Lausanne Covenant: Creed of the „New Apostles“ (Kent Johnson)

 by Kent Johnson 08/16/2013

Lausanne Covenant:  Creed of the „New Apostles“

„ICA believes and agrees with the historic creeds of the universal Church of Christ: Nicene and Apostles Creed and the Lausanne Covenant.“ — Statement of Faith, International Coalition of Apostles, Inc.


Since coining the generic term „New Apostolic Reformation“ (NAR) to describe the
global onslaught of charismatic dominionism, C.Peter Wagner  has joined  leadership training guru John P. Kelly, in trying to control the movement through the International Coalition of Apostles, Incorporated (ICA). Founded in 1999, ICA  has no public ministry and a budget of a scant  $100,000. Paul S. Irwin, a name unknown to most NAR watchers, is the third  partner in ICA. His law office  at 2261 Brookhollow Plaza Dr, Suite 210, Arlington, Texas, is the hub that connects many of the ecclesiastical, financial, and political spokes of the NAR wheel. ICA is a summit group of 350 „new apostles“ akin to a College of Cardinals. Each „apostle“,  personally anointed by Wagner or Kelly, leads a megachurch,  ministry network, or leadership training institute —  representing a total of well over 5,000 organizations worldwide. All spokes of the ICA  wheel are pledged to destroy  the traditional church and dominate society with a novel faith, Seven Mountains Dominionism, that combines Biblically obtuse, floridly irrational spirituality with the 20th Century business leadership principles –all expounded in the blitzkrieg idiom of Wagner’s trademark „Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare“.

By holding the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 co-equal with the great ancient creeds of the church, is NAR merely provoking traditional Christians? Is Lausanne just a way to  brand   NAR’s „new and improved“ motif? Or have ICA  Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare field marshals Wagner and Kelly given us the key to understanding their bizarre perversion of Christianity?

The Lausanne Covenant is a Cold War relic, framed by a geographically dispersed but politically concentrated faction of clergy whose overriding concern was anti-Communism . The First International Congress on World Evangelization met in Lausanne, Switzerland to organize conservative Christian leaders against the liberal political activism being propagated by „mainline“ Protestant churches and elements of the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church. The U.S. National Council of Churches and  the World Council of Churches were indeed  drifting ever deeper into liberal politics.

Lausanne (LCWE) was sponsored by Christianity Today magazine. The oracle of neo-evangelicals was financed by Sun Oil magnate J. Howard Pew, a key man of the radical right wing John Birch Society (JBS). The Birchers were founded by Bob Welch, author of an entire book portraying U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a communist lackey (The Politician, 1954).  At the inaugural gathering of the JBS, the Massachusetts candy tycoon Welch–he put a slab of caramel  on a stick and sold it as the Sugar Daddy–  announced his intention of building a „Christian-style“ society. (Christian-style because he explicitly recanted the faith of his Baptist fathers.)  Welch’s „better world“  would be run by a network of authoritarian businessmen like himself, Fred Koch, Joe Coors, Nelson  Bunker Hunt, J.Howard Pew, and their friends in law enforcement like Cleon Skousen  and in the military,  like Generals Edwin Walker and  Douglas  MacArthur. Abandoning all confidence in democratic values, they borrowed the political tactics of their enemies, the communists.  They formed secretive cells that grew into a rogue intelligence network called Western Goals, whose wannabe spies meticulously recorded „subversive“ activities of their neighbors.

Pew’s hireling Reverend Billy Graham hosted the Lausanne assembly for CT.  (The Pew Charitable Trusts, controlled by J. Howard’s heirs, pours millions of dollars into the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) to this day. The Lausanne Chairman from 1974-1992 was Billy Graham’s brother in law, BGEA Vice President Leighton Ford.
Donald MacGavran, the father of the academic discipline of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena developed the program for Lausanne, assisted by his protege, the  aforementioned C.Peter Wagner, who advised the highest ranking officials of the Lausanne Movement from from 1972-1987.

Graham had been elevated to global pop stardom by media magnates Henry Luce and William Randolph Hearst precisely because he had transformed the Prince of Peace into a Cold Warrior. This line from Graham’s 1949 Los Angeles tent revival  led Hearst to telegraph the message „PUFF GRAHAM“ to  editors of his hundreds of newspapers and magazines:

„Communism is inspired and directed by the Devil himself, who has declared war against Almighty God. Did you know that the Communists are more rampant in Los Angeles than any other city in America?

Graham had already been puffing the Cold War for the military-industrial complex for a quarter century when he announced the Lausanne Conference to his old friend, President of the United States Richard Milhous Nixon. To be fair, let’s assume that Graham perhaps outgrew his youthful red-baiting. Maybe he became a sort of chaplain to America and her leaders, exhorting and comforting a warrior-nation  within the Biblical limits of his pastoral calling. Then again, maybe not:

„There are tens of thousands of North Vietnamese defectors to bomb and invade the North. Why should all the fighting be in the South?… Especially let them bomb the dikes which could over night destroy the economy of North Vietnam.

Billy Graham, April,1969
Letter to Richard Nixon

Graham was functioning not as a mere Cold War chaplain, but as an operational intelligence officer providing lethal strategic advice, gleaned from his missionary informants, to the Commander-in-Chief.

