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He Has a 7-Point Plan for a Christian Takeover — and Wants Doug Mastriano to Lead the Charge

Rolling Stone 9/29/2022 Tim Dickinson

Lance Wallnau, a self-styled “prophet” and one of America’s most strident Christian Nationalists, and Doug Mastriano, the GOP candidate who casts his bid for governor of Pennsylvania as a mission from God, are birds of a feather.

They each fired up the faithful at the Jericho March / ”Let the Church ROAR!” event in Washington, D.C., in December 2020, a Christian protest seeking divine intervention to keep Donald Trump in office. And both men were on the ground in Washington a few weeks later on Jan. 6 — each billed as speakers at Stop the Steal’s “Wild Protest” event in the shadow of the Capitol. (The speeches were preempted by the insurrection that overran the Halls of Congress.)

So it’s little surprise that the pair flocked together in mid-September, when Wallnau landed in Pennsylvania to stump for Mastriano at a rally in the candidate’s hometown near Gettysburg.

Wallnau believes that America should be a theocracy, declaring unequivocally in a 2021 online rant: “I am a Christian Nationalist.” But in his stump speech for Mastriano, Wallnau used more coded language. He turned to local history to hype up the GOP candidate, comparing him to the “Christian colonel” who led a desperate bayonet charge to victory down from Little Round Top.

Wallnau insisted that Mastriano, a former Army officer, is also poised to change history: “Now there’s another Christian colonel, who is in charge of the mountain.” Referring to Mastriano’s followers as “a remnant” — a biblical term favored by fundamentalists to recognize fellow hardcore believers — Wallnau exhorted them to hold the line against the enemy. “They may out-gather, they may outmaneuver; in my opinion they know how to out-cheat,” Wallnau said of Democrats. “But they cannot outflank us if we move as one.”

Casting the Republican’s mission as guided by the hand of God — “Colonel Mastriano is anointed to lead” — Wallnau then insisted, “the whole country will be affected by what happens in Pennsylvania.” 

Wallnau has been dubbed “the father of American Dominionism,” a fundamentalist ideology that Christians are called upon to exert God’s will “on Earth as it is in heaven.” And the 66-year-old strives to empower a cabal of Christians to impose their moral code on the rest of us. Mastriano’s association with Wallnau, which is deeper than previously reported, adds troubling new evidence of the candidate’s own Christian Nationalist aims, and roots Mastriano even more plainly within an End Times religious movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. 

The 7 Mountains

Wallnau is a leading figure in the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, whose followers believe that we are living in an age of new apostles and prophets, who receive direct revelations from God. NAR believers hold that the second coming of Jesus is fast approaching, and that it is the destiny of Christians is to accelerate the End Times by exerting “dominion” over the world. Wallnau is best known for popularizing a quasi-biblical blueprint for theocracy called the Seven Mountains Mandate.

NAR followers like Wallnau believe that America is specially anointed by God to project Christianity across the globe. And the NAR movement’s followers view foes of their quest as satanic. This is not metaphorical. They hold that the physical world is enveloped by a supernatural dimension, featuring warring angels and demons, and are convinced that demons afflict their enemies on behalf of the devil. 

The movement holds that these spiritual battles are reflected in earthly politics. As the late NAR founder C. Peter Wagner explained in a striking  NPR interview in 2011: “I believe there’s a lot of demonic control over Congress… that needs to be dispersed.”

In the world according to Wallnau, the MAGA movement is guided by Jesus against devilish Democrats. Wallnau spent years insisting Trump was an instrument of the Lord, even declaring that, “Fighting with Trump is fighting with God.” By contrast, as documented by Right Wing Watch, Wallnau insists that “antichrist Biden” is an “illegal counterfeit” and an “evil ruler.” Environmentalists who seek to limit fossil-fuel extraction are “under control of demons.” Americans who defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community are the “Trans Taliban.” In a recent speech, Wallnau denounced Black Lives Matter as “witchcraft” that is “laying siege to the American system of government.” 

Wallnau did not respond to interview requests.

The “Seven Mountains” in the mandate Wallnau promotes represent the cultural domains of religion, family, education, media, entertainment, business, and government. Whoever controls the summits of these mountains, the theory goes, commands society. In short, Wallnau is offering an intellectual framework for Christian Nationalism — a movement that seeks not just to preserve the religious liberties of Christians, but to impose biblical mores on America at large. 

