TheCall, a New Apostolic Reformation ministry founded by Lou Engle, has been preparing for months for a large-scale, 11/11/11 prayer rally in Detroit. TheCall Detroit will take place in Ford Field from the evening of November 11th into November 12th, with the intent of bringing spiritual revival to Detroit and beyond. Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out was in attendance and posted some observations about TheCall Detroit here.
TheCall Detroit has created controversy over its reportedly divisive message. Right Wing Watch has discussed Engle's anti-Islam rhetoric with regard to TheCall Detroit, as well as his prior homophobic and anti-abortion remarks. As Republic of Gilead has observed, Engle has made scathing comments about Islam at the Prayer & Prophetic Conference and the 2010 FIGHT! conference, as well as controversial comments about race in Kansas City, at Firestorm 2011, and during a Transformation Michigan conference call. Engle's troubling messages have not gone unnoticed by Detroit clergy, several of whom have condemned TheCall Detroit.
A November 8th press release by People for the American Way quoted Rev. Charles Williams II of Detroit’s Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, who is also a member of People For the American Way's African American Ministers in Action. Rev. Williams argued that Detroit does not need "more divisiveness and fear," and that while he supports prayer, he does not endorse the use of prayer "to bash another religion, nor to hide behind the subterfuge of political gamesmanship." According to the Detroit Free Press, Rev. Oscar King, senior pastor of Northwest Unity Baptist Church, accused TheCall of "creating turmoil" in Detroit. King accused TheCall of treating African Americans and other "like we're some Third World, underdeveloped country and they're going to bring us Jesus." King and others who disapproved of TheCall Detroit reportedly planned a vigil against hate for Friday evening.
Controversial rhetoric has come not only from Engle, but from supporters of TheCall Detroit. Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action has posted excerpts from conference calls related to TheCall, including a September 9th, 2010 Transformation Michigan/Oak Initiative conference call in preparation for the event. The conference call discussed "divorcing Baal" and praying near Masonic lodges to spiritually prepare the region for TheCall Detroit. According to Wilson's YouTube video, the conference call features Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network head John Benefiel, who had this to say at the 5:22 mark.
"We're not advertising about going to the Masonic lodges, and we really don't want people to say that because they'll mix up what we're doing ... None of us are against Freemasons. We're not against the people. Ephesians 6:12 says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world and the wicked spirits and the heavenlies. We are for the people, we are for Freemasons and Mormons and Muslims getting freed from the bondage they are under to know the lord Jesus Christ."
Another recording posted by Wilson quotes Ellis Smith of Jubilee City Church in Detroit, a local coordinator for TheCall. While discussing his work in Detroit on behalf of Lou Engle, Ellis had this to say about Islam.
"Islam is a false religion. It doesn't move people in the things of God. Islam is lame. People are decrepit, crippled. They can't move forward. It's a perverse religion ... What I'm saying to you is Detroit had to happen. What we're talking about right now, because we have to break these barriers that have hindered us in so many ways."
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At the time of this writing, TheCall Detroit is currently livestreaming at TheCall website and GOD TV. I eavesdropped on the livestream at approximately 8:30 p.m. Eastern, which showed Christian musicians performing on stage for a crowd of believers in deep prayer. "Open the heavens tonight!" Lou Engle shouted, begging God to show his face that night. Later, Engle shared the Biblical story of Jacob crossing a ford and wrestling all night for an encounter with God, using this as a metaphor for spiritual encounter. "Maybe you've come to a ford ... I feel this is not a time to spare ourselves, it's at time to empty ourselves before God." Just as Jacob's name was changed after his encounter, Engle wondered out loud if people were willing to pray for a "name change" for America. He urged attendees to worship God all night long at TheCall Detroit, just as Jacob wrestled all night for his encounter with God.
Because of all-night prayer in Detroit, Engle hoped that "drug lords would have encounters with Jesus, that death and suicide will not go on tonight," and that God would pour out love to Muslims. Engle also assured the audience that God wanted to release a wave of healing that night to heal racism.
Music was on Engle's mind at TheCall Detroit. "God's cleansing the priesthood of sexual immorality ... of celebrity worship ... of great musicians who sing gospel songs but have lost the fires of intimacy," he said. God, he insisted, wanted to raise up a "new worship sound" through Detroit's African-American community, a sound that would "break the power of abortion" and bring about an "adoption movement of compassion."
I returned to the livestream around 9:50 p.m. Eastern, as Engle was beseeching the crowd for monetary donations to cover the cost of setting aside Ford Field. Afterwards, Engle warned listeners about the rise of anti-Semitism, saying "Anti-Semitism is on the rise in the earth again. Even in this very city, anti-Semitism had a real open door." He insisted that believers need not agree with all of Israel's public policies, but instead he urged listeners to repent of anti-Semitism and believe that Jesus has broken the "wall of enmity."
UPDATE: At the 14:00 mark of Part III, Engle had this to say about anti-Semitism.
"Detroit is the place of [God's] choosing for an altar. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in the earth again. Even in this very city, anti-Semitism had a real open door. But tonight, we believe that God wants to break it in a generation, break it over the church."Engle shared a dream that a friend had while staying in Jerusalem, in which he and Engle were lodging in the hotel of Mary Magdalene herself. At the 14:33 mark of Part III, Engle described the dream thusly.
"I was in Jerusalem with my friend. My friend had a dream, and in the dream, we were actually staying in Mary Magdalene's hotel, and he receives a dream of four Ruths calling us, four Ruths. Ruth Prince, Derek Prince's wife who loved Israel, was calling us. Ruth Graham, Billy Graham's wife, was calling us. Ruth Heflin, who was a worshipper and a prophet to Israel, was calling us. And Ruth of Boaz was calling us. Four Ruths. And we felt the Lord was saying to us that TheCall is to call the gentile bride back to Boaz, Jesus Christ, that we would connect with our bridegroom, Jesus, the Jewish man, and when we did that, it would release a great healing and would break anti-Semitism."Finally, TheCall Detroit featured a talk by Kamal Saleem, a Christian who claimed to have been a former Muslim terrorist. In the past, he said, he'd wanted to destroy Israel, but Israel's God protected her. Saleem told the audience that he'd had a vision of Jesus that healed his senses, and that as an Arab from "the bosom of Ismael," he would bow before Israel today. Passionately, Saleem spoke of peace between the sons of Abraham -- Isaac and Ismael -- crying out "Arise Israel!" Afterwards, Engle urged the audience to pray for peace in the Middle East and Detroit.
Check back later in the week for additional information on TheCall Detroit, and don't forget to swing by Truth Wins Out for more coverage!
To read additional commentary on TheCall Detroit, visit the following links.
Politicus USA: Whose Call? A 24-Hour Stadium Show in Detroit by Yet Another Dominionist Apostle
Talk to Action: Christian Resistance to TheCall Growing in Detroit and Beyond
Talk to Action: Lou Engle's TheCall Detroit Enjoys Antigay Allies in High Places
Right Wing Watch: Geller In "Bizarroworld" Over The Call: Detroit
Right Wing Watch: Is Lou Engle Misrepresenting His View on Muslims to Detroit Pastors?