Doug Giles: His People

As I read another rant from Doug Giles, once again I am driven to find answers to the question: just where did this guy come from?

As I noted on this blog back in May, Giles’s sister Paula is married to Mell Winger, a Charismatic who pastors at Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado (and who has some interesting links to Guatemala). According to the Wingers’ testimony as quoted by neo-Pentecostal prophet Dutch Sheets, they were responsible for “binding the spirit of rebellion that was controlling” Giles, and so turned him from crime to Christ. Giles used to make much of his wayward youth in his profile, but since rebranding himself as more of a general right-wing pundit he has chosen to drop these references. Doug also makes no mention of his Charismatic background today, and he’s even studying as a graduate student under R.C. Sproul at the Calvinist Knox Theological Seminary (an institution begun in 1989 by D. James Kennedy, who remains Chancellor).

Giles’s USP (unique selling point, in advertisers’ jargon) is his “clash point”: all the bile of his weekly column distilled into one concluding sentence (“my clash point is…”). His radio show is called Clash Radio, and his church, which meets at the Residence Inn, Miami, is called Clash Christian Church. Oddly, the link to the church does not work on his new website, and details can only be found by looking at cached material from his old site (highlight to read text, which is black on black). Earlier this year, Giles held a conference of theocrats that included presentations from Texas Republican party VC David Barton (in an early agenda I dug up, Congresswoman Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush were also slated to appear, although it looks like the schedule was changed).

But here’s an interesting titbit: Clash Christian Church used to be called His People-Miami. His People Christian Church is a South African grouping of churches, and is part of a denomination called Morning Star International. The His People Christian Church website lists its various branches around the world, but does not currently have any American churches. However, using a web archive engine, I was able to dig out this:

His People Miami – USA

Senior Pastors: Rev. Doug and Mary Margaret Giles

Doug and Mary Giles founded the first United States based His People Christian Church in January 1997.

There’s more on Giles’s cached Clash site:

Doug is the Senior Pastor of His People Christian Church of South Florida and is currently completing his graduate studies at Knox Theological Seminary. Doug is part of His People International based in Cape Town, South Africa. Our ministry is Charismatic in expression, evangelical in doctrine and reformed in it’s [sic] view of Church, family and state. For more information please check out our website at www.hispeople.org.

How this came about is not mentioned, although just last week Doug was bragging about his hunting exploits in South Africa. The current His People site gives a history of their church:

His People Christian Church was birthed in 1988 in the city of Cape Town through the ministry of Paul and Jenny Daniel to a small group of students in their rented home in Milnerton. Shortly thereafter, the His People Bible School began on the University of Cape Town campus as well as a regular Sunday meeting in a lecture theatre.

The church grew, and “the ministry also began to expand rapidly to other campuses within South Africa and internationally.”

Paul Daniel provides one of the blurbs for Giles’s audio book Ruling in Babylon (see here, again cached, and black on black). However:

At the beginning of 2003, the leadership of His People Church, Cape Town underwent a period of transition during which Pastor Gareth and Wendy Stead assumed the senior leadership of the ministry. Paul & Jenny Daniel were taken in by MSI [Morning Star International] in Nashville, USA, for a period of restoration following Paul’s confession of serious sins and his subsequent resignation as senior pastor.

(According to the Cape Argus, these sins were “adultery with two young female parishioners over a 13-month period.”) His People is also one of C. Peter Wagner;sNew Apostolic Churches“, and so one can assume the group focuses heavily on Charismatic ideas such as prophecy, apostolic leadership and spiritual warfare against demons.

So, what about Morning Star International? Back to the His People’s site:

Morning Star International (MSI) was founded in 1994 by Pastors Rice Broocks, Steve Murrell and Phil Bonasso in what they now call the “Manila Miracle”…Since its foundation, MSI has been used mightily by God to touch and impact many different cultures and nations. MSI now has churches in more than thirty-five nations and the Apostolic Board Members have set their hearts to plant a church in every nation of the world…In 1997, the leadership of MSI and His People Ministries recognized the similarity of their visions and began the process of joining their ministries together. It took more than three years for this merger to become a reality as the leaders slowly worked through the vision, values and mission of the two groups. Today, the MorningStar Apostolic Board, led by Pastor Rice Broocks, provides covering and headship to a worldwide family of churches and ministries, some of which are called “Morning Star Churches” and some, like the His People Churches in Africa and the Victory Churches in the Philippines, which bear other names.