Andrew L. Whitehead is an academic and co-author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States. He describes Christian Nationalism as a reactionary movement that twins religious fundamentalism with a desire to “preserve the social and cultural power of white Americans.” 

Christian Nationalism, Whitehead insists, is an “existential threat to democracy” because it “sees no room for compromise” and literally demonizes its opponents as “forces of evil, trying to counter what God has called them to do.” Whitehead continues: “When one side begins to define the other side as illegitimate, the guardrails of democracy really start to crumble, and then we’re in dangerous territory.” 

The Christian Nationalist movement already counts allies in Washington, including MAGA politician Rep. Lauren Boehbert, who insists that “the church is supposed to direct the government.” And both fans and detractors see in Mastriano — who pals around with prophets and pleaded with God to help MAGA forces “seize the power” on Jan 6. — a politician cut from the same Christian Nationalist cloth. Unlike Republicans who pander to this crowd for political benefit, Whitehead says, Mastriano appears to “truly embrace” their aims. “He’s different from Trump; this is a part of how he sees himself and his role in politics.” (Mastriano did not respond to an interview request.)

The Seven Mountains Mandate emerged out of Wallnau’s frustration with the insularity of church culture. As a younger man, Wallnau sought to establish a megachurch in Rhode Island. But he says he realized that his focus on revival wasn’t getting the job done. “If megachurches could change America, they would have done it,” he said in a 2018 presentation at a Values Voter summit, attended by the then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “They’re not even changing the cities where the megachurches are located.” 

As Christians focused on their houses of worship, Wallnau argues, Satan ran rampant, seizing the tops of the other mountains. “While we pursued an awakening,” Wallnau said, “the devil literally taught America, and discipled it right out from under our Christian influence.”

For Wallnau, the key to achieving the biblical dominion over earth is for Christ believers to charge up the mountaintops and seize the pinnacles of power (sometimes referred to as “gates” — Wallnau is not religious about his metaphors), then use that authority to “disciple” the United States and the world, remaking society to please God. This is to be through both the soft power of cultural influence, and through the rule of law. He believes God commands Christians to impose His will through government. “Jesus was promised nations for His inheritance,” Wallnau declared in a recent broadcast, “not just churches!”

Wallnau’s close associate, the “apostle” Dutch Sheets, is committed to Christians storming the mountain of government. And Wallnau stood onstage with Sheets at a July event in Atlanta where NAR leaders prayed over MAGA Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, and where Sheets led the gathering in a Christian Nationalist pledge that begins, “As a patriot of faith, I attest my allegiance first and foremost to the Kingdom of God” and continues, “We, the Church, are God’s governing body on the Earth. We have been given legal power and authority from heaven.”

Wallnau seeks a world in which a Christian elite can mold the world on behalf of God. “What did Daniel do in Babylon? He had a small group at the top,” Wallnau said in his 2018 speech. “From that proximity to the throne, they were able to shape history.” 

For Wallnau, success looks the rule of Hungary under Viktor Orban. Wallnau praises the authoritarian for refusing to “bend our knee” to Muslim immgration or “LGBTQ assimilation,” touting the strongman in biblical terms as a “healthy dominionist.”

Holy Spirit, Meet Almighty Dollar

Wallnau is far from a penniless preacher; in fact, he appears enthusiastic to profit from his “prophetic” gifts.

Wallnau is savvy. He touts a masters from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a “Doctorate in Ministry with a specialization in Marketplace from Phoenix University of Theology.” In his public persona, Wallnau is part theologian, part motivational speaker, part infomercial pitchman, and part talk-show blowhard, delivering podcast rants with ticks and inflections of the late Rush Limbaugh. 

Rather than a church, Wallnau operates the nonprofit Lance Wallnau Ministries Inc. — in addition to several business ventures including Killer Sheep Media Inc., his media imprint, and Lance Learning Group, a “strategic teaching and consulting company.” 

But Wallnau’s business practices leave open the question: Is he a Christian or a charlatan? On his website, Wallnau sells Seven Mountains-themed books, CDs, and videos — including “Take all 7” (a two-DVD set for $24). Wallnau also markets a bevy of MAGA merch. This includes a golden “presidential prayer coin” ($45) as well as a talking figurine of Trump hugging the American flag ($29.95).

