Thursday, January 3, 2013

OneThing 2012: Lou Engle on Taking the New Apostolic Reformation Abroad

To read about Mike Bickle's talks at OneThing 2012, click here.

OneThing 2012, hosted by the International House of Prayer (IHOP), took place at the Kansas City Convention Center on December 28-31, 2012. OneThing is an annual young adult prayer gathering featuring New Apostolic Reformation preachers such as Mike Bickle and Lou Engle.

Initially, a Catholic track was part of OneThing 2012's itinerary, indicating collaboration between IHOP and its Catholic neighbors. The Catholic track was a joint effort between the Archdiocese of Kansas City and Franciscan University of Steubenville. However, OneThing's Catholic track was abruptly cancelled in November, according to a statement at the Franciscan University of Steubenville website. The university's OneThing promo page states that the cancellation was because of "the short time frame and organizational logistics", although blogs such as My Word Like Fire and Beyond Grace observed that the cancellation came shortly after a highly publicized murder case involving several people affiliated with IHOP.

Among this year's speakers was Lou Engle, the charismatic founder of TheCall, a longtime ally of IHOP, and a wellspring of passionate, alarming messages. I listened to Lou Engle's talk at OneThing 2012, which was laden with messages about demons, missionary work, and eschatology. In a video posted on YouTube, Engle urges his audience to preach the Gospel to non-Christians across the globe and herald the arrival of Christ.

Engle, always larger-than-life, began his talk with an ambitious vision. At the 1:42 mark, Engle announced that he and God were initiating action to hasten Christ's return to Earth.
"I feel today that I'm launching--and God is launching something that will bring the return of Christ. Sounds kind of boastful! I'm calling for a million people to pray a prayer every day ... I'm daring to believe that the church of the whole world will be reverberating with one mighty prayer in these days."
Engle recounted a story from Oswald Smith's 1950 book in which Satan's demon princes rule over non-Christian nations. In the tale, Satan and the princes discuss their strategy for keeping the Gospel out of the "closed lands" so as to stonewall the return of Christ on Earth. Engle used this story as a segue way into a talk on why Christians should proselytize across the globe, especially to cultures unfamiliar with Christianity.

Engle was amazed that "principalities and powers" seem to understand God's plan better than the church. He stressed the importance of preaching the Gospel in every nation (ethnos) of the world, which will allegedly hasten God's return to Earth.

The missions movement is "kissing" the prayer movement, Engle insisted, suggesting that collaboration between the two camps is blossoming in the name of spreading Christianity worldwide. He likened Christians spreading the Gospel to laborers reaping a bountiful harvest, citing Matthew 9:37-38 (“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few; ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.") At the 16:49 mark, he urged listeners to pray for Christianity to spread abroad.
"I want you to lift your eyes not just to America, not just to the inner cities, into your schools. We must pray for laborers in those. I want you to lift your eyes to the end of the earth. Seven thousand people groups, 2.9 billion, have never heard the Gospel, and only ten percent of the missionaries on the ... foreign fields are in the unreached people groups. Something's wrong."
At the 17:18 mark, Engle described the current state of northern India, where his son Jesse had traveled recently.
"My son Jesse was just in Varanasi, India, and there on the river, the capital of Hinduism, thousands gathered together day by day, and they burned their dead bodies and throw the ashes into the river believing that they will receive salvation. Folks, in India, northern India, three hundred plus million unbelievers, hundreds of unraised people groups, and less than one percent Christian! Lord of the harvest, ekballo [send] laborers!"
At the 21:35 mark, Engle stated in no uncertain terms that Christian proselytization drives demons from non-Christian societies.
"To the degree of the darkness and the demonization of the unreached people groups, it is the degree that God, with fire in his bones, unleashes and ekballo [sends] laborers into the harvest field ... [Inaudible] ... When Jesus, prompted by this prayer, says go, demons vacate and missionaries relocate."
Engle concluded his talk by promoting the Antioch Center (particularly its Mission Ekballo project) and the Joshua Project. As worshippers removed their shoes out of reverence, Engle urged them to pray fervently for the spread of their faith. Hypnotic Christian music poured over the audience, many of whom stood in stocking feet with shoes aloft.

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My curiosity aroused, I visited the website for the Antioch Center, where photos of golden Buddha statues, prostrating Muslims, and mosques greeted me. The Antioch Center, a premillenial "forerunner" ministry, encourages global evangelization through training programs affiliated with the Luke18 Project.