Does one bear the name “Clash”? Funnily enough, I came across Morning Star for the first time just the other day, when a certain “Anna Missed” left a link to the site of Force Ministries (“equipping military personnel for Christ-centered duty”) at Jesus’ General. According to Charisma, Broocks also runs Champions for Christ, an outreach to athletes, with Greg Ball. Both men started out in Maranatha Campus Ministries under Bob Weiner. Maranatha and Weiner have a controversial history. Rick Ross has gathered a number of sources on the subject, including this Christianity Today article from 1990:

According to Lee Grady, managing editor of the Maranatha publication The Forerunner from 1981 until the organization disbanded, all the major personalities associated with the shepherding movement at one time or another addressed Maranatha gathering. Grady said the concept of shepherding-that believers were under the authority of a spiritual shepherd-was widely accepted within Maranatha as a natural aspect of the Christian faith. “Maranatha was a revival movement,” said Grady. “Any revival movement will usually be characterized by excesses.”

An ad hoc committee of Christian scholars reached a similar conclusion in a 1984 report (CT, Aug. 10, 1984, p.38), which stated, among other things, that Maranatha “has an authoritarian orientation with potential negative consequences.”

This Wall Street Journal article adds:

Bob Weiner Jr. says he called some of his “friends” one day in April and suggested that they organize to support President Reagan on aid to the rebel forces in Nicaragua…

And so, on the eve of a crucial vote in Congress, the rallies were held on as many as 70 college campuses across the U.S. Events like this have made the little-known Mr. Weiner popular with conservative Republican strategists.

Mr. Weiner’s friends are leaders of 50 chapters of the Maranatha Christian Church, whose members revere Mr. Weiner as the church’s founder, sole “apostle”, and chief conduit of revelations that he says come from God.

More negative material comes from this anonymous, albeit well-referenced, website:

Broocks is a protégé of prominent faith teacher Kenneth Copeland and was Maranatha’s chief faith teacher…Morning Star is part of the New Apostolic Restoration, led by Peter Wagner. (Wagner consoled Maranatha at one of their conventions after the article in Christianity Today, saying that the founders of Christianity Today were failures in the ministry) Not even the Wall Street Journal, which took Weiner to task for his political activity, delved into his close ties to well-known jihadists in the dominion theology camp, namely R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North.

Media House International, which publishes the Forerunner, contains much material by hard core Reconstructionists [see here]; North dedicated one of his books to Maranatha; and Rushdoony is revered, even idolized.

A little known episode is that Weiner flew in to Guatemala to lay the foundation for dominion theology…Speaking at a Maranatha convention, Copeland looked down at Rio Montt and prophesied that he would once again become president of Guatemala.

OK, so before this post spirals completely out of control, let’s get back to Doug Giles. Although Giles appears to have got his start from the later-disgraced Paul Daniel, his relationship with the leaders of Morning Star is less clear. However, seeing as in the late 1990s Daniel was based in Cape Town and Giles was running the only His People church in the USA, links with the Nashville-based Morning Star under Broocks seem likely. The Morning Star leadership is clearly Charismatic, but highly politicised and with a liking for the hyper-Calvinist authoritarian and postmillennial Christian Reconstructionists. In this context, Giles’s links to Calvinism, his rightist punditry and his dislike of “last days madness” also suggest a fondness for Reconstructionism – a fondness also evidenced from his links with Republican Party of Texas VC David Barton, who has a slot on his Clash Radio. Giles’s macho posturing is reflected in Morning Star’s emphasis on ministries to do with athletes and the military, and his general self-righteousness and hectoring style suggest the authoritarianism of the “shepherding movement” within Charismatic Christianity. Also interestingly, like Maranatha and His People, Doug has a special interest in higher education, and gives air-time to his friend Mike Adams to complain about how liberals are poisoning the minds of youth and persecuting Christian groups on campuses. Adams describes himself as a Christian convert, although he is cagey about what kind of Christian (beyond conservative).

So is Doug a Charismatic Reconstructionist, but downplaying his links with the movement in order to reach a wider audience? Or has he perhaps matured slightly, now preferring solid Calvinist dogmatism over Charismatic spiritual warfare as he gets older (and having seen the fall of Paul Daniel)? Actually, Reconstuctionism is probably too strong a term. Sara Diamond warns against linking individuals in a “guilt-by-association” way, and she suggests it is more fruitful to consider a wider and vaguer idea of Christian “dominion”. For instance, since Brooks started out under Kenneth Copeland, it’s likely Broocks holds “last days” ideas rejected by both Reconstructionism and by Giles. However, Diamond does note that Knox Theological Seminary founder D. James Kennedy

echoed the Reconstructionist line when he said [in a speech to the Christian Coalition] that “true Christian citizenship” includes a cultural mandate to “take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God.”

