven Mountains are a mnemonic that represents seven areas that make up society and that NAR followers need to dominate: religion, family, education, media, entertainment, business and government. NAR leaders often say they are working in a specific mountain, meaning they are working for Christian supremacy in that industry or area of shared life.

[14]Dominion/Dominionism – The “theocratic idea that Christians are called by God to exercise dominion over every aspect of society by taking control of political and cultural institutions,” as summarized by Political Research Associates.

[15]C. Peter Wagner – Professor of church growth at the non-denominational evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary and a leading figure in the NAR. Wagner coined the term “New Apostolic Reformation” and brought together and mentored many current leaders of the movement. Wagner died in 2016.

[16]RJ Rushdoony – A Christian theologian in the Reformed tradition and the founding intellectual force behind Christian Reconstruction. It is his notion of dominion and Christian supremacy that the NAR adopted and today employs.

[17]Christian Reconstruction – A group of theologies and churches claiming that the United States should be transformed – reconstructed – around Biblical law, understood through the writings of those like RJ Rushdoony, who founded it, and Gary North, one of the main promoters of Christian Reconstruction. At its heart is dominion theology, a political theology of Christian supremacism claiming that Christians will remake and dominate a future U.S. society.

[18]Kingdom of God – a major theme in the Christian Gospels that, depending on one’s interpretation, is meant to capture the promise of care, grace, and salvation that the Christian god offers humanity. It is spoken about often in terms of metaphors, where the kingdom is, for example, as humble and small as a mustard seed or is even not a future attainment but a present reality to be embraced.

[19]Jan. 5, 2021 – “Stop the Steal” rally - an election conspiracy rally held in Washington, D.C., a day before the insurrection. It included such speakers as Mike Lindell, Roger Stone, who is a felon pardoned by Donald Trump, and NAR Apostle Ché Ahn. It emphasized the unfounded conspiracy that Joe Biden was not duly elected. Ché Ahn preached at the event, “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.”

[20]Ché Ahn – a leading NAR apostle, apostolic leader of Harvest Rock ministries, and chancellor of Wagner University, the NAR educational center set up by C. Peter Wagner.  He was a major promoter of Stop the Steal, speaking at a major Stop the Steal rally in Washington, DC , held the day before the Insurrection. Ché Ahn was also an outspoke ncritic of COVID-19 safety guidelines regarding churches.

[21]Lance Wallnau – a leading NAR prophet who came up with the phrase, “Seven Mountain Mandate.” Wallnau led prophecies predicting Donald Trump’s win in 2016 and 2020, the latter being a failure. He is known for labeling Trump god’s “chaos candidate” and a modern Cyrus figure – an imperfect candidate that the Christian god can still use to realize god’s will on earth. He is also a backer of the Big Lie that Donald Trump won his 2020 presidential bid.

[22]Gene Bailey – Texas-based pastor and host of “FlashPoint,” a program promoting NAR and Christian supremacist content that often features NAR leaders Hank Kunneman, Lance Wallnau and Christian nationalist Rick Green.

[23]Apostolic governance/Apostolic center – Rule of a church or network of churches by an apostle, which often entails a top-down, more authoritarian governance structure. An apostolic center is a church or institution an apostle oversees.

[24]Elder – In some Protestant churches, an elder is the name for a church leader, such as a pastor. This can be an ordained position, as in the United Methodist Church, or can refer to certain lay leaders within a church. Not all denominations use this language.

[25]Dominion mandate – The directive for certain Christians to dominate all areas of shared life, including politics. The is taken from Genesis 1:28, understood by dominionists as a divine call to subdue, populate and rule the world.

[26]Desert fathers – Early Christian monks who lived alone in the deserts of the Middle East as a spiritual discipline, to do battle with temptation and to become purer followers of Jesus. Predecessors of today’s monks, nuns and monasteries.

[27]Spirit of religion – The idea, put forth by C. Peter Wagner, that Christian communities can become too invested in its practices and norms for community, which can block the working of the spirit and the expansion of Christianity. He argued this included denominations and more democratic church governance, which he saw as vestiges that interfered with modern Christian growth. He also claimed demonic powers were behind the spirit of religion in order to undermine successful Christian expansion.

[28]Paula White-Cain – An aid in Donald Trump’s White House, White-Cain is a televangelist, charismatic leader and Trump’s “personal pastor.” She was important in introducing NAR leaders to Trump, and so, in building influence with Trump and other politicians.

[29]Rapture of the church – A recent doctrine in evangelical churches that the Christian faithful will be brought to heaven in anticipation of Jesus’ return near the end times.

[30]Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada – A Pentecostal denomination in Canada.

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