Chicken staringVenturing into cloud cuckoo land, the chookwatchers build on their proposed theory that there is a fascist conspiracy afoot.

As they continue in their vain and vague attempts at rewriting Christian history, the chookwatchers have allowed their imaginations to run riot.

This time they are attempting to align Hillsong and C3 with fascism by their usual device of guilt by association, not to mention recycled inaccuracies from like-minded conspiracists.

A conspiracy theory is a belief that a secret conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome which the theorists strongly disapprove of.

Here’s what they write in their latest venture into mismanagement of history.

‘Want to know why cults like Phil Pringle’s C3 “church” and Brian Houston’s Hillsong “church” have their annual vision day campaigns?’

It wouldn’t be so that they can share the strategy for increase with the church membership, would it?

Anyway, let’s address chookwatcher’s opening statement. For a start off, chookwatcher has never proven his presumption that either Hillsong or C3 are cults. They clearly are not. These things are measured by peers and believers, not anonymous critics, whose opinion is entirely subjective and fundamentally inaccurate.

A lesson in German

But, going on to the rest of the claim, I’m sure the chookwatchers have some kind of hypothesis with which to edify the Body. Attempting to explain why these churches have vision days, they continue:

‘Well the ApostisLexicon call this type of annual event a ‘reichspar’ (for short):’

ApostisLexicon? What on earth is that, we ask? It turns out to be some other anonymous conspiracist’s made up dictionary of terms for Christians he or she doesn’t like or approve. A fake dictionary, then.

So what does ApostisLexicon say about this ‘reichspar’ claim?

‘Reichsparteitag (abr. reichspar) – an annual rally for a type of “church movement” (a nuremberg) that is a large propaganda event that encourage people to get behind their leader/führer’s vision. These events may be called Vision Sundays, Vision Builders, Vision Casting day, etc. Film or other forms of media may be used to commemorate these annual events. These events try to convince people that their leader is set apart because God gave them a vision; filter members who are either for them or against them; and to manipulate people into pledging their loyalty to the vision and cause of the “pastor”.’

Do you get it, reader? Reichsparteitag only ever refers to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Rallies of the Third Reich under Hitler.

ApsostisLexicon falsely calls it a ‘type of “church movement”, and attributes to it propaganda, thus setting the scene for opportunists like the chookwatchers to make false claims about churches and movements they seek to demonise.

Notice the use of ‘fuhrer’ for leader, then assigning the title to pastors who promote the vision and mission of their church. Incidentally, having recently visited Germany I can tell you that the word ‘fuhrer’ still means leader in peacetime. I think chookwatcher (and ApostisLexicon) may be guilty of racial profiling and type-casting here.

ApostisLexicon adds:

‘An informal reichsparteitag can also be a sermon, session, service or segment where the speaker preaches about the history, the vision and the leadership of the movement.’

‘Word origin: German word for ‘Nuremberg Rally’.’

Of course, ApostisLexicon completely makes this whole thing up. It is probably satyrical on his/her part, but if it is not true, which is obviously the case, then it can only be a fabrication, or a lie, and a lie that has been taken up as as a serious definition by chookwatcher, who continues:

‘Well these ideas emerged from the Church Growth “Apostles” from the New Apostolic Reformation movement and refined by Purpose Driven Life heretics such as Yonggi Cho, Peter Wagner, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. Hillsong and C3 are the fruit of such totalitarian cults disguised as Christian “churches”. They have attempted to cloak their ideologies and false ecclesiastical structures with Christian language and biblical concepts – all which have been refuted since their NARpostolic agenda.’

You see the implications being made here, don’t you? Chookwatcher has taken a lie and framed it around a false accusation – that Hillsong and C3 are fascist movements run by totalitarian ‘fuhrers’.

This, of course, is a baseless slur, and has no supporting facts, nor can chookwatcher or any of his clan provide a single shred of evidence to back up their assertions.

They want to convince their gullible followers that there is a connection between the Nuremberg Rallies and Christian churches and movements gathering.

