The far-right hate group American Family Association and other well-known religious right organizations and leaders put together Rick Perry’s big prayer rally in Houston last August. But Perry’s presidential campaign is sinking fast, and Sarah Posner writes in Religion Dispatches that follow-up “The Response” events in Republican presidential primary states are being promoted by somewhat lesser-known groups like the International House of Prayer and its affiliated local churches. Today’s “The Response” event in South Carolina, for example, is being promoted by small churches like the Forerunner House of Prayer (FHOP) in Easley, South Carolina, and the the Greenville House of Prayer.
These IHOP churches attract followers who believe, among other things, that the end times are near. Writes Posner:
These self-anointed “intercessors,” or “end-times warriors,” see themselves as modern-day apostles and prophets, purifying the kingdom, “transforming” cities, regions, and the country through a new Great Awakening, preparing the world for Christ’s return.
Posner explores the theological divide between these “end-time warriors” and the old guard of the religious right:
(T)he national elites had pressed for and endorsed The Response. At last summer’s event, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called it “the highlight of my life” and praised the “next generation” of evangelicals. The old guard of the religious right isn’t blind to new religious movements in its midst, even the 24/7 prayer movement [FHOP founder] Tallulah Dalton has been swept into. Some conservatives actually consider it heretical, or unbiblical—suggesting that these self-anointed apostles and prophets are the “false prophets” the Bible warns of. (One of these critics, the blogger/activist Marsha West, says The Response participants associated with the New Apostolic Reformation are not Christians, but rather “counterfeits.”)