Christian Imperialism: Update # 7 The Namibian "Dream"
Discernment Ministries has been following the development of a global "dominionist" agenda and recently posted an article at the website entitled "Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism." Today's Herescope post is an update and expansion on several topics that were brought out in this article.
The May/June Discernment Newsletter reported on the international event called The Global Day of Prayer (GDOP), which was a kingdom-building activity to bring about global "transformation." The GDOP event also aided in the global launching of Rick Warren's "Second Reformation," as reported in the July/August newsletter. [Click on archived newsletters at http://www.discernment-ministries.org to read these important background articles.]
The official press accounts of the history of the Global Day of Prayer linked it back to Graham Power, a businessman in Africa who supposedly saw a vision from God to have large prayer stadium events. Thus began the prayer event in CapeTown in 2001, which incorporated South Africa the next year 2002, then moved to reach all of southern African continent in 2003, and then finally the entire African continent in 2004.
Important NEW historical information has come to light pertaining to the history of the Global Day of Prayer. The GDOP and its parent, Transformation Africa, were completely interconnected with George Otis, Jr.'s Transformation video from the onset . This Transformation video series has been one of the key vehicles to market the kingdom dominionism theology worldwide, particularly in vulnerable 3rd world countries. The video is modeled after the old snake oil sales -- it promises miraculous results and a "restoration" of the entire planet Earth if these principles of kingdom transformation are implemented.
This new, more complete history of the GDOP can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ba34n. This website is about the "transformation" of the tiny country of Namibia, which has been a guinea pig for the rest of the continent.
At "The Namibian Dream" [http://www.thenamibiandream.info/] the website indicates that its "purpose is to help transforming Africa for Christ." At the link "About Us," one can see one of the clearest examples of Peter Drucker's 3-legged stool diagram, incorporating Business, Government, and Church into a 3-armed logo [http://www.thenamibiandream.info/AboutUs.aspx]. The information states: "Our ambition is all about government, business and church leaders joining hands. . . ." The "mission" statement on this page is indicative of the prayer dominionist agenda.
Bruce Wilkinson's Turn the Tide organization has been a prominent player in this "transformation" of Namibia. Wilkinson intended to take his Swaziland transformation initiative into Namibia, and his weekly "Turn the Tide" press releases mentioned these activities. "The Swazi model will hopefully be replicated in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and parts of South Africa," according to an article from the Christian Post at http://tinyurl.com/a27o8, by Katherine T. Phan, "Campaign Calling Students to Abstinence in Swaziland Ends Saturday" (Jul. 31, 2004) [emphasis added].
A key partner of Bruce Wilkinson in Namibia has been John Maxwell. Maxwell is another evangelical leader who enjoys wide credibility with few critics. Maxwell's activities frequently come up in conjunction with Bruce Wilkinson and Rick Warren's African endeavors, and the three men worked closely together on the "transformation agenda." Maxwell's role is particularly pivotal because he involved himself in "leadership training" through various entities, including his Global Pastors Network, Million Leaders Mandate and EQUIP. In brief, his leadership training identifies, databanks, assesses and monitors indigenous pastors in a given area for the purpose of intensive re-training in the kingdom dominionist mindset. Some of Maxwell's activities in Namibia are are briefly described at http://www.thenamibiandream.info/AboutUs.aspx :
"When John Maxwell and a few friends launched EQUIP in 1997, their vision was to equip international Christian leaders to effectively serve the growing Body of Christ around the world. . . . MILLION LEADERS MANDATE (MLM), a six year global initiative to train and resource one million international Christian leaders, was launched in Asia in 2003 and is being introduced continent by continent in successive years."
The original Christianity Today article about Bruce Wilkinson's activities in Africa, "Mr. Jabez Goes to Africa: Bruce Wilkinson expands his borders to include racial reconciliation and HIV/AIDS," by Timothy C. Morgan, posted 10/17/2003 [http://tinyurl.com/7nrsu] had much to say about his activities in Namibia. As Herescope noted a few days ago, the evangelical press accounts of Wilkinson's activities were laudatory, not critical. A few excerpts follow:
"In Namibia, influential Christians have begun a renewal movement that they call the Namibian Dream, anchored by an annual outdoor celebration, Transformation Namibia. They invited Wilkinson to be their keynote speaker for the May 1, 2003, gathering at a sports arena in Windhoek, the nation's capital, surrounded by the barren and beautiful mountains of the ancient Namib Desert.
"Diamond-rich Namibia has not been as afflicted by pestilence or coups as have other African nations. With a Christian majority and a relatively prosperous economy, Namibia is a missions success by the numbers. But latent racism, chronic poverty, and white control of agricultural land have held back Namibians. . . .
"The Namibian Dream movement is trying to build such friendships; it is one stream of a larger spiritual renewal underway in southern Africa that has gained little attention outside the region. Three years ago, Graham Power of Cape Town, South Africa, launched Transformation Africa with a stadium-based event not unlike Promise Keepers' 1997 Stand in the Gap gathering in Washington, D.C. . . .
"Transformation Africa's top leaders and Wilkinson have the same goal of focusing the power of Christians for a continent-wide spiritual and social renewal around biblical teaching. Southern Africa's conservative Christians provide the workers, while Wilkinson provides new strategies for evangelism, church planting, pastor training, and holistic outreach."
[Some readers may wish to read a disturbing article about Namibia which raises many ethical concerns about the Transformation Namibia actitivies in the context of complex issues of western, white and Christian imperialism. It is posted at http://tinyurl.com/9h4d8. For two other articles which present a troubling portrayal of the May 1, 2003 Transformation Africa event in Namibia see: http://tinyurl.com/bewl5 and http://tinyurl.com/cfnwy]
Herescope is just one tiny blog which currently is highlighting concerns raised by the dominionist mandate, particularly as it pertains to the questionable activities of evangelical leaders in Africa. The fact is, this is a daunting task because of the limited amount of material to research. Of all of the ethical concerns that could be raised concerning the dominionist agenda in Africa, perhaps this is primary. There is little or no scrutiny, oversight, accountability, or authentic publicity about what is being implemented in Africa under the banner of Christianity. Will the stories only come out after there is an "incident" of the type reported by The Wall Street Journal regarding Bruce Wilkinson (See Herescope 12/19/05)? How many more stories are there like this?
Or, worse, will the stories coming out be highly scripted media puff pieces designed to stimulate more short-term volunteer trips to "advance the kingdom"? Will pre-digested stories be sent out with glowing reports of wonderful successes, miraculous events (such as George Otis' foot-long carrots), or supposedly marvelous results?
More stories from Africa, Lord willing, tomorrow. . . . .
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 3:13)