And the NAR connection, is, as we have pointed out in several articles, spurious at best, and completely contrived by chookwatcher and his allies.

Fascist agenda theory

Notice how chookwatcher, at this point, introduces Rick Warren. This is deliberate. He is about to add an accusation against Warren to falsely show further guilt by association. Chookwatcher says:

We expressed our concerns with Hillsong inviting Rick Warren to speak at their annual Hillsong Conference because of Warren’s dangerous fascist agenda within the Christian Church.’

Fascist agenda? Within the Christian church? Only chookwatcher, and a handful of co-conspirators actually believe this rot.

To add weight to this false accusation, chookwatcher cites the outrageous theory put forward by Irate Christian Radio, that Rick Warren and Bill Hybels display fascist tendencies in their methodology and teaching. We’ve already shown this whacky theory to be highly doubtful with more holes than a sieve.

The list of conspiracy theorists is, as you see, growing, but chookwatcher hasn’t finished yet. He adds an opinion piece in the form of a video from someone called Brannon Howse, who appears to have some kind of Reformed theology Book of Revelation end-times ministry.

Fascist or communist – take your pick

Brannon takes hold of the information that Rick Warren was inspired to hold annual big days after reading a book written by a former communist. He seemingly hints that there is some kind of subterfuge to be observed here. Warren actually let people know he’d read this book in the course of an interview, so he’s not exactly hiding it. It was written by Douglas Hyde and published in 1956.

Journalist Hyde had been a pre-war communist, but converted to Catholicism in 1948, eight years before the book, ‘Dedication and Leadership’, was published. So he wrote it as a Catholic. Whether you think Catholicism is any better than Communism I’ll leave to you, but the implication is that Warren must be a communist totalitarian because he took some hints on growing a movement from a Catholic who had been reformed from communism.

Warren was merely making the point that holding annual big days had helped grow Saddleback Church, and it was a curiosity that the idea had come to him whilst reading the book. He’s obviously not saying that communism has made his church increase. Obvious to the non-conspiracist that is.

So the play that chookwatcher makes is that Warren is a totalitarian because he read a book written by an ex-communist who was a Catholic when he wrote it. For the conspiracist this is a delicious tidbit, but circumstantial evidence doesn’t exactly make anyone a fascist, does it?

In fact, whilst there are some similarities, there is actually quite a gulf between fascist and communist ideologies, and fascists and communists have fought wars over these differences.

Chookwatcher logic revealed

So what is it that joins these dots together to make a story for the chookwatchers?

Well, Hitler held big rallies at Nuremberg. He was a wicked totalitarian despot. Therefore, according to conspiratorial chookwatcher logic, all rallies must be held by fascist totalitarian despots.

These so-called discerners want the world to believe that because a movement sees large gatherings as a good way to publish their mission statement and vision for the next year, they too must in some way be fascist.

So you have to wonder how chookwatcher feels about the Strange Fire conference held by John McArthur. This was casting his vision to oppose charismatic ministries. He made it globally available by live streaming it. Surely, by chookwatcher’s logic, that makes this on the same level as the Nuremberg Rallies.

And Howse himself is making a name as a big rally entrepreneur, positing his vision for reaching as many Christians with his end-times ministry.

Of course, this kind of thinking is ludicrous. But this is what, in effect, chookwatcher is doing. He is claiming that Hillsong and C3 annual vision days are on a par with Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies.

I suppose that when a self-appraising discernment operation runs out of ideas it has to lean on its own understanding and come up with something really big to serve up to its followers.

The big thing about conspiracy theories is that they are often vague enough to be self-propagating, and can even be adjusted when they appear to go bottom up. Millerism is an example of this. Miller himself backed down once his predictions were shown to be off kilter, but his successor merely changed the rules and it still endures today. In fact, several offshoots such as the JWs came out of this error.

Should the Lord tarry it will be seen for what it is. Should He come soon it will be judged.