Wallnau makes money teaching others to do battle with the devil. He markets a three-CD set “Breaking Controlling Spirits” offering insights to fellow Charismatic Christians. “There is a war being fought in the unseen realm between forces of good and evil, and the battlefield is your mind,” the sales copy reads. “Demonic activity is increasing at an alarming rate as we draw closer to the last days…. Spiritual warfare is not optional.” Lucky for you: “Lance Wallnau has been given specific prophetic insight and strategy on how to cripple the forces trying to wreak havoc on your life and loved ones….” And he’ll share that wisdom for just $29.97.

The confluence of Christ and commerce appears to be making Wallnau a wealthy man. According to public property records, Wallnau lives in a gated community outside Dallas in a home valued at well over $1 million. 

His for-profit enterprises are opaque. But Lance Wallnau Ministries Inc. files public IRS paperwork. The most recent filing, from 2019, shows that Wallnau and his wife earned more than $450,000 from the ministry — a sum that includes such unusual perks as first-class airfare, medical reimbursements, and a housing allowance. 

Wallnau’s ministry, the records show, was minting money on its sales, generating $710,000 in revenue on a “cost of goods” of just $61,000. In addition to merchandizing, Wallnau solicits donations from the faithful, asking website visitors to “PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER SUPPORTING LANCE’S MISSION.” His ministry received $356,000 in gifts that year. 

The watchdog Charity Navigator gives the Wallnau ministry a “failing score” — citing lax financial oversight and a lack of a conflict of interest policy. 

“Take Over the Cockpit”

Wallnau has been all in for Trump since 2015. And when the 45th president was routed in 2020, Wallnau was quick to embrace the lie that nefarious forces, rather than the will of the people, had deprived Trump of a second term.

Donald Trump and Lance Wallnau © Provided by Rolling Stone Donald Trump and Lance Wallnau

Wallnau’s own role in the events of Jan 6. is murky. He was touted as a speaker at WildProtest.com, a project of Stop the Steal, which played off Trump’s infamous tweet: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

In the aftermath of the attack on Congress, Wallnau embraced conspiracy theories that Jan. 6 was a false flag. He appeared on a Christian news program called “Flashpoint” the next day, declaring, “I was there. This was not a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol.” He insisted, instead: “This was organized Antifa radicals who led the break-in, while we have evidence of our people saying, ‘Stop them!’”

Wallnau claimed the storming of the Capitol was “a manipulated TV moment” and “Kabuki theater” designed to short-circuit the “inquiry into a ripped-off election.” On the same broadcast, fellow NAR leader Sheets insisted that Trump’s opponents were in the throes of “demonically inspired hatred,” adding: “This is an attempt to turn this nation away from God…. And the reason the enemy, the reason Satan, is so bent on doing this is because of the destiny hanging over this nation. We are a nation destined to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.”

In the months since the insurrection, Wallnau has continued to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation. In September 2021, Wallnau insisted that the pipe bombs placed near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on Jan 6. had been “planted there by the people who wanted the optics for an incident in the Capitol,” adding: “Maybe the FBI and maybe the Democratic party and maybe political operatives in D.C. were working together.”

This summer, Wallnau argued that the presence of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6 was misunderstood. “Everybody says the Proud Boys are bad…. They might not be bad,” he said, suggesting instead that “their orders were to clean up the garbage and get out of the Capitol. They were there to protect Trump people from Antifa.”

Lately, Wallnau seems more agitated than ever at the inability of fundamentalist Christians to exert dominion over society. In a recent speech before fellow believers at Charis Bible College in Colorado, Wallnau railed against the progressive organization Democracy Alliance, alleging, “they’ve got 16 different activist organizations that are working in an extraordinarily efficient way with the devil to dismantle America.”

Increasingly, Wallnau has embraced dark imagery when talking about Christians seizing control of America from nonbelievers, comparing Democrats to the plotters on 9/11. “It’s not enough to have a revival in the cabin crew,” Wallnau insisted during a Facebook video rant this July. “You’re gonna have to take over the cockpit — and get Al Qaeda out of the pilot seat.”

This same tortured 9/11 metaphor has been embraced by one Douglas Mastriano, who frequently shares Wallnau’s content on his own campaign Facebook page. Mastriano’s stump speeches are peppered with references to the uprising of Flight 93. And he has turned its battle cry into a central slogan for his campaign: “Let’s roll!”

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