As for the second question: well, there’s not much evidence of maturity from Doug’s writings, but he is certainly conscious of the power of the brand. His brand is the “clash point”, and it is that which has given him such a large pulpit to bully from. Using “dominion” lingo or going on about being “in bondage to a spirit of rebellion” is not his ticket – at least, not in his Townhall columns. But neither is saying anything much about the grace of Jesus for a poor sinner, for that matter…

UPDATE (30 October): The Clash Christian Church website is now back up, and I have investigated it here.

**********

Footnote: John R. Thomson, who is listed as Director of Business Development for Clash Communications, Inc., is profiled in an undated article in the Key Biscayne Islander News. Apparently, Thomson is an Episcopalian, and

He was a Young Republican at Harvard in the mid-50s, which was a little bit like being a Redcoat at the Boston Tea Party.

“I was appalled by the student liberalism in Cambridge and so annoyed with the aptly named Harvard Crimson newspaper that I started the Harvard Times Republican,” he says proudly. “We muckraked the heck out of the place.”

He talks about one his biggest scoops, uncovering a case of nepotism in the university’s hiring of A-bomb physicist and suspected communist sympathizer Robert Oppenheimer…

After a business career and time working for the 1956 Eisenhower-Nixon campaign, Thomson turned to writing:

His father having been an old friend of Time magazine founder Henry Luce, John managed to land a job as the magazine’s special economic correspondent.

This led to a career as a war correspondent. Then:

he headed back overseas when President Ronald Reagan appointed him to a senior trade official post. Based in Saudi Arabia, he spent four years promoting American products and establishing businesses from Turkey to South Africa. And when the Gulf War erupted in 1990, he donned his war correspondent hat and filed 11 stories for the National Review.

10 Responses

  1. […] which I prefer to pass over, but this is interesting considering my post on Doug Giles from a couple of days ago. L’Abri began in 1955 as a Christian community at the home of apologist and pastor Francis […]

  2. You must be kidding when you said,
    “The Morning Star leadership is clearly Charismatic, but highly politicised and with a liking for the hyper-Calvinist authoritarian and postmillennial Christian Reconstructionists.”

    What you are looking at when you see this “stream” of seemingly “Charismatic” churches that embrace reconstructionism and dominionism is the 21st century rebirthing of the 17th century English utopian cult called, the Philadelphian Society. It was founded upon the theosophical teachings of Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) and then re-worked by the English Philadelphians. The whole deal can be summed up by saying that these gnostics looked at the Kabbalah as a lens toward interpreting the Bible instead of judging the Kabbalah in the light of scripture. It was a lot of hard investigation to find that out, but the paper trail in there.

    Doug Giles gets to play “Christian Fundamentalist” with a “Charismatic twist” but in reality he is part of the New Order of the Latter Rain that started as a false revival in North Battleford, Saskatchewan between 1948-1951. The false leaders there read and believed Philadelphian Society writings and spawned the theosphical movement Doug Giles is now swimming in.

    Isn’t history great!

    History is a mystery but it is still HIStory.

    Chow

  3. […] 30, 2004 by Richard Bartholomew When I wrote my investigation into Doug Giles’s background a few days ago, his Clash Church website was down. Now it’s back up: a surprisingly grimy and low-key […]

  4. […] has been considered on this blog before. He is the President and co-founder of Morning Star International, a neo-Pentecostal denomination. […]

  5. […] is being coy. As I noted in this blog previously, Maranatha was a Charismatic campus organisation that disbanded in 1989 amidst claims of […]

  6. […] is of little interest to me either way, aside from historical value) is only one concern: as I have noted before, the campus ministry Maranatha disbanded in 1989 after newspaper reports of authoritarian and […]

  7. […] folded in the late 1980s over accusations of “cult-like” and authoritarian behaviour (see here; and various other Maranatha figures are involved with Every […]

  8. […] now been revamped, and finally we get to see which other pastors he is associated with. As I posted in the past, Giles originally started out as part of the His People denomination. That was led by Paul Daniel […]

  9. Wonderful, you are spot on Chow!

    I’m glad that others are also seeing through this ‘New movement of God’

  10. […] Maranatha in the 1980s, which I blogged on a number of times a few years ago (e.g. see here and here). The document also mentions links to Trevor Newport, whom I blogged […]

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