At the Antioch Center's "Mission Ekballo" page, visitors are enjoined to sign an online commitment to pray for "unreached" groups and support missionary efforts.
"By signing my name in the box below, I affirm the following commitments by the grace of God:
1. I will pray daily Matthew 9:38.
2. I will go to JoshuaProject[dot]net and pray for an unreached people group of the day.
3. I will go to unreached people groups (get trained to go: ACTSschool[dot]com) and give financially as the Lord leads."
The website included a short essay by Lou Engle on Mission Ekballo, in which he asks, "Will not the Lord of the harvest answer us and send laborers to the 7,000 people groups to challenge the hardest and darkest places of the earth where Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam have ruled?"
"The uttermost parts of the earth are the 7,000 unreached people groups and the 2.9 billion people who are all waiting for messengers for gospel of the kingdom. Those messengers will not be sent unless the church prays like it has never prayed before for the release of an ekballo movement that bring forth the fullness of the gentiles where every tongue and tribe is worshipping Jesus around His throne and then the end shall come."
Engle had mentioned the Joshua Project as well in his OneThing talk. When I visited the Joshua Project website, I found listings of "unreached" ethnic groups around the globe seeped in non-Christian faiths. The website offered resources for promoting the "Great Commission" to proselytize, as well as opportunities to support missionary work. The website was dotted with images of turbaned men and headscarfed women from distant shores.  

For years, Lou Engle's rhetoric has entreated young Christians to take up anti-abortion activism. Now, Engle is also entreating them to support or engage in global missionary work. However, are non-Christians in these so-called "closed lands" receptive to NAR-style Christianity? Will these target audiences in distant lands welcome NAR proselytization, or will they prove more unyielding than erstwhile evangelists expect?

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Lou Engle's OneThing 2012 talk serves as a reminder that the New Apostolic Reformation seeks to spread its message across the globe. Worldwide outreach projects such as the Antioch Center's Mission Ekballo, as well as TheCall's rallies in foreign countries (Brazil, Switzerland), indicates that this New Apostolic Reformation leader has international ambitions.

These international dreams trouble me, given the New Apostolic Reformation's antipathy toward abortion, homosexuality, and religious diversity. I worry that anti-abortion, homophobic sentiments may accompany the NAR religious messages, so supporters of reproductive justice and LGBTQ equality should take note. Lou Engle's homophobic rhetoric in Uganda, where a draconian anti-gay bill is currently under consideration, is well known. As Engle and his allies send young NAR-affiliated missionaries abroad, will anti-abortion and homophobic messages be part of their great commission? We will see.

For more information on OneThing 2012, click here


  1. **As Engle and his allies send young NAR-affiliated missionaries abroad, will anti-abortion and homophobic messages be part of their great commission? We will see.**

    I believe anti-abortion and homophobic messages are included in their dogma. While they are not included on the 'front page' of their mission statement the idea the LGBT crowd consorts with demons (or are demons) is an accepted unstated fact; kind of like Christmas is American, not Christian.

    The more I read of Mr Engle's ministry the more I worry for the peoples of my favorite planet. I will heed his call for prayer but not exactly as he expects for I am devoutly Pagan. :)


    1. Connie -- Welcome! I worry about the messages that Lou Engle and his missionaries will promote overseas. Hopefully, international observers can help us keep an eye on their rhetoric.

  2. The logic these folks never seem to get is that if God has a plan, then nothing we do or don't do makes any difference. It is all part of the plan. And that means we have zero free will. So either God has a plan or he doesn't. Now they say he has a plan. Do they really take that to it's logical conclusion? No. They mix it all up because they understand none of it. They just spend all their time talking about it, instead of doing the work (helping the neighbor). Such a waste.

    1. Sherry -- I too wish they would spend less time on "signs and wonders" and more time on helping their neighbors. As for the whole divine plan versus free will issue, do you really expect these folks to think through what they're saying?

  3. I can't imagine what leaders like Engle are really thinking when they say such outrageous things. Good reporting, Ahab.

    1. Donna -- I wish I knew. I'd give anything to be a fly on the wall at their planning meetings.

  4. Oh, great. As if those "people groups" hadn't already suffered enough from smallpox and imperialism and labor exploitation, now they're going to get a bunch of nutbars from Hicksville USA spouting gibberish at them. I wonder how you say "God hates fags" in Quechua?

    Ekballo? I hope they kickballo.

    1. Infidel753 -- Does anyone think this over-caffeinated missionary effort is going to end well?

  5. I do remember reading once about an American Christian missionary who went to Japan to preach. He had learned the language fairly well but kept mispronouncing some of the words. At one point he was trying to say Tsumi wo sute, Kami ni shitagai-nasai (renounce your sins and follow God), but it came out Tsuma wo sute, kame ni shitagai-nasai (renounce your wife and follow a turtle). He also kept referring to Jesus as kame no ko (son of a turtle). One wonders what the Japanese listeners made of such strange doctrines. If the kind of semiliterates who listen to Engle really go off evangelizing in Assamese or Tamil or something, the results are likely to be at least as bad.

    1. Infidel753 -- I'm getting a mental image of distant lands filled with divorced men clutching turtles and a baffled Lou Engle scratching his head.


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