Graham’s bellicose announcement of Lausanne to Graham should be heard in that context.  Their entire phone call, which includes allusions to Doug Coe and key men of the National Prayer Breakfast „C Street“ Family Foundation so brilliantly exposed by author Jeff Sharlet, is preserved  here on the White House „Watergate“ tapes.

Graham: Just for your knowledge, we’re having a conference next summer in Lausanne with 4,000 world leaders– (actual attendance reported by LCWE attendance was only 2430–ed.)

Nixon: Good.

Billy Graham & Richard Nixon

Graham: –church leaders, bishops and so forth, that are sick and tired of the World Council.

Nixon: Well, you know, [Eugene] Carson Blake and these people have been–well, they’re so totally overboard, you know, on everything that is decent. I mean, they do it in the name of pacifism and the rest, but they’re really so close to the Communists it’s unbelievable.

Graham: Well, they are, and they say nothing against the Communists, ever.

Nixon: Never. Never. I know.

Graham: Always against us. It’s against South Africa, it’s against Greece, and so forth… And just as you have changed the political picture, we hope to change the religious picture.

Nixon: Well, listen, I’m all for it and–

Graham: It’s going to be a bombshell when it comes.

Indeed the the National and World and Councils of Churches had been shamefully silent about murderous repression in communist nations. But Lausanne began tilting conservative churches to the opposite extreme. Under the guise of ecumenical orthodoxy, and Biblical Inerrancy, American evangelical leaders would become hired mouthpieces of the Republican Party. Over the next  decade evangelical ministries would diversify from mere „spiritual warfare“ to material aiding  anti-Soviet guerrillas and assisting death squads of right-wing dictators, as revealed in the sordid record of the sprawling Washington scandal known as „Iran-Contra“.

A quarter century into the relatively peaceful post-Cold War era– sporadically spectacular Islamic terrorism is really no match for the constant, universal, and thoroughly reasonable dread of nuclear annihilation faced by the Lausanne generwation — chief European
new apostle“ Pastor Jan-Aage Torp of Oslo echoes Graham’s bellicose characterization of the Lausanne „bombshell“:

                          The Lausanne Covenant Was Born at the Battlefront

Torp  would have us believe that  the authority of Lausanne  is beyond question among evangelicals, and that in paying lip service to Lausanne, NAR has established its own legitimacy beyond the shadow of a doubt.

„The Lausanne Covenant is the most unifying basis for evangelical cooperation in our time.“

Torp further exaggerates the  authority of Lausanne to make a specious claim that NAR is in the evangelical mainstream:

„In our day there are no controversies around the Lausanne Covenant. All evangelicals will confidently support it. I am a member of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), and we adhere to the Lausanne Covenant. Oslochurch which I lead, also adheres to the Lausanne Covenant.“

Next Torp contradicts Graham, that asserting  the Lausanne Conference was called solely to restore Biblical orthodoxy.

„All of the 1900´s had been one long downward spiral for the missions mandate and faith in the sovereignty of Jesus. The Bible was under attack from the Christians themselves, especially through the World Council of Churches (WCC). They would not accept that the Bible is authoritative, but they talked about the Bible as the Christians´ “source”, and they did not accept the sovereign position of Jesus and the absolute necessity of personal salvation.“

Having cynically placed  NAR under Biblical authority by praising Lausanne’s back -to the Bible theme, Torp shamelessly aggrandizes NAR by anointing the Cold Warriors of Lausanne as „new apostles“ like himself– without their permission, and without Biblical authority!

„But a group of God´s servants – I will call them apostles – understood the significance of fighting for the most precious that God has given us, and they entered a serious battle against the Bible negativism in WCC and the big theological faculties. These men of God were Billy Graham, Jack Daine, John Stott, Francis Schaeffer, Peter Beyerhaus, Donald McGavran.“

Finally Torp waves the bloody shirt of the Cold Warriors without mentioning the Superpower standoff between nominal Christendom and the communist bloc, or the daily dread of nuclear Armageddon that hung over the Lausanne generation. He tells us he was Billy Graham´s Youth Chairman for a 1978  crusade in Oslo that and that Graham appointed Torp a member of the Lausanne Committee.

The battles seemed bloody. The words were strong. The differences were almost insurmountable. But they did not back off! The Lausanne Covenant was conceived and born, and has lived on.The apostle Paul admonished the young Timothy (1Timothy 6:12): “Fight the good fight of faith!” These were more than sentimental words, but realities for both Paul and Timothy, as they later were for Billy Graham & Co. Today we are called again to fight the good fight of faith. If you adhere to the Lausanne Covenant, then you have actually said yes!

So according to Torp’s formula, Lausanne both  places the „new apostles“ within the evangelical mainstream,  and also labels Christians who dispute their authority and debunk their doctrine as heretics.


Thank you, Pastor Torp, for helping us understand that you „new apostles“ need more than ancient creeds  to justify your „new reformation“.  And thanks for helping us trace the Cold War origins of the violent idiom of NAR’s premier organization, the International   Coalition of Apostles.

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